Monday, July 30, 2012

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Scorpions: Glam Rockers (1975)

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Before things get too serious at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song at the end of each month, that could be considered to be either
Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.
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Now let me first point out, this post actually features the German hard rock band 'Scorpions' moonlighting as the 'glam rock' band called "The Hunters".
This is the rarest recording made by the infamous Scorpions and copies sell on eBay for small fortunes when they become available. The single was released only on vinyl 45rpm in 1975. It includes 2 songs "Fox on the run" and "Action" which were popular Sweet covers.
The 45 was released under the title "The Hunters-Fox on the Run" or more precisely 'The Hunters - Fuchs Gey Veron' and both tracks were sung in German. Klaus Meine sings both songs and Uli Roth orchestrates killer guitar solos as usual for this era.
I believe that the songs were recorded while the Scorpions were on tour with the band Sweet during the mid seventies. The Scorpions went into the studio under the name "The Hunters" and recorded the two tracks in German. Although these tracks sound strange in the German dialect, their distinctive riffs and parallel vocal style helps give them familiarity and credibility.
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The line up on this recording was:
Klaus Meine (vocals)
Rudolph Schenker (guitar)
Ulrich Roth (guitar)
Francis Buchholz (bass)
J├╝rgen Rosenthal (drums)
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Who would have thought that The Scorpions would bring themselves to be associated with Glam Rock - that's what makes this month's WOCK post so Obscure and Korny.
Post consists of mp3 rip (320kps) taken from 45 single and includes full artwork with a touch of glitter!
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Tracks:
01 - FUCHS GEH VORAN (FOX ON THE RUN)
02 - WENN ES RICHTIG LOSGEHT (ACTION)

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(Released as a 7" single called "The Hunters" Fuchs Gey Veron Cat # 1c 006-41 102 on the colorit label)
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Scorpions Link (12Mb)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Doug Parkinson & The Southern Star Band - I'll Be Around (1979)

(Australian 1967 - Present)
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Doug Parkinson is one of the most soulful singers Australia has ever produced. He first started singing with a band called 'The A Sound' but soon graduated to a more professional outfit, forming The Questions in 1967. This band supported The Who and The Small Faces Australian tour in 1968 and were placed second in the finals of the prestigious Hoadleys Battle of the Sounds. This led to appearances in Melbourne and this is where the story really begins.
A year later he formed Doug Parkinson in Focus which was the musician’s musicians outfit of the time. The band would later prove to be a benchmark in Australian rock folklore.
With this group he recorded the Beatles’ Dear Prudence in 1969 and it topped the charts. Parkinson re-interpreted this masterpiece and made it his own. He followed it up with another spectacular chart topper Without You. The same year they finally won Hoadleys 'Battle of the Sounds' and played to sell out shows around the country. 'In Focus' recorded a third single Baby Blue Eyes which immediately entered the charts but the single died soon after, a casualty of the notorious Record Ban which denied Australian artists airplay.
In 1970 he moved to London with a new band Fanny Adams and recorded an album but returned a year later and formed a new In Focus. They packed the clubs and festivals but were kept out of the studio due to contractual restraints.
After a two year hard slog with no prospects of recording he made a major decision and went solo. In 1973, Doug took on his first major stage role in the concert production of the Who’s rock opera Tommy. He recorded an album No Regrets. He was involved in a media storm over a political commercial. More touring, this time as a solo performer. A lonely existence. But other roles beckoned.
1975-1976 he appeared in two shows Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Ned Kelly. A steady stream of music and theatre followed. He collaborated and recorded two tracks for the cult film Stone and had another top ten hit with Everlasting Love [ extract from Doug's Website]
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In early 1978, Doug began one of the most successful phases of his rock career when he formed his acclaimed new backing group The Southern Star Band (see below). Back in the fold were his old friends Duncan McGuire and Mark Kennedy, plus Frank Esler-Smith (keyboards; ex-Marcia Hines Band) and Englishman Jim Gannon (guitar; ex-Black Widow, Yellow Dog, Fox). Gannon was later replaced by a young prodigy who went on to become one of Australia's best known guitarists: Tommy Emmanuel.
Regarded as one of the hottest ensembles of its day, the Southern Star Band played a smooth but powerful blend of soul, funk, jazz-rock and R&B, and with so much talent involved it's hard to explain why this group failed to fully connect with the general public, other than to point the finger at radio for its continuing lack of interest in local talent. Keith Kirwin (guitar, bass, vocals; ex-Avengers) joined in September 1979and during their four-year lifespan the band released four excellent singles -- "The Hungry Years" (July 1978), the superb "I'll Be Around" (January 1979), "In My Life" (April) and "You Ain't Going Nowhere Without Me" (September).
"I'll Be Around" charted nationally (#22 in March)
A decade after his first hit with a cover of Dear Prudence, Doug Parkinson finally found himself back in the charts with "I'll Be Around", a cover of the song made famous originally by the Spinners. Interestingly though it wasn't the Spinners track that had inspired him. He'd heard Ross Wilson perform it at a nightclub in Kings Cross as was immediately struck by it. It's been a long time favourite of mine.
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Their Festival album, also called 'I'll Be Around', was a steady seller and received good airplay (especially on Double Jay) but it didn't manage to crack the Top 40 album charts. During the year the band supported Bob Marley & The Wailers on their Australian tour. The following year they supported Bob Marley and the Wailers on what was to be the legendary singer’s last tour. [extract from Milesago]
In 1981, Doug recorded a solo album "Heartbeat to Heartbeat" which produced another top 10 hit, "The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore" with vocalist, Broderick Smith. In 1987 co-wrote the score for the surfing film "Wind Warriors".
After many years of playing on the stage, Doug rekindled the passion to record again in 2004. His first album after a hiatus of many years became a reality with the help of Sydney stellar musicans Gordon Rytmeister ­ (drums), Leon Gaer (bass), Bill Risby (piano) and David Longo (guitar). Doug recorded songs he recalled hearing and loving as a boy laying awake and glued to his bedroom radio somewhere after midnight.
The result is a beautiful selection of standards sung by a man with an amazing gift we have all grown up with and loved for over four decades. The album is entitled 'Somewhere After Midnight' and can be purchased from his website
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This post features mp3's (320kps) ripped from near virgin vinyl and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD. Select photos and label scans are also included along with a video clip of Doug and his Southern Star Band performing "I'll Be Around" on Countdown in 1979.
(Thanks to Micko at Midoztouch for the CD artwork).
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Track Listing
01 - I'll Be Around
02 - In My
Life
03 - Now You're On Your Own
04 - Rainbow In Your Eyes

05 - Soon As Your Thing Is Done
06 - Hungry Years
07 - Riff Raff

08 - Midnite Sky
09 - Lonely
10 - Shuffle Up
Bonus
11 - I'll Be Around (Live on Countdown 79')

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Band Members
Doug Parkinson (vocals)
Tommy Emmanuel (guitar, vocals)
Frank Esler-Smith (keyboards)
Duncan McGuire (bass)
Mark Kennedy (drums)
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Doug Parkinson Link (118Mb)
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Friday, July 20, 2012

Ralph McTell - Spiral Staircase (1969)

(U.K 1965–present)
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Spiral Staircase is British folk musician Ralph McTell's second album. Produced by Gus Dudgeon and released in the UK in 1969, its opening track, "Streets of London", has become McTell's signature tune. I personally heard this track for the first time on an EMI Pop compilation called 'Explosive Hits '75' - when the single was re-released by EMI records (which earned him an Ivor Novello Award), and has been my favourite Folk Song since.
It was only until recently that I managed to acquire a copy of 'Spiral Staircase' from which the track was lifted (released in Australia in 1980 on 7 Records)
Ralph was born in Farnborough, Kent, but his home was in London. Since the age of 17, when he began playing guitar, he spent almost as much time in towns and cities of other countries as in those of England. He played street corners, bus stations and queues through and around Europe., from Paris and over the Bosphorus into Turkey, but Paris was were Ralph chose to pitch himself. He made some important friendships, he made music, he 'made it' (playing in the Paris Olympia - behind the backdrop working to embellish and give substance to the guitar techniques of others).
His style showed that he had not reacted to the contradictory pressures of street singing in the usual way - his musical expression did not operate through a flamboyant act, neither was it so introspective to be obscure. There was an aspect of Ralph's music which he described as 'ragtimes and smiles' where the influence of ragtime musicians such as Blind Blake and the 'blues' of Blind Boy Fuller played a part. Essentially Ralph's ragtime was used to create the atmosphere projected by the Jug band Sound, the emphasis being on entertainment and light-hearted amusement.
In his own song's Ralph seeks and values an emotional response (as typified in "Streets of London") and through his combination of words and guitar, enables us to feel what he has felt, by acting acting on the belief that 'Although life's incidents make our individual response to situation unique, our emotions are basically the same'.
To read more about the background on the making of 'Spiral Staircase', see Ralph's Website
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Although his name is shackled to one song, Ralph McTell is certainly not a one-hit wonder. Several hundred high-calibre numbers written in the 40-odd years since "Streets of London" charged up the charts bear testimony to the singer and finger picking guitar stylist's enduring quality. Ralph's latest creations, to be heard on his first new studio album in a decade entitled 'Somewhere Down The Road', has been a long time coming, but fans will find it has been worth the wait.
Ralph only just recently toured Australia this year in April/May on his 'Farewell Tour'. Unfortunately, I have only just discovered this now while researching for this post, and would have loved to have seen him perform, if not only for that one amazing anthem!
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This post consists of an mp3 (320kps) rip from my Vinyl album and contains full album artwork , along with select photos and label scans.
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Track Listing
01 - Streets of London
02 - Mrs Adlam's Angels
03 - Wino and the Mouse
04 - England 1914
05 - Last Train and Ride
06 - The Fairground
07 - Spiral Staircase
08 - Kind Hearted Woman Blues
09 - Bright and Beautiful Things
10 - Daddy's Here
11 - Rizraklaru (Anag.)
12 - (My) Baby Keeps Staying Out all Night Long
13 - Terminus

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Band Members:
Ralph McTell (Vocals, Guitar)
Jug Band: Henry VIII (Jug), "Whispering" Mike (Washboard),
Peter Berryman (2nd Guitar)
Brian "Brock" Brocklehurst (Double Bass)
Mike Vickers (Orchestral arrangements)
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Ralph McTell Link (81Mb)  Link Fixed 18/04/2014
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Friday, July 13, 2012

Russell Morris - Turn It On (1976)

(Australian 1966-Present)
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Russell Morris is one of Australia’s most enduring singers. A major pop star in the latter sixties he went on to become one of the country’s first singer songwriters and, during the seventies led a popular rock band.
Morris‘s career started in September ’66 with the formation of the group Somebody’s Image, who rose to prominence with the hit ‘Hush’, a version of the Joe South song. In the process the band had come to the notice of The Groop, and in turn The Groop’s friend Ian Meldrum. Meldrum convinced Russell to leave Somebody’s Image for a solo career, with Meldrum acting as manager and record producer.
Recently back from England where he had spent time with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees, former pop star Johnny Young now had songwriting ambitions of his own. He offered one of those songs to Russell, who wasn’t interested in that particular song, but asked if Johnny had another. Hesitantly Young played him an unfinished song he was considering recording himself. Meldrum arrived with a tape recorder at Johnny Young’s door at 3am that night demanding the song.

.From there the song, ‘The Real Thing’, became more something of Meldrum’s creation than either Russell’s or Johnny’s. Russell just sang it. Johnny just happened to have written the basis for it. In the studio, using The Groop as backing musicians, Meldrum spent unprecedented hours and money to create a seven-minute production extravaganza, complete with The Groop’s Brian Cadd reading from the side of a recording tape box for an imitation Hitler speech. Once the song was released to shocked radio programmers who had never been asked to play such a long Australian single before, it was up to Russell’s personality, and singing and performing talents to make the record work. It reached Number One nationally in June 1969. Russell Morris was instantly challenging Johnny Farnham as Australia’s pop king.
Without any promotional support from Russell ‘The Real Thing’ reached Number One in Chicago, Houston and New York.
The follow-up comprised two more Johnny Young songs; one side ‘Part Three Into Paper Walls’, ‘The Real Thing’ revisited; the other side ‘The Girl That I Love’, the pop ballad Young had originally offered Russell. Just prior to its release Ian Meldrum relinquished Russell’s management. The second single was also a national Number One. Russell in the meantime had travelled to the UK to help promote the release of ‘The Real Thing’. While in England he recorded English songwriter Raymond Foggart’s ‘Rachel’, but re-recorded it on arriving back in Australia. ‘Rachel’ became a big hit for Russell in New Zealand.
Russell Morris had now decided to concentrate on his own songwriting and with the cream of 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, 1972 Russell delivered the equally beautiful ‘Wings Of An Eagle’.
In 1973, Russell Morris moved to London to record an album, 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’.

.This second American album 'Turn It On' appeared in 1976, but did not receive the accolades that his earlier material had gained. It was two more years before Russell was granted his Green Card, enabling him to tour America. But by then his American career had bolted. Instead, Russell returned to a very different Australia to the one he had left behind five years earlier.
Throughout his solo career had done limited live performances, without a band of his own. He now 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. Eventually the band played and recorded as 'Russell Morris and the Rubes', and produced the minor hit with a heavier rendition of "Hush" reaching #35 in the charts.
In 1991, Russell released another solo album ‘A Thousand Suns’, and he has spent more recent years as part of a trio with fellow Sixties heroes Ronnie Burns and Darryl Cotton of The Zoot, performing their individual hits from yesterday as well as new songs.
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This post consists of a MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my pristine vinyl and includes full album artwork and label scans. Please note that the single lifted from this album "Running, Jumping, Standing Still" is actually labelled as "R.J.S.S" on the album cover and LP label (see below). This track has a very catchy hook to it, but never really received the airplay that it deserved.
It is also interesting to note that this album was released in the States under the title of 'Russell Morris 2' but used the same cover design (see right).
As a bonus, I have also included a video clip of Russell Morris performing his single "R.J.S.S" on Countdown, on Dec 5, 1976.
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Track Listing
01 - Broken Egg Shells
02 - R.J.S.S
03 - Superman

04 - Cloudy Day
05 - So Good To See It

06 - Wolves In White
07 - Get You Were You Want
08 - Ever Lovin'
Woman
09 - Two Wheeled Flyer
10 - Winter Song

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Band Members:
Russell Morris (Guitar, Vocals)
Gene Barken, Hugh McCracken (Guitar)
Anthony Jackson (Bass)
Steve Gadd, Rick Marotta (Drums)
Jean Yves Labat, Roy Bitten (Keyboards)
Ralph McDonald (Percussion)
(Recorded in New York City)
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Russell Morris Link (101Mb)
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Doobie Brothers - Selftitled (1971)

(U.S 1970–1982, 1987–present)
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As one of the most popular Californian pop/rock bands of the '70s, the Doobie Brothers evolved from a mellow, post-hippie boogie band to a slick, soul-inflected pop band by the end of the decade. Along the way, the group racked up a string of gold and platinum albums in the U.S., along with a number of radio hits like "Listen to the Music," "Black Water," and "China Grove."
Originally a trio called Pud formed in California in 1970 and comprising Johnston, Hartmann and bassist Greg Murph, the latter quickly replaced by Dave Shogrer.. Started out as a hard rock band, toyed for a spell with gospel-oriented material using horns before return to rock roots. Expanded to four-piece with addition of Pat Simmons, a native of Sar. Jose.
Signed to Warner Bros, this lineup appeared on 1971 debut album although Shogren left soon after. Tiran Porter and Mike Hossack (percussion) were enlisted to bring Doobies up to quintet. This use of two guitarists and two percussionists was later to draw comparisons with similarly boogie-oriented Allman Brothers, although Doobies have always professed a closer affinity to San Francisco band Moby Grape. Indeed, the Grape's Skip Spence had been instrumental in bringing original Doobies together.
The Doobie Brothers honed their chops by performing live all over northern California in 1970. They attracted a particularly strong following among local chapters of the Hells Angels and scored a recurring gig at one of the bikers' favorite venues, the rustic Chateau Liberte in the Santa Cruz Mountains. An energetic set of demos (some of which were briefly released on Pickwick Records in 1980 under the title Introducing the Doobie Brothers), showcased fuzz-toned, dual lead electric guitars, three-part harmonies and Hartman's frenetic drumming and earned the rock group a contract at Warner Bros. Records. (with Tiran Porter on Bass). At this point in their history, the band's image reflected that of their biggest fans - leather jackets and motorcycles.

However, the group's 1971 self-titled debut album departed significantly from that image and their live sound of the period. The album, which failed to chart, emphasized acoustic guitars and frequently reflected country influences.
Their second album, the gold-seller 'Toulouse Street' (1972) found the band experimenting with horns on certain tracks and moving further in direction of hard rock, results being a high placing on U.S. album lists and a hit single "Listen To The Music". The 1973 set, 'The Captain And Me', repeated the process with gold status and a hit single, "Long Train Running" - and by now the Doobies were a substantial concert attraction in the U.S. Attracting cult attention in U.K., they managed to sell-out two London Rainbow gigs on their British debut early in 1974 with very little pre-publicity.

Later that year the group's instrumental prowess was boosted by the talents of former Steely Dan's slide guitarist Jeff 'Skunk' Baxter (though many critics interpreted the move as a backward one on Baxter's part). The guitarist had, however, already appeared in session role on earlier Doobies albums.
More personnel changes occurred in the following year: Hossack departed to be replaced by Keith Knudsen, formerly with Lee Michaels, with line-up boosted to six by addition of keyboards player Michael McDonald - like Baxter before him, a recruit from Steely Dan [extract from 'The New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock', by Logan & Woffinden, Salamander 1977]

The new sound was showcased on 1976's 'Takin' It to the Streets', a collection of light funk and jazzy pop that resulted in a platinum album. Later that year, the group released the hits compilation 'The Best of the Doobies'. In 1977, the group released 'Livin' on the Fault Line', which was successful without producing any big hits. Johnston left the band after the album's release to pursue an unsuccessful solo career. Following his departure, the Doobies released their most successful album, 'Minute by Minute' (1978), which spent five weeks at number one on the strength of the number one single "What a Fool Believes." Hartman and Baxter left the group after the album's supporting tour, leaving the Doobie Brothers as McDonald's backing band.

Following a year of audition, the Doobies hired ex-Clover guitarist John McFee, session drummer Chet McCracken, and former Moby Grape saxophonist Cornelius Bumpus and released One Step Closer (1980), a platinum album that produced the Top Ten hit "Real Love." During the tour for One Step Closer, McCracken was replaced by Andy Newmark. Early in 1982, the Doobie Brothers announced they were breaking up after a farewell tour, which was documented on the 1983 live album Farewell Tour. After the band's split, McDonald pursued a successful solo career, while Simmons released one unsuccessful solo record. In 1987, the Doobies reunited for a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, which quickly became a brief reunion tour; McDonald declined to participate in the tour.
By 1989, the early-'70s lineup of Johnston, Simmons, Hartman, Porter, and Hossack, augmented by percussionist and former Doobies roadie Bobby LaKind, had signed a contract with Capitol Records. Their reunion album, Cycles, went gold upon its summer release in 1989, spawning the Top Ten hit "The Doctor." Brotherhood followed two years later, but it failed to generate much interest. For the remainder of the '90s, the group toured the U.S., playing the oldies circuit and '70s revival concerts. By 1995, McDonald had joined the group again, and the following year saw the release of 'Rockin' Down the Highway'. But the lineup had once again shifted by the turn of the new millennium. 2000 saw the band — Hossack, Johnston, Knudsen, McFee, and Simmons — issue Sibling Rivalry, which featured touring members Guy Allison on keyboards, Marc Russo on saxophone, and Skylark on bass [extract from wikipedia]
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Album Review
One of the most inauspicious debuts by a major rock group, this subdued slice of country boogie might be called the missing link between Moby Grape and the later, revved-up Doobies of "Listen to the Music." Only a handful of West Coast hippies bought this record originally, but it lays the blueprint for the Doobies' future radio-friendly sound: chugging rhythm guitar, stretched-out harmonies, Tom Johnston's joyful R&B vocals, and Patrick Simmons' acoustic picking. A muffled mixing job helped keep this album in the morgue, which is sad, because "Nobody" and "Greenwood Creek" rate with some of Johnston's best tunes, and they both deserve issuance on a definitive Doobie Brothers compilation. [reviewed by Peter Kurtz, All Music Guide]
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I personally like this first release as it demonstrates the roots from where the Doobies latter music would spring from. For example, if you listen closely to the track "Beehive State", you can definitely hear some Doobie riffs that were indicative of greater things to come.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my vinyl copy which I bought 2nd hand for the pricely sum of $1.99 and includes full album artwork. My copy exhibits the newer Warner Bros record label and is a 1974 re-release - probably made in response to the popularity of the Doobie Brothers at that time. If you haven't listened to the Doobie's earlier material, then you really haven't 'Listened To The Music' (pun intended !)
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Track listing
01 - Nobody (Johnston) – 3:42
02 - Slippery St. Paul (Simmons, Johnston) – 2:14
03 - Greenwood Creek (Johnston) – 3:04
04 - It Won't Be Right (Johnston) – 2:38
05 - Travelin' Man (Johnston) – 4:25
06 - Feelin' Down Farther (Johnston) – 4:20
07 - The Master (Johnston) – 3:30
08 - Growin' a Little Each Day (Johnston) – 3:20
09 - Beehive State (Randy Newman) – 2:42
10 - Closer Every Day (Simmons) – 4:19
11 - Chicago (Simmons) – 1:40

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Band Members:
Tom Johnston - guitar, harmonica, piano, harp, vocals
Patrick Simmons - guitar, vocals
Dave Shogren - bass, organ, keyboards, vocals
John Hartman - drums
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The Doobies Link (80Mb)  Link Fixed 22/12/2016
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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Divinyls - Desperate (1982) + Monkey Grip Mini LP (1982)

(Australian 1980–1997, 2006–2009)
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Divinyls formed in 1980, founded by Mark McEntee and fronted by lead singer Christina Amphlett. After scoring several gigs, they were discovered by Australian director Ken Cameron. This led to Divinyls providing the entire soundtrack for his 1982 film Monkey Grip. Amphlett was also given a supporting role in the film, playing a temperamental rock singer loosely based on herself, fronting a band played by other Divinyls members. In the film, the band performed their debut single "Boys in Town", as well as other songs "Only Lonely", "Elsie", "Only You", "Girlfriends" and "Gonna Get You", the latter being the first appearance of them in the film. The soundtrack Music from Monkey Grip was acknowledged as a Divinyls album, and when released in 1982, it made the top twenty-five of the Australian Albums Chart.
"Boys in Town" was a success in Australia where it made the top ten, peaking at number eight in 1981. The next year "Science Fiction" was released and was also a success, peaking at number thirteen. When Desperate was released, it climbed the albums chart and eventually peaked at number five. In addition, it proved to be among the top twenty most successful albums of 1983, ranking in at number seventeen according to the Kent Music Report end of year chart.
The track listing of Desperate differed between the Australian release and the international version. Because Divinyls had already released the Monkey Grip soundtrack, which contained the songs performed in the film, in particular the single "Boys in Town", they were not included on the original Australian release of Desperate. This meant that "Science Fiction" was released as the official lead single. On the international release of Desperate, some of the songs from the Monkey Grip soundtrack were included as official album tracks, such as "Boys in Town", "Only Lonely", "Only You" and "Elsie".
The majority of the songs on Desperate were written by Christina Amphlett and/or Mark McEntee except "Siren (Never Let You Go)", which was written by band member Bjarne Ohlin, and "I'll Make You Happy", which was a cover of the original 1966 song by The Easybeats. [extract from wikipedia]
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Review
The sound of early Divinyls is rock and roll with a hardened punk edge and a unique and original blend of pop and new wave. During the recording of Desperate, Divinyls managed to capture a sound as close as possible to their dynamic live performances.
Chrissy Amphlett's struggles and triumphs of cutting it in the male dominated rock scene loom large in her writing with the hit "Boys In Town" being a prime example. Aside from her toughness, grit and snear, she also expresses vulnerability in songs such as "Only Lonely" and brings the tale of an old lonely woman frighteningly alive during "Elsie". Mark McEntee from day one knew the best way to craft the bands arrangements playing the right guitar tones for Chrissy's unique vocals. Chrissy Amphlett has a powerful voice. She could put there fear in the audience with gut wrenching growls but also had a unique pop sensibility best used in the songs, "Science Fiction" and "Ring Me Up".
Desperate, in my opinion sits right up at the top with any early 80's rock/new wave recording. Many fans and Chrissy herself rate it Divinyls best album. Each song is notable in their own way. Several songs go down in OZ Rock folklore with one hard rocking cover version of Easybeats "Make You Happy". This leaves a few songs that were not as popular but well worth discovering such as "Take A Chance" and "Victoria". I loved Divinyls early raw and rocking sound before they compromised for a more commercial friendly pop/rock sound which did finally grant them international success [review by westozrocker, 2008]
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The following is an extract from Chrissy Amphlett's autobiography, entitled 'Pleasure And Pain: My Life', in which she makes references to the Divinyls' assault on America and the conception of their album 'Desperate'.
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VINCE LOVEGROVE (The Divinyls Manager) says:
In April 1982, after we had acrimoniously cut ties with WEA, I sent tapes of Divinyls' songs, photographs and the 'Boys In Town' video clip that captured Chris
sy's early, pre-feral stage act so well, to major US record companies. Then I sat back, waiting to be crushed in the ensuing frantic rush to sign us. Surely the Americans would realise what I took for granted, that Divinyls were unique and potentially the best band on the planet. Finally there was a nibble.

One morning I took a call from a guy named Roger Watson, an A&R guy at Chrysalis Records, an independent English outfit with New York and
Hollywood offices that had been originally set up by the managers of Jethro Tull.
ROGER WATSON says:
At Chrysalis we had been having substantial success with Aussie-born producer Mike Chapman, who'd produced for Pat Benatar and Blondie. Mike had come across Divinyls on a recent trip to Australia to see his mum and gave me a record of theirs on his return to Los Angeles. I have a feeling it was Monkey Grip.
There was a name on the cover—Vince Lovegrove—and I asked Mike about him. He gave me his telephone number. After tracking Vince down we had a natter and I got the okay from my boss, Terry Ellis, to fly down to Sydney to take a look at Divinyls. We had an affiliation with Australia's Regular Records (we signed Icehouse for the world, excluding Australia) down there and the blokes who ran it, Ray Hearn and Martin Fabinyi, came to meet me—they were diamond geezers who knew Vince well. They introduced us and we became firm friends, and still are twenty-five years later.

CHRISSY says: The quarter-of-a-million-American-dollars advance from Chrysalis was a fortune to us, yet it was never going to go far. As long as we were a Chrysalis act, we always seemed to be $60,000 in the red. The bills escalated from the moment we left Australia. From our advance we had to pay for airfares, accommodation, living expenses, lawyers, accountants, transport and road crew when we went on tour, setting up our shelf company, Setona Pty Ltd, through which we ran the business side of Divinyls and paid income tax. We had to pay for six weeks' use of the Power Station, the most expensive studio in New York, for Bob Clearmountain, the engineer and the second engineer, and our producer, Mark Opitz, and Vince's costs. The recording costs were ruinously pricey. Nowadays you can record digitally, but then it was tape. We had to buy boxes and boxes and boxes of expensive reel-to-reel tape.

The instrumental tracks were cut quickly. Not so Chrissy's vocals. She wanted the vo
cals to sound intimate so she refused to allow any of the band in when she was recording. She sang, with just Mark Opitz and all her candles, for hours, sometimes all night, and the guys would have to hang around in the foyer drinking coffee or playing games, bored shitless. Mark McEntee was adamant that Chrysalis people be kept away. 'Why should they come in? It's our record. They can hear it afterwards.'CHRISSY says:
'Desperate' remains my favourite Divinyls album. It's raw with a gutsy energy and comes closer than any of our other studio records to capturing the dynamism of Divinyls live. The four songs from Monkey Grip that we re-recorded were infinitely better the second time around. Put that down to the superior recording set-up, and also, we were a much better band than before, no small thanks to Rick who had ca
me on board after Monkey Grip. Even today "Boys In Town", "Elsie", "Gonna Get You", "Siren", "Only Lonely", "I'll Make You Happy", "Casual Encounter" and "Science Fiction" leap out of the speakers and hit you right between the eyes.The album hit American and Australian record stores in March 1983. It reached No. 3 on the Australian album charts and spawned a series of singles.

Of 'Desperate', Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times that our music fitted in somewhere between old-fashioned hard rock and stripped-down new wave 'and Christina Amphlett's lyrics are as hard-headed as anything in pop'. Pareles added that my singing was 'so peculiar it's irresistible. Her voice is hoarse and pugnacious, and every so often it erupts with quavers and hesitations and hiccups and yodels...' He said Divinyls hadn't bothered 'with the hip trappings of Men At Work or INXS ... they're just making the strongest music they can. That it happens to sound thoroug
hly Australian—from the accents to the scrappy attitude—is less important than that it sounds something of their own.'

Wrote Christopher Connolly in US Rolling Stone, 'And you thought only whimsical, bland bands had joined the Australian invasion. Meet—if you dare—Christina Amphlett [whose] banzai vocals fuse the growly conviction of Joan Jett with the frenetic ululations of Lene Lovich for a vocal package that suggests a Sydney-spawned Patti Smith. The twin guitar attack of Mark McEntee and Bjarne Ohlin sizzles with an impressive urgency... The garage-band power of 'Desperate' sounds to these ears like 1983's best antidote to techno-pop burnout.' Of course I was grateful for the glowing tributes, but I was pissed off when the American journalists kept comparing me to other performers... All fine artists but all unlike me.

RAM magazine's Phil Stafford thought that 'Make You Happy' kick-started the album 'with an amphetamine rush'. He then remarked on my 'formidable larynx. When she's not wrapping it around the lyrics, Amphlett's adding instrumental flourishes of her own, trilling, whooping and yodelling in counterpoint with the fused guitars of Mark McEntee and Bjarne Ohlin. Beneath it all, Richard Harvey and Rick Grossman graft with workmanlike precision.'

The reviews in America and back home raved about our sound. By letting us record 'Desperate' at the Power Station, Chrysalis sent a message to us and the music industry at large that they were serious about Divinyls.


This post consists of an mp3 (320kps) rip taken from my Australian vinyl pressing, and includes full album artwork. I have also included as a bonus track, the U.S version of "Elsie" which was made available on the B-Side of their single "Siren", and is a longer version than that released in Australia.
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Track Listing
01 - I'll Make You Happy
02 - Science Fiction
03 - Casual Encounter
04 - Victoria
05 - Siren
06 - Motion
07 - Ring Me Up
08 - Take A Chance
09 - Sahara Rock
10 - Don't You Go Walking
11 - Elsie (Bonus Single U.S Version)


* Divinyls were:
Christina (Chrissy) Amphlett - Lead Vocals
Mark McEntee - Lead Guitar, Vocals
Bjarne Ohlin - Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Rick Grossman - Bass
Richard Harvey - Drums
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Divinyls Desperate Link (93Mb)  Link Fixed 12/04/2014
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Monkey Grip - Soundtrack (Mini LP)
Because the International release of Desperate was a mixture of tracks from the Australian release of Desperate along with 4 tracks taken from their Monkey Grip Mini LP, and have decided to post the Monkey Grip Soundtrack as well, so you can have the best of both worlds.
To me, they are two distinct albums (that's how I was first introduced to the Divinyls) and should never have been messed with ! Now for some info about the movie itself.

Movie Synopsis
 Nora (Noni Hazlehurst) lives with her 11-year-old daughter Gracie (Alice Garner) in a crowded share house in inner-city Melbourne, in the late 1970s. Nora works for an alternative magazine, as she tries to write fiction. Javo (Colin Friels) is an actor, a friend of her boyfriend Martin (Tim Burns). Nora feels a powerful attraction to Javo’s reckless charm. Her friend Eve (Cathy Downes) warns her that he’s a heroin user, but Nora is already in love. Gracie accepts her mother’s choice, as does Martin. Javo becomes a regular around the house and in Nora’s bed. They are mad about each other, except that Javo keeps disappearing to chase heroin and acting jobs.
Nora calls it off and tries to move on, drifting towards an affair with Willie (Harold Hopkins), a drummer in a rising rock‘n’roll band. Javo gets thrown in jail in Bangkok for a few months. When he returns, he and Nora reunite, but he is seeing another woman, the beautiful actress Lillian (Candy Raymon
d). Nora, Javo and Gracie go to Sydney for a holiday. He promises to kick heroin, but that never happens. Nora returns to Melbourne with Gracie and restarts her life. She begins writing again, moves to a new share house with Eve, and starts seeing Gerald (Don Miller-Robinson), the guitarist from the rock band. Javo reappears, with another declaration of love, but he is still using heroin. Nora tries to summon the courage to end it, for the last time.

Noni Hazlehurst won Best Actress at the 1982 AFI Awards. She had originally auditioned for the role of the singer Angela, who’s played in the film by Christina Amphlett, lead singer of The Divinyls (a group formed in Sydney in 1980). Nora’s daughter in the film is played by Alice Garner, the daughter of Helen Garner. Neither Hazlehurst nor Colin Friels was well-known at the time of their casting.
Monkey Grip was released in Australian cinemas in June 1982. In addition to Noni Hazlehurst’s Best Actress AFI Award in 1982, the film was also nominated for Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Alice Garner), Cinematography (David Gribble) and Editing (David Huggett) awards. [Extract from Australian Screen Online]


This post consists of an mp3 (320kps) rip taken from my vinyl pressing, and includes full album artwork.
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Track Listing
01 - Boys In Town
02 - Only Lonely
03 - Elsie
04 - Elsie (Reprise)
05 - Only You
06 - Gonna Get You
07 - Girl Friends

* Band members the same as 'Desperate'
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Monkey Grip Link (53Mb)  Link Fixed 21/12/2012
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