Thursday, June 30, 2022

W.O.C.K on Vinyl: Jingle Factory - Australia II (1983)

 Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song or album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

On 26 September 1983, the yacht Australia II made history when the oldest sporting trophy in the world, the America’s Cup, was wrested from the Americans after 132 years.
The Australia II was owned and built by a syndicate Western Australians headed by former businessman Alan Bond. The syndicate had unsuccessfully challenged for the Cup three times, which had been held by the New York Yacht Club since 1851, but the syndicate was determined to bring home the ‘auld mug’ in 1983.

The designer of Australia II, Ben Lexcen, had conceived a winged keel that under secret testing in the Netherlands had out-performed conventional keels. The yacht was built in Cottesloe by local boatbuilder Steve Ward. The crew was based in Perth and undertook a rigorous training program to prepare them for the series of races that would determine the challenger for the America’s Cup, held in Newport, Rhode Island.

Following the success of Australia II in the Round Robin series to select a challenger for the Cup, the yacht raced in the best of seven races to determine the ultimate winner. At the end of four races, with the score 3-1 against them, the crew of Australia II faced an enormous challenge. Against all the odds Australia II went on to win the remaining three races, becoming the first non-American yacht to win the Cup.

In 1988, the yacht and associated material was bought by the Australian government for $2,000,000, and accessioned into the National Museum of Australia collection. The yacht was subsequently displayed in Fremantle before a new home in Sydney, the Australian National Maritime Museum, was prepared.

Winged Keel
In 1995, the Australian government offered the yacht back to the Western Australian community, recognising the value of conserving objects in their original place. A purpose-built facility to house the yacht was proposed. The museum, located at the western end of Victoria Quay in Fremantle, was completed in May 2002 and installation of the Museum’s exhibition completed for opening in December of the same year.

The yacht Australia II is displayed in a defining moment of the final race. Having just passed the American boat Liberty on the last downwind leg, Australia II is fast approaching the last rounding mark, the America’s cup buoy. The yacht is heeled to approximately 9 degrees as it approaches the mark, to begin the final leg to the finish. During the final windward beat Australia II tacked many times to defend their precious lead. At 5.21pm the yacht crossed the line to win the America’s Cup.
[extract from Western Australia Museum Website]

This months WOCK on vinyl post features a relatively Obscure single (jingle) that was released to celebrate the monumental win of the America's Cup by Australia in 1983. The song itself wasn't a Number #1 hit, but it does grow on you the more times you listen to it. The B-side is simply a replica of the A-side, so I haven't bothered including it here.   

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Jimi Hendrix - 10 Years After (1981) Bootleg

 (U.S 1963 - 1970)

10 Years After is is a re-release of one of the first Hendrix bootlegs ever released - Live Experience, 67-68 which was itself released in 1970. Other titles have been Broadcasts (1971)and Goodbye, Jimi (1973). This is an '81 stereo bootleg with good to average audio quality. Record cover photos and text (front/back) are all in black and white which credits the release as printed in Japan by Record Man. However, the record label credits the music as 'Weird Sounds' originating from the USA.   Go Figure?

I suspect the vinyl was brought into the country separately from the covers which may have been printed locally. This was probably done to get the bootleg vinyl through customs.


This compilation of Hendrix live material comes from four separate broadcasts, covering a three year time span between 1967-1969. These broadcasts are partially from a show in Worcester, MA 1968, some cuts from the Lulu and Top Gear Shows and BBC Saturday Club 1967. Jimi was absolutely ahead of his time.  You can also hear how much more fluid and improvisational his playing became from his early days on British radio to his T.V appearance two years later. The following are brief accounts of each source, as described in Tony Brown's 'Jimi Hendrix Concert Files'

ATWOOD HALL, CLARK UNIVERSITY

Friday March 15, 1968
Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Experience perform two shows supported by Soft Machine.
They perform 'Are You Experienced', 'Fire', 'Hey Joe', 'The Star Spangled Banner' (performed here for the first known time), 'Foxy Lady', Purple Haze' and 'Wild Thing'.

Filmmaker Tony Palmer is at the hall. He has set up his equipment to film part of the Experience's show for a new documentary he is making for the BBC, called 'All My Loving' which was broadcast by the BBC on November 3. Tony films the Experience in the dressing room and also parts of their performances of 'Foxy Lady', 'Purple Haze' and 'Wild Thing'.

HAPPENING FOR LULU TV SHOW

Saturday January 4, 1969
BBC Television Studio.
Wood Lane, London.

Video Footage from this show can be seen HERE

The experience appear on Happening For Lulu, which is broadcast live from the BBC's TV Studios in Shepherd's Bush. They perform 'Voodoo Child', 'Hey Joe' and 'Sunshine Of Your Love'.
Lulu introduces the group on her BBC television show, with the following words: "He came over to Britain and wowed everyone here, then went back to America and became like Elvis Presley, only wilder. He got a few guys together in England and they call themselves The Jimi Hendrix Experience." The group opens with 'Voodoo Child (Slight Return)'.
After this, Lulu tells the audience, "'Well ladies and gentlemen, in case you didn't know, Jimi and the boys won in a big American magazine" (at this point Jimi lets out a very loud squeal from his guitar) "called Billboard, the group of the year. And they're gonna sing for you now the song that absolutely made them in this country' and I love to hear them sing it, 'Hey Joe'."


Jimi warns the audience to "Plug your ears, plug your ears", and laughs. He proceeds to play a wild introduction and then the more familiar introduction to the song. After the first line he discovers that his guitar is slightly out of tune and brings it back into tune with a smile. During the song, Jimi exclaims that he's forgotten the words but still manages to carry on. After the first verse the whole band stops playing and Jimi announces: "We'd like to stop playing this rubbish and, er, dedicate a song to The Cream, regardless of what kind of group they might be. And we'd like to dedicate it to Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce." With that, the Experience launch into 'The Sunshine Of Your Love".
By this time, producer Stanley Dorfmann is down on the studio floor desperately trying to get the band to stop playing' But Jimi looks over at him, screws up his face and gestures to him with his hand'. He comments "'We're being put off the air", before slowing the song down gradually and ending it. The show was being broadcast live and Jimi was originally down to sing a duet with Lulu at the end of the show.
After the broadcast, everyone returns to Maurice Gibb's flat to watch the show on his new video recorder.

BBC RADIO ONE TOP GEAR SHOW

Friday October 6, 1967
BBC playhouse Theatre, London

The Experience are at the BBC playhouse Theatre in Northumberland Avenue, London, to record a programme for BBC Radio One's Top Gear. The show is introduced by Pete Drummond and Tommy Vance and broadcast on October 15 between 14:00pm and 17:00pm.
Jimi uses this session to play the kind of blues he really enjoys. They record their own arrangement of Muddy Waters 'Catfish Blues', loosely titled 'Experiencing The Blues'. Next Jimi records two alternate versions of 'Driving South, which he last played in Greenwich Village with Curtis Knight. He takes the opportunity to play 'Little Miss Lover', that was recorded in the studio only a few days earlier. Jimi would only play this song live one further time, during his concert in Toronto in 1969.
After an interview with Brian Matthews, Jimi then proceeds to play 'The Burning Of The Midnight Lamp, and finally concludes the session with his own version of Elvis's 'Hound Dog, complete with everyone barking and howling like dogs throughout. The session ends with everyone falling about laughing.

Visiting the BBC on the same day is Stevie Wonder. Jimi and Noel Redding take part in an informal jam session with Stevie playing drums. They jam loosely around the Stevie's song 'I Was Made To Love Her'. Fortunately the session was recorded but did nor get aired until May 25, 1979, on BBC Radio One's Friday Rock Show with Tommy Vance.

THE SATURDAY CLUB, BBC RADIO

Monday February 13, 1967
BBC Broadcasting House,
Great Portland Place, London

The Experience are back at the BBC to record a live radio recording for Saturday Club. The show is introduced by Brian Matthews and is broadcast on February 18. After an interview with Brian Matthews, The Experience then record 'Hey Joe', 'Stone Free' and 'Foxy Lady' but the song breaks down after the guitar solo and Jimi brings the song to a crashing end. They decide to record a second take of 'Foxy Lady', which is perfect. The last song they record is 'Love or Confusion', performed here live for the first and only time.

Bill Beeb: "We did a session in Studio 52 with is the sub-basement of Broadcasting House. And it's a relatively small studio and it really wasn't designed for Jimi Hendrix because the only way Jimi could get that kind of sound was to - in those days - was to wind everything up to absolutely full Power to get rid of screaming buzzes and clicks and feedback.

And so it was all hammering away, I mean when we turned everything off we could actually hear it coming through the glass, I mean it was soundproof glass. 'We got steaming into the first one and suddenly I was aware that somebody was standing behind me. There was this little old lady'.
She said I'm a radio three producer, well I'm actually doing a string quartet in the concert hall, which is two floors above you in this building. 'We keep hearing guitar sounds all the time. So I said can you wait and record when we've finished because we've only got a couple of numbers to do, she said no it's live. So Jimi Hendrix was going out live on Radio 3 at the same time ! [sourced from Jimi Hendrix, Concert Files by Tony Brown. Omnibus Press, 1999]


This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl boot which I purchased from Reading Records in Carlton, back in the mid-80's. Readings was my favourite go-to outlet for bootlegs at the time, but I had to pay premium prices for the service.  On reflection, I'm glad I did because my Hendrix collection wouldn't be anywhere near what it is today if I hadn't. Although this Hendrix bootleg isn't the greatest quality, sound wise; it does showcase Jimi's growth in guitar style and musical appreciation over a three year time span.  This is clearly evident when Jimi stops playing 'Hey Joe' on the Lulu Show and exclaims "We'd like to stop playing this rubbish and, er, dedicate a song to The Cream...." 

As far as I can tell, this is the only post of this Bootleg available at this time. I choose to provide this in MP3 format as posting it in FLAC would have been a wasted venture in my opinion, based on the quality of the of the original pressing.  This bootleg is a must for all Hendrix enthusiasts, if not just for the cover artwork. 
Full album artwork is included along with album covers for all other bootleg releases for this release (see right).

Tracklist
Attwood Hall, Clark University, Worcester (MA), United States. 15th March 1968, 1st show:
Side A
1. Purple Haze
2. Wild Thing

Happening For Lulu, BBC Television Centre, Studio 4, London, United Kingdom. 4th January 1969:
3. Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
4. Hey Joe
5. Sunshine Of Your Love

Side B
Top Gear, BBC radio, London, United Kingdom. 6th October 1967:
1. Drivin' South
2. Catfish Blues
3. Hound Dog
4. Little Miss Lover

Saturday Club, BBC radio, London, United Kingdom. 13th February 1967:
5. Love Or Confusion
6. Foxy Lady
7. Hey Joe
8. Stone Free


Jimi Hendrix - Guitar, Vocals
Noel Redding - Bass, Backing Vocals
Mitch Mitchell - Drums



Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Jeannie Lewis - Free Fall Through Featherless Flight (1973)

 (Australian 1964 - Present)

Jeannie Lewis is widely acknowledged as one of our most accomplished, versatile and passionate Australian vocal artists, and a performer whose work crosses many musical boundaries.

Jeannie started her singing career on the Sydney folk and jazz circuit in the mid-1960's then moved into the rock scene in the early 70s, establishing a strong reputation through her dynamic performances and powerful interpretations of songs both on stage and on the outstanding recordings she made in those years. During the 80's and 90's she continued to develop and broaden her career, with roles in musical theatre and the unique one-woman cabaret shows that reflected her growing love of Latin music, and her commitment to the often-underrated role of women's voices in music. Jeannie can adapt her voice to a large and eclectic range of material -- folk, rock, blues, opera, torch songs, Broadway tunes, tango and jazz -- and she is recognised both here and overseas as a peerless interpreter, with a rare ability to make almost any material her own.


Jeannie In The 70's
In 1970, Lewis performed with Tully in an ambitious rock performance named Love 200 which involved 2 vocalists, a rock band, a Lightshow from Roger Foley-Fogg aka Ellis D Fogg and a Symphony Orchestra. Created by Peter Sculthorpe it was written to commemorate the Captain Cook bicentennial and explored themes of Captain Cook's journey to plot the transit of Venus in 1770, the voyage that led to his "discovery" of Australia. Also in 1970 Lewis had a band named Gypsy Train. In March 1971 Love 200 travelled to Adelaide and this time Lewis performed with Fraternity, fronted by Bon Scott, and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Lewis also appeared on the Ray Price Jazz Quintet album Spectrum, and in April performed at the Timeless Trip at Fairlight with eight other performers.

Jeannie Lewis performing with the Foreday Riders at French's Tavern

In 1972, Lewis performed the songs for an Australian B-grade rock musical/science fiction/fantasy movie Shirley Thompson vs. the Aliens, directed by Jim Sharman and noted for being "loathed by underground art-house and commercial managements alike", and in an ill-fated rock opera Terry and Frankie.

In 1973, EMI issued Jeannie's classic debut album, Free Fall Through Featherless Flight, arranged and directed by Carlos. Its cover was designed by renowned Australian artist Martin Sharp whose first record designs were the classic psychedelic covers for Cream's Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire LP's). The superb list songs included some fine Australian compositions like Jeannie's inimitable renditions of Graham Lowndes' "Till Time Brings Change", Company Caine's "It's Up to You" and Billy Green's setting of the Dylan Thomas poem "Do Not Go Gentle" (which Billy revisited the following year with Doug Parkinson on vocals, for the soundtrack of Sandy Harbutt's movie Stone). Other tracks include Some Book of Life" (a collaboration between Patrick Flynn and Reg Livermore) and "It'll rise again", an excerpt from Love 200, co-written by Peter Sculthorpe and Tony Morphett.

According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, "[it] included a breathtaking array of material like Graham Lowndes' 'Till Time Brings Change', Gulliver Smith and Jeremy Noone's 'It's Up to You' and Billy Green's adaptation of the Dylan Thomas poem 'Do not Go Gentle'." Fellow singer-songwriter, Bob Hudson, observed, "her appeal lies in the fact that when she is singing, what's happening up there on stage is for you, the audience, and you can feel it. She bleeds for the people she's singing to — she expresses the human condition."

Backing Jeannie on the album was an all-star lineup including Michael Carlos on Moog, organ and harpsichord, Mike Wade and Mike Reid (guitars), Ken Firth (bass; ex-Tully), Jamie McKinley (ex-Cool Bananas, piano), Greg Henson (drums), Alan Lee (percussion), Marcia Hines (backing vocals), Shayna Stewart (backing vocals, ex-Extradition, Tully), The Fidelio String Quartet and a wind section. The album won the Australian Radio Record Award for the Best Australian LP of 1974, despite receiving virtually no radio support whatsoever outside the ABC, although it was featured on Chris Winter's pioneering show Room To Move, and gained further airplay in the early days of radio station 2JJ (Double Jay) in Sydney.

Jeannie's second album was the live-set Looking Backwards to Tomorrow (In and Out of Concert), featuring another wide-ranging set of material, included her versions of Ray Davies "Celluloid Heroes" (also covered a couple of years later by Reg Livermore in Betty Blokk Buster Follies), Dory Previn's "Scared to Be Alone", Stephen Sondheim's droll "Ladies Who Lunch", another powerful Graham Lowndes song, "The House is Burning", and the Reverend Gary Davis' "Cocaine Blues", on which Jeannie was backed by The Foreday Riders. "Celluloid Heroes" b/w "Rocelli Kaharunta" was issued as a single, and the American label Mainstream released the album in the USA.

Jeannie's next record was an ambitious double-album set Tears of Steel & The Clowning Calaveras (1976) which recreated her famous series of concerts held in November 1975. She drew the initial inspiration for the project from the poem Tears of Steel by Chilean writer Pablo Neruda, and from the 'Day of the Dead' ceremony, held annually in Mexico on the Catholic feast of All Soul's Day. This unique festival, in which people parade with `calaveras' (mock skeletons) in "a burlesque parody of life and death", is ostensibly a Catholic ritual, but is in fact a remnant of ancient pre-Columbian Aztec ceremonies. 

Again, Lewis and musical director Carlos put together an powerful and eclectic set of songs, including Phil Ochs' "The Crucifixion", Graham Lowndes' "Rising of the Tide", the Jimmy Webb classic "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress", The Fugs' "When the Mode of the Music Changes", Bowie's "All the Madmen" and Dory Previn's "The Game".

In 1975, Lewis was awarded a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to study overseas and spent two years in Central and South America. In 1979, with her band Jeannie Lewis and the Company She Keeps she created and performed a series of shows titled From Maroubra to Mexico. Later that year she supported John McLaughlin on his Australian tour. 'Krazy For You' was the cabaret Jeannie devised and performed in 1979–80 (see billboard poster left)

Till Time Brings Change came out in 1980, and Lewis appeared in the leading role of Piaf at the Comedy Theatre in Melbourne.
[extracts from Milesago and PeoplePill.com]

This post consists of FLACS ripped from vinyl and includes excellent hi-res album artwork with label scans.   Although I have a vinyl copy of this album (along with most of her other releases) it is not in the greatest condition, and so I have used a mate's rip and artwork. [A big thankyou to Sunshine for this excellent post].   I first heard this album when I borrowed a copy from the Geelong Library back in the mid 70's. I had no idea who Jeannie Lewis was but I think I was initially attracted to the great album cover and title.  Although the music was very different to what I was normally listening to at that time, I was blown away by the track "Do Not Go Gently" with its catchy riff (played on harpsichord and moog synth) and vocals. Over time, I have come to fully appreciate the remaining tracks on this album and now listen to it from start to finish, having tracked down my own copy back in the 80's.  
So if you haven't heard this album then I suggest you give it a listen and 'Do Not Go Gently' - you won't be disappointed

Track List
A1  a. Feathers b. Donna c.Wing Clippers
A2  Gary's Song
A3  Till The Time Brings Change
A4  Getting Yourself In A Mess
A5  Some Book Of Life
A6  Only Time Will Tell
A7  Fasten Your Wings With Love
B1  a. Motherless Child b. It's Up To You
B2  The Stream Will Never Stop Flowing
B3  a. Quote b. Do Not Go Gentle
B4  It'll Rise Again
B5  a. You Like The Sun b. Musee Des Beaux Arts c. Bits And Pieces Of Falling Feathers
Credits
Acoustic Guitar – Mike Reid
Bass – Ken Firth
Drums – Greg Henson
Guitar – Mike Wade
Keyboards – Michael Carlos
Percussion – Alan Lee
Piano – Jamie McKinley
Producer – Les Hodge
Vocals – Jeannie Lewis, Marcia Hines (tracks: A6), Shayna Stewart (tracks: A5)


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Graham Lowndes - Survival's A Song (1973)

(Australian 1972 - 1975)

Graham Lowndes is an Australian singer-songwriter that started out in the early 70s and is fondly remembered by many folkie enthusiasts. He recorded two albums in Melbourne, 'Survival's a Song' and 'Mouthmusic'. Like Eric Clapton, he combined personal and social commentary to his songs.  His style of music compares with that of other Aussie artists like Glenn Cardier, Greg Sneddon, Greg Quill and even Mike McClellan.

His debut album Survival’s a Song (1973), was released on Albert Productions, so it sits beside early recordings from John Paul Young and Ted Mulry. Even with Lowndes' bluesy voice and thought provoking lyrics, the record failed to impress the general public and consequently failed to chart.

His album 'Mouthmusic' made the Top 100 Australian Albums as judged by music writers John O'Donnell, Toby Creswell and Craig Mathieson, in their published book The Best 100 Australian Albums. Graham Lowndes, now lives in Fremantle, and despite health problems, is still singing brilliantly.   


I was originally drawn to his music through one of this country's most inspirational singers and performers, Jeannie Lewis, who covered his "Till Time Brings Change" on her 1973 debut album 'Free Fall Through Featherless Flight'. Lewis made albums a performance art and still does. Her Tears of Steel and the Clowning Calaveras included works by Jimmy Webb, Loudon Wainwright III, Graham Lowndes, Victor Jara, Mikis Theodorakis, The Fugs, David Bowie and Dory Previn. Lowndes also sang on Lobby Lloyd's classic Plays With George Guitar album.

At time of writing, Lowndes was on Facebook, but his musical activities had been limited by his being disabled by a damaged spine, though he still manages to play the piano and sing. [extract from themonthly.com.au]

This post consists of FLACS ripped from my near mint vinyl copy and includes full album artwork and label scans.  Based on prices listed by eBay and Popsike, this album is extremely rare and has never been released on CD. In fact, I suspect this post will be the only digital copy available on the web at this point in time. One thing to note: the album cover, especially the back cover reminds me of the 1972 Yes album 'Close To The Edge'. There are so many similarities, I wonder whether the cover artist John Stewart was a Yes fan which influenced his design. Either way, I love this aspect of the album, in addition to the great music. My favourite track is the album closer "The House Is Burning". 

Track List
A1 Lazy Bones (Survival's A Song)
A2 Town Of Fear
A3 Bundeena Sands
A4 Sweet Sunny World
A5 Visions From The Gallery
B1 Till Time Brings Change
B2 The Rising Of The Tide
B3 To Rosalind
B4 The House Is Burning

Note: Track B3 is "To Rosalind" on the back cover and inner sleeve lyrics but "For Roslyn" on the Side B label

Vocals & Guitar - Graham Lowndes
Acoustic Guitar – Peggy Daroesman (tracks: A5)
Alto Flute, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone – Donnie Reid
Backing Vocals – Bobbi Marchini (tracks: A1), Fay Lewis* (tracks: A1), Jeannie Lewis (tracks: B3), Renée Geyer (tracks: A1)
Bass – Dave Ellis
Drums – Laurie Prior, Russel Dunlop
French Horn – Rick Solis
Guitar – Dave Donovan, Mark Punch
Organ – Claude Papesch
Pedal Steel Guitar – Ken Kitching
Piano, Electric Piano – Ian Mawson
Tenor Saxophone – Geoff Oakes
Trombone – George Brodbeck
Trumpet – Larry Elam


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Joe Camilleri - 92.3 EON-FM Will Achieve (1980)

  Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song or album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

It can be said that Joe Camilleri is one of the most talented musical artists to call Australia home.
It's 48 years since Camilleri originally joined the Falcons, consisting of Wayne Burt and Jeff Burstin (both ex-Rock Granite) on guitars, John Power (from the Foreday Riders and Company Caine) on bass and former Daddy Cool drummer Gary Young - to record a version of 'Run Rudolph Run' as a Christmas single produced by Ross Wilson.

Even by that stage Camilleri was a local veteran, having played with mid-60's R&B band the King Bees, then the Adderly Smith Blues Band (which allegedly sacked him for sounding too much like Mick Jagger), Lipp and the Double Dekker Brothers, The Sharks and The Pelaco Brothers (with Stephen Cummings).

After recording the albums 'Don't Waste It' and 'Whip It Out', the mini-albums 'Loud and Clear' and 'So Young' (the title of which was covered by Elvis Costello) for Oz Records, the band - and its shifting cast of players - found themselves at Mushroom Records. By this stage Wayne Burt, one of the nations' great songwriters even then, had left - to be replaced by Tony Faehse (who had played in Alvin Stardust's band) - and the composing duties were thrown over to Camilleri and his colleagues. Soon afterwards, the ebullient Wilbur Wilde, who had been an integral member of Ol' 55, also joined the band.

The label move also teamed Camilleri up with producer Peter Solley who oversaw the hit singles 'Hit & Run', 'Shape I'm In' and 'All I Wanna Do' and the albums 'Screaming Targets' (1979), 'Hats Off Step Lively' (1981) and the 'Dexterity' mini-album (1981). The band toured overseas and even got to play at the Montreux Jazz and Blues festival.

Joe Camilleri and his Falcons

It was around this time that Australia's first commercial FM station (92.3 EON-FM) began broadcasting and to assist their launch across Victorian airways, they asked Joe Camilleri to write and sing a promotional radio jingle, which he entitled 'Will Achieve'. The single was produced by Camilleri along with long time friend Jimbo Barton (Engineer)



To hear some other 93.3 EON-FM Radio Jingles, jump across to soundcloud.com

92.3 EON-FM
43 Bank Street South Melbourne
92.3 EON-FM

Australia’s first commercial FM station began broadcasting on 92.3FM Melbourne on July 11 1980, first as EON-FM and later as Triple M on 105.1FM. A consortium that included entrepreneur Bill Armstrong, band manager Glenn Wheatley and stockbroker Bill Conn successfully bid on one of two Melbourne FM licenses in 1979. Armstrong headed the consortium, having seen the commercial opportunities of FM radio in the US and the UK and despite their application, had no blueprint from which to launch from. They did, however, beat Fox FM to the airwaves by just two weeks.

Clyde Simpson was the station’s first general manager, Lee Simon the first program director and Billy Pinnell the Melbourne station’s first music programmer. Other radio broadcasters that commenced their careers at EON-FM included Gavin Wood, John Peters and John Hood. Lee Simon who is affectionately known as the ‘godfather’ of rock radio and gave 47 years of service to the Aussie radio industry, having started out as a high-rating jock first on 3XY.


At first, EON played songs that “would not be played elsewhere”, having no playlist and avoiding Top 40 songs. “We thought we were going to be the beginning of a new era,” Armstrong admits. “It took us a while to realise we were wrong.” Simon went against the flow of the album rock formats favoured by Australia’s FM stations and radically changed EON-FM format by playing Top 40 hits and staging outdoor concerts. EON finally topped Melbourne’s ratings in 1985 and sold to Hoyts one year later for $37.5 million. The deal was reportedly negotiated by Wheatley. The station was rebranded 3MMM (Triple M) on November 27 in 1988 and moved to 105.1FM.


It launched the careers of programming greats including Ian Grace, Brad March, Jeff Allis, Grant Tothill and the network’s current head of content Mike Fitzpatrick. And so many more. “We’re all honoured to be the custodians of this radio station, and the history of EON as Australia’s first commercial FM,” Fitzpatrick told Radio Today. “It’s not lost on us how much we owe the founders, people like Lee, Gracie and Karl. Thanks to them, we’re able to continue to create great radio today.”


Over four decades the station’s many programmers are credited for breaking some of radio’s best lineups: The D Generation, The Cage and The Shebang among the alumni [extract from radiotoday.com.au]

This month's WOCK on vinyl post features another release by Joe Camilleri, this time a very rare radio promo jingle for the first FM radio station to hit the Australian Airwaves back in 1980. 92.3 EON-FM was my favourite radio station at the time and it was also renowned for organising and simulcasting rock concerts in Melbourne. 

Joe Camilleri Today
I came across this single at my local flee market some years ago  and it was the 92.3 EON-FM label that first caught my eye. It was only later that I noted thatJoe Camilleri was the artist and quite possibly his Falcons doing the backing. I don't think it would be the Black Sorrows as they didn't form until 1981. 
This is a great recording with a catchy 'reggae' riff and lyrics, which I'm sure would have pleased the radio station and listeners.  It certainly ticks the Obscure box with very few appearing on eBay for sale. I suspect it would have been a limited pressing, so I'm happy to own this copy.  The B-Side is just the backing band with no vocals, and was probably used for segment intro's and alike.
Hope this brings back memories for those of you who lived in Melbourne back in the 80's

Ripped to FLAC with label scans. Thanks to the EON-FM Facebook for the photos 


Friday, May 27, 2022

Billy Thorpe And The Aztecs - Pick Me Up, And Play Me Loud (1976)

(Australian 1956 - 2007)

'Pick Me Up And Play Me Loud' was the last album that Billy made with his beloved Aztecs, and the last album recorded in Australia. Note that the album cover credits the Aztecs, whereas the Infinity label doesn't, only showing Billy Thorpe's name. This album is a mixed bag - it starts by continuing the funk stylings that he developed in his previous album 'Million Dollar Bill' but reverts towards the end to a more rock feel and features a remake of his signature anthem "Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy" (originally a non-album Aztecs single from 1972), the remake having a very similar arrangement but extends the guitar break to be more like the live versions.

The album has a great cover (designed by Con Aslanis), featuring Bill's disembodied head, Wizard of Oz style over the Yellow Brick Road of the Australian Outback, wearing Dame Edna-style kangaroo glasses.

Although Billy reunited with some of his Aztec crew to make this album after releasing his first solo album in 1975 'Million Dollar Bill', he really had reached a pinnacle in his musical career by this stage, with his sights set on a new start in America.

Thorpie decides to move to America


As the summer of 1976 cooled off, Thorpie was in an unusually introspective place. Never one to allow himself to be overwhelmed by negativity, he nonetheless had to reassess his position. There was a story going around the Australian press that Billy had returned from his recent US trip immensely dissatisfied with his career and had decided in a fit of pique to disband the Aztecs.

In fact, Billy was not behind the earlier split of the group — it had simply been a matter of money. The costs of touring Australia were huge, and only exacerbated by the very popularity of the band. But it’s also likely that the US trip had set in his mind the idea that the Aztecs were on their last legs musically. Juke’s Christie Eliezer posited the idea in an article in 1976, saying that ‘the Aztecs’ disintegration was nothing to weep about: the band had been musically treading water for far too long’.

It’s doubtful that Billy would have agreed with Eliezer’s precise wording, but he probably would have registered the truth behind it. The instability of the Aztec line-up continued as players came and went; in recent years only Gil had been the constant. Gil was dedicated to all aspects of the band—even when he wasn’t producing the albums, he was still playing a pivotal role in addition to his seat behind the kit.

Billy's desire to move to America partially stemmed from the acceptance of ‘Captain Straightman’ into the first annual American Song Festival semi-finals back in 1973, where it went on to win in its category. Billy had gone to the US specifically to play the song at the festival, and the way he was treated there, being feted by US record company people, set Billy to thinking about making the move. He had always been quite open about his intention to relocate anyway, but England had proved barren ground and he was looking for further opportunities in a country where there were no limits—in America there were more cities to play, with more venues, the chance to tour with better-known acts and the possibility to build yourself a large following in the process.

L-R:  Billy Kristian, Derek Griffiths, Billy & Rats

In late 1976, after the release of his solo album 'Million Dollar Bill', Billy decided to revive the Aztecs and go straight back into the studio to record another album, 'Pick Me Up and Play Me Loud', produced and engineered by Gil Matthews. During the album’s production Billy confided to Gil that his heart was no longer in the Australian record industry.

Where could he go from here but down, he asked his old friend. It was a question that Billy must have given much consideration to. He couldn’t ignore the trend his singles and albums were taking, particularly since his fans were often confounded by the semiregular release of some cash-in compilation of his older material that only offered them the opportunity of buying something they already owned.

Again, creatively restless and feeling discouraged, Billy put his songs through many layers of inspection—he pulled apart "Most People I Know" and gave it an overhaul, and the heavy funk of
"Bass Balls" and "Movin On a Sound" showed further evidence of an attempt to ‘Americanise’ the Aztec sound. What quite a few people failed to initially notice was that the cover of Pick Me Up actually called it a ‘Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs’ album, rather than another solo effort à la Million Dollar Bill. The cover, a painting of Billy with his glasses morphing into two kangaroos on either side of his head and yet another kangaroo hitchhiking with a guitar, seemed contrived, as though he was conspicuously attempting to nail his ‘Aussie’ credentials to the mast for an overseas market.

The album was released in September 1976, and toured on almost immediately following the recording. In spite of everything, he still loved performing. The simple pleasure of delivering a song to an audience was the most enjoyable part of the day. The hours when he wasn’t onstage were always brimming over with promotion, rehearsals, examining contracts, proofreading artwork for a new album or simply sitting down with his guitar to write or jam with Warren Morgan, or anyone else who happened to be close by.

But even though there were plenty of shows that year, the reviews were mainly lack lustre. Critics panned the performances, carping at what they perceived as Billy’s ‘excessive’ posturing and his steadfast refusal to cave in to trends, even though he was not above a radical image change every six months or so. His heart was not in Australia for the remaining months of 1976, even as the Aztecs traipsed around the country for what would be the last time for nearly ten years. Then, suddenly, it was over, and in November Billy quickly left Melbourne for Adelaide with Lynn and Rusty.

Billy Thorpe 1976

There was no reason to wait for America’s invitation. Billy’s time had come. At age thirty, he felt he was hampered by his past, roped in with guitar leads, hemmed in by walls of amplifiers and the anticipation of a crowd wanting more of the same old pisssucking bullshit. But any artist who is content to stagnate in the past would never take the opportunities Billy was preparing to take. He left Australia in December 1976, finally bound for America, and ready for anything. [extract from 'Billy Thorpe's Time On Earth' by Jason Walker, 2009 p182-184]

Billy made a strong and sustained effort to break into the American music scene, utilising such famed US sessioneers as Leland Sklar and Earl Slick to create a series of ambitious concept albums, beginning with the highly successful space-rock concept album 'Children Of The Sun' (1976) which also marked the beginning of a long collaboration with producer Spencer Proffer. This was followed by '21st Century Man', 'Stimulation' (a particular favourite of this author's) and 'East Of Eden's Gate'. He also showed up in Mick Fleetwood's hobby band, Zoo, and returned occasionally to Australia for well-received spot appearances, often with a reunion of his old 70s Aztecs pals.

In the early '90s, Thorpe and family came back to Oz for good. Rejuvenated interest in Billy's amazing body of work led to the successful launch of a 3CD retrospective, 'Lock Up Your Mothers' and national concerts again reuniting the classic Sunbury Aztecs line-up. Billy continued to record and found a lucrative sideline in advertising composition (like the "Friday Night Football" TV promo for the 9 Network). He also penned two highly entertaining (and essential) autobiographical books, and for someone who has done all he has in his life, he still looked remarkably trim and youthful as he neared his 60s.

Billy continued to wow audiences into the 21st century, playing clubs and festivals with as much verve and power as he put out in his twenties and with the incendiary power of his extraordinary voice still completely intact. Among his many appearances in this period, a highlight for the lucky fans who saw it was his electrifying performance at the all-star "Gimme Ted" benefit in Sydney in 2001, and in 2002 Thorpie reunited with the original Aztecs for one more thrilling go-round as part of the now fabled "Long Way To The Top" concert tour.

During late 2006 and into early 2007 Billy continued to tour and record, as he worked on a landmark new "unplugged" project in which he revisited the songs from his 40-year career in an acoustic format, as well as an ambitious concept album. The new CD was virtually complete when, to the shock and dismay of all, our greatest road warrior was felled by a heart attack on 28 February 2007. The 'unpluggged' album was subsequently released on Michael Gudinski's Liberation Blue label as Solo: The Last Recordings [Extract from Milesago]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my prized vinyl and includes full album artwork for both CD and vinyl, along with label scans.  If you grew up listening to Billy and the Aztecs like I did, you'll find this album a little different to his earlier material, but it is a necessary stepping stone when listening to his later American releases.  Hope you enjoy it - "Bassballs" is my favourite track next to his rework of  "Most People I Know....... "

Tracklist
01 Movin' On The Sound 4:51
02 Blue Mary 4:02
03 Good Night Out 3:06
04 Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy 6:10
05 Bassballs 3:28
06 See What I Mean 4:14
07 Let Yourself Go 4:40
08 You Keep Me Hangin' Around 4:06
09 Long Live Rock 'N' Roll 4:43

Billy Thorpe (Vocals & Guitar)
Gil Matthews (Drums)
Billy Kristian (Bass)
Derek Griffiths (Guitar)
Warren Morgan (Piano)  

  

Friday, May 20, 2022

Ten Years After - Recorded Live (1973)

 (U.K 1966-1975, 1988-2017)

Recorded Live is the third live album by British blues rock musicians Ten Years After, which was released as a double LP in 1973.

This album, containing no overdubs or additives, was recorded over four nights from January 26-29, 1973, in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfurt and Paris with the Rolling Stones' mobile recording truck and later mixed from sixteen tracks to stereo at Olympic Studios in London. It was meant to be an "official bootleg" (such a term appears on the cover) and therefore no studio overtime or other corrections were made here, and the tracklist reflects the group's performances from January 1973, during the tour promoting the album "Rock & Roll Music to the World ".

The album made #39 USA & #36 UK on the charts, and features some of their best numbers. Standout track is the extended extemporisation on "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" which sees Alvin detuning the guitar and retuning it mid-song.


 The cover of Ten Years After’s 1973 album Recorded Live (see above) depicts a giant reel-to-reel recorder, which certainly captures the era when this double-LP set was recorded. Approaching the end of their run — only one more album would come, 1974’s Positive Vibrations — Ten Years After were deep into the thick of ’70s arena rock, so everything they played on-stage wound up stretching well beyond the five-minute mark, sometimes reaching upward of 11 minutes. Everything on this double-LP places improvisation over groove — a sentiment that is accentuated on the 2013 expansion, which winds up running 21 tracks over two discs, adding bonus outtakes to the original double-LP set. The best parts here are the improvisations, particularly Alvin Lee’s long, languid guitar solos, but this album — either in its original incarnation or in its expansion — is a distinctly ’70s creation: it’s unhurried and indulgent, reveling in its slow, steady march to a virtuosic, never-ending guitar solo.


Once Ten Years After’s performance in the Woodstock film cemented their command of the concert stage, it was only a matter of time before Chrysalis would want a full live album from the band. Undead from 1968 doesn’t do them justice; five years later with over a half-dozen studio albums under their belt to choose from, 1973’s double Recorded Live set is really the definitive document of Ten Years After at their absolute best. 


Album Review 1
They kick off with ‘One Of These Days’ (wow! but somebody cut down that ending jam, please!), only to continue with the unforgettable riff of ‘You Give Me Loving’: what a wise choice from their worst studio record so far, and I don’t even mind that Alvin messes up the lyrics because they were so convoluted in the first place.

Later on, the band, as usual, breaks in some of the oldies, like ‘Help Me’ and ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’. On the way, Alvin displays some cute little tricks, like showing his prowess at classical guitar (‘Classical Thing’), resurrecting the ‘Skoobly-oobly-dooboob’ ditty (‘Scat Thing’) and just playing the fool (‘Silly Thing’). The two highlights of the show are, of course, a terrific fifteen-minute version of ‘I Can’t Keep From Crying’, which is again transformed into tons of different things on the way, including even a few lines from ‘Cat’s Squirrel’ and even ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ – sic!, and ‘I’m Going Home’. The former also was the central point for showing Alvin as a ‘guitar experimentator’ – in particular, he liked to tune his guitar and play it at the same time, which sometimes resulted in a truly awful, ear-destructive sound which I kinda like nevertheless.

And the latter (‘I’m Goin’ Home’, that is) is predictably close to the Woodstock version, except that the various sections are interspersed in a different way and the drums are much more prominent. And damn the stupid audience that mars the opening chords with its silly applause! Otherwise, though, it’s simply a superb version: with all the ‘boo-boo-babys’ in place, and the old rockabilly classics medley in the middle. It does seem a bit worn off as compared to the Woodstock version, but you can excuse the guys: after all, the piece was like a stone around their neck, and it’s a wonder they were still able to do it with enough authenticity and patience.

For me, the only letdown on the album is the eight minute version of the Hobbit which features a rather long and dull drum solo by Mr Lee and I quite often find myself skipping the track when listening to this album. This live record, on the other hand, is instantly amiable and friendly – and it features lots of guitar jams, too. But these kids are so frantic, so full of energy and they love the stuff they’re playing so much you’ll be sure to be caught in the fun. This is no Yessongs, either – just your basic love for dat electro guitar sound. And no ‘supergroup’ hype, either – they just play and they don’t give a damn. I like it when a record doesn’t have balls. [extract from classicrockreview.wordpress.com]

Album Review 2
(New Musical Express, July 21, 1973)
Considering the number of bands that have split recently, it's a wonder that Ten Years After are still around. Because listening to this, their first live album since their 1968 'Undead' album, it becomes clear that Ten Year After have progressed very little since the early days when the blues could be heard in just about every club in Britain. Back then, Ten Years After were one of the finest and even though a bit of flash, blues bands around. If you don't believe me, get a copy of 'Undead' and you'll doubt no more. There was fire and conviction in their playing, and they were a lot tighter, never allowing the self-indulgence which becomes evident on the sixteen minute plus version of "I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes" included here.

Alvin Lee's guitar does all its tricks, and say what you like, Lee is a good guitarist, but it does get alittle long.. Unlike Cream, Ten Years After aren't that much of an improvising band.
Alvin and bassist Leo Lyons are really the only improvisers. In the past much has been written about Lyon's bass-playing, which just about keeps pace with Alvin. It's been said before, but Lyon's is one hell-of-a-dextrous bass player.

Naturally enough, "I'm Going Home", (ain't it about time he got there?) finds its way onto this album and it's not one of Lee's best version. This album album was recoded in Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and Chrysalis are pushing it as 'The Official Tens Years After Bootleg' and at a cost of just three pounds, it's good value if you want a record of what was one of our finest blues bands.

Right now, Ten Years After are in extreme danger of becoming stagnant. Even Alvin Lee has said he's felt that way. (Article by Steve Clarke)

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my near 50 year old vinyl and includes album artwork for both vinyl and CD formats. Note that early CD versions did not include the full concert, and were missing The Hobbit and the incidental short tracks (Scat Thing, Classical Thing and Silly Thing) which are all present here.

This live album was my first introduction to Ten Years After and being a highly impressionable 15 year old at the time, it simply blew me away.....I can't tell you how many times I've played Side 1 and Side 3. Their blistering version of "Good Morning Little School Girl" and the epic "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" were definitely favourites.  Of course, I proceeded to hunt down all of their albums over time and am now very proud of my TYA collection.   Thought I'd share this one with you in the hope that I can pass on the excitement that I felt when I first heard this album. Note the special price I got this gem for (see cover), at the time $7.95 represented about 25% off the normal price of a double album - bonus!  All photos and Review 2 above were sourced from Alvin Lee's Website with thanks

Track List
01 "One of These Days" – 5:36
02 "You Give Me Loving" – 5:25
03 "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" – 7:15
04 "Hobbit"  – 7:15
05 "Help Me"  – 10:44
06 "Classical Thing" – 0:55
07 "Scat Thing" – 0:54
08 "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes (Part 1)"  – 1:57
09 "Extension on One Chord"  – 10:46
10 "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes (Part 2)" – 3:21
11 "Silly Thing" – 0:26
12 "Slow Blues in 'C'" – 7:24
13 "I'm Going Home" – 9:30
14 "Choo Choo Mama" – 2:56

Ten Years After were:
Alvin Lee – guitar, vocals
Leo Lyons – bass
Chick Churchill – organ, piano
Ric Lee – drums