Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Come On Down/Boy On the Run/The Last Place I Wanna Be/Way Out West/Pay Day Again/Goin' Down Again/Aaron//My Sometime Lady/Sydney Ladies/Dingoes Lament
The Dingoes with John Lee on drums, Broderick Smith on lead vocals and harmonica, Chris Stockley on lead guitar, John Strangio on bass guitar, and Kerryn Tolhurst on guitar and mandolin, were formed in Melbourne in April 1973. Strangio left in August and was replaced on bass guitar by John Bois, who had been a member of Melbourne '60s pop band New Dream and was later a member (with Tolhurst) of Country Radio. The Dingoes combined R&B, country and rock 'n' roll with songs that used Australian themes and imagery.
The Dingoes were an early signing to the fledgling Mushroom Records label, it issued their debut single "Way Out West" which was jointly credited to Lee, Bois, Smith, Stockley, and Tolhurst although Bois' book confirms that the song was written by Tolhurst alone. A week before the single was released Stockley received a serious gunshot wound during an incident at a party in Melbourne that resulted in a two-month stay in hospital, initially described as an 'accidental shooting', according to music historian, Ian McFarlane's Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop, Stockley was shot by notorious drug dealer Dennis Allen, who was trying to gate crash the party. An eight-hour benefit concert was held for Stockley on 4 November 1973 at Leggett's Ballroom, Greville Street, Prahran. While recuperating, Stockley was replaced by keyboard player Mal Logan (ex Healing Force, Carson), who stayed on, after Stockley returned, until the end of 1974.
Lee left in May 1974 to join Ariel and was replaced on drums by Ray Arnott, (ex-Cam-Pact with Stockley, Spectrum, Mighty Kong). The Dingoes was released in June 1974, along with a second single "Boy on the Run", co-written by Stockley and Smith, which peaked at #24 in Melbourne but did not break into the top 50 nationally. The LP reached #24 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart in July, it was the Federation of Australian Broadcasters' "Album of the Year" for 1974. A non-album single, "Smooth Sailing", written by Tolhurst, and backed with "Dingoes Lament" (an instrumental written by Bois), was released in October. During the year The Dingoes toured nationally with various artists including Bad Company, Leo Sayer, Bo Diddley, and Freddy Fender.
The following months frustrated the band—with an expected summons from Rudge at any time, they were unable to commit to long-term tours or to recording—they lost valuable ground in Australia when they could have consolidated on the success of the LP and singles. Meanwhile, they provided two tracks, "Marijuana Hell" and the Percy Sledge cover "When a Man Loves a Woman" to the Various Artists live album Live at the Station which was released on Lamington Records in 1976. An American tour was finally arranged for mid-1976, by the time they arrived Rudge's attention was focused on Lynyrd Skynyrd. Just prior to leaving, Arnott quit the group by "mutual agreement" and Lee returned to the fold, meeting up with the band in North America. Arnott pursued a solo career and was later with Renée Geyer Band, Cold Chisel, and Jimmy Barnes.
The Dingoes signed a two-album deal with US-based, A&M records, on recommendations from McCartney and Rudge, and undertook three months of rehearsals in Canada, then headed for the US, where they set up base in Mill Valley, Northern California, at the start of 1977. They recorded tracks for their A&M album, Five Times the Sun, in San Francisco during January and February, produced by Elliot Mazer (Janis Joplin, Neil Young), with session contributions from keyboardists Nicky Hopkins and Garth Hudson; it featured liner notes by author Emmett Grogan. Five Times the Sun, which peaked at #25 on the Australian albums chart in August, included re-recorded versions of tracks from their first album. "Way Out West" and "Smooth Sailing", released in September, as a double A-single in Australia, did not peak into the top 50 Soon after, band members were granted their prized green cards, allowing them to base themselves in US, in their two-year stay they toured 40 states by road. A serious blow to the band's future came on 20 October when several members of proposed tour mates, Lynyrd Skynyrd, were killed in a plane crash, a tragedy which destroyed the morale of The Dingoes' management team.