Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Max Merritt & The Meteors - Selftitled (1970) plus Bonus Tracks

(New Zealand 1956 - 2008)
Max Merritt was a star in New Zealand when he came to Australia in 1964. The Meteors bluesy rock fitting perfectly with Merritt's warm growling vocals. In 1967, Max Merritt and his metereors almost died in a car accident. Merritt lost the sight in his right eye and drummer Stewie Speer was hospitalised for four months.
They headed to England were in 1969 they recorded their biggest hit 'Western Union Man' which stayed in the Australian charts for 11 weeks, and peaked at #13 for RCA.
Original (1965) line-up: MAX MERRITT (guitar, vocals); PETER WILLIAMS (guitar); JOHNNY DICK (drums); TEDDY TOI (bass guitar).

Max was born on 30th April, 1941 in Christchurch, New Zealand. He started taking guitar lessons at the age of twelve and eventually formed the Meteors. They began as a part-time group while Max worked during the day as a bricklayer. Max and the band moved to Auckland after a while and began recording. It was at this time that they scored a local hit with a single called, 'Get a Haircut'.
In December, 1964 they came to Australia to do a four week stint at the Rex Hotel in Sydney. The gig was so successful that they decided to stay on. Max and the boys gained immediate respect from both pop fans and fellow musicians. By April '65 they had released their first Australian single entitled 'So Long Baby'.
Early Max Merritt & the Meteors in Christchurch
During their first twelve months or so the line-up experienced many changes, but by early 1966 it had consolidated at Max, Peter Williams and newcomers BRUNO LAWRENCE (drums) and BILL CHRISTIAN (bass). It proved to be the year that the group really put themselves on the map in Australia and they released four singles for the Parlophone label, all of which sold steadily — 'You Deserve What You Got', 'Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah', 'Shake'/'I Can't Help Myself, (a double-sider) and 'Fannie Mae'.

Stewie Speer
By early 1967 they had become perhaps the country's most respected band and Max decided to travel to the UK around August. He completely rebuilt the group in preparation for the trip to consist of STEWIE SPEER (drums), JOHN 'YUK' HARRISON (bass), BOB BERTLES (sax) and of course Max on guitar. (N.B. - Peter joined the Groove.) Then came an unfortunate incident that was to postpone the trip for over six months. In July '67 the band was involved in a terrible head-on motor accident. The most seriously hurt were Max, who lost the sight in his right eye, and Stewie, who was in hospital for four months. However, their esteem in the business was signified by the generous donations which poured in from all sections of the entertainment world.

Late in 1967, they were back on stage and within no time at all they were sounding as good as ever. The next two years saw the consolidation of the group's line-up, an overseas jaunt and also a change of record companies to RCA. In fact in December, 1969 they scored their first national hit with 'Western Union Man'.
In January '70 they experienced their first member change in two and a half years when John left to be replaced by DAVE RUSSELL (ex-Invaders). The change didn't seem to affect their sound and in March they released their best-selling selftitled 'Max Merritt and the Meteors album'.

L - R: Max Merritt, Bob Bertles, Stewart Spear & John 'Yuk' Harrison 1970
Then in October 70, they left for a full onslaught of the English market. At first things looked good, but management rip-offs forced Max to let the band go and take on a job in a timber yard. After a while he re-formed with Stewie and two London musicians and they gradually established themselves on the local pub circuit.
Early in 1971 they released another album, Stray Cats and a single from it called 'Good Feeling'. By now their material had developed a more experimental feel as opposed to a strictly soul feel. Another single, 'Hello L.A., Goodbye Birmingham' followed in May '71 and in January '72 they returned for the Sunbury Rock Festival in Victoria.

Max Merritt And The Meteors On Stage at Sunbury 72
'Let It Slide' was released for the first time (on RCA) to coincide with their return to London. During this trip they played in the more exclusive venues such as the Windsor Castle, and when they re-visited the Sunbury Festival in January '73, they portrayed a highly professional sound and style.
Back in London they completed negotiations with Arista/Bell Records and put down their first album for the label which was called 'A Little Easier'. The album was released in Australia during October, 1975 and it took the charts by storm as did the single from it, 'Slipping Away'. Another track, 'Mr. Horizontal' was also lifted off the album.

Just prior to their return to Australia for a national tour during May and June, 1976 they released 'Let It Slide' (with 'Whisper In My Ear' on the flip) for the second time. This time the song became a hit. The line-up for the tour was — Max (guitar), Stewie Spears (drums), JOHN GOURD (guitar/piano), HOWARD MARTIN DENIZ (bass), LANCE DIXON (sax). On the completion of their tour they were happy to note that the latest album, Out Of The Blue, had soared into the LP charts.

In February, 1977 Max recorded a live performance at the Dallas Brooks Hall in Melbourne before a crowd of enraptured fans. The resultant LP was released under the title of 'Back Home Live'. Towards the end of the year another change of record label occurred, from Arista to Polydor.

All in all Max Merritt must be one of the most persistent rock legends Australia (and New Zealand) has ever known.   Note:  Bob Bertles remained in Europe and popped up later playing in a German band. (extract from Noel McGrath's 'Australian Encyclopedia of Rock', Outback Press, 1978. p199-2000)

Merritt decided to relocate in Nashville, USA in 1977 and signed as a solo artist with Polydor Records, which released 'Keeping In Touch' in 1978. He then moved to Los Angeles, where he continued to reside, and toured Australia in 1979 and 1980. On the second tour, he put together a band with Stewie Speer on drums, Paul Grant on guitar, John Williams on keyboards, Martin Jenner on guitar and Phil Lawson on bass. This was Merritt and Speer's last major tour together: Speer died of a heart attack on 16 September 1986. Merritt released singles "Growing Pains" in 1982 and "Mean Green Fighting Machine" in 1986, the second was a promotional single for the Canberra Raiders Rugby League team. He toured Australia in 1991 with Brian Cadd (ex-The Groop, Axiom, solo) in the Brian Cadd and Max Merritt Band, which comprised Merritt, Cadd (vocals, piano), John Dallimore (guitar; ex-Redhouse, Dallimore, Jon English Band), Craig Reeves (keyboards), Des Scott (bass) and Dave Stewart (drums; ex-Daniel). In late 1996, Merritt returned to Australia to tour the club and pub circuit.

Max Merritt today
Merritt toured Australia on a short club circuit in April 2001 along with Doug Parkinson - a fellow veteran rocker from the 1960s. This marked a resurgence of interest for Merritt: April and May were spent touring Australia under the banner "The Heart & Soul of Rock & Roll" with Parkinson; August and September 2002 was the Long Way To The Top - The Concert tour. After that, whenever Merritt returned to Australia, a reformed Max Merritt & The Meteors was in demand for special events and music festivals: Melbourne Music and Blues Festival, The Perth Moonlight Festival, The Veterans Games in Alice Springs, The Queenscliff Festival and The Toyota Muster in Gympie. In April 2006, the group appeared at the Byron Bay Blues Festival and the Gladstone Harbour Festival.

In mid-April 2007, Merritt was admitted to a Los Angeles hospital suffering kidney failure. He was diagnosed as having Goodpasture's syndrome, a rare auto-immune disorder that affects the kidneys and lungs. Merritt was struggling with his health and finances, so his manager, Wal Bishop, along with Australian music industry friends, organised a Concert for Max held at the Palais Theatre,
St. Kilda, Victoria, on 21 October 2007, and raised $200,000. He is currently on a dialysis machine awaiting a kidney transplant and is unable to tour extensively. On 1 July 2008, Merritt was inducted by Glenn A. Baker into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Merritt was joined on-stage by Kasey Chambers and Bill Chambers to perform "Slipping Away" [extract from Wikipedia]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork for both media. Also included are three bonus tracks, featuring a very early version of "Let It Slide" and some rare live recordings. Although this album is a classic, I personally enjoyed their later 70's releases - 'A Little Bit Easier' and 'Out Of The Blue'. If there is enough interest, I might be coerced into ripping my treasured copies and post them for your pleasure. Anyhow, hope you enjoy the classic album featuring his big hit "Hey, Western Union Man".

01  Hey,Western Union Man 3:52
02  Fannie May 3:39
03  To Be A Lover 3:00
04  Louisiana Anna 3:33
05  You Touch Me 5:40
06  I've Been Away Too Long 3:02
07  Home Is Where The Heart Is 3:47
08  It's Just Wasting Time 2:45
09  Turkish Bath 4:37
10  Lay A Little Love On Me 3:25
11  You Can't Come Back 3:20
12  Respect (Bonus Live) 2:13
13  Live Levis (Bonus Track) 3:06
14  Let It Slide (Bonus Early Version) 3:34
Band Members
Max Merritt - Guitar, Vocals
Stewie Speer - Drums
Bob Bertles - Sax, Flute, Bass Clarinet
John 'Yuk' Harrison - Bass
Gentlemen Of the Ensemble:
Russell Smith, Barry McKimm - Trumpets
Brian Brown - Tenor Sax

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Boys - Selftitled (1981) + Bonus B-Side Singles

(Australian 1977–1983, 1987–1988)
The Boys were a hard rock band originally from Perth, Western Australia. Boys originally formed by guitar playing siblings, Lino and Camillo Del Roio, whilst still at high school as the Rockhouse Corporation in 1977 and started out as a cover band playing mostly top 40 rock but then progressed into playing original songs. "When You’re Lonely" was the first single released in August 1980, with the single going to No. 1 on the local charts and reaching No. 52 on the national singles charts. In September 1980 the band appeared on Countdown. The Boys released two further singles, "Hurt Me Babe" in March 1981 and "Weoh Weoh Weoh" in September 1981, which reached No. 57 and No. 76 on the national charts.

The band released their self-titled debut in November 1981. In September 1982 they released, "Don't Say No", which was followed by their second album, Inside the Cage, in December 1982. The band's original singer for the first album, Brent Lucanus, was replaced by Wayne Green (Wayne Green and the Phantoms) on their second album. They were also the support act for the 1982 Kinks tour.

A further single, "Lonely Dreamers", was released in March 1983. The original band went through several line-up changes but brothers Camillo Del Roio and Lino Del Roio were constant members throughout. The band split in 1983 but reformed in 1987 with Camillo and Lino on guitar, Eddie Parise on bass, drummer Frank Celenza, Tony Celiberti as keyboardist, and singer, Troy Newman (Extremists). A year later the band changed their name to Boyschool but split soon after.

Following the band's break up guitar playing brothers Camillo and Lino formed D.D and the Rockmen with Celenza and the DeMarchi sisters Suze and Denise. The band's drummer and bassist, Celenza and Parise, went on to form Bamboo Curtain, before joining Baby Animals. Troy Newman moved to Sydney following the band's break up and found moderate success as a solo performer, scoring a Billboard hit with the single "Love Gets Rough" and the album Gypsy Moon in 1991, released through Atlantic imprint East West Records and by Warner Music in Australia. He released a second album, It's Like This, in 1996. Newman died in March 1997.

Lino Del Roio was appointed sales manager for Kosmic Sound (a music equipment supply company), in the late 1980s, which the two brothers subsequently bought, acquiring a number of other dealerships of leading brands of the time including exclusive dealerships for Steinberger and Ken Smith basses. They both played guitar for Western Australian hard rock outfit The Jets in the early 1990s. Tony Celeberti is an arranger for sheet music transcriptions who has worked on material by Guy Sebastian and Powderfinger, amongst others, for Australian publisher Music Sales. Brent Lucanus went on to play in a few bands around Perth, notably Change Alley with Gary Dunn. [extract from Wikipedia]
Perth Local Boys Make Good !
(Newspaper Article)
The "Marfioso" heavily guard the stage at the back and the sides so eager hearted young women can't close in on their hard hitting idols.
"Older" women swing to the music, enjoying themselves while filling in time till the end of the gig when they can proposition the band members, some almost ten years their junior.
On stage, with two hands on the microphone, the vocalist leans forward and growls into the tuned-in audience, then breaks into the deep throated lyrics of well known rock songs.
His friends' dark hair, t-shirts and jeans give nothing away about the personalities and life-style of the band members. Only the youthful faces tell the packed gig they're not your usual hard nosed, weathered rock stars.The Boys, Perth's newest breath of fresh air-on, the music scene, are aptly named — they are still only boys.

Less than 20 months ago friends Lino Del Roio (now 17), his brother Camillo (14) and Robbie Salpietro (17), got together in the Del Roio garage with a couple of guitars and a bass, playing for 
friends, neighbours and anybody else who would listen.
They were searching for the elusive dream to which every young hopeful aspires — to be in a rock band. With another friend, Tony Cimino, they formed a reasonable group, but something was missing. Brent Lucanus (20) was the answer. In true "Boys" style another friend brought him to jam at a garage gig.

Brent laid on Jon English's "Hollywood Seven" broke the ice and dissolved the need for a vocalist.
After a little persuasion ("Because I thought they were all too young for me," he said), Brent joined the embryonic commercial music band. After about nine months of gigging in the garden learning rock 'n roll, Elvis and Status Quo numbers and taking the name Rockhouse Corp, they began playing at occasional club gigs.

The change in venues from clubs to pubs came after persuading a resident band of a suburban hotel to let them do a bracket with them - The manager of the band was so impressed with the young talent, he put them on to play Thursday nights.
"We ended up pulling bigger crowds than their band," said Brent. "The manager used to take the door money and give us only $90 for each gig which we used to pay off our $2000 loan on a PA."
After six months of being managed themselves, The Boys realised they weren't getting anything in return for the cut in their wages, and split with their manager. It was a hard time for The Boys.
At the tender age of 16 they were on the verge of breaking  up. They were getting stale and found gigs weren't coming easily.

The Boys supporting Cold Chisel
The band's real break came when they realised that Elvis was dead, so long live the Angels. The discovery paved Perth's yellow brick road to success. They got into the Angels, Sports, Stones, Bowie and Dylan, producing about 35 per cent heavy R 'n' R.
At that time the line-up changed when the drummer left to travel overseas. The new drummer a friend of a friend again was Carmelo Sailazzo (17). He offered a new sound and The Boys became a much tighter band. Only two months ago their fancy professional clothes reverted to basic black home style jeans and T-shirts.  A chance meeting with local band man-user David Zampitti, and they were on their way."At first he wasn't interested when he found out how old we were, and didn't think we would have anything going for us," said lead singer Brent.

Hassling him eventually paid off and The Boys were put on for a tryout at Hernandos, one of Perth's few rock night clubs. Some more coercing got them a second gig supporting the respected Elks, and people were impressed with their talent. The Elks support was probably the most eventful thing to happen to them, The Boys were spotted and booked immediately to support the four-week Perth tour with Loaded Dice. The end of the Dice tour led almost immediately to the Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons support , and in turn extensive public exposure. (Other notable bands that The Boys supported were Cold Chisel and ACDC)

They have had a lot of work offers around the pub scene since then and are becoming well known, well loved musicians.
Times have changed for The Boys. When they began Brent drove a dry-cleaning van and the rest were at school. Now Robbie has an extra job as an apprentice motor trimmer, Lino works as a clerk and Carmillo is the only one still at school.

Even though they're making good money from the band work, they don't live up to the image of rock "stars". The Boys maintain a youthful lifestyle. They all Jive at home with their parents, don't spend excessively, nor do they drink alcohol. Free time is usually spent with friends or going to movies.
The clean living has helped The Boys tread the path of success and they haven't looked back. The Boys are one of the bands most likely to succeed on a national level.
They have youth on their side and their potential is being noticed by quite a few recording companies' local branches.
But there is no rush to run into the recording studio, after all, even after having time to write and learn original material. The Boys will still be boys.
This post consists of FLACs and MP3 (320kps) ripped from vinyl (thanks to Deutros) and includes full album artwork and label scans. As a bonus, I have also chosen to include three B-Side singles that did not appear on their album and as such represent some rare treats, because they are all 'kick arse' songs (thanks to Sunshine).
I would also like to acknowledge the source of the above live photos of the band as coming from the Boys official Facebook Page.

.Track Listing
01 Weoh, Weoh, Weoh
02 Same Game
03 Spend My Time
04 When You're Lonely
05 First Time
06 WAiting (All night long)
07 Leave It All Behind
08 Memory Lingers On
09 Hurt Me Babe
10 Why'd You Do That
11 On My Own
12 It Doesn't Matter (Bonus B-Side Single)
13 Coming Home (Bonus B-Side Single)
14 One Way (Bonus B-Side Single)

The Boys:
Lead Vocals - Brent Lucanus
Guitar and vocals - Lino Del Roio
Guitar and Vocals - Camillo Del Roio
Bass and vocals - Robbie Salpietro
Drums - Frank Celenza
The Boys FLAC Link (326Mb)

The Boys MP3 Link (113Mb)

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: The Sound Of Steam (Flexidisc)

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.

Released sometime in the late 60's on Ambassador Records, Australia by Australian Hoechst Limited Melbourne

The sounds you will hear on this record will soon be history. The age of the steam locomotive within Australia is rapidly disappearing and the sounds that once fired many a chiId's imagination will soon fade into obscurity. It is for this reason we present to you these sounds of a past era, in the sincere hope that you will find them interesting. This record was produced by Australian Hoechst Limited with the co-operation of the Australian Railway Historical Society, in appreciation of the support given by the Medical Profession to the preparations marketed by this Company.

P-Class  No.511
An important cross-country link connects Merredin on the West Australian Government Railways, Eastern Goldfields Railway with Narrogin on the Great Southern  line.  In this  recording,  P-Class locomotive No. 511 is heard leaving Corrigin with a goods train bound for Merredin. The P-Class were first introduced to the W.A.G.R. in 1924. They weigh 97 tons and are of the "Pacific" type with a 4-6-2 wheel arrangement. As the sequence opens, the exhaust of the Corrigin power station can be faintly heard. P-511 slips momentarily but the driver soon has the locomotive under his control again. As the train approaches, the driver opens his cylinder cocks, gives a short whistle for   a   level   crossing   and shuts the cocks again. After the   train   has   passed   the microphone a change in the exhaust   note   will   be   detected. A cow moos protesting as the train continues up the  steep gradient into the night.

PMR-Class No.734
Now a Pmr-Class locomotive, No. 734, is heard as it climbs the Leederville bank in the suburbs of Perth at the head of a passenger train. The Pmr-Class are a derivative of the earlier P-Class and were built by the North British Locomotive Works in 1949. All-up weight is 109 tons. The "Pacific" is working well as it briskly approaches our microphone, passes it, and shuts off at the top of the grade. The train, which carries workers from the W.A.G.R. Midland Workshops, prepares to stop at the next station.

PMR-Class No.731
In this sequence, Pmr-Class locomotive No. 731 is at the head of a night goods train between Bunbury and Perth. The train has slowed to ascertain whether a stop is necessary at Cookernup. Our microphone picks the train up just as the driver learns that a stop will not be required. He opens the throttle, whistles to the guard, and accelerates his long train on its journey towards Perth.

C-Class No.270
For many years, the West Australian Government Railways operated their own sawmill at Banksiadale, some 50 miles from Perth. A busy railway, carrying both logs and sawn timber, served the mill. C-Class locomotive No. 270 "Blackbutte" is heard hauling a rake of Jarrah logs up the last gradient into the sawmill itself. "Blackbutte" was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, U.S.A., in 1904. There is a quick recovery from a bad slip and as the train moves past the microphone, the locomotive bell— a feature very uncommon in Australia—is heard tolling. The train comes slowly to a halt in the sawmill yard. This line, 50 miles long, was closed in October, 1963.

Some two miles from Leonora, which is north of Kalgoorlie on the fringe of the semi-desert, stood the Sons of Gwalia goldmine. To bring in Mulga firewood for conversion to charcoal and subsequent use in its gas-producer-engineered power station, the mine constructed a 50 miles-long 20" gauge tramway. Two steam locomotives operated this unique line and they themselves burned Mulga wood in their furnaces. One of them, known as "Fowler", built in England in 1916, is heard in this sequence making a rush up the last gradient leading to the mine yard. So steep is this gradient that trains had to be divided into two or three portions at its foot. As the engine comes close to us the rattles of the loose motion gear will be noticed. "Fowler" weighed only 13 1/4 tons. The line and the mine were closed in December, 1963.

OK, I think I need to explain myself with this month's W.O.C.K on Vinyl post.  
Some 50 years ago my dad (a chemist) brought home this promotional flexidisc, given to him by one of the many pharmaceutical reps that visited his pharmacy, in search of  a sale (in this case an antibiotic called REVERIN). Of course, being the youngest boy in the family (7-8 years old), I was the lucky recipient of these wonderful steam train sound affects.  
Of course, I have treasured this nostalgic gem ever since, and have finally decided to share these Obscure recordings with you.  Because this flexidisc is so obscure and old, I doubt if any other copies still exist, let alone ripped and made available electronically.
I hope you appreciate these ultra rare recordings (MP3 / 320kps) from the magical era of 'Steam Trains' and if you're a real enthusiast, I'm sure these recordings will 'blow your whistle', big time!

Track Listing
01 - P-Class No.511
02 - PMR-Class No.734
03 - PMR-Class No.731
04 - C-Class No.270
05 - Fowler

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Colin James Hay - Looking For Jack (1986) + Bonus Track

(Australian 1987 - Present)
Two years after Men At Work went down in flames, front man Colin James Hay returned to the spotlight with his solo debut.   Released by Columbia (which happened to be Men At Work's label), the company clearly had big hopes for Hay's solo career.  Recorded in London with Robin Millar producing  "Looking for Jack" sported an extremely large supporting cast (by my count the liner notes listed 26 players.   (The title was reportedly a reflection of a brief post-concert meeting with Jack Nicholson.)  Anyhow, anyone expecting to hear the fifth Men At Work album was probably going to be slightly disappointed by this album.  While Hay's voice remained instantly recognizable, that also meant it was impossible to separate from his Men At Work catalog.   For better or worse Hay seemed interested in making certain the debut was not a solo Men At Work endeavor.   Sure, it was impossible to completely avoid the Men At Work comparison.   Tracks such as 'Can I Hold You?' and 'Master of Crime' had a distinctive Men At Work flavor, but those tracks were the exception to the rule.   Unfortunately Hay wasn't very successful in finding a new sound.  Musically it was quite diverse with stabs at early Sting ('Puerto Rico'), "Graceland" era Paul Simon ('Hold Me'), and a host of other genres.  Professional and serviceable, but probably not an album most folks were going to spin on a regular basis. [ review by RDTEN1 April, 2018]
Interview with SongFacts
"Looking for Jack" is the title track to Colin Hay's first solo album after disbanding his group Men At Work. When the group split up in 1986, he started work on the album in Los Angeles, which was a strange place for Hay, who was raised in Scotland before moving to Australia at age 14.

"When I was in Los Angeles I was driving around and I was aware of the fact that everyone was looking for something in Los Angeles," said Hay. "I wasn't sure what they were looking for, but I knew they were looking for something.

I couldn't sum it up: why people go to Los Angeles, why they take that trip. I knew a lot of people go there to realize their dreams and to get famous or whatever it is. People are drawn to that particular city for some reason and they all seem to be looking for something.

Jack Nicholson
I couldn't finish the song. I had that idea and I had a little bit of music for it. Then I went to a concert and I saw Jack Nicholson standing in the audience, and he was standing next to me at the mixing console. I said, 'Excuse me, Mr. Nicholson, my name's Colin Hay. I just want to say, I'm a great big fan of yours.' And he said, 'I can't hear you.'

I got a little bit embarrassed and I went into the green room. I was talking to these girls and Jack came into the green room and he came right up to me and said, 'I just want to say, I'm a great big fan of yours too.'

So, I got excited by that because I had just met Jack Nicholson and then he walked off. The girl was still talking to me but I was distracted and I kept looking over her shoulder. She said, 'What are you doing, Colin?' and I said, 'Oh, I'm sorry, you'll have to excuse me, I'm just looking for Jack.' And she said, 'Yeah, everybody's always looking for Jack.' So, I said: 'Excuse me, I have to go home and finish something.'"

This song aged well, finding space in Hay's setlists, but it fared poorly when it was released, making no chart impact. It was quite a comedown for Hay, who was a huge star with Men At Work, but couldn't find an audience with his solo material despite label support - the album was released on Men At Work's label Columbia, which commissioned a video to promote it.

Hay moved to MCA for his next album, Wayfaring Sons (1990), but was dropped after that one flopped. For much of the '90s, he battled alcohol addiction while playing small shows and releasing independent albums. The work paid off: he got sober and earned a deal with Compass Records, which helped him find a new audience. He never again came close to the heights he reached with his former band, but he earned enough acclaim to fill small venues on a regular basis and earn airplay on some eclectic radio stations. [extract from Songfacts.com]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my newly acquired vinyl, yet another chance find at the local flee market when one searches through the piles of 'rubbish' vinyl releases that no one wants.  Full album artwork plus label scans are included. I have also included the B-Side non-album track Home Sweet Home which in its own right deserved a place on the album. Great track.
It is interesting to note that "Hold Me" was released as a single with a playable cover jacket (see left). The playable side features a medley of song exerts from the album. I've never seen this type of packaging before and would love to know if any other artist has released a record with a playable jacket.
Track Listing
01. Hold Me
02. Can I Hold You?
03. Looking for Jack
04. Master of Crime
05. These Are Our Finest Days
06. Puerto Rico
07. Ways of the World
08. I Don't Need You Anymore
09. Circles Erratica
10. Fisherman's Friend
11. Home Sweet Home (Bonus B-Side Single)

Band Members:
Colin Hay - Electric & Acoustic Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Jeremy Alsop - Bass, Keyboards
Chad Wackerman - Drums, Percussion
Robbie McIntosh - Electric Guitar
Linda Lewis, Dee Lewis, Morris Michael, Noel McCalla - Backing Vocals

Colin James Hay FLAC Link (310Mb)

Colin James Hay MP3 Link (107Mb)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

America - History: America's Greatest Hits (1975)

(U.K 1970 - Present)
Over a remarkable five year run starting in 1970, the trio called America proved the enduring appeal of clean harmonies, uncluttered arrangements and evocative lyrics with a nearly unbroken string of Top 10 singles and best-selling albums. Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek fashioned their distinctive, disarming sound from the simplest of musical elements, updating and enhancing the singer/songwriter tradition and, in the process, setting new standards in pop craftsmanship.

The trio first met at an American school in the U.K., the sons of Air Force officers stationed overseas. The fledgling musicians played separately and together in a variety of local bands. Choosing their name while listening to an Americana jukebox, they recorded a demo of a Dewey Bunnell original called "A Horse With No Name," showcasing the vocal skills that would become America's trademark. The song was released in England in January of 1972 and immediately shot into the Top 5. Encouraged by the results, the threesome embarked on a tour of North America as complete unknowns. Their first concert was in a lunchroom at an Ontario college.

America -  Dewey, Dan, Gerry
America's status in their namesake nation quickly changed when "A Horse With No Name" reached the top of the charts. It eventually sold more than a million copies and garnered the group a Grammy for Best New Artists of 1972. Their self-titled debut album, containing both their first hit and its Top 10 follow-up, "I Need You" topped the Stateside charts for more than a month. The follow-up, Homecoming, was another million-seller and highlighted one of America's best known songs, "Ventura Highway," along with the Top 40 hit "Don't Cross The River."

What followed was a string of million-selling albums: '73' Hat Trick, '74' Holiday and '75' Hearts (the later pair produced by Beatles producer George Martin). Each, in turn, yielded up more America classics: the Top 5 hits "Tin Man" and "Lonely People" and the number one single "Sister Golden Hair."

First released in October of 1975, History: America's Greatest Hits, chronicled America's extraordinary track record of two Number One, six Top 10 and eight Top 40 hits in less than three years. The package, also featuring an elegant cover of the Captain & Tennille's "Muskrat Love," was a hit in its own right, selling more than four million copies to date and still going strong.

The first seven tracks of the album, having been recorded prior to producer George Martin's involvement with the group, were remixed by Martin for this release, with several notable differences from the original mixes. Some of the remixed tracks, such as "A Horse with No Name" and "I Need You", feature a more prominent bass. A voice can briefly be heard in the background of "A Horse with No Name" about two minutes into the track - this voice is not on the original recording. The pitch on "I Need You" is slowed a quarter tone from the original version. "Sandman" runs about one minute shorter than the original mix. On "Ventura Highway", Dewey Bunnell's lead vocal is double-tracked and the guitars have significantly more reverb. "Don't Cross the River" adds a fiddle not heard in the original recording. In addition, several of the tracks are cross faded to eliminate the breaks between songs.

George Martin (Centre) with Gerry Beckley (Right)
Due to the commercial success and enduring popularity of this album, over time the remixed versions of America's hits on 'History' have become as recognizable in popular culture as the original singles themselves.
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD copy (my vinyl has had one too many spins on the turntable I'm afraid) and includes artwork for both formats, along with label scans.
There have been many compilations of America music released over the years but in my opinion this 1975 release is the best as it contains all of their classic hits without the padding found in other 'greatest hit' releases. Oh, and guess what my favourite song is ?

01 - A Horse With No Name
02 - I Need You
03 - Sandman
04 - Ventura Highway
05 - Don't Cross The River
06 - Only In Your Heart
07 - Muskrat Love
08 - Tin Man
09 - Lonely People
10 - Sister Golden Hair
11 - Daisy Jane
12 - Woman Tonight

Dewey Bunnell - Guitar, Vocals
Dan Peek - Guitar, Vocals
Gerry Beckly - Bass, Piano, Vocals
with also
Dave Dickey - Bass
Dave Aatwood - Drums
America History MP3 Link (93Mb)
America History FLAC Link (229Mb)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Atlanta Rhythm Section - Underdog (1979)

(U.S 1970 - Present)
Bringing their run during the high-times seventies to a close, Atlanta Rhythm Section shipped the Underdog album in 1979. With original drummer and songwriter Robert Nix leaving ARS prior to the studio sessions for Underdog, the revamped line-up take several songs for a pronounced move in a mellow direction. Nevertheless, ARS continued to lean in with the-South-is-gonna-rise-again passion, as Underdog is introduced via the down-home tag-team of "Do It or Die" and "Born Ready". The seven-minute combo of "I Hate the Blues", and the Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson penned "Let's Go Get Stoned," takes the listener for a pipe dream ride, while the boys from Doraville, Georgia, trip back to their sixties roots in Classics IV with a reworked version of the smooth "Spooky". The updated cover of "Spooky" was issued as a single by Polydor Records, as was "Do It or Die", but neither number was a match for the previous chart success of "So Into You", "Imaginary Lover", and "I'm Not Gonna Let it Bother Me Tonight".
Album Review  (taken from Atlanta Rhythm Section website)
 Released in 1979, this is another excellent album that continued ARS' popular success and documents the band continuing to make quality music-even though the critical and popular tide that had swelled through the late 1970s had reached its peak. The album features eight original songs, one of them incorporating a well known Ashford & Simpson song. The tone of this collection is softer, as only a couple of songs truly rock out, but the songwriting and musicianship continues at the superior levels the group had established previously. While two songs would break out as singles, overall it's another superior set of tunes.

The material and performances are consistently strong throughout the album, and along with a mix of tempos create a beautiful work from beginning to end. "Do It or Die" provides a pop musical mission statement to open and leads into the rock of "Born Ready" and the blues of "I Hate the Blues" / "Let's Go Get Stoned". "While Time is Left" is a musical masterpiece, and "It's Only Music" and "Spooky" gradually slow the pace and carry the set home to a personal close.

1. Do It Or Die
 The opener is a lovely tune with a melancholy sound that is a fitting follow up to the singles from the previous album. The vocals project both strength and resignation, and provide a great centerpiece, with the instrumentalists providing a beautiful background but never stepping forward.
2. Born Ready
 Guitars provide the lead in as the tempo picks up. This song features some trademark breaks in tempo, but overall the intensity builds to a polished but driving closing-top quality Southern rock with a pop finish.

3. I Hate The Blues
 This combination of songs, an approach unique in the ARS catalog, starts with a steady rolling, uptempo blues with a strong vocal and sharp, driving musical backing. Instead of shifting tempos within a song as they have done so often and well, this time there is one total tempo shift to a slower
paced cover that swells into soaring vocals and musical support, and builds to a classic blues finish.
4. Indigo Passion
 The band presents another beautiful ballad, with vocals sharing the twists and turns of life and love and a musical performances that provide a colorful background tableau.
5. While Time Is Left
 A beautiful mid-tempo song that combines many of the elements that have made ARS' music unique. From the beginning, the production sets a tone and the words create a picture. The tempos shift and the instruments break out through the course of this classic, timeless song..
6. It's Only Music
 The driving rhythm pushes the restrained sound at the beginning of the song to build throughout this examination of the band's success. A trademark break leads into guitar soloing and an uptempo verse that breaks briefly for the wishful utterance "disco go" before closing with a rousing guitar workout.
7. Spooky
 A re-recording of this song that had been a hit for the Classics IV, one of the groups that was the genesis for ARS. This version is largely true to the original with a slow but steady tempo. Upgraded production techniques give this version a brighter sound, and the powerful vocals lead into some extended guitar and keyboard soloing that make this remake a classic in its own right.
8. My Song
 The album closes with an acoustic ballad that's a rumination on how much the musician has to give of themselves as a performer on a stage. The acoustic guitar and vocal perfectly capture the desire to "let this be a song for me." After all, ARS had given musically up to this point, it was a request that deserved to be honored.
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) taken from my A+ vinyl and includes full album artwork plus label scans. Not sure if this one has been released individually on CD but it has appeared alongside The Boys From Doraville as a double pack.  The killer track for me on this album is "Spooky" with its catchy groove and simple lyrics and although this album is not as strong as their previous two albums, it still shows why ARS were considered one of the best Southern Blues Bands in the 70's.
Track listing
01 - Do It or Die 3:27
02 - Born Ready 3:54
03 - I Hate the Blues / Let's Go Get Stoned 7:12
04 - Indigo Passion 3:56
05 - While Time Is Left 5:20
06 - It's Only Music 5:33
07 - Spooky 4:57
08 - My Song 3:15

ARS are:
Barry Bailey - Guitar
Robert Nix - Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals
Ronnie Hammond - Vocals, Background Vocals
Paul Goddard - Bass
Dean Daughtry - Keyboards
J.R. Cobb - Guitar, Background Vocals
Atlanta Rhythm Section Link (91Mb)