Friday, 7 October 2016
Johnny Cooper - Farmer John/Pink Finks - Back Door Man/Johnny Cooper - She's Got It/Little Gulliver - Short Fat Fannie
"Farmer John" Single on W&G, B-side of Oh Donna released in 1965 and charted in Melbourne at #28, by Melbourne rock'n'roll singer and guitarist Johnny Cooper who released a handful of singles on W&G 1965-66 and appeared on the major TV pop shows, notably The GO!! Show. Farmer John was also on the W&G album Go Go Go. Backing was by Melbourne band The Strangers. The deep voice saying, "Now looky here!" belongs to John Farrar of The Strangers.
Johnny Cooper started out in the early 60s with Melbourne bands The Mustangs and The Monarchs, and before going solo he was with The Saxons for a time as vocalist. Johnny Cooper and the Saxons supported Billy J. Kramer on their Australian tour in Sydney,Melbourne and Brisbane. He was a hard-working performer and gigged around Melbourne and beyond, and was still gigging well into the 2000s.
The Pink Finks formed in early 1965 when 16-year-old R&B fanatic Ross Wilson joined forces with Rick Dalton & Ross Hannaford's schoolboy outfit The Fauves, which played mainly covers of The Shadows and The Ventures. They were a part-time band, since the members were all still at school at the time. Hannaford, who was only 14 when the band formed, was often driven to concerts by his mother, and had to be sneaked in and out of the licensed venues they played at because he was underage.
Money was short and Hannaford played his magical guitar work on a low cost acoustic guitar fitted with a Moody sound hole pickup (without controls) through a Burns Tri-Sonic amplifier provided by Wilson. Inspired by the onslaught of English groups like The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things and The Yardbirds, the young band's repertoire was chiefly R&B and blues covers.
David Cameron replaced original rhythm guitarist Rick Dalton in early 1965, with Dalton later joining Running Jumping Standing Still, which included Andy Anderson and Doug Ford, both formerly of The Missing Links and Ian Robinson on drums.
The Pink Finks released four singles during their brief career; their first, released on their own Mojo label, was a raunchy version of The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie" and it gave them an early taste of success when it became a local hit (#16) in Melbourne in June 1965. These were followed by covers of The Shirelles' "Untie Me", Howlin' Wolf's "Back Door Man" and Spencer Davis Group's "It Hurts Me So".
Franklin, Cameron and Ratz left to go to university in early 1966. It appears from the information in Who's Who of Australian Rock & Roll that they were replaced, by Kinman (bass), Lansdown (drums) and Niven (keyboards). Michael Edwards was added on trumpet and sax in August 1966. Jimmy Niven was later a member of the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band (1973–76) and The Sports (1976–80).
Gulliver Smith died on 12 November 2014 from kidney failure, according to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, "Smith drew on vintage rock'n'roll, Professor Longhair-styled New Orleans R&B, psychedelia and soul for inspiration. He was known for his outrageous stage act, which incorporated an inventive free-form approach and much evangelist-styled ad-libbing. Later on, he added a satirical Zappaesque component to his on-stage banter and lyrics."