Saturday, June 30, 2012

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Melanie: A Gift From Honey (Flexi Disc 1973)

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.
Melanie (Safka) was born on February 3rd 1947 in New York. Her mother was an Italian-born jazz singer. She grew up a shy girl with a great interest for music, so she taught herself how to play the guitar and started to write songs and poetry.
While hoping for an audition for a part in Dark Side Of The Moon, she stumbled into the wrong office. An executive lurking behind a large cigar noticed she was toting a guitar, asked if she could sing...and Melanie went home with a recording contract in her handbag.
The producer of the young Buddah-label Peter Schekeryk got interested in this somewhat dreamy girl when she sang her ideas to him. Together, they recorded her debut-album "Born To Be" in 1968. But only after her performance at Woodstock in the pouring rain, Melanie suddenly had a cachet. Her first LP was re-released and she was awarded with a number 6 hit in the USA in June of 1970 with "Lay Down (Candles In The Rain)", performed with the Edwin Hawkins Singers.
Just before her second Top 10 entry, Melanie scored as a songwriter when her composition "What Have They Done To My Song Ma" became a hit for the New Seekers. In October, her haunting version of the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" hit number 9 in the British charts.
In 1971, Melanie scored her biggest hit yet: "Brand New Key" was a number one hit in the USA and it remained in the charts for three months. In the UK, the song peaked at number 4 and stayed in the charts for only seven weeks. In 1972, she formed a record label, Neighborhood Records, with her now husband Peter Scherkeryk, releasing LP's which mixed her own compositions with carefully selected compositions from other writers.
Over these years Melanie had grown from being a very special goddess of Flower Power into a mature artist of considerable range and international fame. She produced massive hit singles and two of her eight albums reached sales in excess of a million copies each.
The flexi-disc was often used as a marketing tool to add a little spice to a magazine. The addition of the freebie, or cover mount was used by numerous magazines and papers from poetry, comedy, porn, educational and more commonly, teen’ magazines. At their zenith, dedicated music mag’s like New Musical Express and Sounds were at the fore, culminating in the flexi’ dedicated magazine of the 80’s, Flexipop.
In this case, the popular fashion magazine 'Honey' decided to get on the band wagon with Melanie's recent success and made this Melanie Flexi available in its October 73' edition. Flexi disc eventually died as the new fangled CD took over. CD’s went on to be the new cover mount.
Disclaimer: At no stage have I ever bought or even read a 'Honey' magazine - I came across this flexi-disc by accident when I found it tucked away in another album I bought at a garage sale. No....Really.......Awe.....Com'on....
A rather Obscure item indeed.
Track Listing
01 - I am Not a Poet (Nightsong)
02 - Song Of The South (Based on the theme from Song Of The North)
03 - Brand New Key (Recorded live at Carnegie Hall)
04 - Seeds

.Melanie Flexi Disc Link (24Mb)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Gillan - Future Shock (1981)

(U.K 1976 -1983)
After getting his marching orders from Deep Purple back in 1973, Gillan decided to go solo. His first solo effort was 'Child In Time'. Then, he formed the Ian Gillan Band, who released 'Clear Air Turbulence' and 'Scarabus' (not his best albums however). Tired of musicians that loved jazz and wanting to come back to hard rock, he formed a band called GILLAN, and this band was the high point of his solo career. Featuring John McCoy on bass (later forming Mammoth), guitarist Bernie Torme, drummer Mick Underwood and keyboardist Colin Towns, they released three great albums: 'Mr. Universe', 'Glory Road' and the featured album 'Future Shock'. Then, with no Iron Maiden guitarist Janick Gers handling the guitars, they recorded the still successful 'Double Trouble' (half studio album, half live album) and 'Magic'. Then, Gillan disbanded his band, went to Black Sabbath, then returned to Deep Purple for their reunion. In 1998, he recorded an album with Roger Glover called 'Accidentally On Purpose'. Soon. he was out of Deep Purple again, and launched a new solo career, this time called IAN GILLAN. He released the different (and very good!) 'Naked Thunder' and the straight ahead metal-hard rock Toolbox. Then, back to Purple again. After this, his latest solo release, 'Dreamcatcher' (which was a little disappointing)
Gillan has played to big and small crowds around the world and played the Reading Rock Festival in 1981. I was lucky enough to see him play during his 1981 World Tour when he performed at a relatively small venue in St.Kilda, Melbourne called The Cheveron, in October that year. I have little recollection of this performance (mainly due to alcohol abuse) except to say that it was fuc*ing loud (I lost my hearing for 24hrs - very scary stuff) and was squashed into the venue like a can of sardines. They were playing tracks mostly from Glory Road and Future Shock, and I do remember them playing "Lucitania" and "Unchain Your Brain". I also remember, being intrigued to see not only Gillan in person, but also see if McCoy was as scary in the flesh as he appeared on the front cover of their 'Future Shock' album - and yes, the title said it all.

I must say 'Future Shock' is one of his best albums ever! It's hard, strong, a band at its peak, released in 1981, when it seemed every band around was releasing their masterpieces! The "classic" Gillan line-up is here: Ian Gillan (of course), John McCoy on bass, Bernie Tormé on guitar, Colin Towns keyboarding and Mick Underwood drumming. My favourites from this album are "No Laughing In Heaven" (listen to the lyrics!), "For Your Dreams" and good old "New Orleans"
This is top notch, quality hard rock... it is not metal, it has too much finesse for that, but it is balls to the wall rock that features brilliant vocals (Gillan probably at his peak) and excellent musicianship from Musos Torme, Towns, McCoy and Underwood.
You don't need to turn this album up loud to appreciate it, it is what rock and roll should be about... rebellion, energy, attitude and humour with the knowledge and ability to put it across uncompromisingly. A true rock album, written and recorded before the time in the mid eighties when the whole genre seemed to sink into one big 'hair band' parody. Enjoy "Future Shock" all the more for that and the gem it is.
This post consists of an mp3 rip (320kps) taken from my 'mint condition' vinyl (yep, I looked after this baby as it is No.2238 out of a 3,000 limited edition release) and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD. I have also included Gillan's follow up single called "Nightmares" which was also released in 1981, along with the B-side live recording of "Bite The Bullet" (from the 1981 Reading Festival). As far as I can tell, the CD release of this album is currently out of print, as is his later release entitled 'Magic' which I plan to post in the near future.
Track Listing
01 - Future Shock (Gillan/McCoy/Torme)

02 - Night Ride out of Phoenix (Gillan/Towns)
03 - (The Ballad) of the Lucitania Express (Gillan/McCoy/Torme)
04 - No Laughing in Heaven (Gillan/McCoy/Torme)
05 - Sacre Bleu (Gillan/McCoy/Torme)
06 - New Orleans (Guida/Royster)
07 - Bite the Bullet (Gillan/Towns)
08 - If I Sing Softly (Gillan/McCoy/Torme)
09 - Don't Want the Truth (Gillan/McCoy/Torme)

10 - For Your Dreams (Gillan/Towns)
11 - Nightmares (Bonus A-Side Single)
12 - Bite The Bullet (Bonus Live B-Side Single)*

* Recorded live at the 1981 Reading Rock Festival (29/08/81)
Band Members
Ian Gillan (Vocals)
Berne Torme (Guitar)
John McCoy (Bass)
Colin Towns (Keyboards)
Mick Underwood (Drums)
Ian Gillan Link (121Mb)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Various Artists - Sound Of Sydney Vol 3 (1986)

(Various Australian Artists 1984-86)
In the aftermath of a recent posting of Adelaide bands from the 80's, here is another compilation of Aussie bands released on Method Records, this time from Sydney. The last in a series called 'Sound Of Sydney', Vol 3 showcases some of the well known and not so well known bands that played the Sydney pub circuit in the early 80's. Names such as Paul Kelly, The Rockmelons and X are familiar to many Aussie rock enthusiasts today while others on this compilation faded into oblivion as quickly as they appeared.
One regret I have with this album (which I picked up from a garage sale) is the missing bonus single that came with the album (see sticker on front cover) and there is no indication as to which band supplied the Mystery Single.

Appendum: Since making this post , I have learn't that the Mystery Single varied from album to album, and consisted of singles released by Method Records at that time, and were probably taken from surplus stock.
The range of musical styles on this compilation ranges from new wave, punk, surf-pop to ska. I have managed to source some info on each band but struggled to locate pictures for each. Some photos were taken from the inner sleeve, and are of poor quality.
Paul Kelly
Songwriter singer Paul Kelly captures Australia in his songs the way Bruce Springsteen or Ray Davies of the Kinks have encapsulated their homelands, and he does it with the musical energy and diversity of Elvis Costello. Kelly was born in Adelaide in 1955. After school he wandered around Australian for a few years, working odd jobs, writing poetry, and thinking about a career as a short story writer. Somewhere along the line, already in his late teens, he picked up a guitar. Kelly made his public debut singing the Australian folk song "Streets of Forbes" to a Hobart audience in 1974, and two years later, he moved to Melbourne to join R&B pub band the High Rise Bombers. With a large lineup and three songwriters, the band's splintering was inevitable, Kelly forming his own group, Paul Kelly and the Dots.

Kelly immediately established himself as his peers' favorite songwriter. On nights off, Melbourne's musicians went to see him. He also had a big fan at Mushroom Records. One of the company's PR people locked herself in a room, refusing to come out until Mushroom signed Paul Kelly & the Dots. The result was two roots rock albums, Talk and Manila, that Kelly himself was never completely happy with, for he was a perfectionist. By late 1984, Kelly had broken up the Dots and moved to Sydney, where he recorded a defining solo album called 'Post'. The featured single on this compilation "From St.Kilda to Kings Cross" first appeared on the LP.
Without a record contract and no real idea how the album was going to be released, Post was recorded over two weeks on a shoestring budget, delivering the essence of Paul Kelly in a loosely structured song cycle signposting Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney place names the way Springsteen speaks of New Jersey. On the strength of that album, Mushroom picked up Kelly's contract again, and the singer formed a new group, Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls (a reference to Lou Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side").

In September 1986, Kelly's songwriting skills spilled over four sides of the 14-song double album Gossip. Recorded in just a month, the classic Australian rock album attained gold sales and produced the hit singles "Darling It Hurts" and "Before Too Long." The album included three re-recorded songs from Post. Gossip was also the record that introduced Kelly to American audiences when it was released by A&M Records in July 1987, edited down to a 15-song single album. In the meantime, the group returned to the studio to record a collection of 14 new Kelly originals for its second Australian album, Under the Sun. To avoid misunderstandings, the group changed its name to Paul Kelly & the Messengers with the release of July 1989's 'So Much Water, So Close to Home' album. The new album was produced by Scott Litt of R.E.M. notoriety and its songs were colored by American influences and experiences. After one more album, Comedy, Kelly decided the group had gone as far as it could, and to avoid the risk of repeating themselves, he dissolved the Messengers with a farewell tour.
The Skolars
Band members were: Madeline Chase (Vocals), Matthew Myerscough (Guitar and vocals), Stuart Cook (Drums), David Seeney (Guitar, harmonica), Cameron Bennell (Bass) and Cameron Wright (Keyboards)

Formed in 1981, Australia's Skolars started life as a ska band but soon evolved into a more broadly-based guitar-pop outfit. They played and recorded throughout the 1980's & released a string of singles, along with their 1986 mini-album 'Next to the Oyster'
Madeline Chase was their lead singer, they toured extensively throughout Australia and played in the inner city of Sydney’s most established venues, they were supported by radio airplay and were regular features on the independent charts, receiving promising reviews from Sounds U.K. and Rolling Stone magazines, described as power–pop the band moved from ballads to more up beat dance songs that were melodic and catchy.
The following extract was taken from a newspaper article by Mark Carey, entitled 'Skolars - Pearls By Chance' (thanks to Skolars Facebook page)
1986 has been a good year for the Skolars - probably their best. After the single "No Room For Happiness" and their contribution to this compilation and another called 'On The waterfront', they have released their five-track mini-album on the waterfront label, making it their third release for the year.
Next To The Oyster' combines the gentle, melodic pop which the Skolars have refined
over the years with a confidence and resonance under-achieved on previous efforts. It may be that more than anything, it is for want of ambition that recognition has escaped them in the past.
"I think we've always had the ambition", counters guitarist
and songwriter Matthew Myerscough. "Now it's more the application and the organisation, having good management and benefiting from our experiences over the past few years".

The past five years, in fact - during which the Skolars have worn off their initial status as inner-city ska favourites, undergone breakup and reformation, more personal changes, too many gigs to remember and a handful of Indie singles, later to emerge this year as one of the city's brightest pop hopes.......
.......Undoubtedly, "No Room To Happiness" - that haunting tale of domestic violence released earlier this year on Method (records) - was a st
ep in the right direction. And so unusual for a band to write a 'political' song that doesn't simply mouth the predictable cliches of Reagan, Russia and impending destruction, when 'home is where the heartache is'. "It's funny you should say that", say Matthew. "It shouldn't be unusual. Basically the music came first and it had a country feel, so I felt it needed lyrics that matched. If you listen to Tommy Wynette and people like that, that's what they sing about." "Broken homes, broken hearts", adds Madaleine......
The band is still active today with all original band members (see YouTube clip)
The Double O's
The Double O's (Darlings of the Northern Beaches) band members were:
Louise Beckett (vocals), Ian Harding (lead guitar), Hayden Horne (rhythm guitar), Dave Stoneman (bass), Ronnie Welsh (drums) later, replaced by Scott McRae, Meg Brainsky (keyboards)

Lead singer of the Double O's, Louise Beckett, has sung and toured professionally with cover bands, original bands and duos, in a wide range of musical styles. She has performed in, and choreographed, corporate cabaret and theatre restaurant shows, and written and recorded corporate jingles as well as her own songs.
Louise started singing at family functions at a very young age when her father, a singer and jazz musician, would drag her up to entertain the extended family. Louise studied jazz and
classical dancing and then in her teenage years, began learning to play the guitar and would spend her time writing poetry and song lyrics.

At 19, Louise started singing in her first band, “The Double O’s”, playing mostly original “surf rock and reggae” style music. The Double O’s developed a huge following around Sydney’s northern beaches and toured regularly up and down the eastern seaboard of NSW and QLD.
The Double O’s released one E.P and two singles.
The most notable “We Can Overcome”, was selected to be on this compilation "Sound of Sydney Volume 3” alongside artists such as Paul Kelly, The Rockmelons and The Skolars.
Following the break up of the Double O’s, half of the band went on to form “The Gold Tops”, a 60’s and R'n'B cover band. The Gold Tops played extensively throughout Sydney’s alternate / cult venues of the time.
The following is an extract by the Double O's taken from the linear notes on this compilation album
The DOUBLE O's are one of Sydney's underground bands who only show their heads in town in between touring the east coast of Australia.
This song is one of our more dow
n to earth compositions and was written by Louise and Ian and isn't cut to change the world but maybe make people think more.
Because I liked the track "We Can Overcome", I have chosen to include their earlier single "He's Not There / Standover " as the extra Mystery Single for this post. Sounding a little like the B52's, the Double O's sing catchy '60s-inflected pop with overtones of fun, carefree surf-music, with the era's prevalent garage influences and an essence of Ska.
Thanks to Bristolboy at My Lifes a Jigsaw for this early single
Happy Hate Me Nots
Band members were: Paul Berwick (Guitar, Vocals), Peter Lennon (bass), Tim McKay (guitar), Mark Nicholson (Drums)

The Happy Hate Me Nots emerged from the Sydney indie garage punk scene in the mid 1980's.
Much loved stalwarts of the late 80s, Sydney pub scene, at one point it seemed that the Happy Hate Me Nots were destined for success outside Australia. Graduating from Sydney’s legendary Waterfront Records, the band signed a deal with San Francisco’s Rough Trade Records and had their first album, “Out” released in the US. Unfortunately things didn’t work out. They released a final EP and essentially ceased activity until late 2006 when the band reformed for a sold out show at Sydney’s Annandale Hotel. Coinciding with this was the release of an anthology, The Good That’s Been Done. With a sound that borrowed from the power pop scene, the band was also inspired by Bob Marley and the heavier aspects of Australian rock and roll.

The roots of the Happy Hate Me Nots lie in Positive Hatred, a Civic Hotel era Sydney punk band, who performed their Clash and Stiff Little Fingers inspired originals to a bunch of third generation punks looking for kicks. Following the demise of that band, Paul Berwick and Positive Hatred drummer Neil Toddie, joined up with pals Peter Lennon (bass) and Tim McKay (guitar) in 1983, to form hi-energy pop band the Happy Hate Me Nots. Toddie would later leave and be replaced by future Toys Went Beserk drummer Mark Nicholson. Nicholson and Lennon would both depart in 1986, replaced by Mick Searson (drums) and Christian Houllemare, formerly bassist for French band Bad Brains - no, not the US crossover hardcore-reggae group - not long after he had relocated to Australia.
Drawing influence from The Jam, The Sound, The Clash and a variety of other mod, punk and post-punk influences, the Happy Hate Me Nots would then produce a succession of passionate power pop recordings including the classics Salt Sour & Brighton, Don't Move Too Far and Praise For Fortune, all released on the burgeoning Waterfront record label, home to contemporaries The Eastern Dark, Ups & Downs, Hard-Ons and Ratcat.

The band's only full-length album 'Out' was released in August 1988 and the Happy Hate Me Nots found their first (and only) American release via influential independent label Rough Trade around the same time. A restructure within that label at their San Francisco base, however, reduced the likelihood of a planned US tour, which unfortunately slowed the band's momentum. A final single "I Could See It Coming" and then mini-album 'A Place to Live' would follow in 1991, before what can only be called a premature retirement took place.
The Hate Me Nots had shaped their sound in the mid 80's period when a new rock beast was growing worldwide but had yet to become embraced by a more mainstream audience. The resulting 'Indie Crossover' which helped the success of bands like The Hummingbirds, Ratcat and You Am I, had not yet occurred, but the The Hate Me Nots were part of the Australian contribution to that magic moment. We can now pay respect to these innovators by giving them a presence in today's market.
Band members: Ian Rilen (Bass), Steve Lucas (Guitar, Vocals), Cathy Green (Drums)

X was an Australian punk rock band, formed in Sydney in 1977 and led by the late Ian Rilen. The band has split and reformed several times. Although X has had several members, its sound has been defined by two distinctive elements: Rilen's basslines and Steve Lucas's guitar. Drummer Cathy Green has also been a frequent member of the band since 1984.
Rilen was also a founding member of bluesy hard rockers Rose Tattoo. During X's first hiatus (1980–83), he formed the post punk outfit Sardine v, with his then wife, Stephanie Rilen. As of 2004, Rilen had settled on a fairly stable line up of his current project, Ian Rilen and the Love Addicts, who included Cathy Green on bass. The band have also issued a CD, "Passion Boots & Bruises."

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, punk rockers X labored through a quintessential punk existence; banned from playing venues, harassed by the police, and suffering through several lineup changes -- including the untimely death of guitarist Ian Krahe -- they eventually achieved legendary status after years of performing. Formed by bassist Ian Rilen, who had left Rose Tattoo in 1977, X initially started life as Evil Rumours. Composed of vocalist Steve Lucas, guitarist Ian Krahe, and drummers Steve Cafiero and Eddie Fisher, they began playing Sydney punk rock hangouts before the unfortunate death of Krahe, who died in his sleep in May 1978. Only three demo tracks survive with Krahe's work which were later released on the 1985 Aberrant punk compilation Why March When You Can Riot? Geoff Holmes took up Krahe's duties only to be replaced by Peter Coutanche in early 1979. He left soon after, and the band, now a three-piece, released the single "I Don't Wanna Go Out" before their raw and aggressive debut "X-Aspirations" album in 1980. Coutanche rejoined the band, but by mid-1980, X had called it quits.

They reformed in mid-1983 with Rilen, Lucas, and Cafiero and released a cover of John Lennon's "Mother" in November 1984 before relocating to Melbourne where Cathy Green replaced Cafiero. In early 1985, X released their second album, 'At Home With You', a more polished affair than their first apocalyptic effort. The next five years saw the band's live reputation grow and they were often joined on stage by bluesman Chris Wilson. Their third single, a cover of Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby," was released in July 1987. Their third album, And More (1989), was dedicated to Steve Cafiero, who had died in December 1988.

The group disbanded for a second time, but the X legend would not die and U.S. label Amphetamine Reptile released X-Aspirations to the North American market in 1993, spurring Rilen and Lucas to revive X with new drummer Stefan Berg. X continued playing on an irregular basis with Cathy Green and supported the Damned during their Australian tour in April 1997.
The featured track "All Over Now" comes from their 2nd album 'At Home With You' which was released in 1985. X never really went away and were last sighted in 1999, doing a support to Rose Tattoo in Sydney followed by a brief run of Melbourne dates, and then returning back to Sydney in 2010 (see poster above).
By the way, if you are wondering, X-means never having to say goodbye. Aztec Records have released some of their earlier live material on the CD "X-Purts. The 1977 Recordings"
.The Amazing Woolloomooloosers
Band members were Rockin Peter Ward (Vocals), Missy Chic (Vocals), Bruce Belmondo (Guitar), Dave Bong (Drums), Keith Claringbold III (Bass), Leslie Hammond (Keyboards) and Michael Shye (Guitar).

During the early 80's The Amazing Woolloomooloosers became one of the more popular bands working the inner city circuit in Sydney. Basically a sixties influenced covers band with the ability to do more original material, the Woolies stood out partly because they included more than a few Australian classics in their repertoire and they knew that Elvis was the one and only King. and sowed the required respect. "You Stole My Love" came from four demos the band recorded at Trackdown Studios in October, 1985.
This band’s only single released in 1986 was “Come On Down To My Boat” which was a cover of the 1967 hit by Every Mother’s Son. The band reformed in 1989 to do a few shows.
For their one and only single "Come On Down To My Boat", see OzzieMusicman

Band members were: Yukiko Davis (Vocals), Paul Howarth (Bass), Glen Beaton (Drums), Wayne Daniels (Guitar, Vocals), Pat Maloney (Keyboards)

Shikira developed out of a band from Southern Sydney, Triple Entente and Camras en Paris. Triple Entente released a 4 track E.P 'Whispers To The World' in 1984 and it was one of the best independent releases of that year. Track titles were "Images For Real", "Lolita", "Just A Whisper" and "Girl in the Chapel." Shikira was a five-piece band and had a modern pop-funk sound. Wayne Daniels, the band's songwriter was one of Sydney's most underrated songwriters. "Through The Fire" / " "Let You Go" was released as a single by Method Records in March, 1986

The Rockmelons
Band members were: Bryon Jones (keyboards), Sandi Chick (Vocals), John Kenny (Vocals), Peter Blakely (Vocals), Ray Medhurst (Keyboards), Geoffrey Stapleton (keyboards, Guitar), Vincent Dale (keyboards), Jonathon Jones (Keyboards), Stephen Allkins (Bass), Peter Kennard (Guitar, Percussion).

The Rockmelons, often referred to as the Rockies, are an Australian Pop/Dance/R&B/Soul group formed in 1983 in Sydney. They are based around Bryon Jones, his brother Jonathon Jones and Raymond Medhurst.
They had two Top Five hit singles in the early 1990s with "Ain't No Sunshine" and "That Word (L.O.V.E.)", both sung by Deni Hines who joined late in the piece.
If there's any justice in the music world, some of it must lie in the runaway success enjoyed this year by Sydney's most credible pop-funk band, The Rockmelons.
After continually being told they were "too black" to ever be popular in Australia, their debut LP 'Tales of the City', not only became the number one LP in Sydney, but achieved the position within the first week of release. In six weeks, the record had "gone gold". Sales stand at around the 40,000 mark.
Heavily influenced by crack US funk outfits like The Gap Band (whose Burn Rubber On Me bassline they admit stealing for the track Money Talks) and Zapp, the album, on the quasi-independent Truetone label, showcases the by-now familiar Rockmelons brand of spring-heeled dancefloor pop. And despite a certain sameness in parts, it stands up well against its nearest peer - an English white soul generally turned predictable and insipid.
Heavily featured is the band's most obvious trademark, the vocoder, the electronic voice distorter most commonly associated with one of their heroes, Zapp's Roger Troutman, though they say they started using the device in their early days simply because none of them could sing.
Since the days when they were just a party band, some of the country's finest singers have been associated with them: Sandi Chick, on their debut single, "Time Out (For Serious Fun)" - featured here, Peter Blakeley, now signed to Capitol Records in the US, and current lead singer John Kenny. Not to mention Wendy Matthews, one of their two part-time female singers who sings the lead on the album's Curtis Mayfield composition, Jump.
Surprisingly, the only Australian band they claim any affinity with is The Reels - "they have a bizarreness, a genuinely fresh approach to what they do," said Jones. Nevertheless, the Rockmelons' success, like that of Big Pig, can be seen as part of a shift in consciousness in local audiences in recent years, a challenge to the old music industry shibboleth (still widely clung to) about Australians only liking guitar-based rock'n'roll.
The Rockmelons' commercial breakthrough came with their version of the Al Green song Rhymes, which, though stonewalled by radio in the early stages, entered the singles charts on the back of club and TV play.

.Fiction Romance
Band Members were Prue Rheuben (Vocal), Tracey Allen (Keyboards, Vocals), Anthony Perrott (Guitar), Glen Pattison (Drums), Fabian Byrne (Bass)

Sydney Synth Pop band initially but moved to a more traditional guitar based sound.
After releasing their first single in 1984 "All Of This Is New" their drummer left just when live work and promotion was producing results. Some five months and three drummers later a new drummer settled in. During this break they recorded the featured single "If You Believe In Love" at Paradise Studios with David Price. Straight after this and probably due to too many late night sessions, two members contracted glandular fever which put the whole band on hold for two more months. At the end of this period the band then discovered their booking agency had dropped them. However, Fiction Romance still continued on and finally released another single in 1988 called "Troubled World" and their debut album on Method records called 'Marching Orders', perhaps being a dig at their old booking agency!
When Fiction Romance finally called it a day, Prue Rheuben went on to sing with Lunar Sea Boatmen in the mid 1990’s. From there she went on to join the Forsberg Foundation who played around the pub circuit in Sydney up until recently, but now sings with an acoustic cover band called The Locals, with Jamie Forsberg and Ian Purdie who were also previous members of the Lunar Sea Boatmen.
Single Gun Theory
Single Gun Theory was an Australian band formed in 1986 and were made up of Jacqui Hunt (vocals), Pete Rivett-Carnac and Kath Power (samplers / keyboards).

They had a typical early 80's synthesizer sound - synth sampling, drum machines and beautiful ethereal female vocals. The trio, originally based in Sydney, released their debut album 'Exorcise This Wasteland' in 1987 on the Canadian label Nettwerk Productions, and featured the single "Raise My Soul" (see cover below).
'Like Stars In My Hands' followed in 1991 and was inspired by Pete and Jacqui's travels through India, Kashmir, Turkey and south-east Asia. Critically acclaimed worldwide, the album achieved Top 40 success in Australia and became one of the top ten dance albums of 1992. The album established a strong and eclectic fan base, including musician David Byrne and Australian film director Peter Weir.
Single Gun Theory then composed the soundtrack to Kriv Stenders' award-winning documentary film Motherland. Their music also appeared in the feature films The Heartbreak Kid and Reckless Kelly; and they wrote the theme music for ABC-TV's national arts program Review and SBS-TV's Nomad. They contributed music to numerous other film and video projects and also remixed artists for Sony Music Australia and other established labels.
'Flow, River Of My Soul' followed in 1994, "Flow" won the band thousands of new fans around the world and earned ARIA nominations for best independent album and best dance album.
In 2000, the band completed the score for the Samantha Lang film, The Monkey's Mask, receiving an APRA nomination for best soundtrack album. Since then, Pete and Kath have both started families, and in 2002 Pete moved to Singapore with his wife and two young daughters. At present the band is not actively working together. Pete is involved in various projects unrelated to Single Gun Theory, including production and co-writing with other artists.
Surprise Surprise
Band members were: Alex(ander) Macdonald (guitar, vocals), Glenn Blackley (bass), David Welch (keyboards) and Lance Muir (drums, vocals).

Formed out of Sydney's neo-psychedelic 'Surprise Surprise' in the mid 1980's in Sydney, The Surprise played 1960's British Invasion pop covers, as well as quirky originals in a Christian vein.
Formed in 1983, Surprise Surprise was a mod-pop-ska band and were sometimes referred to as 'The Surprise'.
The band released three 7" singles. "Sounds of Now" (1983), "Anguished Heart" (Apr 1985), and "Cried All My Tears" (Feb 1986). They also released a cassette-only album 'Welcome to the Snake Village' in 1985. The band's later members included Alexander MacDonald (vocals, guitar, spoons), David Welch (keyboards, sequencing, backing vocals), Allan Dowthwaite (drums, percussion, sequencing, backing vocals), Charlie Lee (bass, 1986-89), Mal Kiely (bass, sequencing, backing vocals, 1989-91), Lisa Parsons (vocals), Catherine Ryan (vocals).
Soggy Porridge
Band members were: Mark Easton (Vocals, Guitar), Con Murphy (Bass), Tony Cardinal (drums), Jonathan Purcell (Guitar)

Soggy Porridge was formed in 1982, out of the ashes of punk bands The Kelpies and Suicide Squad. Soggy Porridge were at the forefront of the Australian post-punk movement. After recording a demo the first single "How can I tell you" was released after only a hand full of gigs, it was critically acclaimed and picked up major airplay on triple J. In 1983, "Slurp Track" was released a 5 track EP, the band was also included on triple J's live at the wireless! Guitarist Paul Spooner passed away and it took 8 months to find new guitarist Jonothan Purcell, which gave the band a new sound!
In 1984, a demo was recorded but never released! In 1985, "Call my name" was released but failed to make any impact, even though it was far superior to anything the band had done before, In 1986, "Pull it all down" was recorded but never released! the band split and Mark went on to form the Candy Harlots! All unreleased demos, singles and the complete live at the wireless sessions are to be released on a new CD called 'Broken Romance' on Plastic Donut records in Dec 2006.
.This post consists of FLAC taken from my vinyl copy and includes full album artwork (thanks to Bob at stripedsunlight.blogspot for his front cover scan, as my copy was torn). In fact, if you want to get hold of the first two volumes, you'll find them on Bob's blog Vol.1 - Vol.2). Select photos of all bands on this compilation are also included. I have also included two of the mystery bonus singles that came with this compilation - Double O's "He's Not There / Standover" and Tuesday Piranha's "Stop All You're Talking / Telephone Disease" (thanks to Dave Hulme for the later).
Track Listing
01 - From St.Kilda To Kings Cross (Paul Kelly)
02 - No Room For Happiness (The Skolars)
03 - We Can Overcome (The Double O's)
04 - What Did They Say (Happy Hate Me Nots)
05 - All Over Now (X)
06 - You Stole My Love (The Amazing Woolloomooloosers)
07 - Through The Fire (Shikira)
08 - Time Out For Serious Fun (The Rockmelons)
09 - If You Believe In Love (Fiction Romance)
10 - Raise My Soul (Single Gun Theory)
11 - Cried All My Tears (Surprise Surprise)
12 - Call My Name (Soggy Porridge)
Bonus Singles
13 - He's Not There (The Double O's)
14 - Standover (The Double O's)

15 - Stop All Your Talking, You're A Bore (Tuesday Piranha)
16 - Telephone Disease (Tuesday Piranha)
17 - Pretty Pretty (The Skolars)
18 - European Holiday (The Skolars)
19 - Suspicious Minds (1986 Live) (Amazing Woolloomooloosers)
Sound Of Sydney FLACs  (554Mb)  New Link 02/01/2024

Friday, June 15, 2012

Carole King - Tapestry (One Hour Radio Special 2008)

(U.S 1961 - Present)
Carole King is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. While she has been a successful songwriter for decades, her singing career and fame peaked during the first half of the 1970s.
It wasn’t that King had never experienced #1 in her career. By the time 1971 arrived, she had written four #1's, her first being the Shirelles classic “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (co-written with Gerry Goffin).
But as a solo artist the best she could muster was a #22 single in 1962, a tune she’d written for Bobby Vee but recorded herself, “It Might as Well Rain Until September.”
“It’s Too Late/I Feel the Earth Move” changed all that. Released in April 1971, it spent a total of 15 weeks on the chart, including five at #1 starting in June. The album from whence it came, of course, is one of the biggest chart successes of all time, sitting at #1 for 15 weeks and selling over 15,000,000 copies.

Tapestry was Carole King's second solo album and is a landmark singer-songwriter album. It also marked a move into hit songs that discussed very adult aspects of relationships in the early 1970s.
"It's Too Late" was the first single from the album and went to #1. It also received a Grammy Award for Record of the Year while the album won for Album of the Year.
has gone on to be one of the biggest selling albums of all time spending 15 weeks at #1 and over 300 weeks on the album chart in general.
The picture used for the cover of Tapestry (see above), according to photographer Jim McCrary who captured King, was taken at a Laurel Canyon house where King lived on Wonderland Ave, and not her house at 8815 Appian Way in Laurel Canyon, California. It shows her sitting near old Indian print curtains and holding a tapestry she hand stitched herself. Also in the picture is her cat Telemachus.
This one hour radio special tells the story of Carole King's classic album, Tapestry through its classic songs and insightful interview clips by Carole King, producer Lou Adler, her very close friend Graham Nash (from CSN&Y) and journalist David Wild of Rolling Stone.
Their comments touch on nearly every aspect of the album's production, it's impact on the music industry, Carole King's song writing process, and how her career developed from the Brill Building to Tapestry and beyond. Besides the album tracks, there are also bonus live performances, also featured on her recent 2-CD Legacy Edition of Tapestry released in 2008.
Carole King's music remains an essential part of America's pop consciousness. In 1993 the off-Broadway revue Tapestry: The Music of Carole King evoked the songwriter's biggest hits. A tribute album, 1995's Tapestry Revisited, featured singers such as Celine Dion, Faith Hill, Rod Stewart, and Richard Marx performing songs from King's enduring 1971 record.

This post consists of mp3's (320kps) ripped from my copy of an official 2008 US Sony BMG label 2-track promotional only CD-R acetate and includes full artwork with its custom picture sleeve and cues/details on the back cover. The quality of the recording is excellent and the dialogue /music content is engaging from start to finish. After listening to this radio special, you will be dusting off your trusty copy of Tapestry and giving it a few more spins on your turntable - guaranteed.
Carole King Link (120Mb)   New Link 18/12/2023

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Various Artists - Super Gold - K-Tel (1975)

(Various 70's Artists)
Although '70s Nostalgia has lately been wrung dry of its charm, there are several artifacts from the era that still wield a certain fascination. For any record collector rummaging through a cardboard box of albums at the thrift store, one such relic is the K-Tel Records LP. With its unholy union of hyperbolic album-cover art and AM radio pop hits, K-Tel was an icon of schlock for an entire generation growing up in the '70s and '80s. K-Tel's compilation records of hot hits were very popular at the time, though no self-respecting Led Zeppelin fan would have ever admitted to owning one. Today, an encounter with a K-Tel album inspires one to pause and to wonder: Did we really buy them? And why? Most record collectors would typically flip right past it and move on to the assorted AC/DC LPs.
I for one tended to avoid them as the quality of the pressings were not great, mainly due the length of the material (20 tracks in total with 30mins of music on each side) making them sound somewhat tinny (no bass) and longer tracks were usually shortened.
The K-Tel website features a large gallery of cover art and a newsletter devoted to K-Tel stories, all wrapped up in an appropriately K-Tel-like design.
K-Tel Records was founded in the early 1960s by Winnipeg, Manitoba’s own Philip Kives, who had been successful at selling non-stick fry pans in Atlantic City and in Australia. When he came back to Canada he decided to try his hand at selling record albums. By 1966 K-Tel was releasing dozens of various-artists albums with everything from country to polka to rock. While his idea to squeeze 20 (or more) songs by 20 (or more) artists on one 12" album was not new, he took the concept a couple of steps further–he sold them cheap and he sold them on television.
K-Tel was famous for its TV ads. Back in the 70's you just didn’t hear popular music used when it came to pitching a product on television, so when his commercials would come on you were instantly aware that it wasn’t your typical pitch for a cold medicine or a TV dinner. They would also instantly start off very hard sell. The announcer would catch your ear immediately with an enthusiastic "20 Original Hits, 20 Original Stars," and then you would be reeled in instantly. It was clever.
So why have I collected some of these K-Tel releases? To be honest they are cheap and plentiful, and that’s a lethal combination when you collect anything. You can go into any Opp Shop or Garage Sale and find a box full of them for $1.
So are these records becoming more collectible and are any particular titles worth more than others? Well, it’s funny–serious record collectors will tell you that K-Tel records are 2nd rate when vinyl collecting. I mean, audiophile purists will tell you that the quality sucks or the songs are too condensed and they aren’t worth dropping a needle on them, and that’s fine. However, in spite of all of that, I’ve seen a K-Tel album sell for $100 on eBay, so I guess it's all a matter of what you want to have in your life. There’s instant nostalgia with K-Tel and I’m finding that those who collect them are mostly 50-something baby boomers, just like me.

There have been some great K-Tel compilations, but one of my favourites is this release from 1975 - 'Super Gold'. All tracks on this 20 Original Hits album are just that - hits that we 'Baby Boomers' all remember and grew up with while we were battling through our teenage years.
One other product that K-tel is best known for was their Record Selector. This device allowed you to flick through your albums automatically. TV ads showed LPs mysteriously sorting themselves. "Runs fast OR slow! Stops automatically! Finger Touch Starting!"
As always the reality was more mundane: a black plastic rack, a set of grippers and a half a dozen rubber feet for the base. Setting it up was easy. Albums were wedged into the grippers, linked by catches. Pull the front album towards you, the catch brought the next forward, until all twenty four albums had whizzed by. Once the palpitations had died down you could master advanced features. Like stopping it in mid-flow and removing an album to play. And, er, that's it. Returning the album you'd chosen was even more exciting. Set the Selector in motion, and it stopped - automatically - at the empty place. They even likened the device to a computer ! God help them if Microsoft had marketed them instead......LOL

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this great selection of songs from the early 70's and reminisce the days when the airwaves were prolific with Super Gold Hits.
The rip was taken from my 'near virgin' vinyl (320kps) and includes full album artwork and the Youtube clip for the K-Tel Record Selector, as shown above. (Some information above was sourced from with thanks)
Track Listing
01 - The Night Chicago Died (Paper Lace)
02 - Life (Sherbet)
03 - From The Inside (Marcia Hines)
04 - Piano Man (Billy Joel)
05 - Daniel (Elton John)
06 - You're No Good (Linda Ronstadt)
07 - Mr Natural (Bee Gees)
08 - Bony Maronie (Hush)
09 - When Will I See You Again (The Three Degrees)
10 - Gonna Make You A Star (David Essex)
11 - Kung Fu Fighting (Carl Douglas)
12 - All My Friends Are Getting Married (Skyhooks)
13 - If You Love Me (Olivia Newton-John)
14 - You're The First Last, My Everything (Barry White)
15 - Gee Baby (Peter Shelley)
16 - Loving You (Minnie Riperton)
17 - Blue Angel (Gene Pitney)
18 - Spinning Wheel (Blood Sweat & Tears)
19 - Mamas Little Girl (Linda George)
20 - Denim & Lace (Marty Rhone)

K-Tel Super Gold Link (137Mb)  New Link  05/01/2024

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Richard Clapton - Girls On The Avenue (1975) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1972 - Current)
A former commercial artist, Richard Clapton, started his musical career in the late 60's. Clapton grew up in Sydney in the “swinging” ‘60s before hopping on a plane bound for London and then later to Germany where he wrote his first album. His first album, "Prussian Blue" - was a dense and obscure work which yielded no hit singles - but the young singer / songwriter marked out the perimeter of his creative landscape. It was the beginning of one of the truly enduring careers in Australian music spanning almost 4 decades.
Clapton’s first commercial break through came with the release of "Girls on the Avenue" (1974) that rocketed to #2 on the Australian charts (even though it was originally earmarked as a "B" side), transforming Richard Clapton from obscure folk singer to fully-fledged pop idol in a matter of weeks. Like Americans Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen, Clapton developed a sound based on melodic rock while his lyrics were poetic musings on his state of mind or the state of the nation.
The ‘70’s and ‘80’s saw Clapton cement his place in Australian music history not only with his own albums hitting the charts but also working with other artists and as a record producer. His ’77 released ‘Goodbye Tiger’ has been labelled a landmark in the evolution of Australian music whilst forging close friendships within the Australian music community Richard produced INXS’ second studio album ‘Underneath the Colours’. Members of both INXS and Cold Chisel made appearances on Clapton's Top 10, multi-platinum album ‘The Great Escape’, and have since worked together on various albums and tours.
Throughout his career scaling the globe living, recording and touring abroad, Clapton is securely recognised as one of Australia’s most prolific singer / songwriters as a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame. With an extensive catalogue of classic albums and compilations behind him, he continues to move forward with great success in the studio and on stage as a permanent fixture in Australian music history.
Clapton went on to record and release classic songs for a generation including "I Am An Island", "The Best Years of Our Lives", "Capricorn Dancer", "Glory Road", "Goodbye Tiger", "Get Back to the Shelter", and many, many more. In 2005, he set about making the first acoustic album of his career. Clapton stripped back some of his favourite songs – re-imagining them in a different environment. The result was his 17th album – 'Rewired'.
Today, Clapton is still touring - although he has slowed down from his prolific years in the 70's and 80's, and headlines the annual State Theatre Concerts held in Sydney in August. This year is no exception with a 'Past Hits and Previews Show'- see EmpireTouring for more details.
To get your taste buds going, here is a review from last years performance.

Richard Clapton at the State State Theatre - Sydney (Posted 29/08/2011)
(Featured Review)
We have gone to all the shows at the State since his first show, 35th Anniversary Concert in 2008. The first thing that hits you when you get to your seat is the people around you, men & women in their 40's - 60's. Some, like me with their children, my son is 11 and has not missed a show. He love the music and thinks Richard is cool! The room is full of love, I know it sounds corny but it's true! The stage is always appropriately decorated to relay the theme of the night and when the lights dim to darkness and Richard and the band appear on stage it takes you back when life was less complicated. The night usually starts with an acoustic feel, the hits just keep coming - one after another. If I can use a phrase Richard frequently uses, "Welcome to the party that never ends" is a good description.
During the show, Richard gave us the honor of playing a few of his new songs from his upcoming new album, Wow! I can't wait till it hits the stores - not to mention the promotional tour which follows! A fantastic night!
This post consists of a FLACs taken from my vinyl copy (still in good condition) although the cover is a little worn. Full album artwork is included, along with 2 bonus A-Side single tracks which were also recorded in 1975, but were not included on the album. I have also included the single release of "Girls On The Avenue" which is a shorter version than the one included on the LP, along with label scans for both releases as an A and B side single (thanks to Deutros for the B-Side scan)
This album still remains one of my favourite releases by an Australian Artist.
Track Listing
01 - Girls On The Avenue 3:36
02 - Down The Road 4:14
03 - Blue Bay Blues 4:27
04 - Throw Me Down A Line 3:04
05 - Burn Down Your Bridges 3:48
06 - Rose Wine Cafe 5:20
07 - Ode To A Slowboat 5:36
08 - I Felt For You 3:43
09 - The Ride Out 4:19
[Bonus Tracks]
10 - Please Come Home (A-Side Single) 3:19

11 - I'm Travelling Down The Castlegreagh (A-Side Single) 3:16

12 - Girls On The Avenue (A-Side Single) 3:11
Band Members:
Richard Clapton (Guitar, Vocals)
Red McKelvie (Lead Guitar)
Brian Bethell (Bass)
Tony Ansell (Keyboards)
Dave Ovendon (Drums)
Richard Clapton Link (334Mb)
New Link 11/09/2020