Friday, 31 July 2015

Johnny O'keefe - 1964 - You Excite Me

You Excite Me/Lawdy Miss Clawdy/Over The Mountain Across The Sea/What Do Ya Know

Born John Michael O'Keefe in Sydney on January 19, 1935, into a musical family, Johnny O'Keefe's career took off in the mid to late 1950's when, together with American born entrepreneur Lee Gordon, he pioneered Rock'N'Roll in Australia. Sharing the bill with the greatest names of the rock era, O'Keefe invariably blasted the overseas acts off the stages of Stadiums right throughout the country with his frantic stage act; an act that earned him the title 'The Wild One'. His 1959 recording 'Shout' became the Australian Rock 'N'Roll' National Anthem.  

      Johnny O'Keefe almost single handedly established the Australian recording industry. He won over a very cynical recording company, radio stations and the Australian record buying public and his second to none career 29 Top 40 hits says it all. But for Johnny O'Keefe, it is fair to say that we would not have the record industry in Australia that exists today. He fought long and hard till the day he died to promote Australian talent and to ensure that Australian artists were afforded the opportunity to record. 

      His battle to ensure that radio stations gave Australian artists equal time to their overseas contemporaries is legendary. He gave Australians the opportunity to gain invaluable experience on Australian television before heading overseas. Olivia Newton John, Helen Reddy and Peter Allen are prime examples of artists who benefited from his support. They in turn paved the way for today's artists to be accepted on their merits. All this at a time when we Australians were very slow to recognise the wonderful talent that we had in our own back yard. 

      Johnny O'Keefe had a fierce determination to succeed and to help others succeed. He had a work ethic that would have destroyed most. He had an amazing capacity to bounce back from the many adversities that beset his career, such as a near fatal car accident, and a series of breakdowns. It was as if he was living the old adage - 'the show must go on'.

      His achievements in a 25 year career are staggering. He was the first Australian artist to ever make the Australian Top 40 charts, with "Wild One". He was the first Australian artist to be signed by and record for a major international label - the US Liberty based label. Out of that association came US sales in excess of 100, 000 copies of 'She's My Baby' and two No. I hits and a No. 2 hit in this country. In all, he released over 50 singles, 50 EP's and 100 albums. He wrote and produced hits for other Australian artists; managed the careers of a number of others; compared 4 highly successful television entertainment programs; performed to millions in all corners of this huge continent; toured America, performing in 36 major cities and appearing on the top rating 'American Bandstand' and 'Ed Sullivan Shows' - all firsts for an Australian entertainer; entertained troops in Vietnam; proved to be the major attraction at the three day Sunbury Outdoor Music Festival in 1973; and played a key role in the introduction of the national 'Mo' entertainment awards.

      Australians were stunned at the news of his death on October 6, 1978, but he has left a wonderful legacy in the form of such classic songs as "Shout', "She's My Baby", "I'm Counting On You" and "She Wears My Ring". Johnny O'Keefe was a Superstar and truly an Australian Entertainment Legend.

Cleves - 1970 - Music From Michael

Opening/(a) Merivale  (b) Whispers/(a) Nowhere (b )Down On The Farm (c) Don't Turn Your Back

The core members of The Cleves were New Zealand born Gaye Brown and her brothers Ron and Graham. All three studied music and formed their own group while in their teens. After adding local lad Milton Lane (rhythm guitar) they became The Clevedonaires ca. 1964. The band's name was taken from their home town of Clevedon, just south of Auckland. According to Bruce Sergent, Lane was replaced by Rob Aicken a few months later, although Vernon Joyson's listing for the group suggests that he came in later.

The Clevedonaires originally played "lightweight folksy music", covering acts like The Seekers, Donovan and the Byrds, and playing church halls and school dances around the South Auckland area. By 1965 they had toughened up their style and were covering tracks by The Who, The Small Faces and The Beatles. Gaye had now started playing organ, allowing Rob Aicken to switch to bass, and they started working the Auckland club circuit.

In 1966 Auckland promoter Benny Levin signed them to his Impact label. "How You Lied" / "Rooftops And Chimneys" came out in 1966, and "He's Ready" / "Lost Women" and "Funny How Love Can Be" / "Don't Ask Me What To Say" in 1967. To promote the singles, the band appeared on local TV shows The We Three Show and C'Mon. Their final Impact single, a cover of Donovan's "Sunny Goodge Street", backed by the Small Faces' "Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire" was released in 1968, just before they relocated to Australia.

Now renamed The Cleves, they were one of several polished Sydney pop bands of the period (e.g. The Executives, The Affair, Aesop's Fables, The Clik) who featured tight harmonies, sophisticated arrangements and relatively light, pop-oriented repertoire. The Cleves' first Australian single appears to have been a promotional recording made for the Marionette Theatre of Australia's long-running children's production of The Tintookies. This enduringly popular children's show was based on Peter Scriven's 1946 book Little Fella Bindi and The Tintookies. (Scriven also created and performed the puppets for the Sixties TV series Sebastian The Fox and the 1968 short film The Painter). The single was issued on the Marionette label in 1968.

In 1969 the group signed with Festival and issued two singles, "Sticks and Stones" / "Don't Turn Your Back" (September 1969) and "You and Me" / "Cassie" (May 1970), plus two EPs, A Taste of Energy and Music from Michael on Festival's newly formed 'prog' subsidiary Infinity in 1970. Music From Michael  was a sixteen-minute, ten-part suite recorded for the soundtrack of the "Michael" episode of the three-part Australian film Three to Go. "Michael", directed by Peter Weir, won the Grand Prix at the 1970 AFI Awards and it has recently been included on the DVD release of four short films by Peter Weir. (Another segment, "Toula" featured music by Graheme Bond and Rory O'Donohue). Along with the Bee Gees-like track "Don't Turn Your Back", the EP featured songs recorded for the soundtrack, segued together to form a thematic whole, which "combined certain elements of the British music hall tradition (as espoused by The Beatles) with a more esoteric pop flavour a la The Move".

By this time the band was heading in a more progressive musical direction, and they recorded their highly regarded LP, produced by Richard Batchens, in late 1970. Just before it was released (as part of Infinity's first batch of releases in January 1971) The Cleves backed Sydney DJ Donnie Sutherland on a bubblegum pop single with the outlandish title "Bonnie Bonnie Bonnie Na Na Kiss Him Goodbye" (b/w "I Don't Mind") which came out on Martin Erdman's Violet's Holiday label.

The LP, the highly collectable Cleves has been described by Ian McFarlane as "a prime example of where psychedelic pop gave way to a more progressive aesthetic". The album is dominated by "longer tracks, atmospheric organ/fuzzed guitar interplay and tight vocal harmonies (similar to UK bands on the Vertigo label like Cressida and Affinity)". The highlight was their impressive reading of the George Gershwin classic "Summertime". The album has since become one of the most collectible artefacts of Australia's progressive rock era.

After the album came out The Cleves were joined for a short time by guitarist Vince Meloney (guitar; ex-Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Bee Gees, Fanny Adams). Not long after, Ace Follington (ex-Chain, Country Radio) subsequently replaced Graham Brown on drums. In October 1971, The Cleves moved to the UK (minus Meloney who had by then formed Flite with Leo De Castro) where they became known as Bitch. Before breaking up the band issued three singles, "Laughing", "Good Time Coming" and "Wildcat". These were apparently released  on the Anchor label, distributed by Warner Brothers in the USA. What became of the group members after this time is not known.

Rob E.G - 1965 - Hawaii Tattoo

Hawaii Tattoo/Pagan Love Song/Sweet Leilani/Blue Hawaii

 Robie Porter (born Robert George Porter 4 June 1942) is an Australian country, pop-rock musician, producer and record label owner.

Beginning in 1959 he performed under the stage name Rob E.G. and recorded lap steel guitar instrumentals or covers of country-style vocals. On the local Sydney music charts he provided four top ten hits including two No. 1 hits with "Si Senor" and "55 Days at Peking". From 1970 Porter ran an independent record label, Sparmac, and produced three LPs for Daddy Cool.

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 No. 1 in May 1962, "Jezabel" at No. 2 in May 1963, and "55 Days at Peking" at No. 1 in July; and the vocal single "When You're Not Near" at No. 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 No. 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. 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 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.

Friday, 17 July 2015

The Joy Boys - 1963 - Waltz Of The Flowers

Waltz Of The Flowers/Gavotte Espresso/Xmas Guitar/Wild Love

Col Joye's backing band, The Joy Boys, which included his brothers Kevin and Keith, 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. Smoky Mokes was their biggest hit, followed by Southern 'Rora, an original instrumental in honour of the Southern Aurora, a new Sydney-Melbourne express train (1962, #5 Sydney #5 Melbourne #5 Brisbane #2 Adelaide).


Kevin Jacobsen (piano), Keith Jacobsen (bass), John Bogie (drums), Laurie Erwin (saxophone), Norm Day (lead guitar), Dave Bridge (guitar), Bruce Gurr (keyboards), Ron Patton (saxophone)

Lonnie Lee - 1961 - I Found A New Love

I Found A New Love/Sit Around and Talk/Defenceless/Baby Baby Bye Bye

Lonnie Lee (born 18 September 1940) is an Australian singer. He was raised on sheep property in Rowena, New South Wales and has been performing since the mid-1950s. A Pioneer of early Australian rockabilly music, at the peak of his career, Lee had eight top 100 singles on the national charts. Seven of them peaked in the top 40, including three top 20's and two top tens. His highest peaking song on the national charts was a #2. He achieved five Gold Records. He had his last hit with 'Sad Over Someone' in (1969), but still continues to tour and perform.

Lee got his first break in 1956 with a performance on radio 2UW's talent search, Alan Toohey's Amateur Hour where he came second. In February 1957, he won an MGM contest for 'Australia's own Elvis Presley' and in 1959 recorded his first record for Leedon Records called Ain't it so, which he wrote with Johnny O'Keefe and which became his first national hit. He also formed started Sydney's first Rockabilly trio. At this time, Lee made his first of many television appearances on the ABC's rock and roll television show Six O'Clock Rock as well as Bandstand compered by Brian Henderson.

Other hits were Starlight Starbright (1959), Yes Indeed I Do (1960), I Found A New Love, Defenceless (1960). In 1961 and 1962 he made Sit Around And Talk, When The Bells Stop Ringing, Sitting By The River and Don't You Know Pretty Baby.

His last hit was in 1969 with his own song Sad Over Someone. Lonnie Lee continues to tour and perform regularly both national and internationally.

Lee's recording career achieved a number of notable firsts including

1. The first Australian to have a full colour album cover.
2. The first Australian to record a stereo album.
3. The first Australian to have a double sided #1 record.
4. The first Australian to have a #1 from an album.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Flying Circus - Frontier

I Remember Jo-anne/I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight/The Day The Rains Came Down/When Will I See You As You

 Following the addition of Red McKelvie to the band, this EP released in April 1970 was something of a stop gap measure between the debut album that had the bubblegum hits & the band's landmark Prepared In Peace album. It was also a way to introduce the band's more focused country rock sound to the Aussie public and although not a success, it did the trick. Even so it hardly prepared anyone for the entirely original follow up album. All are exclusive tracks to the EP & show a definite country influence

Friday, 10 July 2015

Billy Thorpe - 1967 - Love Letters

Wee Bit More of Your Lovin'/Love Letters/The New Breed/Dancing in the Street

 By 1966 many pundits were predicting that the so-called "Beat Boom" was coming to an to end. Sensing the change, Billy decided to expand his horizons to become an all-round entertainer. Backed by the "Mark II" Aztecs, he notched up further hits with "Twilight Time", "Hallelujah I Love Her So", "Love Letters" and "Word For Today".

 Released in Australia in 1965 "Love Letters" reached #2 in Sydney, #2 in Melbourne, #6 in Brisbane, #3 in Adelaide and #3 in Perth - a double-sided hit in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth with 'Dancing In The Street'. "The New Breed" released 1966 hit #11 Sydney #20 Brisbane #5 Perth Double-sided hit in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth with The Word For Today which charted alone in Melbourne and Adelaide. "Wee Bit More Of Your Lovin'" also released in 1966 only charted in Perth at #58

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Dave Miller Set - Mr. Guy Fawkes

Mr Guy Fawkes/Someone Is Sure To/A Bread & Butter Day/Get Together

 When Brian Ringrose went back to Christchurch and Al Dunster also departed after a personal tragedy in 1967, the remaining members of Dave Miller and the Byrds renamed themselves the Dave Miller Set and moved to Australia. Not long after their arrival, the band fell apart and Dave put together a new line-up with John Robinson on lead guitar. John had previously been with the Lonely Ones and Monday's Children. Harry Brus, who had been with the Amazons, was added on bass, and Ray Mulholland, previously with Gene and the Dynamites, the Seakers and the Rayders, on drums.

A recording contract was negotiated with Spin Records and in November 1967 a single, "Why? Why? Why?"/"Hard Hard Year", was released. This was followed in May 1968 by "Hope"/"Having A Party" and "Let's Get Together"/"A Bread and Butter Day" in September 1968, along with a self-titled EP containing the first two singles.

Harry Brus left in 1968 and he was replaced for a short time by Bob Thompson. In 1969 Leith Corbett, from Heart 'n' Soul, took over from Bob, while Mike McCormac, from Sect, replaced Ray Mulholland. With this new combination, John Robinson emerged as a fluid and inventive guitarist and the Dave Miller Set attained prominence as one of the first heavy rock bands on the local scene in the Led Zeppelin mould.

Under the direction of Festival's in-house producer Pat Aulton, the band cut its fourth single, "Mr Guy Fawkes"/"Someone Is Sure To" in July 1969. "Mr Guy Fawkes" was a cover of the song by English band Eire Apparent and rates as one of the great Australian psychedelic classics of the sixties. A second EP called "Mr Guy Fawkes" was also released and contained the third and fourth singles.

By 1970 the group was near its end. In March 1970, Dave Miller issued a cover of Chicago's "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is" with "No Need To Cry Mama" as a solo single. Meanwhile Robinson, Corbett and McCormac formed Blackfeather with vocalist Neale Johns. Corbett and McCormac soon abandoned Blackfeather to work with Miller on an album. Issued at the end of 1970, the "Reflections Of A Pioneer" album was credited to Dave Miller, Leith Corbett and Friends. The album's diverse sound was exemplified by the single, "Reflections Of A Pioneer"/"353527 Charles", released in November 1970, which mixed country-tinged psychedelic pop on the A-side with heavy rock on the B-side.

Buddy England - Movin' Man

If I Never Get To Love You/Doll House/If You'll Stay/Movin' Man

 Buddy England (born in England), was a former member of The Seekers, replacing Bruce Woodley and stayed with them from 1975–1981. He was also a member of the Mixtures from June 1969 – March 1970.

As a solo artist from 1963–1969 he released several singles on HMV Records, including "If You'll Stay", "Doll House", "There Goes My Baby", "Movin' Man", "Sunny", "I'm Going For You", and "If I Never Get To Love You". "Movin' Man" was used in an advertisement for Gilbey's gin.

From 1967 through 1979 Buddy returned to the UK and continued writing and recording for EMI at Abbey Road, releasign several singles, including Forgive and Forget, The Name of My Sorrow, Wonderful World, In Nead of a Friend etc. from 1970−1971 England owned and launched Air Records and produced all of its artists including The Vibrants, Love Story, Tadpole, Mick Hamilton, The Tangerine Balloon, and Tony Pantano.

He was integral to The Seekers, upon their reformation in 1974, recording their first return Album for Astor Records.

Buddy still writes and records on his farm on the outskits of Melbourne, Australia. A few years ago Buddy released Fate's a Fiddler Life's a Dance with the majority of the material on this album was written and produced by Buddy.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Tony Brady - 1963 - Big Things Are Happening

Big Things Are Happening/I Have To Laugh/Penny For Your Thoughts/Golden Boy

Tony Brady began singing in the late fifties as a dance band vocalist. His main claim to fame, initially, was the fact that he looked and sounded like Frank Sinatra. In 1960, he worked with vocal group the Graduates for a five month period, during which time they toured with the Fabian Show. Then in January 1961, at the age of twenty-three, he signed with CBS Coronet Records, and released his first single “Angel In A Red And White Scarf”. The song sold moderately well. Later in the year he scored a hit with “Big Things Are Happening”. Also in the early part of 1961, he hosted a national Friday night radio show on the ABC called Mainstream For Moderns. Tony hit the charts again in March 1962, with “A Penny For Your Thoughts”. Later in the year he embarked on a tour of Asia.

Tony changed labels to RCA and went on to release more records, including “Let’s Stomp Australia Way” (written by Barry Gibb and Johnny Devlin) but over the next couple of years, further chart success eluded him. His RCA label backing group were called The Coronets. Eventually when the hits died up Tony went into management and was a promotions officer with Col Joye's agency