Friday, 9 February 2018
Carry Me Down/Never Gonna Fall In Love Again/I Wanna Make You My Lady/Last Romance/Hey My Love/Took My Heart To The Party/Reach Out For The One Who Loves You/Let's Go Dancing/Where Are You Girl/Sweet Morning Smile In Your Eyes,You Set My Dreams To Music/Firefly/Let Me Love You Once Before You Go
Mark Ronald Holden (born 27 April 1954) is an Australian singer, actor, TV personality, record producer, songwriter, and barrister. He was a pop star in the 1970s and had four top 20 hit singles, "Never Gonna Fall in Love Again" (May 1976), "I Wanna Make You My Lady" (September), "Last Romance" (November) and "Reach Out for the One Who Loves You" (October 1977). Holden regularly appeared on national pop music show, Countdown. Holden is remembered for his clean-cut image, his white dinner suit and his penchant for handing out carnations to girls on the set of the popular television show Countdown – he was nicknamed "The Carnation Kid". In the 1980s he worked as a songwriter in Los Angeles providing material recorded by Meat Loaf, Joe Cocker, Gladys Knight, Bob Welch and Steve Jones. He was one of three original judges on the TV series Australian Idol (2003–07) and the first season (2005) of The X Factor.
Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Arkansas Grass/Baby Bear/Ford's Bridge/Samantha/Take It Or Leave It/A Little Ray Of Sunshine/Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow/Mansfield Hotel/Can't Let Go Of This Feeling/Country Pickin'/Once A Month Country Race Day/Fool's Gold/Who Am I Gonna See/Same Old Country Song/My Baby's Gone/Father Confessor/Hold The Phone/Sailing Ships/Talking About It/Time And Time Again/Longest Day/Matter Of Time/Show Me The Way (Brian Cadd & Don Mudie)/24 Rolling And Tumbling Down (Brian Cadd & Don Mudie)
Formed in Melbourne in 1969, Axiom were arguably Australia's first true supergroup. Yet, in spite of a wealth of talent and promise, some notable chart successes and two superb Albums of original material, they failed to achieve lasting popularity, due in part to waning public support in Australia as they vainly tried to crack the fickle English market, and the band fizzled out after less than two years. Nevertheless, Axiom deserve to be recognised as an important musical bridge between Sixties pop and Seventies rock in Australia, as one of the first serious attempts to make Australian rock with international appeal, and as one of the finest bands of their time.
Axiom was formed by Brian Cadd and Don Mudie, both former members of leading Melbourne popsters The Groop. Cadd, who began his career with Melbourne's The Jackson Kings, was already a prominent singer, songwriter and keyboard player. Besides his success with The Groop, he wrote hits for other acts, including "Elevator Driver" for the Master's Apprentices and "When I Was Only Six Years Old" for Ronnie Burns (which was also a UK hit for Paul Jones) and both he and Mudie worked as session players on a number of important recordings including the Russell Morris' classics "The Real Thing" and "Part III into Paper Walls".
The Groop Mudie and Cadd far right.
The formation of Axiom was apparently somewhat controversial, and there have been suggestions (probably based on reports in Go-Set) that Cadd & Mudie had deliberately engineered the break-up of The Groop in order to be able to form Axiom. The offer was evidently an attactive one -- Lavery and Stockley quit their respective bands and Shorrock withdrew from managing Melbourne band The Avengers to join. The Groop split after Mudie and Cadd had conducted lengthy (and apparently secret) negotiations to recruit Terry Britten who, like Shorrock had been a member of the recently defunct Twilights. They were unsuccessful in snaring Britten, but this evidently enabled them to make the link that resulted in the recruitment of Shorrock.
Axiom signed to Ron Tudor's Fable Records. Their first single "Arkansas Grass" (co-written by Cadd and Mudie) was an immediate hit, reaching #7 in December 1969. Cadd, like many other Aussie musicians, had been deeply influenced by the trend towards a fusion of country and folk elements with rock, spearheaded by acts like Dylan, The Byrds, Crosby Stills & Nash and especially The Band. Songs like "Arkansas Grass" show how well and how quickly Axiom mastered the idiom, and proved that they were able to create material that could stand up against (or indeed pass for) that of any major American group.
Chris Stockley sitting on the Tarax sign with his band CamPact
Axiom, and Brian Cadd in his later solo work, have sometimes been criticised for the overt "American-ness" of some of their songs. There is no denying it, but there are several important factors that need to be understood when considering why Cadd and Mudie took to this style so enthusiastically. It's tempting to think that they had the US market in mind but Brian Cadd . Moreover, The Groop had been leading local proponents of soul and R&B, but Australian radio's entrenched resistance to black music -- even of the homegrown variety -- made it clear that this route would soon be a musical dead-end, at least in commercial terms (and it was not until the advent of disco in the late 1970s that this changed).
The Twilights Shorrock second from the left.
Doug Lavery left the band in early 1970 to join The Mixtures and was replaced by Don Lebler (ex-The Avengers). Axiom left for London in April with publishing deal from Leeds Music and reported record deal offers from both Apple and Decca. Their attempts to break into the English scene were understandable in the context of the time, but in retrospect their material clearly suggests that they would have been much more likely to succeed in America (as LRB would ultimately prove). Indeed, the latter part of their career suggest that they were heading in that direction, as so often happened, it seems that they lacked the necessary management and record company support.
Doug Lavery in the Valentines drums.
"... there was a couple and we all knew both of them; they were part of our circle. They were a fabulous couple. Towards the end of their time together they got pregnant. By the time this kid was born their relationship was acrimonious, horrifying. Everyone divided up into her camp or his camp and it was dreadful. And in the midst of all this, this fabulous little kid was born, and nobody seemed to notice. I hated it. It was terrible. And I thought, 'You know, regardless of anthing else, you guys made this. She's come into the world, and she's gorgeous. And it's such a shame in a way that you can't be affected by this like most people when this ray of sunshine comes into their life and changes everything about them ... " (1)
Don Lebler drumming with the Avengers.
Fool's Gold unquestionably ranks as one of the best and most original Aussie albums of the period, and (in my opinion) one of the best Australian pop-rock albums ever. It was also a significant step forward in creative control, being one of the very first Australian rock albums released on a major label that was produced by the artists themselves. Axiom was able to take advantage of the great improvement in sound provided by the new 8-track facilities at Armstrong's Studios, which showcased a selection of superb songs, brilliantly performed. Like the equally overlooked 1970 LP Prepared In Peace by Flying Circus, Fool's Gold was an important bridge between pop and country rock, and another notable feature is the closing track, "Who Am I Gonna See?", which is probably the first Australian pop-rock recording to use a didgeridoo in the arrangement.
" ... we wrote a song, which must have been all the stuff that I had left in my head from 'Arkansas Grass', which I called 'We Can Reach Georgia by Morning'. We had done some rough mixes and somebody played some of them to Stan Rofe and Rofe got right off his bike about it and said that it was absolutely unconscionable for us to use Georgia and why couldn't we use an Australian name? So I succumbed to the browbeating of everybody, and we found in the atlas a place in Northern Queensland called Fords Bridge, which had the right meter for the words ... I never really got over that. It really hurt me, It annoyed me ... I just got very annoyed with the parochialism. When it reached out and touched me and made me change a word in a song. I hated it." (2)
Soon after arriving in England, Axiom signed a three-year contract with Warner's Reprise label. Evidently Warners were sufficiently impressed to assign the making of band's third single to legendary American-born producer Shel Talmy (The Kinks, The Who, Creation, Manfred Mann, The Easybeats). The single "Father Confessor" was released in July, but after the spectacular success of the first two singles, this one curiously failed to chart at all in Australia, probably due to the effect of the recently imposed 1970 Radio Ban.
"Warner Brothers hired me to record them. Super-duper band. It was a super album. Two weeks before the album was to be released on Warner, they decided to break up. And they did, and Warners said, "Bye!! If you think we're promoting this album, you're out of your fucking minds!" I was real pleased with that album. It was fun to do, they were talented, the songs were great."
Coming from the man who produced such classics as "My Generation", "You Really Got Me", "Friday On My Mind" and "Waterloo Sunset", this is high praise indeed.
Axiom had their third and last Aussie hit in early 1971 with the first single lifted from the LP, "My Baby's Gone" (the verses of which bear a suspicious resemblance to the 1980s World Party hit "Ship of Fools"). The only surviving videos of the band are performances of the song from Happening '71 and the shortlived Channel 9 pop show Move, and they also filmed a promotional clip for the song, one of the first such clips made in colour in Australia. Given that Australia wasn't to get colour TV for another four years, this was clearly done with overseas markets in mind. When released in January, the single did extremely well -- it was Top 10 by February, peaking at #8, a fact that is at odds with conventional wisdom, which says that interest in the band was waning while they were away in England.
Sunday, 4 February 2018
Ego Is Not A Dirty Word/Love On The Radio/Saturday Night/Love's Not Good Enough/The Other Side/Smartarse Songwriters/Mercedes Ladies/All My Friends Are Getting Married/Every Chase A Steeple/Private Eye
Ego Is Not a Dirty Word was the second album released by Australian pop rock band, Skyhooks, in July 1975. The album was the follow-up to their highly successful debut album, Living in the 70's (1974). As with the former album, it was also produced by Ross Wilson.
The album spent 11 weeks at the number-one spot in the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and sold 180,000 copies. Two singles were lifted from the album, "Ego Is Not a Dirty Word" and "All My Friends are Getting Married". Greg Macainsh penned (or in the case of "Love on the Radio", co-wrote, with original singer Steve Hill) every track except "Every Chase a Steeple", which was written by guitarist Red Symons. Unlike on other Symons-written tracks "Smut" and "Mumbo Jumbo", lead singer Shirley Strachan provided vocals.
Skyhooks were an Australian rock band formed in Melbourne in March 1973 by mainstays Greg Macainsh on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Imants "Freddie" Strauks on drums. They were soon joined by Bob "Bongo" Starkie on guitar and backing vocals, and Red Symons on guitar, vocals and keyboards; Graeme "Shirley" Strachan became lead vocalist in March 1974. Described as a glam rock band, because of flamboyant costumes and make-up, Skyhooks addressed teenage issues including buying drugs "Carlton (Lygon Street Limbo)", suburban sex "Balwyn Calling", the gay scene "Toorak Cowboy" and loss of girlfriends "Somewhere in Sydney" by namechecking Australian locales. According to music historian, Ian McFarlane "[Skyhooks] made an enormous impact on Australian social life".
Symons left Skyhooks in 1977 and became a radio and television personality. Strachan had solo releases since 1976 and finally left the band in 1978 and was also a radio and television presenter. With altered line-ups, Skyhooks continued until they disbanded on 8 June 1980; they briefly reformed in 1983, 1984, 1990 and 1994. In 1992, Skyhooks were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame. Lead singer, Strachan died on 29 August 2001, aged 49, in a helicopter crash while solo piloting. Their original lead singer, Steve Hill, died in October 2005, aged 52, of liver cancer.
Thursday, 25 January 2018
S.S.A.E./Black Bear/Feeding Circle/In Love With Doubt/Home Is Where My Heart Sank/Office Relations/Hermit Inertia/Disclaimer/Vanilla Coated Salesman/Frayed/Cicada Sounds/Crave the Comfort You Give
Pollyanna were formed in Sydney, as Blue Trike, (they changed their name on their 13th gig) in 1993. The original line-up was Andrea Croft on vocals and guitar (who left prior to any recording), Matt Handley on lead vocals and lead guitar, Maryke "Rayke" Stapleton on bass guitar and vocals, and Serge Luca on drums and vocals.
Croft and Handley had been in a local pop band, Catherine Wheel, which had issued an extended play, Self Portraits. Croft had previously been a member of the Honeys (originally from Perth), which had released an album, Goddess (1988). Croft later recalled why she left the Honeys, "I wanted to try something different. We'd been touring pretty intensely over a few years – me and four smelly boys in a Holden HG. I wanted to try something poppy. It wasn't a big blow up." After Catherine Wheel, Croft co-wrote some tracks with Handley, she left Pollyanna due to homesickness, "In the end I just came home to Perth where all my family is. I'm a little boomerang – I always come back home."
Pollyanna's debut album, Long Player, was released in March 1996, which peaked at No. 31 on the ARIA Albums Chart. Recorded at Sydney's Paradise Studios with David Trump, the album received mostly positive reviews for its guitar-driven pop. Lewis rated it at three-out-of-five stars and observed, "it was an alternative hit in Australia, several of its tracks became radio staples." He continued, "While their music-writing remained strong (even if lacking somewhat in variation), guitarist/vocalist Matt Handley's lyrics were, on the whole, lightweight."
Long Player's lead single "Lemonsuck" briefly cracked the ARIA Singles Chart, whilst staying at the top of the Australian independent charts for several weeks. Soon after the album's release, Pollyanna had four singles—"Pale Grey Eyes", "Lemonsuck", "Keep Me Guessing" and "Piston"—all simultaneously in the Top 20 singles of the Australian independent charts. "Lemonsuck" and "Pale Grey Eyes" were listed on the Triple J Hottest 100, 1995 – a radio listener's poll. Long Player received nominations for Breakthrough Artist – Album and Best Alternative Release at the ARIA Music Awards of 1996.
Pollyanna toured through 1996 and 1997, including several headline tours, a national tour supporting Hoodoo Gurus and support slots for the Australian leg of separate world tours by Weezer, Paw, Teenage Fanclub, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Sebadoh, the Cranberries and Garbage. They appeared at Big Day Out, Homebake, Falls, and Livid festivals.
A full length shot taken from below, in a back street alley with Stapleton (in centre, leaning forwards and wearing a red jacket, black pants and long black boots with her hands behind her back) and Handley (at right, leaning back onto a brick wall and wearing a dark suit with blue shirt, his arms are also behind his back) shown with a third person to the left. That man wears a blue suit with a white shirt and red tie; his hands are in his pockets. He stands on the kerb near the brick wall. That wall includes a one-way sign (pointing left, partly obscured behind the man) and above it is an advertising placard with red oriental script on yellow background (also partly obscured beyond Stapleton). The brickwork shows some graffiti. A black, rectangular shaped drain pipe descends at the extreme left, with its lower end out of frame.
For Pollyanna's third studio album, Delta City Skies, the band headed to the US in October 1998 to record at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee with producer Brian Paulson (Something for Kate, Jayhawks, Wilco, Beck).
The album had a more wide screen sound than its predecessors and many tracks featured organ, leading to the addition of a keyboard player, Ace Moley, to the touring band. After further touring in Australia, including with Ben Folds Five, plus a slot on the 1999 Falls Festival, and a brief tour in the US in support of Delta City Skies.
The group's fourth and final studio album, Didn't Feel a Thing (July 2001), was recorded in the US with Paulson producing again, this time at Sound of Music Studios in Richmond, Virginia. Pollyanna were recording as a duo where Handley played most of the parts on the album, including drums, with Stapleton contributing bass guitar. Shock Records released it via its Longshot sub-label. A new-look four-piece band hit the road: Stapleton had returned from the US to resume bass guitar duties alongside Handley and they were joined by Andy Strachan on drums and Adrian Whitehead on keyboards (ex-the Tims). Oz
Touring members between 1999 to 2002 included, Sam Holloway on keyboards, Shaun Lohoar on drums and Richard Coneliano on drums. In 2002 Pollyanna split up, Handley later reminisced, "While on tour for Didn't Feel a thing, Andy (our drummer) was asked to join the Living End, and our bassplayer Rayke was about to have a baby. It felt like the wheels were falling off the band so I thought it was probably high time for a break."
Thursday, 18 January 2018
Happy Man/It Comes As No Surprise To Me/You Need A Friend/Gone/Love In A Box/Show Me Some Discipline/Thrill/Alone With You/Safe Life/Trouble In My Brain/Strange Cohesion/The Stooge/Let You Go/It's A Sunny Day/Days Are Gone/The Idealist
Brothers Jeremy and Peter Oxley and Bil Bilson came from the northern New South Wales town of Kingscliff where they played in a garage band called Wooden Horse. Richard Burgman (Kamikaze Kids) came from Wagga Wagga. Peter Oxley, Bil Bilson and Richard Burgman met in Sydney in 1979 and formed a band with Penny Ward, Shy Imposters, which broke up in early 1980. (Phantom Records released a posthumous single "At the Barrier" in 1981). Joined by Jeremy Oxley, they formed a new band, Sunnyboys. The band's name came from a Sunnyboy, an orange-flavoured water ice in a tetrahedron shaped ‘tetra-pack’, once popular with children in Australia. According to Richard Burgman, the band chose the name because it represented ‘bright, happy, young, fun’. The band's first public performance was on 15 August 1980, supporting The Lipstick Killers and Me 262, and it quickly became popular in the Sydney band scene.
Sunnyboys signed to Mushroom Records in February 1981, becoming the first Sydney-based band on the label. Their first single, "Happy Man", was released in July 1981 and peaked at number 26 on the national chart. The same month they made an independent EP entitled Happy Birthday, this was given away at gigs.
The band recorded their second album, Individuals, in the midst of their heavy touring schedule. Individuals was released in May 1982, peaking at number 19. The album's lead single "You Need a Friend" peaked at number 38. Sunnyboys released a "Show Me Some Discipline" in June 1983 which peaked at number 44.
In 1983, Sunnyboys went to the United Kingdom to record their third studio album. Get Some Fun was released in April 1984 which peaked at number 36. Two other single were released in 1984. Internal dissent plagued the band; Jeremy Oxley was battling mental illness and drinking heavily as a result. Sunnyboys announced their break-up in June 1984. Their farewell tour produced the album Sunnyboys Real Live, recorded over two nights in Sydney (29 and 30 June), which was released in November 1984.
In late 1987, Jeremy Oxley attempted to revive Sunnyboys with a new line-up. The new band signed a deal with RCA and released an album entitled Wildcat (produced by ex-Sherbet keyboard player, Garth Porter). Four singles were released from the album, which peaked at number 63 on the ARIA Charts. This incarnation of the band broke up in 1990.
In November 1998 the band reformed for the Mushroom 25 Concert at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mushroom Records, organised by Michael Gudinski. For the concert Burgman was replaced by Jeremy and Peter's younger brother Tim Oxley on guitar. Sunnyboys appeared on the original VHS release of the concert and the 2002 re-release CD and DVD. In October 2010, their 1981 debut album, Sunnyboys, was listed in the top 40 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.
In July 2012 it was announced that the original line-up would be playing at the 2012 Meredith Music Festival on 7 December. The following night they played a show at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, which sold out in under an hour. In late January and early February 2013, they supported Elvis Costello and the Imposters on their Australian tour. On 2 June they played a sold out performance at the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.
In December 2013, Warner Music Australia released Our Best Of, a 16-track retrospective featuring remastered songs and rarities. In March 2014, the band undertook a national headline tour and again in March 2015, In March 2016, the band played as part of the 'A Day on the Green' concert series with Hoodoo Gurus, Violent Femmes, Died Pretty and Ratcat.
Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Sorry She's Mine/La La La Lies/It's Dark/Diddy Wa Diddy/Long Life/Needle in a Haystack/You've Got Soul/Yes I Will/I'm Not Talking/Let Me Go/Lucky Man/Satisfaction
The Twilights formed in the satellite town of Elizabeth, 20 km north of Adelaide in South Australia, a town whose population in the 1960s was largely made up of families who had recently migrated from the UK, and all the original members were born in Britain. Like many other nascent pop bands, The Twilights were strongly affected by The Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night and other emerging British beat groups, notably The Hollies, The Who and The Small Faces, and they kept abreast of the latest trends with packages of records and tape recordings of Top 40 radio shows that they regularly received from relatives in Britain. Drawn together by their common origins and musical interests, singer Glenn Shorrock (hailing originally from Kent, UK), and his friends Mike Sykes and Clem "Paddy" McCartney (born in Belfast) formed an a cappella trio, eventually gaining regular bookings around the small Adelaide folk/coffee-house circuit.
Still based in Adelaide, and originally self-managed and produced, the band released its debut single, "I'll Be Where You Are" on EMI's Columbia imprint in June 1965. A ballad written by Shorrock and Britten, the single gained some airplay in Melbourne but failed to chart outside Adelaide. Subsequent singles made further inroads – the second release, "Wanted To Sell", cracked the Melbourne charts and the third, the brisk, Beatles-styled Brideoake/Britten original "If She Finds Out" gave the band its first chart success in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
The Twilights quickly gained a strong reputation for their dynamic live shows in Adelaide. Early in 1965, drummer Frank Barnard left the group after the band hired Gary Spry as their manager. Barnard was replaced by Laurie Pryor, a well-known local drumming prodigy, who had previously played with another popular Adelaide band, Johnny Broome & The Handels. The new Twilights line-up with Pryor remained intact for the rest of the life of the band.
After taking over the group's management, Melbourne promoter Gary Spry realised that it was essential to establish the group in Australia's pop capital, Melbourne. The Twilights moved there in late 1965 where they took up a three-month residency at Spry's discothèque, Pinocchio's. Their reputation quickly spread around Melbourne; the club was sold out every night and they were soon being booked by all the major disco and dance promoters in the city.
The band's first recording after relocating to Melbourne was a version of the Animals song "Baby Let Me Take You Home", which marked the beginning of their successful collaboration with EMI house producer David Mackay; it gained a minor chart placing in Melbourne but made no impact in other cities.
Their biggest national chart success came with their dynamic cover of the Velvelettes' "Needle in a Haystack" (August 1966). Although the group was reportedly not enamored of the song, manager Gary Spry insisted that they record it and it made the Top 10 in all Australian states. This was a notable achievement at the time—prior to late 1966 there was no recognised national pop chart and most Australia capital-city radio stations (especially in Sydney and Melbourne) were still highly parochial in their choice of material, rarely playing songs by acts from other states.
The popularity of "Needle in a Haystack" also took the single to the top of the new National Top 40 published for the first time in early October 1966 in Go-Set magazine. The single entered the inaugural 5 October chart at No. 14 and within two weeks it had shot to No. 1, becoming the first Australian recording to reach No. 1 on the Go-Set chart, out-charting overseas competitors including The Beatles "Yellow Submarine", Donovan's "Sunshine Superman" and The Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City". It topped the Go-Set chart for two weeks in mid-October 1966, remaining in the chart for the rest of the year and into mid-January 1967.
Their follow-up single, "You Got Soul" entered the Go-Set chart on 18 January 1967 but was not as successful, peaking at No. 26 nationally. However, these successes, together with the release of their self-titled first album and numerous appearances on TV pop shows, cemented the band's status as one of Australia's most popular new groups.
In July 1966 at Festival Hall, Melbourne, The Twilights competed in the first national final of the prestigious new pop band competition, the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds, emerging as winners from a field of more than 500 groups. They were awarded bonus points for sound, originality, presentation and audience reaction. The competition rule which set maximum group membership at five meant that Paddy McCartney (half of the band's twin lead vocal line-up) had to sit out for the band's winning performance, but he returned to the stage for the winner's encore.
The competition first prize was a trip to the UK on the Sitmar cruise line and on 26 September 1966, the group embarked for London on the passenger liner Castel Felice.
As soon as they disembarked from at Southampton, the group made a bee-line for all the essential landmarks of Swinging London. They were soon sporting out the latest Mod hairstyles and Carnaby Street clothes and grew moustaches, emulating the new trend set by The Beatles. Although they had high hopes of success, they were dismayed by the quality of the British groups they encountered.
One major achievement was the opportunity to play a week’s residency at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern club to an enthusiastic response. Thanks to their contract with EMI, the band also had the chance to record at the Abbey Road Studios, teaming with renowned producer-engineer Norman "Hurricane" Smith, who had been the engineer on almost all The Beatles 1962–1966 recordings and who went on to produce Pink Floyd's debut album (The Piper at the Gates of Dawn) and The Pretty Things classic psychedelic concept album S.F. Sorrow. The Beatles themselves were at that time recording their classic single "Penny Lane" and The Twilights were invited to sit in and observe their sessions.
For a short time it appeared that the single might make it into the British charts, but just as it was gaining airplay momentum it was derailed by the release of the Hollies' own version of their album, which EMI issued despite an earlier agreement not to do so. Extremely disappointed, The Twilights decided amongst themselves to return on the next boat home without telling Gary Spry, their manager, who was back in Australia. He reportedly rang to tell them that they had been booked to appear on "Top of the Pops", Britain's leading television pop show, only to find they had already been at sea for a week.
The third song recorded during the Abbey Road sessions provided the next Australian A-side. "Young Girl" was a melancholy and evocative Laurie Pryor tune featuring Terry Britten's innovative use of the variable volume pedal.
The changes in looks, attitude and musical accomplishment evident in the band upon its return to Australia were exemplified by the increasing dominance of lead guitarist and songwriter Terry Britten. Of all the Twilights, the Manchester-born Britten most fully absorbed the kaleidoscopic influences on offer in the musical melting pot of London. His rapid creative growth during this time saw him assume the role of chief songwriter and leader. Like his hero George Harrison, Britten embraced elements of Eastern philosophy and religion, and he introduced exotic instruments and musical forms into The Twilights' music, such as his use of the sitar as a lead instrument on the B-side of the "Young Girl" single, a social observation called "Time And Motion Study Man".
The last single from the group in 1967, "Cathy Come Home" b/w "The Way They Play", also featured the sitar prominently on both sides, and unusually for the time it was issued in a two-colour picture sleeve. The A-side was inspired by the BBC-TV play of the same name and top promote it they filmed one of the earliest Australian music video clips. The single was another airplay and chart success, but it was the last major hit that the band enjoyed. "Cathy Come Home" also began a trend in which Britten wrote songs inspired by movies or TV shows, which continued through his later writing. He wrote a song for Ronnie Burns, around another Aussie-produced film, Age of Consent, which was submitted but rejected for the soundtrack of the Michael Powell film of the same name, and he released his own solo single in 1969, again inspired by a current movie, Tim Burstall's 2000 Weeks.
In concert the group continued to impress. Thanks to a precious acetate of the album which they brought back from London, The Twilights were playing the whole of The Beatles' Sgt Pepper album live, in order, from start to finish, weeks before its official release in Australia. Staff at EMI are reported to have demanded that the Twilights desist, fearing their flawless performance might actually harm sales of the album when it was finally issued in June.
This year began promisingly for the Twilights with the chart success of "Cathy Come Home" and this was consolidated by an invitation from the Seven Network to develop a weekly television sit-com series, showing the group at work and play, based on the success of The Monkees television series and the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night film.
Go-Set magazine documented the making of the pilot for the series, called Once Upon A Twilight, with photos of the group on location around Melbourne with their co-stars, comedian Mary Hardy (playing the role of the band's secretary) and a youthful Ronnie Burns. However, the program's sponsor, the Ford Motor Company, withdrew its support later in the year and the project was cancelled, although it did inspire what was to become the Twilights' most notable recording achievement.
The music the group had intended for the soundtrack to the shelved series took on a life of its own. After long gestation period, interspersed with the band's most concentrated regime of live touring yet, they produced what many critics now regard as one of the best Australian pop albums of the era, Once Upon A Twilight.
The album set new standards in Australia for pop album production and packaging – it was one of the very first Australian pop LPs to be released in both mono and stereo and was also issued in a lavish gatefold cover which included die-cut pop-up figures of the band members. The track listing included compositions by several band members – Peter Brideoake's plaintive cello and horn-embellished "Tomorrow Is Today" and Laurie Pryor's raucous comedy song "The Cocky Song" as well as several new Terry Britten songs. As main songwriter he provided lush settings for Shorrock, including the title track "Found To Be Thrown Away" and also "Paternosta Row" (which featured heavily processed lead vocals), plus delicate arrangements for Paddy McCartney's featured number, "Bessemae". Britten sang lead vocals and almost solo instrumentation on "Mr Nice" and "Devendra", the latter featuring an arrangement of Indian string and percussion reminiscent of George Harrison's "Within You, Without You". Throughout the LP, the group explored the most up-to-date arrangements and techniques available—exotic instruments, brass sections, string quartets, wah-wah guitar, feedback, Keith Moon-styled drum patterns, reverse tape effects, stereo panning and electronically treated vocals.
Once Upon A Twilight was initially pressed in mono only, as the stereo mix commissioned in America was delayed. An anecdote recorded by rock historian Glenn A. Baker says that Linda Ronstadt and her band, the Stone Poneys (including Anglophile songwriter Andrew Gold and future Eagle Glenn Frey), were recording in an adjacent studio and heard some of the mixing sessions. Impressed with the quality of the songs and performances, Ronstadt and her manager apparently lobbied to secure American release for the Twilights on Capitol records.
Nevertheless, 1968 was the band's peak year as a performing unit. They remained one of the biggest drawcards on Melbourne's thriving dance and disco circuit. Popular venues such as Sebastian's, Bertie's, Pinnochios, Catcher, The Thumpin' Tum and Opus played host to some of the most polished stage shows by an Australian band yet witnessed. The group were the envy of local musicians due to the fact that they were one of the first bands in Australia to be equipped with the new British-made Marshall amplifiers (made famous by Jimi Hendrix) and the combination of their powerful stage sound, impeccable presentation and tight musicianship .
The Twilights' shows at the time also had a prominent comedy and slapstick element. Glenn Shorrock frequently adopted a comedic alter-ego, "Superdroop", dressing in a shabby super-hero jumpsuit (which can be seen in the "Cathy Come Home" film clip) and he was also notorious for terrorising audiences by leaping out from backstage dressed in a gorilla suit, sometimes swinging precariously on a trapeze over the crowd. Alongside their own material and selections of popular Motown and soul classics, the group also regularly performed powerful cover versions of recent hits, such as Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love", Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy", Hendrix's "Purple Haze", the Small Faces' "Tin Soldier" and the Move's "Night of Fear". Their live renditions of such songs were often said to equal or surpass the original recordings and many of their fellow musisians are on record as rating the Twilights as their favourite local live band of the period.
By late 1968, however, internal frictions were growing—the group were disillusioned by the dwindling interest of their label and the consequent lack of chart success and were also growing tired of the constant and gruelling routine of live performance; at that time it was common for popular local acts to play multiple nightly appearances (often as many as five or more every night) at dances and discotheques. Their situation was further complicated by the loss of manager Spry, who had quit as manager in mid-1968 due to the band's insistence that he relinquish his other activities to concentrate on the Twilights—by this point Spry was concurrently running his discotheque, managing two other acts (The Groove and the female vocal group Marcie and the Cookies) as well as operating his AMBO booking agency.
November saw the release of their swansong record, this time produced by an expatriate New Zealander, Howard Gable, who had recently taken over as EMI's house producer from the departing Mackay who had taken up a position at EMI's London head office. "Sand in the Sandwiches" attempted to purvey a jaunty and frivolous "let's all head off for the beach" theme but failed to achieve its intention; even rock historian and self-confessed Twilights fan Glenn A. Baker later described it as "abysmal". By contrast, the b-side, "Lotus", showcased all the band's strengths, but again it gained little airplay and sales were negligible.
The final break came when preparations for a second trip to the UK were thwarted when Laurie Pryor refused to participate, leading to his resignation from the group. Disappointed and dejected with their recent lack of progress and perceived loss of popularity, the group decided then to disband, announcing a series of final live appearances in Sydney and Melbourne.
After the shock announcement of the break-up in the 22 January Go-Set' issue, The Twilights gave their last NSW concert performance at The Trocadero in Sydney. They were a last-minute inclusion in the Ray-o-Vac Batteries Spectacular, which featured an all-star line-up including The Groove, Johnny Farnham, The Dave Miller Set, The La De Das, Heart'n'Soul, Respect, Clapham Junction and The Executives, with comperes Ward Austin and Dal Myles. Five thousand fans attended, with thousands more reportedly turned away. Their last Melbourne concert was at Bertie's Discotheque.
Monday, 15 January 2018
Melt/Know You Now/For Always/Take It All/Just Like Nancy (Girl In Boots)/Sunshine's Glove/Show You/Everything That You Told Me/Here Comes The Night/When It Ends/Second Floor/Undying Love/At First Sight
Emerging from arguably the world’s most isolated capital Perth Western Australia, Dom Mariani is a rock and roll stylist whose career has been a resplendent one in the creative stakes – a songwriting road that has never wavered from excellence. With a serious interest and love of underground 60’s garage rock, classic pop, power pop, soul and R&B, Dom would form one of Australia’s most loved and respected bands of the mid to late 80’s THE STEMS. From their formation in the early summer of late 1983 to the end of 1987 THE STEMS with Dom at the helm as singer, songwriter and lead guitarist steadily infiltrated Australian radio, press and alternative charts, winning the hearts of critics and a legion of loyal fans. A succession of classic singles and a chart topping LP “At First Sight-Violets are Blue” stirred interest as far a field as Europe and the US. But foremost it was his ability to write great songs and the bands electric live shows that made them stand out from the rest.
However, the promise of the Someloves was short lived and contractual problems would not see a new release from Dom for another 3 years. A Return to live gigging during this time would play a big part in Dom’s resurgence in the music scene in the 90’s. Having finally secured a release from his record deal at the end of ‘92, the beginning of ‘93 would see the start of a new era for Dom and his new band DM3 as one Australia’s greatest exponents of guitar driven pop (referred to by aficionados as Power Pop). The debut single “FOOLISH” was released in April ’93 and heralded his return with another loud, tight, electric rock‘n‘roll outfit. The song would also take out the most outstanding single of that year at the WAMI awards. DM3’s first LP “ONE TIME TWO TIMES THREE RED LIGHT”(1993) mixed by legendary American producer MITCH EASTER (REM, PAVEMENT, SON VOLT, LETS ACTIVE, VELVET CRUSH) received widespread critical acclaim and sold throughout Australia, Europe and the US and was followed by European tours in ‘94 and ’95.
Monday, 8 January 2018
Boys! (What Did The Detective Say?)/Walk In The Room/Reckless/Don't Throw Stones/Suspicious Minds/Live Work And Play/Big Sleep/Who Listens To The Radio/Wedding Ring/The Lost And The Lonely/Perhaps/Strangers On A Train/Black Stockings (For Chelsea)/Blue Hearts/Stop The Baby Talking/How Come
The Sports were formed in 1976 by Stephen Cummings who was the lead singer of Melbourne rockabilly group, The Pelaco Brothers, (which also comprised Joe Camilleri, Peter Lillie and Johnny Topper). The original line-up were Cummings and ex-The Pelaco Brothers band mate, Ed Bates, on guitar, Robert Glover (ex-Myriad) on bass guitar, Jim Niven (ex-The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band) on piano and Paul Hitchins on drums. Their early sets contained covers of Chuck Berry, Billy Emerson, Don Covay, Company Caine and Graham Parker material. Original songs, mostly written by Cummings and Bates, completed their sets. The Sports' debut recording was a four-track extended play, Fair Game, which was released in early 1977 on the independent label, Zac Records. A friend in London posted the record to the New Musical Express (aka NME) which declared it 'Record of the Week'.
The Sports were in tune with music trends dominating London rock and had provided song-based rock as an antidote to punk, which was dubbed new wave. Cummings was compared favourably with Mick Jagger and Bates was praised for his slide guitar style: being similar to Little Feat. "We were totally surprised," Cummings said in 1997 of the NME review; he continued, "It was the last thing you'd expect. It was my making and my undoing in some ways. When you have everything go right so quickly you expect that everything after that is going to be good and that easy. It meant that I probably didn't put myself out as much as I should have."
Andrew Pendlebury (ex-Myriad) joined on guitar in August 1977 and assisted Cummings with song writing. Cummings recalled, "I just vaguely met people and dragged them into it. I always wanted Andrew in the group as a guitarist and I had an idea for a rockabilly country sound. But I always wanted to change it because I really liked the MC5 and wanted to make it more like that as well." In May 1978 The Sports issued their debut studio album, Reckless, on Mushroom Records with ex-The Pelaco Brothers band mate, Camilieri, as their producer.
The lead track, "Boys! (What Did the Detective Say?)", was released in March 1978 and peaked at 55 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. In England it provided some confusion with the similarly titled, "Watching the Detectives", by Elvis Costello, which had been released in the previous October.
In August 1978 Cummings brought in Martin Armiger (ex-Toads, Bleeding Hearts, High Rise Bombers) on guitar, vocals and for song writing, to replace Bates. According to McFarlane, Bates had been "ousted" as Armiger "had a more commercial outlook". On the strength of Reckless, The Sports were chosen to support Graham Parker & the Rumour's Australian tour later that year. Parker arranged for The Sports to support their United Kingdom tour in February of the following year. Fellow Australian musician Keith Shadwick accompanied the band on the tour and wrote an extensive account for the Australian music magazine Roadrunner.
In November, they started work on their second album, Don't Throw Stones, with Pete Solley and Dave Robinson producing. It was released in February 1979 ahead of their joining Graham Parker & the Rumour's UK tour. While in the UK they recorded another four-track EP, O.K, U.K!, which appeared in August that year.
The group's third album, Suddenly, was released in March 1980 and was also produced by Solley. In Australia, the album reached No. 13 and its lead single, "Strangers on a Train", peaked at No. 22. Before the album had appeared Hitchins was replaced by Iain McLennan (ex-Ariel, Mondo Rock) on drums and Niven was replaced by Red Symons (ex-Skyhooks) on keyboards. To promote the album, in March and April 1980, The Sports undertook a national tour with Mushroom label mates, Split Enz. Symons left after the tour and McLennan, who had hepatitis in May, was then replaced by Freddie Strauks (Symons' band mate from Skyhooks) on drums.
Sunday, 7 January 2018
01 Crazy Dreams
02 Tough at the Top
03 Temporary Heartache
04 Tin Soldier
05 If I Were a Carpenter
07 Motordown Tonight
08 Ol' Rosie
09 Sail Away
10 Lady,What's Your Name
11 Days Gone By
12 Beware of the Animal
John Swan, more commonly known as Swanee, was born John Archibold Dixon Swan in 1952 in Glasgow, Scotland. He came to Australia with his family in 1961 and is the only one of his siblings to keep his natural fathers surname. He is the older brother of Jimmy Barnes and the uncle of David Campbell.
Swanee started his musical career as a drummer in the band Happiness before moving on to other bands such as Fraternity, Feather and Cold Chisel. He branched out on his own, under the name Swanee, in 1979, releasing the album “Into The Night”. His first commercial hit was in 1981 with his version of “If I Were A Carpenter” off the album “This Time Is Different” which featured two other hits, “Temporary Heartache” and “Lady What’s Your Name”
In 1987 he replaced angry Anderson as lead singer in Paul Christie’s “Party Boys” where he had another hit with “He’s Gonna Step on You Again” and then “Hold Your Head Up”. He left the band around 1989 to again pursue a solo career that still persists today.
Friday, 29 December 2017
01 The Giggle Eyed Goo
02 I'm To Blame
04 I've Just Realised
07 I Want
08 I Call My Woman Hinges (Cause She's Something To Adore)
09 Little Miss Rhythm & Blues
10 Farmer John
11 Love Has Made A Fool Of You
12 Lonely Winter
13 Now I'm Older
14 So Why Pretend?
15 Good For Nothing Sue
16 Sally Was A Good Old Girl
The Australian band Steve & the Board made some decent if derivative British Invasion-style records in the mid-'60s, getting some success in Australia with the singles "The Giggle Eyed Goo" and "I Call My Woman Hinges 'Cause She's Something to Adore." All the members were in their late teens when they recorded for the Spin label, and their progress was no doubt eased by having a lead singer, Steve Kipner, whose dad Nat Kipner was the head of Spin Records. The group wasn't a mere manufactured boy band, though, as in fact much of their material was original, contributed by several members (though most often guitarist Carl Keats)
Steve & the Board's album had included a Barry Gibb song the Bee Gees never released, "Little Miss Rhythm & Blues," and one of the Keats songs on the LP, "Lonely Winter," would be recorded by the Bee Gees.
The Bee Gees connections would continue in some other post-Steve & the Board careers, and in fact might be what the band is most known for. Drummer Colin Peterson would join the Bee Gees for a while in the late '60s; his replacement in Steve & the Board, Geoff Bridgeford, would himself be in the Bee Gees in the early '70s. Steve Kipner went on to be part of Tin Tin, which had a number 20 hit in 1971 with "Toast and Marmalade for Tea," and recorded a late-'70s solo album for Elektra. He's more well-known, though, as a mainstream pop songwriter, his most successful creation being "Let's Get Physical."