Thursday, 13 October 2016

Ferrets - 1977 - Dreams Of A Love

Prelude/You Belong With Me/Bye Bye Baby/Lies/Killing Ourselves/Janie May/Dreams Of A Love/My Old Dog/El Quicko/Dont Fall In Love/The Children Play/Just Like The Stars/Magic In The Sand

 The Ferrets were an Australian pop / rock band from Melbourne and Sydney, which formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1979. Their second single, "Don't Fall in Love", was released in 1977 and peaked at No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart. Philip Eizenberg (guitar), Kenneth Firth (bass guitar, backing vocals), William "Billy" Miller (vocals, guitar) and David Springfield (guitar, backing vocals) formed The Ferrets and were soon joined by drummer Rick Brewer.

Ken Firth, Phil Eizenberg and William "Billy" Miller had been involved with the Australian stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar (1972–1974) which also included singer-actors Jon English and John Paul Young.

 Firth (bass guitar, backing vocals), Miller (vocals, guitar) and Dave Springfield (guitar, backing vocals) were all members of hard rockers Buster Brown (which also featured vocalist Angry Anderson later of Rose Tattoo). In November 1975 the trio left Buster Brown to join guitarist Eizenberg and formed The Ferrets. Drummer Rick Brewer (ex-Zoot) joined in April 1976 followed by Miller's sisters Jane Miller (backing vocals, keyboard) and Pam Miller (backing vocals) in Julythey were now a seven-piece band.

After favourable reactions from audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, The Ferrets produced a demo tape that caught the attention of Ian "Molly" Meldrum talent coordinator for Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) TV series Countdown. Meldrum had them signed to Mushroom Records and started producing their debut album, Dreams of a Love, in July 1976. In April 1977 they released their debut single, "Robin Hood", which did not chart. After nearly a year, production of the album was still incomplete, so The Ferrets took over assisted by recording engineers Tony Cohen and Ian MacKenzie Meldrum was attributed as "Willie Everfinish". Album production was finalised in August and it was released in October.

 Meldrum had carefully crafted their first single's A side "Lies" taking weeks but the B side "Don't Fall in Love" (written by Ian Davis and Firth) was rushed in three hours. The Ferrets premiered on Countdown in an episode compered by Jon English however, they used their B side. "Don't Fall in Love" quickly sold out its initial pressing and many customers wanted a copy of The Ferrets' debut album – there was concern at Mushroom Records as Meldrum had not organised an album cover: a white hand stamped cardboard sleeve was issued with a promise of the album artwork to follow. The Ferrets released a promo as the single peaked at No. 1 on Melbourne's charts and No. 2 Nationally. They were awarded with 'Best Australian TV Performer' at the 1977 King of Pop Awards for their Countdown appearances.

Although generally remembered for their biggest hit, their follow-up single "Janie May" reached No. 25 nationally and was televised on Countdown on 13 November 1977, which also featured the infamous Prince Charles interview. Their debut album Dreams of a Love achieved Gold record status and the long awaited album cover depicted a model (Wendy Bannister) holding a snarling ferret on her shoulder (front), a photo of the seven member band (back), lyrics and recording details including a photo of "Willie Everfinish" (inside). 

By the end of 1977, guitarist Eizenberg and backing vocalist Pam Miller had left. After another single, "Are You Looking at Me?" was released in April 1978, Jane Miller also left. The Ferrets continued to tour and then recorded their second album Fame at Any Price (October 1978) produced by Cohen. There were disappointing sales for the related singles "This Night" (written by Frank Howson, Firth, Miller) and "Tripsville" and for the album itself. Firth also left to be replaced successively by George Cross (previously in Jim Keays Southern Cross with Brewer) and Ric Petropolis. The Ferrets had no further chart success and disbanded in March 1979.

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