Tuesday, 29 November 2016
Money Maker/You Need It/ Jessie/What Am I Waiting For/Harris Street/Story Teller/Games/Stormy Lady
Sydney-based hard rock band Southern Cross had its roots in heavy progressive rock pioneers Buffalo. John Baxter had been sacked from Buffalo at the end of 1974. Baxter's savage guitar work had virtually defined the Buffalo sound and approach; his departure robbed the band of its most distinctive feature and boldest asset. The band's spirit simply faded thereafter. Original line-up: Alan Milano (vocals; ex-Buffalo), John Baxter (lead guitar; ex-Head, Buffalo), Michel Brouet (bass, vocals), Jeff Beacham (drums)
Initially Baxter formed Boy Racer before teaming up with original Buffalo singer Alan Milano in Southern Cross. Baxter wrote much of the band's early live set, although he left six months after formation. Eighteen-year-old Bruce Cumming replaced Baxter on guitar. Alongside the likes of Finch, The Angels, Kevin Borich Express, Rose Tattoo and Chariot, Southern Cross swiftly became one of the most popular hard rock bands on the Sydney scene. Southern Cross signed to the independent Living Sound/Laser label and issued its debut single, `Stormy Lady'/`Queen of Rock'n'Roll', at the end of 1976. The funky, bluesy and heavy `Stormy Lady' was a good indication of the band's over-the-top style. The band's self-titled debut album (1977) featured melodic, raunchy hard rock in the vein of Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs and UK band Bad Company. It mixed flat-out, riff-rockers (`You Need It', `Money Maker', `Stormy Lady') with moody rock ballads (`Jesse', `Story Teller' and `Games').
The album scored only minimal sales, despite its strong points. By 1978, Southern Cross had broken up and Cumming and Brouet moved on to The Press. Steve Kot (vocals) and Rick Doolan (drums) completed the line-up.
Also included in this post as a bonus is a rehearsal tape from June 1976. Thanks to Tom for the FLAC Files.
Monday, 28 November 2016
Isn't This A Lovely Day/I Will Wait For You/If You Go Away/ Let Yourself Go/I'm All Smiles/Stay/Nothing Can Stop Me Now/ I've Got A Penny/Breakfast At Tiffany's/Since I Fell For You/A Man And A Woman
Impassioned Australian singer Lana Cantrell, who found international success in the 1960s and 1970s, did not do things the easy way. A self-taught singer with no formal training, the tall, trim, shaggy-haired beauty entered the music industry and, for the duration of her career, remained true to her own vision and uniqueness every step of the way.
She was born on August 7, 1943, in Sydney, Australia, and grew up in a home filled with music. Her father, a jazz musician, was a tremendous influence and she displayed prodigious musical gifts from a very early age. Singing and playing the piano at the Sydney Town Hall by age 10, she became a viable entertainment name on the concert stage and TV by her late teens. Lana had ambitions, however, that extended far outside of her native Australia. At age 19, long before phenom Helen Reddy put Australia on the Billboard singing map in America with her #1 "I Am Woman" feminism, Lana was chartering American waters seeking her fame and fortune.
Her career began slowly in America, yet her determination and love for performing never wavered. Perhaps too quirky for mainstream stardom, she evolved into a popular marquee headliner especially on the night club and TV circuits. With the trendy, angular, slightly awkward looks of a Twiggy, with her boyishly cropped hair and large eyes, she was a highly emotive belter/chanteuse often compared to a Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, Eydie Gormé or Lainie Kazan. Lana played nearly every Las Vegas hotel on the strip during her prime and wound up appearing on Ed Sullivan's popular variety show a whopping 15 times. A foreign import favorite on a host of variety show formats including "Kraft Music Hall Presents" and Red Skelton's weekly series, she served as a vibrant opening act for such stars as Jerry Lewis on the road.
Lana moved strongly into the recording arena with seven albums/CDs recorded for RCA. With such titles as "Another Shade of Lana," "Lana!" and "Act III: Lana Cantrell," a number of her singles found status back in Australia, but her Billboard charting in America was not a success. One of her songs, "Like a Sunday Morning," reached #63 in 1975. Her taste was eclectic for the changing times yet each had her own personalized stamp on them -- "I'm All Smiles," "Since I Fell for You," "If You Go Away," "I Will Wait for You," 'I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," "What Now My Love," "Steppin' Out With My Baby" and "When You Wish Upon a Star". For every nostalgic "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" on an album, one could also find an odd, contemporary version of a rock song such as "The House of the Rising Sun". She wasn't ahead of her time or behind the times; she merely sang and swayed to her own beat and style, refusing to be pigeon-holed. Many would say that made her relevant for all times.
Lana spread her wings to include musical theatre as well, playing the role of Dorothy in a 70s stage version of "The Wizard of Oz" alongside baritone star Alfred Drake. But she was at her best on the concert/festival circuits and she performed all over the world -- from New York's St. Regis and Waldorf-Astoria hotels to the Sydney Opera House.
The never-married singer is a dedicated yoga disciple and, sports-wise, was once the table-tennis champion of New South Wales. Never one to be pinned down to any single interest, Lana retired from singing in 1988 (age 45) to pursue a law degree. She now practices entertainment law in New York. In 1996 she made an isolated singing appearance at the Sydney Festival Club to much public clamor, and has since showed up on a rare occasion.
Saturday, 19 November 2016
Music/Wedding Vows/Happy Anniversary/ In The Mornin'/ Rainy Sundays/What I Did For Love/ Jezabel/Do I Love You/Da Do Da Dum Dum Dum/European Flowers/You're Breaking My Heart Cos You're Leaving/Happy
Frankie was born in the Melbourne suburb of Black Rock and began singing to amuse his fellow servicemen. By the mid-fifties he had become a regular featured vocalist at the Ziegfeld Palais Ball Room in Melbourne. Frankie worked there with Max Bostock and his Rockets. He also recorded a series of rock’n’roll EPs on the Dance Land label. Then, in 1959, Frankie was snapped up by W&G Records. In 1961 he found his niche with ‘Yabba Yabba Doo’, which entered the charts in December. This was followed by what probably became his signature tune, ‘Have You Ever Been To See King’s Cross?’ The song achieved national acclaim for Frankie and made a mockery of the short-sighted Melbourne/Sydney rivalry of the period. After all, a Melbourne singer performing a song about an area of Sydney in 1962 was strange. In 1970 he began recording for the Fable label and produced his biggest selling single, ‘Gimme Dat Ding’, followed by ‘Ball Bearing Bird’. Frankie had also become an accomplished actor appearing in dramas such as Matlock Police, Homicide and the ABC’s production of Dynasty. In 1975 he switched to M7 Records and released an album called A Generation Of Children’s Hits. Frankie certainly made his mark with clever novelty material. Songs that followed included ‘Hector The Trash Collector’ and ‘50,000,000 Blowflies Can’t Be Wrong.
The mid 80s saw Frankie take a new tact, releasing his first country abum with `Australian Born, Australian Bred’ which included `Hope Your Chooks Turn Into Emus and Peck Your Dunny Down’ – a hit on both the pop and country charts around the country. The show business stalwart, who in the past decade has worked diligently on improving his vocal talents which span from baritone to tenor, believes his efforts were rewarded with the 1992 MO Award nomination for Male Vocalist of the Year. “I changed from Versatile Variety Performer in 1976 to Male Vocalist in 1992 – which shows people are paying more attention to that side of my work.”
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Obsession/Some Sunny Day/Bomb the Bomb/Diamond Mine/High as the Heavens/The Simple Things/Head Full of Rain/Paradise Drive/Zweite Neon/ The Dark End of the Road/Tides of Time/What Does It Take to Get Lucky/All Stand Together
In a career spanning thirty-two years and eighteen fantastic albums, Richard Clapton has earned himself a very special place in the history of Australian contemporary music. A singer/songwriter who combines masterful poetic insight with a passionate rock ‘n’ roll heart, he has articulated the hopes and dreams – and the disappointment and disillusionment – of a generation of Australians. With the dedication of a true artist, he has mapped out the landscape of the human heart.
Richard Clapton is indisputably one of the most influential figures in Australian rock history. Respected by peers and critics alike for his finely-honed abilities as a musician and songwriter, he has also kept up a steady flow of hits and a loyal live following over the past two decades. He stands among a very small group of songwriters who have created timeless classics; songs which explore and reflect upon the realities of contemporary Australia, remaining fresh and relevant years after they were written.
The fact that so many of his songs are still heard on Australian radio stations every day is proof of the enduring qualities which make his music so special. The titles say it all, from Girls On The Avenue, Capricorn Dancer and Deep Water, through to Down In The Lucky Country, The Best Years Of Our Lives and I Am An Island, Richard has never stopped creating brilliant music. In recent years, he has continued to impress with songs like Angelou, Trust Somebody, Glory Road, Distant Thunder and Oceans of the Heart. Clapton spent four years writing and recording the album, Diamond Mine, at his home studio, a process he described as the most creatively liberating experience of his recording career. It was released in May 2004—eight years after his previous studio album—but did not chart.
I Am an Island/Universal/Spellbound/Flow in Motion/The Best Years of Our Lives/Syncopation Train/I Fought the Law/All Night Long/Walk on Water
Australian singer/songwriter Richard Clapton played with several bands during the late '60s and '70s as he traveled across Europe before returning to Australia in 1972 to begin his solo career.
His debut single, "Last Train to Marseilles," released in October 1972, was not commercially successful and he joined the jazz-rock band Sun for a six-week stint. His debut album, Prussian Blue, was released in November 1973, but his first chart success was with the single "Girls on the Avenue," which reached number two nationally in March 1975. He released the Girls on the Avenue album followed by the album Main Street Jive in July 1976. A European tour followed at the end of the year. Clapton's contribution to the 1977 Highway One soundtrack album, "Capricorn Dancer," peaked at number 20.
The Great Escape
A new record deal with WEA in 1982 produced The Great Escape, which peaked at number seven in March. The single, "I Am an Island," peaked at number 20 while the compilation album, The Very Best of Richard Clapton, peaked at number 15 during the same time. Another national tour followed which included bassist Garry Gary Beers and drummer Jon Farriss from INXS as part of his backing band; an association that began when Clapton produced their 1981 album, Underneath the Colours. In 1983, Clapton joined the Party Boys for a short time and appeared on their Greatest Hits (of Other People) album. In 1984, Clapton released his next solo album, Solidarity, and again toured the country. Glory Road followed in 1987, produced by Jon Farriss in return for Clapton's work on Underneath the Colours.
In September 1989, The Best Years of Our Lives, a live album recorded on April 16, 1989, was issued. The next four years were spent undergoing contractual difficulties until Clapton signed a five-album deal with Sony. Between record deals, Clapton remained popular on the touring circuit and went on to release Distant Thunder in 1993 and Angeltown in 1996. In 1982 he signed with WEA and the Mark Opitz-produced The Great Escape had contributions from members of Cold Chisel and INXS. The album, which peaked at No. 8 in March, spawned three singles. The hard-rocking "I Am an Island", with Cold Chisel's Ian Moss on guitar and Jimmy Barnes on backing vocals, reached the top 20. Two other singles, "Spellbound" (April) and "The Best Years of Our Lives" (September) did not chart in the top 50. In May, WEA released his compilation, The Very Best of Richard Clapton, which reached No. 18 with The Great Escape still in the top 20.
Saturday, 5 November 2016
Two Can Play (7'' Version)/Two Can Play (12'' Extended Mix)/Two Can Play (Instrumental)
Australian Crawl (often called Aussie Crawl or The Crawl by fans) were an Australian rock band founded by James Reyne (lead vocals/piano), Brad Robinson (rhythm guitar), Paul Williams (bass), Simon Binks (lead guitar) and David Reyne (drums) in 1978. David Reyne soon left and was replaced by Bill McDonough (drums, percussion). They were later joined by his brother Guy McDonough (vocals, rhythm guitar). The band was named after the front crawl swimming style also known as the Australian crawl.
Australian Crawl were associated with surf music and sponsored a surfing competition in 1984. However, they also handled broader social issues such as shallow materialism, alcoholism, car accidents, and cautionary tales of romance.
When the album virtually failed to chart, the band was ready to split but had to go out on tour for the next year to pay off the enormous $400,000 cost of producing the album. After completing their national tour of Australia in January, 1986, the band split up. Australian Crawl released a successful live album, The Final Wave, on the Freestyle Record label, towards the end of October, 1986.
All the singles failed to have significant chart success with "Two Can Play" reaching #44 and only remaining in the charts for nine weeks, "If This Is Love" peaking at #87 and remaining for three weeks, whilst "Trouble Spot Rock" reached #69 and stayed in the charts for four weeks.
Thursday, 3 November 2016
Concrete & Clay [Extended Mix]/Concrete & Clay [7'' Version]/I Could Be So Good
Martin Plaza is the pseudonym of Martin Edward Murphy (born 1 January 1956), who is a vocalist/guitarist/songwriter with Australian pop/new wave band Mental As Anything. Plaza also has a solo music career and in 1986 had a No. 2 hit in Australia with his cover of the 1960s Unit 4+2 song "Concrete and Clay". Plaza has worked in other bands and is an accomplished artist.
Plaza was born Martin Murphy on the North Shore of Sydney. He attended St. Pius X at Chatswood, excelling in sporting and artistic pursuits but showing little interest in other subjects. After attending Hornsby Technical College he switched with fellow student Steve Coburn to what was then known as the East Sydney Technical College (now known as the National Art School) in Darlinghurst in the mid-1970s where he met Chris O'Doherty. Around this time he was working part-time at KFC. With O'Doherty (later known as Reg Mombassa), Coburn and another student, David Twohill, he formed the pop/rock band Mental As Anything in May 1976. Mental As Anything went on to become one of Australia's most popular bands touring widely in Australia and overseas.
In the early days of Mental As Anything, band members would often invent pseudonyms for each other that combined an exotic last name with a common Australian first name. Martin Plaza was one of the products of that amusement whilst obviously being inspired by the famous Sydney pedestrian mall Martin Place. He has in the past jokingly stated that his full name is Martin DeJesus Plaza.
In 1986 Plaza performed with The Rock Party, a charity project initiated by The National Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NCADA), which included many Australasian musicians such as Crowded House members Neil Finn, Tim Finn, Paul Hester and Nick Seymour; GANGgajang members Geoff Stapleton, Robbie James and Mark Callaghan; Models members Jenny Morris and Sean Kelly; Reg Mombassa (Mental As Anything), Eddie Rayner, Mary Azzopardi (Rockmelons), Andrew Barnum (The Vitabeats), Lissa Barnum, Michael Barclay, Peter Blakely, Deborah Conway, Danny De Costa, Greg Herbert (The Promise), Spencer P Jones, John Kennedy, Paul Kelly, Robert Susz (Dynamic Hepnotics) and Rick Swinn (The Venetians). The Rock Party released a 12" single "Everything to Live For", which was produced by Joe Wissert, Phil Rigger and Phil Beazley.
In 1986, Plaza had a No. 2 hit in Australia with the 1960s Unit 4+2 song "Concrete and Clay", the subsequent solo album Plaza Suite also charted. Further singles were not as successful. In 1991 another planned solo album morphed into a collaboration with former member of Models, James Freud. Entitled Beatfish, it became one of the very first Australian Dance or House flavoured albums. Another surprising turn was his 1994 album Andy's Chest. Composed almost entirely of Lou Reed covers, it divided critics at the time. Another collaboration with Freud in 1996 produced the Hawaiian inspired Moondog project however Plaza only appears on some tracks.
Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith & Jones/Here Comes Jane/Be a Woman/ Barefootin'/Roly/ Season of the Witch/Wait for Me Mary-Anne/Travelling Circus/Pretender/Ruby Tuesday/Reach Out/Mr Dieingly Sad
The Dedikation were originally formed in the Upper Hutt around 1967, with the original drummer Michael Parlane being replaced by Bruce Whitelaw when they turned professional.
Their first single was released in 1969 and was a huge hit. It was "Wait For Me Maryanne"/"Sally Had A Party" and reached number 2 on the national charts. "Maryanne" was a far superior cover of the original song by the Marmalade from 1968. The Marmalade version lacks the depth of sound that the Dedikation managed to give it.
The song was a monster and few bands are capable of following up such a hit with another smash. Their second single was "Hayride"/"Barefootin'" and didn't even make the charts. The third single, a cover of the Rolling Stones did better. It was "Ruby Tuesday"/"Be A Woman" and reached number 12 on the national charts in 1970.
One self-titled album was released in 1969 and by 1970 the Dedikation had called it quits.
Ray Mercer (Lead Guitar)
Graeme Collins (Keyboards / Vocals)
Graham Harvey (Bass Guitar)
Bruce Whitelaw (Drums)
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Clockwork Revenge/Pictures In A Puddle/Ladies Of The NightEarthborn Pilgrim/Out Of The Woods/ Is It Such A Dream/You Might Even Be
Airlord was formed in Wellington in 1976, played the pubs and flew to Australia the following year, recorded an excellent albeit ignored album, "Clockwork Revenge", and disbanded in 1978. The group failed to secure a large New Zealand audience, largely because they performed original material. Airlord had to escape to Australia to earn a decent living, and although they were never a top draw card across the Tasman, their lifespan was a lot longer than had they stayed in New Zealand.
Steve MacKenzie (Guitar / Vocals)
Ray Simenauer (Guitar / Vocals)
Brad Murray (Bass / Vocals)
Alan Blackburn (Keyboards)
Rick Mercer (Drums)
There seems to be two main singing voices, one of whom sounds like an early Peter Gabriel on steroids, while the other is a plummy tenor akin to Ray Thomas. Fortunately, the latter is the more prominent, and with some excellent rich high harmonies the Moody Blues comparison is quite striking, nowhere more than the superb Out Of The Woods. Guitars dominate the instrumentation, often with acoustic varieties providing excellent rhythmic support. Both guitarists get the chance to shine with some excellent lead runs and solos, though just occasionally a little extra spark of inspiration would come in handy. Keyboards largely fulfill a background role, mostly filling in the gaps, but the rhythm section is very good and the bass is especially inventive and forward in the mix.
Despite the Gabriel-like vocals, this is no Genesis clone but an interesting, superior venture into their territory, quite at home with the likes of Fantasy or England. Had it been produced five years earlier it may well have made an impact. In retrospect, a terrific album that will appeal to lovers of Classic Prog and well worth the effort to seek it out.