Saturday, June 25, 2016

Various Australian Artists - Rocka (1976)

(Australian 1968-1975)
.
Albert Productions is an Australian record label founded in 1964 by Ted Albert, whom along with Harry Vanda & George Young, were the either producers or executive producers of all Albert Production's stable of in-house artists. It has been consistently owned by the company J. Albert & Son Pty. Ltd. (also known as "Alberts"), a company that dates back to the early 1900s. However, Albert Productions was established as an independent music production arm of J. Albert & Son, and very soon after establishment had signed 'Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs' and the 'Easybeats', later adding fledgling bands such as 'Ted Mulry Gang', 'AC/DC' (arguably becoming the most famous), 'The Angels', Stevie Wright,  and 'Rose Tattoo' to name but a few.

In 1976, Ted Albert decided to celebrate 10+ years of being in the music industry by releasing one of the best 'All Australian Artists' compilation albums in my opinion. It features seven of Albert's most successful artists / bands at that time and showcases some of the greatest #1 hits of the mid seventies.

However, there's a ring-in here! Can you pick it? If you said Track 12 - Little River Band, you'd be right! Well spotted! Little River Band were in fact on the EMI label, then later on Capitol. They were never on the Albert Productions label, which makes this inclusion a bit of a mystery - perhaps it was wishful thinking on the part of Albert Productions at a time when Little River Band were on the verge of becoming mega stars in America.
.
Marcus Hook Roll Band
The Marcus Hook Rock and Roll Band, an obscure but significant persona of the legendary partnership of Harry Vanda & George Young (The Easybeats/Flash and the Pan) only ever existed in the studio, releasing three singles and their album Tales of Old Grand-Daddy in the early ’70s. These rare songs, composed and performed by Vanda and Young, fetch great amounts on internet auctions, not only for the musical brilliance, but band members include 4 members of the Young family; brothers George, Angus, Malcolm and Alex.

Following The Easybeats split in 1969, Harry and George remained in London where they released a string of very good singles under a number of odd pseudonyms: Eddie Avana, Moondance, Paintbox, Tramp, Grapefruit, and Haffey’s Whiskey Sour. In 1972 Alan ‘Wally’ Waller (aka Wally Allen) who was working as a house producer for EMI Records heard a Harry and George demo and brought them into Abbey Road studios to record.Even though the the song ‘Natural Man’ was not a great seller it caught the attention of the right people. A second single, ‘Louisiana Lady’, was recorded in November. When considering what to call the project they somehow settled on Marcus Hook Roll Band.

In a rare interview for Bomp magazine in 1978, George Young explained the philosophy behind the Marcus Hook Rock and Roll Band, “We thought it was hilarious, it had just been a joke to us… We had Harry, myself and my kid brothers, Malcolm and Angus. We all got rotten, except for Angus, who was too young, and we spent a month in there boozing it up every night. That was the first thing Malcolm and Angus did before AC/DC. We didn’t take it very seriously so we thought we’d include them to give them an idea of what recording was all about.” [extract from http://albertmusic.com/]

Marcus Hook Roll Band members
Vocal: Harry Vanda, George Young
Backing vocals: Harry Vanda, George Young, Wally Waller
Guitar: Harry Vanda, George Young, Malcolm Young, Angus Young
Bass Guitar: George Young, Ian Campbell, Wally Waller
Piano: George Young, Wally Waller
Drums: John Proud, Freddie Smith
Saxophone: Alex Young, Howie Casey

The Easybeats
The Easybeats, are one of Australia's greatest pop bands of the 60's. Formed in Sydney in 1964, they were the first Australian rock n roll act to have an international hit with 'Friday on my mind'. With the formation of the Easybeats, Australia's music landscape was changed forever.

In a tiny Sydney radio theatre Ted Albert gave a hearing to a fairly ragged but unmistakably determined beat band that had formed in the austere Villawood Migrant Hostel earlier in the year, comprising, Englishmen Stevie Wright and Gordon 'Snowy' Fleet, Scotsman George Young and Dutchmen Harry Vanda and Dick Diamonde. By the beginning of 1965 The Easybeats would have a manager, regular work in Sydney beat clubs and a publishing and recording contact with the venerable J. Albert & Son.

They became amazingly prolific writers, Stevie having a knack for succinct rock lyrics and George with his exceptional capacity for ingenious melodies and intense musical structures.

The Easybeats stormed to number one in May 1965 with She's So Fine and the ferocious phenomenon of 'Easyfever' spiralled.  Airports, TV stations, theatres and hire cars were reduced to rubble, fans were hospitalised and general mayhem reigned. With their vital, urgent sound The Easybeats gave Australian music a new identity and confidence. They were not only refreshingly original; they radiated an aura of raw, rebellious excitement that proved irresistible to an isolated generation intoxicated by its own youth.

The hits came in ceaseless cascade: Wedding Ring, Sad and Lonely and Blue, then three number ones in a row – Women (Make You Feel Alright), Come And See Her, and I'll Make You Happy - and then a top five with the musically intriguing Sorry.  Overnight, Australian pop and rock shifted from imitation to innovation. The stakes had been raised and Oz Rock would never look back. [extract from Albert's Website]

In June 1968, a new Easybeats album was released by United Artists. Entitled 'Vigil', it was an acknowledgement of the long wait, nearly eighteen months since their 1967 LP Good Friday. Only two songs from their intermediate 'lost album' were rescued: "Good Times" and "Land of Make Believe". The latter was one of Stevie Wright's favourite Easybeats songs, even though it was not his composition, nor his lead vocal. But it was another example of a great Easybeats song that did not take off as a single. It was covered by American teen heart-throb Bobby Sherman. Vaughan later admitted that he had made a mistake in putting it out as a single before 'Good Times'.
'Good Times' was finally released as a single twelve months after it was recorded. If it had been released mid-1967, as planned, it could well have been the song to take over where 'Friday on My Mind' had left off. The song was another instance of Vanda and Young going back to their rock'n'roll roots.

Harry explains:
'That's what we wanted, just to have a good time for a change instead of all this "oh my art!" ... Don't forget, dope was a big thing at the time, so after a few joints everybody was very complicated.'15 lain Mclntyre gives the song high praise:
'Good Times' deserves special mention and is without doubt one of the greatest rock singles ever recorded. Why this track was not a smash hit at the time is hard to explain. 'Good Times' is gutsy, hard-driving, no-bullshit rock & roll, highlighted by tasty piano by Nicky Hopkins, a terrific guitar solo by Harry, and a knockout chorus, with blistering backing vocals courtesy of the band's new friend Steve Marriott [of the Small Faces].

Paul McCartney heard the song on the car radio while travelling down the Ml. He was so impressed that he immediately found a payphone and rang the BBC to find out who the band were and to request they play it again. Tony Cahill later ran into McCartney at Abbey Road and Paul confirmed that the record 'blew him away'. Unfortunately, few at the time shared McCartney's enthusiasm and the single failed to chart in England. In Australia, it was not even released as an A-side.
Although not a great commercial success at the time, the song has certainly paid its way in royalties over the years with over forty artists recording it, including the Tremeloes, Mott the Hoople, Shocking Blue, Hindu Love Gods (featuring Warren Zevon) and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Jimmy Barnes with INXS finally took it into the charts where it belonged in 1982, and it reached No. 2 in Australia in January of that year. [extract from Vanda & Young: Inside Australia's Hit Factory by John Tait, 2010. p103-104]

Little River Band
Original line-up: Graham Gobles (guitar/vocals) Beeb Birtles (guitar/vocals) Glenn Shorrock (lead vocals) Rick Formosa (guitar) Roger McLachlan (bass) Derek Pellici (drums).
The band was formed in 1975 as a direct descendant of sophisticated pop group Mississippi (which included Graham, Beeb and Derek). They added Rick and Roger (who toured with Godspell) and then last, but not least, Glenn (ex-Twilights and Axiom). Apparently the name was derived from a sign bearing the name Little River which they spotted while driving to one of their early gigs in Geelong.

Their aim was to establish a sound based on tight, intricate harmonies backed up by expert musicianship. Glenn Wheatley (ex-bass player with the Masters Apprentices) took over their management and they wasted no time in starting work on their first album. In September, 1975 the band's debut single 'Curiosity (Killed The Cat)' was released. The song was written by Beeb and was taken from their then recently completed Little River Band album. Both releases became immediate best sellers and the LP had gone gold by February, 1976.

In January '76 the band's second single, 'Emma' made the charts and by now they were being recognized as Australia's most sophisticated rock group. Meanwhile the boys were already working on their second album, After Hours, which reportedly cost $40,000 to put together. Coinciding with its release, the band embarked on a national Australian tour which spanned four months.

After the tour had been completed, Rick announced that he was leaving to indulge in his love of orchestral arranging. He was replaced by David Briggs (ex-Avengers and Cycle). At the same time, Roger parted company with the band. His place was taken by George McArdle. The group hurriedly rehearsed the two new members before leaving for London on September 14, 1976. In London they played a concert with Queen at Hyde Park and they spent a short time in Europe. Meanwhile, two more singles had notched up sales in Australia — 'Everyday Of My Life' and 'It's A Long Way There.'

In November their travels took them on to the US where they toured the east coast with the Average White Band. Towards the end of the month the single, 'It's A Long Way There' (which had been released worldwide and made a particularly strong impression on the Dutch charts) edged its way into the three big American singles charts - Billboard, Cashbox and Record World. Their self-titled US album released on Capitol was also beginning to make an impression, and in fact by the end of January 77 it had sold nearly 200,000 copies there.

They returned to Australia just prior to Christmas, 1976 proud, and justifiably so, of their achievements in the US. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p183-184]

AC/DC
Original line-up - Malcolm Young (guitar); Angus Young (guitar); Peter Clark (drums); Rob Bailey (bass); Dave Evans (vocals).
Malcolm and Angus were younger brothers of ex-Easybeat George Young who played an important role in advising and directing the band. The boys began playing with a variety of musicians in 1973, consolidating with the above line-up in April 1974.

The band began working to develop the AC/DC sound, but their progress was temporarily delayed with Rob and Peter leaving to be replaced by Phillip Rudd (drums) and Mark Evans (bass).
This change was followed by the departure of vocalist Dave Evans to join Rabbit, and led to the new notorious line-up including singer Bon Scott. Bon was an experienced rock performer, having worked in top bands Fraternity and the Valentines and seemed to be the spark AC/DC needed to set the rock scene on fire.
Their single, "Can I Sit Next To You Girl?", sold only moderately. However, the follow-up, 'Baby, Please Don't Go' (which was a hit for British blues group 'Them'), entered the charts in March 1975 and became a national hit.
The band's first album, 'High Voltage', which was also released in March 1975, became the second biggest Australian album of the year and stayed on the charts for a mammoth twenty-five weeks. The track "She's Got Balls" was lifted from their debut album for this compilation, and has become a crowd favourite when played live at gigs.

As well as establishing themselves on the charts, the band began to develop a strong punk rock (or at least hard rock) image with their aggressive stage act portraying Angus as a schoolboy, and publicity detailing their hard drinking, hard living lifestyles.
Meanwhile, their follow-up singles, "High Voltage" and "It's A Long Way To The Top", charted well and their second album, TNT, which was released at Christmas in 1975, was declared gold within two months.


Their success in Australia was now unqualified and with the attainment of a contract for overseas release on Atlantic, it was time for the boys to move on to greater heights, so in April 1976 they left for England. Their acceptance in the UK was almost immediate. They seemed to be the right band at the right time, having a punk image but displaying good musicianship. By July, they were selling records there, playing to enthusiastic crowds and getting publicity in music papers like Sounds and New Musical Express. Much of their publicity centred around Angus' outrageous stage antics which included a gradual strip climaxing in a full nude rear view. Although the routine was a sensation with audiences, it caused some close brushes with the police. However, Angus managed to escape any prosecution.


The band's third album, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, was released in October 1976 and produced the hit single "Jailbreak", also featured on this compilation alblum. They returned to Australia in December, having paved the way for future success in England and of course the rest is history [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p6-7]

Stevie Wright
Stevie was born in the UK on December 20, 1948 and he migrated to Australia with his parents at the age of sixteen. On their arrival they stayed at the Villawood Hostel in Sydney and it was here that Stevie met with four other migrants who shared his interest in rock music and formed the Easybeats.
The band went on to become Australia's most successful group of the sixties and even achieved some international recognition..
The Easybeats finally disbanded early in 1970 and Stevie formed a group called Rachette which was only short-lived. He also did some songwriting with ex-Easybeat George Young and for a brief period he left the music business. Stevie worked as a process worker and a clothing salesman, but entertainment was in his blood and in 1972 he auditioned for the production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was awarded the part of Simon Zealotes and spent two years in the show.
Also in 1972, he formed a production company with Rory O'Donoghue and he spent a few months with a band called Black Tank.


At the end of his stint with Superstar he embarked on a solo career and formed his own eight piece backing group called the Stevie Wright Band. Coinciding with the band's formation he recorded an album entitled Hard Road, which was co-written and produced with former Easybeats, George Young and Harry Vanda. A single, "Evie", was lifted from it and it entered the charts in June, 1974, as did the album. A second track off the LP, 'Guitar Band', was released later in the year and it also became a top ten hit.

Stevie continued to tour and record throughout 1975 and in July he released his second album, Black Eyed Bruiser, which also produced a hit single from the album's title track.  Unfortunately he was admitted to hospital in August, 1976 suffering from a drug overdose and sadly spent the remainder of his life battling drug addiction and the side affects of substance abuse. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p342]


John Paul Young
John was born in Glasgow, Scotland on June 21, 1950 and he migrated to Australia with his parents in 1966. His early musical experience involved learning to play the piano accordion.

When he left school he took on an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker and he began singing with a band called 'Elm Tree'. The group's one and only single was 'Rainbow'/'Lonely Nights', which was released late in 1970 and was basically a flop. Following the band's break up John joined the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the part of Annas. Around the same time he was spotted by producer Simon Napier-Bell, who was looking for a singer to record Vanda and Young's "Pasadena". John recorded the number and it became his first hit in April, 1972.

He stayed with Superstar for a period of .two years and in the meantime two more singles were released -  "You Drive Me Crazy"/ "Better Go Back To Bed" and "Bad Trip"/"It's Only Love". Both were unsuccessful and it wasn't until April, 1975 (when Molly Meldrum entered the picture) that John Paul Young re-entered the charts with another Vanda and Young composition, "Yesterday's Hero". The record made the national charts and soared to number one, with the help of Countdown.  In addition, it sold well in the US and apparently reached the number forty-two position on the Cashbox top one hundred, which is quite an achievement.
John was a regular on Countdown for its lifespan and was affectionately nicknamed 'Squeak' by Molly and occasionally filled in as compere when Molly was unavailable.

John Paul Young (Squeak) with Molly Meldrum On Countdown
In fact, critics claimed at the time that John should have gone to the States and promoted the record, which perhaps would have caused it to be an even bigger hit there. However, he felt it was too early in his career to leave Australia and decided to stay here and consolidate himself. In the interim, "Yesterday's Hero" was covered by the Bay City Rollers. In October 75, he released his debut album, 'Hero', which was dominated by Vanda and Young compositions, including the featured track "St.Louis"

At this point John adopted his full name of John Paul Young in order to avoid confusion with established pop star Johnny Young. He also formed his own band, the All Stars, which included Warren Morgan, Johnny Dick, lan Winter, Ronnie Peel and Ray Goodwin. John's next single, "The Love Game", was released in August, 1975 and during the year he completed two national tours (one with Sherbet).

Another single, "I Hate The Music", was issued in March, 1976 and it was also released in the US. The record became his first gold disc and later in the year he released his second album, JPY, which like Hero achieved platinum status. Also in 1976 John -was voted the Most Popular Male Performer in the National Music Industry Awards. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p344-345]

The Angels
Line-up: Doc Neeson (Vocals); Buzz Throckman (drums); Chris Bailey (bass); John Brewster (guitar); Rick Brewster (guitar)
The band's early involvement with pure fifties rock, sixties pop and rhythm and blues finally established it in 1978 as a hard rock connoisseur's delight.
The embryo of the Angel's sound developed in 1971 when the nucleus of the group was playing in Adelaide coffee shops and universities as the Moonshine Jug and String Band.
Adopting a more electric sound, they evolved some three years later into the Keystone Angels, a four piece vintage rock band. The Keystone Angels toured with fifties rock king, Chuck Berry, and released a single 'Keep on Dancing'/'Good Day Rock 'n' Roll' (both originals), featuring drummer Peter Chris-Topoulos, with John doing lead vocals and Doc on the guitar.

As the band began developing their now-famous blues-based brand of seventies rock, they shortened their name to simply 'The Angels'. They released their first single as Angels, "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again", on the Albert label early in 1976, and this iconic track is featured here.
The boys had developed a strong following on the pub circuit and early in 1977 their fans were treated to the band's first album, The Angels (produced by Vanda and Young). The group was now five piece with the acquisition of Chris Bailey, and Doc out front. Of course from here, the Angels released one hit single after another and have become one of the most popular names in Australian Music History. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, 1978-79 Yearbook, Outback Press, p1-2]

Ted Mulry Gang
Line-up (October, 1974): Ted Mulry (vocals, bass guitar); Gary Dixon (guitar); Les Hall (guitar); Herman Kovacs (drums).
The band originated as a trio (Ted, Les and Herman) in September, 1972. Of course Ted had started as a soloist and apparently his role of bass player came about one night quite by accident when his backing group's original bass guitarist stormed off the stage. He simply picked up the instrument and took over. Ted began practising and became the group's permanent bass player. Herman and Les had both previously worked with Velvet Underground.

Although the band was originally formed as a backing group (due to the inconsistency of bands providing Ted's accompaniment at his solo gigs), they quickly built up a following as a complete unit.
In December, 1973 the boys set off on a two month trip around the US and Canada. Back in Australia they completed their first album, Here We Are (which they had started just prior to going overseas), and it was issued in November '74. Just prior to its release they added Gary to the line-up in an attempt to increase their versatility.

Les Hall & Ted Mulry
In March, 1975 they released their first single, 'Sunday Evenings', which did nothing, basically because of lack of airplay. Then, midway through the year, radio personality Barry Chapman (from 2SM in Sydney) suggested that a track from the Here We Are album, 'Jump In My Car', should be released as a single. Eventually the record company agreed and the result was a number one hit and total sales of over 80,000 copies.

The success of "Jump In My Car" stimulated new interest in the album and by May 76 it had gone gold. Early in the piece though one track on the LP, 'Dyna', had caused some problems. It was a popular song on stage and one verse included a four letter word which had to be blanked out on the album.
The band's next single, "Darktown Strutter's Ball"/"She's For Me", made the top five in charts all around Australia and at the end of May, 1976 they released their second album entitled 'Struttin'. A track from it called "Crazy" was lifted from the LP and it became their third hit, and is also featured here.

To promote the album's release the group set off on their first national tour ('Struttin' Across Australia') and in the meantime a contract for world-wide release of their records was signed with Phonogram. Then in June they teamed up with Sherbet for their 80 day Australian tour.
Ted and the boys wasted no time in coming up with their third album Steppin' Out, which was the first record by the band to carry their new abbreviated name of TMG. It was released in October '76 and displayed a greater emphasis on melody and harmony than their first two albums. It sold rapidly, going double gold after only two weeks in the shops. [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p211-212]
.
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my highly treasured vinyl copy. In fact, I don't think this album has been released on CD, although Alberts has recently released their 50th year anniversary CD set entitled 'Good Times'  which features most of these tracks.
This compilation is one of my favourite collection of Aussie bands and artists and I particularly like the way the tracks run into one another or joined by a Rocka promo jingle.
Although not a rare album for record collectors (they printed lots of them I think), it is a must have in anyone's record collection I believe.  Full album artwork and scans of a promo insert and record labels are included.
Now, what I do believe would be rare is the 'Souvenir Song Booklet' that was advertised for sale in the insert, as I suspect not many people would have noticed it or considered ordering.  If you have a copy of this booklet, I would love to hear from you !

So here it is folks, in all its glory -  ROCKA, Rocka, Givin' You The Rock n Roll,  Rocka.....
.
Tracklisting
01 - High Voltage (AC/DC)
02 - I Hate The Music (John Paul Young)
03 - Guitar Band (Stevie Wright)
04 - Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again (The Angels)
05 - Jump In My Car
06 - Black Eyed Bruiser (Stevie Wright)
07 - Can't Stand The Heat (Marcus Hook Roll Band)
08 - It's A Long Way To The Top (AC/DC)
09 - St. Louis (John Paul Young)
10 - Jailbreak (AC/DC)
11 - Crazy (Ted Mulry Gang)
12 - Everyday Of My Life (Little River Band) *
13 - She's Got Balls (AC/DC)
14 - Evie - Part 1 (Stevie Wright)
15 - Quick Reaction (Marcus Hook Roll Band)
16 - Good Times (Easybeats)

* Released by EMI Records
.
ROCKA  FLAC Link (370Mb)
.
ROCKA MP3 Link (145Mb)
.

5 comments:

  1. Wow this was my first compilation album I got as a youngster. So many great songs. And was the first time I had heard the tracks from Marcus Hook Roll Band so cool

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent job, thanks. Been a big fan for many years of most of these acts & it's great to have this early sampler. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had this album way back when it came out..can it really be almost 40 years ago? An excellent post with not a dud track in sight Many thanks :-)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice and helpful information has been given in this article. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks for sharing.
    vinyl records

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great vinyl rip. Thanks very much! I had this on cassette as an 11 year old and pretty much wore it out. For trainspotters, this version of She's Got Balls has an edited intro from the album version. Also High Voltage has the great never-ending note on the end that only appeared on vinyl versions of the TNT album. All CDs of TNT seem to fade it out... Not half as good IMO.

    ReplyDelete