Monday, December 26, 2011

Various Artists - 20 Great Australian Hits Vol 1. (1977)

(Various Australian Artists Early 70's)
.
Fable Records
Ron Tudor's Fable Records was the most successful Australian independent recording company of the early 1970s. It was also one of the most productive 'indie' labels of the period, issuing over 300 singles and dozens of EPs and LPs. Fable released a wide variety of music from rock groups to mainstream vocalists; its catalogue also included Christian gospel music by singing group The Proclaimers, comedy recordings by Frankie Davidson, and novelty items like Drummond's 'chipmunk' version of "Daddy Cool" and the quaint piano version of The Mixtures "In The Summertime." Fable was officially launched in April 1970 with a batch of five singles (all by Australian artists) and the success it enjoyed over its first nine months was nothing short of spectacular, seven of its first twelve singles made the national Top 40, and of the forty-one singles Fable released between April and December 1970, seventeen became hits, including two national #1s by The Mixtures' "In The Summertime" and "The Pushbike Song" and four other Top 10 hits by Hans Poulsen, Liv Maessen, Jigsaw and John Williamson. Fable won many industry awards during its fifteen year life. [extract from Milesago]
.

.
Here is a short account of some of the more popular names that appear on this first Fable Records compilation, released by EMI in 1977.
.
The Mixtures
Laurie Arthur (guitar, vocals, 1965-67), Greg Cook (drums, vocals, 1970-71), John Creech (drums, vocals, 1965-70), Rod De Clerk (bass, vocals 1965-67), Buddy England (vocals 1969-70), Mick Flinn (bass, 1967-72), Dennis Garcia (organ, 1967), Mick Holden (drums, 1971), Gary Howard (drums, 1970-71), Alan "Edgell" James (bass, 1966), Idris Jones (vocals, 1967-69 and 1970-71), Don Lebler (drums, 1971-76), Chris Spooner (bass, 1972-76), Fred Weiland (guitar, 1967), Peter Williams (vocals, guitar, 1971-76)
.
Australian musicians Terry Dean and Rod De Clerk met in Tasmania in 1965. They then met Laurie Arthur, a member of The Strangers, and the three decided to form a band together after a jam session. They quickly signed to EMI that same year and released three singles. They went through several line-up changes over the following few years, then signed to CBS Records in 1969. A few further singles followed before transferring to Fable Records in 1970.
As a result of the 1970 radio ban, during which many Australian radio stations refused to play Australian and British music released by major labels, the Mixtures recorded a cover of Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" and received much more airplay than had initially been expected for a group on a small record label.
.
The single went to #1 in Australia for six weeks. They followed up with "The Pushbike Song", which went to #1 in Australia for two weeks, hit #2 in the UK Singles Chart, and went to #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.
The Pushbike Song (1971)
This single is often mistakenly attributed to Mungo Jerry, as "The Pushbike Song", is reputed to be very Mungo Jerry-esque in style, but was in fact their own composition. Oddly enough, The Mixtures also have a song called "Henry Ford" on the same album as "The Pushbike Song". "The Pushbike Song" made the Top 10 in the U.K. and Australia in 1971.
Their next single "Henry Ford", only peaked at #43 but the followup single "Captain Zero" went to #5 in 1971, and was their last big hit. The group released material together for several more years before breaking up in 1976.

Bluestone
Terry Dean (vocals, guitar), Mike Burke (guitar, banjo), Edward Fry (bass), John Creech (drums, vocals), Gavan Anderson (lead guitar, vocals), Nigel Thompson (bass, vocals)
.
Brian Cadd signed Bluestone to Bootleg Records which in time released eight singles and a self titled L.P. Terry Dean from Melbourne formed Bluestone after he had enjoyed a very successful solo career in the 60’s and 70's, recording a number of hit records, performing regularly in Melbourne and interstate and appearing nationally on TV shows including The ‘Go’ Show, and ‘Happening 70’.
‘Bluestone’ was heavily influenced by west coast American country rock including artists such as ‘The Byrds’, ‘The Flying Burrito Brothers’, ‘The Eagles’, Jackson Brown, Emmylou Harris and numerous other influential songwriters as well as performing and recording much of its own material.
Dean’s backing band around that time was the original Mixtures line up. Gavan Anderson (guitar and vocals) and Nigel Thompson (bass and vocals) joined the band in 1975 and this line up remained together until ‘Bluestone’ disbanded in 1984..

.The bands’ first album, self titled ‘Bluestone’, was released to excellent reviews in 1974 and helped to cement the band as a major force in Australian country music. The single from the album, ‘Wind and Rain’, was a hit across Australia in 1973.
By the 1980’s the band made the move into straight country releasing a 2nd L.P. for Avenue Records in 1982. 1st single was the chugging soft rocker "Single Again" (similar in style to Darryl Cotton's Same Old Girl), on which former Fraternity/Flying Circus member guests with some typically fine guitar work. It was perhaps the best chance at a hit in late 1981 but did not have the hoped for success. A 2nd single "Remember", was another excellent, commercial release that showed some almost new wave influences surprisingly. And yet it also failed as did this fine album which followed in April 1982. The album itself also showed more diversity than one might have expected after Bluestone's debut.
Since the mid 1980’s, the members of ‘Bluestone’ have gone on to pursue successful careers in the music industry. Terry Dean formed the successful duo ‘Dean & Carruthers’ with Garry Carruthers and they celebrated 25 years ‘on the road’ in July, 2010. Terry recently established ‘Terry Dean’s Guitars’ selling some of the world’s finest acoustic instruments. John Creech has continued his career as ‘drummer to the stars’ touring with ‘Kylie’ in the early 1990’s and with ‘Cotton, Keays & Morris’, Brian Cadd, Mike Brady and many others. Gavan Anderson has worked with numerous artists and bands including ‘Spot the Aussie’, Brian Cadd, Max Merritt and, most recently, Andy Cowan and has released a number of his own solo EP’s. Nigel Thompson continues to work with various bands including well known 60’s band ‘The Substitutes’ and various other bands and has continued his involvement in events management and promotion.
.
Jigsaw
Dennis Tucker (Bass & Vocal), John Caldeerwood (Guitar & Vocal), Eddie Chappel (Drums & Vocal), Ron Gilbee (Rhythm Guitar & Vocal)
.
Jigsaw were at one time Johnny Chesters backing band but eventually managed to forge a career of there own. Alas Jigsaw have never had their own studio LP release, only an EP and a multitude of singles, 13 in total. They did however share two albums with Johnny Chester, each having one side each, with Jigsaw also backing Johnny Chester on his tracks. The first collaborative album was selftitled (pictured below) and included such hits as "Yellow River", "Albert The Albatross", as well as Chester's singles - "Glory Glory" & "Shame And Scandal (In The Family)". The 2nd, entitled 'Going Places' featured "How Do You D"o and their last big hit "Mademoiselle Ninette".
.
Johnny Chester
With a recording career that began in 1961 and continues even stronger today, Johnny Chester is one of Australia's most enduring recording artists.
His singing career started in 1959 when at the age of seventeen he began running a dance in the St Cecilia's Church Hall in Melbourne's suburban West Preston. With his mum selling tickets, his dad on the door and great support from the teenagers in the area the local dance soon grew too large for the venue and so was moved in late 1960 to the much larger Preston town hall.
Here with the enormous support of legendary radio disc jockey Stan 'The Man' Rofe the dance became the most successful of its time and Johnny soon came to the attention of W&G Records. This was all during the time in Melbourne when rock'n'roll was king.
During the 60s, whilst establishing himself as a recording artist and songwriter, he hosted two national television series for the ABC. He toured with a host of overseas stars including the Beatles, Roy Orbison, Dion and the Everly Brothers and worked as associate producer of the national 'Kommotion' Televison show and a disc jockey on Melbourne's number one radio station 3UZ as well as doing an entertainment tour of duty for the Australian and American forces in Vietnam.
.
During the 70s we saw a major musical transition take place as Johnny Chester moved via a varied but well charted course in to Country Music.
Johnny Chester made records for Fable from 1970 until 1976. He recorded with both studio musicians and Jigsaw who became his permanent backing band while Johnny produced their records. In 1971 they released their first album for Fable titled Johnny Chester and Jigsaw, from which the single "Shame and Scandal in the Family" was released. It went to Number One in several states.
Winning along the way three consecutive Golden Guitars at the Australasian Country Music Awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and many other accolades as well both here and overseas. He continued to tour with his own show and with international acts like Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Roger Miller, Charlie Pride and Freddy Fender. He also hosted two more national television series for the ABC. From 1989 to 1991 he hosted several weekly radio programs including his 'Soundabout Club' and his 'World of Country Music' for Radio Australia, our international broadcaster. [taken from Johnny Chester's Website]
.
Axiom
Brian Cadd (keyboards, vocals),Doug Lavery (drums) 1969,Don Lebler (drums) 1969-71,Don Mudie (bass),Glenn Shorrock (vocals),Chris Stockley (guitar)
.
Formed in Melbourne in 1969, Axiom were arguably Australia's first true supergroup. Yet, in spite of a wealth of talent and promise, some notable chart successes and two superb Albums of original material, they failed to achieve lasting popularity, due in part to waning public support in Australia as they vainly tried to crack the fickle English market, and the band fizzled out after less than two years. Nevertheless, Axiom deserve to be recognised as an important musical bridge between Sixties pop and Seventies rock in Australia, as one of the first serious attempts to make Australian rock with international appeal, and as one of the finest bands of their time.
Axiom were touted as Australia's first supergroup, because it contained 5 seasoned musicians, rather than one or two gifted musicians in a band of 4 or 5 members. They had chart success with their first single, "Arkansas Grass", reaching number 1 only in Brisbane, but top 5 elsewhere, but to many its 2nd single, "A Little Ray of Sunshine" is probably more fondly remembered. (It's interesting to compare how the band's singles charted in different states. In three states, only three of their releases charted ("My Baby's Gone" was the third single to reach the charts, whereas in Adelaide, all five were represented. In two states "Arkansas Grass" was more popular than "Ray of Sunshine" whereas in Adelaide, "My Baby's Gone" was the highest charting of any of their releases there!)
The featured track here "Little Ray of Sunshine" shot to #5 in April 1970 and has since become a standard. Their first two Axiom singles are rightly considered classics, and the latter, a perennial favourite, has become one of Glenn Shorrock's trademark songs, and was even celebrated with its own stamp in Australia Post's 1998 'Australian Rock' stamp series. It was followed by Axiom's brilliant debut LP Fools Gold, which was both widely praised and a significant commercial success, reaching #18 on the album chart in June.
Fool's Gold unquestionably ranks as one of the best and most original Aussie albums of the period. It was also a significant step forward in creative control, being one of the very first Australian rock albums released on a major label that was produced by the artists themselves. Axiom was able to take advantage of the great improvement in sound provided by the new 8-track facilities at Armstrong's Studios, which showcased a selection of superb songs, brilliantly performed.
All members of Axiom went on to further their careers in the industry, but perhaps the better known of the group were Brian Cadd and Glenn Shorrock, both of whom have had enormous solo careers. Don Mudie who co-wrote most of the material on the band's two albums, did not pursue the limelight to the same extent. [extracts from Milesago and Howlspace]
.
This post consists of a 320kps rip (mp3) of my 'near mint' vinyl copy of this compilation and includes full album artwork. I hope you enjoy this great Fable Records compilation (the first of two) and stay tuned for the second which I plan to post soon.
.
Track Listing
01 - The Pushbike Song (THE MIXTURES)

02 - The World's Greatest Mum (JOHNNY CHESTER)

03 - Old Man Emu (JOHN WILLIAMSON)

04 - Santa Never Made It Into Darwin (BILL AND BOYD)

05 - Catfish John (HAWKING BROTHERS)

06 - Snowbird (LIV MAESSEN)
07 - Butterfly (MATT FLINDERS)

08 - Yellow River (JIGSAW)

09 - Glory Glory (JOHNNY CHESTER)

10 - Daddy Cool (DRUMMOND)

11 - Knock Knock Who's There (LIV MAESSEN)

12 - Shame And Scandal (JOHNNY CHESTER)

13 - Picking Up Pebbles (MATT FLINDERS)

14 - Wind And Rain (BLUESTONE)

15 - In The Summertime (THE MIXTURES)

16 - Carroll County Accident (BOBBY AND LAURIE)

17 - A Little Ray Of Sunshine (AXIOM)

18 - How Do You Do (JIGSAW)

19 - Cinderella Rockefella (ANNE AND JOHNNY HAWKER)

20 - Captain Zero (THE MIXTURES)

.
20 Great Australian Hits Vol 1 Link (125Mb) New Link 13/09/2014
.

10 comments:

  1. I'm assuming Axiom's Glenn Shorrock is the same as the Little River Band's Glenn Shorrock....

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Coopernicus
    You are correct - Glenn first started out with Axiom, and then joined LRB some years later when Axiom disbanded. He has also released both singles and LP's as a solo artist.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey,

    I took a listen to this one this morning, and as a Gen-X'er, my summation of it was "I guess you had to be there". Context is both everything and nothing, and for me being so far removed from the era and its culture I couldn't get into it. I found it hard to like some of the covers when I've already heard the originals and prefer them.

    That's not to say that this music is not without its merit - it has a valuable place in the pantheon of Australian music, as it is a product of its time. Thanks for sharing it. I'll also check out the new volume 2 you have posted as well.

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  4. the missus thinks your just the best, she had these vinyl's back in the day and is happy as hell to have them on her ipod now

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks AussieRock have grabbed the pair when you look at both albums you realize just how much talent was around in those days.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aah - the days when you used to get some value for money when you purchased a compilation album! Used to have this one myself until I made a bad mistake and decided I needed to free up some space and get rid of all the vinyl I had sitting around in boxes. Now I have the same problem with cds.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks a lot! I would like to ask you, I had a record album, several years ago, it was a aussie double vinyl compilation, released in the seventies, with several hits and various Australian songs of the 70s age. The cover featured a drawing with various aspects of Australian way (kangaroos, surfing, and if I remember correctly, there was a pack of Vegemite), the rest of the double record was green. Please,If you know this record could you tell me the title so I can find him.
    thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Daniele
    I have plenty of Aussie Rock compilations, but not this one I'm afraid. I might start posting these soon, so perhaps they might fill the gap for you

    ReplyDelete
  9. Loving these old compilations.
    This link has died.
    Hope you can put up another.
    Big G

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Big G
      Link has now been restored.
      Enjoy.

      Delete