Thursday, 3 December 2015
If You got It/You have a God/ Raglan's Folly
Fraternity were an Australian rock band which formed in Sydney in 1970 and relocated to Adelaide in 1971. Former members include successive lead vocalists Bon Scott (who later joined AC/DC), John Swan (who also played drums and later had a solo career), and his brother Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel). Their biggest local hit was a cover version of "Seasons of Change" which peaked at No. 1 in Adelaide, but nationally it was overrun by the original Blackfeather version. The group won the 1971 Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds with the prize being a free trip to London. Fraternity went through various line-ups and was renamed as Fang, Fraternity (again), Some Dream and finished as Mickey Finn in 1981.
Fraternity were formed in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in early 1970 by four ex-members of the recently-split Levi Smith's Clefs, John Bisset on keyboards, Tony Buettel on drums, Bruce Howe on bass guitar and vocals, and Mick Jurd on lead guitar. The band recorded their debut single, "Why Did It Have to Be Me?" which was issued on the Sweet Peach label in October. Howe was looking for a lead vocalist and called on Bon Scott, whose group The Valentines had just disbanded. They signed with Nova Agencies who also managed Sydney rockers, Blackfeather and their guitarist John Robinson would often jam with Fraternity. Early gigs were at Jonathon's Disco on Broadway in Sydney.
Scott was invited to play recorder on the Blackfeather track "Seasons of Change" for that band's debut album, At the Mountains of Madness. John Freeman (Levi Smith's Clefs) replaced Buettel on drums and Fraternity recorded their debut album, Livestock, which was produced by Doug Ashdown and Jim Stewart. By the album's release in early 1971, Fraternity relocated to Adelaide and lived on a farm. They signed with a new manager, Hamish Henry, and issued a new single, "Livestock" in January. They followed with their cover of "Seasons of Change" in March. The song sold well and became a No. 1 hit in Adelaide – it reached No. 51 on the Go-Set National Top 60. Upon learning of Fraternity's success in Adelaide, Blackfeather quickly released their version, which overran Fraternity's and reached No. 15.
John Ayers (ex-No Sweat) joined on harmonica and vocals in May. Fraternity won the Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds – a national performance competition between the best bands representing each state – with the prize being a free trip to London. Scott's previous band, The Valentines, had been a finalist two years earlier. By September, Fraternity were touted as "The Next Big Band" by teen magazine, Go-Set. Sam See (Sherbet, The Flying Circus) joined on piano and slide guitar that month. They recorded their second album, Flaming Galah, produced by Grape Productions, which appeared in April 1972. By that time, the band had taken their trip to London and attempted to crack the United Kingdom market. Bissett left to return to Australia and was followed out of the band by See who rejoined The Flying Circus (now based in Canada).
Fraternity were renamed as Fang in early 1973, but the band had stalled and was gradually disintegrating, with the remaining members returning to Australia by the year's end. Some members joined the loosely-knit Mount Lofty Rangers project with fellow Adelaide-based Headband members. Scott recorded a couple of songs with Mount Lofty Rangers before being seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in early 1974. When Scott had recovered, he joined heavy rockers AC/DC in Sydney.
Late in 1974, Fraternity reformed with Ayers, Freeman, and Howe joined by Mauri Berg (Headband) on guitar, Peter Bersee on violin and John Swan (Hard Time Killing Floor) on lead vocals. In mid-1975, Freeman left and Swan switched to drums with his younger brother, Jimmy Barnes (Cold Chisel) joining on lead vocals. By late 1975 Fraternity was renamed Some Dream, Barnes returned to Cold Chisel. Swan resumed lead vocals but left in 1976 and, under the name Swanee, had a solo career.
In 1978, Some Dream was renamed Mickey Finn, which comprised Ayers, Bateman, Berg and Howe. By 1980, Freeman had rejoined and a second guitarist, Stan Koritni, was added. Mickey Finn cut a self-titled album for the Eureka label and released two singles in 1980 and 1981 before finally disbanding.