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.