Sunday, 5 April 2015

New Dream - Soft Delights

Soft Delights/You Got Me Singing/Candy Love/Do You Think You Can Make Me Happy

The Dream formed in 1967 when singer Alex Opitz and keyboard player Jenny Johnson, both from The Changing Times, joined forces with members of another Melbourne discotheque band, The Final Four. In January 1968 they appeared as a support on the infamous Who-Small Faces "Big Show" tour, and in June Peter Nicoll left the group, to be replaced by Brian Holloway. Holloway left later in the year to join the remaining members of Somebody's Image, which became The Image after the departure of lead singer Russell Morris, and he subsequently played in Ronnie Charles' shortlived supergroup Captain Australia & The Honky Tonk.

The Dream did not make any known commercial recordings. In April 1969 the group was relaunched as The New Dream, and their style changed to exploit the current "bubblegum pop" trend; Glenn A Baker has written that their agency was grooming the band to take over from Zoot. They signed with Festival and issued their first two singles during the year, "Yours Until Tomorrow" (April) and Catching Up On Fun" (July), which made the Melbourne charts.

Their first national success came with their third single, "Groupie", one of a string of successful formula bubblegum songs written by Buzz Cason, the American who also penned "Hayride" (the hit debut for The Flying Circus) and "Everlasting Love", which was also a big hit for The Town Criers. "Groupie" became a national hit, reaching #28 in March 1970, but the time the single came out the lineup had changed to Kadell, Johnson, John Bois (bass) and Peter Reed (drums).

Regular dance circuit bookings and TV appearances on Happenning '70 helped the band to build up popularity with teen audiences, and their next three singles all made the charts. "Soft Delights" (May 1971) only just missed out on a Top 20 placing, and although "Candy Love" (Sep. 1971) only scraped into the lower reaches of the Top 100, "Turned 21" (March 1972) fared much better, reaching #31. In January 1972 John Bois left to join Country Radio and he was replaced by Graham Jones (also ex Iguana, Captain Australia & The Honky Tonk).

This new lineup recorded their only LP and their last two singles, a cover of T-Rex's "Ride A White Swan" (Dec. 1972) and "Girl I'm Gonna Get You" (Feb. 1973). Their self-titled LP, produced by Brian Cadd, featured what Ian McFarlane describes as "...a gloriously campy mix of the band's bubblegum hits, easy listening pop fluff replete with sweet harmonies and schmaltz strings, plus a cover of joni Mitchell's 'Cheslea Morning' ...".

The group broke up at the end of 1972; with Kadell embarked on a solo career, and Peter Reed joined Gary Young's Hot Dog (he later played with Pantha and Bandicoot, the group that featured Mick Fettes (Madder Lake) and Shane Bourne). Kadell and Johnson revived the New Dream name for two singles released during 1974. The first, "I Can't Stop Dancing (In The Dark)" (July) was written by Andy Fairweather-Low and produced by Steve Groves (ex Tin Tin); the second the oddly-titled "Schlick Schlak Boom Boom" was produced by Buddy England. Neither single made any impression, and the group faded from view.


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