Tuesday, 22 September 2015
Sing A Simple Song/Fanciful Flights/Reach Out/
Jeff St John (born Jeffrey Leo Newton in 1946, in Newtown, Sydney) is an Australian singer who gained fame for top ten hits with Teach Me How to Fly, Big Time Operator and Fool in Love. St John was born with spina bifida.
He appeared with a number of bands during the late 1960s and early 1970s including; John The Syndicate aka The Wild Oats (1965), The Id (1966–67) with Bob Bertles (tenor sax '67), Jeff St John & Yama (1967–68), Jeff St John & Copperwine (1969-72), with Harry Brus (bass 70-72) and Wendy Saddington (co-lead vocals 70-71), Jeff St John Band (1972–73) and, Red Cloud (1975-76)
In 1988 as part of Australian Bicentenary celebrations along with many other Australian celebrities St John took part in a video shot at Ayers Rock called Celebration of a Nation.
St John has been involved in educating people about disabilities and is a member of spina bifida support group MOSAIC. He appeared at the opening of the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney where he sang the Australian National Anthem.
St John unveiled his new band, Copperwine (aka Jeff St John's Copperwine), in early 1969 with low-key dates in Perth, before returning to Sydney. Copperwine soon commanded a rabid following in that city's fast-developing 'head' scene. Around the time of the new band's formation, guitarist Ross East was also invited to join the revised Masters Apprentices line-up by Jim Keays, but he turned it down, opting to stay with Jeff.
Aided by East and Peter Figures, plus Alan Ingram on bass and keyboardist Barry Kelly (from Marty Rhone's Soul Agents), St John wowed punters at the Ourimbah "Pilgrimage For Pop", Australia's first major outdoor rock festival, hedl at Ourimbah, NSW at the end of January 1970. The band's dynamic repertoire mixed quality prog-flavoured group originals with powerful renditions of Sly & the Family Stone's funk classic "Sing A Simple Song" (a stage fave for many Australian acts of the time including Southern Comfort and The Affair), a storming version of The Temptations' psych-soul masterpiece "Cloud Nine" and Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home."
This body of songs was captured by producer Pat Aulton in superb that remains one of the most accomplished and musically adventurous long players of the time. The punningly-titled Joint Effort won considerable critical acclaim, but failed to generate significant sales. A similar fate befell the great single lifted from the album, "Cloud Nine" / "Days To Come" (Feb. 1970). An EP, Sing A Simple Song, which featured four selections from its parent album, came out in May 1970.
Monday, 21 September 2015
Colonel Bogey/I'm Thinkin' Tonight Of My Blue Eyes/Worried Mind/I Miss You So
Col Joye AM (b.1938) (Colin Jacobsen), entertainer and impresario, was the first Australian pop performer to reach number 1 on the local charts. Joye started his music career in his brother Kevin's band, the KJ Quintet, in Sydney in 1957. For a gig at the Manly Jazzerama they impulsively changed their name to Col Joye and the Joy Boys, a decision they are said to have regretted. Joined by younger brother Keith on bass, the Joy Boys began performing regularly in Bankstown. Their first record was the EP Joyride in 1958. This, and subsequent efforts, made little impact, but in 1959 their second single, 'Bye Bye Baby' made the top spot on the Sydney charts. Three further top ten hits followed, and the band became regulars on Bandstand and Six O'Clock Rock.
I Got Burned/When I Get Paid/Shake, Rattle And Roll/Sell My Soul
The Merv Benton (real name Mervyn Bonson. b. 12 August 1942) story is a fascinating chapter of the Beat Boom in Australia. From his base on the Melbourne dance circuit, Merv gained national attention and quickly became one of the most popular male singers in the country. In early 1964 he signed with Melbourne's W&G Records and became one of their most prolific artists, releasing seventeen singles, six EPs, and three LPs between 1964 and 1967, and scoring an impressive run of fifteen Top 40 singles in his hometown (several of which also charted in other cities). But in 1967, at the height of his popularity, Merv was struck down by throat problems that ended his singing career
Friday, 18 September 2015
I Don't Want To Be A Teenage Idol/Indeed I Do/
Beggin' On My Knees/Solitary Confinement
Born on 23rd January 1941 in England, Barry's parents immigrated to Australia when he was five years old. He grew up in the Sydney suburb of Cremorne and while at school he was given a guitar as a birthday present. After graduating from high school in 1957, he got a job as an apprentice motor mechanic. Inspired by Elvis Presley, he began singing occasionally with a group called Deke Drew and the Rebels at their weekly dance at Warringah Hall in Neutral Bay. He then formed his own group called Barry Stanton and the Boppers but by the end of 1958 the group had folded. Barry then formed a new backing group called the Bel Aires.
A serious car accident in 1959 resulted in Stanton suffering a fractured skull and being hospitalised for several months. After recovering from his injuries Barry and the Bel Aires first engagement was playing during the interval at the Embassy Picture Theatre in Manly. A few weeks later they were invited back to the Embassy by the manager to play at a rock 'n' roll concert. This led to Barry being invited by Johnny O'Keefe to appear on Six O'Clock Rock. Barry, with his Elvis Presley looks and singing style, was so popular with the live audience and viewers that he became a regular on the show. He also became a regular on the radio program Rockville Junction, which Johnny also hosted.
As his popularity continued to soar he began appearing regularly on Bandstand as well. He was also making short, mainly overnight, tours around New South Wales. After parting company with the Bel Aires Barry regularly performed as a guest artist at dances run by a group called the Ark Royales. Barry eventually replaced their lead singer when he left the group. Barry's first big break came in 1960 when Johnny O'Keefe signed him to a recording contract with Leedon Records. His debut single in April failed to chart. In May, he headed off on his first interstate tour with Johnny, Lonnie Lee and Booka Hyland, Ray Hoff and Laurel Lee.
The tour became infamous as it nearly claimed the lives of Johnny and his two passengers, Dee Jays' saxophonist John Greenan and his wife Jan, in a car accident. But by the time of the accident Barry had already left the tour due to exhaustion. His second single Don't You Worry 'Bout That, which was written by Johnny O'Keefe, was released in September and made the charts in most states. When his follow-up flopped he turned to his younger brother Rod, who dabbled in songwriting, for his fourth single. The song, Beggin' On My Knees, was to be his biggest hit, spending twelve weeks in the charts and reaching the Top 20 nationally in November 1961.
Barry continued recording with Leedon until 1964 and then switched to RCA Records in 1965. While he didn't have much success on the recording side he was still appearing regularly on television. Eventually, his lack of record success forced him to give up his rock 'n' roll career for that of an electrician. Between 1974 and 1977 he toured around Australia with Johnny O'Keefe's packaged show The Good Old Boys of Rock 'n' Roll. Stanton continued to perform well into the Eighties, which included a stint overseas in Las Vegas at the famous Sahara Casino Nightclub. He continues to appear regularly at Melbourne's Annual Concert and also at the Wintersun Festival.
Mademoiselle Ninette/To Love Means To Be Free/How Do You Do/Yellow River
Country-pop band Jigsaw formed in Melbourne in 1968 with foundation members who had been in The Tamlas, The Fabulous Blue Jays and The Phantoms. They were originally Johnny Chester's backing band and were heard on many of his hits in the 1970s. They later became one of Melbourne's most popular pub bands, enjoying considerable commercial success, including two Top 10 hits with Yellow River and How Do You Do.
No Good Without You/She's A Yum Yum/Sticks And Stones/Watch Your Step
Vince Melouney (born 18 August 1945) is an Australian guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. He joined the bands Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Vince & Tony's Two, Bee Gees, Fanny Adams and The Vince Maloney Sect. In 1971, he was replaced by Alan Kendall as the lead guitarist of the Bee Gees.
Melouney was born in Sydney. He was a founder member of Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, playing with the band as lead guitarist from 1963 to 1965, which was followed by a short-lived duo with fellow Aztec Tony Barber, called Vince & Tony's Two. Early 1966 Vince Melouney formed another group, The Vince Maloney Sect. Their first single release was a moderate hit, especially in the Melbourne area. She's A Yum Yum (Frazier) b/w No Good Without You (Stevenson) (Kommotion KK 1265) The single was followed by an EP, which had two new songs in addition to the two original single tracks. In 1966, he released "I Need Your Lovin' Tonight" and its B-side, "Mystery Train"; Barry Gibb, Robin Gibb, and Maurice Gibb sing backup vocals on both songs.
In 1967, after moving to the UK, he was invited to join the Bee Gees. He was the lead guitarist on their first three albums; Bee Gees' 1st, Horizontal, and Idea. In June 1968, while he was a Bee Gee he wrote and performed "Such a Shame" (the only track that was not written by one of the Gibb brothers). The song was released on the UK version of the album Idea, but on the US version, it was replaced by "I've Gotta Get a Message to You". Melouney prefers the Gibson ES-355 guitar and can be seen in several Bee Gees videos and live performances from 1967 to 1968. In November 1968, it was reported by the UK music magazine, NME, that Melouney's final concert with the Bee Gees would be on 1 December, following the end of their current German tour.
In 1969, he formed a short-lived supergroup, Fanny Adams, with Doug Parkinson on lead vocals, Teddy Toi on bass, and Johnny Dick on drums who recorded one album also called Fanny Adams. In the summer of 1976, he met up with Bee Gee Barry Gibb and they wrote "Let It Ride" and "Morning Rain", but both songs were not recorded. He rejoined the Bee Gees for the "One Night Only" Concert held in Sydney, Australia, in 1999, and rejoined Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs for a tour in 2002/3. At the completion of that tour, he completed his first solo album, released with the title "Covers" which had ten cover versions of songs, including Love Her Madly, Come Together, and Lay Down Sally.
I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)/ I Want So Much to Know You/Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah/Shake
Max Merritt (born Maxwell James Merritt in Christchurch, New Zealand on 30 April 1941) is a New Zealand-born singer-songwriter and guitarist who is renowned as an interpreter of soul music and R&B. As leader of Max Merritt & The Meteors his best known hits are "Slippin' Away", which reached #2 on the 1976 Australian singles charts, and "Hey, Western Union Man" which reached #13. Merritt rose to prominence in New Zealand from 1958 and relocated to Sydney Australia in December 1964. Merritt was acknowledged as one of the best local performers of the 1960s and 1970s and his influence did much to popularise soul music / R&B and rock in New Zealand and Australia.
Merritt is a venerable pioneer of rock in Australasia who produced crowd pleasing shows for over 50 years. He has engendered respect and affection over generations of performers which was evident at the 2007 Concert for Max to provide financial support after it was announced he had Goodpasture's syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease. The Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) recognised Merritt's iconic status on 1 July 2008 when he was inducted into their Hall of Fame.
Monday, 7 September 2015
Woman You're Breaking Me/Sorry/Mad Over You/Such A Lovely Way/Who Do You Love/The Best In Africa
1964–1966: The Groop mark I
The Wesley Trio was formed as a folk music group in 1964 with Peter McKeddie on vocals, Max Ross on bass guitar and Richard Wright on drums; all three were students from Wesley College, a private school in Melbourne. The trio signed with CBS Records Melbourne, which released a single, an EP and an album.
They decided to become more R&B orientated and placed an ad for a guitarist, and, with Peter Bruce joining, they were renamed The Groop in late 1964. At the time, Bruce (originally from England) claimed that he had been a member of UK pop group Dave Clark Five in their early years as Dave Clark Quintet in 1957. In a 2002 interview, Bruce admitted that he had only been in a support act, The Hill City Skiffle Group and never actually in Dave Clark's band. The Groop had success on the Melbourne singles chart with "Ol' Hound Dog" reaching No. 13, "Best in Africa" No. 10 and "I'm Satisfied" No. 21 in 1966. They were assisted by positive reviews from Ian "Molly" Meldrum writer for national pop magazine Go-Set who had earlier been their roadie. This version of The Groop also recorded two albums, The Groop (1965) and I'm Satisfied (1966) both on CBS Records. In August 1966, founders McKeddie and Bruce left, but instead of disbanding the Rhythm section of Ross and Wright invited Don Mudie (ex-Sherwood Green) to join on guitars. At McKeddie's farewell party – he was travelling to UK – The Groop were supported by another R&B outfit The Jackson Kings. The Groop invited their keyboardist Brian Cadd to join, Cadd insisted on bringing along bandmate Ronnie Charles (Ron Boromeo) as vocalist.
1966–1969: The Groop mark II
The Groop were searching for a more Blues / Rock sound, and when Cadd joined in October 1966 he used a pseudonym, Brian Caine, after advice from Meldrum that Cadd didn't sound good as a rock artist's name. Cadd soon changed his name back after family protests. The new line-up of Cadd, Charles, Mudie, Ross and Wright, released "Sorry" which reached No. 12 on the Melbourne charts in January 1967. Their next single, released in May 1967, "Woman You're Breaking Me" (written by Cadd and Wright) reached No. 4 in Melbourne, No. 12 in Sydney, and was their only national top ten hit.
The band won a trip to UK from the 1967 Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds in July, with "When I Was Six Years Old" written by Cadd and Ross. Meldrum, writing for Go-Set reported: "It was The Groop's day. Their performance was brilliant and they left no doubts in anyone's mind that they will be great ambassadors overseas, both with their music and their personalities."
—Ian "Molly" Meldrum , Jul 1967
Publishers sent the song to England where it was recorded by Manfred Mann's lead vocalist Paul Jones. Melbourne singer Ronnie Burns (close friend of Meldrum) had a local No. 22 hit with "When I Was Six Years Old" in 1968. Leaving the single "Seems More Important to Me" behind in Melbourne to reach No. 30 in early 1968, The Groop travelled to UK on the Sitmar line cruiser "Castel Felice'". They gave several onboard performances during the voyage.
The Groop arrived in the UK as Paul Jones' cover of "When I Was Six Years Old" was released and they secured a deal with CBS in England, then toured there and in Germany. Band members had written most of their hits in Australia, but CBS decided they would cover an Italian ballad, "What's The Good of Goodbye", which failed to chart. The Groop returned to Australia by October 1968 and Ross left the band. They released two more singles, but only "Such A Lovely Way" reached the national top 20 before they disbanded in May 1969. Their last recorded work was an uncredited appearance as instrumental support on Russell Morris' No. 1 single "The Real Thing". Cadd and Mudie were eager to explore a more rock sound and so disbanded The Groop to form Axiom. The second version of The Groop had recorded the studio album Woman You're Breaking Me (1967), whilst the compilation Great Hits from The Groop (1968) was released while they were in UK.
After The Groop
Axiom (Australian band) and Brian Cadd
Following the break-up of The Groop, Cadd and Mudie formed Axiom in May 1969 with Glenn Shorrock (ex-The Twilights) on vocals, Doug Lavery (ex-The Valentines) on drums and Chris Stockley (ex-Cam-Pact) on guitar. Cadd and Mudie were the primary songwriters for Axiom including their three hit singles, "Arkansas Grass", "A Little Ray of Sunshine" and "My Baby's Gone". After Axiom disbanded in 1971, Cadd and Mudie had a No. 15 single in early 1972 with "Show Me the Way". Cadd then pursued a solo career as a performer, songwriter, record producer, label owner and film and TV score composer. In 2007 Cadd was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame, which acknowledged his iconic status including his work for The Groop.
1988–1989: Brief reformation
The Groop reformed for a national tour from late 1988 to early 1989, with members from both versions: Bruce, Charles, McKeddie, Mudie and Wright; plus Rob Glover on bass (ex-Sports) and Tweed Harris on keyboards (ex-Groove). A CD compilation was released by CBS in 1989, The Best and The Rest.