Saturday, 4 March 2017
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".
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.
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
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Since My Best Girl Turned Me Down/Barnacle Bill (Vocal Gerry Humphries & Bill Howard)/Perdido Street Blues/Tight Like That (Vocal Gerry Humphries)
The Red Onion Jazz Band was formed around 1960, as the Gin Bottle Jazz Band, by Allan Browne who was taking lessons from Melbourne University Jazz Band's drummer, Norm Hodges, and Brett Iggulden who was taking trumpet lessons from Ade Monsbourgh, then one of Australia's leading jazzmen. The original lineup, drawn largely from the bayside Beaumaris, Sandringham and Brighton suburbs of Melbourne, consisted of Allan Browne, drums; Brett Iggulden, trumpet; Kim Lynch, tea-chest bass; Bill Howard trombone; Felix Blatt, banjo and John Pike, piano, while Brett’s sister Sally (aka "Sweet Sal", who later married Browne and became a clothes designer) was an occasional addition on washboard. John Funsten, another pupil of Ade Monsbourgh, was added on clarinet. They played New Orleans inspired traditional jazz and infused it with their own vitality, their flair for presentation and promotion and zany sense of humour.
Jazz standards were the material for their first job at St Michael & All Angels Anglican Church hall dance in Beaumaris, and by about April 1961, they were given a brief spot at the Melbourne Jazz Club; their first introduction into the Melbourne jazz scene and in June Corrine Kirby included them on her ABC T.V. programme Let's Make a Date for which, at the insistence of Channel 2 executives a name change from their original Gin Bottle Jazz Band to the more respectable Red Onion Jazz Band was made, the title chosen in honour of an early Louis Armstrong recording group. They opened then at the 'Oxford' Jazz Club, where they continued for six months, with Fred Charles on clarinet.
In November 1961, Geoff Thomas took over from Felix Blatt as banjoist and the band started the Red Onion Jazz Club in Brighton. They also played at the Downbeat Jazz Concert in 1962 before Fred Charles and Geoff Thomas left the band in October and were replaced by Gerry Humphries (born Brian Anton Humphrys, 1941, in Battersea, England) and Rainer Breit. After securing gigs at the Ormond R.S.L. Hall and Beaumaris Yacht Club, they joined the 17th Jazz Convention in Sydney in December 1962, where their long hair, formal wear, violins and mad vocals caused a stir. Returning to Melbourne they played Friday nights at the 'Newport' Jazz Club at the Edithvale Life saving Club and on Saturday nights at their own venue ‘The Onion Patch' in Oakleigh. In early 1963, the group released their first 7” EP, An Impromptu Recital by the Amazing and Entertaining Red Onion Jazz Band on the tiny EAST (Elwood Audio Services Transcriptions) recording label, and it received conspicuous airplay on radio station 3XYs Jazz As You Like It program. John Pike left in March and for 11 months the band played without a pianist, but had a busy year of concerts that included Moomba, Myer Music Bowl, a 3-day tour of Tasmania including radio, T.V. and dance engagements in Hobart, as well as the 18th Australian Jazz Convention. The Red Onion Jazz Band at the 1963 Jazz Convention EP (their second recording) contains two vocal tracks; the bawdy sea-shanty "Barnacle Bill", and a version of Tommy Dorsey's "It’s Tight Like That". Gerry Humphrys left the band for four months in June 1963, and Jerry Salt, Derek Miller or Eddie Robbins replaced his clarinet, while Brett Iggulden took up alto sax for special numbers. Venues then included the 'Driftwood' Club and the 'Downbeat' Jazz Club where in February 17-year-old pianist Ian Clyne first sat in and thereafter became a regular member.
In July 1964, The Red Onions signed with W&G Records who put out a well-received EP entitled The Red Onions At Home and they transferred from the 'Onion Patch' to the popular 'Campus' Club. They appeared again on TV for GTV9 and ATV0, most importantly on Graham Kennedy’s influential In Melbourne Tonight. In November the band opened at ‘Opus' discotheque in South Yarra where it was estimated that more than 2,000 attended the first night. The entire band also featured at the 19th Jazz Convention in Newcastle.
After the split
In early 1965, The Red Onion Jazz Band released their self-titled debut LP. Its black-and-white cover art (see above) was designed by tuba player Kim Lynch, however in October, he and two other members, clarinetist, vocalist and occasional violinist Gerry Humphreys and Ian Clyne left, after three years of success, to play together the electric Rhythm and Blues that was beginning to eclipse jazz amongst younger audiences, especially after the visit of the Beatles to Melbourne in 1964. Humphrys and Lynch went on to form The Loved Ones.
After this split The Onions’ Brett Iggulden (trumpet and vocals), Bill Howard (trombone and vocals) and drummer Allan Browne persevered, joined by John Scurry (banjo and guitar) and Richard Miller (clarinet) in 1965. In 1967 the group left Australia for a 10-month, 50,000-mile tour of Europe. During the tour the band performed at the Jazz Jamboree in Warsaw, Poland, during October 1967, and at jazz clubs, ball rooms, jazz festivals and on radio. On return to Australia they continued to appear on television, at balls and discothèques, jazz clubs, university concerts and fashion parades.
Between 1974 and 1983 the Onions did not perform together. In 1983 they reunited in a benefit for Bill Howard who had lost his house and possessions in the Ash Wednesday bushfires. Thereafter they performed quite regularly, with festival appearances and occasional gigs in Melbourne. They travelled to Europe a third time in 1992, and released the CD Crisis shortly thereafter.
With Bill Howard’s death from cancer in 1996 the Red Onions finally disbanded, with their last formal appearance at the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz and Blues. At this performance they featured their mentor and long time friend, Ade Monsbourgh.
A Red Onion Jazz Band exhibition was opened by Allan Browne on 7 August 2010 at the Victorian Jazz Archive.
Its Not Love/Trouble and Sorrow/Wonderful World/Wandering
The Glen Men are three seminarians in their sixth year of study for the Catholic Priesthood, at Corpus Christi College, Glen Waverley (Melbourne).
This trio is a perfect example of what happens when people of similar interests and backgrounds are thrown together in a common cause.
The group was formed initially in 1964 to perform some songs at one of the concerts run by the students. Since then they have appeared frequently at these concerts and in addition, have played and sung to inmates of a number of institutions of various types.
Until the present time they have not bothered about a name, as they felt it was not essential but when asked for a title for the cover of this record, they decided upon - The Glen Men.
Friday, 10 February 2017
Friday On My Mind/Sorry/Who'll Be the One/Made My Bed, Gonna Lie In It
"Friday on My Mind" is a 1966 song by Australian rock group the Easybeats. Written by band members George Young and Harry Vanda, the track became a worldwide hit, reaching no. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in May 1967 in the US, no. 1 on the Dutch Top 40 chart, no. 1 in Australia and no. 6 in the UK, as well as charting in several other countries. In 2001, it was voted "Best Australian Song" of all time by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) as determined by a panel of 100 music industry personalities. In 2007, 'Friday on My Mind' was added to the National Film and Sound Archive's Sounds of Australia registry.
In addition to its 7" single release in late 1966, the song was issued in the United Kingdom on the band's first album for United Artists titled Good Friday which was also released in North America under the song's title. In Australia the song would be released instead with its B-side, "Made My Bed (Gonna Lie in It)", on the greatest hits package The Best of The Easybeats + Pretty Girl in 1967 and an EP named after the track in September 1967, with the tracks "Sorry", "Who'll Be the One" and "Made My Bed, Gonna Lie in It"
Thursday, 9 February 2017
Heaven and Hell/Women Make You Feel Alright/Come and See Her/Pretty Girl
In June,1967 UA in America released the superlative psychedelic rocker "Heaven & Hell". It was their last Talmy-produced single, with Nicky Hopkins prominent on harpsichord, and some great bass playing by Dick. It was released in June, with the wonderful "Pretty Girl" relegated to the b-side, and became another Top 20 hit in Australia. By rights, it should have been a double-sided hit for them worldwide. For a while it looked set to restore their chart fortunes, especially in the US, but once again bad luck intervened: just as it entered the charts, the single was banned by various US stations, due to the line "discovering someone else in your bed" and supposed drug references. Inexplicably, it also failed in the UK.
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
I'll Step Down/Mean To Me/It Had To Be You/You'll Never Know
Judy Stone (born 1 January 1942) is an Australian pop and country singer from Sydney, who came to national prominence in the late 1950s through her regular TV appearances on the Australian pop music show Brian Henderson's Bandstand and her many hit records.
Major national hits were '4,003,221 Tears From Now' (1964), 'Born a Woman' (1966), '(Would you Lay With Me) in a Field of Stone' (1974), 'Mare Mare Mare' (1974), 'Hasta Manana' (1976) and 'Silver Wings & Golden Rings' (1976).
In 1963, she recorded "It Takes a Lot (To Make Me Cry)" on which the Bee Gees (Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb) sing backup vocals, and the song was released as a single in July.
She began touring with Joye and the Joyboys, and then signed a deal with Festival Records. Judy eventually teamed up with Col Joye on a number of recordings, including the EPs `The I's Have It' and `Clap Your Hands', and albums Col and Judy and The Best of Col and Judy, which contained material like `Young And Healthy', `Angry' and `Side by Side'. In early 1965 she embarked on a two-month Japanese tour with Joye and the Joyboys. A year later, she married Leo De Kroo of The De Kroo Brothers.
A 1966 single from Judy Stone which gave Bandstand's #1 lady a whole new sound..a real swingin' 60's sound with a groovy production by Pat Aulton. It was perhaps a bit too 'hip' for Judy's fans who liked her ballads, country & more traditional pop songs.
In September 1966, she scored her third Sydney Top 10 hit when a cover of Sandy Posey's `Born a Woman'. Throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, Judy consolidated on her early pop successes with regular appearances on the club and country music circuits.
In 1974, Stone entered her most successful phase since the mid-1960s Judy's most recent recording was a duet with Scottish singer/songwriter Isla Grant on a stirring rendition of her song What's A Girl To Do? from Isla's 2007 album "Down Memory Lane".
Sunday, 5 February 2017
Too Much/I'll Make You Happy/A Very Special Man/Tryin' So Hard
In early 1966, while the group were still touring Australia, their manager, Mike Vaughan, flew to New York City to attempt to secure an American recording contract for the band. Despite an initial lack of interest, Vaughan was able to convince United Artists Records to sign the band. Just before relocating to London in 1966, they recorded a farewell TV special for the Seven Network, titled The Easybeats, more commonly known as The Coca-Cola Special), one of the few surviving appearances from the band's career during this period. The group left for the UK on 10 July 1966.
In August 1966, Albert Productions released an E.P. of material recorded before the group left Australia. Titled Easyfever, it reach #1 on the Australian singles charts. Albert Productions then released an entire album of material titled Volume 3 on 3 November 1966. This too was a commercial success and its lead single "Sorry" topped the Australian charts.
Happy Is The Man/You Me, We Love/Saturday Night/All Gone Boy
The Easybeats were an Australian rock band which formed in Sydney, Australia, in late 1964, and disbanded at the end of 1969. Regarded as the greatest pop band hailing from Australia in the 1960s[who?], they were the antipodean echo to the style and sound of the Beatles in Britain, and the first rock and roll act from Australia to score an international pop hit with the 1966 single, "Friday on My Mind".
The band's line-up exemplified the influence of post-war migration on Australian society. All five founding members were from families that had migrated to Australia from Europe: lead singer Stevie Wright and drummer Gordon "Snowy" Fleet were from England; rhythm guitarist George Young was from Scotland; lead guitarist Harry Vanda and bassist Dick Diamonde were from the Netherlands.
Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Friends - La La Song/Madder Lake - Down The River/Country Radio - Silver Spurs/Johnny O'Keefe - High Rollin' Man/69'ers - Harry Rag/Glen Cardier - Australia
Sunbury '73 ran from 27 January to 29 January. The attendance was 25,000 - 30,000 and the entry fee was $8.00 (3 days), $7.00 (2 days), $5.00 (1 day). Promoter, John Fowler provided a documentary, Sunbury 1973, which was aired on GTV9. Music entrepreneur Michael Gudinski was involved with the first Sunbury festival—as well as managing several major acts that appeared—he operated a lucrative concession selling watermelon to festival-goers. His new record company, Mushroom Records, was established with Ray Evans late in 1972. It became associated with Sunbury thanks to its inaugural album, a three-disc set of live recordings from the 1973 festival, Sunbury 1973 - The Great Australian Rock Festival. Guitarist, Lobby Loyde and his band, Coloured Balls were joined on-stage by Billy Thorpe and Leo de Castro (Friends) to record a live set, Summer Jam, which was issued in November. Carson released their own live album, On the Air in April but had disbanded by that time. Veteran rocker, Johnny O'Keefe, was initially booed but won the crowd over by his performance and went on to do several encores.
The 1973 festival was MCed by comedian Paul Hogan.
Band of Light
The Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band
The Flying Circus
Max Merritt & the Meteors
Mississippi (backed by a full orchestra)
Mulga Bill's Bicycle Band
Spirit featuring the Staehely Brothers
Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs
Everlasting Love/Take Me for a Little While/It's Hurting Badly/I Can't Help Myself
Popular Melbourne band The Town Criers formed around 1965. Their first single, a cover of The Kinks' "The World Keeps Going Round", was released on the Melbourne independent label Trend but didn't make any impression on the local charts. The B-side, a great 'garage-punk' number called "Big Deal", was included on the bootleg Oz '60s compilation CD It's A Kave-In, which also features another Criers rarity from this period, a version of the blues standard "Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut".
The Criers gigged consistently around Melbourne over the next two years, and in late 1967 they were signed to the Astor label by A&R manager Ron Tudor. Their second single, released in February 1968 and nominally produced by Geoffrey Edelsten, was a strong version of "Everlasting Love", the much-covered hit originally recorded by American singer Robert Knight in 1967 and also released in 1968 in the UK by The Love Affair. The song was penned by pop songwriters Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, who also wrote "Hayride" and "La La" (both hits for The Flying Circus) and "Groupie" (covered by The New Dream). It was an immediate success and became a big hit in Melbourne, reaching #2 and also charted in Sydney (#16) and Adelaide (#33) in April-May 1968, and this success proplelled it into thethe Go-Set Top 20; it peaked at #18 and consistently out-charted the Love Affair version. The song has been covered many times since then, including a 1990s version by U2.
George Kurtiss left the band in May 1968 and was replaced by John Taylor (ex Strings Unlimited). Their second Astor single, "Unexpectedly" / "It's Hurting Badly" was released in September, but failed to chart. Astor also compiled the two Town Criers singles for an EP, Everlasting Love, released during 1968.
During the latter half of 1968 the Town Criers travelled to South East Asia where they entertained Australian and American troops stationed in Vietnam. This was followed by a trip to the USA, where they appeared on the Bob Hope Christmas Special. In early 1969 founding vocalist Andy Agtoft and John Taylor both left the group. Agtoft was replaced by singer Barry Smith from Adelaide; this raised the band's profile in Adelaide, but it may also have led some fans to think that the band itself was from Adelaide. It's also possible there was some confusion with The London Criers, a well-known late-60s Adelaide show band. Taylor subsequently joined the Sydney band Daisy Clover, who released two singles on Festival.
In the late 1970s Andy Agtoft joined Scandinavian band Soames Electric, singing with them and writing English lyrics for their songs. After he left that group he joined another Scandinavian band, Churchill, before returning to Australia. Andy and Barry Smith have collaborated on a history of The Town Criers called Everlasting Pop, published by Chris Spencer's Moonlight Publications.
Andy Agtoft (vocals) 1967-69
Mark Demajo (bass)
Sam Dunnin (guitar)
Chris Easterby (drums)
George Kurtiss (keyboards) 1967 - May 1968
John Taylor (keyboards) 1968-69
Barry Smith (vocals) 1968-69
Golfshoes/C.Y.O. Dance/The Nips Are Getting Bigger [Original Version]
Mental As Anything are an Australian new wave/pop-rock band that formed in Sydney in 1976. Its most popular line-up (which lasted from 1977-1999) was Martin Plaza (birth name Martin Murphy) on vocals and guitar; Reg Mombassa (birth name Chris O'Doherty) on lead guitar and vocals; his brother Peter "Yoga Dog" O'Doherty on bass guitar and vocals; Wayne de Lisle (birth name David Twohill) on drums; and Andrew "Greedy" Smith on vocals, keyboards and harmonica. Their original hit songs were generated by Mombassa, O'Doherty, Plaza and Smith, either individually or collectively; they also hit the Australian charts with covers of songs by Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry.
Their top ten Australian singles are "If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?" and "Too Many Times" (both from 1981), "Live It Up" (1985) and "Rock and Roll Music" (1988). Internationally, "Too Many Times" made the Canadian top 40 in 1982, and "Live It Up" peaked at No. 3 in UK, No. 4 in Norway, and No. 6 in Germany, after it featured in the 1986 Australian film "Crocodile" Dundee.
All of the early members are visual artists and have had combined studio displays, some have had solo studio displays with Mombassa's artwork also used as designs by the Mambo clothing company. The majority of the group's record covers, posters and video clips have been designed and created by themselves or their art school contemporaries. On 27 August 2009, Mental As Anything was inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame alongside Kev Carmody, The Dingoes, Little Pattie and John Paul Young.
Thanks to Sunshine for this FLAC version.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
The Hokey Pokey/You Make Me Happy/Beach Ball/You Gotta Have Love
Jimmy Hannan (born August 1934 He was born and bred in Sydney's Surry Hills)is a Gold Logie-winning variety show host, singer, actor and game show host. Making appearances on over 20 shows, his career in Australian television and radio spanned 30 years.
Jimmy got his start on television as a bright-eyed 18-year-old contestant on Name That Tune. It was 1956 and television had just launched in Australia. Very few people had televisions in their homes so people crowded around TV shop windows to watch, and listen - the shops kindly left the sound on. Jimmy was on the show for six weeks and never made a mistake guessing the songs. He used his £500 prize to go to Canada to further his career.
After snagging a compere role on the musical variety show Saturday Date (1963-67, TCN-9), Jimmy wanted to make a record of his own. 'Beach Ball' was originally recorded by The City Surfers in 1963 and the words and music were written by Roger ‘Jimmy’ McGuinn, who went on to start the band The Byrds, and Frank Gari. You can hear back-up vocals from the Bee Gees (early in their career) and the song also features musicians from Col Joye’s band on drums and guitar. The song was released in February 1964 and reached number 2 on the Australian charts.
Surfing music and the dance 'The Stomp' were popular at the time. During the taping of Saturday Date in 1963 an article from the Australian Women’s Weekly notes, ‘the teenage audience were so carried away with stomping on the cement studio floor that the camera was vibrating and the singer couldn’t be heard. In the end the singer and [host] Jimmy Hannan gave up trying to compete, and joined in the stomp instead.’
The concert photographs above were taken by an unknown photographer at Sydney Stadium in 1965 and are a terrific example of Jimmy’s popularity and vitality. Jimmy remembers this particular concert at Sydney Stadium where he performed alongside Johnny Devlin, Little Pattie and The Denvermen. Jimmy looks very relaxed in his role as a teen idol, managing to appear casual even in a suit jacket and tie.
Jimmy went on to win a Gold Logie for most popular television personality in 1965 for Saturday Date.
In 1957 Jimmy got his start as a singer in a big band that played at the Marrickville Strollers dance hall in Sydney. They played to 2,000 jitterbugging dancers each weekend. The Bee Gee's Barry Gibb joked that they got their name from being Jimmy's 'Backing Group'. Jimmy regularly hosted shows on Melbourne’s 3UZ and Sydney’s 2GB radio stations.
Jimmy's long list of TV credits includes: Name That Tune (1956), Say When (1962), Saturday Date (1963-67), Jimmy (1966), Take a Letter (1966), The Go!! Show (1967), Take a Letter (1967), Jimmy Hannan Tonight (1967), Generation Gap (1969), In Melbourne Tonight (1970), The Weekend Starts Here (1970), Spending Spree (1971-5), The Graham Kennedy Show (1972-75), Split Second (1973-74), The Mike Walsh Show (1973-84), The Ernie Sigley Show (1974), The Jimmy Hannan Show (1975), Celebrity Squares (1975-76), Let’s Make a Deal (1976-77), Micro Macro (1978), Have a Go (1980), Personality Squares (1981), Search for a Star (1981), $100,000 Money Makers (1982), Value Shopping (1987), This Is Your Life (1989).
He met his wife Joanne when he was singing in the big band. Four children and 59 years later, they are still very much in love. Jimmy retired at 50 and moved up to a farm in Bellingen where he kept cattle for 10 years.
Thanks to Brian for sending me this one.
Saturday, 7 January 2017
He's My Blonde Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy/Stompin' at Maroubra/We're Gonna Have a Party Tonight/Dear Judy
Patricia Amphlett, a popular Australian singer of the 1960s, was born in Paddington, Sydney on 17 March 1949. Amphlett began her singing career early, having appeared on the talent show, Opportunity knocks, at the age of 13. After that she became a regular performer at surf club dances on Sydney's southern beaches.
She picked up a weekly gig at Bronte Surf Club, backed by a band called the Statesmen. During one of these performances Amphlett was spotted by an EMI Records talent scout, was given an audition and then a contract. Her first single for the label, He's my blonde headed stompie wompie real gone surfer boy was released on 7 November 1963. By the following January it had risen to number two in the Top 40 charts, only kept from the number one position by the Beatles' I wanna hold your hand.
During the latter part of the 1960s, Amphlett won a number of music awards. In 1972 she participated in the now famous Labor Party It's time advertising campaign for the federal election held that year. The following year she married Keith Jacobsen, a fellow musician. During the 1970s, Amphlett performed on the club circuit and was a regular guest on television's long running Midday show.
"Little Pattie" singing to an audience of Australian soldiers at the Bokah Music Bowl, a temporary stage with a parachute as a shade canopy. Ms Amphlett accompanied Col Joye and his band the "Joyboys" on this and a later tour of South Vietnam in August 1966.
In addition to her music career, Amphlett served on the Council of the Australian War Memorial between 1995 and 1998, and as the National President of Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance. She has also been on the Federal Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and was vice-president of Actors' Equity. In 2000 the Sydney Morning Herald included her on a list of the 'century's most loved faces', and she was included in a 1998 issue of Australian stamps featuring Australian bands.
Thursday, 22 December 2016
Christmas In The Air/Merry Christmas Polka/ Christmas/Mary's Boy Child
James Oswald "Jimmy" Little, AO (1 March 1937 – 2 April 2012) was an Australian Aboriginal musician, actor and teacher from the Yorta Yorta people and was raised on the Cummeragunja Mission, New South Wales.
From 1951 he had a career as a singer-songwriter and guitarist, which spanned six decades. For many years he was the main Aboriginal star on the Australian music scene. His music was influenced by Nat King Cole and American country music artist Jim Reeves. His gospel song "Royal Telephone" (1963) sold over 75,000 copies and his most popular album, Messenger, peaked at No. 26 in 1999 on the ARIA Albums Chart.
At the ARIA Music Awards of 1999 Little was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and won an ARIA Award for Best Adult Contemporary Album. On Australia Day (26 January) 2004, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia with the citation, "For service to the entertainment industry as a singer, recording artist and songwriter and to the community through reconciliation and as an ambassador for Indigenous culture". As an actor he appeared in the films Shadow of the Boomerang (1960) and Until the end of the World (1991), in the theatre production Black Cockatoos and in the opera Black River. As a teacher, from 1985, he worked at the Eora Centre in Redfern and from 2000 was a guest lecturer at the University of Sydney's Koori Centre.
In 1958 Little married Marjorie Rose Peters and they had a daughter, Frances Claire Peters-Little. Little was a diabetic with a heart condition and, in 2004, had a kidney transplant. After his transplant he established the Jimmy Little Foundation to promote indigenous health and diet. Marjorie died in July 2011. On 2 April 2012 Little died at his home in Dubbo, aged 75 years.
Tuesday, 20 December 2016
I Believe/Mary's Boy Child/Silent Night/Deck The Halls
Larry's Rebels were a garage rock band, formed in Ponsonby, New Zealand, in 1964. Staying with a relatively preserved lineup, the band had in New Zealand and Australia several nationally charting singles. The group incorporated a diversity of musical genres ranging from blues rock to psychedelic pop, in large part due to the versatility of lead vocalist, Larry Morris. As Larry's Rebels progressed, they were able to merge both British Invasion, and American musical influences into their own repertoire.
In late 1965, the group shared top billing with Ray Columbus and the Invaders at the Miss Auckland Personality Contest. Impressed by the performance, Russell Clark, the manager of Ray Columbus and the Invaders, agreed to oversee Larry's Rebels, and he soon finalized a deal with Philips Records. With Russell, the band recorded demos for their debut single, many of which were rejected by the record company. Finally the group released their first single in December 1965 after settling with a cover version of Dionne Warwick's "This Empty Place". Though they did not manage to chart, the single sold well enough to encourage a second recording, with the folk piece, "Long Ago, Far Away", being distributed in early 1966 to local success.
After a string of concerts in Australia in April 1967, promoter Ron Blackmore, head of the largest booking agency in Melbourne, closed a deal with the group to take part in The Easybeats high-profile homecoming tour. A follow-up to the band's successful single, a rendition of The Creation's "Painter Man", was released in April 1967, and raced up the charts before unexpectedly stalling at number six. The single's sales were impeded when a disgruntled listener complained about the inclusion of the term, "shit-cans". The phrase was miscued after Morris overdubbed "tin can" twice to emphasize the wording. Consequently, radio host Pete Sinclair banned the song from further airplay. It appeared the setback had little impact on the group's popularity when, in May 1967, their debut album A Study in Black was released, and a single, "Let's Think of Something", earned Larry's Rebels their first number one hit in Auckland and reached number four nationally.
On the band's return to Auckland, Clark arranged a publicity stunt in which Morris rescued a Miss New Zealand contestant from a fall overboard from a cruise. The act was later admitted to be fake, but attention was drawn to the group's psychedelic light show - the first of its kind in New Zealand. The band revealed the show when they went back on tour in August 1967, playing in the Golden Disc Spectacular. Afterwards, Larry's Rebels spent the rest of 1967 and most of 1968 in Australia, performing in larger venues as the featured attraction. The band was exposed to the drug scene while touring, particularly Morris, who would be late for concerts as a result. An original composition by Morris and Williams, "Dreamtime", was released in November 1967, and garnered another hit when it charted at number four. The group continued to incorporate psychedelic influences into their music, which ended with an ill-fated single, "Fantasy". Despite the setback, the group restored their position in the charts with the song, "Halloween", placing at number six in July 1968. However, the stress of another tour caused Rouse to suffer a nervous breakdown and leave Larry's Rebels. Their next recording, the Top Ten hit "Do What You Gotta Do", featured Mal Logan as his replacement, and included Brian Henderson on organ.
Friday, 9 December 2016
Slippin Around/Straight Skirts/I'm Grateful/How Would Ya Be
Johnny Devlin was New Zealand's first true superstar of the rock & roll era, a teen idol whose national fame and revolutionary impact made him a Kiwi counterpart to Elvis Presley. Born May 11, 1938 in the small town of Raetihi, Devlin was raised in nearby Wanganui, where in 1951 he made his solo performing debut yodeling at the local opera house. After graduating high school, he spent two years as a bank clerk, occasionally playing country & western music with his brothers in a band called the River City Ramblers. Then, in mid-1956, Devlin heard Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel"; overnight he became obsessed with rock & roll, snatching up Presley singles and performing Elvis songs on the amateur talent quest circuit. Complete with ducktail, loud suits, and hepcat lingo, he assimilated himself completely in the culture portrayed in American teen movies of the era, earning something of a reputation as the town eccentric.
Although Devlin regularly appeared in talent contests, he at first enjoyed little success, but in early 1957, he was spotted by Johnny Cooper, who had cut the first-ever New Zealand rock record, a cover of Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock," two years prior. Cooper became Devlin's mentor, and his career surged, he regularly won top honors at talent shows and played to increasingly enthusiastic crowds. After settling into a regular gig at Auckland's Jive Centre, Devlin's fame grew, and his nightly sets of dead-on Presley imitations were the stuff of massive teen hysteria; finally, in mid-1958, he recorded his debut single, "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." It was a massive hit, selling over 2000 copies in Auckland alone during its first month of release on its way to passing the unprecedented five-figure mark; trumpeted in the press as "New Zealand's Elvis Presley," Devlin was a true phenomenon, mobbed by fans wherever he went.