Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Executives - 1968 - On Bandstand

Hey Jude/Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/Cinderella Rockerfellar/Christopher Robin/Windy Day/it's A Happening World/Requiem: 820 Latham/Mamas & Papas Medley: Monday Monday/Dream A Little Dream Of Me/Dedicated To The One I Love/Creeque Alley/Hair Medley: Hair/Air/Walking In Space/Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In 

Like  the Allusions, and The Affair, not enough recognition has been accorded to The Executives. They shared with those bands a polished, musicianly approach, although they fared considerably better than most of their contemporaries in the longevity stakes. They were also quite successful in commercial terms -- they scored several Top 40 hits, including two consecutive Top 5 singles in Sydney, and they were widely regarded as being Australia's most sophisticated pop group. They are also notable as one of the very first Australian groups to produce their own recordings.

This polished sextet was founded by husband and wife Brian and Carole King in Sydney in late 1966, quickly gaining 'must-see' status around inner-city venues. Their musical expertise and versatility was unequalled for the time, and between them the six members could play thirty-one instruments, ranging from violin to harpsichord. In January 1967 they released their debut single, "Wander Boy" backed by a cover of The Addrisi Brothers' "You're Bad". The moody, wistful a-side was highly rated by Sydney radio DJs and sold well there.

Around mid-'67 Dudley Hood, co-writer of "You're Bad", left to be replaced by guitarist Brian Patterson, who hailed originally from the Laurie Lee Ensemble (1963), then The Bluebeats (1965-66), and Tony Worsley & The Fabulous Blue Jays (1966). A second guitarist, Ray Burton (Raymond Doughty) also joined at the same time, replacing saxophonist Keith Leslie. Ray's antecedents include The Dave Bridge Quartet (1961-62) and The Telstars (1965). He had brief stints with Dynasty and The Questions in 1968 before returning to The Execs later that year. The other members of the Mark 1 line-up were virtual novices to the scene but acquitted themselves well in the professional Executives setting.

It was the one-two punch of follow-up 45s in mid-'67 that cemented The Executives' reputation. "My Aim Is To Please You" was a beautifully arranged and recorded mid-paced ballad, which displayed to excellent effect the multi-layered twinned lead vocals of Gino Cunnico (formerly lead singer of The Affair) and Carole King, together with the deft electric piano flourishes of Brian King.
Many listeners mistook the Execs' new single for an American recording, perhaps by The 5th Dimension or The Mamas & the Papas (whose styles obviously had a strong influence on The Execs) before discovering to their considerable surprise that it was a home-grown product. "Aim" became a sizeable national hit, peaking at #26 on the Go-Set chart in September. It paved the way for their biggest seller, the lush, majestic Steven Stills song "Sit Down I Think I Love You" (originally recorded by Buffalo Springfield on their debut album). It was a Top 30 hit on most capital city charts during October 1967 and was especially successful in Sydney, where it peaked at #4, and it reached #28 on the Go-Set chart in December.

During 1968 they released a trio of self-produced singles, making them one of the very first Australian bands to produce their own recordings. The first was the brisk and catchy "It's A Happening World" (March) written by Brill Building doyens Barry Mann & Cynthia Weill, which made the Top 40 in Sydney and Brisbane. The second was an irresistible slice of pure pop called "Windy Day" (June); originally recorded by US band The Lewis & Clark Expedition, it was another big success for The Executive in Sydney, where it reached #7. The third single was a glistening bauble of psych-pop whimsy, "Summerhill Road" (December), co-written by Ray Burton and Garry Paige, as was the single's flipside, "Christopher Robin". 

  All of the above-mentioned Execcs Singles were respectable national sellers. Around this time The Execs cut a track for a various-artists promo EP for the Coca-Cola company, which is now extremely rare.

Shortly after the early-1968 release of their eponymous debut LP, The Executives made the first of two forays to the USA, where they attracted encouraging industry scrutiny. They signed to the Buddha label and with the management team of DiBlasio, Wald & Day whose client list included Billy Joel, Helen Reddy and Tiny Tim (partner Jeff Wald was the husband of Helen Reddy). Unfortunately nothing came of the Buddah deal, so they eventually returned to Australia.

But their absence did little to diminish their popularity in their homeland, where a further bunch of singles, EPs and another album fared well on the charts, and they remained a popular live draw. Their second album, On Bandstand, gathered many of their earlier hits, supported by a selection of well-chosen covers of contemporary standards, including several tracks from the hit musical Hair, and the LP confidently showcased the abundant musical strengths of the band. This collection has been  re-released in various forms subsequently (see Discography).

A second trip to America in late 1969 saw them absorbing the prevailing psychedelic-progressive trends; falling" into line with that maxim, they changed their name to The Inner Sense, adopting a heavier musical style but still retaining their trademark vocal polish. The Mark 1 line-up of the group lasted until late 1969. Unfortunately, new trends in progressive and heavy rock were making the smooth, breezy pop stylings of The Exectuives a thing of the past, and they were tagged as a "middle of the road" band in later years. 

Most of the group returned to Australia, and during this period Carole and Brian wrote, performed in and produced the music for the now-forgotten the stage musical Nuclear, of which former 60s pop idol Mike Furber was briefly a cast member, just before his tragic death.

Ray Burton remained in America until 1973, and it was during that time that he co-wrote the international smash hit "I Am Woman" with Helen Reddy. On his return he became an in-demand session player and went on to work in several prominent groups -- Doug Parkinson & Friends and then McGuire, Kennedy and Burton (both 1973), which evolved into Ayers Rock later that year. He also formed a duo with ex-Executive Gino Cunnico that released one album in 1974. Gino later released two obscure solo LPs and Ray released his own. Ray continues a successful songwriting and production career to this day. Among his clients are Marcia Hines, Helen Reddy and  Doug Parkinson.

Carole and Brian King formed an aptly-name new group, Transition, which kept them going until they had found the right personnel with which to resurrect The Execs in June 1974. The new lineup included vocalist Jonne Sands, a former Sunshine label artist who at one stage was touted as a successor to Normie Rowe and who scored a lone a solo hit with "Mothers And Fathers" in October 1968. He took over Gino Cunnico's original role as co-lead singer with Carole, and for three more years this line-up enjoyed solid patronage around Sydney's club and cabaret circuit, and they released three singles on Polydor. They made regular appearances on TV variety shows and also wrote and recorded the theme music for Grundy's hospital soapie The Young Doctors. 

After The Executive"s folded for good in 1978, Brian and Carole King continued to team for studio sessions. Sands resumed a moderately successful solo career, mainly as a club performer. Bassist-guitarist Alan Oloman (formerly a member of legendary Lithgow band The Black Diamonds) continued with session work, contributing to Nuclear and wrote the music for the 1979 film Alison's Birthday.

The Executives left behind a body of fine records that are highly sought after by collectors of quality sixties Aussie pop, although it has to be said that they have been lamentably overlooked in terms of CD reissues. Since the closure of Festival Mushroom Records in 2005 and the sale of its archive to the Warner group there has been little action on this front, apart from the recent reissues of the Split Enz catalogue.

Nevertheless, The Executive should be remembered for their sophisticated and inventive sound, those gorgeous vocal harmonies, their accomplished musicianship and their mastery of the three-minute pop single idiom.

Sydney 1966-69, 1974-78

 Dennis Allgood (bass, vocals)
 Ray Burton (guitar, vocals) 1967-69
 Rhys Clark (drums)
 Gino Cunnico (vocals) 1967-69
 Dudley Hood (guitar) 1966-67
 Brian King (keyboards)
 Carole King (vocals)
 Gary King (bass)
 Keith Leslie (sax, vocals) 1966-67
 Brian Patterson (guitar) 1967-69

 Brian and Carole King with:
 Brian Kirby (drums)
 Alan Oloman (bass)
 Ron Smith (guitar)
 Jonne Sands (vocals)

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Executives The Book

   Interested in buying a copy of the book well click on the image on the right to take you to the site

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Richard Clapton - 1974 - I'm Travelling Down The Castlereagh

I'm Travelling Down The Castlereagh/Girls On The Avenue

This doesn't appear to be on any compilations or CD I tried to find some info about it but the only thing i could come up with was that Castlereagh is the B-side but as you can see the label on my single has it as the A-side with Girls on the Avenue the B-side. Anyway it looks like Castlereagh is a Banjo Patterson poem put to music by Richard and a fine tune it is and the B-side runs about 30 seconds shorter than the album track.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Radiators - 1983 - Scream Of The Reel

How Does It Feel/Sitting In My Armchair/Gravitational Pull/Living On A Razors Edge/You/No Tragedy/Coming Back For More/Right Before My Eyes/Don't Call Us/Getting Closer/Too Much Too Soon

 Scream of the Real was released in 1983 and reached #15 on the OZ charts earning a Gold disc.

For info on the Radiators check out the post below.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Radiators - 1981 - Up For Grabs

Up For Grabs/Room Full Of Diamonds/Nothings Changed/It Wasn't Me/ Restless/Something Wrong/Automatic/Bustin' Out/I Go To Pieces/ Sex/Out Of It

Formed in Western Sydney in 1978, The Radiators were originally lumped in with the New Wave scene in Sydney but in reality were a pub rock band with a sense of humour. In their hey-day they were one of the hardest working bands in Australia, touring constantly and racking up over 2,500 gigs by the early 1990s.
Their first single (on WEA) was Comin’ Home which reached number 33 (and probably earned them their New Wave tag). Fess’ Song (“I take drugs, I like sex, I like looking at dirty pictures, I like lying in bed with Fess”) and the album Feel The Heat followed and The Rads’ supported The Police on their Australian Tour.
Hit And Run was the third single lifted from their debut LP which went on to sell 90,000 copies. In 1981 they changed record labels and released Up For Grabs. 1982 brought the singles Up For Grabs and Nothing’s Changed. A new contract with EMI produced the album Scream Of The Real and the singles No Tragedy and You.
Another LP followed in 1984 (Life’s A Gamble) along with 3 singles; The Beatles’ Revolution, Life’s A Gamble and A Bit Of Pain Never Hurts. Long-serving drummer Chris Tagg left in June 1984 to be replaced by a string of others. The band with more record labels than hot dinners continued recording well into the 90s but by then their brand of boogie-influenced rock had been superseded by more alternative guitar bands. But, being the pub-rock warhorses that they were, The Radiators would not stop.

The Radiators (still one of the hardest working bands in the land) still play live in Australia today (I saw them in January 2003 actually, and despite the absence of as keyboard player these days, these guys still R.O.C.K). Of special note is the bands most (in)famous song (and solid live favourite), a charming little ditty entitled Give Me Head which is about, well . . . you work it out!from Nostalgia Central

Chapta - 1972 - Open Door

Show The World/Send Me No More Letters/Sand Storm/Go To Hell Annabelle/I Can See You-Open Door/You and I/Colonel Pumpkin/Day/Star King/Promise Of Tomorrow

For info on the band see the post below.

Chapta - 1971 - Chapta 1

Vehicle/Country Lady/Do You Remember/If You Could Read My Mind/Journey To The Sun/Say A Prayer/Time Hangs Heavy/I Just Can't Help Believing/Hello Sandoz/With A Little Help From My Friends

Christchurch group Chapta evolved in 1969 out of the remnants of the Next Move. They made appearances on Christchurch Television's Moving pop series. Line-up changes included Kevin Bayley on lead guitar, replacing Baker and then Dave Kennedy replaced him on guitar and vocals. Ledley Cleland replaced Stan White before being replaced himself by Peter Gillette on keyboards. Les Inwood left around the same time as Doug Baker. Peter was also a member of Peter Nelson and the Castaways as well as having a stint with Footsteps and later playing with Moviez. Sharon O'Neill was also a member of the group for a short time.

Left:   Dick Whatson (Bass)
Next:   Peter Gillette (Keyboards) replaced Ledley Cleland who had replaced Stan White
Next:   Kevin Toneycliffe (Drums)
Right:   Dave Kennedy (Lead Guitar)

Their first single was "Love Makes The World Go Round"/"Love Is Blue-I Can Sing A Rainbow" recorded in 1970 on the Festival label. In 1971 they signed to HMV and concentrated on original material. They made the finals of the Loxene Gold Disc awards in 1971 with their next single "Say A Prayer"/"Country Lady".

 For a short time, Sharon O'Neill was a member of the group

Left:   Peter Gillette (Keyboards)
Next:   Chris Fox (Drums)
Next:   Sharon O'Neill (Vocals)
Next:   Dick Whatson (Bass)
Right:   Kevin Bayley (Lead Guitar)

Two further singles, "You And I"/"My Way" and "I Can See You - Open Door"/"Colonel Pumpkin" were released in 1971 and then their last single "I Can't Get Sunday Out Of My Mind"/"Send Me No More Letters" secured them a finals spot in the Loxene Awards 1972 for the second year.    

Two albums were recorded, "Chapta One" in 1971 and "Open Door" in 1972. "Show The World", the lead track of the "Open Door" album was their entry in the 1972 Studio One Television Series.  Chapta folded soon after that, with Dave Kennedy going on to form Link.

Kevin Bayley went on to play in Taylor, Rockinghorse and Short Story.