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


Monday, 24 November 2014

Billy Thorpe - Twilight Time

Twilight Time/Hello Josephine/Baby Hold Me Close/Hallelujah, I Love Her So

Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs were an Australian pop and rock group dating from the mid-1960s. The group enjoyed success in the mid-1960s, but split in 1967. They re-emerged in the early 1970s to become one of the most popular Australian hard-rock bands of the period. Thorpe died from a heart attack in Sydney on 28 February 2007. Twilight Time released in Australia in 1965 reaching #3 Sydney #2 Melbourne #3 Brisbane #2 Adelaide #2 Perth. In Sydney, Brisbane and Perth this was a double-sided hit with My Girl Josephine.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Sunsets - A Life In The Sun

 A Life In The Sun/ Windansea/When I Found You/ Don’t Get Around Much Anymore

Starting out life as a Newcastle (Australia) instrumental band called The Four Strangers.

The group released one well-regarded surf instrumental single -The Rip b/w Pearl Diver – for Astor in 1964, after which their original guitarist (Gary Johns) left the band and was replaced by singer/guitarist Lindsay Bjerre.

Under Bjerre’s guidance the band – now renamed The Sunsets – moved to a more up-to-date beat/R&B style and scored a five-year recording deal with the Australian Festival label.
 They met filmmaker Paul Witzig via a mutual friend who ran surf film screenings in the city. The band initially provided a theme song for Witzig's 1966 film "A Life In The Sun" which met with some minor success around Sydney and was modelled around the Sandals theme for the Bruce Browne film Endless Summer. Hot Generation was the theme for his next film and saw a more exciting original sound from the band.

Becoming Tamam Shud in 1968, the band became one of the first local groups to embrace the late 60s psychedelic sounds, translating the acid-rock into a uniquely Australian context.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Atlantics - I Put A Spell On You

Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do/It's A Hard Life/I Put A Spell On You/By The Glow Of A Candle

By all accounts Sydney's Atlantics, formed 1961, could turn their hand to any style of pop music, from surf to garage. Their biggest hits were two original surf instrumentals that rank among the world's best of the era: Bombora and The Crusher (both 1963).

Vocals on  I Put a Spell On You are by Johnny Rebb of Hey, Sheriff fame, who had joined the Atlantics at this time, following the trend of instrumental bands acquiring a vocalist in the wake of the British Invasion. Released in Australia in 1966, this single reached #29 in Sydney.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Pleasers - The Pleasers

Yes My Darlin'/Forever/She's Had It/High Heel Sneekers

Roger Skinner (Lead Guitar / Vocals)
Brian Layton (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
Kevin Walsh (Bass Guitar / Vocals)
Max Thompson (Drums)

Roger Skinner had served his apprenticeship well, by the time he formed the Pleasers in January 1964. Roger began his career back in 1957 with a skiffle group he formed, called the Kool Kats. With him in that group were Jimmy Elliot, later of the Premiers and the Dallas Four, Peter White on tea-chest bass and Lance Whittington on drums.

After the Kool Kats, Roger formed the Top Hats, who consisted of Graham Gibson, Geoff Land, Neville Findlay, Ian Goldwater, Neil Harvey and Roger. They used to play at RSA dances for several months until Goldwater and Harvey left. This was in 1960 and the remaining members renamed themselves the Versatones. Basing themselves as a Shadows type band, they secured regular paying gigs on the social circuits of Auckland City, playing regularly until disbanding at the end of 1963.

The Pleasers was his next outing, formed with Brian, Kevin and Max. They were inspired by the Beatles and managed to get a residency at the Beatle Inn, taking over from the Merseymen. Building their own group of fans, they were also giving a guest spot on television's "In The Groove", where they came to the attention of the producers of the Wellington based TV music show "Let's Go". They were offered a contract to be the shows resident band until the end of 1964.

This required a move to Wellington, and as soon as they got there they were also offered residencies at Teenarama and at the Petone Youth Club. The Pleasers replaced the Librettos at Teenarama and also as resident band on "Let's Go", after they had gone to Australia.

A recording contract was also secured with Red Rooster, a subsidiary of Viking Records. Their first single was "Ain't Gonna Kiss You"/"Move It". It was a cover of the Searchers song and when released in 1964, the Pleasers used the TV show to help promote it. The follow-up single is their best known one, "Yes My Darling"/"For Ever". It also came out in 1964 and was included on an EP called "The Pleasers" and an album called "Let's Go with Pete Sinclair and the Pleasers" that was released in early 1965. Their third single was "Lovely Lovely"/"Let's Go" and was actually cut with host Pete Sinclair.

They were one of the most visible pop groups in the country, working steadily on the club circuit as well. In 1965 they took the support role on the Dave Clark Five tour along with Lew Pryme and Ray Columbus and the Invaders. During 1965 they returned to Auckland and its club scene, making frequent appearances on the TV music show "Teen Scene".

A second EP called "The Pleasers Again" was released along with one final single, "Justine"/"I Saw You There", before the group disbanded in 1966.

Roger Skinner joined the last Keil Isles line-up for their residency on the "C'Mon" TV show before forming yet another band in 1968 called Motivation.

New Zealand Music


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

Bootleg Family Band - Bootleg Family Band

The Shoop Shoop Song/Honky Tonk Women/Your Momma Don't Dance/Walkin' Home In The Morning

Singer/songwriter/producer Brian Cadd originally put together The Bootleg Family Band as the house band for the independent rock label
Bootleg, which Fable Records boss Ron Tudor had established with Brian in late 1972.
The idea was that the Bootleg house band would provide core musical backing for records and tours for himself and the other artists signed
to the label. The concept was inspired by American musician Leon Russell, who had put together all-star ensembles to back tours and Albums like Joe Cocker's legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen and for Russell’s own Leon Russell and the Shelter People on his Shelter label. That idea was in turn grew out of Russell’s own experiences as a longtime member of “The Wrecking Crew”, the crack team of ‘first-call’ L.A.
session musos who played the backing tracks on countless famous recordings by The Beach Boys, the Phil Spector stable, Sonny & Cher, The Monkees and many others during the ‘60s and early ‘70s.
The Bootleg members were all seasoned veterans of the Melbourne scene, equally at home on stage or in the studio. Drummer Geoff Cox was one of Melbourne's most in-demand studio players, with a huge string of sessions to his credit. He had come from the recently defunct Cycle (1969-73). Members of Cycle including Cox were part of the all-star session groups that performed on Russell Morris' acclaimed solo LP Bloodstone  (which Cadd helped put together) and Circle backed Morris on his first major solo tour in early 1972, which included a well received performance at the otherwise ill-fated Mulwala festival in April. (Cycle guitarist David Briggs later replaced Rick Formosa in the Little River Band in the late 70s.) Gus Fenwick was a former member of the highly-rated but shortlived Healing Force.
Trumpeter Russell Smith joined the band in April 1973, making it an eight piece. He was a long-serving member of the Ram Jam Big Band, Levi Smith's Clefs and Luke's Walnut, the group that replaced Tully as the HAIR house band in 1970. Besides backing Cadd and other Bootleg
artists, the Bootleg Family Band band recorded four Singles and scored two major hits under its own name, adding to the considerable solo success of Cadd and other Fable/Bootleg artists like Mississippi and Stephen Foster.

Their debut, a Top 5 hit, was a cover of Loggins and Messina's "Your Mama Don't Dance" (Feb. 1973) and featured Cadd prominently. The second single "Wake Up Australia" (June 1973) failed to chart but the third single, a cover of the late Betty Everett's "Shoop Shoop Song" (July 1974), delivered another Top 10 hit. The band toured the USA with Cadd in May 1974, performing at Expo '74 in Spokane, Washington and at the famous Roxy Club in Los Angeles. While in the USA they became the first Australians to perform on the American rock shows Midnight Special and Don Kirshner's Rock Concert.

The four single A-sides were combined for the four-track Bootleg Family Band EP alongside their fourth and last single "Green Door" (February 1975), which barely scraped into the Top 100.
By 1975 it was becoming increasingly difficult to keep the large band on the road, so in May the line-up was cut back to a four-piece comprising Naylor and Cox with new members Ian Mason replacing Fitzgerald (who moved to America) and Clive Harrison replacing Fenwick. Renamed simply The Bootleg Band, this lineup was used for mostly for touring, although they issued a final single "How Do I Try?" / "Rockin' Hollywood" in October 1975, which scraped into the lower half of the Top 100.
When Brian Cadd relocated to the States at the end of '75, Mason left the group (he subsequently joined Ariel) and the remaining members
renamed themselves Avalanche.

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

Dig Richards - Dig's Big Four

I Wanna Love You/(Real Gone) Annie Laurie/Comin' Down With Love/My Little Lover

Born Digby Douglas Richards on 12th September 1941 in the remote western New South Wales town of Dunedoo, he was the son of a mounted policeman. His father's work kept the family in remote areas and while he was still young they moved to Narooma, where he grew up. His interest in music began after he found an old guitar in the woodshed. He began singing folk songs at school concerts and then moved on to ballads. He moved to Sydney at the age of seventeen and found work as a Cadet Executive in Waltons city department store. Richards spent his lunch hour looking at the latest guitars in Stanley Johnston's Music Shop. A chance meeting with two other boys at the music shop led to the formation of a group called Dig Richards and the R'Jays.

They held their first dance on 8th August 1958 at the Castlecrag Community Hall and before long had regular dances all round Sydney. Their first break was winning radio station 2UE's Amateur Hour talent contest at the Lane Cove Town Hall. This led to appearances on 2UE's Rumpus Room program and the Coca-Cola Beach Shows. They became the first group ever to play live on the Bandstand, where artists normally mimed their performances. In early 1959 following an audition for Ken Taylor, they were signed by Festival Records. Their debut single, I Wanna Love You, was written by Richards' fifteen-year-old brother and it made the Sydney Top 10 in August.

The success catapulted Richards, with his James Dean-type good looks and natural charm, to overnight stardom and regular television appearances on Six O'Clock Rock and Teen Beat followed. After receiving a petition from his fans, which had a reputed twelve thousand plus signatures on it, Lee Gordon used them as a support act on his Battle of the Big Beat Show tour In July. The tour was also the launching pad for what was to become Richards' trademark - a woollen jumper with a lightning bolt woven in the front of it. Channel Seven's new television pop show Teen Time also made its debut in July with Dig Richards and the R'Jays as the resident group. Their second single, I'm Through, was also written by his brother and reached the Sydney Top 40 in September.

On 8th October, just before he was to appear on Lee Gordon's Fabian Show tour, Richards was involved in a car accident on the Sydney Harbour Bridge that put him in hospital. It took several months for Richards to recover from his injuries, which included a broken hip, broken shoulder and forty stitches to his face. In the meantime Warren Williams and the Squares had replaced them as the resident group on Teen Time. When Richards and the R'Jays eventually returned to the show, the two groups shared the residency, appearing on alternate shows. During this period the R'Jays soldiered on, bringing in Lonnie Lee as a temporary replacement for Richards. They also landed a job as Festival Record's 'house band', supporting a wide range of acts over the following years.

Between January 1960 and June 1961 Richards and the R'Jays released four singles on Festival's subsidiary label Rex Records. Two of them made the local Top 40, the most notable being their first ballad called My Little Lover. During this period they appeared on two more of Lee Gordon's Big Shows; they became the first top-line rock 'n' roll group to tour Western Australia; Dig recorded a number of singles, EP's and an album under his own name; headlined a show at Melbourne's Sidney Myer Music Bowl with support acts Johnny Devlin and Lucky Starr. By 1962 there was a shortage of work available for groups with lead singers so Richards and the R'Jays decided to part company. He continued on as a solo artist with Festival Records, releasing a couple of relatively unsuccessful singles.

Richards made a brief comeback in the charts in October 1962 before turning his attention to grooming himself to become an all-round entertainer. He learnt to play the guitar and took vocal lessons at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 1963 Dig made his debut as an adult entertainer when he launched his new act at a Sydney nightclub. He made his acting debut in the Christmas 1963 surfing musical Once Upon A Surfie and on 10th July 1964 he married his sweetheart of four years. During 1965 he compered his own television show called the Dig Richards' Ampol Show. In 1967 he switched to CBS Records for a one-off single and then headed off overseas to perform on the club circuits and develop his songwriting skills.

As part of his South-East Asian tour, he entertained Australian Troops in Vietnam. He returned to Australia in 1971, by which time his musical direction had changed to country music. He signed with the RCA Records label and released an album that produced his first hit single in over nine years. Richards then set off on the concert trail, performing all around Australia and in 1973 he recorded his next album in Los Angeles. It produced one Top 20 and one Top 40 hit. He continued to record until late 1982. Sadly he died from cancer on 18th February 1983.

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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.

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.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Fatty Finn

Hooray For Fatty Finn/Phar Lap/Mean Woman Blues/Old Slouch Hat/Fatty's Fair

Fatty Finn, is a popular long-run Australian comic strip, was created in the early 1920s by Syd Nicholls. The strip was initially called Fat and His Friends and was first published in the Sunday News on 16 September 1923. Fat appeared as a Billy Bunterish almost bald, nasty schoolboy, complete with straw boater. Fat was usually the butt of his friend's jokes, with those early strips exhibiting much of the cruelty practiced by children and reflecting a school system which believed in corporal punishment. On August 1924 the title of the strip was changed to Fatty Finn, heralding a change in the strip's direction and the role of the main character, who evolved from an English boy lookalike into a knockabout schoolboy innocently living out his days in a never-never urban world. Over the next few years, Fatty gradually lost weight, gained a boy scout style uniform, a dog ('Pal'), a goat ('Hector') and permanent supporting characters including Headlights Hogan, Lolly Legs, Bruiser and Mr. Claffey the policeman. Fatty adopted a more heroic role and the comic moved closer to the standard 'kid' strip with a distinct Australian flavor.

In 1980 the strip was adapted into a feature film, Fatty Finn, directed by Maurice Murphy. The film grossed $1,064,000 at the box office in Australia and was nominated for seven Australian Film Institute Awards in 1981, including Best Original Music Score, which it won. The movie starred Bert Newton, Lorraine Bayly, Gerard Kennedy, Noni Hazlehurst and Ben Oxenbould who later played the character "Ben" in the sitcom, Hey Dad..!

Rory O’Donoghue & Grahame Bond penned the songs for the Soundtrack and the EP was released in 1980 on Polydor Records - apparently without the consent of O’Donoghue and Bond. O’Donoghue’s parents, Terence and Sybil O’Donoghue, who were with D’Oyly Carte Opera in London, both sing on the soundtrack. (Thanks to Ozzie Music Man for the EP and the Bio)