Friday, April 18, 2014

Madonna - Live Vol 1 Unlicensed (1993) Bootleg

In 1990, Madonna continued to explore and develop her own ideas about ambiguity in gender and sexuality, a feminist agenda in which a woman is in control of her body, her role and her life. Although she examined this theme in her "Like A Prayer" video, it was most fully expressed in her audacious four-month twenty-seven-city 'Blonde Ambition' tour, which established her as a modern-day Amazon, her erotic and exotic routines invariably ending with the woman on top. She strutted the stage in contemporary armor, Jean-Paui Gaultier's cone-shaped bustier, presenting an enduring image of Madonna at superwoman, her dancers playing musclebound slaves utterly subservient to her will. Yet the French designer's description of the garment that will be forever identified with the singer can also be applied to her own psychology; as he said,'A tough outer shell protects hidden vulnerability.' [extract from 'Madonna' by Andrew Morton, Bantam Books, 2001. p164]
Blond Ambition Tour
While riding high on her success in Dick Tracy, Madonna kicked off her third and most imaginative tour to date on 13 April 1990. When tickets went on sale, 2500 were sold in one minute-a new record in the entertainment industry. The Blond Ambition Tour opened at Chiba, Japan's new Marine Stadium, to enthusiastic reviews. The futuristic out-door venue at Chiba provided a fitting locale for the show, a highly theatrical extravaganza. The surrealistic atmosphere was heightened by the rain that began to fall just as the show opened. Adhering to the philosophy that 'the show must go on,' Madonna braved the downpour, and though the show had to be briefly interrupted a few times to sweep the rain from the stage, the audience was delighted that the singer was willing to carry on. Three years earlier high winds had forced Madonna to cancel her Tokyo show, and she wanted to avoid another cancellation at all costs.

The tour coincided with the release of Madonna's latest album, 'I'm Breathless', the title of which provides a clever tie-in with her starring role as Breathless Mahoney in Dick Tracy. Described on the album sleeve as 'music from and inspired by the film Dick Tracy,' I'm Breathless is a departure from what Madonna has done before With the notable exception of "Vogue",' which seems written specifically for the top 10, the music evokes the era of torch songs and swing tunes. Her voice, too, is different. The bright chirp of "Holiday" is now deeper and darker. Three songs from the album -"Sooner or Later," "Now I'm Following You," and "Hanky Panky" - were featured in the glitzy 'Blond Ambition' show.

Madonna's latest tour had been likened to a Broadway production, With the band relegated to the sidelines, the emphasis is indeed on the action that unfolds on the stage. The show brings to life her songs and videos. Her performance is an exercise in precision, a ballet, rather than a rock concert. With its sexy costumes and suggestive banter, it is also intended to shock. "Like A Virgin" found Madonna sprawled on a bright red bed. As  she rubbed her hands over her body, her two male companions massaged the fake, pointy breasts that were attached to their bare chests. As choreographer Vince  Paterson explained, '[Madonna] wanted to make statements about sexuality, cross-sexuality, the church and the like.' An essential part of the message was delivered by Madonna's exotic costumes, one of which was a pinstriped man's suit with cutouts for her breasts. 'I like the mixing of femininity and masculinity,' explained designer Jean-Paul Gaultier. 'Of course with Madonna, the femininity explodes through the masculinity. It's a little bit surrealistic. It's kind of an obsession in America, you know, the pointed breast.'

Madonna has always been known and even criticized for the blatant sexual imagery of her shows. Her image has invited criticism from feminists who believe that she portrays women in a negative light. Madonna, however. believes that her message is just the opposite. "People have this idea that if you're sexual and beautiful and provocative, then there's nothing else you could possibly offer. People have always had that image about women. And while it might have seemed like I was behaving in a stereotypical way, at the same time, I was also masterminding it I was in control of everything I was doing, and I think that when people realized that, it confused them. It's not like I was saying "Don't pay attention to the clothes-to the lingerie-I'm wearing." Actually the fact that I was wearing those clothes was meant to drive home a point that you can be sexy and strong at the same time. In a way, it was necessary to wear the clothes.'

In other words, the Boy Toy is not a sex object; she is the boss, the woman warrior, equipped with armored under-wear. Blond Ambition is about female power. She does after all, knock down her chorus line of men. 'It's a great feeling to be powerful. I've been striving for it all my life. I think that's just the quest of every human being: power.'

  The Japanese press concentrated on writing about Madonna's sexual shenanigans to the point of ignoring other aspects of the show, but the response in Japan was a decidedly positive one: Madonna reportedly earned $14 million for just nine shows. They may have loved her in Japan, but the welcome Madonna received elsewhere was far less cordial. In Toronto, police asked her to tone down her show. When she refused they set themselves up in the stadium with binoculars, presumably ready to rush to the stage and arrest her if she committed any illegal acts in the course of her performance. In Italy, Catholic groups in Rome and Turin called her show vulgar and blasphemous and demanded that Madonna's concerts be banned. Many church officials were especially disturbed by Madonna's routine use of a crucifix as an article of costume jewelry. The reaction was an intensified version of the controversy that had surrounded her 'Like A Prayer' video the year before. Protesters in Italy were successful in forcing the state-run television network to stop running the video.

As is her nature, Madonna held strong to her position. She called a press conference and invited the church leaders to 'Come and see my show and judge it for yourselves. My show is not a conventional rock concert, but a theatrical presentation of my music and, like the theater, it poses questions, provokes thought and it takes you on an emotional journey. This is what I call freedom of expression and thought. By preventing me from doing the show, you would be saying you do not believe in these freedoms.' Church leaders declined her invitation, but the show went on as scheduled.

Controversy goes hand-in-hand with being an artist. A work of art-be it a novel, a sculpture or a performance-challenges the intellect. As an artist who strives to be thought-provoking and entertaining, Madonna has never shied away from controversy, and will undoubtedly continue to do so with her future creative endeavors [extract from Madonna, by Marie Cahill, Bison Group, 1991. p84-88. See below]
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from the Australian AMCOS CD bootleg release and presents  the first half of the show. There was a Vol 2 released which provided the 2nd half of the show, but I have yet to source it I'm afraid. Nevertheless, the song selection on Vol 1. is the better of the two in my opinion.
Full album artwork is provided, along with Italian 'Maverick Bedtime' bootleg release which features the full show (see below). The recording itself comes from the Dallas Show at the Reunion Arena in the USA, held on May 7, 1990.  The quality of the recording is very good with exceptional vocal clarity. (Please note that I have edited the opening track "Express Yourself" by removing a minute of annoying sound affects which would have supported the visual component of the shows introduction).

Track Listing
01. Express Yourself
02. Open Your Heart
03. Causing A Commotion
04. Where's The Party
05. Like A Virgin
06. Like A Prayer
07. Live To Tell
08. Oh Father
09. Papa Don't Preach

The Band:

Madonna - Vocals
Kevin Kendricks, Jai Winding - Keyboards

Carlos Rios, David williams - Guitar
Darryl Jones - Bass
Jonathan Moffet - Drums
Luis Conte - Percussion
Donna Delory, Niki Harris - Backing Vocals

nna Link (110Mb)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saltbush - Selftitled (1978) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1975-1979)
Melbourne country group 'The Promised Band' recorded a single "Got To Get Back To Tamworth".
This band then morphed into Saltbush with Bernie O'Brien, Paul Pyle and Ross Nicholson in 1975, touring Australia and supporting Ray Stevens who was also touring at that time. Saltbush eventually gained recognition in 1977 by winning the Best New Talent Award at the Tamworth Country Music Awards, and also played at the Tulsa Festival in Oklahoma, US in the same year. They also received an award in 1979 for their single "Stranger / Fiddler Man" taken from their Selftitled album.
Their music style was a mixture of Country, Folk and Bluegrass. They were also great ballad singers and successfully toured for a year with the Slim Dusty Show in 1977.

 Saltbush released two quite successful albums: At Twin Rivers (1976) and Saltbush (1978), before disbanding as a group in 1979 and seeking solo careers.
Some of the members were Bernie O'Brien (one time member of The Rondells), Paul Pyle and Ross Nicholson and Mark Moffatt who both played on and produced their albums. There are a couple of Saltbush tracks on the 'Live at the Station' album released in 1976, an album which I plan to post in the near future, so stay tuned.
Record producer Mark Moffatt has been sharpening his studio skills for over 30 years. He grew up playing music in Bundaberg and then Brisbane in a string of bands including Iron Web, Spike and Stop Press. He later travelled to the UK where he worked on Denmark Street meeting some of the most famous musicians and producers of the day including Jimmy Page, Terry Britten and Eric Stewart of 10CC.
Returning to Australia in the mid 70s he began working at the Bruce Window Studios in Brisbane where they had a state of the art 16-track studio in the West End. The first band Mark Moffatt produced after the famous Saints single were Melbourne country outfit Saltbush. He later joined the band playing mandolin and lap steel on this LP and touring the U.S.
In a pocast with Mark (thanks to Jordie and David Kilby) he states that the band had a relatively strong following around Melbourne with over 200 people regularly attending their gigs - mostly to hear them argue on stage. They were a pretty rough and ready band but were also very good musicians and Slim Dusty was a big fan. They definately liked their drink! [extract from]
Slim Dusty recalls in his book 'Another Day, Another Town'.......
I spent 1977 touring, because I had two albums still in the can by the end of 1976, "Give Me the Road", a truck album, was released in October 1976, but "Just Slim" and "On the Move" were to fill my recording commitment for 1977. So I appeared in all the mainland capitals, toured Queensland, Victoria! New South Wales and went down to Tasmania to complete the year.
At the Tamworth Awards in January, a Melbourne band called 'Saltbush' won Best New Talent, and I was very impressed with their raw, driving sound. I liked the songs their guitarist, Bernie Q'Brien, wrote for them as welL They stirred up the establishment at Tamworth a bit, and when they turned up again at the 1978 Awards there was so much clucking over their doings that I was not game to say that I'd booked them to do the Queensland tour with me. They got themselves 'high' on goodness knows what, locked themselves into the dressing rooms backstage at the town hall during the Awards presentation and refused to come out, until Phil Emmanuel screamed matching obscenities through the door and threatened to call the cops.
When it finally became known that I was taking them on tour, the industry was confounded. I knew quite well they might be a handful, but I always laid it on the line when employing anyone. I had two rules. I don't put anyone under a contract—an unhappy member of the team will never give his or her best and will upset everyone else—so if they want to go, then go, 'just give me time to get a .replacement'. The second rule was that everyone has to be sober for a performance, and there's no drinking backstage either, I like my beer as well as anyone, but if you let one start drinking around the show, you will always get the other who'll take it too far and wreck things. Needless to say, the boys had to be on their best behaviour this time! [extract from p219]
This post consists of  MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy (which was acquired in mint condition only recently) along with full album artwork. Although I'm not a big fan of Country / Bluegrass music, Saltbush style is more like the Dingoes or Redgum which tends to be more commercial and mainstream.
I have also included some bonus tracks, two tracks from their first album 'At Twin Rivers', the A & B side of a single released just before they broke up in 1979, and the two live tracks from the 'Live At The Station' LP which I plan to post in the near future.
Track Listing
01 Bring It With You   3:15
02 Guess I Could Never   4:10
03 Bad Dose of the Blues   2:24
04 Backsliders Wine   3:40
05 Fiddler Man   2:16
06 Brother Billy   1:15
07 Rainy Day Woman   2:45
08 D Tune   0:40
09 Rosanna   2:05
10 Take Your Time   2:37
11 Ned Kelly   3:45
12 Honest Sam   3:36
13 Stranger   3:04

Bonus Tracks
14 Brown Bottle Blues (From At Twin Rivers)  2:59
15 Razorback Mountain Blockade (A-Side Single)  2:42
16 Born For The Night Life (B-Side Single)  2:57

17 Stay All Night (Live At The Station)  2:24
18 Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother (Live At The Station)  3:30

19 Man of Steel (From At Twin Rivers)  2:52

The Band Members:
Bernie O'Brien - Lead Guitar/Dobro, Fiddle and vocals
Ross Nicholson - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Paul Pyle - Bass, Vocals
Harry Frith - drums, Vocals

Saltbush Link (119Mb)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Queen - At The Beeb (1989)

(U.K 1970-2009)
Few bands embodied the pure excess of the '70s like Queen. Embracing the exaggerated pomp of prog rock and heavy metal, as well as vaudevillian music hall, the British quartet delved deeply into camp and bombast, creating a huge, mock-operatic sound with layered guitars and overdubbed vocals. Queen's music was a bizarre yet highly accessible fusion of the macho and the fey. For years, their albums boasted the motto "no synthesizers were used on this record," signaling their allegiance with the legions of post-Led Zeppelin hard rock bands. But vocalist Freddie Mercury brought an extravagant sense of camp to Queen, pushing them toward kitschy humor and pseudo-classical arrangements, as epitomized on their best-known song, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Mercury, it must be said, was a flamboyant bisexual who managed to keep his sexuality in the closet until his death from AIDS in 1991. Through his legendary theatrical performances, Queen became one of the most popular bands in the world in the mid-'70s; in England, they remained second only to the Beatles in popularity and collectibility in the '90s. Despite their enormous popularity, Queen were never taken seriously by rock critics — an infamous Rolling Stone review labeled their 1979 album Jazz as "fascist." In spite of such harsh criticism, the band's popularity rarely waned; even in the late '80s, the group retained a fanatical following except in America. In the States, their popularity peaked in the early '80s, just as they finished nearly a decade's worth of extraordinarily popular records. And while those records were never praised, they sold in enormous numbers, and traces of Queen's music could be heard in several generations of hard rock and metal bands in the next two decades, from Metallica to Smashing Pumpkins.

The origins of Queen lay in the hard rock psychedelic group Smile, which guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor joined in 1967. Following the departure of Smile's lead vocalist, Tim Staffell, in 1971, May and Taylor formed a group with Freddie Mercury, the former lead singer for Wreckage. Within a few months, bassist John Deacon joined them, and they began rehearsing. Over the next two years, as all four members completed college, they simply rehearsed, playing just a handful of gigs. By 1973, they had begun to concentrate on their career, releasing their debut album, Queen, that year and setting out on their first tour. Queen was more or less a straight metal album and failed to receive much acclaim, but Queen II became an unexpected British breakthrough early in 1974. Before its release, the band played Top of the Pops, performing "Seven Seas of Rhye." Both the song and the performance were smash successes, and the single rocketed into the Top Ten, setting the stage for Queen II to reach number five. Following its release, the group embarked on its first American tour, supporting Mott the Hoople. On the strength of their campily dramatic performances, the album climbed to number 43 in the States.
It is at this point that Queen's popularity caught the attention of the music buffs at the BBC in England and they were asked to record some of their material from their first two albums in the BBC studios, in front of a small audience. Thus, the following recordings eventuated back in 1973 and were only made available to the general public in 1989, with the release of 'Queen At The Beeb'. 
Review 1
In fact, between 1973 and 1977, Queen recorded six sessions for the BBC, the first five during the initial flood of excitement that led up to the release of their third album 'Sheer Heart Attack', the last in 1977, when their pomp and circumstance ought to have sounded grossly misplaced amid the churning seas of punk rock — but didn't. Each and any of these is a revelation, topping the regular albums for excitement and alive with all the improvisational quirks and oddities that the band delighted in distributing through their live set. All but two, however, remain deep in the vault, leaving 'At the Beeb' to stand among the most disappointing of all the albums in this venerable series — at the same time as sounding as good as any of them. Drawing from Queen's first and third BBC sessions, in February and December 1973, the eight tracks are divided between the band's first two albums — seven from Queen, one (a passionate "Ogre Battle") from what was then the still-gestating Queen II. And they are what you'd expect, vast and bombastic, widescreen epics that make no distinction between the hard rock that was the early Queen's most visible calling card, and the fey, quirky balladry that was the trick up their sleeves. And, while none of the performances here can touch the familiar LP takes in terms of production values and musical excellence, again the emphasis is on visceral verve and spontaneous combustion, qualities that Queen possessed in abundance. For many years the best-selling of all BBC sessions albums, 'At the Beeb' is not an album for the casual listener; nor will it satisfy the completist collector. Nevertheless, anybody who knows the band only for the operatic grandiosity of their regular albums would do well to check it out. It might well change your opinion forever.
Review 2 
This session featured on this album was recorded in 1973 and includes tracks which later appeared on the band's self-titled debut and its follow up, albeit in different and sometimes extended format. There is a noticeable difference in the sound of the band on this session when compared to the full album releases. For a start Brian May's guitar sound on here is one of the rawest and most brutal things you will hear on any album from the 70's. The fact that he made his own guitar, wound his own fat single coil pickups and tweaked his gear may have something to do with his sound. It is rumoured that he used to play using unusually heavy strings plucked with an old coin which also helped him to achieve his distinctive tone. Whatever the secret was behind May's early sound the sheer bite and aggressiveness to the overdriven guitar on here, and indeed May's explosive playing in general, are what elevates this album above the status of a mere curiosity. The art-rock tendencies that began to pervade Queen's music a few years hence are already present this early on in their career with the harmony vocals and Freddie Mercury's inventive piano melodies finding a foothold within some of the songs. But make no mistake, this is a guitar album first and foremost.

The real highlight comes in the form of an extended version of "Son and Daughter". Brian May literally bludgeons his way through the opening verses with a buzzing chainsaw of a rhythm tone. An extended middle section jam, which was later featured on 'Brighton Rock', finds May creating clever harmonies over looped tape delays and Roger Taylor going bat crazy on the sticks. "Ogre Battle", with its memorable opening riff and pounding drum beat is totally unlike its polished counterpart on 'Queen II'. This is raw and endearingly naive yet still the quality of performance and musicianship shine through. May is also in top form on the infectiously vital performance of "Great King Rat" driving the song along with a chugging riff and bursts of harmonied wah-wah soloing. It would be stretching things to proclaim this session performance as some sort of essential lost gem and indeed there are some rather weak tracks in the form of "Liar", "Doin Alright" and "Modern Times Rock and Roll". These lesser cuts can't be saved from mediocrity but for anyone who doubts Queen's hard rock roots the sheer raw energy displayed on much of the music should dispel this assumption.
A lot of people's abiding impression of Queen is that of a tired old commercial rock band who dabbled in some eccentric theatrics, experimented with a bit of funk here and there and slowly but surely became a parody of themselves. This would be a fair assessment if you follow their career from around 1977 onwards. But delve deeper into their past and you will find a totally different beast which certainly had it's roots firmly planted in a hard bedrock. So, next time someone tries to lecture you on what is real music while bopping away to 'Crazy Little Thing Called Love' tell them you like Queen too, remove their greatest hits LP from the 20 year old record player, stick this on and blow his speaker cones with a dose of 'Son and Daughter' at full volume.
LP - Side 1
Liner Notes (from CD release)
This is an event. Not merely the release of more "product", but a major milestone in the annals of Rock. What you hold here are eight songs recorded in 1973 by Queen, one of the great names of post-war international music. Moreover, these are versions of well-known numbers that you will never have heard before!
FACT. February 1973. Queen have been on the live circuit for barely two years. But they've yet to sign a major recording deal. However, the enterprising folk at Radio One book vocalist / pianist Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, bassist John Deacon, and drummer Roger Taylor for a session with producer Bernie Andrews. It is to be broadcast on Sounds Of The '70s, and four tracks are laid down on February 5th, viz My Fairy King, Keep Yourself Alive, Doin' Alright, and Liar. All of these songs were eventually to turn up on the band's self-titled debut album for EMI (released in July of that year), but these versions have never been heard before... not even in bootleg form!
COMMENT. It's amazing to hear the stunning renditions the band explore herein. Liar's dramatic, thundering Metal extravagance. My Fairy King's lushness and orchestral bravura. Keep Yourself Alive's responsive, momentous Metal-Pop ebullience. Doin' Alright's combination attack of blazing riffs and delicate tinctures of melody.
FACT. On December 3rd 1973, Queen recorded a second session for Sounds Of The '70s, performing the songs Ogre Battle, Great King Rat, Modern Times Rock'n'Roll, and Son And Daughter. With the exception of Ogre..., all the songs here were featured on the Queen LP. Ogre Battle is to emerge on the Queen II LP, released in March 1974.
LP - Side 2
COMMENT. Once again the quality of performance and recording are breathtaking. Ogre Battle is a panorama of virulent grandeur and broadsword clashing mania. Great King Rat has a seismic bite and flaring, cascading incandescence. Modern Times Rock'n'Roll boasts rousing, glinting rhythms. Son And Daughter is suffused with individual Blues and dramatic cloisters. Magnificent.
As I said earlier, this isn't a release, but an event. Captured here is the essence of early Queen. The style that would help shape two generations of Rock 'N' Roll. The sound that would conquer the world. This is vital, valuable, inexorable. An historical affair that still maintains a contemporary resonance. Rare indeed.
[ by Malcolm Dome, RAW magazine].
This post consists of a MP3 rip (320kps) taken directly from my CD copy  of this official release, which is no longer available through normal resellers. Included is full album artwork for both LP and CD and alternative CD releases (namely Queen At The BBC)  have also been included. This album shows a heavy side to Queen and highlights the raw musical talent of each band member, before they got caught up with commercialism.
Track Listing

01 My Fairy King
02 Keep Yourself Alive
03 Doin' Alright
04 Liar
05 Ogre Battle
06 Great King Rat
07 Modern Times Rock 'n' Roll
08 Son And Daughter
Band members:
Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano, electric guitar),
Brian May (electric guitar, backing vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards),
Roger Taylor (drums, backing vocals, tambourine),
John Deacon (bass guitar)

Queen Link (89Mb)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Jon English and Marcia Hines - Jokers and Queens (1982)

This post brings two highly regarded artists 'Jon English' and 'Marcia Hines' together in 1982 with their mini LP "Jokers & Queens" backed on guitar by John Dallimore (ex Redhouse) & Ross East (ex Copperwine), Keith Kerwin (ex Avengers), bass John Coker, Bruno Distanislo, Keyboards Charlie Hull, Peter Deacon (ex Nitro), Steve Ball (ex Kush), Drums Greg Henson (ex Ben Turpin), Hamish Stuart (ex Ayers Rock), Sunil De Silva (ex Hot City Bump Band). The “Jokers and Queens” tour ran for nearly two years.
Recorded for Midnight Records with 3 original and 3 covers produced by Charlie Hull & Jon, the album is another one of those great Aussie LP's that has yet to be released in CD format.
Jon English (1968-Present)
English born singer Jon English cut his rock performance teeth in a number of bands during the late 60s and early 70s in his adopted country Australia, having moved here in 1961 at age 12. The most notable of these was the band Sebastian Hardie which English fronted until early 1972. Soon after Jon English won the role of Judas Iscariot in the Australian stage production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. Performing alongside another great singer in Marcia Hines, English showed his versatility as a stage performer and actor.
The production toured for the next five years, but along the way English found the time and energy to record his debut solo album ‘Wine Dark Sea’. The album was well received but didn’t yield any hit singles. English’s follow up ‘It’s All In A Game’ proved to be the breakthrough for ole ‘black eyes’ as he was affectionately dubbed, led by the hit ‘Turn The Page’ (#7) in early ‘75. The second half of the 70s would prove a prodigious period for English. His 1976 album ‘Hollywood Seven’ reached the OZ top 20. The title track reached #13 and proved the perfect vehicle to display English’s ability to belt out a classic dramatic rock ballad.
The album ’Minutes To Midnight’ followed within eight months, but it was to be the 1978 album ’Words Are Not Enough’ that would see English finally receive a well deserved top 10 hit with the title track. During the same period English took the lead role in the popular TV mini-series ‘Against The Wind’, and to top it off collaborated with old Sebastian Hardie bandmate Mario Millo to compose, record and produce the soundtrack album, featuring English’s biggest career hit ‘Six Ribbons’ (#5).
The hits continued through 1979 and 1980 with ‘Get Your Love Right’ (#27) and ‘Hot Town’ (#11). English toured extensively in the early 80s around Australia and overseas, but international success largely eluded him - like so many Australian artists of that era - however he did breakthrough to enjoy considerable commercial success in Scandinavia during that time. 1982 also saw English rekindle a great creative partnership with Marcia Hines on the single ‘Jokers And Queens’ (#62).
In 1983 English released the album ‘Some People’. The title track reached #50, whilst the follow up ‘Waterloo’ (not the ABBA song) lost the battle for chart success at #96. But I was among those to purchase ‘Waterloo’ on 45 and absolutely loved the song. It’s a brilliant rock-ballad that tells of the events at the historic Battle of Waterloo, from the perspective of a 15 year old drummer boy in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. It’s one of those songs that can literally send shivers up the spine, very emotive and delivered with such fervour by English. I played my 45 copy until the grooves were well worn, not to mention it featuring one of the best B-sides I’ve ever heard with the song ‘Oh, Paris’ - a precursor toward English‘s future efforts in the stage musical and album ‘Paris‘. I was well pleased to finally obtain a CD copy of ‘Waterloo’ through its inclusion on Jon English’s second ‘best of’ compilation, ‘English History II’ released in 2001. [extract from Retro Universe]
Marcia Hines (1970-Present)
Marcia Elaine Hines was born in Boston, Massachusetts and moved to Sydney in 1970 at age 16, after auditioning for the Australian production of ‘HAIR’. At the time she was unaware she was pregnant with her daughter Deni.
Following ‘HAIR’, she starred as Mary Magdalene in the production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
Marcia achieved great success as a recording artist in the 70’s with many hits and was voted ‘Queen of Pop’. During this period, her debut album was released, ‘Marcia Shines’, and it became the biggest selling album by an Australian female artist. Within one week it had sold 7,000 copies. Over the next eight months it topped the 50,000 sales mark.
In February 1976, she toured with Gene Pitney. Then, in May, came her third single, 'Don't Let The Grass Grow'/'You Gotta Let Go', which didn't make the charts. Hot on the heels of her first successful album, Marcia left for Los Angeles midway through 1976 to record her second at the Arbee Studios. The album was called 'Shining', and was released in October '76. Within one month it had gone gold. That same year she was crowned TV Week Queen of Pop for the first time. In September she released her biggest selling single to date, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", which stayed in the charts for an amazing twenty one weeks.
Marcia's next national tour came early in 1977. It was promoted as her Shining Over Australia Tour. It was so successful that an 'encore' tour was scheduled for March '77, covering twenty eight additional venues. At this stage, her basic backing unit (which was supplemented by other musicians) consisted of fiance Mark Kennedy (drums); Jackie Orszackky (bass guitar, musical direction); Stephen Howsden (guitar); and Warren Ford (keyboards). In the meantime, sales of the 'Shining' album were still rising and by the end of March '77, they had topped the 150,000 mark (triple platinum status).
Then, in April, Marcia spent most of her time in the studios recording her third album. It was a slightly more mellow record although it did reflect her diversified vocal ability. The album was called 'Ladies And Gentlemen . . . Marcia Hines'. Amazingly it went gold only two hours after it was shipped to two states. By the end of 1977 it had sold over 50,000 copies. Pre-empting the album was a single from it entitled "What I Did For Love". The song was from the stage show, A Chorus Line, and entered the charts at the end of July. At the same time Marcia embarked on her biggest tour ever, which spanned one hundred and thirty days and included eighty six shows. It also covered both South East and Far East Asia.
7" Single
To top off 1977 she was again crowned TV Week Queen of Pop and another single from her album, 'You', was released in October. At the end of the year, Marcia recorded a Christmas special for the ABC network.
With only three years' recording behind her, Marcia had become Australia's biggest selling, locally recorded female artist ever.
In 1982 Marcia toured with Jon English in "Jokers and Queens", releasing an album of the same name.  Soon after Marcia put her solo career on hold to concentrate on being a mum.
Marcia released her biography in 2001 entitled "Diva", alongside a greatest hits album. Since 2003, Marcia has appeared as a permanent judge on ‘Australian Idol’.
She was inducted into the ‘ARIA Hall of Fame’, and in 2009 received an ‘AM’ in the Australia Day Honours for her services to the entertainment industry and the community, through a range of charitable organisations.
Marcia continues her hectic performance schedule, touring nationally with Simply Red, as well as hosting a series on Foxtel’s Lifestyle network entitled "Sweet Talk". [extracts from and Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press. 1978. p143-144]
This post consists of an MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my vinyl copy, which I only acquired recently. Full album artwork is included along with label scans. Not a well known release, this mini LP is a great snapshot of two of Australia's best loved and talented vocalists dueting alongside the cream of Australian musicians playing at that time.
Track Listing
01 - Jokers and Queens
02 - Ain't Gonna Run
03 - Heard it Through the Grapevine
04 - This Time
05 - You Were on My Mind
06 - Lovin' Feeling (Live)

Backing Musicians:
Guitar - John Dallimore, Ross East, Keith Kerwin
Bass - John Coker, Bruno Distanislo
Keyboards - Charlie Hull, Peter Deacon, Steve Ball
Drums - Greg Henson, Hamish Stuart, Sunil De Silva.
Jokers and Queens Link (57Mb)

Monday, March 31, 2014

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - The Royal Guardsmen: Snoopy's Christmas (1967)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
A follow up to their earlier "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron", "Snoopy's Christmas" is about the loveable Peanut's character 'Snoopy'  going out to fight the Red Baron on Christmas Eve. The Baron has Snoopy at his mercy after a long dogfight but, instead of shooting him down he forces Snoopy to land and offers Snoopy a holiday toast. Afterward, Snoopy and the Red Baron fly their separate ways, "each knowing they'd meet on some other day".
Although fictitious, the song recalls a historical event. During World War I, in 1914, "The Christmas Truce" was initiated not by German and British commanders, but by the soldiers themselves. The length of the cease-fire varied by location, and was reported to have been as brief as Christmas Day or as long as the week between Christmas and New Year's Day. Trench-bound combatants exchanged small gifts across the lines, with Germans giving beer to the British, who sent tobacco and tinned meat back in return. No Man's Land was cleared of dead bodies, trenches were repaired and drained, and troops from both sides shared pictures of their families and, in some places, used No Man's Land for friendly games of football.
The song even has the initiator correct as it was generally the German soldiers who called over to the British and initiated the truce and, in the song, it is the Red Baron—a German WWI hero—who extends the hand of Christmas friendship to Snoopy.
"Snoopy's Christmas" reached the #1 position in the Australian pop charts in 1967, and continues to be played as a holiday favorite on most 'oldie' radio stations [extract from wikipedia]
I can clearly remember playing this single on the families large HSV record player at the tender age of 8 and listening in awe to the sounds of the dogfight between the Bloody Red Baron and our hero Snoopy in their biplanes. What wonderful memories came flooding back when I played this single for the first time in god knows how many years the other day. So I thought it was time that this Korny childhood tune resurfaced for this month's WOCK on Vinyl posting and I hope that it puts a smile on your face, and perhaps for some of you, bring back your own fond memories of growing up back in the 60's.

Because my single has seen better days (being played to death on a very worn stylus), I am providing a CD rip of "Snoopy's Christmas" taken from the The Royal Guardsmen's Anthology.
I have however ripped the B-Side of the single "It Kinda Looks Like Christmas" as this track does not appear to have been released on any of their albums. Perhaps this makes the post Obscure as well.
Both tracks have been ripped in MP3 format at 320kps and I've included label scans of the single.
Snoopy's Christmas  (13Mb)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dragon - Live One (1985)

(New Zealand 1973 - Present)
Led by the late, great Marc Hunter, Dragon were a premiere live act in their heyday, and also released a stack of classic singles. As Australian rock historian Ian McFarlane writes, ‘Dragon were one of the most popular and notorious acts on the Australian scene … the band earned a reputation for fierce live shows, arrogant behaviour and a decadent lifestyle.’ Ah, real rock stars. But these larrikins created incredibly well-crafted pop/rock songs which, if anything, sound even better today than back in the late 1970s. Among the highlights of this compilation you will find Magic, Rain, Cry and their hit single April Sun In Cuba.

(External Combustion by Glenn A. Baker, Horwitz Grahame, 1990. p68-69)
Glenn writes: This piece, which appeared in the 4 November 1989 issue of The Australian Magazine, was the culmination of almost a decade of various chronicling of the band, which has long been in my personal top ten. Parts first appeared as the notes which graced both a 1983 CBS 'Best of album, Are You Old Enough?, and a Dragon songbook. Other sections were borrowed from a European biography I wrote for the band during their short stint as Hunter.

This version came together when BMG Records commissioned me to prepare an interview for the Bond! Road album, which necessitated a lengthy discourse with Todd and Marc in their Kings Cross management office.
Marc and Todd Hunter devote considerable energy to convincing people that they can't bear each other. Largely, the labour is wasted. It only takes a few minutes in their presence to recognise the benign nature of their sibling rivalry and feel the palpable empathy that flows between them. When this complementary pair earnestly tell you how opposite they are, you can only nod politely and stifle your smile.
Certainly there was a time when their blood ran in each other's veins as acid, when they pulled so far apart that it seemed unlikely the rift could ever be healed. Like so many rock'n'roll siblings — the brothers Gibb (Bee Gees), Wilson (Beach Boys), Fogerty (Credence Glearwater Revival) and Davies (Kinks) among them — the Hunters did much of their growing up in public and passed through bitter phases of assimilation. But long after their heads had been turned and their hearts hardened by the rock'n'roll sycophants they came back to the security of each other. It just made sense.
"We're so totally different in any problem or any view," insists Todd. "We just come at things from a completely different direction, and end up at the same place." Marc essentially concurs: "We work so well now because we anticipate what the other is going to do...". "Anticipate and loath it in advance," interrupts Todd. Marc persists. "Musically we are totally opposed, and our polarisation results in a creative tension. Todd likes things in a certain way and 1 like them a certain way and whoever's in the middle is almost like a buffer. That's how our ideas get sort of mutated into a distinctive sound, without us even being aware of it at the time."
The Hunters have been seriously making music together, with some notable gaps, since 1973. That was the year that Marc joined elder brother Todd's aggressively experimental 'head' band Dragon; the vehicle through which the pair are still reaching an appreciative audience 16 years down the line. Those years have taken Dragon through the full spectrum of the 'rock'n'roll crazies', weaving them in and out of obscurity, fame, disillusionment, overindulgence and acclaimed accomplishment, finally depositing them in the rarely
occupied elder statesman category of Australasian rock.
"The good thing about Dragon," contends Todd, "is that we've always been a bit unfashionable. That means you can enjoy periods of great success but not go out of fashion a year later. You just become a sort of hideous fact of life." That statement is concluded, like so many of Todd's, with a short, nervous laugh, sort of an apology for the transparency of the self deprecation.
Dragon may well be familiar, but it's the sort of familiarity achieved by bands like Genesis, the Angels, Pink Floyd, Mondo Rock and the Grateful Dead. The band seems to engender warmth and trust in the hearts and minds of those who have grown up with their passionate, full-bodied, fluid pop. "We've tried to take our audience with us" reveals Marc, "by staying true to the idea of pop music that we had when we first started playing. I guess we have always tried to do the best we could in that particular field and I would imagine that the people who liked us for that reason still have cause to like us. We're obviously getting better at what we do and we're still enjoying it — we couldn't keep doing it for 16 years if we didn't — but we still really don't give a shit about the fads, fashions and trends of rock music. To us, it's still pop music, that's always been the prime attraction. I like the idea of making basically disposable music which, through fluke or artistry, can last for a long time and become a part of people's consciousness. Pop doesn't receive enough honour. It can sometimes be a high art form."
The late 70s era of Australian contemporary music was dominated by Dragon's fire and ice. They arrived after the mega-platinum pop burst of Sherbet, Skyhooks, TMG and Ol'55 and reigned almost supreme until the rise of deliberately working class bands like Cold Chisel.'Australian Crawl and Men At Work, they were a union blessed with charisma, arrogant energy and an incisive yet disdainful rock vision. Their deftly structured music teetered between sweet lyricism and thinly veiled near-satanic sexuality, often projected from a chilling confrontational stance. They employed no gimmicks and made no promises. How one found them on a given night was basically how they felt that day. Thankfully, each performance was imbued with its own rare ingredients of mood and motivation, and there was rarely a truly poor one.
Through the brittle, tensile exhileration of their early hits — This Time, Get That Jive, April Sun In Cuba and Are You Old Enough? among them — Dragon dominated the Australian charts for three intense years, from 1976 to 1978. In commercial terms they were unstoppable, the medals couldn't be minted fast enough — Band Of the Year, Album Of The Year, Most Popular New Group. They collected a stack of gold and platinum record plaques, toured America twice and, inevitably, collapsed under their own awesome weight. "We were incredible" boasted Marc Hunter during a 1986 interview. "I don't necessarily subscribe to that vision of Dragon as a dark. malevolent, destructive force but there used to be this composite energy that reared its head whenever we were together. I still don't know what it was or what caused it but I do know that it remains in the spirit of our music.
There are those who witnessed Dragon during their first peak who do subscribe to the impression that Marc dismisses. Those who saw him select sweet young things from the front rows at outdoor concerts and mock rape them on stage. And those who saw the loss of two members of the band from drug-related deaths. It is not something that the Hunters hide, nor is it something they choose to dwell upon. When Marc and Todd reunited at the end of 1982, after four basically lost years, they declared: "We're united in a common purpose and there's something seductive about that. We hadn't done what we set out to do — the drugs, drink and dissipation sidetracked us. We were too tired, we'd lost contact with reality."

Brothers Of Rock
INXS's Farriss brothers, Pseudo Echo's Leighs, Split Enz's Finns and Dragon's Hunter Brothers....Australian Music is like one big Family Tree. Chrissie Camp asks five sets of siblings (starting with the Hunters) about that special Brotherly Chemistry.
"The hardest thing to take about Marc is that he is such an incredible extremist. If he's feeling down, he is so down you can't believe it, but if he's up, he's incredibly positive. That can be wearing, but there's a million good things about him too.
We don't argue much these days. We used to in the '70's when we were much younger and it was more of a crusade type thing. We had huge fights. we came to blows often, but now it's great. We can finally see each other's point of view even if we don't agree with it.
Our parents were very musical. Our father Stewart played sax and he'd say 'right,family band time' and the whole family would harmonise. That's a South Pacific sort of thing, island harmonies 'cos our mother is Fijian. We grew up listening to huge Maori choirs too, so Marc's and my harmonies happen completely automatically. We've never worked on it, it's instinctive for us.
I think our relationship has helped the band because there is a bond there that has made things stronger. I mean you couldn't get two more different people anywhere than us. On any issue we approach it from completely opposite degrees and I think the music benefits because of that. We're the only remaining members of Dragon, so I guess we've been the glue that keeps it together. Who's the boss?
Whoever is shouting the loudest!"
"Todd started first. He learnt how to play the piano and the guitar. I was the one who was always, I don't know, sneaking around chasing sheep. There was always music around when we were kids. We both got guitars for Xmas. I broke mine (laughs). I started playing the drums because it was easier to hit things rather than having to learn how they worked (massive laughs).
I definately wouldn't have gone on to have the same career if Todd hadn't been there pushing me. He has a firm head.
We don't argue. We have minor differences about what is and is not pop music, but that's the dichotomy of the band. Todd and I have opposing points of view, and we always have strong people in the band between us to filter the ideas down.
What's the worse thing bout Todd? If you'd asked me five years ago I could have given you a list (more laughs). Nothing much really. He has the least enviable job as he's the older brother so he has to be fairly constant. He's two years older. He doesn't play the older brother role much though, only when he has to, when I do something stupid" [Extract from Countdown Annual, January, 1986. p72].
This post is a rip taken from my cassette tape in MP3 format (320kps) and includes limited artwork. This live recording was made on 10th August, 1984 at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, at the end of Dragon's 'Body & The Beat' tour.  Not a bad concert I might add and as a bonus, I'm including their 1985 hit single "Speak No Evil" which had the live rendition of "Witnesses" from this concert as its B-Side.
For up todate information on Dragon, see their following website.
Track Listing
01 - Wilderworld
02 - Magic
03 - Still In Love
04 - Body And The Beat
05 - Witnesses
06 - Promises
07 - Cry
08 - April Sun In Cuba
09 - Are You Old Enough
10 - Rain
11 - Speak No Evil (Bonus A-Side Single)

Dragon were:Marc Hunter - Vocals
Todd Hunter - Bass, Vocals
Robert Taylor - Guitar
Terry Chambers - Drums
Paul Hewson - Keyboards

Dragon Live One Link (122Mb)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Japan Tour '76 (1977)

(Canadian 1973-79, 1983-05, 2009-present)
Leader Randy Bachman was founder-member of Canadian hit singles band Guess Who which he left in 1970 after illness and inter-group friction. Returning to native Canada, Bachman cut solo album Axe for RCA before forming outfit Brave Belt with brother Robbie, singer/bassist Fred Turner and erstwhile Guess Who founder Chad Allan. Originally with Reprise, for whom they recorded two albums, became BTO when Allan quit and third Bachman brother, Tim, joined line-up as additional guitarist. Band switched labels to Mercury for release of their first album, the riff-happy Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
Although it might be open to debate as being formula cash-register boogie, BTO's rock is at least dexterously played and arranged, with dynamics reminiscent of mid-period Led Zeppelin.
Tim Bachman quit after second (gold) album to study engineering and production. He was replaced by Blair Thornton.

By now Canada's No. 1 band (supplanting Guess Who) had released 'Not Fragile' which provided a huge U.S. and U.K. single towards the end of 1974 with "You Ain't Seen Nuthin' Yet", a characteristically bombastic BTO title, and went on to become their first platinum album and the AOR favorite "Roll On Down the Highway". The band continued to steadily produce successful albums through the mid-1970s including 'Four Wheel Drive' and 'Head On' (both 1975). Each of these albums produced a hit single: "Hey You" (from Four Wheel Drive) and "Take It Like A Man" (from Head On). The latter song featured a guest appearance by Little Richard, who wailed away on his piano. Head On also featured the jazzy Randy Bachman composition "Lookin' Out for #1", which garnered considerable airplay on both traditional rock stations and also soft rock stations which normally did not play bands like B.T.O. In between the latter two albums, B.T.O. released their only non-album single "Down To The Line". This song would appear on some of the later compilation CD's, as well as on re-issues of the Head On album in CD format.

The first B.T.O. compilation album, 'Best of BTO (So Far)', was released in 1976 and featured songs from each of the band's first five studio albums. A single—a re-release of "Gimme Your Money Please"—was put out from this album, and it also charted well keeping B.T.O. on both the AM & FM airwaves. This compilation album became the best-selling Bachman–Turner Overdrive album to date, reaching Double Platinum status in the U.S.
Their only live album 'Japan Tour 1976' (as featured here) was only available in Canada and Japan for some strange reason. This is a shame as their sound on stage is as good as any studio recording they have made.
The group gradually wound down after Randy's departure in 1977,Jim Clench replacing him for three more uneventful albums. Randy himself cut a second unsuccessful solo album, 'Survivor', in 1978 before forming BTO soundalikes Ironhorse. Randy also wrote songs with Beach Boy Carl Wilson, and spent part of the eighties re-forming Guess Who. Randy Bachman also knows his way around a production console.
BTO's other claim to fame is that they are rock's best known Mormons (no alcohol, dope, tea, coffee, immorality etc) after The Osmonds. [extracts from The 'Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock', Salamandar Books, 1977 p16 and 'The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Rock', Carlton Books, 1994. p134]

Live In Japan
(Review by Pete Pardo)
Live-Japan Tour was the only ever official live release from those mighty Canadians Bachman-Turner Overdrive, better known by many as B.T.O. Documenting their 1976 tour of Japan (just a short time before acts like Peter Frampton and Cheap Trick made it commonplace to record live albums there), this spectacular, but short, live album shows just how powerful a live act the band were at this time. Ironically, B.T.O. Live-Japan Tour was only released in Canada and Japan at the time, which is surprising seeing as how popular the band were in the US and Australia.

As a representative live B.T.O. album goes, this one falls way short due to the very limited song selection. My guess is that the entire show is floating around there somewhere, or locked in some record label executives vaults, which is a shame because the 8 songs on display here are fiery and heavy rocking B.T.O. at their best. Classics like "Roll On Down the Highway", "Hold Back the Water", and "Takin' Care of Business" feature all the trademark heavy riffs and catchy hooks that the band were famous for, and "Welcome Home", "Four Wheel Drive", and "Don't Get Yourself in Trouble" are as heavy as any band going back in 1976. As good as these live versions are, "Slow Down Boogie" and "Thank You-Domo" are kind of throwaways, and I would have rather they included "Let It Ride" or "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" or any number of their excellent albums tracks instead, but as a 42 minute live album, it does rock, and rock hard. Imagine what a double album would have been like (like Frampton's Comes Alive)

If you've longed for an official B.T.O. live album from their heyday, this is it. The sound is pretty damn good. You'll wish there were more songs, but we can't have everything I guess. 
This post consists of a MP3 rip (256kps) taken from a CD release and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD.  Thanks to Chris Goes Rock for the rip.
Track Listing
01.  Roll on Down the Highway
02.  Hold Back the Water
03.  Welcome Home
04.  Don't Get Yourself in Trouble
05.  Four-Wheel Drive
06.  Takin' Care of Business
07.  Slow Down Boogie
08.  Thank You - Domo

BTO were:
Randy Bachman - Lead Guitar, Vocals
C.F. "Fred" Turner - Bass, Vocals
Blair Thornton - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Robbie Bachman - Drums
BTO Japan Tour Link (94Mb)