Friday, 29 April 2016

The Henchmen - 1966 - Rockin' Robin

Rockin' Robin/Easy Money/Can't You Hear Me Callin'/Baby What's Wrong

Single on Go!! label by Melbourne band originally known as The AMP Men after the insurance company where three members worked. The Henchmen were signed to Go!! as part of their prize for winning the 3UZ Sound Spectacular, a precursor of the Battle of the Sounds.

Formed out of the ruins of two groups, the Ampmen and the Pacifics, the Henchmen were a sextet from Melbourne, Australia consisting of Rick Diamond (vocals), Duncan MacKellar (lead guitar), Doug Osborne (rhythm guitar), Del Smeeton (bass), David Mann (keyboards), and Mal "Frog" Payne (drums). They entered a battle of the bands contest and won first prize, a recording contract with the Go!! label. It was the group's second single, a cover of Bobby Day's "Rockin' Robin" issued in April 1965, that put them on the map in Australia, reaching number five in Melbourne and charting in Sydney as well. Their follow-up, "Can't You Hear Me Callin'," didn't do nearly as well. The group's lineup began changing with the departure of Osborne in late 1965, but the group remained cohesive enough to land a contract with the HMV label, which yielded the powerful rocker "Keep On Going Back." Their swan song came in 1968, soon after the release of what proved to be their final single, for Columbia.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Merv Benton - 1966 - We Got Love

King Of Love/Love  Me  Tender/It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)/Lotta  Lovin'/We Got Love

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.

He toured around Australia with his backing group, The Tamlas. 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.

Monday, 25 April 2016

X - 1978 - Home Is Where The Floor Is

Home Is Where The Floor Is/T.V. Cabaret Roll/Good On Ya Baby/Hate City

Ian Rilen formed X with Steve Lucas on guitar and vocals in the late 1970s. Ian Krahe also played guitar and was renowned for having blood on his hands from playing without a guitar pick. Steve Cafiero rounded out the orinal four-piece lineup on drums. The band's first lineup change occurred when guitarist Ian Krahe died, reducing the band to three members for their first album, ''X-Aspirations'.' Recorded in 5 hours at Trafalgar Studios in Sydney, the album has been listed in the book 100 Best Australian Albums. The band split up shortly after the album's 1980 release.

Ian Rilen went on to play form the post punk outfit Sardine v with then-wife, Stephanie Rilen during X's first hiatus from 1980–83. X reformed in the early 1980s for a tour organised by then manager Nick Chance and booking agent Gerrard Schlager. Drummer Steve Cafiero had always said he would not go to Melbourne and when advised of tour dates, stuck to his word and refused to go, citing family commitments and his career in real estate. Canberra-based drummer Cathy Green was a huge fan of the band and, already knowing the songs, replaced Cafiero for the Melbourne tour on a few days notice. Not long after that, Cafiero died when injected with a dye prior to an X-ray for a back complaint, and Cathy became a permanent member of X. The band's second album, At Home With You (1985) was recorded in Melbourne at Richmond Recorders. The album stayed in Ausrralia's top 20 Independent charts for 29 months. A third album, X And More (1989) followed, and like the previou albums, was produced by Lobby Loyde who had been in the hard rock group Rose Tattoo with Ian Rilen in 1979–1980.

Monday, 18 April 2016

Rob EG - 1966 - Dear Miss Honey

Dear Miss Honey/When You're In Love/Anyone Who Had A Heart/Ecstasy

 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.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 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.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Lime Spiders - 1987 - Live Promo EP

Space Cadet/Just One Solution/Action Woman/Stone Free

For promotional use only - Not for sale Live At The Sydney Cove Tavern, September 1987.

 Lime Spiders are an Australian punk rock band which formed in 1979 with founding mainstay Mick Blood on lead vocals. He was later joined by Tony Bambach on bass guitar, Gerard Corben on guitar, his son Tom Corben on drums, and David Sparks on guitar. Their debut studio album, The Cave Comes Alive! appeared in June 1987 and reached the top 60 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart. 

Their most successful single, "Weirdo Libido", was released in January that year and reached the top 50 on the related Kent Music Report Singles Chart. In April its music video was the first ever shown on Australian Broadcasting Corporation TV music series rage. The track was used on the 1988 feature film Young Einstein's soundtrack. The group disbanded in 1990 and in 1999 Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, noted they had provided "raucous sound mixed screaming vocals and wild, fuzz-tone guitar riffs to arrive at a mutant strain of acid punk that bordered on heavy metal". The band have reformed for reunion shows and tours.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Colin Cook - 1964 - Colin Cook

Heart/Sea Of Love/Mystery Train/A Teenager Feels It Too

Sax player/singer Colin Cook was born in Dacca, Bangladesh and moved to Australia with his parents in 1952. In 1957 he joined his first band, The Sapphires, but by 1958 was playing with Melbourne's most respected rock'n'roll combo, The Thunderbirds. Cook stayed with The Thunderbirds for two years, and played on the band's early EPs for the Rex label, Rex 4 Star and The Thunderbirds.

Upon leaving The Thunderbirds, Cook established himself as a singer on the Melbourne dance circuit, appeared on Bandstand and supported US teen idol Fabian on his Australian tour.
 In late 1962, Cook signed to Ron Tudor's W&G label, and issued 13 singles with that label over the next four years. The singles were Ricky Nelson's `It's Up to You'/`Just Another Rumour' (December 1962), `Crying Over You'/`C'mon Pretty Baby' (June 1963), `Come on Back Baby'/`Blues Baby' (November), Kenny Chandler's `Heart'/`Surfin' Holiday' (January 1964), Phil Philips' `Sea of Love'/`High School Romance' (June), `A Teenager Feels it Too'/`Put Me Down' (August), `My Gal'/`Handsome Guy' (November), Tommy Sands' `Blue Ribbon Baby'/`Heebie Jeebies' (February 1965), `Funny'/ `Stop Sneakin' Around' (July), Crash Craddock's `Well, Don't You Know?'/`Trying to Get to You' (September), Carl Perkins' `Boppin' the Blues'/`Hey Pretty Baby' (1966), `Ain't Got You'/ `Foolish Little Boy' (1966) and `Wanted'/`I'll Always Be in Love with You' (1966).

`It's Up to You', `Blue Ribbon Baby' and `Well, Don't You Know?' were all Top 30 hits in Melbourne. `Heart' was Cook's biggest hit when it peaked at #8 in January 1964. In early 1967, Cook moved to the Clarion label for three singles `Pocket Full of Rainbows'/`Everybody's Talking 'Bout a Thing Called Love' (February 1967), `You Baby'/ `Cry I Do' (August) and `Riot in Cell Block #9'/`I Have My Friends' (March 1968). In the late 1960s, Cook moved to the UK where he worked in the London stage productions of Hair and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's Jesus Christ Superstar. He issued a single on the Philips label in 1972, `Take Your Time Little Girl'/`Love for Living'. In 1979, he formed vocal group The Rainer Brothers, followed by rock'n'roll combo The Jealous Guys.


The Jealous Guys comprised Englishmen Robin McPherson (guitar) and Jim Twomey (drums; ex-Tourists), plus Aussie expatriates Mick Flynn (bass; ex-Mixtures), Fred Wieland (guitar; ex-Strangers, Mixtures) and Billy Kristian (guitar; ex-Max Merritt and the Meteors, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs). Cook moved back to Australia in 1982. He issued one single on the Southern Cross label in 1984 `Brylcream and Blue Suede Shoes'/`Be Bop and Blue Suede Shoes'.

Brylcream and Blue Suede Shoes 1984 release of Australian Colin Cook on the Southern Rock Records label. It was in fact recorded in the UK a couple of years earlier. The backing band was made up of Shakin' Stevens band members. The video clip was recorded at the Keysborough Hotel, Keysborough, in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The audience were regulars who attended the weekly 5o's rock 'n' roll night run by radio dj, promoter, and half-owner of label Southern Rock, Adam Joseph, who managed Cook at the time. While it was promoted with airplay & Colin made tv appearances, it never seemed to capture the public's attention enough to make it a chart success. Pity, because it's a very good piece of nostalgia.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Johnny O'keefe - 1964 - Shake Baby Shake-Twist And Shout

Shake Baby Shake/Good Luck Charm/Twist And Shout/Twist It Up

A national icon. An inspiration to Australians everywhere. The man who single-handedly defined Australian Rock and Roll. Johnny O'Keefe can say yes to all those and more. Johnny O'Keefe single-handedly did more to influence Australian pop-culture than any other national figure. Born on the 19th of January, 1935, Johnny was the younger of two boys. Older brother Barry (b. 1933) Became a prominent Judge and lawyer in Australia.

 Born only eleven days after Elvis Presley, Johnny O'Keefe was often called 'Australia's answer to Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis'. He was all this and more. Right from the get go this raw, precocious, kinetic, talented, young, self-promoting rocker from Sydney rocked the ultra-conservative world of Robert Menzies' Australia in the 1950's, with his gyrating, rebel-yelling performances out the front of his band, The Dee-Jays. Australia, stuck in the conservative 1950's, had never seen anything like this leopard skin suited, ripple soled rock and roll maniac who was 'morally corrupting their children'.

 And he was Australia's. Someone to call their own. Johnny O'Keefe was Australian, and proud of it. Johnny O'Keefe spoke to the very heart and soul of a generation of Australian teenagers who were screaming out for an identity, and he forever changed the way Australian's view themselves, because he was the first, the very first, person who showed Australia that they could rock just as hard as an international singer. And that is exactly what Johnny O'Keefe did. O'Keefe's success was by no means confined to Australia. In the late 50s he toured through the U.S. where he appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show', and became a local legend with his hilarious boomerang throwing exploits as 'the boomerang kid' in New York's Central Park. Johnny O'Keefe is hard to comprehend in today's celebrity for celebrity's sake world. He was the real deal. Johnny O'Keefe was the truly unique Australian.

"Shake Baby Shake"/"Good Luck Charm" Reached #21 Sydney #8 Melbourne #21 Brisbane #26 Adelaide  while "Twist It Up" peaked at #44 with "Twist And Shout" a repectable #27