Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Atlantics - 1964 - The Explosive Sound Of The Atlantics FLAC

The Teddy Bears' Picnic Stomp/Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom Time/Secret Love/Three Coins In The Fountain

Think surf rock classics and a few songs come to mind. The Surfari’s Wipeout, Dick Dale’s Miserlou, Pipeline by the Chantays and of course Bombora, by Australia’s own, Atlantics. Virtually the only successful surf instrumental band, not from America.

Echoing the Shadow’s Twangy Atmospheric Instrumental Sound, they were snapped up by CBS Records and became a household name with the release of their Giant Hit Bombora.

cover-1The Atlantics went on to record seven more singles and four LPs for CBS, all of which are now regarded as classics of the Surf Instrumental Genre. They also recorded a string of vocal singles with various recording companies and these songs are now considered as outstanding examples of Pre-Punk Garage Rock. 

 After a long break from the music scene, original members Jim Skiathitis, Peter Hood and Bosco Bosanac along with new guitarist, Martin Cilia, reformed and set about recapturing the sound that had propelled them to fame so many years before and had lifted them to a legendary status worldwide.

Since reforming The Atlantics have released four excellent new CDs. “Flight Of The Surf Guitar”, ‘Atlantics – The Next Generation”, “Point Zero” and “Atlantics The Best Of”. In 2000 Bombora was given the ultimate accolade by being used in the Closing Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. It was really a thrill to hear the “all new” Bombora during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games! What could have been better than to see Bondi Life Savers and Australia’s own Kylie Minogue making their entrance to the thundering sounds of Bombora!

 Many TV appearances followed on, Studio 22, 10:30 Slot, Denise, Morning Shift, Today, A Long way to The Top and Where are They Now. A string of live appearances at Pubs, Clubs, big shows and Festivals such as, Victoria’s Queenscliff Festival, Canberra’s Folk Festival and “Wintersun” on the Gold Coast, thrilled original fans and introduced a whole new generation to the driving infectious guitar sounds of, The Atlantics.

Their brilliant performances on tours around Australia with the spectacular “Long Way To The Top” Concert and as the support act on the Beach Boys and Chris Isaak Shows, resulted in rave reviews about their music and their talents and once again cemented their title of, Australia’s Greatest Instrumental band, ever.

The Flies - 1965 - The Flies FLAC

Can't You Feel/Doin' The Mod/Tell Her That/Ain't That Just Like Me

 The Flies were the first Aussie band to consciously ape The Beatles. The band supported The Rolling Stones on their first Australian tour and released a number of singles; Tell Her That (July 1964), Doin’ The Mod (July 1965) and Can’t You Feel (September 1965).

Doin' The Mod charted in June-July 1965 #23 Melbourne and was followed onto the Melbourne charts in September-October by Can't You Feel, an original song by Ronnie Burns and John Thomas of The Flies (#26 Melbourne).

 Vocalist Ronnie Burns left The Flies in August 1965 to go solo and spent the rest of the decade vying with Normie Rowe and Merv Benton as the most popular solo singer on the Australian pop scene.

He was replaced in the band by Peter Nicol, who had previously been with a group called The Wild Colonials.

Lead guitarist John Thomas also departed, following some musical dissension, leaving The Flies a trio of Peter Nicol (vocals and guitar), Themi (short for Themiststocles) Adams (bass) and Hank Wallis (drums).

The band called it a day in 1966 with Nicol returning to The Wild Colonials.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Kevin Shegog - 1962 - Wolverton Mountain FLAC

Wolverton Mountain/The Strange Little Melody/I Cant Stop Loving You/Raindrops

Kevin Joseph Shegog (20 August 1933 – 9 November 2000) was an Australian country music singer. He is perhaps most well known for his cover of Claude King's hit Wolverton Mountain and his singles One Small Photograph and Little Kangaroo.

Shegog was born in Lower Turner Marsh near Launceston, Tasmania to Joseph and Elvie Shegog (née Briant). When he was nine years old, Shegog taught himself how to play the guitar. He was also a member of the choir at school. At the age of fourteen, he started performing at venues and began to write his own songs.

Shegog was married to Shirley (née Haas) (d. 1981) and they had five children, Dallas, Susan, Lorena, Angela and Travis. They lived in Melbourne. He was a distant cousin of Vivian Bullwinkel.
Shegog died on 9 November 2000 at the age of 67 from complications of a stroke he suffered 7 years earlier. In 1983, Shegog was inducted into the Australian Country Music 'Hands of Fame' cornerstone.
Thanks to Mustang

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Ron Lees - 1961 - Requests FLAC

Danny Boy/Galway Bay/I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen/Charmaine

With decades of performing experience internationally on radio, television and live performances, plus 27 top selling recordings, RON LEES is one of the great tenors of our time.  His large Lyric Spinto Voice has been heard on every major television and radio station in Australia and overseas. He has also sung lead roles in no less than seven major operas.

 His career started at 20 with a show called "New Faces of 1960" with the English performer DAVID WHITFIELD at the famous TIVOLI THEATRE in Melbourne, this went for 6 months after which he worked as a truck driver for another 6 months until he went into the studios of Channel 7 Melbourne where he met the producer of  the television show "Sunnyside Up", Mr Alf Spargo, who hired  him immediatly and he became the feature tenor for ten years. During this time he was invited to do 3 command performances, one with KATHRYN GRAYSON ( the American soprano & co-star of the renowned tenor MARIO LANZA),  who then chose him  to tour around Australia as her duetist. She remarked back stage "Hey! You sing better than Mario!" It was about then he was given his own television show called "Free and Easy" which was highly successful.

For a further fve years he performed in Sydney clubs, concerts and on television. He toured in South Australia with the June Bronhill show which  went for 3 months.  The tours entrepreneur had trouble paying the acts and they all had to take extra work. Ron got a spot singing in The Blue Cave nightclub in Adelaide where he met his friend actor/comedian Tony Barry.  Ron was then contacted by David McIlwraith a well known entrepeneur who ran the famous LIDO nightclub. He  sang there for 4 years and during that time he worked with international stars such as KATHRYN GRAYSON, JOSE FERRER, JOHNNY RAY, HOWARD KEEL, FRANCIS FAYE, EARTHA KITT, JUNE BRONHILL, JOHN RAITT and many others. In 1974 he won a Scholarship into the Opera, but as fate would have it, a Brisbane television show, "Studio 9", offered him a contract and he became the featured singer on that show for another three years.

 1977 saw him in his first leading role in the opera "The Gypsy Baron", after  that season concluded, Ron sang the lead role in "Tosca" for the A.B.C. on a conert tour of Australia, called "The Longest Land Based Tour in the World".  It was at this time he was recognised  as one of the great singers of our day, getting rave reviews from newspapers and critics alike.  Four operas and four leads later, he was invited to sing at the famous "Genting Highlands Casino", the second largest in the world, where to this day, his life size portrait hangs above Andy Williams and Tom Jones.  After being voted  as the best and most popular singer ever to visit South East Asia, the success of this initial two-week engagement was extended to three months!  Ron then returned to Melbourne for "Madam Butterfly", once again as the leading man, for a very successful season with "Victorian Opera Company". 

 Up until 1994 Ron toured Australia singing on television, clubs and concert halls.  Ron's next engagement was at the famous "Mietta's" restaurant for a 14 day season, in  the Australian version of "The Mario Lanza Show", whilst Jose Carreras of the "Three Tenors " fame, did the version in the U.S.A.  The show was so successful it toured all over Australia. He has received rave reviews for his ability to recall the Great Tenor back to life. During all this he appeared on BERT NEWTON'S 'GOOD MORNING AUSTRALIA' on Channel 10 for 6 years and was voted the show's most popular artist. All though Ron Lees is Australian and has sung leads in 7 major operas there are many worldwide aficionados who regard him as one of the greatest "Italian Tenors" of our century. He has an extensive repertoire of arias & popular standard music which he performs in his exciting cabaret act that includes show songs and some Elvis Presley materiaL. Thanks to Mustang.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Ray Brown - 1967 - The Same Old Song RE-POST

The Same Old Song/New Kind of Love/Duke of Earl/Dance of Love

"It's the Same Old Song" is a 1965 hit single recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song is today one of The Tops' signature songs, and was notably created—from initial concept to commercial release—in 24 hours. In 1967, Australian singer Ray Brown (following his split with The Whispers), took his version into the Australian Top 10 #4 Sydney #23 Melbourne #18 Brisbane #5 Perth It was a double-sided hit in Sydney with New Kind Of Love.

Friday, 29 September 2017

The Chicks - 1965 - Heatwave

Heatwave/Be Bop A Lula/Let's Dance/California Sun

The Chicks were sisters Judy and Sue Donaldson. Both girls were born in Wellington in 1950 and 1952 respectively. They moved to Auckland at an early age and were brought up on a farm in the Huapai district.  They got their first taste of success at a talent quest in Napier one Christmas when they were still children singing as the Dots. A neighbour on the farm was Kevin Borich (later with the La De Da's) and with him they made a couple of acetates at Ascot Studios.

Their lucky break came after the family moved to Henderson, when another neighbour was entertaining, and one of his guests was Peter Posa and his manager Ron Dalton. After hearing them sing, Ron thought the girls had some potential and a few weeks later he invited them into the Viking Studio to make their first real recording, "Heart Of Stone"/"I Want You To Be My Boy". The session players on that gig were among the best in Auckland, the Mike Perjanik Band. It was Mike who gave them their name, the Chicks, and the record was released on Viking in 1965.

 Because they hadn't performed in public, Dalton organised a spot for them at a teenage dance in Dargaville, to test public reaction. They also had a spot on the TV show "On The Beat Side", where they sang their second single "Hucklebuck", which was released with "Looking For The Right Guy" on the reverse in 1965.

In August 1965, the were support act on a tour featuring Sandi Shaw, the Pretty Things and Eden Kane. Following that there was another tour with Tommy Adderley and Dinah Lee. Two more singles were released in 1965, "Do You Want To Dance" with Peter Posa, coupled with "Terry" and "Java Jones"/"He's My Guy". It was time to release their first album and this was called "The Sound Of The Chicks".  

1966 saw the Chicks appearing on TV in "A Swinging Safari" and more tours with the likes of P J Proby. Another single for Viking "Cumala Be Stay"/"Be Bop A Lula" and then one single on Impact "Tweedle Dee"/"Rebel Kind". In 1967 a visit to Australia gave them guest spots on TV shows over there. Two singles were recorded on Festival "You Won't Forget Me"/"Gotta See My Baby Every Day" and "What Am I Doing Here With You"/"River Deep Mountain High" in 1967 and 1968 before the girls joined the team on TV's "C'Mon". This show ran for 26 weeks, thereby cutting out much of their live work because of its heavy schedule.  

 Three singles for Polydor were released during 1969, "Say A Prayer For Michael"/"Society's Child", "Miss You Baby"/"Are You Sure" and "Stoney End"/"Get Ready-Uptight". They also signed to a new manager that year and he tried to steer them into the more sophisticated adult-orientated cabaret scene. This was not successful and in 1970 they split up while under the management of Ray Columbus, with their last single being "I Will See You There"/"Long Time Comin'".

During their time 1965 to 1970, they also had 3 EP's and 6 albums released. After the breakup Judy married Ross Hindman from the Rumour and settled down to raise a family, not before recording one solo single on Philips called "Heaven Is The Place"/"I Can Hear The Picture" in 1970 and Sue went solo under the name Suzanne.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Noel McKay - 1961 - Party Songs For Adults Only Vol.3

Red Lights And Bells/Shimmy Like My Sisiter Kate/Song And Dance Man/You Played On My Piano

Born in Oamaru New Zealand about 1928, McKay began working as a female impersonator in the early 1950s. In his heyday he wore 18 wigs and eight frocks a night during his act, making all the dresses himself after learning to sew in a clothing factory (he was quickly sacked for sewing up the wrong seams).

“People say I make easy money, but I do suffer for it,” he said, regretting that thanks to his shaved legs, chest and armpit, he could never wear short-sleeved shirts and walk-shorts during summer.

McKay was occasionally “accused of being gay”, wrote the Otago Daily Times in 1978. “He vehemently denies this, however, and holds up a 25-year long happy marriage with his late wife for proof.” He doubted that any “camp” people attended his shows, though he had nothing against them. “I don’t give a damn what they do or are. That’s their business.”

By the 1970s, McKay was pleased to see that society had become more open-minded towards his sophisticated entertainment. “I enjoy playing to sensible adults,” he told the 8 O’Clock in 1975. “The ones who can laugh instead of snigger and come to the show for fun instead of dirt.” Then aged 48, he was based at Bondi Beach, Sydney, and had just taken up surfing after his much-older wife Tess had recently died. He was back for a two-week season at the Glenfield Tavern, and would soon have residencies at the Station Hotel in Auckland, and Phil Warren’s Silver Spade cabaret in Napier.

McKay performed in Japan, Britain, Europe and the United States, but all of his many recordings were made in New Zealand. In the early 1960s there were six albums, A Date with Noel McKay, Noel McKay In Person, That’s Me All Over, Noel McKay’s Party Song Book, The Fabulous Noel McKay plus the 1967 live album Bold ‘n’ Blue; all but the last were on Viking, who also released a series of five EPs called Party Songs for Adults Only. Among the tracks were ‘Johnny’s Little Yo-yo’, ‘My Body’s More Important than My Mind’, ‘Sweater Girl’ and ‘Leave My Instrument Alone’.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Ray Brown - 1966 - In The Midnight Hour FLAC

In The Midnight Hour/High School Confidential/Summertime Blues/Rockin' Pneumonia

 Ray Brown & the Whispers were a highly successful Australian rock band from 1964 to 1967. Led by singer Ray Brown, they ranked alongside the Easybeats, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs and Normie Rowe as one of the most popular acts of the period. In 1964, the band played at the Bowl, a Sydney nightclub, doing covers of popular songs such as "Shakin All Over".

In The Midnight Hour was released in Australia in 1965 reaching #2 Sydney #4 Melbourne #1 Brisbane #4 Adelaide #6 Perth one of the bigger hits of this group.

Ray Brown - 1965 - Devoted To You FLAC

Devoted To You/Talkin' About You/Gonna Send You Back To Walker/Shakin' All Over

 Like his contemporaries, Brown began as a soloist at Sydney's suburban dances in front of house bands, until he acquired his own band, the Whispers in 1965. National success came quickly with a series of hit singles, including, "Pride", "Fool, Fool, Fool", and "20 Miles". In 1966, after five hit singles, the Whispers disbanded and the New Whispers were formed, who failed to sustain the momentum of the earlier outfit and broke up. Brown flew to the USA and, despite gaining a recording contract with Capitol Records, did not find success. He returned to Australia in 1970 with a new, bearded, long-haired image and immediately formed Moonstone, who used exotic instruments, such as the sitar, to record their album, and were consequently seen as a hippie folk band. In late 1971 Brown formed the 11-piece One Ton Gypsy, a cumbersome but excellent country-influenced rock band. After this band broke up, Brown continued to perform sporadically, although he has ceased recording.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Ray Brown - 1965 - Fool! Fool! Fool! WAVE RE-POST

Jambalaya/Fool! Fool! Fool!/He'll Never Love You Like I Do/Go To Him

 Fool, Fool, Fool by Ray Brown and the Whispers was a chart topping single o 1965 reaching #1 Sydney #4 Melbourne #2 Brisbane #1 Adelaide #1 Perth. The B-side was Go To Him, something of a cult classic in its own right.

 Fool fool fool released in July 1965, was a cover of Roosevelt Grier's "Fool, Fool, Fool". Lyrically, the song is pretty slight, being a rather melodramatic variant on the "Mockingbird" theme, with a dash of "I Fought The Law" thrown in.
A former footballer, Ray was always known for his fit and non-indulging lifetyle, so it came as a great shock to friends and fans when he died suddenly on August 16, 1996 ,at 53

Ray Brown - 1966 - Now Is The Time FLAC RE-POST

Now Is The Time/Hands Off/Away From You/One Of These Days

Ray Brown and the Whispers were a chart-topping Sydney band that originated in the surf music scene as The Nocturnes. After acquiring Ray Brown as their lead singer, they went on to become one of the most popular Australian bands of the British Invasion era.
In The Midnight Hour was a double-sided hit in Brisbane with Now Is The Time on the B-Side reaching #2 Sydney #4 Melbourne #1 Brisbane #4 Adelaide #6 Perth.

Ray Brown - 1965 - 20 Miles WAVE RE-POST

20 Miles/If You Need Me/You Got That Way/Skinnie Minnie

 Ray Brown & The Whispers were a chart-topping Sydney band that originated in the surf music scene as The Nocturnes. After acquiring Ray Brown as their lead singer, they went on to become one of the most popular Australian bands of sixties era. The focus was on Ray Brown, who became a major star of the Australian pop scene. with a series of hit singles, including, "Pride", "Fool, Fool, Fool", and "20 Miles" #11 on the OZ charts.

Ray Brown & The Whispers ranked with Normie Rowe, The Aztecs and the Easybeats as one of the hottest acts in the country. They made regular appearances on all the major pop TV shows. By the end of 1965, they had already released two LPs, four singles and several EPs, and starting with their second album, Headin' For The Top, they were able to make use of Festival's newly opened four-track studio in Ultimo, enabling them to make great strides in production. In 1966, after five hit singles, the Whispers disbanded and losing momentum over the next few years, Ray Brown flew to the USA. returning to Australia in 1970 with a new, direction and he immediately formed Moonstone who used exotic instruments, such as the sitar, to record their album.

Ray spent most of 1971 back in the USA, returning in late 1971 to unveil the 11-piece One Ton Gypsy an excellent country-influenced rock band. One Ton Gypsy regrettably made no studio recordings, and lasted only until 1973, eventually folding due to the cost of keeping such a large outfit on the road. The only extant tracks by this remarkable all-star band are the two songs they performed at the closing of the Garrison venue in Melbourne in mid-1973, which were recorded by Mushroom and later released as the LPs Garrison: The Final Blow. Whether any other songs from One Ton Gypsy were recorded at this event, and if such recordings have survived, is unknownAfter this band broke up, Ray recorded a superb solo single "Steel Guitar" / "Covered Wagon" for the newly-launched Mushroom label in November 1973. He continued to perform solo, and also revived the Whispers (with new lineups, including Wilbur Wilde) for concert appearances into the 80s.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Peter Nelson And The Castaways - 1967 - Skye Boat Song

A Little Lovin' Somethin'/At A Time Like This/Goin Out Of My Mind/Skye Boat Song

 Peter Nelson and the Castaways originated from Christchurch. Peter's real name was Peter Trebilcock. They appeared on the local TV show "Teen Scene" there before basing themselves in Wellington. With this original line-up they recorded two singles "Baby Can I Take You Home"/"I'll Never Be Blue" and "Down The Road Apiece"/"I'll Go Crazy" in 1965. They were good examples of R&B from that time. Unlike other New Zealand bands of the era the Castaways chose to mine a rich vein of obscure tracks of R&B and mixed them with their own originals.

It was the next single that they were best known for. It was "Down In The Mine"/"So Don't Go". "Down In The Mine" was written by Peter Hindmarsh, who was the bass player for the Wellington band, the Premiers, in the early sixties. Around this time Doug Rowe, from Palmerston North's Saints, replaced Don Clarkson on bass in 1965. 

 One more single was released, "Goin' Out Of My Mind"/"Skye Boat Song", before the group left for Australia in 1966. Following the groups arrival in Australia, Peter Nelson left them to find fame as a solo artist, heading to the lucrative scene in Hong Kong. Peter was replaced by a new vocalist called Frankie Stevens, brother of Jon Stevens and they changed their name to the Castaways.

There were still two singles to be released as Peter Nelson and the Castaways. They were "Knock On Wood"/"Old Man Mose" and "At A Time Like This"/"A Little Lovin' Somethin' ", both released in 1967. As the Castaways they released the singles "Any Little Bit"/"Early Morning" in 1967 and "One More Fool"/"Baby What I Mean" and "Angelica"/"Love Is A Hurtin' Thing"  for EMI in Australia before returning to New Zealand in 1968. During their time in Australia, Len Ormsby was replaced by Reno Tehei, Doug Petrie by ex-Twilights drummer Laurie Pryor, and Peter Gillette by Lance Dixon.

Peter Nelson had previously been in another Christchurch group called the Diamonds, along with a number of others from the Castaways. The Diamonds consisted of Ray Messervy on bass, Don Clarkson on guitar, Doug Petrie on drums, David Henderson on guitar, Kay Bassett on vocals as well as Peter on vocals. They released one single in 1963 called "Ventures In Paradise"/"Lucille".

Don Clarkson had also been with Don Clarkson and the Wildcats, another Christchurch group consisting of Bevan Littler on piano, Elton Burgess on bass, Russ Thompson on drums, Don on guitar and vocals and Brian Ringrose, of Invaders and Dave Miller and the Byrds fame, on lead guitar. They also released one single in 1963 called "Pretty Baby"/"Somewhere".

Peter Gillette went on to play with the Chapta, the Footsteps and Moviez.

After the Castaways dissolved, Len Ormsby and Doug Petrie joined up with Peter Gillette on keyboards, Ben Kaika, now from Compulsion, and a girl singer called Toni, in a new group called the Traque

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Johnny Devlin - 1961 - Gigolo

Gigolo/I'm Gonna Love You/Turn The Lights Out/Wicked,Wicked

 Johnny Devlin (b. 1938 in Raetihi) was a New Zealander who had been a pioneering rock'n'roll star in his home country. Devlin's New Zealand success was in covering American rock'n'roll, and his repertoire included a range of astutely chosen covers, many away from the mainstream. However, most of his charting Australian records were originals, usually written or co-written by himself.

Johnny Devlin had sixteen songs on the Sydney charts alone 1959-1965. His biggest hits were:
Gigolo 1960 #16 Sydney #25 Melbourne #19 Adelaide, Turn The Lights Out Johnny (1959, #3 Sydney, #27 Melbourne, #2 Adelaide), an original rocker by Devlin; the novelty Got A Zack In The Back Of My Pocket (1960, #7 Sydney, #19 Brisbane, #8 Adelaide), written by Nat Kipner, (a zack was a sixpenny piece); and Stomp The Tumbarumba (1963, #5 Sydney, #5 Brisbane), by Devlin, a surf craze song that seems to refer to an inland New South Wales town.

Thanks to Geoff G.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Peter and the Panthers - 1964 - Stomp '64 @320

Come Surf With Me/Love's Made A Fool Of You/How Will It End/This Time

 The year 1963 in the music world was one of new fads and new faces one of the fads was a brand new dance called the "Stomp". And along with it came a brand new vocalist sounding very much like the late Buddy Holly. His name is Peter Leslie and together with his own instrumental group "The Panthers" he has made a tremendous impact on the Rock and Stomp dances all over Victoria.

The Panthers consist of Peter White (Lead Guitar) Ron Albett (Rhythm Guitar) Peter Henley (Bass Guitar) and Bob O'Connor (Drums).

Peter Leslie who in common with many other many well known singers sang for the first in public with a church choir, started his professional career by singing pop tunes with a dance band in 1961.At about this time he met and joinrd forces with the present lead guitarist for the Panthers Peter White and together they began to introduce the dance patrons to a brand new Rock beat during the supper break.  They were immediately successful and very shortly formed the group now known as The Panthers.

Nineteen year old Peter Leslie is a recording engineer by trade and has been largely resonsible for creating and developing the sound of the Panthers. Originally formed in Gippsland Victoria the group must be headed for big things in 1964.

Liner notes from the EP.       

Thanks to Geoff G. for this one.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Barry Humphries - 1958 - Wild Life In Suburbia Vol 2 FLAC

Highett Fidelity/Dear Beryl

 John Barry Humphries, AO, CBE (born 17 February 1934) is an Australian comedian, actor, satirist, artist, and author. He is best known for writing and playing his on-stage and television alter egos Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson. He is also a film producer and script writer, a star of London's West End musical theatre, an award-winning writer, and an accomplished landscape painter. For his delivery of dadaist and absurdist humour to millions, biographer Anne Pender described Humphries in 2010 as not only "the most significant theatrical figure of our time … [but] the most significant comedian to emerge since Charlie Chaplin".
 In 1958, Humphries and director Peter O'Shaughnessy collaborated on and appeared in the Rock'n'Reel Revue at the New Theatre in Melbourne where Humphries brought the characters of Mrs Everage and Sandy Stone into the psyche of Melbourne audiences. In the same year, Humphries made his first commercial recording, the EP's Wild Life in Suburbia Volumes 1 & 2, which featured liner notes by his friend, the Modernist architect and writer Robin Boyd.

Thanks to AussieRock

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Peter Posa - 1972 - Plays Westerns

The Ballad of Jed Clampett/Cotton Fields/Redwing/Mexicali Rose

In the Henderson Valley west of Auckland during the 1940's a boy was growing up who within twenty years would be New Zealand's best known instrumentalist. He would have numerous hit records and make no fewer than twenty albums. His fame would spread throughout Australia and the South Pacific. He would work in the USA and mix with the giants of world show business. He was of course Peter Posa.

Peter was the youngest of three sons born into an industrious Yugoslav family. The family business was an orchard growing apples, peaches and plums, but eventually Mr Paul Posa could see that Henderson was proving to be an ideal place for making wine. So out went the fruit trees and in came the vineyard.

 Peter wasn't greatly interested in all that because from a very early age he had his mind set on music and specifically playing the guitar. He started on ukulele when he was seven. After that he used to spend all his spare time making his own toy guitars. He would find a round piece of wood for the bell, a long piece for the stem, and then steal his mother's clothes lines from the porch to use as strings. Mrs Posa was forever wondering where her clothesline had gone.

Finally for his ninth birthday, Peter was given his first real guitar, he remembers it well. It was a South African Galatone which his father bought for £5 from a secondhand shop. He used to listen to his family's old 78 rpm records, country artists like Tex Morton and Col Wilson and try to copy the guitar licks. He had a few lessons to learn the chords, but worked out all the rest for himself. The family couldn't get the guitar off him.

He got a better instrument when he was eleven and his older brothers used to take him around to talent quests. Peter was a shy lad who didn't dare look at the audience, and he laughs when he recalls that he always used to finish second, even when he played "Guitar Boogie" on 1ZB's "Have A Shot". He also used to do some singing in those days.

At age twelve Peter at last got his first amplifier and began taking a deep interest in the multi-guitar sounds which Les Paul was turning out in the States, this was a major influence on his early career. As he developed in his teenage years he led the Peter Posa Combo which used to play for all types of dances and functions in West Auckland. There were a number of different people who played in the Combo, some of the significant ones are Jack Stradwick and Brian Harris, who were later in the Figures and the Action.

After leaving Henderson High School, Peter thought it was time to make his first record., so he approached Eldred Stebbing of the Zodiac label. Eldred wasn't interested in recording the Posa Combo, but could see a real technical challenge in the multiple guitar style in which Peter overdubbed all the tracks himself.

So the first record was put together in late 1959. It was "Sweet Georgia Brown"/"Some Of These Days" and was the start of his solo career, with nightclub engagements and several more singles to follow. In 1961 the first real breakthrough came when Peter did his own version of the Stringalongs hit "Wheels". It was played on the Lever Hit Parade and suddenly he had a nationwide tour as support act for the English singing sensation Helen Shapiro.

By 1963 Peter was feeling the need to branch out and develop his own guitar style in different directions. So he signed a deal with Viking Records, the "hot" label at the time, which also had the advantage of overseas outlets. His first record there was "Galloping Guitars"/"Jessie", but out of the blue two Auckland musicians, Bill Ivory and Graham Rosling arrived with a tune that they thought had potential. Peter loved it at first hearing and it was about to change his life.

"The White Rabbit" was the name, and even in that wonderful year of 1963, when the Beatles had just arrived and the charts were overflowing with million sellers, it received enormous airplay. Peter was now headlining his own national tour with co-artists Bill and Boyd, and Max Merritt and the Meteors. A string of hit records followed, the same composers came up with "The Mad Hatter", then Margaret Raggett of Gisbourne penned "Grasshopper" and "Hitch Hiker". Peter himself wrote "Gonk", named after the fluffy toy of the moment, and then the track mysteriously called "?", and the radio contest to find it's name, which was eventually "Flapjack".    

1963 and 1964 were one long whirl, Peter says he worked 363 out of 365 days in one of those years. On top of his New Zealand shows, he toured Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tahiti and Vanuatu. To cap it all off, Viking's Ron Dalton arranged for "White Rabbit" to be released in the USA and for Peter to do six months work there. Before he left, his farewell tour, the "Peter Posa Spectacular" swept through the country, which took about eight weeks so huge was the public interest.

 In Nashville, Peter spent time at all the major recording studios and met his hero Chet Atkins. He played on the TV show Hollywood Palace where he was accompanied by the legendary jazz guitarist Herb Ellis. He met Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in Las Vegas, and worked his gigs mainly in LA.

But there was a downside as well. The "White Rabbit" had been released on a small independent label and there was little promotion. What's more Peter was on his own in the States and very homesick. So he made the decision to come home for Christmas 1964 and to confine his future touring to the South Pacific, a similar decision as Howard Morrison made when the world seemed to beckon him also.

Back in New Zealand Peter became a prolific recording artist making more albums than any other New Zealander. He toured the country many times, often as part of the Miss NZ Shows, which now included the likes of Eddie Lowe, Howard Morrison, John Hore and Paul Walden, and also on tours by Marty Robbins, Roger Whittaker, Hank Snow, Slim Whitman and Demis Roussos. In Fiji he was made an honourary chief, in Noumea he was known as "King Peter", and he dedicated one of his compositions "French Caledonian Blue" to that market. He had residencies at some of Auckland's top venues, including the Troika.     

In 1965, Peter and his manager Ron Dalton had been invited to a friends place in Henderson. Their were also some of the friends neighbours there as well. Two in particular were a couple of young girls who sang a few songs. After hearing them sing, Ron soon had them in the studio and the Chicks were on their way to success. Later in 1965 Peter released one single with the Chicks called "Do You Wanna Dance"/"Terry".

His writing talent also won him awards and recognition. In 1975, "Nashville Express" won the Best Instrumental of the Year Award in Australia. The next year his "Rose Can I Share A Bed With You" was a huge hit for Toni Williams.

Today Peter lives happily in Auckland with his wife Margaret.

Peter's total output on vinyl amounted to 28 singles, (14 on Zodiac, 13 on Viking and 1 on Joe Brown), plus international releases, 15 EP's on Viking, plus 1 international, and 20 albums, (2 on Zodiac, 16 on Viking, 1 on Salem and 1 on Axis).   

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Billy Thorpe - 1964 - Poison Ivy RE-POST

Poison Ivy/Broken Things/Blue Day/You Don't Love Me

Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs were an Australian pop and rock group dating from the mid-1960s. The group enjoyed success in the mid-1960s, but split in 1967. They re-emerged in the early 1970s to become one of the most popular Australian hard-rock bands of the period. Thorpe died from a heart attack in Sydney on 28 February 2007.

Originally a four-piece instrumental group who had put out one surfing instrumental, "Smoke & Stack", they formed in Sydney in 1963. With the advent of the Merseybeat sound, they added a lead singer, Billy Thorpe. His powerful voice and showmanship (which made him one of the most popular and respected rock performers in Australian music), completed the original line-up, which consisted of drummer Col Baigent, bassist John "Bluey" Watson and guitarists Valentine Jones and Vince Maloney (who later played with The Bee Gees). Valentine Jones left the band shortly after Billy Thorpe had joined and was later replaced by Tony Barber.
Chart success
The group broke through in mid-1964 with a massive nationwide hit, their cover of the Leiber and Stoller classic "Poison Ivy", which famously kept The Beatles from the No. 1 spot on the Sydney charts at the very moment that the group was making its first and only tour of Australia—a feat which resulted in Thorpe being invited to meet the Fab Four at their hotel.

TMG - Areoplane Jelly RE-POST

Areoplane Jelly (Slow)/Areoplane Jelly (Rock)/Interview

A flexi disc issued in the 70's for Aeroplane Jelly most likely '77 as the interview promotes the TMG Album which was released  in 1977.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Saints - 1965 - Ski With The Saints RE-POST

The Deep Warmth Of You/Snowdrift/Skiing Holiday/On The Perisher Track

The Saints were very much an 'easy listening' instrumental band with some vocals. They put a twist on the surf instrumental genre in 1964 by recording one with a ski theme. Sit back by a roaring log fire, pour yourself a steaming mug of gluhwein, and enter the world of 1960s-era ski lodges.

 Songs predominantly written by producer Sven Libaek, with some by vocalist/guitarist Noel Quinlan, and also drummer George Thornton and pianist/vocalist Brian Myers.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

B<< Gee$ - 1968 - World

World/Sir Geoffrey Saved The World/In My Own Time/Please Read Me

 "World" is a song from the Bee Gees' fourth album Horizontal, released in 1967 in the United Kingdom. Though it was a big hit in Europe, Atco Records did not issue it as a single in the United States, having just issued a third single from Bee Gees' 1st, "Holiday"."World was a #6 hit in Australia and made top ten in charts all over the world and made #1 in Germany, Neterlands and Singapore.
The song's first recording session was on 3 October 1967 along with "With the Sun in My Eyes" and "Words". The song's last recording session was on 28 October 1967. "World" was originally planned as having no orchestra, so all four tracks were filled with the band, including some mellotron or organ played by Robin. When it was decided to add an orchestra, the four tracks containing the band were mixed to one track and the orchestra was added to the other track. The stereo mix suffered since the second tape had to play as mono until the end when the orchestra comes in on one side. Barry adds: "'World' is one of those things we came up with in the studio, Everyone just having fun and saying, 'Let's just do something!' you know". Vince Melouney recalls: "I had this idea to play the melody right up in the top register of the guitar behind the chorus".

Hogsnort Rupert - 1970 - Have A Hogsnort Rupert Summer

Pretty Girl/Lonesome Traveller (Live)/Gretel/Aubrey

Hogsnort Rupert are a New Zealand band. Originally formed in 1968 as Hogsnort Rupert's Original Flagon Band, they shortened their name after their second album in 1970. They are known for their light, humorous brand of music which produced several charting singles, including the number one hit Pretty Girl which also became the biggest selling single in New Zealand for 1970.

The two consistent band members had been; Alec Wishart (lead vocals, percussion) and Dave Luther (vocals, guitar, harmonica). Luther was also the composer of all their hit singles.

 Hogsnort Rupert. L to R: Alec Wishart, Dave Luther, Billy Such, Ian Terry and Frank Boardman.

During their 'Original Flagon Band' period the other band members were; Ian Terry (vocals, guitar), Frank Boardman (bass) whose idea the band was, and Billy Such (drums). However, those three left the band in 1970 and 'Hogsnort Rupert' then became a trio with a new member John Reilly (vocals, guitar). Reilly departed the band prior to the recording of their third album, which was recorded as a duo by mainstay members Wishart and Luther. During subsequent years and varying incarnations of the band, other 'Hogsnort Rupert' members have included; John Newton, Graham Brown, Neil Worboys, Kevin Findlater, Bernie Reber, Dean Ruscoe, and Graeme Luther. The band's manager in the early days was John MacGee.

 Hogsnort Rupert in HMV Studios, 1970. Left to right, Dave Luther, Alec Wishart, John Reilly

Dave Luther subsequently became the founding member of the New Zealand band Dave and the Dynamos who had a number one hit in 1983 with "Life Begins at Forty". Luther was the 'Dave' in the band's name, and 'The Dynamos' were Kevin Findlater (bass) and Bernie Reber (drums).

Hogsnort Rupert went on to become one of the longest running bands in New Zealand music history. In November 2010, the band celebrated their 40th anniversary, with a pair of live concerts held in Napier. Frank Boardman, the man credited with the idea for the band, died in Sussex, England, on 6 October 2015. Frontman and founding member, Alec Wishart (born Alexander Frederick Wishart, 20 June 1939) died on 22 January 2016 at the age of 76 from lung cancer.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Johnny Chester - 1973 - Johnny Chester

Midnight Bus/Gwen Congratulations/Shame and Scandal In The Family/Highway 31

 John Howard "Johnny" Chester (born 26 December 1941) is an Australian singer-songwriter, who started his career in October 1959 singing rock'n'roll and in 1969 changed to country music. He has toured nationally with The Beatles, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette and Charley Pride. During his career he has led various groups including Johnny Chester and The Chessmen, Johnny Chester and Jigsaw, Johnny Chester and Hotspur. With Jigsaw he had five top 30 hit singles, "Gwen (Congratulations)" (1971), "Shame and Scandal", "Midnight Bus" (both 1972), "World's Greatest Mum" (No. 9, 1973) and "She's My Kind of Woman" (1974).

Chester has hosted various TV series: Teen Time on Ten (GLV-10, Gippsland, 1963–64), Teen Scene (ABC TV, 1964–65) and Country Road (ABC TV, 1977–78). He has worked as a radio announcer on Melbourne radio station 3UZ and Radio Australia. He wrote a musical comedy, Rebound, that opened in Wagga Wagga. Chester has won Golden Guitars at the Country Music Awards of Australia for best selling track in 1975 and for Male Vocalist of the Year in 1981, 1982 and 1983. In 1994 he was awarded the Songmaker of the Year Award from the Tamworth Songwriters Association. According to Australian rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, he is "one of Melbourne's first and best rock'n'roll singers of the early 1960s". Music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, acknowledges Chester's "essential inclusion on any major national rock package coming into Melbourne" and later he "helped bring Australian country music to pop respectability".

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Tornadoes - Tossing And Turning FLAC

Tossing And Turning/Buckeye/Walkin' With My Angel/Boom Boom Baby

When I bought this EP I was a little disappointed that it wasn't as old as thought it was, late sixties. I would say it is more late seventies early eighties but that disappointment aside it still a great little EP. This is a custom job and judging by the clips on Youtube these are songs they were performing at the time. Of interest to Executive fans the record was produced by Brian King.

Below is some information taken from the bands webpage .

Reputed to be the longest running working band in the world, the fabulous Tornadoes. Lead vocal Brian Goodger, Lead guitar, David Goodger, Rhythm guitar ,John Goodger, Drums, Peter Goodger. Bass guitar, Harry Mitchel. Formed 1960 and still performing in the Wollongong area Illawarra coast Australia although only one original member remains playing those wonderful days of the 60's and the many years following should never be forgotten.

Fans have always regarded the Tornadoes as "their own". Known throughout the region for over four decades, the fabulous Tornadoes have provided top class entertainment to countless audiences.

 The band’s modernised version of that long time classic Ghost Riders (in the Sky) gained huge success at dance and country venues throughout Australia, Britain and the United States and reached Number 6 on the national dance charts across America.

With that success behind them, the Tornadoes negotiated a recording contract with Arcade and Sony / BMG records for release of Ghost Riders in Europe and Australia.

In 2006, the Tornadoes were selected to be a part of the Best of the Best tour of New Zealand. As well as the Tornadoes, the tour featured some of the biggest stars of the Australasian music scene of the past 40 years including Sharon O’Neill, Ray Columbus ( Invaders fame ), and Australasia’s King of Rock and Roll Johnny Devlin. Having played in 11 major cities across New Zealand, the Tornadoes captivated audiences and earned a new legion of fans from across the Tasman. The tour, organized by Pacific Entertainment of Auckland, proved to be one of the most successful tours of New Zealand that year.
 More recently, the Tornadoes had another huge hit on their hands that went balistic around the world. "Crocodile Roll", penned by the band, was a sensational hit with fans.  Members of the fabulous Tornadoes are Fred Marsh, David Goodger, Harry Mitchell, Peter O'Reilley, Wayne Rogers and Evan Kerr.

The Tornadoes strong point is their ability to deliver a repertoire consisting of over 50 years of great music. Lead vocals by Fred,Wayne, Peter and Evan and harmonies by David and Harry, together with the raunchiness of the rhythm section, form the nucleus of the Tornadoes captivating sound.

The Tornadoes sound is a unique blend of rock and roll to boot scootin’ rock and country to classic ballads which always leave the fans wanting more.

Music fans are always left satisfied after a Tornadoes gig because the fabulous TORNADOES put dance in your pants!

Friday, 31 March 2017

Purple Hearts - 1966 - The Sound of The Purple Hearts

0f Hopes & Dreams & Tombstones/Here T'is/ I'm Gonna Try/Long Legged Baby

The Purple Hearts were an Australian R&B, rock group, formed in Brisbane as the Impacts in 1964. The band included lead vocalist Mick Hadley, lead guitarist Barry Lyde (later known as Lobby Loyde), rhythm guitarists Paul Steffen (1964–65) and Fred Pickard (1965-66), bassist Bob Dames, and drummers Adrian "Red" Redmond (1964–66) and Tony Cahill (1966-67). The group issued an extended play, The Sound of the Purple Hearts (1966), and several singles, including "Long-legged Baby" (1965) and "Early in the Morning" (1966). They disbanded early in 1967.

Purple Hearts were formed in Brisbane in 1964 with the original line-up of Bob Dames on bass guitar (ex-Impacts), Mick Hadley on lead vocals (ex-Impacts), Barry Lyde on lead guitar (ex-Stilettos), Fred Pickard on rhythm guitar and Adrian "Red" Redmond on drums. Dames and Hadley had both migrated from London in the previous year or so and formed the Impacts, an R&B group, with Scotish-born Pickard and two locals, Lyde and Redmond. Lyde had joined the Stilletos in 1963 to play the Shadows-styled instrumentals and left near the end of the following year to join the Impacts.

Brisbane, traditionally the most conservative of Australia's state capitals, has fostered some of this country's most anarchistic rock bands from the Purple Hearts to the Saints. The Purple Hearts were tough, arrogant and pioneering and Lyde, as Lobby Loyde, is acknowledged as Australia's first true rock guitar hero – busy blowing up speaker boxes before high volume and feed-back became rock staples. When the Impacts performed in Melbourne, they found another band of the same name, so Dames provided their new name – Purple Hearts – for the illicit amphetamine pills favoured by the mod subculture. The group's debut single, "Long-legged Baby", was a cover version of Graham Bond's track. It was "a rough recording made at a radio station studio" and issued "on the obscure, independent label Soundtrack" in 1965.

They signed with Sunshine Records (home to Normie Rowe) and reissued "Long-legged Baby" in October 1965, which reached the top 10 in Brisbane. The group were uncompromising in their attitude toward recording; consequently, their handful of singles are enduring artefacts of their style, which blended blues, R&B and prototype psychedelic rock, a style made even tougher by the regional influences. The group relocated to Sydney where Redmond was replaced by Tony Cahill on drums.

Early in 1966 they moved base to Melbourne, where they "ruled over the city's discotheque circuit." According to music journalist, Ed Nimmervoll, "they were making an impression in their own right, not because their music was the latest thing. The Purple Hearts' Mick Hadley was an amazing frontman, riveting audiences with his wild-eyed performances. The rest of the band were quickly considered the best in their field, especially guitarist Barry Lyde." In February of that year they issued their second single, "Of Hopes and Dreams and Tombstones". It was a cover version of the United States singer, Jimmy Fraser's 1965 single.

 They enjoyed minor chart success with their next single "Early in the Morning" (August 1966) – a cover of a 1947 field recording of a traditional prison song by Alan Lomax, released in 1959 – which peaked at No. 9 in Melbourne and No. 13 in Brisbane. Soon after they compiled their earlier singles, "Long-legged Baby" and "Of Hopes and Dreams and Tombstones" on a four-track extended play, The Sound of the Purple Hearts, on the Sunshine label. They made several appearances on a pop TV series, The Go!! Show. On 23 January 1967 the group issued a press release stating "they had ceased to progress musically, were becoming stagnant and, therefore, had decided to split." Lyde, under the name Lobby Loyde, had already joined Wild Cherries in that month, alongside Keith Barber on drums, Peter Eddey on bass guitar, Les Gilbert on organ and Danny Robinson on vocals. The other four members of Purple Hearts continued for another month and released two more singles, "You Can't Sit Down" (January 1967) and "Chicago" (posthumously in April). Cahill travelled to the United Kingdom where he joined the Easybeats on drums.

 Following the split of the Purple Hearts, Hadley spent several months in the UK. There he was contacted by Go-Set journalist Lily Brett, who invited him to join Rob Lovett (ex-The Loved Ones, her then-domestic partner) and Malcolm McGee (ex-Python Lee Jackson) in the Virgil Brothers, a male soul vocal trio, modelled on the Walker Brothers. Hadley was only involved for a brief period and dropped out of the group after a few rehearsals, before the group made its live debut in mid-1967. He was replaced in the group by 18-year-old vocalist, Peter Doyle, who subsequently became a member of the New Seekers.

Following his departure from the Virgil Brothers, Hadley reunited with Dames and kept the Purple Hearts tradition alive by forming the Coloured Balls. Besides Dames and Hadley the R&B group included Sam Shannon on lead vocals, Robbie Van Delft on guitar (ex-Mike Furber and the Bowery Boys) and Peter Miles on drums (ex-Bay City Union). Loyde revitalised the traditional jazz band, the Wild Cherries, into a psychedelic rock group. He played a pivotal role in Billy Thorpe's transformation from clean-cut 1960s pop idol into an archetypal long-haired, guitar-wielding 1970s hard rocker. In 1972 Loyde led a reformed version of the Coloured Balls as a progressive rock group, with Andrew Fordham on guitar and vocals; Janis Miglans on bass guitar; and Trevor Young on drums.[ Loyde was also a record producer. In 1970 Dames and Miles were members of Bulldog, a progressive blues trio, with UK-born Mick Rogers.

Easybeats - 1882 - Son Of Son Of Easyfever

All Gone Boy/Hound Dog/Coke Ads 2 & 3/ Interview/Watch Me Burn/Where Did You Go Last Night/Little Red Bucket

 "All Gone Boy" This was recorded for the UK "Good Friday" LP but only ever surfaced on a Frnch and an Australia EP prior to appearing on the "Albert Archives" LP in 1979.
"Hound Dog" One of a handful of non original Easybeats UK tracks passed over for Australian release issued on the UK "Good Friday" LP.
"Watch Me Burn" second haly of a two song suite (with "I'm On Fire") penned for Mike Furber. A Central Sound recording. Vocal by Stevie.
"Where Did You Go Last Night" from the 1967 Olympic Studios session for the scapped second UK LP. Vocal by George piano by Nicky Hopkins drums Freddy Smith. "Little Red Bucket" another 1968 Central Sound demo track, previously recorded by UK group Bubblegum.

Easybeats - 1979 - Mean Old Lovin' (Raven)

Mean Old Lovin'/I'm Happy/Hey Babe/I Don't Agree/Keep Your Hands Off My Babe/No One Knows

The six tracks on this EP represent the cream of the 40 or so unreleased tracks from the Easybeats first recording sessions in 1965.
When Ted Albert took the totally inexperienced group into the 2UW radio theater  in Sydney, he was determined to catch on tape absolutely everything in their repertoire, lest he miss a possible hit.
Although their first single "For My Woman" came from those early sessions, virtually all of the material was left in the can. he six songs contained here in are by no means as polished and revolutionary as the more familiar Easybeats Australian material. But they are solid inventive rock ditties which adequately evidence the degree of original class which the group possessed, from it's very beginnings at the Villawood Migrant Hostel in 1964.

Easybeats - Son Of Easyfever (Raven)

Find My Way Back Home/Coke Ad/Mandy/I'm Just Trying/Look Out I'm On the Way Down

 "Find My Way Back Home" is a Nashville Teens song recorded for a 1965 TV spot on the Johnny O'Keefe show promoting "For My Woman" the result of an odd rule allowing only one original song to be telecast. This never made it to air being replaced by "I Who Have Nothing". Recorded EMI Sydney.
 Coke Jingle sung to the tune of "Come And See Her" Vocals by Stevie and Dick. "Mandy" from the unreleased first UK sessions with Ted Albert at Abbey Road shortly after arrival from Australia. " I'm Just Trying" A fine soul/rock track from the Central Sound Studio demo tapes vocals by George. "Look Out I'm On The Way Down" another Central Sound demo with a commercial pop sound vocal by Harry.

Easybeats - 1986 - Historeasy

Historeasy/She's So Fine (Live)/Hello, How Are You

 There were abortive plans for an Easybeats reunion in 1979, but happily there was a grand 'last hurrah' for the Easybeats in 1986. The classic lineup, with Snowy Fleet, got back together for a national tour and in spite of Snowy literally not having touched the drums since his departure in 1967, the old magic was still there. They performed to sell-out houses around the country and treated fans old and new to the magic that had made the them legends. Stevie was, at least for that time, back in good health, as vital and exciting as ever, even performing his famous leaps and backflips. The final Sydney concert was filmed and recorded and several tracks were later released by Raven. The Easybeats    released the EP HistorEasy - Tour '86 Souvenir Medley in November 1986

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Johnny Devlin - 1959 - Sings Ballads

 I'm Counting On You/Love Me/Susie Darlin'/When My Mother Prayed For Me

 Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's first major rock'n'roll star. He had a major effect on the domestic scene. He was the first musician that parents loved to hate. He was the first performer to be awarded with a gold record. Also the first to go on an extended national tour and the first successful artist to leave the local shores for Australia. Mad hysteria had taken New Zealand by storm in proportions they had never seen before. Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's original king of rock'n'roll.

John Lockett Devlin was born on May 11, 1938, the son of a railway ganger stationed in the small mid-North Island town of Raetihi. The family soon shifted to near-by Ohakune and then Marton before eventually settling in Wanganui, where John spent his formative years. He received a guitar for his eleventh birthday and it never left his side. His parents and three other brothers were all musically minded and when in his early teens, they formed a group called the Devlin Family. They performed country songs at Wanganui talent quests. The family used to listen to the Lever Hit Parade to get new songs to perform. One night they heard "Rock Around The Clock" and were blown away. But the song that really influenced Johnny the most, was Elvis's "Heartbreak Hotel". 

 The Devlin Family had been performing regularly until 1955, when the parents retired from the entertainment game. The four brothers, plus the odd friend or cousin, continued to perform as the River City Ramblers, playing country and western, skiffle, and later Bill Haley style rock'n'roll. Throughout 1956, enthusiasm began to ebb, and one by one the brothers dropped out, and more frequently weekends would see Johnny performing as a soloist. By the end of the year, the River City Ramblers were no more. It was then that he heard "Heartbreak Hotel" and his life was changed forever.

Devlin entered every amateur talent quest he could find and chasing up every Elvis Presley recording he could lay his hands on, for the next eighteen months he would perform nothing but Presley material. On weekends, Devlin would often go to Palmerston North and whenever he had the chance he would sing his Elvis songs in talent contests run at the youth club there by pioneering New Zealand rock'n'roller Johnny Cooper. The first to recognise a certain something in Devlin, Johnny Cooper took him under his wing, coached him in the art of stagecraft and persuaded him to practice his moves in front of a mirror. He said to Devlin, with a bit of work, you could become New Zealand's Elvis Presley.

So in February 1957, an 18 year old bank clerk from Wanganui, won his first talent quest as a rock'n'roll performer. Over the next four months, he gyrated, jumped, grimaced and growled at quests in the towns near by. He didn't win them all, but the younger members of the audience knew who the night's star was. One weekend in Palmerston North he met Dennis Tristram, a rock'n'roll dancer, who tried to persuade Devlin to move to Auckland. Devlin was happy to stay where he was, but did run into Tristram again, a month or so later, when he was in Auckland. Dennis persuaded Johnny to come down to the Jive Centre and sing with the resident band. The owner, Dave Dunningham, gave him an audition and agreed to let him do a set that night. Johnny Devlin's debut at the Jive Centre featured an all-Presley repertoire and although there was a general buzz in the audience before he commenced, no-one was prepared for what was to follow. By the time he completed his set, girls were screaming and everyone else was in awe and disbelief. Dave Dunningham was impressed and offered him a regular spot. Back in Wanganui he thought it over and a month later, March 1958, he returned to Auckland.

Dave Dunningham became his manager and within a month he had made Johnny Devlin the talk of the town With Auckland conquered, Dunningham realised that the quickest way to break Devlin nationally was with a record release, but all the record companies in the country gave the thumbs down. They were very nervous about this type of music.

Phil Warren, a part-time drummer, began working at Begg's Music Store in 1955, and later formed Prestige Records, primarily to distribute overseas releases from independent labels. Dunningham pressured Warren into recording Devlin, so they came to an agreement and selected a poor-selling Presley release, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" for the debut single. It was recorded at the Jive Centre one Sunday afternoon in May 1958, using the Dixielanders as the backing group, and given the primitive circumstances of the session and surroundings, the quality was awful, but "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" launched Johnny Devlin as New Zealand's first superstar when it was released in June 1958 on the Prestige label. Recorded at the same session was the flipside, "When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again". A romping sax break replaces the guitar on Elvis's version.

Although the single got very little airplay, the broadcast panel thought it was not of sufficient quality, it was snapped up by Auckland's teens in an unprecedented frenzy. Once sales had topped the 2000 mark, the radio stations could no longer ignore it, and within a few weeks the disc was at the top of the Lever Hit Parade. By now the Dixielanders were out of the picture and Johnny was working with the Bob Paris Combo as his back-up band.

Devlin was now in great demand and by August, his record sales had passed the 10,000 mark. Time to record more records. With this he entered Bruce Barton's Wellesley Street studio for his second recording session. Between August and October Devlin recorded a dozen tracks, to be released as Phil Warren saw fit. The Bob Paris Combo were used as backing on all of these tracks. Warren was receiving little-known records from American artists for distribution by his record company, but selected a few to give to Devlin to record.

His second single was a cover of both sides of a Jimmy Lloyd record, "I Got A Rocket In My Pocket"/"You're Gone Baby". An excellent recording, it unfortunately received little airplay and sold only moderately well, but within a fortnight Devlin's third single appeared. "Slipping Around"/"Straight Skirt" sold a lot better and without the Presley influence, it demonstrated that New Zealand could produce credible rock'n'roll.

By November 1958, his three singles had sold 50,000 copies. Between November 1958 and May 1959, Prestige released eight further singles, plus three EP's and an album, amassing total sales in excess of 200,000.

 Graham Dent was an employee of the Kerridge Organisation which operated a string of theatres and cinemas throughout the country. Dent had been responsible for making the "Rock Around The Clock" movie successful in the cinemas. He was promoted to manage a new cinema in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier. On Sunday afternoons he ran concerts for the local youth club and talent quests. Recognising Devlin's potential, he organised a concert there. With its success he approached his boss, Robert Kerridge, about the possibility of using their theatre chain to promote a national tour. After some initial doubt, his boss agreed to a two-week tour with extensions if successful.

Dave Dunningham left the management to Phil Warren, so Phil and Graham put together a schedule. Bob Paris and his band weren't keen on going on the road, so a new backing band had to be put together. Dent asked multi-instrumentalist Claude Papesch if he could put a band together. Claude was a sixteen year old blind musician, who was a regular at the Point Chevalier youth club. Papesch recruited guitarist Peter Bazely, bassist Keith Graham and drummer Tony Hopkins. Together they became the Devils, one of New Zealand's first truly rock'n'roll bands. 

The tour kicked of at Wellington on November 21, 1958. Over the next two weeks he performed for close to 20,000 ecstatic fans in Wellington, Palmerston North, Masterton, Napier, Gisbourne and Tauranga. The press raved and chaos broke out at every performance. The shows exceeded everyone's expectations, with New Zealand having never seen anything remotely like it.

Back in Auckland, another two-week tour was being organised, but before setting out, Devlin was rushed back into the studio, where in one night he recorded sixteen more tracks. In late November his fourth single, recorded earlier in the year, was released. It was "6.5 Hand Jive"/"Play Rough". In December, five more records were released, three singles and two EP's. The singles were "Wild One"/"The Watch", "Crazy Baby Crazy"/"My True Love", and "Bony Moronie"/"Leroy". The first EP was a freebie called "Hit Tunes" put out by Coca-Cola, who had been part sponsoring his tour. It contained the tracks "Cast Iron Arm", "Nervous", "Say Yeah", "Matador Baby", "Believe Me" and "Rave On". The other EP was called "How Would Ya Be?" and contained "Straight Skirt", "How Would Ya Be", "Slipping Around" and "I'm Grateful".   

Devlin set off on the second leg of his tour and the media followed him wherever he went. He was constantly making headlines. After his shows he was mobbed by screaming girls and on one occasion lost sleeves from his shirt. This was big news with headlines claiming "Girls Fight Over Singer's Shirt" and from then on a piece of his shirt was every girls aim.

By the end of 1958, Devlin had conquered the North Island, but was still relatively unknown in the South Island. A tour down there was going to be a challenge as there was a local lad in Christchurch who was also attracting attention. He was Max Merritt and the Meteors. His fans were fiercely loyal and the bookings for the Christchurch show were light. Dent was going to cancel the show, but came up with an idea. He invited MP and Cabinet Minister Mabel Howard to a champagne party followed by the Devlin show, and after the pair would be driven off to meet up with Max Merritt. A pink convertible was used and of course the press were there, along with the usual mob of screaming fans. A stroke of genius and from there on the South Island was bedlam.

By February 1959, Johnny Devlin's record sales had reached astronomical proportions. A new single was released, "20 Flight Rock"/"Move It" and another EP called "Johnny Sings Ballads". Its tracks were "Love Me", "I'm Counting On You", "Susie Darling" and "When My Mother Prayed For Me". Devlin's original recording of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" had sold steadily since its mid-1958 release. With sales in excess of 30,000 and orders for another 10,000 after his South Island tour, it was decided to re-record the song under better conditions. The new version was released in February 1959 and well and truly out sold the original version, two to one, with combined sales exceeding 100,000. "Susie Darling" was placed on the flipside of the new version.

In the next two months, two more singles and another EP were released. The first was "Nervous Wreck"/"Queen Of The Hop" and the second a tribute to his backing band "Rock With The Devils" backed with "Devil's Rock", an instrumental by the Devils. The EP was just called "Johnny Devlin" and contained "High Heeled Shoes", "Hard To Get", "Big Green Car" and "Your Cheatin' Heart".

In March 1959, Devlin left on what was to be his final tour of the country. He took in the smaller centres that hadn't experienced the Devlin hysteria and madness. It was same old story wherever he went, but inside the show, things were starting to fall apart. There was internal bickering, and being mobbed and screamed at was no longer a novelty. The whole touring thing was becoming a bore. The only remaining highlight came when in Wellington, he met the touring evangelist Billy Graham and the Prime Minister Walter Nash. A picture of the three of them appeared in the following days newspaper. A week later, having had enough of the goings-on, Robert Kerridge pulled the plug on the tour.

With his career in temporary limbo, Devlin returned home to Wanganui to celebrate his 21st birthday. Meanwhile, Phil Warren received a phone call from Sydney-based American promoter, Lee Gordon, who was in the process of organising an Australasian tour for the Everley Brothers. He wanted to know if Phil could handle the New Zealand leg. Phil agreed on the condition that Johnny Devlin be placed on the bill for the Australian concerts. They agreed and with no fuss, fanfare or farewell concert, Johnny Devlin and the Devils slipped out of New Zealand in the last week of May 1959. Although he was moderately successful in Australia, his reign as a social phenomenon was over. It had lasted a mere twelve months.

                                Johnny Devlin with the Beatles on their New Zealand tour.

Another EP, also called "Johnny Devlin" was released, containing "Flat 13", "Queen Of The Hop", "I Was Robbed" and "Patty". The last two Prestige singles also came out. They were "White Lightening"/"Doreen" and "I Was The One"/"Pointed Toe Shoes". Prestige also released an album called "Johnny" in 1959.   

Devlin continued to record while in Australia. Between 1959 and 1981, while using at least 14 different record labels, he released a further 40 singles, ten EP's and three albums. Music World released a an album called "24 Original Golden Greats" in 1980 that contained all of his New Zealand singles.  

Johnny Devlin still continues to perform on the club level in Australia. Of the original Devils, only Claude Papesch dedicated his life to music. Widely traveled around Australasia, he eventually settled in NSW, working more in the jazz field than the rock'n'roll which launched him. Battling cancer during the last years of his life, he served time on the Lithgow City Council and was elected Mayor of Lithgow in 1984 but due to ill health was unable to complete his term. Claude died, aged 45, in February 1987. Keith Graham went on to play with the Embers.

Festival released two great CDs that cover pretty much all of Johnny's work. The first in 1998 covers his Australian years, while the second, released in 2001, was a compilation of his New Zealand 
Prestige years.