Sunday, October 4, 2015

Glenn Shorrock - The First 20 Years (1985)

(Australian 1962 - Present)
.
Glenn Shorrock has been in colours most of his life. Drafted as an adolescent, he re-enlisted so many times that he became a career soldier, a lifer before he realised it. He served with valor in Australian English European and American campaigns. His name has passed into legend, synonymous with unstinting
dedication and stirring achievement.
As he enters his third decade of performing and recording, this battle scarred veteran observes that "Circles close up ten years or more after they begin". Early influences become recent influences. Old incidents become new songs.   Glenn has traversed a series of circuitous routes during the past twenty years and, although he has worked and recorded all over the planet, there is a familiar thread of honesty and excellence to all he has done.

This anthology is a powerful testament, not just to Glenn's fine talent, but to his own belief in that talent His tenacity, which sent him knocking on international doors many times before they were opened to him was shared by only a few other Australian rock principals of the sixties — Terry Britten, Barry Gibb Steve Kipner and George Young among them.

Born in Rochester Kent in 1944, Glenn arrived in Australia with his family a decade later as an assisted-passage immigrant. Blessed with the legacy of good humour from his Yorkshire father and Londoner mother he saw the sea journey to the far southern land as "a hell of an adventure". As he recalls clearly, "We saw a future in Australia but not in England, where post-war rationing was still in force. Australia was like a colour movie not a bit like grey old England."
"We were booked through to Melbourne but after Perth they said they were short on their Adelaide quota and wanted volunteers. So dad said, What the hell, let's go to Adelaide. The first sight of the city was horrific it was like Changi Prison. The seaport was a long tin shed set in a mangrove swamp. Mother cried for nine months straight; I went to sleep with her crying and woke up to her crying. But dad dug his heels in and got a job at the Weapons Research Establishment in Salisbury and found us a house there."
Glenn's mother took her son and daughter back to England for nine months, then decided to return and give it another chance. In time, the family prospered and moved to the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth populated heavily by British immigrants. Glenn, by this stage, was obsessed by rock'n'roll. Back in England he had
listened to Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray records on his Aunty's radiogram but his trembling conversion came at the Elder Park Migrant Hostel (on the site of the present Festival Theatre). "I was laying on my bunk It was a hot day and I had nothing to do, so I was just listening to the sound of somebody else's radio Heartbreak Hotel came on and I almost fell off my bunk. Nothing had ever sounded like that before."

The Checkmates
Glenn's first job was as a junior draftsman at the Mines Department. A workmate was a member of a local hot-shot vocal quartet and when a member quit, Glenn was invited to audition. He was accepted and was in the process of having his stage clothes made when the member decided to come back. Undaunted Glenn decided that he was good enough to be accepted by the Four Tones, he was good enough to lead his own vocal group "I had some friends and we'd sing in the car, drive-in or wherever. There was Mike Sykes, Cklem 'Paddy' McCartney and bass singer Billy Volraat. We worked engagement parties as The Checkmates and then, when Billy left became The Twilights. We worked a-cappella a lot. We couldn't do rock'n'roll because we didn't have a backing band, but if we were at a party where there was a band we'd always get up and sing.
"Then the Beatles broke and everything went crazy. Some friends had a band called the Vector-Men, which included Alan Tarney, and we worked with them for a while. Then we started singing with The Hurricanes which was Kevin Peek, Peter Bridecake, John Bywaters, Frank Barnard and lead vocalist John Perry, who went to the Vibrants and is now Kerry Packer's chauffeur. Perry got edged out, we dropped Mike Sykes, and all became The Twilights. Kevin Peek left to join Alan Tarney in Johnny Broome & The Handels and we got his number one admirer, Terry Britten, in to replace him. Before very much longer we were resident at the Oxford Club, there were lines around the block, and Carry Spry flew over from Melbourne to ask if he could manage us. There were a lot of bands in Adelaide then and the rivalry and jealousy was pretty fierce. All of them seemed to have at least a couple of British members, to make them authentic. This was a way for us to get back at those who saw us as 'dirty poms'; it was a chance to feel better about ourselves."

Twilights - 1964 Lineup
The Twilights existed from 1964 to 1969, recorded 13 singles and 2 albums, scored 8 consecutive hits (some double-sided), won the 1966 Hoadley's National Battle of the Sounds, recorded and performed in England, and set new standards for live performance in Australia. The Twilights live were an awesome spectacle, capable of creating note-perfect renditions of any song by the Beatles, Stones, Move, Who et al. They were Australia's international music barometer. Absolutely and irrevocably in, they anticipated and introduced audiences to each new phase of rock music and culture. In time, they outgrew their own market and joined the lemmings' rush to London in September 1966. They fared no better than Normie Rowe, Johnny Young, MPD Ltd., Groove or The La De Das but did get to record with Rubber Soul engineer Norman 'Hurricane' Smith and perform at Liverpool's Cavern.

Twilights- 1969 (Glenn far right)
The Twilights came back from London replete with new influences, droopy moustaches, sitars, trendy beards and Carnaby Street clobber. They took to playing 15 minute versions of Hendrix' Purple Haze (during which Glenn would climb into a gorilla suit and chase faint-hearted ladies through the audience) and cutting increasingly complex singles which enjoyed progressively less radio support. When Laurie Pryor refused to have another crack at England in December 1968 and decided to take his leave instead, The Twilights suddenly ceased to exist.
"The breakup of the Twilights was not something that we planned. It all happened in three days" Glenn reveals. "I didn't know what to do with myself, so Carry Spry gave me a job as a band booker in the AMBO agency. That's how I met the Brisbane Avengers, who wanted me to manage them. I gave it a shot for about three months; got Terry to write them some songs and pushed all the work I could their way. But it never felt right. I'd rehearse with them, take them to gigs, get them on the stage and then have to stop there. I never did have the chance to prove if I was a good manager or not, because after about three months, I ran into Brian Cadd at a party."

Axiom
Cadd, leader of the defunct Groop, had written songs for the Master's Apprentices, The Zoot and Paul Jones, and was keen to develop an outlet for his collaborations with Don Mudie. The three enlisted Cam-Pact guitarist Chris Stockley and Valentines drummer Doug Lavery and were, not surprisingly, labelled as a 'Supergroup' in the same manner as The Groove (Spry's post-Twilights hit act). With an old roadie mate (the late) Wayne DeGruchy, Axiom hid out at Don's mother's place in Nathalia for a couple of weeks and furiously emulated The Band and Traffic by rehearsing at the local football club in rural isolation.
Axiom's success was almost a forgone conclusion. Manager DeGruchy had no difficulty finding them work; they were immediately offered a recording contract and found instant radio acceptance for a Christmas 1969 single, the unashamedly American Arkansas Grass. Fool's Gold, the first album, was the soundtrack to a 20 minute film starring Happening '70 personality Tony Healey and dealing with the release of an elderly man from prison. It was also the first truly important and accomplished Australian rock album, offering an honest antipodean sound (Glenn played some didgeridoo) without descending to kangaroo and cork hat kitsch. A second single, A Little Ray of Sunshine, was, in Glenn's own words, "pure schmaltz". But the poorly recorded track possessed a certain magic which propelled it into both the national top five and innumerable sentimental hearts.

Recording the beautiful Fool's Gold album was "unadulterated joy" for Glenn, as the superb title track and Ford's Bridge attest. But the euphoria was short-lived. In April 1970, Axiom arrived in a creatively exhausted England, still spending the money flowing in from the British Invasion but offering little more to the world than burned-out hippies and heavy metal hammerheads. There were advances to be had and Axiom landed one large enough to keep them alive for a year, along with a three year Warner Bros recording contract. Handed to ill producer, Shel Talmy, of Kinks, Who and Easybeats fame (who by that stage was suffering from failing eyesight and hearing) cut a second album under engineer Glyn Johns. The title, If Only . . . , said it all. The harsh, uncomfortable album yielded up one minor hit in My Baby's Gone and is not remembered fondly by any of the participants or purchasers.

"My confidence was pretty low" says Glenn. "When the band decided to go back to Australia tor the second time, I said 'goodbye, I'm staying here'. Like a lot of other people at the time, I was trying to find myself. marriage had broken up and I was heavily into meditation, macrobiotic food and all that. I was looking for something to do and Carry Spry, who was over there with The Groove (Eureka Stockade), came to again. At that time I was hanging out with other Australians, like the Master's Apprentices, and that's relationship with Glenn Wheatley began. Carry managed to get me a deal with the management  recoil company MAM, which was owned by Gordon Mills, the manager of Tom Jones, Englebert Humperdinck and Gilbert O'Sullivan. I negotiated a good contract which paid me a weekly wage rather than a big advance-Signed to MAM's publishing arm (which was to eventually prove rather profitable for them), Clem a considerable number of demos but only three singles. Into the picture had stepped Twilights producer McKay, who was also based in London; and the Decca group Quartet, which comprised former Adelaide comrades Terry Britten, Kevin Peek (now leader of Sky), Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer.

The first singled cut by this collective under Glenn's name, "Let's Get The Band Together", stiffed (perhaps because he didn't have a live band together) but the second, Mann and Weil's lovely "Rock'n'Roll Lullaby", at least picked up reasonable airplay. Glenn describes the flip, When God Plays His Guitar, as "a pretty good indication of where my head was at around that time." Another Shorrock MAM single, the mock-French "Purple Umbrella", was recorded under the alias of Andre L'Escargot & His Society Syncopaters.
The most important event in Glenn's career at this point was his move, at the very end of the Axiom days, into serious songwriting. It stands as extraordinary that a number of his very first compositions are today considered as among his best. Writing gave a new dimension to the accomplished singer, enabling him to achieve the sort of soulful, heartfelt expression which would reach its zenith with "Cool Change" and "Home On A Monday".
"Statue Of Liberty was inspired by the closing scenes of the film Planet Of The Apes. I wrote it at a time when America was looking decidedly shaky and in danger of real anarchy. Kent State seemed like just a beginning. I had this vision of the Statue of Liberty crumbling." The song, recorded only as a demo for MAM, found release (for the first time) in 1973, via another David McKay project.


"David told me he had a new project that he wanted me to front — classical rock band that would be much more avant-garde than ELO. He played me some tapes and it was really left-of-field stuff. But it was a challenge and A&M was right behind it, so I went in boots and all. "Esperanto was billed as 'the world s first international rock orchestra'. An unwieldy 12 piece outfit, it boasted members from Italy, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, England and Hawaii. The antipodean contingent was Glenn, Janice Slater, Brian Holloway (from Somebody's Image) and Maori singer Joy Yates. Glenn sang and co-wrote two songs with Belgian leader Raymond Vincent and contributed his own Statue Of Liberty. Unfortunately, despite all the hype, the public just didn't buy Esperanto, and by the second album, Glenn was credited only with 'lyrics, backing vocals and ideas'; by the third he was gone completely. "They made me manager for a while because they wanted to go completely avant-garde and then instrumental. But it was a complete mess, half the band lived in London and half in Brussels and I couldn't even get them together for a meeting.

Esperanto  (Glenn 2nd left)
So that last year in England I was really depressed. My hair was falling out and I decided to quit. I was still getting my weekly wage from MAM and Terry Britten got me some vocal sessions and a couple of months live work with Cliff Richard. I made good money working at the London Palladium with Cliff, eight shows a week. After the first night they came to me and said 'you were great Glenn, in fact you were too good, cool it'. I was making an amazing (for me) £100 a week for that, so I decided to stash it away and buy a ticket back to Australia.

Glenn & Graham Goble
"I booked a seat for October, 1974. 1 had no idea what I was going to do here. I though Id get involved in agency or management work. I didn't know what my musical credibility would be after five years away. About a month before I left England, I got a call from Beeb Birtles, who was living in a house in London with the remnants of Mississippi, who I'd never head of. He said they wanted to talk to me about starting a new group and I said, 'no thanks, I've had enough, I need to get out of this business for a while'. But they were very persuasive and they had some great songs, so I jutted my jaw, gritted my teeth and said I'd get involved, if they'd give me a couple of months to go home and be with my family. We all agreed to meet in Melbourne early in 1975."
Mississippi had grown out of Graham Coble's Adelaide soft-rock group Allison Gros (who had scored the 1971 hit Daddy Cool as Drummond). Floundering in England, members Goble, Birtles and Derek Pellici had begun to formulate ambitious plans for world musical domination with Master's Apprentices bassist Glenn Wheatley, who was proving to be more interested in the business side of music. They saw Shorrock as a proven and respected singer. What they were not to know was that he had a head full of completed songs, such as Seine City, Emma and Statue Of Liberty, all of which would be cut by Little River Band in their first year of recording.

Named after a signpost on the road from Melbourne to Geelong, Little River Band snared classically-trained guitarist arranger Rick Formosa and bassist Roger McLachlan from the Australian Godspell cast. Their aim, as highly competent adult rock musicians, was to create a textured, harmony-dominant, mass-appeal sound. Within an eight month period, LRB had 3 top twenty singles, 2 top ten albums, and a collective eye firmly set upon the lucrative American market. This assault, Glenn's third, had all the pieces in the right places. In November 1976, an edited version of "It's A Long Way There" made its way into the American top thirty and Dutch top ten. The following year, Glenn's powerful "Help Is On Its Way" broke worldwide, made the U.S. top twenty and cracked AM playlists. The third album, Diamantina Cocktail, sold over half a million units stateside, earning LRB their first gold disc, the first to be awarded to an Australian-based entity.
American hits flowed regularly and by 1982, Billboard had given LRB the honour, along with Olivia Newton John, of being the only act to score an American top ten hit every year consecutively for the previous five years. This was in addition to a string of gold and platinum albums. American acceptance of the sophisticated LRB sound was immediate; surprising Glenn, who admits, "International success may have been the stated aim of Wheatley, Goble and Birtles but Glenn Shorrock went along for the ride. I'd been disappointed too many times ... I'm always suspicious of happiness. But the first American performance was definitely an eye opener. We supported the Average White Band in the college town of Harrisburg, Virginia and the crowd went nuts. They gave us two encores. That was amazing, but none of us then realised the enormity of the market."

In February 1982, Glenn took his leave from Little River Band and was replaced by fellow English-born Adelaide singer John Farnharn. His departure was something less than a surprise for those who had observed the band during his seven year tenure. For Glenn it was, in many ways, a blessed release. "I had a strong feeling that it was not going to be peaches and cream from my first rehearsal in 1975. After two weeks we knew just three songs — we knew them bloody well but we still only knew three. I thought we should have known 23, so we could be out there working, honing our technique live. Graham and Beeb worked obsessively on points of detail, they wanted to dismember everything and put it back together, piece by piece. That frustrated me, I wanted to move, move, move. It led to a bit of a blue in rehearsal and they said, 'Glenn, back off, this is our baby and this is how we're gonna do the thing'. I backed off and I seemed to keep backing off all the way through. Graham always worked harder at getting his songs recorded than I did and I don't think I exerted as much influence on the band as I should have. I left it to fate, because that's the way I am. But then it got to the stage where I had to fight to get Cool Change on an album."

Glenn had enjoyed moderate success in 1979 with a solo rendition of Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover"; and the 1981 LRB single, "Long Jumping Jeweller" (never released outside of Australia) was very much a Shorrock initiated and promoted project. So the move from LRB frontman to individual entity was a relatively effortless one. Glenn enthusiastically embarked upon a number ol projects, starting with a superb solo album Villain Of The Peace; recorded in Los Angeles under LRB producer and close friend John Boylan, and featuring contributions from three members of the Eagles, Bill Payne (Little Feat), Jeff Baxter (Steely Dan/The Doobies), Garth Hudson (The Band), Jimmy Fadden (Dirt Band), Andrew Gold and Tom Scott. The American release featured three newly recorded songs, one of which (Don't Girls Get Lonely?) is included herein. From those sessions, "The Duchess Is Returning" emerged as a single B side and "Big Smoke" was, until now, unreleased.

To support the album's release in Australia, Glenn undertook a short tour with his own hot road band. He also joined Renee Geyer on stage at Sydney's Tivoli in December 1982 for a soaring rendition of the Coffin/ King masterpiece "Goin' Back", which achieved some chart success when released as a single. Having previously supplied a title song to the television documentary Australian Music To The World, Glenn was approached to provide themes for the films We're Coming To Get You and World Safari II, both of which are featured on this album; along with a lovely treatment of Paperback Writer (cut at the Dream Lover session) and the very first (unreleased) Little River Band recording, the Everly Brothers' "When Will I Be Loved" (featuring guitarist-for-a-day Graham Davidge).

Glenn 1980's
Three years of work under his own auspices may not have brought Glenn as much commercial success as he enjoyed with LRB, but his personal satisfaction is considerably greater. "When I made my own album" he confides, "there was just two of us making decisions, instead of six or eight. Instead of compromise, I now have the freedom to feel my way around. I've always thought of myself as a very versatile singer and now I have the chance to prove it."

Listening to Glenn's major contributions to Little River Band, it is appropriate to view him as the soul of the outfit, the true artist within its ranks. His voice then, as now, can be a plaintive cry or a surging energy charge - always imbued with integrity and an earthy passion. Asked to summarise his own career, he thoughtfully offers, "I think I've done things fairly quietly, never made a big noise. I may have lost a few career chances as a result but I can say that I don t have any major hang-ups and I don't lose sleep over my frustrations. I still have a fairly happy disposition."  [Linear notes by Glenn A. Baker]
.
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my mint condition double vinyl set, released by J&B Records. Full album artwork for LP and CD are included along with label scans. As an added bonus, I have chosen to include a super rare single that Glenn released back in 1975 on Playboy records "Daydream Sunday" / " I Have Seen the Universe" which was only released in the states from what I can gather (thanks to Garethofox at Midoztouch for this rarity).
This is a brilliant anthology of Glenn's musical achievements between 1965 and 1985 and is a must for any serious collector of Aussie Rock.
.

Track Listing
LP1
01 Needle In A Haystack (Twilights)
02 Bad  Boy (Twilights)
03 If She Finds Out (Twilights)
04 9-50 (Twilights)
05 Young Girl (Twilights)
06 What's Wrong With The Way I Live (Twilights)
07 Cathy Come Home (Twilights)
08 My Generation (Twilights)
09 Ford's Bridge (Axiom)
10 Fool's Gold (Axiom)
11 Arkansas Grass (Axiom)
12 A Little Ray Of Sunshine (Axiom)
13 My Baby's Gone (Axiom)
14 Rock 'n' Roll Lullaby (Solo)
15 Let's Get The Band Together (Solo)

16 Statue Of Liberty (Solo)
17 Seine City (Little River Band)
18 When Will I Be Loved (Little River Band)
LP2
01 Cool Change (Little River Band)
02 Home On A Monday (Little River Band)
03 Shut Down, Turn Off (Little River Band)
04 Help Is On Its Way (Little River Band)
05 Man On Your Mind (Little River Band)
06 Long Jumping Jeweller (Little River Band)
07 Goin' Back (with Renee Geyer)
08 We're Coming To Get You (with The Bushwackers)
09 Paperback Writer (Solo)
10 Dream Lover (Solo)
11 Restless (Solo)
12 Don't Let Girls Get Lonely (Solo)
13 Big Smoke (Solo)
14 Will You Stand With Me (Solo)

15 The Duchess Is Returning (Solo)
16 Rock 'n' Roll Soldier (Solo)

Bonus Single
01 - Daydream Sunday
02 - I Have Seen the Universe


Glenn Shorrock FLACs LP1  (353Mb)  New Link 1/06/2016
.
Glenn Shorrock FLACs LP2 (388Mb)  New Link 9/04/2016
.
Glenn Shorrock MP3's  LP1&2  (165Mb)

Bonus Single FLACs (18Mb)
 

2 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Where's the bonus single though?
    It's not on Flac2.....
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm ... not sure how it got left out the second time around, but I've now provided a separate link just for the Bonus Single.

      Delete