Tuesday, 3 May 2016
Midnight Bus/Summer Love/Blue Train/Tongue Tied
Scottish-born Betty McQuade migrated to Australia with her family at the age of eight. The family settled in Brisbane, and in 1960 McQuade relocated to Melbourne where she joined The Thunderbirds as replacement for Judy Cannon. Unlike other female singers of the day, such as Noeleen Batley (dubbed `Australia's Little Miss Sweetheart'), Judy Stone and Patsy Ann Noble, who were distinctly middle-of-the-road pop, McQuade developed a tough R&B style in the manner of Wanda Jackson. She went on to cover a couple of Jackson's songs, notably `Tongue Tied' and `You Make Me Mad'.
After working with The Thunderbirds for a year, McQuade signed to the Astor label and issued her debut single, a cover of John D. Loudermilk's `Midnight Bus'/`Tongue Tied', which reached #6 in Melbourne during December 1961. McQuade cut two more singles, Loudermilk's `Blue Train'/ `Summer Love' (January 1962) and `Doggie in the Window'/`Have You Ever Been Lonely?', before she joined another popular Melbourne group, The Premiers. With backing provided by The Premiers, McQuade recorded her fourth single, Jo Ann Campbell's `Bobby, Bobby, Bobby'/`You Make Me Mad'. It was her final single for Astor, and after making regular appearances on television pop show The Go!! Show, McQuade signed to the Go!! label.
Her two singles for Go!! were reissues of `Midnight Bus'/`Tongue Tied' (September 1965) and `Blue Train'/`Summer Love' (March 1966), plus the EP Betty McQuade Sings. McQuade issued one final single `Dum Dum'/`Beauty is Just Skin Deep', for the W&G label (1967) before slipping from view. In 1981 the Raven label issued the six-track McQuade EP Midnight Bus. During the mid-1980s she began appearing in a series of rock'n'roll revival concerts such as The Happy Days of Rock'n'Roll in Melbourne. In late 1996, the Canetoad label issued a compilation Girls! Girls! Girls! (Australian Female Performers of the Sixties: Volume 1), which included McQuade's `Midnight Bus', `Tongue Tied', `Blue Train' and `Bobby Bobby Bobby'. Other singers featured were Judy Cannon, Noeleen Batley, Yvonne Barrett, Carolyn Young, The Taylor Sisters, Vicki Forrest, Lee Sellers, Pam Oakley, Del Juliana, The Field Twins and Joy Lemmon.