Russell Morris is one of Australia's most enduring singers. A major pop star in the late '60s, he went on to become one of the country's first singer/songwriters.
Morris' career started in September 1966 with the formation of the Melbourne group Somebody's Image, which rose to prominence with a local hit version of the Joe South song "Hush." Morris was convinced to leave Somebody's Image for a solo career. His manager/producer, local music identity Ian Meldrum, spent unprecedented hours and money to create a seven-minute production extravaganza around a song called "The Real Thing." Once the result was released to shocked radio programmers who had never been asked to play such a long Australian single before, it was up to Morris' personality, singing, and performing talents to make the record work. It reached Australia's number one spot in June 1969. Without any promotional support from Morris, "The Real Thing" reached number one in Chicago, Houston, and New York.
The second single "Part Three Into Paper Walls" ("The Real Thing" revisited) and "The Girl That I Love" (a pop ballad more indicative of what was to come) became a double-sided number one hit, the first time an Australian artist had scored consecutive number ones with their first two singles. Morris, in the meantime, had traveled to the U.K. to help promote the release of "The Real Thing."
Morris had now decided to concentrate on his own songwriting and with the cream of Australian musicians, spent almost a year painstakingly recording and re-recording what became the Bloodstone album. It was one of the first Australian albums of its kind, the first from an Australian singer/songwriter, and a whole world away from the extravagant "The Real Thing." The hit single from Bloodstone was the resonant, romantic "Sweet Sweet Love." The following year, in 1972, Morris delivered the equally beautiful "Wings of an Eagle."
In 1973, Morris moved to London to record an album only to discover there was no record contract waiting for him. He relocated to New York and set to work on an album there, including new versions of both "Sweet Sweet Love" and "Wings of an Eagle" and the single "Let's Do It." A second American album appeared in 1976. It was two more years before Morris was granted his green card, enabling him to tour America. But by then, any chance of an American career had bolted. Instead, Morris returned to a very different Australia than the one he had left behind five years earlier.
During his solo career, Morris had done limited live performances without a band of his own. He then formed The Russell Morris Band and threw himself into a busy round of live performances, writing songs designed to be played live rather than chasing radio airplay, but scoring a couple of minor hits on the way. The album featured here is the only album released during this period of of his career (playing under the name The Russell Morris Band ) and they released three singles, the first "Thunder Ground" (not featured on the LP) reaching #49 and a follow up single "Hot Love" reaching #48 on the Australian Charts. A third single "Surprise,Surprise" failed to chart at all. The album itself only managed to reach the #36 spot on the charts. Eventually, the band played and recorded as Russell Morris & the Rubes.
In 1991, Morris released another solo album, A Thousand Suns, and he spent the subsequent years as part of a highly successful performing trio with fellow '60s heroes Ronnie Burns and Darryl Cotton of the Zoot, with a repertoire made up of their individual hits from yesterday, as well as new songs. In 2000, Jim Keays of the Masters Apprentices replaced Burns. Also in 2000, Morris' "The Real Thing" and "Wings of an Eagle" featured prominently in the Australian-made movie The Dish (centered around man's landing on the moon) and Midnight Oil released their version of "The Real Thing" as a one-off single, the first time this highly regarded band had chosen to record a cover.
'Foot In The Door' was not one of Morris's best albums and the A-Side is definitely stronger than the flip side. However, I really like the last track on the first side called "The Sky Is Falling". The longest track on the album, it has some great lead guitar work by Joey Amenta (who had recently left the successful Aussie band Taste), and is certainly the highlight of the album. The single "Hot Love" (strangely enough released under the name of Russell Morris only) had a good hook to it but it wasn't strong enough to gain the full attention of the Radio stations.
The single "Thunder Ground" / "Two Minute Warning" was released before the LP (both on the Mushroom label) and these two tracks were not included on album. I have therefore included this single as bonus tracks along with a live recording of "Hot Love" taken from Countdown, June 29th 1979.
This post consists of a mp3 rip (320kps) taken from my Vinyl copy and includes full album artwork. Included are three bonus tracks along with select photos of the Morris band.
01 - Hot Love
02 - Doctor In The House
03 - Kidnapped
04 - The Sky Is Falling
05 - You Place Or Mine
06 - I'm Just A Writer
07 - Next Exit
08 - Surprise, Surprise
09 - Love Stealer
10 - Thunder Ground (A-Side Single) *
11 - Two Minute Warning (B-Side Single) *
12 - Hot Love (Live Countdown 1979)
* Non album tracks
The Russell Morris Band:
Russell Morris (Vocals & Guitar)
Joe Amenta (Lead Guitar)
James Black (Keyboards)
GRaham Thomspon (Bass)
Keith Elliot (Drums)
Bruce Sandell (Saxaphone)
Sorry - album is now available through Sandman Records. Please support our local artists and make your purchase through this distributor.