Saturday, 20 August 2016
Get It On/I`m Gonna Love You/Still Alive And Well/Slippin' And Slidin'/Boppin the blues & Let's Twist Again & I Just Love To Rock 'n' Roll
The original version of Blackfeather was formed in early 1970 by guitarist John Robinson, bassist Leith Corbett and drummer Mike McCormack (all from the final lineup of recently disbanded Sydney group The Dave Miller Set), plus lead vocalist Neale Johns. Corbett and McCormack left soon after, replaced by Robert Fortesque (bass) and Alexander Kash (drums). Corbett subsequently reunited with singer Dave Miller to record the duo album Reflections of a Pioneer.
The second lineup of Blackfeather soon became a major draw-card around NSW and the group was signed by Festival Records' newly-founded progressive subsidiary Infinity Records, for whom they recorded their acclaimed debut album At the Mountains of Madness (1970). The LP was co-produced by Robinson and Festival staff producer Richard Batchens (who went on to work with Sherbet and Richard Clapton), and it featured the hit song "Seasons of Change". During this time Robinson had become close friends with members of the group Fraternity, including keyboardist John Bissett and singer Bon Scott (both of whom contributed to the Blackfeather album). He gave them "Seasons of Change" to record as a single, and also sought an undertaking from Infinity that they would not release the original Blackfeather version to compete with it. However, as soon as Fraternity's version reached the top of the charts in their home town of Adelaide, Festival reneged on the agreement and rush-released Blackfeather's version as a single; it reached #15 nationally, #39 in Sydney, and charted for 16 weeks.
Despite this success, internal frictions escalated and there were more lineup changes. Kash and Fortesque both quit after the album came out; Kash was briefly replaced by Terry Gascoigne, then by Steve Webb, and Fortesque by Harry Brus, who had briefly worked with Robinson in the original lineup of the Dave Miller Set back in 1967). After a heated argument at Festival studios during a recording session in early 1971, Robinson and Johns parted ways but, unknown to Robinson, manager Peter Conyngham had registered the Blackfeather name and thus owned the rights to it and Johns subsequently formed a new version of Blackfeather.
Robinson, Webb and Brus struggled on as a trio for a short time before disbanding. Robinson's later ventures included work with local all-star group Duck and a sought-after solo album, Pity For The Victim. He eventually retired from performing in the 1980s and became a teacher and composer.
The new Blackfeather led by Neale Johns (as lead vocalist and songwriter) included Warren Ward (bass), Jim Penson (drums), guitarist Alex "Zac" Zytnick (ex Tamam Shud) and pianist Paul Wylde. Zytnick left in December 1971 (replaced by guitarist Billy Taylor (ex-Flake), followed by Penson at the start of 1972. In July they released the single, "Boppin' the Blues" (b/w "Find Somebody To Love"), a reworking of a 1956 Carl Perkins song, which became a number one hit in Australia in October 1972 for the band. The song featured Aztecs member Gil Matthews on drums. Since the group was between drummers at the time, the single was actually cut with Aztecs drummer Gil Matthews; drummer Trevor Young joined temporarily just before the single was released, but Young and Billy Taylor left soon after. Young was succeeded by Greg Sheehan but Taylor wasn't replaced and Blackfeather continued as a four-piece for the next few months. This lineup recorded the second Blackfeather LP, the Howard Gable-produced live album Boppin' The Blues, recorded from shows at Melbourne Town Hall and the Q Club in September, and released in December 1972. Paul Wylde quit at the end of 1972. He was replaced by two guitarists, Lindsay Wells (ex-Healing Force) and Tim Piper, which returned Blackfeather to the harder, guitar-based style of the Robinson era. They performed at the second Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1973 and their set was recorded and released the following year as a live LP; one track ("I'm Gonna Love You") also featured on Mushroom Records' inaugural release, the triple-album recording of the concerts, released in April 1973.
The third Blackfeather single, a version of Little Richard's "Slippin & Slidin' " was issued in February 1973, by which time Sheehan had quit. He was briefly replaced by John Lee, but the group only lasted a short time and split in April. Lee then joined the newly-formed country rock group The Dingoes and later joined the second lineup of Ariel.
Johns formed a new version of Blackfeather in 1975, with Billy Taylor, Ray Vanderby (ex-Band Of Light, keyboards), Billy Rylands (bass) and Doug McDonald (drums), but this lasted only a short time. In early 1976 Johns formed a more pop-oriented version, with Vanderby, Lee Brosman, Warwick Fraser and Stewart Fraser (then aged just 14). Johns quit in November 1976 and went overseas, but the remaining members stayed together; picking up John Swan on lead vocals and Wayne Smith on guitar they renamed the group Feather. In mid-1977 Swan's brother Jimmy Barnes announced that he was quitting Cold Chisel to join Feather, but his farewell performance went so well that he decided to remain with Chisel.
Johns returned to Australia in 1977 and in June 1978, after a brief stint with the band Fingerprint, he formed a new version of Blackfeather that reunited the '72 lineup of Wylde, Ward and Young. By October all the members except Johns had left, and replaced by Ray Oliver, Rick Rankin, Jeff Rosenberg and Huk Treloar. Ex-Dingoes drummer John Strangio briefly replaced Treloar, but this version folded by the end of the year.
Johns formed a final Blackfeather lineup in 1983 with Hinton, Andy Cowan (ex-Madder Lake), Judge and Vizzone but this too was short-lived.
In the 2000s Johns has occasionally performed under the Blackfeather name in collaboration with bassist Kerry McKenna and guitarist Brendan Mason.
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
CD 1 Oh! Boy/It's a Man's Man's World/Sweet Love/Heading in the Right Direction/I Really Love You/If Loving You Is Wrong/Shakey Ground/Stares and Whispers/Quicker Than the Eye/Say I Love You/I Can Feel the Fire/Baby I've Been Missing You/Do You Know What I Mean/You Don't Know Nothing About Love/Crazy/Foggy Highway/Difficult Woman/I'm the Woman Who Loves You
CD 2 Say You Love Me (Groove 21_20 Mix)/It's A Man's Man's World (Drum 'N Bass Mix)/Moving Along (Bass 'N Garage Mix)/Booty (World Mix)/Sweet Love (Nuff 2 Mix)/Spilt Milk (Michael den Elzen Mix)/Money (That's What I Want) (Dicko & Mastie Remix)/It's A Man's Man's World (Wicked Beat Sound System Mix)
Renée Rebecca Geyer (born 11 September 1953, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia) is an Australian singer who has long been regarded as one of the finest exponents of jazz, soul and R&B idioms. She had commercial success as a solo artist in Australia, with "It's a Man's Man's World", "Heading in the Right Direction" and "Stares and Whispers" in the 1970s and "Say I Love You" in the 1980s. Geyer has also been an internationally respected and sought-after backing vocalist, whose session credits include work with Sting, Chaka Khan, Toni Childs and Joe Cocker.
In 2000, her autobiography, Confessions of a Difficult Woman, co-written with music journalist Ed Nimmervoll, was published. In her candid book, Geyer detailed her drug addictions, sex life and career in music.[ She described herself as "a white Hungarian Jew from Australia sounding like a 65-year-old black man from Alabama". She spent more than ten years based in the United States but had little chart success there. Geyer returned to Australia in the mid-1990s and her career has continued into the 21st century with her 2003 album, Tenderland, which peaked at #11 on the ARIA albums charts.
Rock historian Ian McFarlane described her as having a "rich, soulful, passionate and husky vocal delivery". Geyer's iconic status in the Australian music industry was recognised when she was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on 14 July 2005, alongside The Easybeats, Hunters & Collectors, Smoky Dawson, Split Enz and Normie Rowe. Geyer and fellow 1970s singer, Marcia Hines, are the subjects of Australian academic, Jon Stratton's 2008 Cultural Studies article, "A Jew Singing Like a Black Woman in Australia: Race, Renée Geyer, and Marcia Hines"
Wednesday, 10 August 2016
You've Got The Gun/Thinkin' About You/Midnight Blues/Do It/Time Change/Love The One You're With/Movie Star/Can You Feel It Baby/Free The People/You're All Woman
Time Change... A Natural Progression is the debut studio album by Sherbet released in 1972.
Sherbet (aka Highway or The Sherbs) are one of the most prominent and successful Australian rock bands of the 1970s. The 'classic line-up' of Daryl Braithwaite on vocals, Tony Mitchell on bass guitar, Garth Porter on keyboards, Alan Sandow on drums, and Clive Shakespeare on guitar provided their teen-orientated pop style. In 1976 Shakespeare left and was soon replaced by Harvey James. Sherbet's biggest singles were "Summer Love" (1975) and "Howzat" (1976), both reaching number one in Australia. "Howzat" was also a top 5 hit in the United Kingdom. The band was less successful in the United States, where "Howzat" peaked at No. 61. As The Sherbs they also reached No. 61 in 1981 with "I Have the Skill". The group disbanded in 1984. Subsequent re-unions have occurred since 1998.
According to rock music historian, Ian McFarlane, "alongside Skyhooks, Sherbet was the most successful Australian pop band of the 1970s. With a run of 20 consecutive hit singles to its credit, and 17 albums that yielded ten platinum and 40 gold disc awards, Sherbet was the first domestic act to sell a million dollars' worth of records in Australia". In 1990 Sherbet were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame alongside classical composer and pianist, Percy Grainger. On 15 January 2011 Harvey James died of lung cancer. On 15 February 2012 Clive Shakespeare died of prostate cancer.
Saturday, 6 August 2016
Justice/Flash King Cadillac/Outback/Little Miss Love/Good Thing Going/This Crowd/Frontier Man/So Far So Good (Tonight)/After The Heat/Watching Winters Pass
John Justin hailed from Melbourne he and the band were in a similar mould to Pseudo Echo but with a more glam rock sound punters from melbourne are probably more familiar with him from his time with glam rock bands Modesty and An Affair he released a single "It's Magic/Only with you" (any body have it) in 1984, he then recorded this album in 1986 and then one more single in 1987 David Essex's "Rock On/Ride To Live" wouldn't mind a listen to this as well .
Friday, 5 August 2016
Lotta Love/Sharing The Night Together/If I Said You Had A Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me/Some Girls/Darlin'/Sweet Dream People/You Make Me Feel Like Dancing/Bright Eyes/My Eyes Adored You/Behind Closed Doors/You Needed Me/You Are So Beautiful/On The Inside/Lost In Love
Allison Durbin was born in Auckland in 1950, where she grew up and attended Westlake Girls High. Having started singing at the age of 5, she spent six years with Uncle Tom's Friendly Road Children's Choir, along with her six brothers and sisters. Whilst at high school, Allison began to haunt the local youth clubs, where she got to know the bands quite well. She was always hassling the bands at Dave Dunningham's Surfside to get them to let her get up on stage and sing a song or two, to show off her vocal talent. In 1963, she entered and won a talent quest at the Surfside Ballroom, prompting Dunningham to contact Eldred Stebbing from Zodiac Records.
In 1966 Allison then teamed up with the Mike Perjanik Band in the studio and released two singles on the Impact label. The first was "Sailor Boy"/"My Last Date", followed by "Borrow My Love"/"Don't Let It Happen". Before long she was featuring as the band's vocalist in their live work. Now only 16, she set off on a nationwide dance spot tour with special guest Tommy Adderley. After this, she did it again as part of the 'Impact Label Show", before appearing in a series of engagements in the South Island.
By the time Allison returned to New Zealand in late 1967, she was a professional. She'd learnt her craft and her television appearances displayed none of nervousness other 17 year olds betrayed. Now managed by Doug Elliot, she was signed up to a new contract with HMV in 1968.
Durbin's first HMV release was a cover of Morgana King's "I Have Loved Me A Man", backed with "Sand". Produced by Howard Gable, the song sold in excess of 30,000 copies in New Zealand, easily the best-selling local release of the year, spending two weeks at number one and collecting the 1968 Loxene Golden Disc Award. With little promotion, it also cracked the Australian charts, running abreast with the Morgana King version. Her first album "I Have Loved Me A Man" was also released at this time.
In 1969, Allison married Howard Gable and they settled in Melbourne. Initially she divided her time between the two countries, enjoying substantial success in both. But as the seventies progressed, she concentrated on the more lucrative Australian market. A second album "Soft and Soulful" was also released in 1969.
Allison's popularity was also huge in Australia, with her picking up the "Queen Of Pop" award for Best Female Artist, three years running in 1969, 1970 and 1971. During those years, singles continued to be released concurrently in New Zealand and Australia. They included "Sha La La La Lee"/"Cry Like A Baby", "He's Bad Bad Bad"/"Am I The Same Girl", "Don't Make Me Give In"/"World Of Music" in NZ and "Words Of Silence" in Aust, "Hallelujah"/"Tonight I'll Say A Prayer", "Holy Man"/"Letter To Bill", "Golden Days"/"Make The Feeling Go Away" and "Words Of Love"/"I Have A Son". Next came her best selling Australian single. It was a cover of Ocean's "Put Your Hand In The Hand" backed with "Didn't We". It reached number 24 on the National charts in May 1971.
In 1971 Allison recorded an album with John Farnham, who had been voted "King Of Pop" during the same years Allison received her awards. It was called "Together" and from it two singles were released. The best was "Baby, Without You" and it reached number 27. Her next solo album came in 1972, "Amerikan Music" and the title track was the last single to make the charts for her, reaching number 33.
Allison then tapered off her singing work to concentrate on her family and by the time she did return in 1976, her days as a pop singer had passed. She moved into country music with great success. Joining the Hammond label, she produced six albums, one each year from 1976 to 1981. They were 1976, "Born A Woman", 1977 "Are You Lonesome Tonight", 1978 "Three Times A Lady", this one achieving triple-platinum status with sales of over 150,000 copies, 1979 "Bright Eyes", 1980 "Shining Star" and 1981 "My Kind Of Country". Missing a year she released "Country Love Songs" in 1983.
In 1986, Hammond released a best of album called "The Very Best Of Australia's Queen Of Country". Two years later a "best of" album of her pop songs came out on the Axis label, called "Amerikan Music".
1992 saw a return to the recording studio for Allison, after a number of years of dealing with personal issues. The album was called Reckless Girl and the songs are quite different to her recent country songs and earlier pop hits. Sadly it seems that this is the last studio album for Allison, as her personal life has caught up with her once again.
None of the Hammond Country albums were ever released in New Zealand, so in 1996 EMI put together a selection of songs from these albums and released a CD called "Country Classics" in New Zealand.
In 2001 EMI released a CD called "The Very Best Of Allison Durbin" which contains most of her early New Zealand singles.
Thursday, 4 August 2016
Hayride/La La/Run, Run, Run/She Don't Care About Time/The Last Train/All Fall Down/I Remember Jo'Anne/3667/Silvertown Girl/Reprise: Goodnight Irene/Giselle/Israel/Kempsey Mail/Turn Away/The Longest Day/Ballad of Sacred Falls/Finding My Way/Early Morning/Shame Shame/Groovy Night/I Think I'm Gonna Feel Better/So You Want to Be a Rock 'n' Roll Star/Twilight Journey/To Put Up With You/You Ain't Goin Nowhere
The Flying Circus was a pioneering Australian country rock band who had a number of pop hits in Australia from 1968 to 1971 and then re-located to Canada from 1971 to 1974 where they also achieved a degree of success.
The Flying Circus were formed in August 1968 in Sydney starting out as a country/folk-rock band. They performed "harmony-rich covers of Byrds, Dylan and Dillards country songs". Like The Byrds, a prominent part of their early sound came from the featured use of a 12 string Rickenbacker guitar. They were brought together by lead guitarist Doug Rowe who had been a member of New Zealand band, The Castaways, before coming to Australia. The original line-up was Doug Rowe [lead guitar, vocals], James Wynne [lead vocals, rhythm guitar], Bob Hughes [bass, vocals] and Colin Walker [drums].Bob Hughes left in early 1969 and went on to become a well known screen actor with credits including the hit TV sitcom Hey Dad..!, ABBA: The Movie, but in 2014 he was found guilty of sexually molesting girls on the set of Hey Dad...! and was sentenced to a jail term. He was replaced by bassist Warren Ward, an experienced musician.
They signed to EMI records in late 1968 and made one of their first major appearances at an outdoor concert in Sydney's Domain on Australia Day 1969. After recording, with the original line-up, a cover of the song, "Shame Shame" (which was not put out at that time), they had their first chart success soon after with their debut single, a cover of the Buzz Cason – Mac Gayden song, "Hayride", in early 1969. As the song was firmly in the bubblegum pop genre (e.g. the Chipmunks sounding intro), this resulted in the band being branded with a bubblegum image, although their stage performances and later recordings were in the country rock vein.
Nothwithstanding its trite nature, "Hayride" was initially banned from release in New Zealand because of the lyric "...making love in the hay..." The song gained vital Australian national exposure thanks to a pioneering promotional film-clip which was shown on nationally-screened TV pop shows such as Uptight!. Their second single, another Cason-Gayden song, "La La", was an even bigger hit, and arguably a more sophisticated performance, but this only served to reinforce their image as a bubblegum band.
The group recorded their self-titled debut album around this time, produced by Mike Perjanik. The album was an odd mixture of styles. Alongside the band's original country-rock numbers they included their pop hits and a medley of songs from the popular musical Hair.
Greg Grace left in June 1969 (to form Hot Cottage); Warren Ward left in September, to form Stonehenge and later performed on the hit "Boppin' The Blues" by Blackfeather). Ward was replaced as bass player by Terry Wilkins (ex-Starving Wild Dogs, Quill).
"Run Run Run", released in December 1969 was their last "bubblegum pop" release. It sounded much like the first two Cason-Gayden hits although this one was actually written by Doug Rowe.
With their next release, the EP Frontier, the band returned to their country-rock roots; it featured four pure country songs, including Terry Wilkins' "When Will I See You As You" and covers of Bob Dylan's, "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight", and Merle Haggard's, "The Day The Rains Came Down".
In April 1970 they added a fifth member, noted lead guitarist & pedal steel player, Red McKelvie, (ex-Starving Wild Dogs, Quill). McKelvie's arrival steered the group towards straight-ahead country music and the change was evident on their second LP, Prepared in Peace, released in July 1970, consisted entirely of original songs in folk and country styles. Despite uneven production and (at times) under-rehearsed performances, the result was one of the best Australian albums of 1970: many of the songs are outstanding and, over forty years later, it is hard to fathom the fact that tracks like "One Way Out," with its magic refrain 'All aboard,' and "It's So Hard," a masterpiece of the 'crying in my beer' genre, have not become Australian standards. Despite being critically well received, the album was not a major commercial success. This was chiefly attributable to the fact that no single was released off it, which greatly restricted its exposure over the airwaves. It is also likely that the album's lack of success was also partly due to the effects of the 1970 radio ban, a controversial 'pay-for-play' dispute between Australian commercial radio and an alliance of major record labels, which saw singles from the affected companies (including EMI and its subsidiary imprints) banned from airplay on commercial radio across Australia for six months between May and October 1970. However, also in July that year, the band scored a dramatic victory over teen favourites Zoot in the Grand Final of the prestigious Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds band competition.
Red McKelvie's departure marked a shift to a rockier but still country-tinged style. This was emphasised by the adding of a keyboard player, Sam See (formerly with Sherbet and subsequently with Stockley See and Mason) and reflected in the next album, a much more straight-ahead rock LP, although there was still some country, such as "The Longest Day", which chronicled the events surrounding the band's Hoadley's competition win. This album, with the joking title Bonza, Beaut & Boom Boom Boom, again consisted of all original material by the group. Two singles, "Turn Away" and "It Couldn't Happen Here", were released from the LP, but they only charted modestly. The band had a penchant for writing and recording songs about steam trains, with titles such as "Kempsey Mail", "3667", and "The Last Train", mainly due to the presence of James Wynne, a lifelong train enthusiast who later became an artist noted for his paintings of steam trains.
As result of the image problem that followed them from their early days and, that in Australia at that time, they were too country for rock audiences and too rocky for country audiences, they became frustrated by the lack of serious recognition in Australia. This led them to use their Hoadleys prize to head for North America, basing themselves in San Francisco. Lead singer Jim Wynne left the band, ultimately for good. They ended up in Toronto as they were unable to attain US working visas. The trip to Canada met with some success and they gained a deal from Toronto music agency Music Factory for a $10,000, two-month tour. The single "Turn Away" was also released in the USA but to no success.
July 1971 saw them back in Australia where they released their next single, the Crosby, Stills & Nash influenced track, "The Ballad of Sacred Falls" which was released in September. They headed off back to Canada in late 1971 where they worked regularly for most of 1972. During the brief time in Australia in 1971, Sam See left to join progressive group Fraternity (which included Bon Scott as lead singer) and Greg Grace rejoined to replace him. Flying Circus found Canadian audiences much more receptive to their style than in Australia and from then on they effectively became part of the Canadian rock music scene. After scoring a reputed million-dollar contract with Capitol Records, they cut their highly regarded Gypsy Road LP, which consolidated all their past hard work. The single "Old Enough (To Break My Heart)" reached No. 19 on the Canadian charts and the follow-up, "Maple Lady" made the lower end of the Billboard Hot 100.
They returned to Australia for the second Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1973, but their local popularity had waned by then, and the band received a less than enthusiastic reception. They returned to Canada, where Sam See rejoined the group (having left Fraternity while in England). Greg Grace again left the band (for the final time), later becoming the roadie for Canadian band Wireless, which included three ex-members of Australian band, Autumn. Greg Grace continued his roadie career as sound/stage tech for Canadian rock band, Glass Tiger. Toured extensively throughout Canada and with Tina Turner in Europe in 1987.
The Flying Circus went on to put out one more rock album, Last Laugh, in 1974. The line-up on this album was Doug Rowe, Terry Wilkins, Sam See and Colin Walker. However by the end of 1974 the group had run its course. Sam See and Terry Wilkins toured and recorded with Canadian band Lighthouse. Doug Rowe remained in Toronto, where he set up his own studio and lived for some years before eventually returning to Australia. By 1982 he had returned to Australia where he joined the country-rock band, Grand Junction, which went on to win a Golden Guitar at Australia's annual Tamworth Country Music Festival for "Married Women", although the track was recorded using Peter Johnson on vocals, who left the band prior to it winning the Golden Guitar.
Monday, 18 July 2016
Why Do I love You/ Stay/Shakin' Out The Stones/I Wanna Be Your Life/It's My Time/Ain't No City/The Dispossessed/Kids In Cars/Temptation/Upside Down
Tamam Shud evolved from an instrumental surf band, The Four Strangers, which formed in 1964 in Newcastle with Eric Connell on bass guitar, Dannie Davidson on drums, Gary Johns on rhythm guitar and Alex "Zac" Zytnik on lead guitar. They released a sole single, "The Rip", in that year for Astor Records before Lindsay Bjerre replaced Johns on guitar and lead vocals. In 1965, as the Strangers, they issued a single, "Sad and Lonely", on Festival Records – it was an R&B offering influenced by the Rolling Stones. Late that year they changed their name to the Sunsets.
The Sunsets travelled to Sydney to perform regular gigs at various venues: Surf City, the Star Club and the Sunset discotheque. In October 1965 they released a single, "Bye Bye Goodbye", on the Leedon label and followed with "When I Found You" in March of the following year. They issued three singles on Festival, "A Life in the Sun Theme" (January 1967), "Love's Face" (June) and "The Hot Generation" (August); as well as an EP, A Life in the Sun. Their tracks were used for two surf films, A Life in the Sun (1966) and The Hot Generation (1967), both directed by Paul Witzig. Late that year Peter Barron replaced Connell on bass guitar and the group, now based in Sydney, changed their name to Tamam Shud.
Bjerre found the Persian phrase tamám shud (translated as "ended", "finished" or "the very end") in the closing words of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, an 11th century poetry collection.The line-up of Barron, Bjerre, Davidson and Zytnik played "acid-surf progressive rock" influenced by "psychedelic sounds of Cream, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd, Eric Burdon and The (New) Animals, plus the San Francisco stylings of The Grateful Dead" according to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane. They became a popular attraction at local discotheques and "head" venues, and like their contemporaries Tully, they often performed in association with a Sydney film and light show collective, Ubu.
Tamam Shud recorded the group's debut album Evolution in late 1968. It was financed by Witzig, who had commissioned the music: he used four tracks on the soundtrack of his surfing film of the same name. Because of Witzig's limited budget it was recorded live-in-the-studio, over a single 2-1/2-hour session, and mixed in 1-1/2 hours, with most of the tracks being first takes. The independent recording was leased by the CBS label and they were signed to Warner Brothers records due to its popularity. It was favourably reviewed by teen pop magazine, Go-Set. McFarlane felt it was "one of the first wholly original rock albums" in Australia. Jordie Kilby and David Kilby described it as "one of the most loved soundtracks of the period" and described how "Screenings of the film with the band in attendance were popular events up and down the coast."
Bjerre replaced Davidson and Gaze with Kevin Sinott on drums and Kevin Stephenson on reeds – the group took on a jazzier musical direction. Gaze returned in late 1970 after Kahvas Jute recorded their only album, Wide Open. Sinott and Stephenson left and they recruited a new drummer, Nigel Macara, who had worked with Gaze in Stonehenge. During 1971 Tamam Shud's line-up expanded by the addition of Larry Duryea (ex Heart'n'Soul) on percussion; they were regularly augmented on stage by multi-instrumentalist, Richard Lockwood (ex-Tully), and a jazz pianist, Bobby Gebert.
Tamam Shud reformed in 1993 with the line-up of Barron, Bjerre, Gaze and Macara to record an album Permanent Culture released in 1994 before disbanding in 1995; and reformed with the same line-up for the Long Way to the Top package tour in 2002.
Monday, 20 June 2016
St. John's Chariot/I Wanna Be A Survivour/Teach Me How To Fly/Levon/Jailhouse Rock/Children Of The Storm
Jeff St John was named Jeffrey Leo Newton when he was born in 1946, and grew up in Sydney as the only child of his linesman dad Leo and his mum Carmel, a secretary. Jeff was diagnosed at birth with spina bifida, a congenital disability that causes malformation of the spine and resultant posture and walking difficulties. For much of his youth, Jeff walked with a caliper on his right leg, and underwent numerous painful operations. But the kind of tenacity to overcome this affliction that Jeff has maintained throughout his life, first became evident in his formative years.
Aged just 8, Jeffrey first performed in public in a kids' talent quest on Sydney's radio 2GB. By age 15 he had secured a guest spot on Channel Nine's TV teen talent showcase, Opportunity Knocks, hosted by Desmond Tester, and he appeared regularly on the show between 1961 and 1963.
A couple of years afterwards, by this time almost constantly supported by crutches because of his worsening condition, Jeff joined forces with an established Sydney blues-rock outfit called The Syndicate who he met by chance at the Sydney Musicians Club in early 1965. With members including guitarist Peter Anson (from legendary Sydney garage-R&B monsters The Missing Links) The Syndicate with Jeff on board soon evolved, via The Wild Oats, into The Id (named after the popular Johnny Hart cartoon strip The Wizard of Id), with Jeff also adopting the stage name he has used ever since.
On record, Jeff and The Id are probably best remembered for their scorching, brass-laden smash single, "Big Time Operator", which featured Aussie sax legend Bob Birtles heading the horn section. The single reached #7 in Sydney and a respectable #12 in Melbourne in January 1967, and the recording sessions at Festival in Sydney were even photographed for a special feature in Go-Set. But this was the culmination of a series of accomplished 45s which, established Jeff & the band's credentials.
Their debut 1965 single "Lindy Lou" / "Somebody To Love", was a pleasant R&B number which gave only a sight hint of the vocal prowess that Jeff would unleash on later releases. It came out on the Spin label and was followed in early '66 by "The Jerk" / "Take This Hurt Off Me". Further Spin Singles during the year mined the soul-blues vein the band had forged, such as the Leadbelly chestnut "Black Girl".
Then came their hugely successful cover of the Hayes-Porter-Jones number "Big Time Operator", and all seemed set for a successful future for The Id. They recorded a fine album in March 1967, called Big Time Operators, (together with an extremely rare EP of the same title, culled from the LP), and in April issued a final single called "You Got Me Hummin'" b/w "Watch Out". The album was a good representation of the Id's Stax/Atlantic styled stage repertoire, but was not the strong seller that was the hit single suggested it might become.
Jeff meanwhile put together an entirely new band, Yama (a Hindi word meaning 'mere mortals'). The lineup was again drawn from other successful groups of the time -- bassist Virgil East from from Python Lee Jackson, drummer Peter Figures from Throb, along with Ross East on guitar, who would continue to work with Jeff for some time thereafter. Yama folded prematurely around May 1968 after issuing just one single for the Spin label, "Nothing Comes Easy", an elaborately-produced, up-beat , progressively styled, yet surprisingly commercial tune written by St John and Figures,
Soon afterwards, St John underwent a series of complicated, make-or-break operations that unfortunately did not achieve the desired outcome, leaving him wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life. Undeterred, Jeff returned to live performance after a lengthy recuperation, and actually transformed his liability into his own trademark, executing 'wheelies' and pirouettes across the stage as he sang!
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.
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.
In reptrospect, Joint Effort reveals at least three truths -- the album was one of Festival Record's most consistent sellers for many years, it's a fine artefact of what was musically going on with OzRock in this heady and fertile time, and it documents what a fine band Copperwine was and provided conclusive proof that Jeff is one of the best rock vocalists this country has ever produced.
The musicianship of the band, particularly that of East and Kelly illustrated the embarrassment of riches scattered among Australian groups at this time. Original band-composed collaborations on the LP include the reflective "Fanciful Flights" (compiled on Raven's 2-CD compilation Golden Miles: Australian Progressive Rock, 1969-1974), the jazz-tinged instrumental "Any Orange Night" and the ensemble piece "You Don't Have To Listen". The towering opening track, a surging, organ-driven cover of The Temptation's "Cloud Nine", showed off Jeff's commanding soul stylings, superbly backed by a power-drive performance from Copperwine that, frankly, puts the original in the shade.
Jeff onstage with Bo Didderly
Another single, issued on Spin in November 1970, fared extremely well. The smoothly confident, organ-led cover of Rotary Connection's "Teach Me How To Fly" (featuring a berserk guitar solo from East, and some very tasty bass-drums interplay) propelled the band to #12 in Melbourne and a very encouraging #3 Sydney chart placement. St John's dazzling vocal performance on this record is probably the main reason why.
An 'insane” (as Jeff puts it) schedule of touring, concentrated in the eastern states, sustained Copperwine throughout 1970-71. Noted soul-blues singer Wendy Saddington (formerly of James Taylor Move and Chain) joined as co-lead vocalist in May 1970 and made her recording debut with the band (without St John though) on the intriguingly laid-back, bluesy album Wendy Saddington and Copperwine Live, recorded at the Wallacia Rock Festival in January 1971. By this time, too, former Amazons and Dave Miller Set member Harry Brus had replaced Alan Ingram on bass. The Copperwine/Saddington live album was scheduled for re-release on CD as part of Festival's reissue program, but the entire reissue project was scrapped after the acquistion of Mushroom Records. Festival's rapid financial decline after 2002 led to its closure in late 2005, and the entire Festival-Mushroom archive was sold to the American-owned Warner Music group soon after.
Hummingbird" (backed by Derek & The Dominos' Keep On Growing) became the next Copperwine single, which was released in August on Festival's new progressive subsidiary, Infinity and it was a moderate chart success. Early in the year they recruited Glyn Mason (ex-Chain, Larry's Rebels) and this lineup performed at the Mulwala Festival near Albury in NSW in April 1972. Soon after, Jeff split from Copperwine, but the band continued on for some time, with Mason taking over as lead vocalist.
Seeking what he saw as a more sympathetic vehicle for his singing and songwriting, Jeff formed a touring outfit, The Jeff St John Band, featuring favoured sticksman Peter Figures, and the keyboard talents of the late, great Tony Ansell who, sadly, died in November 2000. Tony was a renowned composer, teacher and session player with many well-known TV themes to his credit, and he was also a member of the all-star studio session band that played on Peter Dawkin's concept LP Star Suite in 1974, and on Richard Clapton's breakthrough single Girls On the Avenue in 1975.
In October 1972, Jeff issued his first solo single, "Yesterday's Music". Jeff and band toured extensively during '72, supporting acts as diverse as Gary Glitter, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Capping an extraordinary year, which also saw the release of a Spin compilation album, The Best Of Jeff St John, Jeff was awarded the accolade of 'Most Outstanding Vocalist of the Year'.
On his return, Jeff formed a new backing band, Red Cloud, and his new single "Mr Jones" / "Acapulco Lady" was released in May 1975. Produced by Martin Erdman and arranged by ex-Blackfeatherguitar-wiz John Robinson, the single was a minor sales success. It was followed up in October by another 45, utilising the same production/arranging team, "Blood Brother" (b/w "Reach Out And Touch Me"). Jeff and Red Cloud maintained a heavy touring schedule during 1975-76, and the singer continued as a popular live draw.
Jeff was the first Oz artist to sign with US imprint Asylum (whose roster included The Eagles, Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt) and he released a clutch of impressive singles for the label, capped by his welcome return to the national Top 10 during early 1977 with his scorching version of the Frankie Miller-Andy Fraser track "Fool In Love", a recording which must surely rate as one of the greatest soul records made anywhere, anytime, and must surely rank as one of Jeff's very finest vocal performances. A fresh (and typically thorough) Glenn A. Baker retrospective compilation, Survivor 1965-1975 was released in late 1977.
Jeff continued to record and perform live through the late 70s and into the early 80s, producing some quality rock performances, but in 1983, at the age of 37, he announced his retirement. He made a memorable farewell appearance on Donnie Sutherland's late night chat show, After Dark, which made it clear that he was having problems at the time. Following this, Jeff stepped away from the limelight for many years as he struggled to overcome his personal demons. Having survived the ups and downs of an illustrious but often tempestuous career, Jeff was philosophical when in 2000 he told Who Weekly:
In the late 1990s Jeff relocated to Perth and in 1999 an old friend, drummer Ace Follington coaxed Jeff up onstage at Clancy's Fish Pub, Fremantle. The singer relished the chance to wield a mic again:
"I'd been divorced from singing for so long, I'd lost sight of the fun involved."
That one-off performance led to a regular solo spot at Clancy's, the creation of an all-star backing group, Jeffrey St John & The Embers, and a brand new, album, self-deprecatingly titled Will The Real Jeff St John Please Stand Up?. Released in 2001. It is not a re-hash of Jeff's old style ('I'd feel was a parody of myself'); instead, Jeff has delved into the music of the '30s and '40s, performing swing standards with a rock treatment:
Sunday, 19 June 2016
People/City Boy Country Born/Mothers And Sons/The Morning After Josie Said Goodbye/ Why Did It Have To Be Me/Georgetown/Robertsville/The House That Love Built/Lucas Marsh/The Other Man/That's As Close As I Can Get To Loving You/Love And Little Joe/ Something New/People
Born March 10th 1944 in war-torn Poland, Lee’s family emigrated to Australia when he was three. They settled in Fitzroy, one of Melbourne’s oldest suburbs, as part of a large post-war influx of european migrants that displaced the area’s traditional working-class inhabitants. Early 1950s Fitzroy was a rough place, regarded at the time as a slum, the state government cleared large tracts of housing to erect pristine and soulless towering commission apartment blocks. The young Lee had fallen in with a disreputable crowd, and his fearful parents decided to move south of the Yarra river (far enough away that Lee couldn’t ride his bike back to Fitzroy).
Now resident in Aspendale, Lee had his first real exposure to music, milling around the local milk-bar on Sunday afternoons and breathing in Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. Soon Conway discovered the Mordialloc Life Saving Club, a wildly popular local dance venue and home to rockers Bobby Cookson And The Premiers. Accordionist Stan Azzopardi taught Lee the tub bass and he joined the group for a brief time. It was also then that Lee first heard Johnny Cash, an elemental simplicity and sound that struck Conway deeply.
Lee bought a truck and started to ship freight, on long-hauls and overnighters, on dusty desert highways and parched interstate blacktop. Burning asphalt in his rig, Lee heard a striking new voice over the radio – Lee Hazlewood. The moustachioed maverick’s duets with Nancy Sinatra (‘Sand’ and ‘Jackson’) entranced Conway’s ear, and on a layover in Adelaide Conway eagerly snapped up a cassette tape of the pair.
Lee soon found himself spending more time in Adelaide and sharing a house with Colleen Hewitt and Doug Ashdown. The house was next door to Gamba Studios, established by Le Mans racing driver and Penfold’s Wine heir Derek Jolly. Jolly was a progressive, colourful character and had an open door policy, inviting musicians to experiment in his state-of-the-art studio. He also invested in a Futuro House, installed the first Moog Synthesiser Mark III outside of the U.S.A. and collaborated with Dutch ‘musique-concrete’ maestro Henk Badings.
A flurry of activity followed – 1970 saw two more 45s released (in May and December respectively): ‘Jody And The Kid/The Other Man’ and ‘Something New/Love And Little Joe’, all on the Adelaide based Sweet Peach label. Conway made numerous live and television appearances to promote the releases – performing in Melbourne, Sydney, Darwin, Townsville, Hobart and other centres (and on the small screen amid appropriately atmospheric sets on ‘Hit Scene’ and ‘Happening ’71’).
Lee’s first LP also hit the shelves around this time – ‘Adultery’ – a combination of duets (with Ann Irwin), originals and judicious covers. ‘You’d Better Sit Down Kids’ was a reflective and mournful divorce lament, while ‘Lovers Such as I’ came across as a mildly trippy outtake from a Dean Martin/Lee Hazlewood love child.
By now the schedule had become relentless and 1971 saw the release of the titular 45 ‘I Just Didn’t Hear’, a masterpiece of masculine introspection and self-examination. Along with studio musicians Doug Ashdown, Kevin Johnson (and producer Jimmy Stewart), Conway crafted the perfect distillation of mood, pedal steel riffage and anthemic embittered regret. Conway’s television performance of ‘I Just Didn’t Hear’ on ‘Happening ’71’ reached the very heights of roughhewn Antipodean Gothic Noir.
Conway toured locally with, and befriended, Jerry Lee Lewis (who later took Lee on a house visit to Elvis) and did an extensive set of dates in the U.K. with Slim Whitman in October 1971 (where he was billed as ‘Australia’s Number One Country Singer!’), playing headline shows at Wembley and the London Palladium.
On an extended stint in the U.S. (drumming up interest and T.V. appearances) Lee wrote the bulk of his next album, ‘The Stories We Could Tell’. Another epic song-cycle of melancholic, finessed arrangements, alienated wanderers and hard-scrabble unfortunates – the LP was recorded at A.T.A. Studios in Sydney and produced by Denis Whitburn. It was recognised by the Australian Federation of Broadcasters as album of the year. Opening track ‘Coalmine’ bounces from stringed jig to coal-dusty lament, as the smooth gloom of ‘Lonely Life To Live’ and the cavernous ‘While The City Sleeps’ are radiant highlights.
As the 1970s blossomed, every door opened for Lee, his singles charted in the U.S, he performed for the Queen and landed his own prime-time T.V. show at home nationally on Channel 9 (‘Conway Country’) that ran for years. The former real-life trucker, cut trucker albums and country-pop crossover hits. On Lee Conway: I Just Didn’t Hear (The Early Roads 1969-1973) you get to hear those affecting early sides – perhaps eclipsed in the popular consciousness by later years of glitter and glitz – yet vital, disarmingly assured and singularly poetic.
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Feelings/Young Man's Lament
Frieze was a curious sidetrack in the continuing careers of Beeb Birtles and Daryl Cotton, who came to fame in the late Sixties as members of Zoot. After Zoot split in 1971 lead guitarist Rick Springfield launched his solo career and headed off the United States, where he eventually settled permanently. Cotton and Birtles were approached through their management by a Melbourne advertising agency. One of the agency's national accounts was the clothing company, Frieze Brothers' Suits, who wanted to employ a pop group to help promote their products. On his website, Beeb recalled the fateful meeting at the offices of the Australian Management and Booking Organisation (AMBO), where the agency execs pitched the idea to them:
"They wanted Darryl and me to form another group which they wanted to call Deep Frieze. The gimmick was that they wanted every guy in the band to be named after a type of material, meaning cloth material. So obviously Darryl Cotton was fine but they wanted me to call me Terry Lean and I was to have a brother called "Crimp" (as in terylene and crimplene)."
So we're sitting there thinking, hang on, we've already been through "Think Pink - Think ZOOT" and these guys are wanting us to do a similar, if not worse, thing. We promptly told them that to pursue this kind of idea, they would get laughed out of the country. Instead we talked them into doing a duo using just Darryl and myself and calling ourselves Frieze."
Frieze lasted almost exactly one year, from June 1971 to June 1972. Their first single, a cover of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's "Feelings" (Sep. 1971), came out on on Robie Porter's Sparmac label and managed to scrape into the lower reaches of the Melbourne chart. They were then signed up by the newly established Australian division of Warner Brothers Records.
Frieze recorded two singles for Warner which were released during 1972, but neither appears to haev made any impression on the charts. Frieze's first single for Warner had Daryl's "Try Yourself" on the A-side, backed by one of Beeb's first recordings as a songwriter, "You and I". The third and last Frieze single featued two siongs by Daryl -- the mawkishly-titled "Why Do Little Kids Have To Die", backed by "Jimmie and Jessie".
By mid-1972 Birtles had grown tired of the gimmicky act and he told Cotton and manager Jeff Joseph that he was quitting, so the duo split; in July Cotton left for the USA, where he spent several years, becoming part of the co-called "Gum Leaf Mafia". Meanwhile, Jean Gair offered Birtles a job answering phones at the AMBO office for $50 a week. It was there that he took the call that changed his life -- he answered the phone one day and a voice said, "Yes, I was wondering if you could help me, I'm trying to get in touch with Beeb Birtles?"
The voice belonged to musician Graeham Goble, formerly of Adelaide folk-rock group Allison Gros, who wanted Beeb to join his new band Mississippi. Beeb accepted, although Goble wanted him to play guitar rather than bass. The other members of Mississippi reportedly opposed this at first but Goble threatened that he would quit if Birtles wasn't hired. The rest is history -- Birtles and Goble formed a successful musical partnership that endured through Mississippi and eventually led to worldwide success with Little River Band.
Daryl Cotton returned to Australia in the late 1970s and moved into TV, becoming a popular children's show host. He later returned to music and over the decade he has been part of a trio with his old mate Russell Morris. The original third member was Ronnie Burns, but after Ronnie retired from performing he was replaced by former Masters Apprentices lead singer Jim Keays. Cotton, Keays & Morris played together regularly until Jim was sidelined by ill-health.
Terry Walker With The Hi Five - Long Time Gone/Glen Ingram & And The Hive Five - Skye Boat Song
Long Time Gone The Hi-Fives' with lead vocalist, Terry Walker who wrote the song, heard on the A -side, would later turn up as vocalist on Pastoral Symphony's Love Machine and The Strangers' Happy Without You.
Skye Boat Song an upbeat r&b arrangement of the old music teachers' favourite, somewhat reminiscent of the Tom Jones version. Single on Perth, Western Australia, label Clarion, by Perth band High Fives Vocals by Glen Ingram. Double-sided hit in Perth. Co-charted in Sydney with version by New Zealand band Peter Nelson & the Castaways.
Released in Australia in 1966 Charted #6 Sydney #9 Melbourne #9 Brisbane #3 Adelaide
Still Waiting/Work/Boy (she said)/Yoko/My girl/You said that/Used to know/Party/50 Years/Best looking guy
Uncanny X-Men are a pop/rock band which formed in Melbourne in 1981, and temporarily disbanded in 1987. They are fronted by lead singer Brian Mannix and originally included Chuck Hargreaves on guitar, Steve Harrison on bass guitar, Nick Matandos on drums and Ron Thiessen on guitar. John Kirk replaced Harrison and Craig Waugh replaced Matandos by 1984.
Thiessen left to be replaced temporarily by Joey Amenta on guitar and more permanently by Brett Kingman. Their second album, What You Give is What You Get!, was released in 1986 and peaked at No. 11, it included the Top 20 hit single "I Am". After disbanding in 1987 there was a brief reunion during 1998. In March 2011, the band played three gigs with Tim Rosewarne (guest keyboards); The Chelsea Heights Hotel (17 March 2011), Trak Live Lounge Bar, Toorak Melbourne (18 March 2011) and the V8 Supercar Clipsal 500 event in South Australia (19 March 2011). The band played a new original song, 'Take it from Me', for its encore performance at the Chelsea Heights Hotel. In March 2011, the band re-entered the studio to record a number of new original songs.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
Holocaust/Pete For Jennie/Living With A Memory/S.S. Bounce/The Gift/When I'm Feeling/Faith To Sing A Song
Bakery were an Australian progressive, hard rock band formed in 1970 in Perth. The original line-up was Hank Davis on drums (ex-Avengers, a New Zealand band), Mal Logan on keyboards (ex-Rebels), Eddie McDonald on bass guitar (Avengers), Peter Walker on guitar (Jelly Roll Bakers) and John Worrall on vocals and flute. They released two albums on Astor Records, Rock Mass for Love (August 1971) and Momento (August 1972) and had a Perth hit with "No Dying in the Dark". Bakery appeared at the Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1973 and disbanded in early 1975.
Bakery were a progressive hard rock band formed in early 1970 in Perth by two New Zealand-born musicians, Hank Davis on drums and Eddie McDonald on bass guitar – both were ex-members of Avengers. The line-up was completed by Mal Logan on keyboards (ex-Rebels, a New Zealand band), Peter Walker on guitar (ex-Jelly Roll Bakers) and John Worrall on vocals and flute. Logan soon left and, by October, he was a member of Healing Force and, later, in Chain and Little River Band. By mid-1970, Bakery's Davis, McDonald and Walker were joined by Rex Bullen on keyboards (Bitter Lemons) and Tom Davidson on vocals. Worrall had left for Ssarb and in 1972 was a founding member of Fatty Lumpkin.
Bakery's debut album, Rock Mass for Love, was issued in August 1971 on Astor Records which, according to Australian rock music historian Ian McFarlane, had been recorded live at a Mass "held at St George's Cathedral on 21 March 1971" and was "not indicative of the band's style of progressive hard rock". The group released two singles, "Bloodsucker" (February 1971) and "No Dying in the Dark" (July), before Mark Verschuer (Barrelhouse) replaced Davidson on vocals. "No Dying in the Dark" was a top ten hit on the Perth singles chart. The band's influences were Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin.
Monday, 6 June 2016
Its A Monkey/Slow Dance/Little Wheel/Flaming Heart/Shake That Thing/Game Of Love/Freight Train/Lonely Night/Girls/Christine
Raymond "Ray" Walter Arnott is an Australian rock drummer, singer-songwriter, he was a member of Spectrum (1970–1973), which had a number one hit with "I'll Be Gone" (recorded before Arnott joined) in January 1971. He also had short stints with The Dingoes in the 1970s and Cold Chisel in 1980s.
In late 1970 he replaced original drummer Mark Kennedy in the renowned Australian progressive rock group Spectrum and he remained with them until they split in early 1973. He sang backing and lead vocals with the band, as well as drumming, and he contributed several songs to their repertoire.
Arnott left Spectrum to join Mighty Kong, a new band formed by ex-Daddy Cool members Ross Wilson and Ross Hannaford, but the new group was very short-lived and broke up soon after recording its only LP in late 1973.Arnott took over the drum stool from the original drummer in two of the most prominent Australian groups of the period, The Dingoes in the late 1970s and Cold Chisel in 1983, but in both cases his tenure was relatively short.
Cold Chisel frontman Jim Barnes took on Arnott for his first two solo releases, the Bodyswerve album in 1984 and For the Working Class Man album in 1985.Arnott now lives and works on the NSW North Coast of Australia as a Teaching Assistant at Lismore Heights Public School and occasional band member.
Wednesday, 1 June 2016
Rhythm & Crunch/When It Comes To The Crunch
The single contains 2 songs that Sammy recorded in 1967 for the Smiths Crisps Company for use in advertising.
For an artist that only ever released a couple of records in Australia, Little Sammy has had an incredible career. He started out performing in the clubs of Kings Cross in the late '50s and went on to sing with respected groups like The In People and The Soul Syndicate in the '60s, before he finally moved to Europe where he enjoyed eight hit singles in the 1970s.
He toured the country with Lee Gordon’s Big Shows, was personal assistant to Keith Richards for two Rolling Stones tours, cut the Aussie Rap long before hip hop was popular and he even has a claim to being one of the first pop acts to play a concert at the Sydney Opera House.
One of his first big breaks came when he was offered work with Blue Beard, who had already established a reputation in France. Sammy contributed to their sole LP and appeared on single releases like the great Sly Willy. It was while he was with Blue Beard that The Rolling Stones caught them playing at a bar near the villa where they were meant to be recording Exile On Main Street. Mick Jagger liked the group so much he asked them to sing at his wedding.
Not long after, Sammy set out on his own and his first hit was the result. Rock And Roll Is Back Again was recorded with producer and songwriter Jacques Moreli. The two didn’t really get along and Sammy soon sought other collaborators while Moreli went on to enjoy success with the Village People later in the decade. Vangelis and Francis Lai were friends and fans and Sammy cut records with both. He also appeared in films including The Legend Of Frenchie King (1971) alongside Brigitte Bardot and The Rex Gang (1980).
The Sammy Gaha Band Sammy second from the right.
Arkansas Grass/Baby Bear/Fords Bridge/ Samantha/Take It Or Leave It/Little Ray of Sunshine/Yesterday Today and Tomorrow/ Mansfield Hotel/Cant Let Go This Feeling/ Country Pickin/Once A Month Country Race Day/Fools Gold/Who Am I Gonna See
Axiom's formation was a by-product of the annual Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds in which the top Australian bands of the day performed in front of judges for the prize of a paid return trip to London. In 1967 The Twilights were the first winners, the next year The Groop. Both found it difficult to settle back to the grind of the Australian pop scene after tasting the London big time. Neither band had made anything but the smallest dent in London (The Twilights being given a song by the Hollies, while The Groop's "When I Was Six Years Old" was recorded by Manfred Mann's Paul Jones), but it was enough to leave the lingering thought amongst band members, "What if..?"
The Groop broke up in late 1969, by which time The Twilights had already split and singer Glenn Shorrock had moved into management. A plan was hatched to form a new group out of the two groups' frontline remnants; there was some controversy surrounding the break-up of The Groop, with Go-Set magazine hinting that Cadd and Mudie had split the band to join Axiom without telling the other members about the new group. Twilights' songwriter and guitarist Terry Britten was supposed to join Shorrock and The Groop's piano player and chief songwriter Brian Cadd in the new band, but when Britten chose to go to England instead, his place was taken by The Groop's Don Mudie, who in the latter stages of The Groop had formed a strong songwriting partnership with Cadd. The group was completed by Cam-Pact guitarist Chris Stockley, and Valentines drummer Doug Lavery. Immediately dubbed a supergroup, the band asked fans to suggest a name and settled on Axiom.
Midway through the recording of the LP, which was released under the title Fool's Gold, drummer Don Lebler (The Avengers) replaced Doug Lavery. Axiom left Australia for the UK in April 1970 after signing a publishing deal from Leeds Music, with the local music press reporting that they had received record deal offers from both Apple Records and the Decca label. As a parting gift they left their second single, "A Little Ray of Sunshine", inspired by the birth of the child of a couple that the group knew – not by the birth of Cadd or Mudie's child, as has often been incorrectly reported. The single reached No. 5 in April 1970. "A Little Ray of Sunshine" has become one of the Australian songs most often still played on radio and was even celebrated with its own stamp in Australia Post's 1998 Australian Rock stamp series.
Although many of the songs on Fool's Gold featured Australian references, Brian Cadd revealed years later that the track "Ford's Bridge" had a very different origin:
" ... we wrote a song, which must have been all the stuff that I had left in my head from 'Arkansas Grass', which I called 'We Can Reach Georgia by Morning'. We had done some rough mixes and somebody played some of them to Stan Rofe and Rofe got right off his bike about it and said that it was absolutely unconscionable for us to use Georgia and why couldn't we use an Australian name? So I succumbed to the browbeating of everybody, and we found in the atlas a place in Northern Queensland called Fords Bridge, which had the right meter for the words ... I never really got over that. It really hurt me, It annoyed me ... I just got very annoyed with the parochialism. When it reached out and touched me and made me change a word in a song. I hated it."
In England Axiom signed a three-year recording contract with Warners, cemented by a single "My Baby's Gone" produced by Shel Talmy of early Who, Kinks and Easybeats' "Friday on My Mind" fame. The band completed a second album, If Only, recorded at the iconic Olympic Studios in London. Although some former members were later critical of what they felt was Talmy's overproduction of the record, in a 2000 interview with Richie Unterberger, Talmy still spoke highly of both group and LP:
By the time the album was released the band had already broken up and as Talmy indicated, it effectively vanished without trace.
Glenn Shorrock remained in England where he performed as lead vocalist of the extraordinary band Esperanto, eventually returning to Australia in 1974 to join the nascent Little River Band. Brian Cadd returned to Australia and launched a hugely successful solo career. Don Lebler remained in the UK to become a member of The Mixtures. A couple of years later Chris Stockley became part of The Dingoes. In October 2010, Fool's Gold (1970) was listed in the book 100 Best Australian Albums.