Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eloy - Live (1978)

(German 1969 - 1984, 1988-1998, 2009-Current)

Eloy is a German progressive rock band, whose musical style includes symphonic and space rock, the latter theme being more prevalent on earlier albums. Despite their nationality and time period, the band is not generally considered krautrock because of their sound, which has much more in common with English progressive rock groups such as Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Yes.

Founded in 1969 by guitarist Frank Bornemann, the band has endured several line-up changes, with Bornemann being the only consistent member of the group. In the 1980s, after a series of major splits in the group, Bornemann pursued a more commercial direction. Despite attracting a large following in Germany, the band never gained popularity in the United States. However, in later years, former members of the band re-joined, and in 1998 released the album Ocean 2, a return to the classic symphonic progressive rock genre for which the band was well known. 
Bornemann described the origin of the name of the band thus: "The name Eloy is based on the book 'The Time Machine' by H.G. Wells. Wells describes in his book the situation of mankind about 800,000 years later, and 'Eloy' is a human race in his story. The Eloy in Wells' story have made a new start with the help of the time traveler.
In a way, it was a new beginning for the human race. German rock bands in the late 1960s played mainly covers from other bands instead of playing their own compositions. Record deals for German bands were absolutely rare and German bands generally were considered to be second class bands in their own country. At that time it was a strong effort for a German band to come out with only their own compositions. It was a start into an unknown future, and from this point of view, comparable to the human race in Wells' story. That is why I got the idea to name the band 'Eloy'." [extract from wikipedia]

Review 1 (from

In 1978, Eloy released their sole live album, at a time when most progressive bands were either going commercial or altogether disbanding. Eloy however were at the peak of their popularity in their homeland of Germany. The band was famous for elaborate stage shows featuring copious laser lights, dry ice machines and plentiful pyrotechnics. Eloy live sounded so more powerful: strong and flowing guitar work, lush keyboards and great shifting moods.

Live compiles some of the band’s best loved compositions to date and very often, the live versions outshine their studio counterparts. Most of the classic “Ocean” album is represented here (it was recorded during the Ocean promotional tour after all) as well as choice cuts from Dawn, Power and the Passion and the title track from Inside.

The narration from the studio version of “The Dance in Doubt and Fear” is gone and given mostly an instrumental treatment. However, there is some narration on other cuts. The closing track, “Atlantis’ Agony at June 5th-8498, 13 p.m. Gregorian Earthtime” is extended to twenty plus minutes of spaced out bliss and leans towards the cosmic side of compatriots Ash Ra Tempel, Mythos and perhaps Tangerine Dream.

The only significant flaw of the album is that it feels a little too cut and paste. Each track fades with Frank Bornemann cheerfully eing “danke schon!” so that the songs generally don’t segue or flow very naturally. On the other hand, Live is not at all a bad place to introduce a novice to the music of Eloy. The sound quality is fine given the age of the master tapes.

Review2 (by Cedomir Bjeletic)

One of the hidden treasures from the Prog island, recorded in 1978 on tour, on the waves of unique and excellent “Ocean”, it captured Eloy in a conceptual concert based on story of rise and fall of Atlantis, as a reminder of what could happen in the end to us all. Lineup that would make one more progressive gem, 1979 “Silent Cries and Mighty Echoes”, have made an ethereal atmosphere, saved on this record. Spoken introductions, long instrumental passages based mostly on keyboard sound together with melodic bass lines and crying guitar solos, and simple but captivating singing with mystical and unreal lyrics, carries listener to voyage to outer space of mind.

In music of Eloy, all musicians and instruments have their leading and supporting roles. Even bass and drums are used not to be rhythm section, but to contribute in making a spacey atmosphere. Songs are interpreted close to studio versions, and I believe there are two main reasons for that. First is that studio versions are already long enough that there is no need to prolong it by unnecessary improvisations, and the second was intention that lineup that recorded studio version must be in position to play it live on scene, for it is one of the characteristics of progressive music. The only thing that may be under someone’s expectations is singing in English with strong German accent, but that’s how the story goes when someone sings in foreign language. Lineup present on this live record is one that is responsible for great studio issues in 1976-1979 period, with only guitar player left from past times and who would waves the Eloy flag to present times.

The record starts with first half of 1977 “Ocean” album. “Poseidon’s Creation” opens with brief spoken prologue, not present on studio version, and after 5 minutes of instrumental introduction to song and 3 minutes of sung introduction to story, ends with 3 minutes guitar solo. “Incarnation of Legos” is introduced with 4 minutes of mutually sung and spoken words, and after 2 minutes keyboard solo, ends with 3 minutes keyboard and vocal part. Music continues with two tracks from 1976 “Dawn” album. Keyboard and bass dominated “The Sun-song” is prolonged 4 minutes with German spoken introduction, while “The Dance in Doubt and Fear” contains some fine guitar and keyboard soloing. The middle part ends with classic “Mutiny” track from 1975 “Power and the Passion” album, and with “Gliding into Light and Knowledge” keyboard and vocal song from “Dawn”, flawlessly leading into more guitar soloing “Inside” from 1973 “Inside” album. Record concludes with last and longest track from “Ocean”, “Atlantis’ Agony” that starts with 10 minutes spacey keyboards intro interrupted occasionally with few spoken words, and after some fine bass supported chanting and keyboard soloing, ends with keyboards harmonies, guitar soloing, singing that once again reminds us that “we are particles in the ocean”, and finally keyboard and guitar conclusion.

I must say that I had luck to met a friend at the start of 80’s who introduced many German bands to me, like Eloy, Jane, Grobschnitt, Brainticket, Birth Control, Nektar, Epitaph, and to this very day, those music stayed as something special, quite good, and at the same moment quite different from other progressive groups. And among them, Eloy always had a special treatment. That’s the reason why this review is somehow longer, for music absolutely deserves it.

I recommend this record to everyone who already likes 70’s sounding Eloy, for it successfully captured band alive at the peak of creativity. For ones who are new to Eloy, first try albums from 1973-1979 period, and then if you like them, try this one.

Having bought a few of their albums in the 70's I was ecstatic to hear that Eloy had released a double live album in 1978.  However, none of the import shops in Melbourne had stock and I was desperate to obtain a copy. Luckily, a friend of mine was going to Germany for a holiday with his family and I promptly asked him a favour to pick up a copy of Eloy Live for me while he was there.  The album cost me $35 which was a small fortune in those days (especially with the poor exchange rates that the Australian dollar was getting) but it was well worth it when I finally listened to it.  In fact, German pressings were always very expensive from the Import Shops (as were Japanese pressings) however the quality of the pressings were always superior to those made in Australia, making the extra cost worthwhile.
So, here is an MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my treasured vinyl copy and includes full album artwork plus label scans.  This is a great live album and should not be missed.

Track Listing
01 -  Poseidon’s Creation (11:50)
02 -  Incarnation Of Logos (08:50)
03 - The Sun-Song including Poem (08:30)
04 - The Dance In Doubt And Fear (07:40)
05 - Mutiny (10:00)
06 - Gliding Into Light And Knowledge (04:20)
07 - Inside (06:30)
08 - Atlantis’ Agony At June 5th 8498, 13 p.m. Gregorian Earthtime (21:00)

Eloy are:
Frank Bornemann (Guitar, Vocals),
Klaus-Peter Matziol (Bass),
J├╝rgen Rosenthal (Drums, Percussion),
Detlev Schmidtchen (Keyboards, Synthesizer)

Eloy Link (188Mb)  New Link 12/10/2023

Saturday, January 26, 2013

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Australia Day: The Happy Hour Brigade (1977)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what's great about Australia and being Australian. It's the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation. It's the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.

With respect to Australia's Music Industry, we can be very proud of the contributions that our Aussie Musos have made in entertaining people from every nation with music and song, with many of our artists achieving world wide aclaim.

Back in the mid 70's, Aussie Rock was really starting to take off in the States, with artists like Billy Thorpe, Brian Cadd and Russell Morris becoming household names while working overseas. 
The Happy Hour Brigade
It was around this time that a group of Aussie expatriates working in Los Angeles decided to get together and record an impromptu ditty based on the American 'Happy Hour' for which they were christened 'The Happy Hour Brigade'. 

The clip was recorded in L.A in Jan 1977 with Daryl Cotton (ex Zoot), Steve Kipner (producer and song writer for Olivia Newton John), Ray Burgess (host of Flashez way back in 1977), Billy Thorpe (aka Aztecs), Brian Cadd, Russell Morris and Rick Springfield (ex Zoot). 

A lament for all the Aussie expats, the song was never released, however, a video recording of the performance was made and has been preserved on YouTube.  Rick Springfield and Billy Thorpe were some of many Aussie rockers who moved to LA in the 70's to live. Most of the others in the clip came home once they got their Green Card work permit. 

Ray Burgees, Billy Thorpe and Brian Cadd - Drinkin' Tinies

                                                              Main Chorus

Well we flew in from Australia, we were aussie one and all, and we thought that we were poets so we wrote it on the wall.

Now all of us expatriates, we thought we'd form this club, cause Los Angeles is a long long way from the Ettamogah pub...

Well it seems that in America, it is the thing to do, go drinking in the afternoon, although that's nothing new!

But they do it with a difference, and they do it with some class, but the drinks are cheap from 4 till 6, knock you on your ass

So, for this post I have included both an MP3 rip of the Happy Hour Brigade lament plus the Videoclip itself. Also included are screen shots of the boys in action, but nothing quite compares to watching the videoclip itself. 

'Happy Australia Day' From The Happy Hour Brigade

Happy Hour Brigade Link (24Mb)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Machinations - Big Music (1985) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1980- 1989, 1997)
This band was once quoted as being a band ahead of their time. Starting in 1985 this was dance music at its best. I first heard of them while watching “countdown” on Saturday nights and loved their sound and style. The album “Big Music” had a number of hits including “My Hearts On Fire”,”You Got Me Going Again” and “No Say In It” which is my pick on the album with its punchy beats and rhythmic guitars. The Machination's Myspace Page is a great site to visit and has some great songs to listen to… one of those songs is “cars and planes” off a later album and is very hard to find.

Machination's Tim Doyle and Tony Starr first started writing together at the end of 79. Using varied 'electronic gadgetry' (drum machines, synths) their initial musical ideas were realised. Upon the return of old school friend Fred Loneragan from overseas, lyrics were soon written and they had a strong vocalist. This original nucleus of the band played their first gigs in the inner city of Sydney in early 1980. The band were not so concerned with commercial aspirations but with the desire to perform for an audience. Their first show was at Garibaldis, a punk venue disguised as a restaurant in Darlinghurst. This was followed by residencies at the Heritage Hotel in King's Cross and at the Rock Gardens down the road in William St They had played only a few shows in all before they were joined onstage by another enlisted schoolmate, Nero Swan on bass guitar, although their drummer remained a Roland CR-78 for the next couple of years.
With the support of the then 2JJ radio station, the band recorded some of their songs at Annandale's Trafalger Studios with Lobby Loyde at the helm in November 1980. These sessions produced the single "Average Inadequacy" and their debut self titled E.P They were recorded essentially live in the studio with little production and released on the Phantom label, headed by Jules Normington (soon to become a trusted friend). Again with the support of 2JJJ both releases received plenty of airplay and dramatically increased the bands following.
Management comprised it's founder Lobby Loyde, an accountant, receptionist and the various tour managers of the bands it managed, Sunnyboys, Machinations, TableWaiters and Local Product. Sunnyboys were a huge and immediate success with the Mach's hard on their heels. TableWaiters, very much a band of their times with great players, lots of synths and piled-on hair held great potential but disbanded early after their initial releases held limited appeal and were met with indifference from the public. Local Product, a great little hard aussie rock group had a similar fate and disbanded early, a great shame as in this writers opinion anyway, they could have become one of the great Australian rock bands. The band were joined briefly around 1982 by drummer Henri Downes (he appears in the "Jumping the Gap" filmclip ). Warren Maclean (drums on Big Music) joined in 1983 and remained untill 1986 when he left the band for the band I'm Talking.  Maclean was followed by Kiwi John Mackay, from Nick Conroys band - Castles in Spain. Mackay was the final addition to the Mach's line-up and remained till Machinations split in 89.
L-R: Nick, Fred, Tim, Tony
The Mach's residency at the Rock Gardens proved fortuitous for the band. The venue was located across the road from JJJ's then studios on William St. Any band that played more than once there was likely to be noticed (particularly if they were any good). It was an unofficial proving ground for many of Sydneys unsigned bands. Pel Mel, Laughing Clowns, JMM, Scapaflow, Surfside Six, the Thought Criminals all received JJJ attention. "Average Inadequacy" was a huge JJJ favourite. The song remained in their Hottest 100 well into the early 90's  [extract from Machination's Myspace Page]
Album Review
('Big Movers' Countdown Magazine, July 1985 p22-23) 
Larger than life and twice as exciting, Tim and Fred of the Machinations detail the blood, sweat and tears behind their 'epic' second album.  
It's Big. And pretty diverse. "There's a bit of reggae and a few other surprises", says Fred Loneragan. "We wanted it to sound epic - we wanted that epic sound and we wanted to get it pretty raw and loud and brash. Big noises" elaborates Tim Doyle.
The singer and guitarist from Sydney'sfunky Machinations are describing their new album "Big Music". Big hopes are pinned on this, the band's second LP. It's certainly an impressive package - full of catchy sounds, the latest production tricks and perhaps most important of all - good songs. But recording is not always a harmonious process as the chaps recall.
"There was a big fight about the melody in 'My Heart's On Fire'says Tim. "While we were in the studio we kept changing the song. One minute it was a sixties rocker, a hundred-miles-an-hour thing, and the next it was slowed right down..." Fred remembers. "It almost turned out to be a surfin' sixties song...I spent four days in an isolation chamber to come up with the lyrics. "And every time he came out", Tim continues, "we'd say, No - that's not right - back in you go!"

There seems to be some interesting ideas ideas lurking beneath the surface of the single - exactly what are those all about? Fred and Tim put their heads together "Well you tell me Tim"..."It's a secret Fred".  Tim eventually makes the announcement, "It's about a man who rules the world and every time you hear his words", he says quoting from the lyrics "Your hearts on fire".
"The other day a journalist from Queensland told me that he thought it was about Joh Byelke and I said "For you. I'll chnage it to Joh". But if you think about it, it applies to any dictator really.
An ageing nuclear-happy cowboy is the obvious one to come to mind, "That's what I was going to say", Tim admits, "But I didn't want to say it. He's never married, soyou can make up someone to fit - it could be your father, your boyfriend..."
The group are rather happy with the clip to "My Heart's On Fire", but they just can't quite explain to my satisfaction why it features the unlikely settings of "a coalfield and a sausage factory"
It has nothing to do with Ronald Reagan or Joh Bjelke" says Fred, "if it has a theme then it's just about someone who's trying to break through..Look.."
He displays some nasty scars on his hands that he got during the filming, "from stuntwork-and falling over. I had to  do all this flying through the air and diving into ciold rivers with all this smoke all around me..."
"He nearly got set on fire" recalls Tim.
"Why did I get to do it? Just unfortunate I guess. I tried to talk Fane Flaws, the director, into doing it but he wouldn't buy it."
On the evidence ("Pressure Sway" hitting No.1 in nine American cities) it seems that machinations music travels well. After all, anyone can speak solid, danceable funk music. Fred and Tim seem to like the idea: "Yeah," says Fred, "we've always tried to stay away from flag-waving Australianisms and to make it more international.".
Our sort of influences are international anyway, asserts Tim. "From all over the place, American, German, Japanese, French...the works"
I ask about their favourite tracks from 'Big Music' and Tim goes through a list which becomes the entire album. He's obviously happy with it, he even offers to sing me the songs, which I politely decline. Fred reacts with exaggerated relief, "You've heard about Tim's voice, have you !"
(Review by Rosa Senese)

This post consists of  FLACs taken from my vinyl and includes full album artwork. I have also included a couple of dance mix versions of "No Say In It" as bonus tracks, which were released on a 12inch E.P I purchased when this album was released. Although not a huge fan of 'dance mixes' I quite like these extended versions of the original hit single.
Big Music is a decent album and typical of the mid-80's, with lots of synth's and dance beats - not unlike that of Simple Minds and Spandau Ballet.
Track Listing
01 - My Heart's On Fire
02 - Predator
03 - Jabber
04 - Execution Of Love

05 - Spark
06 - No Say In It
07 - Don't Take Me
08 - You Got Me Going Again
09 - Minutes Black
10 - The Letter
11 - No Say In It (Bonus track - Machinations cut mix)
12 - No Say In It (Bonus track - Mendelsohn's played mix)

Machinations Are:
Fred Loneragan - Vocals
Tim Doyle - Guitar
Tony Starr - Keyboards
Nick Swan - Bass
Warren McLean - Drums, Vocals

The Machinations FLACs (394Mb) New Improved Rip 18/06/2022

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Easybeats - Selftitled (1981)

(Australian 1964–1969, 1986)
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.

It was in a tiny Sydney radio theatrette that an intuitive young music publisher '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.

"There was a desire to write our own songs and that was what set us apart" Harry Vanda reflects now. "Up until that time, songs you heard on the radio came from somewhere mysterious. So we gave it a crack and started doing it ourselves." Well at least, to begin with, Wright and Young did.

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.

What drove Easyfever was not just songs of singular excitement but an explosive delivery centred upon the impishly indefatigable Steve Wright. Harry Vanda described him as "probably the best front man I've ever seen. When he walked on stage you only saw him."  George concurs: "Stevie was phenomenal and I'm not just saying that because he was our singer. At the time he was quite extraordinary. As years have passed he still measures up to the best of them – and he influenced many singers in his approach, in the need to entertain.

The irrepressible Wright, still 16 when the first number one exploded, was reaching beyond the front rows of howlers. By the time the Easybeats were lodged in London in 1966, the creative balance was shifting. As George explained, "We looked at the competition we were facing and realised we had to lift our game, musically. Stevie wasn't a musician, he was a performer, and I knew that I needed to work with another musician." The first Vanda & Young collaboration to emerge publicly was the song that stands as their most admired, acclaimed and recorded piece, the working class anthem, "Friday On My Mind" – a global hit for them that has since been recorded by David Bowie, Peter Frampton, Gary Moore and scores of others.

The Easybeats began writing and recording epic songs of sometimes extraordinary grandeur and shimmering beauty. George once explained "We were fumbling, groping around for hit tunes that were different. The ultimate, as far as we were concerned, was to be totally original and get hits. Original in the sense of finding new drumbeats, new guitar styles, new melodies, new chord changes, that sort of thing." The standouts were many, including "Heaven & Hell" and "The Music Goes 'Round My Head".  But what they helped build they were quite prepared to help dismantle. "At this time the music in London had gone all fluffy, it was San Francisco flowers in your hair stuff" now reflects George. "We had an idea for a song that went back to the basics of rock 'n' roll."
Legend has it that when the BBC gave "Good Times" (with backing vocal by Small Face Stevie Marriott) a spin, Paul McCartney, driving on a motorway, found a roadside phone to ring and ask them to play it again.
Come 1969 it was all over for the Easybeats, who were fraying at the edges after being buffeted by all the things that a rock star lifestyle had to offer in the 60s. They made a final play for the American market with a more brassy, soulful sounding final album. The Billboard singles chart, almost cruelly, admitted the driving "St. Louis" into its lower reaches just as the group called it quits.

Australia had great natural rockers from day one - musicians of flair and imagination who could set alight any dance floor and singers who could rip with the best of them - what it did not have was innovative songwriters who could take their creations to the world and compete as equals. At least not until 1965. "We never looked back” once mused Harry Vanda. “We tried everything - it was trial and error all the way. If we'd stuck to a formula we could have lasted forever but it isn't in our natures to stand still."     The thing is, they did last forever, or at least their songs will. [extract from Albert Music Website]
(Article by Glenn A. Baker on The Easybeats reunion in 1986)

I have been often accused of a certain myopia when it comes to the Easybeats, the first band after the Beatles to spin my life around. I adored them then, I adore them now and one of the high points of my years in music was the opportunity to accompany them on their late 1986 reunion tour, for which I wrote the programme book and all the press material. This particular version of the text first appeared pre-tour in the Sydney Morning Heralds arts pages as The Beat Goes On and was then fleshed out with concert details for a post-tour wrap-up in the June 1987 issue of America's Musician magazine.

The offers had been coming in for more than a decade. Generous enticements to reform Australia's most revered and eulogized rock band. Master songwriting producers Harry Vanda and George Young had always politely deflected the overtures without ever discounting the inevitability of a final hurrah for the incredible Easybeats.
The duo's sudden and unexpected decision to finally yield to popular demand and take to the road in late October with former comrades Stevie Wright, Dick Diamonde and Gordon 'Snowy' Fleet for a major capital city tour, was motivated by a mixture of curiosity, nostalgia and a desire to put the matter to rest once and for all. It came about as a result of the dogged determination of super-fan Mark Longobardi, a manager of stand-up comics who was able to put together a suitably attractive proposal and have it accepted just weeks after Vanda & Young had stated publicly (and honestly) that rumours of a reunion were completely groundless.
Saying yes was the hardest part, natural momentum did the rest. Drummer Snowy Fleet, who laid down his sticks to become a Perth builder in 1967 was secretly flown to Sydney for a tentative rehearsal. Stevie Wright had been performing regularly since the beginning of the year and bassist Dick Diamonde, as it was swiftly discovered, had simply never ceased being an Easybeat. "I thought it was going to be a shambles but it wasn't," commented Vanda with an undisguised note of wonder in his voice. "It felt good, it was all there."

The reunited Easybeats had a formidable task which went beyond faithfully recreating an urgent sound of considerable integrity. Just as the Beatles ushered in a new era for British rock, the brash young Easybeats gave Australian music a new identity and confidence, setting it on the road to global acceptance. They were not only refreshingly original but blessed with the same rare charisma as the Fab Four or Rolling Stones. They radiated an aura of raw, rebellious excitement which proved irresistible to an isolated generation intoxicated by the simple fact of its own youth. Australia was the country where a staggering 350,000 people turned out in the streets of a city of a half million population to loudly greet the Beatles.
At its peak, the phenomena dubbed 'Easyfever' by the down under media was the equal of any outpourings of Beatlemania. In an eighteen month period commencing in mid-1965, the group notched up nine smash hits and generated a manic fervour which saw airports, theatres, television stations and hire cars reduced to rubble, fans hospitalised and civic fathers outraged. The impish Stevie Wright was an idol of cosmic proportions, while the quiet George Young had a breathtaking grasp on song structure.

Photos by Bob King
There was an almost fairytale quality to the Easybeats' wide-eyed and innocent departure for England in 1966. Not one member was Australian-born yet they willingly represented themselves as an antipodean outfit. Within a matter of months they were in the international top ten with the working class anthem "Friday On My Mind", and after touring Europe with the Rolling Stones, returned home in triumph. George Young recalls, "It was the highpoint of the group's career. We didn't come back with the standard excuses for failure. Australia had never had any acts that had done it like that before. There was no bullshit, it was real."
Although the group never quite repeated that success, there was no shortage of devotees. In the '80s, Easybeat songs are valuable copyrights, with recent renditions by the Divinyls, the Plimsouls, Little River Band and Sports. Within days of the Australian dates being announced, concert offers were coming in from America and Europe (where Vanda & Young are major figures under their Flash & The Pan disguise). The tour just happened to coincide with Vanda & Young's return as producers of AC/DC, on the international hit Who Made Who? 
"It feels like it was five other guys," insisted Harry Vanda at the opening press conference. "I see the old photos now and I can't relate to me being there. It's like looking at somebody else, and I'm sure George feels the same way. I don't think we've quite come to grips with the Sydney Entertainment Centre or Melbourne Festival Hall just yet. Everything has moved so fast. As it gets closer I think nerves will set in a bit."

As it eventuated, there were no shaky nerves on display when the six-date tour got underway in Melbourne on 30 October. The five original members took the stage to a standing ovation for their first concert in 17 years and delivered a robust 90 minute, 16 song set of astounding passion and energy. The set was primarily devoted to the Australian hits, along with two of Wright's early '70s solo tracks — the Rod Stewart-covered "Hard Road" and Suzi Quatro-covered "Evie".
Harry Vanda unleashed fluid blues guitar licks which had him dubbed B.B. Vanda for the remainder of the tour. Stevie Wright, at 37 and a confessed former heroin addict, managed a series of cartwheels, while dodging fans running on to the stage, '60s style. George Young, initially the most apprehensive, exerted his obvious creative influence on stage and by mid-tour was bopping around. There is also no shortage of local admirers. As the tour concluded in Canberra, with Vanda & Young admitting their satisfaction while firmly ruling out the possibility of any further performances, the country's two biggest acts — INXS and Jimmy Barnes — put the finishing touches to a 'joint' version of "Good Times", which stormed to number two on the charts within two weeks of release. The Saints then persuaded Vanda & Young to produce their remake of the 1968 Easybeats song "The Music Goes Round My Head".

I'm not a nostalgic person and I don't live in the past," says Stevie Wright, "but I was very sad when it was over. I went home after the Canberra show and cried. You see, by that point we'd all warmed to it and the original spirit had overtaken us all. I'm used to getting encores with my own band but the response at these shows had a degree of sentiment that I'd never felt before. We rediscovered songs like "St Louis", which we'd hardly ever played because it was our last record. We hadn't realised how ballsy a rock'n'roll song it is."
For Stevie, working with his "four brothers" again required no small amount of personal readjustment. "For years I've been leading my own bands, I've been the man. But when the Easybeats started rehearsing together I got relegated back to kid in the group. I must have been acting up a bit about that because Harry grabbed me by the shirt and told me, in no uncertain terms, to shape up. That's all I needed; it was just like the old days. There were no problems after that."
It was Vanda who, once committed, became the motivating force for the reunion. "It's always been a bit hard to come to grips with what the group means to a lot of people," he confided backstage. "In fact it was a bit frightening meeting those expectations. What George and I are doing now, with Flash & The Pan and as producers, really doesn't have a lot to do with the Easybeats. We've had to put ourselves into a different state of mind. But I don't think any of us regret doing it. There have been some emotional moments but the most important thing is that it happened musically."
[from "External Combustion" by Glenn A. Baker, Horwitz Grahame Publishers, 1990 p192-194]
This post consists of an MP3 rip (320kps) from my Hammard compilation vinyl and includes full album artwork. The track listing covers the Easybeats entire history, including one of their last recordings "St. Louis" and a personal favourite. Although there are many Easybeat compilations available today, this 'budget' release was one of the more popular ones available in the eighties, reaching #76 in the Australian Charts.
Track Listing
01 - For My Woman
02 - She's So Fine
03 - Wedding Ring
04 - Easy As Can Be
05 - In My Book
06 - Women
07 - Come And See Her
08 - I'll Make You Happy
09 - Sorry
10 - Friday On My Mind
11 - Pretty Girl
12 - Heaven And Hell
13 - Hello, How Are You
14 - Come In You'll Get Pneumonia
15 - Good Times
16 - Land Of Make Believe
17 - St. Louis

Band Members:
Stevie Wright (Vocals, Percussion)
Dick Diamonde (Bass, Backing Vocals)
Harry Vanda (Guitar, Backing Vocals)
George Young (Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals)  

Gordon "Snowy" Fleet (Drums) 1964-67
Tony Cahill (Drums) 1967-70
The Easybeats Link (117Mb)  New Link 07/10/2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Simply Red - The Right Thing: Unauthorised Live (1994) Bootleg

(U.K. 1985–2010)
Simply Red are a British pop/soul band formed in 1984, who are best known for the hits "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)", "Holding Back the Years", and "Stars". The name tends to refer to Mick Hucknall (who has redish hair), the founder and frontman, with the band line-up being somewhat fluid over the years. The band grew out of the Manchester post-punk scene of the late 70s where Hucknall was a prominent presence with his band the Frantic Elevators. When that band folded in 1984 Hucknall teamed up with manager Elliot Rashman and assembled a group of session musicians, adopting the name Simply Red and signing to Elektra in 1985. Their first album Picture Book (1985) contained the huge hit singles "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)" and "Holding Back the Years" (an old Frantic Elevators song). In all the smooth poppy sound of Simply Red was a huge departure from the punk style of Hucknall's first band.
The ongoing album releases found the group adopting an increasingly mainstream and commercial sound. 'Men and Women' (1987) and 'A New Flame' (1989) were followed in 1991 by 'Stars', which became the best-selling album for two consecutive years in Europe. It was not until the release of 'Fairground' (1995) that Simply Red achieved their first No.1 single. While not a favorite with the critics, it assured the success of parent album 'Life'.
Simply Red's most recent studio album was 2007's 'Stay', which hit No.4 on the UK album chart

Why Mick Hucknall's putting Simply Red to bed
(taken from Mail Online Dec 23, 2010)
After 25 years, (he claims) 3,000 women, Mick Hucknall reveals the reasons for breaking up his band...
Simply Red were a fixture in British pop for a quarter of a century. They thrived in the Eighties, and then survived grunge, Britpop and hip-hop to become the soundtrack for a generation.

Even though the group revolved around Mick Hucknall — who was lead singer, songwriter and bandleader — the ­collective name was always there.
Now they are no more, having finished a sold-out farewell tour by playing hits such as Stars and Holding Back The Years for the final time last weekend at the O2 Arena in London. And Hucknall is adamant there will be no going back. ‘I’d be amazed if I ever play as Simply Red again,’ he says. ‘People might greet that with ­cynicism. But, for me, that’s it. It’s over.’
The valedictory dates — captured on a new live album — were unashamedly ­nostalgic, and Hucknall is happy with the legacy left by a band that sold 55 million albums in 25 years.
‘I think my music ran parallel to a lot of people’s lives. We were always chugging along in the background. The songs are there on CD, but I won’t be singing them live any more. People will remember the hits, but I always saw us as an albums act. Most of the albums sold two or three ­million. I’m proud of that consistency.’
Formed in Manchester in 1985, the group were viewed primarily as a blue-eyed soul act, but the farewell tour reiterated Hucknall’s knack of adding tuneful pop hooks to his silky, unfussy vocals.
The funky dance numbers were all present for last week’s run of shows in Greenwich, while Hucknall and his six superb backing musicians also excelled on their celebrated cover of the romantic ballad If You Don’t Know Me By Now, dedicated to the song’s original artist, the soul great Teddy ­Pendergrass, who died this year.
But Hucknall, 50, maintains he always had more to offer than what he calls ‘the smooth, jazzy sound of Simply Red’. He has a point. His reputation as a playboy, along with the ridiculous hairstyles he sported in the Eighties, overshadowed myriad musical interests.
Growing up as a teenage punk in Denton, East Manchester, he was a fan of the Sex Pistols, while The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were major influences, too.
‘I wanted to carve out something original,’ he says. ‘All the best British groups were inspired by black American music. With The Beatles, it was Motown and the blues. With me, it was a mixture of British styles and the more sophisticated Seventies soul of Barry White and Marvin Gaye.’
Now Simply Red have disbanded, Hucknall says he can ‘explore my British-ness rather than the familiar American influences’, with his writing.
It also means he can spend more time with his wife, ­Gabriella Wesberry, whom he married in May, and their three-year-old daughter, Romy True.
‘I want to be around to watch Romy grow,’ he says. ‘You live the life of a gipsy when you are on tour, and that’s not ideal for family life. We’d love another baby, too, so we’re working on that.’
The Mick Hucknall before me is a far cry from the infamous womaniser of the past. The singer recently revealed the full scale of his philandering in the Eighties, when he claims to have slept with 3,000 women. He even issued a public ­apology to any former lovers whose ­feelings he may have hurt.
‘For nearly 25 years, I was totally disorientated,’ he admits. ‘When I was living the bachelor lifestyle, it was ­brilliant having homes in Paris, Milan and London.
‘Now, I feel more grounded. My wife has given me a lot. For the first time, I have a strong emotional bond.’
And Hucknall is adamant there will be no comeback tours or a 30th anniversary reunion in 2015.
By that time, he hopes to have forged a new artistic identity, perhaps one built on the more robust, guitar-driven direction explored on the ­second half of Simply Red’s final studio album, Stay.
‘I’ve already written seven new songs, and none of them sound anything like Simply Red,’ he says. ‘I want to be myself now. I’m no longer writing songs using the chords of old soul music. And I don’t want to face the dilemma of being both a bandleader and a singer-­songwriter. I have moved on.’
[article by Adrain Thrills]

There does not appear to be much information regarding the concert from which the bootleg recording was made, other than it was recorded live at Central Park Summerstage, New York, USA on 10th June 1992. The date of this concert has been comfirmed on Mick Hucknall's website and is also documented in the Musical Directory of a popular New York magazine entitled  "Great Places To Have A Party" - published in 1992 (see pictured left).
Central Park SummerStage is a public outdoor entertainment complex located in the heart of Central Park - NY, and it was founded in 1986 in the spirit of Central Park’s original purpose—to serve as a free public resource to help enrich the lives of New Yorkers.
In 1992 — This memorable season saw Sonic Youth’s first appearance at SummerStage. The downtown band’s epochal performance with Sun Ra and his Arkestra brought avant-garde music to the heart of the city. It was also in the same year that Simply Red played to a capacity crowd.
As the festival began to upgrade the facilities and undertake more ambitious programming, stage labor and artist costs increased. To help raise money for a summer's worth of free shows, SummerStage began hosting ticketed benefit concerts. The first artists presented this way were Simply Red, the Neville Brothers, and John Prine.
There appears to be only one other Simply Red bootleg available from 1992 called 'Red Stars At Night Vol2" which has a similar track listing to this bootleg, but only contains 10 tracks. I am unsure if these two bootlegs are taken from the same concert (see pictured below).
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from CD and the quality of the recording is highly professional - definately obtained via a soundboard recording. Album artwork is also included and although the standard generic design expected from Grapefruit bootlegs it really suits.
Yes, that's right - it's Simply Red.... LOL.   Enjoy !
Track Listing
01 - Holding back the years
02 - Model
03 - New flame
04 - Thrill me
05 - Stars
06 - Your mirror
07 - Money's too tight (to mention)
08 - The right thing
09 - For your babies
10 - Something got me started
11 - Grandma's hands
12 - Same old red
13 - It's only love

Band Members
Mick Huck­nall — Vocals & Back­ground Vocals
Fritz McIntyre — Key­boards, Vocals & Back­ground Vocals
Tim Kel­lett — Key­boards
Heitor T P — Gui­tars
Ian Kirkham — Sax­o­phone
Gota — Drums, Per­cus­sion & Pro­grams
Shaun Ward — Bass Guitar

Simply Red Link (130Mb)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Little Heroes - Play By Numbers (1982) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1980-1984)
The Little Heroes were a popular Australian rock band in the 1980s. They are best known for their hit single "One Perfect Day", which was released in 1982.  Little Heroes were formed from the remnants of The Secret Police. The Secret Police were a popular Melbourne rock band, comprising vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Roger Hart(aka Roger Wells), bassist Neil Walker [Died 1979 from Leukemia] was replaced by John Taylor, drummer Bruce Pumpa, guitarist Andrew Callender, and saxophonist Peter Linley.
In 1980 Hart, Taylor and Pumpa joined keyboardist David Crosbie to start a new band called 'Little Heroes'. The new line-up competed in the Victorian State heat of the 1980 Battle of the Sounds, finishing a creditable second. The band recruited a new drummer, Huk Treloar (ex-Bleeding Hearts) to replace Pumpa, who in turn was replaced by Alan 'Clutch' Robertson after the release of their selftitled debut album.
The lineup of Hart, Crosbie, Taylor and Robertson then toured Australia with Australian Crawl to promote the successful hit  "One Perfect Day" and their 2nd album 'Play By Numbers' . Fisher and Leslie left to join Dear Enemy and were replaced by Paul Brickhill (ex-MEO-245) on keyboards and bass player, Rick Loriot (ex-Inserts).
The band added guitarist Paul Bell, which allowed Hart more freedom as lead vocalist and they then (Hart, Robertson, Bell, Brickhill, Tavasz).  They released their third and final LP "Watch The World" in 1983.
In June, 1984 Roger Hart/Wells announced he was leaving the band and as a result The Little Heroes was formally disbanded. He later became a meditation trainer and author, with a keen interest also in travel, art and photography.  He still writes songs from time to time.
Little Heroes Have The Numbers
(T.V. Scene Mag, June 1982)
The Little Heroes have gone through "an important change" in recent months, although most people probably missed it.
That change was the addition of the word 'The' as a prefix to the band's name. That may not sound like the most earth shattering event in history, but Roger Hart said the move had proved most significant.
"It's all to to do with numerology", he expalined to T.V SCENE. "It was the right thing to do at the time and since we changed the name things have started going right for us".
The band's problems started after they won the 'Battle Of The Sounds' a couple of years ago.
At the time, the young band was estatic. They won a record contract, national publicity and were guaranteed a large marketing push from CBS Records. Their debut album was rushed out, but fared dismally.
And when they parted ways with CBS their future looked bleak. But EMI showed faith in the band and now they have a huge hit with "One Perfect Day".
"If this single had not succeeded, we probably would have gone off the road and had a long look at ourselves," Roger said.
I've been through a lot of ups and downs with this band, but I've always had faith in my songs.
With the first album, I still believe in the songs themselves, but the playing and production wasn't up to scratch.
"Despite it all, it still comes down to whether we enjoy playing with each other".
"One Perfect Day" has opened up a wider audience for The Little Heroes. Roger used his own experiences as the starting place for the story of two lovers separated by distance.
"It's not about any specific event - it's a combination of events", he explained.
"It's about a person who is left imagining what a friend or lover is doing on the other side of the world and ultimately if they will come back. When I wrote the song, I was thinking about a couple of friends in England. The British Government was in a shaky position and there were riots in the streets".
"In the end, it all got mixed up, but I believe songwriting should be more about mood and feeling than about facts. If I wanted to write facts I'd be a journalist, but I want to be more impressionistic".
Naturally, the success of "One Perfect Day" has put pressure on the band to produce a follow-up.
Roger revealed that the next single would bring a complete change. "The next one will be more up-tempo," he explained.
"Our set now has a lot more dynamics. It's hard for us to gauge much difference in audience reaction since "One Perfect Day" because it hasn't been out all that long. I'm just taking it day by day. We've got a gig tonight and that's all I'm thinking about."
"It doesn't matter if there are 1000 people or only two - whoever is there, I'll play to them".
Roger has a thoughtful approach to songwriting. He prefers to vary the arrangement of a song to give it light and shade.
"Not many bands know how to use silence," he said. "The only band I've seen who use it well is The Police. I think silence and space within songs are most effective".  [by Brett Stavordale]
Album Reviews
#1.  (The T.V Scene Mag, Sept 4, 1982) 
The unfortunate news is that there are no songs to match the full-bodies, romantic tension of "One Perfect Day" on 'Play By Numbers'. However, the good news - and there's plenty of it - is that The Little heroes are capable of provoking a blitting party mood at the twirl of a synthesiser knob, and they can do so often.
"Saturday Afternoon Inside" is your sneakers and tee-shirts rock and roll coloured by some of the boppiest guitars and playful keyboards about. It provides quick warning that The Little Heroes is not a duplicating machine, running off swarms of "Perfect Days". "Something's Got To Happpen" maintains the dizzy stupor, although the sudden changes in tempo gives it a more desperate feel. In retrospect, what the above tracks lack in instrumental heaviness, they make up for in rowdy, slurred vocalising. Instant music for the people with no time on their hands and no restrictions on their feet. "One Perfect Day" of course, is still the album's highlight, coming like the 'morning after the party' at the end of side one. (ed. this tact is rare, with most bands opening their albums with their strongest track). It has firmly established the serious aspect of the band. Other pieces such as the simmering, twitching - "Melbourne's Just Not New York" re-emphasises it. Filter out the very accessible accompaniment and you're still left with clever words and a clinging melody. 
The strategy is straight beat, bent words and slurred vocals is further exposed on the lively, already successful single "Young Hearts". Pre-fab pop with no instrumental conscience, its only aim in life is to provoke the feet to riot. Although posessing a harder harmony approach, "Ophelia" equally forks out throwaway music for greasing up the festa wheels. The party parlance continues its eloquent course with the beachy tones of "Sound and Vision". With spirited singing yet low musical ambition it somehow sits out the fun from the commercial hard-sell. Guaranteed to sweeten up the deadest party without diluting the effects of the bitter.
Finally, the exploratory electronics of "Dusseldorf" provides a "sit-up-and-absorb" track of high intrigue. An ashen rhythm and bleak spits from the ivories, it represents a sobering close to a snappy, deliberately-superficial disc. [author unknown]

#2. Newspaper Review
"One Perfect Day" was one of the sleeper singles of the year - fortunately for Little Heroes, because it saved their bacon. The band's first album and three singles on the Giant Label had failed to go anywhere, then songwriter Roger Hart (Wells) pulls this yearning, bitter sweet ballad out of a hat and his band is suddenly hot property.
The new Little Heroes - and only Hart remains from the first lineup - have a smooth push in the rhythm section which powers the songs and a restrained way with the guitar and keyboards which leaves lots of room for Hart's vocals - and undeniably it's his vocals which sells the group. At once both ingratiating and annoying, he sings something like a folkie with those British twangs they all emulate. As much as it gets up my nose, it's also absolutely compelling. Hart's world is a little on the melancholic side, inhabited by girls who play solitaire and brush their hair, who take him up to silent rooms with paintings on the wall where they can watch the rain together. The characters in his songs all seem to suffer from a deep loneliness, an alienation where all their actions are meaningless in the face of this isolation. Even Gordon who runs around trying to have a good time has to wear dark glasses and finds he's "Running Round In Circles" while the people who go to wild parties all think thet they'd be better in New York ("Melbourne's just not New York") 

The elegane simplicity of the songs and their similarity tends to make the album pale after a while. Basically none of the songs are spectacular, but given the craftsmanship of Dave Marrett's production  and Hart's voice, they are certainly appealing enough. Despite, or perhaps because of, the thematic cohesion this album works better as a collection of singles - and there are plenty of singles here, two of them already having become hits.
Will Roger Hart ever cheer up? A shaky start can get anyone down I suppose, but he's now vaulted into the middle time and I expect we will see more diverse display of the range of his talents next time around. I doubt that Little Heroes are ever going to set the entertainment industry on its head but 'Play By Numbers' announces the arrival of another good craftsman. [author unknown]

This post consists of a vinyl rip in FLAC format and includes full album artwork and a multitude of photos and newspaper articles, most of which were sourced from the The Little Heroes Facebook Page with thanks.
I have also included two bonus B-Side singles which did not appear on the album. "Just Can't Wait" is a strong track which probably deserved a place on this album while the other "Please Don't Wear That Hat " is a bit of a novelty track and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
The following link provides an interesting insight from Roger Hart/Wells on how he came to write "One Perfect Day" (thanks to Neb-Maat-Re at Midoztouch for pointing this out to me).
I hope you enjoy this second offering from the 'The Little Heroes', it seems to be a stronger album compared to their first LP and has some great moments. My favourite tracks are not only the 2 singles but also "Stay Away From Sarah" and "Dusseldorf".
Track Listing
01 - Melbourne's Just Not New York
02 - Saturday Afternoon Inside
03 - Something's Got To Happen
04 - Running Round In Circles
05 - Ophelia
06 - One Perfect Day
07 - Sound And Vision
08 - Pretty Shadow
09 - Young Hearts
10 - To Be Her Cat
11 - Stay Away From Sarah
12 - Dusseldorf
13 - Just Can't Wait (Bonus B-Side Single)
14 - Please Don't Wear That Hat (Bonus B-Side Single)

Band Members
Roger Hart (aka Wells) -  Guitar, Lead Vocals
Peter Leslie - Bass, Vocals
Martin Fischer - Keyboards, Vocals
Alan 'Clutch' Robertson - Drums, Percussion
Little Heroes Link (365Mb)  New Link 09/04/2020