Tuesday, March 16, 2021

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

(Australian 1967 - Present) .

Doug Parkinson is one of the most soulful singers Australia has ever produced. He first started singing with a band called 'The A Sound' but soon graduated to a more professional outfit, forming The Questions in 1967. This band supported The Who and The Small Faces Australian tour in 1968 and were placed second in the finals of the prestigious Hoadleys Battle of the Sounds. This led to appearances in Melbourne and this is where the story really begins. A year later he formed Doug Parkinson in Focus which was the musician’s musicians outfit of the time. The band would later prove to be a benchmark in Australian rock folklore. With this group he recorded the Beatles’ Dear Prudence in 1969 and it topped the charts. Parkinson re-interpreted this masterpiece and made it his own. He followed it up with another spectacular chart topper "Without You". 

The same year they finally won Hoadleys 'Battle of the Sounds' and played to sell out shows around the country. 'In Focus' recorded a third single Baby Blue Eyes which immediately entered the charts but the single died soon after, a casualty of the notorious Record Ban which denied Australian artists airplay. In 1970 he moved to London with a new band Fanny Adams and recorded an album but returned a year later and formed a new In Focus. They packed the clubs and festivals but were kept out of the studio due to contractual restraints. After a two year hard slog with no prospects of recording he made a major decision and went solo. In 1973, Doug took on his first major stage role in the concert production of the Who’s rock opera Tommy. He recorded an album 'No Regrets'. He was involved in a media storm over a political commercial. More touring, this time as a solo performer. A lonely existence. But other roles beckoned.

  Between 1975-1976, he appeared in two shows Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Ned Kelly. A steady stream of music and theatre followed. He collaborated and recorded two tracks for the cult film Stone and had another top ten hit with Everlasting Love [ extract from Doug's Website] . In early 1978, Doug began one of the most successful phases of his rock career when he formed his acclaimed new backing group The Southern Star Band (see below). Back in the fold were his old friends Duncan McGuire and Mark Kennedy, plus Frank Esler-Smith (keyboards; ex-Marcia Hines Band) and Englishman Jim Gannon (guitar; ex-Black Widow, Yellow Dog, Fox). Gannon was later replaced by a young prodigy who went on to become one of Australia's best known guitarists: Tommy Emmanuel. Regarded as one of the hottest ensembles of its day, the Southern Star Band played a smooth but powerful blend of soul, funk, jazz-rock and R&B, and with so much talent involved it's hard to explain why this group failed to fully connect with the general public, other than to point the finger at radio for its continuing lack of interest in local talent. 

Keith Kirwin (guitar, bass, vocals; ex-Avengers) joined in September 1979and during their four-year lifespan the band released four excellent singles -- "The Hungry Years" (July 1978), the superb "I'll Be Around" (January 1979), "In My Life" (April) and "You Ain't Going Nowhere Without Me" (September). "I'll Be Around" charted nationally (#22 in March) A decade after his first hit with a cover of Dear Prudence, Doug Parkinson finally found himself back in the charts with "I'll Be Around", a cover of the song made famous originally by the Spinners. Interestingly though it wasn't the Spinners track that had inspired him. He'd heard Ross Wilson perform it at a nightclub in Kings Cross as was immediately struck by it. It's been a long time favourite of mine. 

. Their Festival album, also called 'I'll Be Around', was a steady seller and received good airplay (especially on Double Jay) but it didn't manage to crack the Top 40 album charts. During the year the band supported Bob Marley & The Wailers on their Australian tour. The following year they supported Bob Marley and the Wailers on what was to be the legendary singer’s last tour. [extract from Milesago] In 1981, Doug recorded a solo album "Heartbeat to Heartbeat" which produced another top 10 hit, "The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore" with vocalist, Broderick Smith. In 1987 co-wrote the score for the surfing film "Wind Warriors". After many years of playing on the stage, Doug rekindled the passion to record again in 2004. His first album after a hiatus of many years became a reality with the help of Sydney stellar musicans Gordon Rytmeister ­ (drums), Leon Gaer (bass), Bill Risby (piano) and David Longo (guitar). 

Doug recorded songs he recalled hearing and loving as a boy laying awake and glued to his bedroom radio somewhere after midnight. The result is a beautiful selection of standards sung by a man with an amazing gift we have all grown up with and loved for over four decades. The album is entitled 'Somewhere After Midnight'. . 
This post features MP3's (320kps) ripped from near virgin vinyl and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD. Select photos and label scans are also included along with a video clip of Doug and his Southern Star Band performing "I'll Be Around" on Countdown in 1979. (Thanks to Micko at Midoztouch for the CD artwork). . 
As a tribute to this legendary Aussie Music icon, I am re-posting with FLACs.  He will be sadly missed. Read more

Track Listing
01 - I'll Be Around
02 - In My Life
03 - Now You're On Your Own
04 - Rainbow In Your Eyes
05 - Soon As Your Thing Is Done
06 - Hungry Years
07 - Riff Raff
08 - Midnite Sky
09 - Lonely
10 - Shuffle Up
11 - I'll Be Around (Live on Countdown 79')
12 - Dear Prudence (Bonus Single)

Band Members
Doug Parkinson (vocals)
Tommy Emmanuel (guitar, vocals)
Frank Esler-Smith (keyboards)
Duncan McGuire (bass)
Mark Kennedy (drums) . 

RIP  Doug Parkinson 15/03/2021



  1. Well do I remember this, although for some reason, I only bought the two singles at the time. Really looking forward to hearing this again - Mr P can sing anything, as far as I am concerned. A legend. Many thanks.

  2. Great tribute repost with FLAC for a singer with soul Thank you and RIP Doug.