Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Tony Barber - 1967 - If You Need Somebody To Love

If You Need Somebody To Love/Sunshine Shadows

After Tony left Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs he had a short but fairly successful solo career he released an album 5 singles and 3 EP's all on the Spin label and 1 single on the Phono Vox label this was to be his last recording.

Buffalo Drive - 1972 - Life's Been Good To Me

 Life's Been Good To Me/Security Woman

Buffalo Drive are an Australian band formed, Adelaide, South Australia in 1971 and disbanded in 1973.
Also the group changed their name to "Fair Dinkum" also "Buffalo" in 1973.

Members include

Rod Boucher - Guitar, Vocal
David Jackson - Bass
Rodney Dunn - Drums
Vello Nou - Keyboards

Singles include

Mornig Good Day - Raw Prawn Polka - 1971
Jumpin' Fo Joy - Fortune Teller - 1971
Life's Been Good To Me - Security Woman - 1972
Money Stride - Go Away Woman - 1973

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Mixtures - 1996 - The Pushbike Song

The Pushbike Song/Call Me Do/Travelling Song/ I Wanna Go Home/Love Is Life/Oh Mr Jones/In The Summertime/Never Be Untrue/This Songs For You/Hobo's Hideaway/Daddy Brings Home The Bacon/Here Comes Love Again/Henry Ford/Hit Me On The Head/Fancy Meeting You Here/It Ain't Easy/Where Are You/Gotta Be A Free Man/Home Away From Home/Captain Zero

 The Mixtures were aptly named. Their decade-long career included some very notable successes, including major Australian and international hits, but the group really never developed a consistent musical style or image and, like so many of their contemporaries, the group was subject to repeated line-up changes in its later years.

Beginning as one of scores of 'beat' acts slogging it out on the Melbourne scene in the mid-60s, they gradually gained national prominence over the next few years. In 1970, now with a completely different line-up, The Mixtures scored two successive #1 Australian singlessingles, one of which also reached #2 in the UK, giving them the unique distinction of being the first Australian group to score an international hit with a song entirely written, recorded and produced in Australia.

By the time they split in 1976 The Mixtures' personnel list had changed several more times -- as had their musical style -- and their short-lived fame had passed. In the process, however, several very prominent performers passed through the ranks, drawn from acts as disparate as Cam-Pact, Axiom and Max Merritt & The Meteors, thus providing another interesting example of the intricate "family tree" connections between so many Australasian groups of this era. 

 According to historian Noel McGrath, the band had its origins in a chance meeting between Melbourne vocalist Terry Dean and Tasmanian-born bassist Rod De Clerk, who met while Terry was holidaying in Tasmania in 1965. Rod sought Terry out when he visited Melbourne a short time later and Terry took him to a dance where he was performing. It was here that Rod was introduced to guitarist Laurie Arthur, who had been a founder member of leading Melbourne band The Strangers. At the time, Laurie was 'subbing' in a group that included John Creech on drums and as the three chatted between sets they soon discovered that they shared similar tastes in music. They jammed together after the show and decided on the spot to form a group.

Rod moved to the mainland and after just one week's practice they decided to go full-time. The trio built up a solid following on the booming Melbourne dance circuit and became one of the fixtures of the scene there during in that transitional period. They quickly snagged a contract with EMI, for whom they recorded their first three singles. Their first, "Koko Joe" / "I've Been Wrong" (Sep. 1965) was another piece of good fortune -- the group was in the studio recording backing tracks (possibly for another artist -- Laurie Arthur was a seasoned session player) and in the downtime they cut two tracks of their own. EMI's executives heard them and were sufficiently impressed with the results to approve their release as the band's debut single on the HMV imprint. It sold well in Melbourne, but it made little impression elsewhere. It should be noted that commercial radio stations in Australia's capital cities each had their own charts at that time, the local scenes were quite insular, and it was comparatively rare for Sydney-based acts to chart in Melbourne, and vice-versa. 

The Mixtures' third HMV single "Music Music Music" / "Maria" was released in March 1967, at which point the group expanded to a five-piece with the addition of Dennis Garcia (organ) and Fred Weiland (guitar, also ex-Strangers). Soon after, it reverted to a four-piece -- which about the only thing that remained consistent for the rest of the band's career -- when Laurie Arthur quit performing to take over managing the group. In late 1967 Mick Flinn (ex Wild Colonials) replaced Rod De Clerk on bass. Dennis Garcia left at the end of the year, moving on to Andy James Asylum, and he was replaced by Idris Jones, who became the lead singer.

 The band worked consistently through 1968, becoming very popular on the Melbourne scene, but they released only one recordings during this period, a cover of The Four Tops' "Same Old Song" / "Never Trust In Tomorrow" on EMI's  Parlophone label.

Idris Jones was forced to leave the group because of illness in June 1969 and he was replaced for about nine months by noted singer-songwriter-guitarist Buddy England, a well-known Melbourne solo performer, a founding member of the permanent cast of Channel 0's famous '60s pop TV series The Go!! Show, and a latter-day member of The Seekers. 

 After signing to the CBS label, The Mixtures released two more singles, "Here Comes Love Again" / "Fancy Meeting You Here" (Oct. 1969), which charted in Melbourne, and "Ten Thousand Children" / "Call Me Do" (Mar. 1970). By the time the latter single appeared, Buddy England had left and Idris Jones had rejoined, along with Gary (Dick) Howard (ex-MPD Ltd) who replaced John Creech, the last original member.

In mid-1970 The Mixtures signed to a new Melbourne-based Fable imprint. Its owner, industry veteran Ron Tudor, had made his name as a producer and A&R manager for the W&G and  Astor labels, and had discovered both Diana Trask and The Seekers and signed them to their first record contracts with W&G in the early Sixties.

The Mixtures joined the Fable roster at a significant time. A few months before their first Fable single came out, the infamous 1970 Radio Ban came into force. The Ban had come about because the Australian commercial radio peak body, the Federation of Australian Commercial Broadcasters (FACB), was locked in a rancorous "pay for play" dispute with major record companies. The FACB had balked at the labels' demand that commercial radio should pay a new 1 percent broadcast fee for their records, and when negotiations broke down the labels imposed a boycott which blocked commercial radio stations from playing any major Australian or British recordings. The ban lasted exactly six months, from 16 May to 16 October 1970. In retaliation for the Ban, radio stations refused to compile the all-important Top 40 charts.

Fable was one of several smaller local labels that had refused to participate in the boycott (a decision which would cost Ron Tudor dearly) but for a brief interval these small labels were given the rare opportunity to gain commercial airplay for their artists,free from competition by overseas acts, as radio stations scrambled for alternative programming to fill the yawning gap created by the Ban.

The Mixtures were one of several Australian bands who successfully exploited this window of opportunity. Several acts including The Mixtures cut their own versions of proven British hits that were not being played in Australia because of the Radio Ban. Sydney band Autumn was another, scoring a major Sydney hit with their version of Christie's "Yellow River". 

 During this time, Ron Tudor was being sent regular packages of new UK releases from London by his friend, former EMI house producer David McKay, and he optioned songs he thought would be suitable for his Fable acts. He had already scored a huge hit with the Liv Maessen version of Mary Hopkin's "Knock, Knock, Whos's There?", and when he offered The Mixtures "In The Summertime", a song that had recently been a UK hit for Mungo Jerry. the band jumped at the chance to record it -- although Idris Jones declined to sing on it, feeling it was too 'poppy', so bassist Mick Flinn performed the lead vocal.

Unhindered by any competition from the original, The Mixtures' version (backed by (b/w "Where You Are") shot to #1 in August that year, at the height of the Radio Ban, and it stayed in the charts for 23 weeks. Happily they were able to capitalise on this good fortune with the follow-up, a similarly breezy, honky-tonk-style original, "The Pushbike Song", co-written by Idris Jones and his brother Evan. It was an even bigger success, providing them with back-to-back #1 singles, and charting for an impressive 25 weeks. Significantly, Fable was also able to arrange a distribution deal with Polydor in the UK, where "The Pushbike Song" leaped into the UK Top 5, making it the first record entirely written, performed and produced in Australia to become an international hit. "The Pushbike Song" reached #2 in England the start of 1971 and stayed in the UK Top 50 for 21 weeks. It was also released by Sire Records in the USA, where it reached a creditable #44 on the Billboard Top 100. 

 Buoyed by the success of the singles, The Mixtures made the inevitable trip to England in January 1971. During this period they cut the tracks for their debut LP In The Summertime, which was begun at Armstrong's Studios in Melbourne and finished at Morgan Studios in London. By the time they arrived in the UK there had been more line-up changes -- Idris Jones left again, replaced by Greg Cook (ex Cam-Pact), and Mick Holden briefly replaced departing drummer Gary Howard.

 The Mixtures received good media exposure in the UK, including a cover story in New Musical Express, but the personnel changes continued. Cook and Holden both quit in March or April 1971, wanting to return home. The erstwhile Idris Jones, who happened to be in the UK at the time plugging his songs, was drafted back in to replace Cook, and Holden was replaced by noted drummer Don Lebler from the recently defunct 'supergroup' Axiom, who had split only weeks before the release of their second LP, which had been recorded with renowned American producer Shel Talmy.

 The Mixtures' next single "Henry Ford" / "Home Away From Home" (Jul. 1971) was only moderately successful in Australia (#29) and soon after its release Idris Jones left for good. His replacement was renowned singer-guitarist Peter Williams, who had been a key member of the legendary Max Merritt & The Meteors in the early Sixties and who had enjoyed even bigger Aussie success fronting chart-topping pop-soul group The Groove in the late Sixties. 

 This "new" Mixtures, now far removed from its beat-group origins, returned to Australia at the end of the year. They released two new singles, "Never Be Untrue" / "She's Gone Away" (Oct. 1971) and the cult favourite "Captain Zero" / "I Wanna Go Home" (Nov. 1971). "Captain Zero", co-written by Williams and Flinn, furnished the Mixtures with their third and last big Australian hit, reaching #5 in December and charting for 19 weeks. They headed home for a concert tour in November 1971, returning to the UK at the start of 1972, and although they made no further impression on the British charts, they reportedly made a good living on the club circuit there. During 1972, Fable issued an EP, The Mixtures and a compilation LP The Best Of The Mixtures (May). 

In May 1972 Chris Spooner replaced Mick Flinn, who eventually settled permanently in the UK. The Mixtures meanwhile signed a deal with the United Artists label, releasing two singles "I Dazzle Diane Easily" / "Found Out Where It's At" (Nov. 1973) and "Slow Train" / "My Home On The Murrumbidgee" (May 1974). The group, now comprising Williams, Weiland, Lebler and Spooner, subsequently returned to Australia and cut a new self-titled LP on the Harlequin label (distributed by Festival Records) and a new single, "Down Under Girls" / "My Neck Of The Woods" (Oct. 1974). Their next single, released in April 1975, was "Skateboard Jive" / "Come Together For The Games", but it was to be their last and the group folded sometime in 1976.
 Their second single was "Come On Out" / "Lose Your Money" (Dec. 1965). Late in 1966 Rod De Clerk left the group briefly, replaced by Alan "Edgell" James, but he rejoined in January 1967, just in time for their first national tour in early 1967. They gained valuable interstate exposure when they supported The Yardbirds, Roy Orbison and The Walker Brothers on the Kenn Brodziak-promoted "Big Show" tour, although Go-Set reported that there was a mishap after one the Melbourne shows when several guitars were stolen, including Laurie Arthur's Fender and a custom-made Gibson Les Paul that Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones had loaned to Yardbirds guitarist Jimmy Page for the tour. Page had recently given up his lucrative career as one of England's top session guitarists to join The Yardbirds as their bassist, but was unexpectedly promoted to lead guitar in late 1966 after his predecessor Jeff Beck abruptly quit during a tour of the USA.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Hush - 2000 - Best Of Hush

Bony Moronie/Glad All Over/Get Rocked/Caroline/Rough Tough 'N' Ready/Rockin' Gypsy King/Walking/C'mon We're Taking Over/Too Young To Know/The Exit/Lies/You Really Got A Hold On Me/Sunday/Nunchuka Man/Nothing Stays The Same Forever/9-5'Er/Messin' Around/China Doll 

Hush was a 1970s Australian glam rock pop group and became famous during frequent appearances on the ABC show Countdown for live concerts and teenagers.

Hush were formed, with Keith Lamb on vocals, in the Sydney suburb of Seven Hills in 1971 as a five piece band including a keyboardist. Keyboardist Chris Nolan had previously been with a band called Grandmars Observers. Hush first came to attention when they made the NSW finals of Australia's national rock band competition Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds in 1972. They first made the Australian charts in October 1973 with their own composition, "Get The Feeling". By this time they were down to the "classic" four-piece line-up of Keith Lamb (vocals), Les Gock (guitar), Rick Lum (bass) and Chris "Smiley" Pailthorpe (drums). By the time they made No. 1 on the charts in September 1975 with a rocked up, driving version of Larry Williams's Bony Moronie, they were riding the wave of the glam-rock craze in Australia.

 They were well placed to make an unforgettable performance on pop TV show Countdown's early colour episodes with their colourful outfits. In 1976 they added a second guitarist, Jacques De Jongh. Rick Lum left soon after.

After the band broke up in 1977, Keith Lamb was temporarily heartbroken. He formed other bands including Hush 2, Larry, and Airport. He is now a partner in the international embroidery company, Rajmahal, and is co-author of the successful card game series TAOC The Art of Conversation. Keith co-wrote songs for Status Quo following the breakup of Hush, including top 10 hits such as Ol' Rag Blues. Les became a jingle writer and won a major campaign in the early 80s. Smiley became an architect. Jacques De Jongh plays and records still, and is also a chef. Rick Lum works in graphic design.

 In August 2004, Hush reformed for Nordoff-Robbins charity event. The line-up was Keith Lamb, Rick Lum, Smiley Pailthorpe and Les Gock performing together for the first time over 25 years. Les Gock's son Adam joined them on stage.

In September 2006, Hush played Australia wide with many other artists who appeared on Countdown during the seventies in the Countdown Spectacular Tour. Another original member, guitarist Robin Jackson, currently playing with Chris Turner & The Wolftones, re-joined them for the Countdown Spectacular Tour     LINK  MP3

Allusions - 2000 - The Allusions Anthology 1966-1968

Gypsy Woman/Fever (Burns My Brain)/The Dancer/Roller Coaster Man/Looks Like Trouble/Ninety Seven Cigarettes/Roundabout/I'll Be Home/Seven Days Of Rain/Two Of A Kind/Mr. Love/And She's Mine/I Gotta Move/Blue Tomorrow/In My Solitude/Shop Around/Lady Of Leisure/Out Of Order/I Believe/Theme From "My Names McGooley"/Stop Gently 

The Allusions were as a Sydney-based quintet that burst out of nowhere in 1966, scoring a couple of major hits in Sydney. Although they disappeared into obscurity after their short career ended, this is a band that deserves much more recognition.

The Allusions formed in late 1965, its members drawn from several other accomplished Sydney groups, and boasting four singers. Their leader, singer-guitarist-composer Mike Morris, had previously played with Dennis & The Dellawares; Terry Hearne had been the bassist in popular instrumental group The Dave Bridge Trio, led by ace gutarist and Joy Boys founder-member Dave Bridge. Terry Chapman and Kevin Hughes had both been members of the early '60s Sydney surf band The Midnighters.

Within a short time of forming, The Allusions were signed to Robert Iredale's Leopold Productions, one of Australia's first independent record production companies (which had also recently signed Max Merritt & the Meteors) and their recordings were issued on EMI's Parlophone label. It's possible that their rapid signing came about because Robert Iredale was already familiar with Morris' talent -- it's known that The Dellawares provided backing for The Bee Gees on some of the trio's early recordings, which Iredale had produced.
 The Allusions shot to prominence in early 1966 with their captivatingly melodic version of the old Rick Nelson hit "Gypsy Woman", backed with "Fever (Burns My Brain)", a Mike Morris original. The single proved a disc-jockey's dream, securing solid airplay on Sydney's 2SM and 2UW, registering impressive sales and peaking at #12. The Allusions' reading in turn inspired The Saints to record the song as a single B-side in 1981.

With this hit under their belt, the group was given the opportunity to record two original songs (both penned by Morris) for their mesmerising follow-up. "The Dancer" / "Roller Coaster Man" developed the polished sound and strong harmonies of their debut, and echoed The Beatles' "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You". The A-side, the song for which they are best remembered, fared even better than their debut, making the Sydney Top Ten (#9) and giving great hopes for this 'mysterious' outfit among punters and pundits alike. However, because of the parochial nature of radio and the pop scene at the time, The Allusions' chart success was limited entirely to Sydney, and their Singles made no impact whatsoever in Melbourne.

Morris' impressive songwriting ability and the success of the two singles persuaded Iredale to finance the recording of a full album -- a comparitively rare occurrence at that time for a new and relatively unproven group. The original LP is now a sought-after rarity, with copies changing hands for as much as $50; copies with the older-style black Parlophone label are particularly sought-after. Happily all the tracks from this rare gem of mid-Sixties OzPop have been included in the complete Allusions Anthology, recently released by Canetoad Records.

The LP contains a variety of material, mixing originals by Morris with covers such as Smokey Robinson's "Shop Around". Some commentators have been rather critical of the album, reserving particular scorn for the song "I Believe", but Chris Spencer opines that "it's not as bad as some make us believe, and doesn't sound out of place on this collection".

                                                Original cover of their Long Play album

Terry Chapman quit the band in July 1966, not long before their third single was recorded, apparently unhappy with the Beatles-ish direction in which Morris was taking them. He went on to join one of Australia's first psychedelic groups, The Knack, which included drummer Craig Collinge, formerly of The Librettos and later of Procession. Chapman's replacement was Bruce Davis, who had worked with Morris in The Dellawares.

Their third single "Looks Like Trouble" (Oct. 1966) didn't chart, although the follow-up "Roundabout" (another Morris original, released in March 1967) managed to scrape into the bottom of the Top 40. An EP, The Dancer, followed in April, compiling the A-sides from the first three Singles, plus "Roller Coaster Man". 

According to Vernon Joyson, some time during 1967 The Allusions also recorded as the (uncredited) backing band for Digger Revell on his LP To Whom It May Concern. Another Allusions curiosity from this period is a promotional single -- which the group recorded under the pseudonym The Telemen -- the A-side of which was a version of the theme from the popular TV sitcom My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?.

The Allusions released two more Singles, "Seven Days Of Rain" (July 1967) and "Mr Love" (February 1968), but neither was successful. Between these two releases, Mike Morris left the band in late 1967, and he was replaced by John Spence. The Allusions continued as a four-piece until October 1968, when Terry Hearne quit to join Digger Revell's backing band. Mike Morris then rejoined, to raise money for an overseas trip, but by this time the momentum of their early success had dissipated, and in the face of changing trends they split for good in early 1969.

Not much is known about what happened to the members after their brief spell in the limelight; what little we have gleaned comes from Vernon Joyson's entry on the band in his book. Mike Morris worked with a number of local country-rock bands after returning to Australia. Terry Hearne was reported to be still playing with Digger Revell in the 1990s, although that was presumably ended by Digger's arrest conviction on charges of marijuana cultivation and trafficking, and his subsequent incarceration. Sadly, drummer Kevin Hughes committed suicide in 1975. 

The Allusions left behind a fine batch of records that are highly sought after by collectors of quality sixties Aussie pop. The evidence we have is that they could indeed "rock out" -- exemplified by the spirited cover of The Kinks' "I Gotta Move" on the LP, which arguably rivals the original -- along with strong similarities to other early beat-boom merchants like The Zombies and The Searchers. They used "I Feel Fine"-style guitar feedback too, before it was remotely de rigeur. If this band will be remembered at all though (and they should be), it would be for their extremely tight and inventive sound, those complex vocal harmonies, and their mastery of the three-minute beat-pop single idiom.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Tony Barber - 1966 - Someday...Now

 Intro/Someday/No More Moanin'/If You Want My Old Clothes, It's Too Late I've Got 'em On/You Can't Lie To A Liar/Nobody/Someday Soon/Wait By The Water/Talkin'/Untrue/Tea For One/Fever/I Want Her Too/Is It Raining 

Anthony Arthur Barber, known as Tony Barber (born 3 December 1942, Norwich, Norfolk)
Tony Barber, former guitarist & songwriter with the original Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, debuted as a solo singer in 1966 with one of the best beat/pop singles of the era, and scoring a major Top 5 National Aussie hit straight off the bat with "Someday"..sounding not unlike his old band  He released six singles three extended plays and an LP in Australia in the mid-'60s.

Guitarist, singer, songwriter and author Tony Barber is one of the unsung heroes of the Beat Boom in Australia. Rock historian Dean Mittelhauser considered him "one of our most underrated performers from the Sixties" and felt that Tony had "played a bigger part in the success of Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs that has been generally credited".

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Masters Apprentices - 1972 - Toast To Panama Red

Answer Lies Beyond/Beneath the Sun/Games We Play I/Games We Play II/The Lesson So Listen/Love Is/Melodies of St Kilda/Southern Cross/Thyme To Rhyme

The Master's Apprentices began life in Adelaide as The Mustangs, playing Shadows-styled instrumentals. The line-up consisted of Mick Bower, Gavin Webb, Rick Morrison and Brian Vaughton. At the start of 1965, the band recruited Jim Keays as singer, adopted a rawer R&B-derived sound and became The Master's Apprentices. The band members chose the name because they were as much influenced by the blues masters such as John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Elmore James and Jimmy Reed as they were by the current crop of British R&B bands like The Rolling Stones, The Animals, The Pretty Things and The Yardbirds. 

  In 1966, The Masters were placed third in the Adelaide heat of the Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds. A year later, Astor issued the band's debut single, the compelling `Undecided', which had been written by Bower and Morrison. The flip featured Bower's extraordinary anti-war song, `Wars or Hands of Time'. That classic single hit the Top 10 in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney during April, and the band commenced a hectic schedule of touring. The sudden success was too much for Vaughton and Morrison, who were replaced by Steve Hopgood and Tony Sommers (ex-Johnny Young's Kompany) respectively. The band's second raucous R&B single, `Buried and Dead'/`She's My Girl', was a Top 20 hit in Sydney during June 1967, and coincided with the release of the debut album The Master's Apprentices. The band's next single was the blissful psychedelic pop of `Living in a Child's Dream' (another Bower original)/`Tired of Just Wandering' which peaked at #4 in Sydney and #9 in Melbourne during September. The song scored Go-Set's Song of the Year Award and Most Successful Australian Group of 1967 Award for the Masters. 

  The pressures of major success began to take its toll and Mick Bower left the band after suffering a nervous breakdown. He was replaced briefly by Rick Harrison before Peter Tilbrook (ex-Bentbeaks) came in as a permanent member. Without Bower's songwriting skills on which to call, the band had to search for suitable songs from outside sources. For their next single, The Masters chose a Brian Caine (later Cadd) song called `Silver People'. The band re-arranged the song and released it as `Elevator Driver'/`Theme for a Social Climber'. Before the single's release in February 1968, Sommers and Hopgood were replaced by Doug Ford (hot-shot guitarist from The Missing Links and The Running Jumping Standing Still) and Colin Burgess (ex-Untamed and Haze).

    In May 1968, Webb left to be replaced by Glenn Wheatley (bass; ex-Bay City Union). In June, the band issued the single `Brigette'/`Four Years of Five', which was the first Ford/Keays collaboration. This was another pleasant dose of flower power pop and became The Masters' fifth hit in a row. The new line-up contested the 1968 Hoadley's National Battle of The Sounds final in July. The band came such a close second to The Groove that they were awarded a complimentary prize of boat tickets to England. 1968 ended with Tilbrook leaving, Astor releasing the two-year-old `But One Day'/`My Girl' as a farewell single, the band signing on with influential manager Daryl Sambell and being voted Most Original Group and Second Most Popular Group (behind The Twilights) in the Go-Set Pop Polls. The Masters' first single for 1969 (on EMI/Columbia) was the vapid bubblegum song `Linda Linda' (the B-side `Merry-Go-Round' was tougher). 

 By the end of the year, the band had scored two Top 20 hits with the hard rock singles `5-10 Man'/`How I Love You' (July) and `Think About Tomorrow Today'/`A Dog, a Siren and Memories' (December). The Masters also issued their second album, Masterpiece, in 1969 and set up the Drum Agency (motivated by the business-minded Glenn Wheatley) to manage acts like Sect and The Expression and promote concerts. `Turn Up Your Radio'/`Jam It Up' became the band's biggest hit to date (peaking at #7 nationally in May 1970). `Turn Up Your Radio' has since become an Australian rock classic. Just as the single peaked, the band left for England. Once in London, The Masters began to absorb all the heavy trends of the English scene and the results were heard on the evocative `Because I Love You'/`I'm Your Satisfier' single (December 1970) and Choice Cuts album (May 1971).

 Recorded at Abbey Road Studios with producer Jeff Jarrett, the masterful Choice Cuts was brimming with complex, shifting arrangements. Powerful material like `Because I Love You', `Death of a King', `Rio De Camero', `Song for a Lost Gypsy' and `Michael' highlighted Doug Ford's exemplary guitar technique. Choice Cuts stood out like a diamond in the rough at the time, and it remains one of the finest Australian progressive hard rock albums ever issued. With the band's return to Australia in December, `Because I Love You' reached #12 and Choice Cuts #11 in July 1971. The album was issued in England (renamed The Master's Apprentices) and when news arrived that it had garnered positive reviews in NME and Melody Maker, The Masters set off again for the UK in May.

    One month later, the live Nickelodeon album and single `Future of Our Nation'/`New Day' came out in Australia. The album had been recorded at Perth's Nickelodeon Theatre in December 1970, on the first date of the band's national tour, and was one of the first live albums ever issued in Australia. In England, the band recorded a final album, A Toast to Panama Red, and single, `Love is'/`Southern Cross'. Like Choice Cuts before it, A Toast to Panama Red was a groundbreaking album of rarefied skill and tremendous scope yet, upon release in January 1972, it sank without trace. It was simply too musically advanced for the local industry of the day to comprehend. A Toast to Panama Red is one of the great lost treasures of the Australian progressive rock era. Reissue specialists Raven included the transcendent `Melodies of St Kilda'/`Southern Cross' on the essential Various Artists compilation Golden Miles: Australian Progressive Rock 1969-74 (1994). 

 Even before the album came out, The Masters had broken up. Keays and Wheatley returned to Australia but Ford and Burgess kept The Masters' name alive for another year as a three-piece (with Denny Burgess, ex-Throb on bass). The three-piece line-up's only studio recording, `Freedom Seekers', later appeared on the rarities compilation Jam It Up! (April 1987). Colin and Denny Burgess returned to Adelaide at the start of 1973. They attempted to form a new band, Hard Rock Theatre, with Keays (vocals), Peter Jesser (guitar) and Peter Staben (keyboards), but the venture never got off the ground. Colin moved to Sydney, where he joined the nascent AC/DC as its original drummer. 

 Jim Keays worked as a staff writer for Go-Set magazine before launching a successful solo career. Wheatley went into band management and proved his business acumen by becoming one of the most successful rock entrepreneurs in Australia during the 1980s. He formed the Wheatley Brothers Organisation and was instrumental in the local and international success of Little River Band and John Farnham. In 1974, EMI issued the Now that It's Over (Best of) compilation and a farewell single, `Rio De Camero'/`Thyme to Rhyme' (August). Raven Records kept interest in the band alive during the 1980s with the release of the essential Hands of Time  compilation and the Jam It Up! rarities collection. Raven reissued Choice Cuts in 1988 with the previously B-side only track `New Day' added.

    In 1983, Colin and Denny Burgess formed hard rock band His Majesty with Japanese singer Yukiko Davis and Spike Williams (guitar). His Majesty launched itself in a blaze of publicity, but neither the singles `Glory Boys'/`Champagne Cocaine' (November 1983) and `C Me Comin''/`Randy' (February 1985) on the Regal label nor the band's live shows attracted sufficient interest from the public. The band broke up in 1987.

 In March 1988, Keays, Ford, Webb and Colin Burgess re-formed The Master's Apprentices and set off on the successful Birth of the Beat national tour. Roger Faynes (guitar, keyboards; ex-Koo De Tah) joined in order to fill out the live sound. The band signed a new deal with Virgin Records and, to promote the tour, the label issued The Very Best of the Master's Apprentices. In November 1988, The Masters released their first new album in 17 years, Do What You Wanna Do, which featured one side of live cuts and another of studio tracks. A re-recorded and rearranged version of `Because I Love You'/`I'm Your Satisfier' (live) was issued as a single (October) and became a hit all over again to a whole new generation of fans. The Masters' last single was `The Birth of the Beat'/`Birth of the Beat' (November). 

 Although Keays and Ford recorded demos in 1990, no new records were forthcoming. The two songwriting partners collaborated on Keays' third solo album, Pressure Makes Diamonds, which came out in 1993. In April 1995, Keays re-recorded a version of `Turn Up Your Radio' with the aid of Australia's finest trash-pop exponents, Hoodoo Gurus. EMI issued the Greatest Hits compilation on CD with the new track added. Keays and Ford re-formed The Masters again in 1997 for several tours. The line-up also featured Peter Farnan (guitar, keyboards; on loan from Boom Crash Opera, John Favarro (bass; from The Badloves) and Tony Day (drums; ex-Girl Overboard).

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Stars - 1979 - Land Of Fortune

Land Of Fortune/Red Neck Boogie/Gold Fever/Last Of The Riverboats/Innocent Bystanders/Wasted Words/In And Out Of Love/ All Good Things Will Come To You In Time/I'm Ready/Never Coming Back

 Stars were an Australian country and rock band formed in Adelaide, South Australia in 1975 and disbanded in 1979. Founding members were Glyn Dowding on drums; Malcolm Eastick on guitar and vocals; Mick Pealing on vocals; and Graham Thompson on bass guitar. They were joined by guitarist, songwriter, Andrew Durant in 1976 and relocated to Melbourne. Thompson then left and was replaced by a succession of bass guitarists including Roger McLachlan (ex-Little River Band) and Ian McDonald.

The band's debut album, Paradise, peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Kent Music Report in 1978 and included their highest charting single "Look After Yourself" which reached No. 21 on the related singles chart. Their second album, Land of Fortune, was released in 1979 but did not reach the Top 50. By that time Durant had been diagnosed with cancer, the band had their last performance on 5 November and Durant died on 6 May 1980 at age 25. A tribute performance by Stars members and other Australian acts followed in August and a double-LP, Andrew Durant Memorial Concert was released in 1981. It peaked at No. 8 on the albums chart with proceeds donated to Andrew Durant Cancer Research Foundation.

Adelaide band Astra Kahn formed in 1972, including Glyn Dowding on drums, Andrew Durant on guitar, and Malcolm Eastick on guitar and vocals. They disbanded by 1973 with Dowding and Eastick forming Flash in 1974 with Mick Pealing on vocals. In May 1975, Dowding, Eastick and Pealing formed Stars with Graham Thompson on bass. As a country, rock band they were touted as Australian rock'n'roll cowboys and played the local pub and club circuit. They were noticed by pop group, Little River Band's guitarist Beeb Birtles, they signed to Mushroom Records and relocated to Melbourne. Birtles produced their debut single, "Quick on the Draw" which reached the Australian Kent Music Report top 30 in July 1976. Durant joined in August on guitar and became their principal songwriter.

Their second single, "With a Winning Hand" peaked into the top 40 in October. Founding bass guitarist Thompson left and was replaced first by Michael Hegerty and then by Roger McLachlan (ex-Little River Band). The band supported Joe Cocker on his Australian tour in mid-1977. They released their third single, "Mighty Rock" which reached the top 30 in August. By November, Ian MacDonald replaced McLachlan and they released, "Look After Yourself" which became their highest charting single at No. 21. It was issued ahead of their debut album, Paradise (January 1978) which peaked at No. 11 on the Kent Music Report albums chart. The album spawned two more singles, "Back Again" in April and "West Is the Way" in June. In September, founding drummer Dowding was replaced by John James Hackett (ex-Phil Manning Band).

Stars continued touring including supporting The Beach Boys and Linda Ronstadt on their Australian tours in 1978–1979. A second album, Land of Fortune appeared in June 1979, it was produced by Ern Rose and Eastick. By that time Durant had been diagnosed with cancer and Stars performed a last concert on 5 November. A live album, 1157—titled for the number of career gigs—appeared in July 1980, which was produced by Eastick. Durant had died on 6 May at age 25. A tribute performance by Stars members and other Australian acts followed in August and a double-LP, Andrew Durant Memorial Concert was released. It peaked at No. 8 on the albums chart with proceeds donated to Andrew Durant Cancer Research Foundation.

Delltones - 1963 - 20 Golden Greats (1979)

Come A Little Bit Closer/Sitting In The Moonlight/Rag Doll/Hangin' Five/Surf CityWalk Like A Man/Walkin' Along/Paper DollLittle Darlin'/Poison Ivy/Get A Little Dirt On Your Hands/Out The Back/Glad All Over/Cotton Fields/Do You Wanna Dance/Candy Man/Tonight We Love/Walk/Blue Moon/Billy's Rock 'n' Roll.

The Delltones are a popular Australian rock 'n roll band, originally formed in 1958. They started out as a vocal harmony group with members: Brian Perkins, Noel Widerberg, Ian 'Peewee' Wilson, and Warren Lucas. In 1962, their single "Get a Little Dirt on Your Hands" was in the top five on the Australian charts. Lead vocalist Noel Widerberg died in a motor vehicle accident. His position was later filled by Col Loughnan.

The Delltones have been performing for Australian audiences for over five decades; their most successful recording years were in the 1960s. Wilson is the only current member from the original line-up. In the mid-1980s, he transformed the group from a vocal quartet to a five-piece vocal band. This, along with other stylistic changes, led to the band's resurgence and the chart topping, rock ‘n roll revival album, Bop Til Ya Drop. The Delltones remain one of the most consistent live entertainers in Australia and have been entertaining Australian audiences for over five decades. Wilson is the only current member from the original line up.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Norman Gunston - 1977 - I Might Be A Punk (But I Love You Baby)

I Might Be A Punk (But I Love You Baby)/Love Me Tender

Norman Gunston was a satirical TV character performed by Australian actor and comedian Garry McDonald. Norman Gunston was primarily well known in his native Australia, and to a lesser extent, the United States during the mid to late 1970s. He was the only Gold Logie winning fictional character on Australian Television, with McDonald collecting the award in character.

Gunston's single record releases sold sufficiently well to enter the Australian top 40 charts. Parody tributes included Punk rock (I might be a Punk but I love ya baby), Sherbet (Howzat), ABBA (Salute to ABBA), KISS (KISS Army), Boz Scaggs (Nylon Degrees), Billy Ray Cyrus (Achy Breaky Heart), and Peter Allen (I Go to Rio) (Allen was present when Gunston parodied him on ABC's pop show Countdown, and didn't seem amused, although he would have been aware of the character having previously appeared on Gunston's ABC show as a guest.)

In 1976, Gunston released an album titled The Popular Ballad Animal, which covered both contemporary and classic era compositions, several of which Norman had performed on his show, including his theme song, "I Who Have Nothing". In particular, notable tracks include Gunston's bizarre but inspired interpretations of Liza Minnelli's "Liza With a Z", David Gates' "If", Tom Jones' "Delilah", Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns", "Jailhouse Rock", "Piano Man", "Vesti La Giubba", "A little love and understanding", "Daddy what if?", and the Judy Garland classic "Over the Rainbow".

In 1978, Gunston released another covers album Nylon Degrees (sending up Boz Scaggs' Silk Degrees in both title and cover art). His next album, 1984's Join The Dots, included out-takes and previously unreleased rare recordings, title and cover art parodying Culture Club's Colour By Numbers.

Gunston appeared as a guest harmonica player at Frank Zappa's concert at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia on 20 January 1976 which was later released as FZ:OZ (2002).

Stonefish - 1986 - From 20.000 Fathoms

Cement Head/Guitar Radiation/Boobalooba Beach/Hook In My Mouth

 Here's a cool surf instrumental EP released on the Citadel Records label back in 1986.  This was a one off collaboration when Dom Mariani of The Stems had a little time on his hands to gather some an old band mates and record this cool 4 track 12" EP.  The line-up consisted of Dom, two ex members of his old band The Go-Starts, Greg Hitchcock (gtr) and Velo Zupanovich (bass) along with drummer Dave Shaw.  Greg was playing with The Bamboos at the time and Velo was in a band called The Reaguns with Dave.  Dave would later join The Stems when original drummer Gary Chambers was sacked.  The 4 tracks on this EP are all surf inspired instrumentals that sit nicely along side say Dick Dale, Link Ray and the like, not a bad tune on this baby.  The original pressing in 1996 was 1000 copies with another 500 pressed in 1999 with no changes to the art or label.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Normie Rowe - 1968 - Everything's All Right

I Want You Back Again/You Thrill Me/Bald Headed Lena/Let Me Tell You/She Used To Be Mine/Everythings Alright/Lindy Lou/Gonna Leave This Town/That's Why I Cry/Too Bad You Don't Want Me/I Keep Forgetting/Poor Fool

Normie Rowe AM (born Norman John Rowe on 1 February 1947 in Melbourne, Australia) was the preeminent male solo star of Australian pop music in the 1960s. Known for his bright, edgy tenor voice and dynamic stage presence, many of Rowe's most successful recordings were produced by Pat Aulton, house producer for the Sunshine Records, Spin Records and Festival Records labels. Backed by his band The Playboys, Rowe released a string of Australian pop hits on the Sunshine Records label that kept him at the top of Australian charts and made him the most popular solo performer of the mid-1960s. Rowe's double-sided hit "Que Sera Sera" / "Shakin' All Over" was one of the most successful Australian singles of the 1960s.

Between 1965 and 1967 Normie was Australia's most popular male star but his career was cut short when he was drafted for compulsory military service in late 1967. Rowe's subsequent tour of duty in Vietnam effectively ended his pop career, and he was never able to recapture the success he enjoyed at his peak.

This Universal Record Club release from 1968 is a pastiche of Normie's first two albums "It Ain't Necessarily So....But It Is" and "a Go Go".

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Steve Gilpin - 1973 - Knowing

There's An Island/Tulsa Turnaround/You Don't Need A Ring/Finders Keepers Losers Weepers/You Are The One/Hey Little Girl / Knowing/Little Boy Sad/Ray Of Sunshine/ Lucky Old Sun

Steve Gilpin's only solo album released in 1973.
Posting this one after a request from Basil and thanks to John for sending it to me.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Steve Gilpin - 1972 - Anna, No Can Do

Anna, No Can Do/Bridge Over Troubled Water-Youve Got A Friend

Stephen Anthony "Steve" Gilpin (28 April 1949 – 6 January 1992) was a New Zealand-born vocalist. In November 1972 he won the national final of TV talent show, New Faces. In 1977 he was a founder of Mi-Sex, which became one of the most popular new wave bands in New Zealand and Australia in the late 1970s to early 1980s. They had relocated to Australia in August 1978 and reached number one on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart with "Computer Games" (1979) and had top five hits with "Computer Games" and "People" on the New Zealand Singles Chart. Gilpin also had a solo career including releasing material before forming Mi-Sex. He joined various groups after their disbandment and performed as a solo artist. In November 1991 he was severely injured in a car accident, he lapsed into a coma, and died in Southport Hospital on 6 January 1992, aged 42.

Stephen Anthony Gilpin began his music career as a cabaret singer in hotels. In 1972 he issued two singles, "Spring" and "Stoned Me", on Strange Records, and another single, "Anna, No Can Do", on HMV Australia. In November that year he was the winner of New Zealand TV talent show, New Faces, ahead of Shona Laing. He followed with a string of singles until his focus shifted from cabaret to rock music.