Big Ben/Can't Blame Me/Why Hide/Besame Mucho
Hobart's Spook Club and Beachcombers, Melbourne's Pinnochio's, Perth's Cannon Bridge Stomp! All Felt the impact of The Kravats.
Tasmania's premier rock export of the 1960's, The Kravats gegan in 1958, their first gig being guests on the Lee Gordon Big Show at the City Hall in Hobart supporting artists like Llord Price , Conway Twitty, The Kalin Twins, Col Joye and The Joy Boysand The Delltones and Johnny OKeefe and the DJ's and Johnny Devlin and Dig Richards.
The Personal for this first appearance were Noel Best, Ray Woodruff, Norm Walker, Max Johns and Clem Meehan (filling in for the injured Richard Millhouse who was suffering from a broken arm).
The Kravats became the resident band and in June 1964 received a recording contract with W&G Records in Melbourne. Paying their own expenses to undertake this venture, the first session in 1964 led to the release of the single Puppet Strings (written by Noel) b/w Bel Mir Bist Du Schoen wich sold well in Hobart reaching #2 on the local charts. The follow up single Fred b/w Jindivik both sides being written by Noel, was also recorded at this session.
3UZ Disc jockey John Vertigan (ex 7HO Hobart), a close acquaintance of the group, actively campaigned W&G's Ron Tudor for the audition session which led to the recording contract. By the middle of 1964, Beatlemania was alive and well in Tasmania and the band realised the need for a vocalist to progress to this Merseybeat-style as compared to the Shadows-style wich had been their trademark.
Barry Woodruff a younger brother of Ray was added to the band. A Friday night residencey at the popular Beachcomber at the San Carlo Hall in North Hobart and a second recording session in Melbourne followed. This recording session produced the Tasmanian #1 hit "Baby Let Me Take You Home", the top 10 follow up "It Must Be Jelly (Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That) and the EP We The Kravats which also made the singles charts.
Former Hobart D.J. Keith McGowan had moved to Perth and as a result of his efforts "Baby Let Me Take You Home" entered the top ten in Western Australia which resulted in tour to Perth which commenced in August of 1965. The visit was originally scheduled for 1 week but the Kravats were so well recieved that another week was agreed to.
The return of the band from this tour coincided with their release of "It Must Be Jelly (Cause Jam Don't Shake Like That) which reached #7 in Hobart and #2 in Launceston on the 20th November 1965.
Things were going from strenght to strenght and because of their strong popularity base in Tasmania coupled with family commitments the band made a conscious decision not to base itself on the mainland but to do short spells.
As 1965 drew to a close the EP We The Kravats became their 5th release and entered the Hobart singles charts immediatley. the standout track being "Why Hide" written by Barry who was becoming something of a prolific writer. On this track Barry ovedubbed the harmonies himself. In 1965 this was ground breaking stuff indeed.
Just prior to their departure for W.A. Max Johns left the bamd and was replaced on drums by John McAbe from local band the Silhouettes. The third and final session with W&G followed this time with "Macka" on drums and resulted in the release of the singles "We're Gonna Howl Tonight" (1966) and "That's What I Want" (1967). The days of hitmaking were over though and these singles sank without a trace.
With legaslative changes allowing entry into hotels of 18 year olds tennage dances disappeared and a new era of cabaret entertainment commenced with the Kravats becoming the resident band at the Carlyle Hotel in Hobart. This trend continued with the move to the cabaret scene and the band worked with such artists as Kamal, John Farnham, Ross D. Wylie and the legedary Johnny O'Keefe. The Kravats continued the professional aproach to their work and this culminated in an invitation in November 1969 to provide entertainment on the P&O liner Himalaya.
Although guest appearances in mainland venues continued periodically it was the cabaret scene in Hobart that the Kravats returned, providing entertaiment for a further two decades.