Saturday, November 28, 2009

WOCK On Vinyl: Banana Splits - We're the Banana Splits (1968)

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.
This WOCK posting comes under the 'crazy' category. As a young teenager, I have fond memories of tuning in to the ABC on a Sunday night to watch another one of my favourite shows "The Banana Splits Show". The show ran for an hour and featured both animated and live-action segments, in particular a satirical action thriller called 'Danger Island' which always left you hanging on the edge of your seat, and always teasing you into watching next weeks episode !
To a pre-teen generation for whom the concept of "free love" equalled unlimited hugs from mom and the notion of "getting high" meant nothing more than a breakfast cereal-induced sugar coma, the Banana Splits marked the apotheosis of such staples of late 1960s culture as psychedelia, pop art and, of course, music. Like the Archies and Josie & the Pussycats, the band was essentially nothing more than a marketing front for a collective of faceless studio musicians; unlike their peers, however, in their own unique way the Banana Splits represented the acid culture's subtle encroachment into mainstream children's entertainment.
Essentially, the Banana Splits concept was like the Monkees once removed; clearly modeled on the exuberance and slapstick comedy of the Beatles' film A Hard Day's Night, the show also borrowed heavily from the bright, psychedelic image the Fab Four sported on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Like both the Beatles and the Monkees, the Splits were a four-piece pop band, and like the Monkees (and the Beatles in Help!), they even lived together in the same mod digs. Unlike their human predecessors, however, the Banana Splits were bizarre, anthropomorphic animals: rhythm guitarist Drooper was a lion, lead guitarist Fleegle was a dog (my favourite character by the way), keyboardist Snorky was an elephant, and drummer Bingo was a monkey.

For all its good-natured, well-produced late-'60s pop, the Banana Splits LP is sweet and happy in one dose, like having a banana split for appetizer, lunch, and dessert. Still, those songs do include the well-remembered hit "The Tra La La Song," plus some surprisingly raving garage- soul-pop with "I'm Gonna Find a Cave" and the Wilson Pickett-like "Doin' the Banana." The more bubblegummy happy-go-lucky numbers and ballads are harder to bear, but obviously the session cats playing on these tried harder than they had to, putting sitar on the lightly psychedelic "In New Orleans" and Baroque harpsichord on the uncharacteristically moody "Wait Til Tomorrow." Note that a recent CD re-release of this LP also adds eight non-LP bonus tracks, including more typically bouncy lightweight kiddie pop/rock and a boisterous alternate version of "The Tra La La Song". I am not including these here as the CD is still available commercially.
The rip provided here was taken from vinyl at 192kps and includes full album artwork. Also for your entertainment, I am including the words from their very catchy opening theme song - The Tra La La Song.
.One banana, two banana, three banana, four
Four bananas make a bunchand so do many more.
Over hill and highway the banana buggies go
Comin'on to bring you the Banana Splits show
Makin' up a mess of fun, makin' up a mess of fun
Lots of fun for everyone
Tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la
Tra la la, la la la la

Track Listing
01. We're the Banana Splits
02. I'm Gonna Find a Cave
03. This Spot
04. Doin' the Banana Split
05. Toy Piano Melody
06. Soul

07. The Tra La La Song
08. Wait Til Tomorrow
09. You're the Lovin' End
10. In New Orleans
11. Two-Ton Tessie
12. Don't Go Away - Go-Go Girl
LinkBanana Splits Link (40Mb) New Link 02/08/2014
Banana Splits Alternative Link (40Mb)  New Link 12/10/2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Divinyls - Live (1983 & 1986) Ex SB

(Australian 1980-97, Present)
Led by provocative singer Christina Amphlett, whose songwriting with guitarist Mark McEntee is the basis of the band, Divinyls have recorded a wealth of excellent material, from commercial hard pop and driving arena-rock to alluring ballads.
Divinyls formed in Sydney, Australia, in 1980. Legend has it that guitarist Mark McEntee first saw vocalist Christina Amphlett performing with a church choir at the Sydney Opera House, and took notice of her when the cord of the microphone she was using became tangled on her stool, which she proceeded to knock over and drag across the stage, singing all the while. Mark: "From that moment, I knew something had to be done, that we should form a group."
As the bands focal point, Amphlett - who is the cousin of 60s Australian "Queen of the surf", Little Pattie (real name Patricia Amphlett) - has strutted her stuff the world over, astounding and bewildering audiences with her displays of school uniform-clad bump'n'grind burlesque, unrestrained sexuality and animal grace.
By the time Divinyls formed in 1980, Amphlett had been singing in bands since the early 1970s. Her early bands included Daisy Clover (which she joined at age 14), One Ton Gypsy and Steamhammer.
She had also spent three years travelling throughout Europe, during which time she spent a period in a Spanish jail. Jeremy Paul and Mark McEntee had both served sentences in the softest of all soft-rock bands, Air Supply.
Divinyls emerged out of inner-city Sydney and quickly built a national following. In September 1981, WEA issued the band's debut single Boys In Town which reached Number 6 during October. It was lifted from the mini-album Music from 'Monkey Grip' which was the soundtrack of the Australian low-budget movie Monkey Grip. Amphlett took the small speaking part of Angela in the film.
The band supported UK band Simple Minds on an Australian tour and Divinyls signed to Chrysalis and recorded the punchy 'Desperate' album in New York with producers Mark Opitz and Bob Clearmountain. The album spawned the singles Science Fiction (Nov 1982), Siren (Never Let You Go) (April 1983) and Casual Encounter (August 1983).
.The band continued to tour extensively, both locally and overseas, and the singles Good Die Young (August 1984) and In My Life (November 1984) followed.
The 1985 album 'What A Life! ' reached Number 2 in Australia within a week of release. The first single, Pleasure And Pain (co-written by British 70's pop guru Mike Chapman) peaked at Number 5 and also cracked the American Top 40. Two other singles were lifted from the album - Sleeping Beauty and Heart Telegraph.
Following months of touring in the US, Divinyls returned to Australia with a line-up containing three Americans (including Frank Infante from Blondie). Such was their stadium rock experience at that time that the band consistently blew audiences away on the enormous Australian Made tour in 1987.
By the time their second Mike Chapman produced album, 'Temperamental', was released, the band were basically back to a duo of Amphlett and McEntee. The singles from the album were Back To The Wall (March 1988), Hey Little Boy (July) and Punxsie (October). All were minor domestic hits.
In 1990 Divinyls signed with Virgin and issued the biggest album of their career, Divinyls, spawning the Number 1 Australian single I Touch Myself in January 1991. This provocative paean to masturbation also took the band into the US Top Ten (Number 4) and UK Top Ten (Number 10).
Divinyls tracks subsequently started to appear in the soundtracks to US movies and TV shows (including Buffy The Vampire Slayer) and the band signed with BMG/RCA in 1996. [Extract from]
The live recordings included here are taken from the pinacle period in the bands career, when they released their 'Desperate' and 'What Is Life' LP's, with both concerts sourced from U.S tours. My favourite track is "Elsie" - purely for the raw energy that Christie Amphlett exhibits in this classic track.
The rip was taken from tape at 192kps and includes full album artwork.
Track Listing
(Spit - 4th May 1983, Boston, MA)
01 - Introduction
02 - Make You Happy
03 - Only You
04 - Only Lonely
05 - Science Fiction
06 - Boys In Town
07 - Elsie
(Tower Theater - 22nd Jan 1986 Philadelphia, PA)
08 - Sleeping Beauty
09 - In My Life
10 - Pleasure And Pain
11 - Don't You Go Walking
12 - Science Fiction
13 - Boys In Town
14 - Guillotine
Band Members
Christie Amphlett (Vocals)
Mark McEntee (Guitars)
Bjarne Ohlin (Keyboards)
Richard Harvey, J J Harris (Drums)
Rick Grossman (Bass)
Divinyls Link (71Mb) New Link 03/10/2013

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Stomu Yamashta - Go Live in Paris (1978)

(UK 1976-1977)
Stomu Yamashta was born in 1947 in Kyoto Japan, with the name Yamashita Tsutomu.
Since the late 60's he has developed an international reputation as a composer and performer (percussion, keyboards) of serious music, jazz rock fusion, rock, electronica as well as multi-media projects for the theatre, a ballet score ("Shukumei" ) and cinematic soundtracks. He has toured and played with the Chicago Chamber Orchestra and the rock group Come to The Edge. Yamashta has recorded not only jazz rock fusion and rock but music by the serious modern composers Maxwell-Davis and Henze.
He came to Europe in the early 70's working briefly in France on theatrical multi-media projects (e.g. the precursor for "Red Buddah Theatre" and "The Man From The East") before moving across the Channel to England. Through the 70's Yamashta recorded the majority of his 70's albums in the UK but alas very few of the Island Records recordings have been issued on CD.

  He has composed the soundtracks of the David Bowie film "The Man Who Fell to Earth" (which borrowed significantly from earlier recordings), Ken Russell's "The Devils", and race car documentary "One By One".
However, Stomu Yamashta is probably best known nowadays as the leader of the supergroup GO with Stevie Winwood, Al Di Meola, Klaus Schulze and Michael Shrieve for three albums and related performances.
What first attracted me to these albums was Al Di Meola's involvment, as I am a huge fan of this legendary guitarist and jazz rock in general. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard their first selftitled album and realised that there was more to Go than just the brillant guitar work from Di Meola.
The primary difference when comparing the live performance at Paris and the rendering simply titled Go (1976) is that Go Live From Paris (1978) presents the proceedings (as they exist) in a properly linear fashion, as correlated to the Eastern mythology that informed the extended two-part suite. This is in direct contrast to Go, which assembled the contents out of sequence.

The stage show was recorded at the Palais Des Sports in Paris, France on June 12, 1976 and the recital setting allows for considerably longer and more exploratory interaction amongst Stomu Yamashta (percussion/piano), Steve Winwood (vocals/keyboards) and (drums). They are joined by legendary jazz axeman Michael Shrieve, Al DiMeola (guitar) as well as Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel veteran Klaus Schulze (synthesizer) -- all of whom had contributed to Go. Filling out the band are Jerome Rimson (bass), Pat Thrall (guitar), Brother James (congas) and Karen Friedman (vocals).
Specifically, the licks traded between DiMeola and Shrieve are comparable to the workouts the pair shared as part of the Borboletta (1974) era Santana.
In terms of sheer intensity, it is hard to beat Di Meola's searing leads and Winwood's blue-eyed soul on the driving "Ghost Machine," easily topping its former incarnation. "Surfspin" lands into the funky mid-tempo "Time Is Here" highlighted by Karen Friedman's expressive exchanges with Winwood, while Rimson punctuates the rhythm with some penetrating bass interjections. This is followed by the sole Winwood composition "Winner/Loser," which further exemplifies how the spontaneity of the concert yields results that best their predecessors.

In fact, on the whole the material on Go sounds like a blueprint for the exceptional and inspired outing found here. The second movement commences with fairly even renditions of the trifecta "Solitude," "Nature" and "Air Voice" -- which had previously been given the name "Air Over." "Crossing the Line" is an additional zenith, spotlighted by Winwood's emotive vocals and the untamed and otherwise incendiary frenzy of fretwork courtesy of Di Meola. Clocking in just shy of 15mins, "Man of Leo" provides another opportunity for the players to loosen up and fuse their collective improvisations behind Di Meola's intense soloing and the similarly seminal instrumental offerings from Shrieve, Rimson -- who is at his most melodic -- and Freidman's haunting warbles (Extract from
I highly recommend this double live album to those who can't get enough jazz fusion and spacey, cosmic orientated music that takes the listener on a voyage filled with guitar and synthesier meanderings. Steve Winwood's vocals then puts the icing on the cake.
The rip was taken from CD at 320kps and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD.
Track Listing
01 - Space song
02 - Carnival
03 - Wind spin
04 - Ghost machine
05 - Surf spin
06 - Time is here
07 - Winner Looser
08 - Solitude
09 - Nature
10 - Air voice
11 - Crossing the line
12 - Man of Leo
13 - Stellar
14 - Space Requiem
Band Members
Stomu Yamashta (Percussion / Drums)
Steve Winwood (Vocals / Keyboards)
Klaus Schulze (Synthesizers)
Michael Shrieve (Guitar)
Al DiMeola (Guitar)
Pat Thrall Guitar)
Jerome Rimson (Bass)
Karen Friedmann and two others (vocal choir)
Brother James (Congos)
Go Live In Paris Link (146Mb) New Link 17/01/2019

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Taste - Tickle Your Fancy (1976)

(Australian 1975-1977, Present)
Taste were a magnificent heavy rock band from the mid '70s, which featured the dual guitar attack of Murdock and Amenta. They seemed to have had a pop image which now seems ridiculous - both LP's reached the top twenty in the Australian charts and are absolutely fantastic hard rock classics.
.At the peak of their career they played to crowds as large as 13,000 people and owned 7 Marshall stacks ! They appeared on every major concert and TV show including Countdown, Hey Hey its Saturday, The Don Lane show etc. and toured with Suzi Quatro, The Sweet, Skyhooks, Sherbet, TMG and Hush. They were much admired by English rockband Queen (who played Taste's "Boys will be Boys" every night on tour before they went on stage). Unfortunately, due to management problems and bad marketing Taste never achieved the success they deserved. They were asked to tour America with Queen and signed to Sire Records in USA but broke up before releasing anything.
Released in 1976, The LP "Tickle Your Fancy" is a tight batch of quirky hard rock songs brimming with a unique melodic point of view. Considering the young age of the band, alot of the material here is surprisingly accomplished, both in performance and songwriting. Though the hooks are very subtle, the entire album taken as a whole is a rewarding listening experience through and through.
Richard Guillianti reviewed the band in December's RAM #48 (1976) Taste - Tickling the Star's Fancy by writing: "Taste have been pulling some pretty neat reviews for their LP Tickle Your Fancy and for their new single 'Boys Will Be Boys'. But its not only yer hack cub reporters who've been taking notice of 'em.
In Sydney, they performed at the Bondi Lifesaver with none other than Sherbet, the All-Stars, Rockell T James and Kevin Borich in attendance. Afterwards, (Sherbet's) Tony Mitchell congratulated the group on the 'tightest set he had seen from a band for years'. Adelaide was also good to them, there, they broke the attendance record for one of the dances they played".
.Taste have reformed recently and have completed a new album of 10 new originals. "Rock Is Dead" is now released and available on their website They have been playing the pub circuit in Melbourne, playing the more popular names such as the Prince of Whales, The Toorak Lion and The Corner Hotel in Richmond.
This unique hard rock effort deserves to be heard, so be sure to download this classic album and hear this offering from Down Under - it's bound to Tickle Your Fancy ! LOL
The rip was taken from Vinyl at 320kps and includes limited album artwork but loads of photos and articles.
Track Listing
01 Same Old Story
02 Degenerate Fool
03 Group "e"
04 Rock 'n' Roll Superstar
05 Tickle Your Fancy
06 Lady Of Love
07 Loose Lover
08 Lone Ranger
09 Love Ya Babe
10 Taste of Life
Band Members:
Ken Murdoch ( Lead Vocals / Guitar)
Joey Amenta (Guitar / Vocals)
Michael Tortoni (Bass Guitar)
Virgil Donati (Drums)
Taste Today
In mid 2007, a young drummer with attitude and talent to burn was looking to make an impact on the rock scene. He found a lot of bands out there trying to re-create the big rock sound of the 70s. When Joel Witenberg heard that legendary rock band Taste were reforming and in need of a drummer he leapt at the chance to be a part of an authentic classic rock band with a history of playing live with the likes of Queen, AC/DC, Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil.
Taste’s lead singer and songwriter Ken Murdoch says in a recent interview: "I started singing in shitholes when I was 15, By the time I was 17, I was a veteran of pub rock alongside Joey and Michael. We had been booed, spat upon, and ignored until we got it right and that’s something bands don’t have anymore. But once you get it right and that crowd love you something magical happens between the two of you. I don’t see that happen much anymore," Now back with a full band and a bigger sound than ever, Taste are promoting the release of their new album "Rock Is Dead".

.Sickened by what seems to be a lack of real rock direction in music, Taste’s lyrics explore and destroy the media frenzied world that seems to accept its stars by the amount of exposure offered to them rather than by virtue of their talent. "People need heroes and singers and bands they can trust. That’s why U2 are still strong. Every so often a Sex Pistols or Nirvana come around. Its unstoppable," says Murdoch. Bridging the power chords and riffs of the late 70s with a contemporary sound and subjects, Rock Is Dead is a timeless classic that will empower anyone who listens to it to celebrate the true sound of rock. (Extract from Taste's Myspace)
Link Removed.  Taste have released a remastered Best Of Compilation CD on their Bandcamp Website which contains most of these songs. Please support our local artists.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Skyhooks - Festival Hall (1975) - VG SB

(Australian 1973-1980, 1983-1984, 1990)
Skyhooks were an Australian rock band of the 1970s, sometimes classified as a glam rock band, because of their flamboyant costumes and make-up. Skyhooks formed ca. 1973. They gained a cult following around Melbourne but a poorly-received performance at the 1974 Sunbury Festival saw the group booed off the stage. Soon afterwards, the original lead singer Steve Hill resigned. To replace him, the group recruited occasional singer, surfer and carpenter Graeme Strachan. The replacement of Hill by Strachan was a pivotal moment for the band, as Strachan had remarkable vocal skills, magnetic stage and screen presence. Alongside Macainsh's acerbic lyrics, another vital facet of the group's sound was the twin-guitar attack of Red Symons and Bob "Bongo" Starkie (younger brother of original guitarist Peter Starkie). [Extract from Wikipedia]

With "Living In The 70's" recorded and released to much acclaim in 1975, Skyhook's confidence started to soar. They decided to tour the country to promote their album and their live shows reached a new high, pulling publicity stunts wherever they went. With the band starting to make money, they got heavily into stage props, hiring a guy called Hank, who did the special effects for the TV show Homicide. They got a mock TV set, which would explode during "Horror Movie". During the show, Shirl would mount a four-foot polystyrene falic-shaped prop that would also explode, showering Twisties upon the crowd. The ejaculating twisties was the climax of "Smut". Unfortunately, this prop was confiscated by the vice squad at a Adelaide concert. The Skyhooks always delivered an explosive live show - literally. Several of their roadies had to do a course so they'd be allowed to use gunpowder and explosives.
During their tour, Skyhooks played at the Sunbury 1975 concert and went down a storm, making up for their poor performance at the Sunbury concert the year before. Many critics said they were the highlight of the festival, having blown the overseas drawcard "Deep Purple" off stage. The Rolling Stone review called Skyhooks "the explosion point of Sunbury 75....arguably quite the best set, Deep Purple included". The irony was that Deep Purple got paid close to $300,000 for their appearance, but the Hooks, who were meant to be paid $3,000, didn't get a cent because the company running the the event, Odessa Promotions, went into liquidation. It was the final Sunbury.
Skyhooks ended that tour with a huge show at Festival Hall on Anzac Day, 1975. Special guests were AC/DC, Bob Hudson and New Zealand's top group Split Enz. Tickets were $2.70. Shirley made the papers again by asking teenage girls to come to the concert and throw their bras and panties on stage. "This is our way of celebrating Anzac Day", he said. "It is a much better release than getting drunk or breaking the gaming laws by playing 2-Up on the street". Truth reported that the lingerie throwing caused trouble in Brisbane when Skyhooks' fans returned home without their underwear, and the band draped their guitars with bras and panties. Shirley said: "When Winter comes, we will be able to tell our real fans. Of course, our fans shouldn't feel the cold. We have a pretty hot act". And they did.

A Rolling Stone live review by Terry Durack captured the excitement: "There was a drum roll and flashes of smoke bombs, and the entire stage was blanketed by thick, multi-colored smoke. Somewhere behind it, all we could hear was 'Whatever happened to the revolution...' You could just make out Greg Macainsh in a tight royal blue satin suit, topped off with a yellow stetson (hat) and yellow boots. Sitting regally on a draped throne, Fred Strauks sported a silver crown. As the smoke cleared, the rest of the band came into view: Red Symons in a white fright wig, Bongo Starkie, mysterious and sinister in a black jump suit and green boa, and Shirley, bumping and grinding his way through the lyrics. As the song ended, an unexpected explosion echoed through the hall. Shiley smiled. 'That scared the shit out of everyone'!"
The Anzac Day show caused the craziest reaction. The Age said: "A Monster - that's the only way to describe the concert at Festival Hall yesterday afternoon."
The Sun review said: "Memories of Beatlemania returned to Festival Hall yesterday.... About 50 fans were carried semi-conscious on to the stage after being crushed in the crowd. Some determined girls used this as a ruse. After being brought onto the stage, they made a desperate dash for their favourite band member. The article also reported that Split Enz were booed and AC/DC's Bon Scott bared his behind to the audience".

Molly Meldrum also picked up on the Beatlemania line in his 'Meldrum Beat' column in Listener-In TV: "Festival Hall was witnessing scenes of hysteria and adulation that have not been seen there since the days of Beatlemania. The crowd went absolutely out of their minds....Like in the early 60's, when a place called Liverpool turned the eyes and ears of the worldwith the Beatles, the 70's could very well see Melbourne become the city of the music world".
A Rolls Royce was hired to take the band to the gig at Festival Hall. The band met at Red's house in Bell Street, Fitzroy. "It was a funny scene," Shirl recalls. "Red was spewing, a Rolls Royce was the last thing he wanted people to see outside his Fitzroy house." For a lark, Shirl travelled to the gig in the boot !" [Extracts from 'Ego Is Not A Dirty Word - The Skyhooks Story' by Jeff Jenkins, 1994]

Although I didn't attend the 1975 Festival Hall concert, I did see Skyhooks play the following year at the Geelong Show Grounds when they headlined the Summer Rock one day festival. My girl friend at the time was a big fan of Skyhooks, and spent the whole time sitting on my shoulders yelling and screaming while they were on stage. Needless to say, I didn't really see or hear much of the Skyhooks set!
However, also playing at the concert were Ariel, Redhouse and Taste who I was more interested in anyhow.
The rip of this legendary concert at Festival Hall was taken from tape at 160kps and includes full album artwork (Thanks to Woodynet at Midoztouch)
Track Listing
01 - Horror Movie
02 - Whatever Happened To The Revolution
03 - Hey Whats The Matter
04 - Bawlyn Calling
05 - 3FQ (Love On The Radio)
06 - Loves Not Good Enough
07 - The Other Side
08 - Nursery Rymes and Band Intro
09 - All My Friends Are Getting Married
10 - Mercedes Ladies
11 - Every Chase A Steeple
12 - Ego
13 - Saturday Night
14 - You Just Like Me Cause I'm Good In Bed
15 - Let It Rock
Band Members:
Shirley Strachan (Lead Vocals)
Greg Macainsh (Bass, Vocals)
Red Symons (Guitar, Vocals)
Bob Starkie (Guitar, Vocals)
Freddie Strauks (Drums, Vocals)
Skyhooks Link (71Mb) New Link 12/04/2020

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ferrets - Dreams of a Love (1977) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1975-79)
The Ferrets were an Australian pop / rock band from Melbourne and Sydney, formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1979. They are best known for their début #2 hit single "Don’t Fall in Love" in 1977. Philip Eizenberg (guitar), Kenneth Firth (bass guitar, backing vocals), Billy Miller (vocals, guitar) and David Springfield (guitar, backing vocals) formed The Ferrets and were soon joined by drummer Rick Brewer.
Ken Firth, Phil Eizenberg and Billy Miller had been involved with the Australian stage production of Jesus Christ Superstar (1972—1974) which also included Jon English and John Paul Young. Firth (bass guitar, backing vocals), Miller (vocals, guitar) and Dave Springfield (guitar, backing vocals) were all members of hard rockers Buster Brown (which also featured vocalist Angry Anderson later of Rose Tattoo). In 1975, the trio left Buster Brown to join with guitarist Eizenberg and formed The Ferrets. Drummer Rick Brewer (ex-Zoot) joined in 1976 together with Miller’s sisters Jane Miller (backing vocals, keyboard) and Pam Miller (backing vocals). They were now a seven-piece band.
After favourable reactions from audiences in Melbourne and Sydney, The Ferrets produced a demo tape that caught the attention of Ian "Molly" Meldrum talent coordinator for ABC-TV series Countdown. Meldrum signed them to Mushroom Records and started producing their début album Dreams of a Love on 19 July, 1976. After nearly a year, production was still incomplete, so The Ferrets took over (assisted by recording engineers Tony Cohen and Ian MacKenzie) and Meldrum was attributed as "Willie Everfinish" on the album cover. Album production was finalized on 15 August 1977. Meldrum had carefully crafted their first single’s A side "Lies" taking weeks but the B side "Don’t Fall in Love" (written by Ian Davis and Firth) was rushed in three hours. The Ferrets premiered on Countdown in an episode compèred by Jon English however, they used their B side. "Don’t Fall in Love" quickly sold out its initial pressing and many customers wanted a copy of The Ferrets' début album – there was concern at Mushroom Records as Meldrum had not organised an album cover: a white hand stamped cardboard sleeve was issued with a promise of the album artwork to follow!

On Stage At The Palais 'Nightmoves' Concert
 The Ferrets released a promo as the single rocketed to #1 on Melbourne’s charts and #2 Nationally. They were awarded with "Best Australian TV Performer" at the 1977 King of Pop Awards for their Countdown appearances. Although generally remembered for their biggest hit, their follow-up single "Janie May" reached #19 in Melbourne and was on Countdown episode of 13 November 1977 (featured infamous 'Prince Charles Interview'). Their debut album Dreams of a Love achieved Gold record status and the long awaited album cover depicted a model (Wendy Bannister) holding a snarling ferret on her shoulder. [From Wikipedia]
I saw The Ferrets play at the Nightmoves Concert, held at the Palais Theatre in St.Kilda in 1977 and was blown away with their huge production numbers and full on theatrical stage productions, influenced by Miller's earlier associations with big stage productions like 'Jesus Christ Superstar' no doubt (they even had a 20 strong boys choir singing in the background of 'Just Like The Stars')
They were a very talented but highly under rated band of the 70's and really deserved more recognition as been the forerunners for big production bands like John Farnham and Little River Band in the 80's.
Dave Gray writes "Billy Miller is a superb guitar player, arranger and vocalist. He approaches music and life with a real sense of delight and play. I'm not saying he's a blissed out , mystic hippie. I mean that he has his priorities and one of those seems to be that he doesn't expect to be bummed out every time he turns around a corner. He's tough and wiry and cranky and he's a complete joy to play with. He knows his nuts and his bolts".

After the Ferrets, countless bands and gigs followed for Miller, who still plays in his original band and up until 2004 worked in a music production company (Duffield Kenihan Pty Ltd) creating music for TV commercials, and co-producing the music for "Round The Twist" (Children's TV Foundation). Billy also composed music for several short films, including "The Bird" (VCA 1996), which won best music in its category. In 2008, Billy was busy playing gigs with Stephen Cummings and his own band, recording a new album, composing and producing soundtracks for films in his studio, starring in documentaries and barracking for his beloved Saints (St Kilda Football Club). Now, if they had won the 2009 Grand Final this year against the Cats, can you imagine the party he would have had with St.Kilda's other Number #1 supporter - Molly Meldrum!
For more information about Molly's association with the Ferrets, have a look at Rectro Universe's posting 'Don't fall in love with a Ferret'.

The rip included here was taken from CD at 320kps (thanks to Midoztouch) and the bonus singles Side A & B from vinyl (thanks to Ozzie Music Man). Full album artwork is also included.
Track Listing
01 - Prelude
02 - You Belong With Me
03 - Bye Bye Baby
04 - Lies
05 - Killing Ourselves
06 - Janie May
07 - Dreams Of Love
08 - My Old Dog
09 - El Quicko
10 - Don't Fall In Love
11 - The Children Play
12 - Just Like The Stars
13 - Magic In The Sand
14 - Are You Looking At Me (Bonus Side A single)
15 - Holloway (Bonus Side B single)
The Ferrets Link (109Mb) New Link 23/06/2020

Monday, November 2, 2009

Robin Trower - Live In Concert, New George's San Raphael, CA - KRQR-FM Broadcast (1988) - Ex SB

(U.K 1973-Present)
Robin Trower's career has spanned more than four decades, starting first with Procol Harum and then as a solo artist in the early 70's. He is one of the finest guitarists in Rock n' Roll history. Throughout his long and winding solo career, Robin Trower has been called the "White" Hendrix due to his uncanny ability to channel Hendrix' bluesy / psychedelic, Fender Strat-fueled playing style. This of course was what attracted me to his music in the first place as I am a huge Hendrix fan also. However, by the dawn of the '80s, it became quite obvious that Trower's stardam was rapidly fading, as each album sold less than its predecessor. A brief union with ex-Cream bassist/vocalist Jack Bruce spawned a pair of releases, 1981's B.L.T. and 1982's Truce, before Trower returned back to his solo career. The mid-late '80s saw Trower try and expand his audience with several releases that attempted to update his blues-rock style (such as 1987's slick produced Passion), but none returned the guitarist back to the top of the charts. Nevertheless, I believe this 2nd incarnation of Trower's band was as good as that first one which featured the lengendary James Dewar on vocals. In fact, Trower's album, 'Living Out of Time' (2004), featured the return of veteran bandmates Dave Bronze on bass, vocalist Davey Pattison (formerly with Ronnie Montrose's band Gamma) and Pete Thompson on drums - the same lineup as the mid 1980s albums 'Passion' and 'Take What You Need'.
The FM concert provided here features the same band members, and the recording was made on Trowers promotional tour for his then up and coming 'Take What You Need' LP. The concert was played at New George's San Raphael on 27-01-1988 and broadcast by a San Francisco FM radio station - 97.3 KRQR. This is a good show...KRQR used to do weekly live broadcasts from New George's for a short period of time in '88, the majority of which were local acts. This was one of the big names that they managed to broadcast. There were also shows by Paul Collins (The Beat), Eddie & The Tide, and Soft White Underbelly (a.k.a. Blue Oyster Cult). A small correction worth noting: the town actually spells it "Rafael," not "Raphael."
.I particularly like this concert as Trower's guitar playing is not self indulgent and he gets down to business immediately by giving the audience what they want, "Too Rolling Stoned" starts the concert and then the band proceeds to provide a mixture of new material blended in with the old. Davey Pattison's vocals are very strong and he is able to reproduce the old material with uncanny similarity to that of Dewar. Trower's guitar work is nothing short of brilliant and is consistently supported by his rhythm team with 'David Bronze' on bass and 'Pete Thompson' on drums. The combined tracks 'Day Of The Eagle / Bridge Of Sighs' are spectacular, with Trower demonstrating total control of feedback and guitar work that almost mesmorizes the listener. The new material is strong and tight, showing that the band was well rehearsed at the time. This is probably one of the best soundboard recordings I have heard and almost out does his earlier commercially released live material on 'Trower Live!' and 'Beyond The Mist'. All in all, this is a classic set and should not be overlooked if you are a Trower fan.
The rip was taken from CD at 320kps and includes customised album artwork.
.Track Listing
01 Too Rolling Stoned
02 Love Attack
03 Day of the Eagle
04 Bridge of Sighs
05 Second Time
06 No Time
07 Take What You Need
08 Rock Me Baby
09 Tear It Up
10 Little Bit of Sympathy
11 Into the Flame

Band Members:
Robin Trower - Guitar
Davey Pattison - Vocals
Dave Bronze - Bass
Pete Thompson - Drums
Robin Trower Link (151Mb) New Link 02/10/2013