Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Johnny O'keefe - Lets Go Lets Go Lets Go

Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go/Shout Shout/Shake Shake Shake/I Like It

John Michael O'Keefe, known as Johnny O'Keefe (19 January 1935 – 6 October 1978), was an Australian rock and roll singer whose career began in the 1950s. Some of his hits include "Wild One" (1958), "Shout!" and "She's My Baby". In his twenty-year career, O'Keefe released over fifty singles, 50 EPs and 100 albums.

Often referred to by his initials "J.O.K." or by his nickname "The Wild One", O'Keefe was the first Australian rock 'n' roll performer to tour the United States, and the first Australian artist to make the local Top 40 charts. and He had twenty-nine Top 40 hits in Australia between 1959 and 1974.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Executives - It's A Happening World

It's A Happening World/Moving In A Circle/Dedicated To The One I Love/Don't You Sometimes Baby Find That I'm On Your Mind

Like  Allusions, and The Affair, not enough recognition has been accorded to The Executives. They shared with those bands a polished, musicianly approach, although they fared considerably better than most of their contemporaries in the longevity stakes. They were also quite successful in commercial terms -- they scored several Top 40 hits, including two consecutive Top 5 singles in Sydney, and they were widely regarded as being Australia's most sophisticated pop group. They are also notable as one of the very first Australian groups to produce their own recordings.

This polished sextet was founded by husband and wife Brian and Carole King in Sydney in late 1966, quickly gaining 'must-see' status around inner-city venues. Their musical expertise and versatility was unequalled for the time, and between them the six members could play thirty-one instruments, ranging from violin to harpsichord. In January 1967 they released their debut single, "Wander Boy" backed by a cover of The Addrisi Brothers' "You're Bad". The moody, wistful a-side was highly rated by Sydney radio DJs and sold well there.

Around mid-'67 Dudley Hood, co-writer of "You're Bad", left to be replaced by guitarist Brian Patterson, who hailed originally from the Laurie Lee Ensemble (1963), then The Bluebeats (1965-66), and Tony Worsley & The Fabulous Blue Jays (1966). A second guitarist, Ray Burton (Raymond Doughty) also joined at the same time, replacing saxophonist Keith Leslie. Ray's antecedents include The Dave Bridge Quartet (1961-62) and The Telstars (1965). He had brief stints with Dynasty and The Questions in 1968 before returning to The Execs later that year. The other members of the Mark 1 line-up were virtual novices to the scene but acquitted themselves well in the professional Executives setting.

It was the one-two punch of follow-up 45s in mid-'67 that cemented The Executives' reputation. "My Aim Is To Please You" was a beautifully arranged and recorded mid-paced ballad, which displayed to excellent effect the multi-layered twinned lead vocals of Gino Cunnico (formerly lead singer of The Affair) and Carole King, together with the deft electric piano flourishes of Brian King.

An interesting piece of music 'trivia' about this song is that it was written by guitarist Kenny Young, who is best known as the co-author of the R&B classic "Under The Boardwalk". In the mid-'70s Young formed the band Fox (fronted by expatriate Aussie singer Susan Traynor aka Noosha Fox), who scored a major international hit with the song "S-S-S-Single Bed" in 1976.

Many listeners mistook the Execs' new single for an American recording, perhaps by The 5th Dimension or The Mamas & the Papas (whose styles obviously had a strong influence on The Execs) before discovering to their considerable surprise that it was a home-grown product. "Aim" became a sizeable national hit, peaking at #26 on the Go-Set chart in September. It paved the way for their biggest seller, the lush, majestic Steven Stills song "Sit Down I Think I Love You" (originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield on their debut album). It was a Top 30 hit on most capital city charts during October 1967 and was especially successful in Sydney, where it peaked at #4, and it reached #28 on the Go-Set chart in December.

During 1968 they released a trio of self-produced singles, making them one of the very first Australian bands to produce their own recordings. The first was the brisk and catchy "It's A Happening World" (March) written by Brill Building doyens Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill, which made the Top 40 in Sydney and Brisbane. The second was an irresistible slice of pure pop called "Windy Day" (June); originally recorded by US band The Lewis & Clark Expedition, it was another big success for The Executive in Sydney, where it reached #7. The third single was a glistening bauble of psych-pop whimsy, "Summerhill Road" (December), co-written by Ray Burton and Garry Paige, as was the single's flipside, "Christopher Robin".

Garry Paige has a very interesting history -- while visiting the U.S. ca. 1967 he became friends with guitarists Steve Cropper of Booker T. & The MGs and Erik Braunn of Iron Butterfly. Paige owned a Vox wah-wah pedal and this novel device caught the attention of Braunn, who was so enamoured with it that he bought it from Paige and used it extensively on their famous LP In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.

Paige subsequently wrote with Russell Dunlop of Aesop's Fables and Flake, and enjoyed a long and successful partnership with Mark Punch, with whom he co-wrote the Renee Geyer hits "Heading in the Right Direction" and "Words Are Not Enough". In 1979 he teamed up with Kevin Borich for his Angel's Hand LP and he has since worked with Anne Kirkpatrick, Kim Hart and David Briggs of LRB.

All of the above-mentioned Execcs Singles were respectable national sellers. Around this time The Execs cut a track for a various-artists promo EP for the Coca-Cola company, which is now extremely rare. The uncredited liner notes, couched in the hip vernacular of the day, make for amusing reading 30-odd years on:

"They're the top group in New South Wales, and with "Windy Day" a bullet performer everywhere it's played, they look like staying that way. Their new jingle for Coca-Cola and their latest single ("Summerhill Road"), featured on the flip side of this disc which was written and produced by themselves will really knock you out!"

Shortly after the early-1968 release of their eponymous debut LP, The Executives made the first of two forays to the USA, where they attracted encouraging industry scrutiny. They signed to the Buddha label and with the management team of DiBlasio, Wald & Day whose client list included Billy Joel, Helen Reddy and Tiny Tim (partner Jeff Wald was the husband of Helen Reddy). Unfortunately nothing came of the Buddah deal, so they eventually returned to Australia.

But their absence did little to diminish their popularity in their homeland, where a further bunch of singles, EPs and another album fared well on the charts, and they remained a popular live draw. Their second album, On Bandstand, gathered many of their earlier hits, supported by a selection of well-chosen covers of contemporary standards, including several tracks from the hit musical Hair, and the LP confidently showcased the abundant musical strengths of the band. This collection has been  re-released in various forms subsequently (see Discography).

A second trip to America in late 1969 saw them absorbing the prevailing psychedelic-progressive trends; falling" into line with that maxim, they changed their name to The Inner Sense, adopting a heavier musical style but still retaining their trademark vocal polish. The Mark 1 line-up of the group lasted until late 1969. Unfortunately, new trends in progressive and heavy rock were making the smooth, breezy pop stylings of The Exectuives a thing of the past, and they were tagged as a "middle of the road" band in later years.

Most of the group returned to Australia, and during this period Carole and Brian wrote, performed in and produced the music for the now-forgotten the stage musical Nuclear, of which former 60s pop idol Mike Furber was briefly a cast member, just before his tragic death.

Ray Burton remained in America until 1973, and it was during that time that he co-wrote the international smash hit "I Am Woman" with Helen Reddy. On his return he became an in-demand session player and went on to work in several prominent groups -- Doug Parkinson & Friends and then McGuire, Kennedy and Burton (both 1973), which evolved into Ayers Rock later that year. He also formed a duo with ex-Executive Gino Cunnico that released one album in 1974. Gino later released two obscure solo LPs and Ray released his own. Ray continues a successful songwriting and production career to this day. Among his clients are Marcia Hines, Helen Reddy and  Doug Parkinson.

Carole and Brian King formed an aptly-name new group, Transition, which kept them going until they had found the right personnel with which to resurrect The Execs in June 1974. The new lineup included vocalist Jonne Sands, a former Sunshine label artist who at one stage was touted as a successor to Normie Rowe and who scored a lone a solo hit with "Mothers And Fathers" in October 1968. He took over Gino Cunnico's original role as co-lead singer with Carole, and for three more years this line-up enjoyed solid patronage around Sydney's club and cabaret circuit, and they released three singles on Polydor. They made regular appearances on TV variety shows and also wrote and recorded the theme music for Grundy's hospital soapie The Young Doctors.

After The Executive"s folded for good in 1978, Brian and Carole King continued to team for studio sessions. Sands resumed a moderately successful solo career, mainly as a club performer. Bassist-guitarist Alan Oloman (formerly a member of legendary Lithgow band The Black Diamonds) continued with session work, contributing to Nuclear and wrote the music for the 1979 film Alison's Birthday.

The Executives left behind a body of fine records that are highly sought after by collectors of quality sixties Aussie pop, although it has to be said that they have been lamentably overlooked in terms of CD reissues. Since the closure of Festival Mushroom Records in 2005 and the sale of its archive to the Warner group there has been little action on this front, apart from the recent reissues of the Split Enz catalogue.

Nevertheless, The Executive should be remembered for their sophisticated and inventive sound, those gorgeous vocal harmonies, their accomplished musicianship and their mastery of the three-minute pop single idiom.

Original article by Paul Culnane (revised 2007)

Executives - The Executives Break Out

My Aim Is To Please You/Bad Reputation/Wander Boy/You're Bad

Executives - Parenthesis

Parenthesis/Got My Woman/Christopher Robin/Summerhill Road

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Jimmy Hannan - Jimmy Hannan

Curly/Together Forever/Thanks/May Each Day

Jimmy Hannan (born August 1934) is a Gold Logie-winning Australian variety show host, popular singer and entertainer and game show host. One of the pioneers of television, Hannan won the 1965 Gold Logie award for Saturday Date a teen music show. Hannan's single (Beach Ball), featured The Bee Gees as backing vocalists #3 Sydney #8 Brisbane .


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Judy Stone - Born A Woman

Born A Woman/I Need You/So Softly/Lost Without You

Judy Stone popular Australian singer, a regular on the long-running TV pop show Bandstand, often on the charts in Australia from the early 60s to to the mid-70s.
Born A Woman was released in Australia 1966 and charted #3 Sydney #2 Melbourne #1 Brisbane #4 Adelaide #1 Perth


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Joy Boys - Big Four

Hindustan/Henpecked/Smokey Mokes/Walk Don't Run

The Joy Boys released several of their own singles, many of which charted, especially in Sydney where nine made the Top 40 from 1960 to 1963. They had several Top 40 entries in most of the major capital cities.

Instrumental by Col Joye's band The Joy Boys Smoky Mokes was their biggest hit #1 Sydney #10 Melbourne #2 Brisbane #1 Adelaide #26 Perth

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Judy Stone - I Cried

I Cried/It Takes A Lot (To Make Me Cry)/It's The Talk Of The Town/I Only Have Eyes For You

Judy Stone (born 1 January 1942) is an Australian pop and country singer from Sydney, who came to national prominence in the late 1950s through her regular TV appearances on the Australian pop music show Brian Henderson's Bandstand and her many hit records. Major national hits were '4,003,221 Tears From Now' (1964), 'Born a Woman' (1966), '(Would you Lay With Me) in a Field of Stone' (1974), 'Mare Mare Mare' (1974), 'Hasta Manana' (1976) and 'Silver Wings & Golden Rings' (1976).

As a young performer she was "by lined" as The Cowgirl from Granville but on her first appearance on "Bandstand" it was mis-announced as The Callgirl from Granville. In 1963, she recorded "It Takes a Lot (To Make Me Cry)" on which the Bee Gees (Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb) sing backup vocals, and the song was released as a single in July.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Playboys - Desperado

Desperado/The Mean One/Swan Lake/Camptown Races

Melbourne's Playboys started life as an Instrumental rock group back in 1964. Sunday nights at the Circle Ballroom in Preston came alive with the Playboys in residence. They became Normie Rowe's backing band from 64' to 67'. The original members were, Graham 'Trotta' Trottman on Drums, John Cartwright Rhythm Guitar, Phil Blackmore (RIP) on Keyboards, Neil McArthur Bass and Billy Billings lead Guitarist.

Johnny O'keefe - Buzz Buzz Buzz

Buzz Buzz Buzz/Where The Action Is/Billygoat/ I'm Still Alive

John Michael O'Keefe, known as Johnny O'Keefe (19 January 1935 – 6 October 1978), was an Australian rock and roll singer whose career began in the 1950s. Some of his hits include "Wild One" (1958), "Shout!" and "She's My Baby". In his twenty-year career, O'Keefe released over fifty singles, 50 EPs and 100 albums.

Often referred to by his initials "J.O.K." or by his nickname "The Wild One", O'Keefe was the first Australian rock 'n' roll performer to tour the United States, and the first Australian artist to make the local Top 40 charts. and He had twenty-nine Top 40 hits in Australia between 1959 and 1974.


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Judy Stone - Italian Style

   Quelli Erano Giorni/Gli Occhi Miei/Dio Come, Ti Amo/Non H'leta

 Judy Stone grew up in Sydney and during her teens taught herself to play the guitar. She was heavily influenced by country and western music. In 1960, she met Col Joye and with his help she soon became a regular on Channel Nine's Bandstand. She was also touring around the country with Col and the Joy Boys. In June 1961, she signed a recording contract with Festival Records. Her first two releases were minor hits in Sydney. Her third single, I'll Step Down b/w Mommy and Daddy We're Twisting, was released in February 1962 and became her first Sydney Top 10 when it peaked at number five in March.
 Festival then released her debut album also called I'll Step Down to take advantage of her success. Stone and Joye by this stage had begun singing duets on Bandstand so it was no surprise that they teamed up to record a number of EP's and an album. Between June 1962 and July 1963 she released three more moderately successful singles before she finally broke through nationally in April 1964 with her single 4,003,221 Tears From Now, which reached the Top 10 on most charts around the country. Two more singles were issued before year-end but neither made any impact on the charts.
 In early 1965, she embarked on a two-month overseas trip to Asia and Japan with Col Joye and the Joy Boys. Her final single for the Festival label was released in September and in February 1966 she married Leo De Kroo of the De Kroo Brothers duo. She then signed up with Col Joye Enterprises' ATA Records, scoring her third Sydney Top 10 hit single in September with Born A Woman. For the rest of the Sixties she continued to consolidate her success with regular appearances on the club circuit as well as touring interstate and overseas. During this period Judy issued five unsuccessful singles for the ATA label before switching to M7 Records in 1971.
 Her first M7 single, Day by Day, made the Sydney Top 10 in November. The mid-Seventies was her most successful period in more than a decade with two Top 20 hit singles in 1974 on the M7 label and one Top 40 and one Top 20 hit single in 1976 on the Polydor Records label. Judy Stone also represented Australia at Expo '74 in the US and in the mid-1977 she travelled to the UK where she signed with recording and management company Power Exchange. She continued to perform and record into the early Eighties.

Dinah Lee - Do The Blue Beat

Do The Bluebeat/Pushing A God Thing Too Far/That's It I Quit I'll Forgive You Then Forget You

  Dinah Lee is the stage name of New Zealand-born singer, Diane Marie Jacobs , who performed 1960s pop and then adult contemporary music. Her debut single from early 1964, "Don't You Know Yockomo?", achieved No. 1 chart success in New Zealand and in the Australian cities, Brisbane and Melbourne. It was followed in September by her cover version of Jackie Wilson's, "Reet Petite", which also reached No. 1 in New Zealand and peaked at No. 6 in Melbourne.

The Australian release was a double A-sided single with "Do the Blue Beat". On her early singles she was backed by fellow New Zealanders, Max Merrit & His Meteors. Lee appeared regularly on both New Zealand and Australian TV variety programs, including Sing, Sing, Sing and Bandstand. She toured supporting Johnny O'Keefe, Ray Columbus & the Invaders and P.J. Proby. According to Australian rock music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, in the 1960s, "Lee was the most successful female singer of in both her New Zealand homeland and Australia ... on stage and on record Dinah had all the adventure and exuberance for the time the boys had".

Do The Blue Beat single on HMV Australia, originally on Viking NZ. Also released in USA on Interphon label and in South Africa on the Troubadour label. Double-sided hit with Reet Petite. The two songs were originally released in New Zealand as A-sides of separate singles on the Viking label. The single made it to #6 Melbourne #21 Brisbane #3 Adelaide and #12 in Sydney.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Ronnie Burns - Coalman

Coalman/Tophat/All The King's Horses/Butterfly

Ronnie Burns' third single, "Coalman", which was released in January 1967, peaked at No. 6 on the Go Set charts. It's B-side "All The King's Horses" charted as a flipside in Sydney.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Hush - Hushpower

Get The Feelin'/Take Us Home/Maneater/White Christmas

Keith Lamb migrated to Australia in 1970 with friend Robin Jackson. In 1971 Keith formed Hush and the original line-up consisted of Keith Lamb (vocals), Chris Nolan (keyboards), Robin Jackson (guitar), Rick Lum (bass) and John Koutts (drums) Les Gock joined Hush in 1972, as did Chris Pailthorpe, replacing Robin Jackson, John Koutts and Chris Nolan. The new line-up which continued to 1976 was Keith Lamb (vocals) Les Gock (guitar) Rick Lum (bass) and Chris Pailthorpe (drums). Rick left towards the end of 1976 and was replaced by Jacque De Jong. The band split up altogether not long after.

Hush, finalist in the 1972 Hoadley’s National Battle of the Sounds was well on its way to being one of the top bands in Australia. 1973 was the beginning of Hush’s intensive national touring- playing more than 200 towns and cities, driving approximately 4,000 kilometres each week. Hush were often on tour for 9 months of the year.

The single, Get the Feeling, and album Aloud N Live were released in late 1973. Get the Feeling was a hit in NSW. In March 1974 the band signed with RCA/Wizard Records and their single “Walking became the first national hit for Hush. Robbie Porter took over production of the band’s recording and the first product of this association was the hit single “Boney Maroney an updated version of the Larry Williams rocker. Boney Maroney was number 1 in 1975. Later that year, the cover “Glad All Over was another hit for the band. #17 Sydney #6 Melbourne #5 Brisbane #7 Adelaide. Hush were regular performers on Countdown, Australia’s much-loved music show, including an unforgettable performance for first colour episode to go to air. The band with the most colourful outfits got the gig! Keith Lamb and Les Gock co-compered Countdown on several occasions.

2006 and Hush have reformed for the Countdown Spectactular Concerts performing live in Arenas all around Australia.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Ronnie Burns - Smiley

Smiley/My Little Red Book/I'll Know What To Do/Jodie

Ronnie Burns is an Australian pop singer that first became famous in the mid-60s as the leader of popular group the Flies, who were the first long haired band in Australia and drew heavily on the Beatles. After leaving the group, Ronnie went on to become one of Australia's most popular pop singers from the mid 1960's to the mid 1970's. His song "Smiley" (#3 on the Australian charts in the winter of 1969-70), a song about a young man sent to the Vietnam war, has since become synonymous in Australia with that era and is a pop classic, while three of his other big hits - "Coalman", "Exit, Stage Right" and "All the King's Horses" - were written by the Bee Gees. His daughter, Lauren Burns, won a gold metal in Taekwondo in the 2000 Olympics. Burns currently lives with his wife in Tasmania. In 1998, they founded Appin Hall Children’s Foundation, a refuge for children with chronic illness and orphans of war.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Johnny Young - Let It Be Me

 Let It Be Me/Cara-Lyn/Step Back/Baby (You've Got What It Takes)

After performing as supporting act to The Easybeats in early 1966, Young recorded "Step Back", which was co-written by The Easybeats' members Stevie Wright and George Young (no relation). The single was released in May 1966 as a double-A-side with his cover version of "Cara-Lyn", originally by The Strangeloves. The release peaked at number one on the Go-Set National Top 40 in November. It was one of the biggest-selling Australian singles of the 1960s, behind Normie Rowe's "Que Sera Sera"/"Shakin' All Over". In October, his EP Let It Be Me went to number four on Go-Set National Top 40.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Rob E G - Sings Country And Western

Please Help Me I'm Falling/He'll Have To Go/Candy Man/Your Cheatin' Heart

Robert George Porter was born in 1942 and raised in Ashfield, New South Wales, a suburb of Sydney. He reluctantly took steel guitar lessons from the age of eight - he wanted to play football instead. Sydney TV show Bandstand featured hits from the UK and US played by Australian artists. As Rob E.G., Porter made his TV debut in 1959 performing the lap steel guitar instrumental "Sleep Walk" (originally by Santo & Johnny); he was soon signed to Rex Records and became a Bandstand regular. His first single, "Your Cheatin' Heart", a cover of the Hank Williams hit, appeared in February 1960. In 1961, Porter received severe spinal injuries in a car accident, he adapted his playing style and continued to record. Top ten hits in Sydney include, instrumentals "Si Senor (I Theenk)" which peaked at #1 in May 1962, "Jezabel" at #2 in May 1963, and "55 Days at Peking" at #1 in July; and the vocal single "When You're Not Near" at #7 in August 1964. Although not as popular in Melbourne, these four singles also peaked into the top ten.
On the advice of The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, Porter moved to the UK in 1964 where he wrote and recorded singles for Festival Records but had no chart success. During 1967 he moved to the USA and appeared in several television shows: Malibu U, Popendity, Daniel Boone, Mannix and The Immortal. In 1969 Porter co-starred in the movie Three.
In 1970, Porter was back in Australia where he purchased a controlling share of independent record label, Sparmac. He recorded three of his own singles for Sparmac before focusing on managing and promoting bands and producing records. Porter produced three of doo wop rock band Daddy Cool's LPs including their debut 1971 album, Daddy Who? Daddy Cool, which peaked at #1 and became the highest selling Australian album at the time. Other Sparmac artists included Rick Springfield and Healing Force. In 1973 Porter started a new label, Wizard in partnership with Steve Binder, with Daddy Cool and Springfield the new label also signed Hush, Mighty Kong and Marcia Hines. Porter and Binder also managed Springfield and introduced him to the US market.
He co-wrote the song "Shining" with Jill Wagner-Porter, which was recorded by Marcia Hines on her 1976 LP album Shining, and also wrote "Empty" and "A Love Story" on the that album.
In the 1980s, Porter produced albums for Air Supply, Tommy Emmanuel and The Nauts. He returned to the US to live and worked in television production and as a horse breeder. During 2006 Porter formed another record label named, Musique, with flautist Jane Rutter.

Monday, 21 July 2014

John Laws - A Lover's Question

A Lovers Question/Made To Be Loved By You/Susie Darling/Someone New

Richard John Sinclair "John" Laws, CBE (born 8 August 1935), an Australian radio presenter, sometimes known as Lawsie, was from the 1970s until his retirement in 2007, the host of a hugely successful morning radio program, which mixed music with interviews, opinion, live advertising readings and listener talkback. His distinctive voice earned him the nickname the Golden Tonsils.

Despite retiring in 2007, Laws' management confirmed in November 2010 that he would be returning to radio in February 2011, as the host of a morning programme on 2SM and the Super Radio Network.

John Laws was active musically from the fifties through to the Eighties releasing many singles and albums and a number of EP's of which this is one released in 1960. During the 70's and 80's he was known primarily for his Truckin' Albums.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Bruce Woodley - Friday Street Fantasy

Friday Man/Little One/Captain Crumblepeg/Little Miss Sorrow

 This 4 track E.P was released with Bruce Woodley's children book entitled 'Friday Street Fantasy'.  The book was published by Paul Hamlyn,Sydney, 1969. Aside from the party-in-an-ornamental-photo-lettering-catalog cover shown above, it's full of wonderful illustrations and mysterious music .

Basically, the story goes something like 'there was this little town called Friday Street (yes, a town called Street - just ask Bruce Woodley). It was full of sad children until one day…the "Friday Man" came to town with a rainbow in his hand!  And now everyone in town sings and plays and has fun. aaahh! a pink and orange town!
 The next song "Little One" is a lullaby, followed by a song about "Captain Grumblepeg", and his lady Mary Morningstar, who presumably lived there also. Finally, a song of hope with "Little Miss Sorrow" with her beautiful  balloons, so I'm sure she’s not sad for long.
 On the back cover, we meet Bruce, singer, songwriter and member of the seekers (a famous Australia folk group from the 60s). Apparently he was 26 when he made this album!  The creators of the colorful illustrations in the book were Paul Corley and Jeannette Spencer. (Music and review Aussie Rock From 'Rock-On-Vinyl' Blog.)

Dig Richards - Out Of The Groove

Ricketty Ticketty Tin/Sixteen Tons/John Henry/Frankie & Johnny

Digby George "Dig" Richards (12 September 1940 – 17 February 1983) was an Australian rock and roll singer from Dunedoo, a rural New South Wales town. He was active during the late 1950s and early 1960s as lead singer with the R'Jays. Richards was the first Australian rock and roll artist to record a 12" LP album in Australia, with Dig Richards, released in November 1959. By 1964 he was a television presenter, and a musical theatre actor. From 1971 he performed as a solo country music artist. According to the Kent Music Report he had four Top 30 national hit singles, "(My) Little Lover" / "Quarrels (Are a Sad Sad Thing)" (September 1960), "A Little Piece of Peace" (June 1971), "People Call Me Country" / "The Dancer" (February 1972), and "Do the Spunky Monkey" (June 1974). On 17 February 1983 Digby Richards died of pancreatic cancer, aged 42. He was survived by his wife, Sue, and two children.

Dig Richards - You Gotta Love Me

You Gotta Love Me/Quarrels (Are A Sad Thing)/Alice (In Wonderland)/My Little Lover

"You Gotta Love Me" Released 1960 reached #93 on the Kent Music Report. "(My) Little Lover" / "Quarrels (Are a Sad Sad Thing)" Released in 1960 reached #23 on the KMR. "Alice (In Wonderland)" Released in 1961 reaced #33 on the 2UE chart and #54 on the KMR.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Merv Benton - Dollars And Dimes

Dollars & Dimes/Honey Don't/Put The Blame On Me/It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)

 Merv Benton is an Australian singer famous  during the sixties.

In the Melbourne dance circuit, Merv Benton gained national attention and quickly became one of the most popular male singers in the country appearing on all national television programes.

In early 1964 he signed with Melbourne's W&G Records and became one of their most prolific artists, releasing several singles and EPs, and three LPs between 1964 and 1967. In 1967, at the height of his popularity, Merv was struck down by throat problems that ended his singing career.

His career began, like many others taking to rock'n'roll listening to Melbourne radio and was captivated by the music of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Gene Vincent, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Merv saw his first Lee Gordon 'Big Show' in 1957, which featured Bill Haley & The Comets, The Platters and Freddie Bell and it was Bell especially who fired Merv's desire to become a singer.

These were very good times for one growing up and a teenager.

He toured around Australia with his backing group, The Tamlas.

The original lineup included.

Charlie Gauld - guitar
Ian B. Allen - bass
Eddie Chappell - drums

The line-up during most of Benton's career with "The Tamlas" included.

Eddie Chappell - drums
Les Stacpool - guitar
Noel Watson - guitar
Dennis Tucker - bass

The lineup that backed Merv on most of his recordings was Les Stacpool and Noel Watson (guitars), Murray Robertson (keyboards), Dennis Tucker (bass) and Eddie Chappell (drums), with backing vocals on most of the singles by the trio of Pat Carroll, Anne Hawker and Julie McKenna.

In the early 1980s Merv returned to the recording studio after he was approached by his old fried Ian B. Allen to perform again in Melbourne.

He found a backing band, The Allstars, which included Les Stacpool on guitar, the legendary Henri Bource on sax, Murray Robertson on keyboard, Ron Chapman on drums and Ian on bass.

The group recorded a 5-track EP with Merv at the helm.

In 1991, Merv migrated to the USA.

However he has made occasional live musical appearances and in the early 2000s he has returned to Melbourne from his new home near Phoenix, Arizona for Australian annual Sixties concerts.

All information may be obtained at the web address above for an in-depth look at the times of Merv Benton.

Monday, 12 May 2014

The Iguana - California My Way

California My Way/Mary Go Round/Imagine This/Dreaming Away To Myself

 "California My Way" was a cover of the original recording by the Committee (or it may have been The 5th Dimension version) it was released on Festival in 1968 by Melbourne band The Iguana that had formed from the Sands of Time and the Contours in 1967. The band menbers were Vocals Gary Sweetman Gary Littlewood (lead guitar) Cleve Littlewood (rhythm guitar), Graham Jones (bass) and Peter Saunders (drums). "California My Way" charted #10 Melbourne #5 Brisbane .

They had four singles, plus an EP that combined two of their 45's. Imagine This / Dreaming Away to Myself 1967, California My Way / Mary Go Round 1968, Ticket to Ride / Sunshine People 1968, Good News / Requiem 820 Latham 1969.

New Link Added 09.01.2019.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Warren Williams - The Shy Guy

What's A Happenin' Baby/Kath A Leen/Where My Baby Goes (She Goes With Me)/My Teenage Love

Warren Williams is a rock musician from Australia. In the 1950s, he was a pioneer of Australian rock music, forming the group Warren Williams and the Squares. Williams was a prolific songwriter. 

A former child soprano, Williams formed Warren Williams and the Squares in January 1958, after the tradition of Bill Haley and His Comets. The group released their debut single "My Teenage Love" in December 1959 and "Kath-a-Leen" in April 1960. By the end of 1960, Williams left the Squares. His first single of his solo career was "My Little Girl", released at the end of 1960.

Warren Williams and the Squares made their first television appearance on Six O'Clock Rock the Johnny O'Keefe-hosted television show in July 1959. He was voted the sixth most popular artist on Six O'Clock Rock. He starred on the popular music TV show Bandstand in the 1950s and 1960s.

Williams signed with the Leedon label in 1961 and released several singles. He went on to form his own publishing company, Williams-Conde Music Pty Ltd., with Franz Conde. Williams joined the Courtmen in March 1964. The Courtmen backed him on his song "It's Party Time".

In 1964, Beatlemania swept Australia. Williams' popularity began to lag with the rise of pop music. Williams took to performing in clubs and cabaret shows, and then the nostalgia circuit

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Ronnie Burns - Exit Stage Right

Exit Stage Right/My Little Red Book/In The Morning/You Got To Hide You Love Away

"Exit Stage Right" became a national Top 20 hit, peaking at #19 at the end of July  "In The Morning" was the B-side. Both "My Little Red Book" and "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" were lifted from Ronnie's 1967 debut album "Ronnie"

Friday, 21 February 2014

Andy Sundstrom - The Unique Sound of Andy Sundstrom

Northern Territory/Theme From Black Orpheus/ Free Fall/Theme From An Unwritten Movie

The Unique Sound of Andy Sundstrom features the two songs from a previosly released single  Northern Territory (written by Sven Libaek) and Theme From Black Orpheus and two more Sven Libaek-penned tunes Free Fall and Theme From An Unwritten Movie.  Sundstrom plays these songs on a balalaika. This has added a whole new layer to the music and makes Andy a bit of a pop oddity. Whoever thought that balalaika surf-pop from the early sixties Australian music scene even existed? Two of the tracks, Northern Territory and Theme From An Unwritten Movie would be recorded by Sven with his usual jazz ensemble of the time and included on The Music Of Sven Libaek released four years later. The third track, Free Fall, was written by Libaek and performed by Australian surf group The Atlantics on their Bombora LP from 1963. 

Back cover liner notes: Three years ago Andy Sundstrom came to Australia as a crew member on the 38 foot ketch “Sarong”. He had a guitar under one arm and a balalaika under the other. He wasn’t planning to stay too long, as all his family live in Denmark, his country of birth. However, he fell in love, with Australia, as do so many other visitors and migrants - and he’s still here! He hasn’t wasted his three years here either, on the contrary, he has established himself as one of Australia’s leading entertainers.

 Andy's speciality is the balalaika and in playing it he has been referred to as the “fastest man on strings”. However, his first CBS disc was far from a fast one. It was a haunting melody simply entitled “Theme From An Unwritten Movie” and although it was not a hit for Andy it certainly made a stir among the public as well as disc jockeys and show business personalities. It was Northern Territory  that really established Andy as a top pop artist with his balalaika. His beautiful rendition of Theme From Black Orpheus also became extremely popular with the public. All these tracks you will find on this E.P. and in addition, his latest entitled Free Fall, a virtuoso surfin’ number.

 This collection could easily have been entitled - “The Best of Andy Sundstrom”, but The Unique Sound of Andy Sundstrom seemed more appropriate. It is indeed a unique sound - this strange haunting and brilliant way of playing that rather unusual instrument the balalaika, with a pop flavor. Andy has created a new branch of Australian entertainment business. A branch that is growing in popularity every day. (Partially edited from Urban Bowerbird)

Peter Doyle - The Great Pretender

The Great Pretender/Everybody Loves A Lover/Something About You/s This The Dream

The Great Pretender one of a number of covers of this classic Platters song, Peter’s version was deservedly one of his best selling hits of the 60s reaching # 22 in Jan. 1966, an inspired rendition from a 16 year old.