Monday, June 30, 2014

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Bruce Woodley: Friday Street Fantasy (1969) E.P

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.

I came across this E.P quite by accident in a pile of bits and pieces at the local flee market and it was only the name Woodley on the outside cover that caught my attention. When I realised it was a recording by Bruce Woodley (from the Seekers) I purchased it immediately,  not knowing that it was originally released inside a children's book.
The one sided record jacket did seem a little strange at the time, and didn't look like a normal 45 release.
After doing some research at home, I discovered that the 4 track E.P was released with Bruce Woodley's children book entitled 'Friday Street Fantasy'. The fact that the E.P was was in mint condition and cost me a gold coin was a win, win, but if I'd known about the book, I may have also found it in amongst the bric-n-brac.... the icing on the cake so to speak!
The book was published by Paul Hamlyn,Sydney, 1969. Aside from the party-in-an-ornamental-photo-lettering-catalog cover shown above, it's full of wonderful illustrations and mysterious music…
Basically, the story goes something like 'there was this little town called Friday Street (yes, a town called Street - just ask Bruce Woodley). It was full of sad children until one day…the "Friday Man" came to town with a rainbow in his hand!  And now everyone in town sings and plays and has fun. aaahh! a pink and orange town!
The next song "Little One" is a lullaby, followed by a song about "Captain Grumblepeg", and his lady Mary Morningstar, who presumably lived there also. Finally, a song of hope with "Little Miss Sorrow" with her beautiful  balloons, so I'm sure she’s not sad for long.
On the back cover, we meet Bruce, singer, songwriter and member of the seekers (a famous Australia folk group from the 60s). Apparently he was 26 when he made this album!  The creators of the colorful illustrations in the book were Paul Corley and Jeannette Spencer.
An appearance by Bruce Woodley performing "Friday Man" was broadcast on ABC-TV (Australia)'s "Hit Scene" on December 6, 1969 and repeated 39 years later on the overnight music show "Rage". To see Bruce Woodley perform "Friday Man" take a look at the following You Tube Clip. Bruce is also interviewed by "Hit Scene" host Dick Williams about his current projects at the time.
This month's WOCK on Vinyl post ticks all the boxes for being one of the most Obscure recordings I have come across so far, and I hope you enjoy it. I have included as much artwork as I could find, along with label scans. I have also chosen to include the Hit Scene Interview video clip as an extra bonus.  All tracks ripped to MP3 (320kps) from this crispy clean vinyl.
Track Listing:
01 - Friday Man
02 - Little one
03 - Captain Grumblepeg
04 - Little Miss Sorrow

Friday Street Fantasy Link (55Mb)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pearl Jam - Unlicensed Live Vol.1 (1993) Ex. Bootleg

(U.S  1990 - Present)
Pearl Jam is an American rock band, formed in Seattle, Washington in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has included Stone Gossard (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), Mike McCready (guitar), Dave Krusen (drums) and Eddie Vedder (vocals). The band's fifth and current drummer is Matt Cameron of Soundgarden, who has been with the band since 1998.
Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam were initially known for popularizing grunge, the Seattle sound that exploded nationwide in the early Nineties. But the band became an American rock institution by broadening their heavy, Led Zeppelin-influenced sound while maintaining the emotional depth that made their songs so resonant in the first place. Leaping from obscurity to superstardom, the band sold more than 15 million copies of its first two albums, and after a couple of years during which they got mired in high-profile controversies, Pearl Jam recovered and were still filling arenas at the close of the 2000s.

They originally called themselves Mookie Blaylock, in honor of the basketball player, but changed the name to Pearl Jam, purportedly after a psychedelic confection made by Vedder's half-Native American great-grandmother, Pearl. (Vedder finally admitted the story was bogus in 2006).  The band was signed by Epic Records in 1991, releasing their debut album 'Ten' in 1992

The band toured extensively, headlining small halls and opening for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young and U2. They headlined the 1992 Lollapalooza Tour and opened for Keith Richards on New Year's Eve 1992. Vedder, Gossard and Ament took time out to play Matt Dillon's backing band, Citizen Dick, in the 1992 Seattle-based movie Singles. By the end of 1992, Pearl Jam was among the biggest bands in the world. Vedder's intense, clenched-teeth delivery gave life to his personal travails ("Alive," "Black"), while songs like "Jeremy" and "Why Go" were easy rallying cries for teenagers seeking music they could call their own.

Pearl Jam embarked on their 1993 European / North America tour after completing the recording sessions for its second album, VS. The Europe leg included a few shows in which the band opened for U2 on the band's Zoo TV Tour, while both legs included several shows in which the band opened for Neil Young on his Harvest Moon tour. Guitarist Mike McCready said that when the band opened for U2 in Europe the crowds hated Pearl Jam. The short tour of North America focused on Canada and the West Coast of the United States. When the band opened for Neil Young, Young often brought the band out for encores to perform "Rockin' in the Free World". Bassist Jeff Ament said that playing with Neil Young was "the most inspiring thing that we've ever been involved in."

This bootleg was recorded at Brixton Academy, London, 07-14-93. It took me a while to work this one out, but once I matched up the track listing for this release (along with the listing for Vol.2) it became quickly apparent that this concert has been released under different titles (ie. Brixton, Live at Brixton Academy) and is renowned for some of Vedder's more colourful dialog with the crowd.
"Lookee here!" Eddie dangles a tampon before his Jim Morrisonian leer. "It's the personal gifts that mean the most, man," he cackles. "This song is called Blood, as a matter of fact"

One song in and the stage is already littered with the debris of feminine appreciation. Two songs in and it's time to take a couple of steps back so the idiots at the front can breath again.

Rock hysteria ripples through the steaming, tightly-packed, check-shirted flesh. This is one of the cool bands you're supposed to freak out to. I think I'll give that a miss and listen to the music instead.

Even Flow is staggering and, of course, there's that stuka dive-bomber of a voice roaring out of the sky. 'Even Flow' is stopped until someone in the crowd who is down gets back up. Ed starts counting the people in front to see if everyone is all right. 

The Rolling Stones' 'Beast of Burden' is covered briefly, with the lyrics modified to "... all I want from you is to make love to me" with Ed clarifying that those are just lyrics and they don't really mean it.

But it's not too long before Pearl Jam realise they've got an uncritical audience, and the grungey guitars and launchpad song structures start bleeding into one big musical hairball of yowls and fuzz. Alive is set up on the altar inscribed "Here's one ya all know," but sounds the way burning sugar smells.

Later on the dive bomber drops a few new songs, which sound good on the way down, but don't quite explode, except for Indifference, a comparative whisper of a song that transmits itself almost telepathically across the hushed auditorium - a ghost at this feast of over-cooked rock n' howl...

[extract from C.B.Liddell]

This post consists of MP3 (32kps) ripped from a rather unattractive Bootleg release by AMCOS (Australian label) but the quality of the recording is A+.  Full album artwork is included (plain as it might be) along with some alternative artwork from other bootleg releases of Brixton Academy, London, 07-14-93.
Vol 1 is the first half of the concert only. (Vol 2 contains the 2nd half of the concert which I have yet to source)
Full concert details are:
Brixton Academy: London, England (07-14-93)
Attendance: 6,426
Support act: Tribe After Tribe
Set List:
Release, Even Flow (song stops), Blood, Animal, Why Go, Deep, Jeremy, Rear View Mirror, Beast of Burden/(Suck You Dry), Alive, Black, Go, Daughter/(W.M.A.), Porch/(Tearing), Once, Garden, Blues Jam/State of Love and Trust
Encore 1: Leash, Fuckin’ Up, Sonic Reducer
Encore 2: Indifference
Track Listing (Vol 1)
01  - Release    
02  - Even Flow    
03  - Blood    
04  - Animal    
05  - Why Go    
06  - Deep    
07  - Jeremy    
08  - Rear View Mirror    
09  - Beast Of Burden (Suck You Dry) 
10  - Alive    
11  - Black    
12 -  Don't Go Under

Pearl Jam Link (125Mb)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Johnny O'Keefe - She's My Baby (1969)

(Australian 1953–1978)
Do a search on the internet for Johnny O’Keefe (aka J.O.K. or The Wild One) and you will find plenty to keep you busy reading. But for the uninitiated here is a rundown on a man who released over 50 singles, over 40 EP’s and over 30 albums. He is also credited as being an inspiration to many Australian singers including the likes of a young Billy Thorpe.

The Wild One
It was over forty years ago, late one night, when Johnny O'Keefe hammered on the door of his photographer' s studio and demanded that the inhabitants take a new drug with him. The limo with the gold JO'K insignia on the doors waited outside to ferry merrymakers to clubs and other pleasures, but all those who swallowed the lethal-looking pills immediately fell into a catatonic stupor as John (to his friends he was always John, Johnny O'Keefe or JO'K—never Johnny) raged up and down the room with mad energy trying to whip the bodies off the floor and into action. He rarely slept until the downers cornered him at dawn, and night cruising in Kings Cross in the silver Pontiac meant instant service, grovelling managers and the omnipresent disco music replaced with ancient JO'K hits.

Johnny O'Keefe died so many times while he was alive that when his body finally gave up on the drugs and alcohol on 6 October 1978 he never really disappeared. He died first on the night his red Plymouth Belvedere crashed outside Kempsey in June 1960. He died again in England in 1961 after an abortive American tour, ending up reincarnated in Tooting Beck mental asylum. And he died in 1964, that grim year for rockers that began with The Beatles and ended with the death of Johnny O'Keefe's era.

Even though Johnny O'Keefe only saw the last half of the 1955 movie The Blackboard Jungle at the Gaiety Cinema in Kings Cross, that was enough. On the soundtrack was Bill Haley and The Comets' version of 'Rock Around The Clock', the first rock & roll song to top the charts in the United States and subsequently Australia. When Festival Records licensed the extended-play (EP) single of 'Rock Around The Clock' from Decca, its vinyl factory in Pyrmont ran 24 hours a day to fulfill record bar orders. By September 1956 the single had sold over 150,000 45 rpm EPs.

To the nuggety Johnny O'Keefe,  rock & roll was a revelation. Still working in his father's furniture shop and performing on weekends, JO'K had found his niche. The hyper energy, obsessive ambition and showmanship were wasted on Johnny Ray routines at the Bondi Auditorium where squirting the audience with artificial tears only brought squeals. JO'K craved real tears and sweat and blood, and he got them.
'What Colonel Parker did for Elvis I did for myself. I was Johnny O'Keefe the promoter and I was JO'K the can of baked beans that had to be promoted'
These lines best serve to describe the naked ambition seeping out of his every pore during the days JO'K fast-tracked his own career. No managers, no record companies with local acts and no venues. D.I.Y. And he did.

In 1956, JO'K formed the band The Dee Jays and maniacally organised local dances, the first at Stone's cabaret at Coogee. He printed his own posters, stuck them up, bought small ads in the daily newspapers and recruited the band's girlfriends to take money at the door. However, the regular vicious brawls in the audience were too distracting and the band packed up and moved to Balmain, where the set was interrupted one night by two gangsters brandishing rifles and demanding the door take. This proved just too unnerving and JO'K decided that if he couldn't beat the stand over men he'd join them, beginning the rich and rewarding Sydney tradition of paying off the cops. This meant appearances at the Leichhardt, and later the Paddington, Police Boys' Clubs. The brawling didn't stop but the police response time was a lot quicker.

As Elvis Presley's shadow fell across the world the corpulent father of rock, Bill Haley, saw his own career nosedive. To keep it afloat he made a dodgy movie (Rock Around The Clock) and dog paddled across the world promoting it, ending up in Australia in January 1957. The man who brought him and 471 other artists to Australia was Lee Gordon.
Lee Gordon collided with Australia like a meteorite. Hustler, salesman, entrepreneur, drug addict, eccentric and visionary, Lee was a small, fastidious man in the latest skin-tight pants and with a lust for life matched only by his disciple-to-be JO'K. Always one for the big gamble, Lee only felt comfortable especially when he was broke.

His enthusiasm and energy were unrelenting. On a trip to the States to hose down creditor PanAm airlines he made an offer for the creaky Bill Haley caravan, washed up in the States but still current in the backwaters of Australia. To make sure the tour was a total gamble, Lee added chart-busters Freddie Bell and The Bellboys, The Platters, Big Joe Turner and LaVern Baker. The tour created uncontrollable crowd scenes unmatched until The Beatles. Twenty-two thousand people crammed the bleachers at the Stadium, where the revolving stage, as one  journalist   of the   time   noted,   gave   everyone   an   equally unsatisfactory view. In all, 300,000 people paid to see the Lee Gordon Presents Bill Haley shows in Australia.

Johnny O'Keefe, naturally, was there, gatecrashing a reception to meet his idol and spending hours in his dressing-room. Despite repeated assertions by rock writers, JO'K never played with Bill Haley, but he did invite him home to meet his parents.
Haley, charmed by this small and wiry human dynamo, tried to engineer a record deal for him at Festival Records, but the talent scout Ken Taylor didn't want to know, even when Haley gave JO'K a song he wrote to record, the vacuous '(You Hit The Wrong Note) Billy Goat'. Festival then survived on American reissues. Only when Taylor, a former shirt salesman and record bar clerk who had started a radio show on 2CH called 'Platter Pals', made the move to the former Heinz factory in inner-city Pyrmont did the place come alive.

In the late 1950s nearly every major Australian record was made there on a primitive two-track machine. Taylor, according to writer Michael Sturma, was a dapper man, with a small moustache, fastidious dress and a penchant for younger women.

Apparently there were attempts to bribe him, but this wasn't JO'K's way. The phone, the smile and the charm were all JO'K's weapons, and he used them on Taylor with perfect accuracy. As Harry M. Miller recalls in his autobiography, while touring in New Zealand Johnny O'Keefe spent hours on the phone to disc jockeys and journalists. 'His performances on the phone were almost as spellbinding as on stage.'
During a phone call to Valda Marshall, a showbiz reporter for a Sydney daily newspaper, O'Keefe announced he was about to sign a recording deal with Festival. When she printed the item in her column, Taylor, amused by the upstart, rang him and gave him an audition. Again John's infectious energy won through, and Taylor signed him without telling Festival's management.

'Billy Goat' was released in July 1957 and was Festival's last 78 rpm disc. Even with an original O'Keefe and The Dee Jays masterpiece on the B-side, 'The Chicken Song', the record fizzled, and the next release, 'Am I Blue?', was so appalling JO'K eventually persuaded Festival to delete it.
On stage, it was a different story. In a leopard-skin suit and suede shoes he became the most exciting performer the country had ever seen, leaping around like a madman, dropping to his knees and rolling on the stage, soaking up that crazy all-engulfing energy.

When Johnny O'Keefe was announced as Australia's King of Rock on the Lee Gordon Presents The Big Show at the Sydney Stadium the place went wild—with booing. John didn't flinch. Staring down the audience he uttered the immortal words: 'You can boo me and you can make fun of me but you all paid your money to see me because you love me.' How could an audience withstand such confidence, such chutzpah? Sensing an original, they could only turn their boos into cheers, and JO'K was away.
Even when Gene Vincent finally tottered through the door JO'K and the band stayed on the bill, performing on the tour until the wacko Little Richard saw the Russian Sputnik and decided the end of the world was nigh. When he threw his chunky expensive jewellery into the Hunter River and caught a plane back to the States to preach the Bible the tour was cancelled. But the country had caught the Johnny O'Keefe fever, and it was incurable.

The next attempt at a hit for Johnny O'Keefe was a song written by JO'K, two of The Dee Jays and an eccentric Sydney DJ called Tony Withers. Withers, who had confidently predicted the death of rock & roll in 1956, later engineered his own apparent death rose again as a DJ on a pirate radio station in Britain some years later. The song was 'The Wild One' and it was to become an anthem, a trademark and a nickname, and plant JO'K firmly on the permanent list of Australian legends.
Recorded at Festival's old Pyrmont studio with John's special sound: slap bass, fingers clicking on the bass as they pulled the strings, and a very echoed drumbeat done in the ladies' toilet (it was, in fact, the drums not the vocals that were recorded there), the track made JO'K the first rock star to have a national chart hit, in March 1958. Although he stressed in 1978 that he was, in fact, the Mild One, by this time JO'K was crawling on a ledge of manic highs. He once said that during this period he thought he could do anything.

'For twelve months I thought I could drive down William Street from Kings Cross to the city at 80 mph and all the traffic lights would turn green—and they would, and I used to put people like John Laws in the car with me and they were scared shitless—I'd just drive.'
His mind and body were too active. He managed artists, toured incessantly and released more hit records including The Isley Brothers' 'Shout'.
JO'K and Lee Gordon, two small, speedy salesmen, became friends, and often during Lee's Big Shows headlining American acts were forced to storm off the stage, drowned out by the crowd screaming only for JO'K. Lee, friend or not, banished John to Melbourne for two years when visiting headliners such as Ricky Nelson, needled by the partisan response, complained to Gordon.
The partnership between Gordon and O'Keefe established Lee Gordon Records, later known as Leedon, which was distributed by Festival and originally created to release records from small American labels without distribution deals in Australia.
Under John's regime the label signed such local artists as Lonnie Lee and Barry Stanton, effectively creating the first Australian independent rock & roll record label. JO'K became the label's major artist, and he also wrote songs and produced the recording sessions after his concerts. JO'K's obsession for total control and perfection saw him not only running the label but also his own career, the performances, the songwriting and the music publishing.

In early 1959, the ABC launched its music show 'Six O'Clock Rock', which had a budget for talent of only £254. Originally only a featured artist, O'Keefe soon took over as host and fashioned the show in his own image. He became the talent coordinator and his energy permeated every minute. 'Six O'Clock Rock' was totally live and totally unpredictable. Rehearsed in St Peter's Church hall, Darlinghurst, each Saturday morning, it went to air live at 6pm every Saturday. Its appeal was its rawness and earthy reality, and it fascinated its audience, both teen and adult, as 'Countdown' would twenty years later.
Soon every rock & roll act in the country wanted to be on 'Six O'Clock Rock'. JO'K, The King of Australian Rock & Roll, hand-picked his court of regulars which included fifteen-year-old blonde sex siren Laurel Lee, Lonnie Lee and Barry Stanton. Some female hopefuls weren't required to sing during their audition with John.

John's mood swings were legendary. He would throw things, scream and jump in the air if he didn't get his way, then lapse into his lovable little boy routine and kiss and make up. It is alleged that during tours the band would sometimes evict him from the touring bus and make him travel alone in a car, but with his charm and need for company he could always con some of the musicians to travel with him.
'Six O'Clock Rock' finally ended in 1961 when John made a fiery late-night phone call to the ABC general manager Charles Moses, complaining about the nonexistent production budget. He was sacked and the show stumbled on, finally disappearing a couple of months later. But by then John was on another planet.
Back in 1959 O'Keefe's fee for appearing on Lee's Ricky Nelson Big Show—and blowing him off the stage—was £528 16s. 3d., the price of a return air fare to the United States. He had a national television show, another hit with 'She's My Baby' and radio spots and live performances but it just wasn't enough. JO'K wanted to climb the mountain and play with the gods, in particular Elvis.

He left Australia in November 1959 and booked into the Carolina Motel in Los Angeles with just a list of a few of Lee's shady contacts. The first thing he wanted was an American thick shake, and with an acetate recording of 'Shout' in his hand he wandered down to a drugstore on the corner of Hollywood and Vine to get himself one.
In almost a parody of show business legend, John began chatting with a stranger who turned out to be the marketing manager for Liberty Records. The chat became an audition and the audition became a five-year contract with Liberty. John recorded a number of tracks at the Gold Star Studios, collected a $2500 advance and returned home to plot his conquest of America as The Boomerang Boy. Always the businessman, John kept the Australian rights to the recordings he had just made.
Liberty was convinced that John was the next Elvis, a premonition that would ring tragically true in more ways than one. However, cheap promotional stunts such as JO'K conducting boomerang-throwing displays in Central Park turned sour when John, sick of seven weeks of promotional touring to little airplay and support, showed up drunk.

Although his single topped the charts in New Orleans and New York, and he appeared on American 'Bandstand', the ordeal was physically and mentally bruising. Coming back to Australia without a hit (and without playing with Elvis) was the toughest part. John arrived home broke and immediately bought himself on hire purchase a red Plymouth Belvedere. To pay for it he went back on the road, on a tour organised by Lee Gordon Enterprises (in Lee's now constant absence) dubbed The Johnny O'Keefe Show. For the three-month tour through New South Wales and Queensland John worked as though possessed. After the tour there was a series of appearances in Surfers Paradise, then a drive straight back to Sydney for more concerts. Always an erratic driver, this trip was to change him forever.

Driving down the Pacific Highway on the way to Sydney in June, John fell asleep at the wheel outside Kempsey. His car collided head-on with a gravel truck and was destroyed almost beyond recognition, only its tail fins intact. Lonnie Lee arrived before the police half an hour later and grabbed a bag of marijuana that had been hidden in a hubcap. Crowds tore souvenired pieces of rubber and steel from the wreck. John was rushed to Kempsey Hospital and received hundreds of stitches to his face and hands. His face was a mess, and he was lying in bed in hospital in Rose Bay when a plastic surgeon came in and offered to work on his face for nothing. Well schooled by Lee Gordon, JO'K turned his mangled face to his advantage (he was dubbed 'Maphead' by his friends) and each week he'd have plastic surgery before appearing on 'Six O'Clock Rock'. It was announced that the viewers would see his face change during the treatment over a period of three months. The ratings for the show soared, the magazines got hold of it and John promoted it for all it was worth.

Nonetheless, the accident affected him severely. His friends saw him turn inwards, lose some of his cocky confidence and grow depressed. Desperate for that elusive American hit, John returned to the States in 1961, but the trip was a disaster and he eventually returned to Australia. 

The death of Lee Gordon in 1963 was the worst period of Johnny O'Keefe's life. He was sacked by Channel 7 and lost his television show. A nervous breakdown destroyed his marriage and put him back into hospital. When he finally woke up in 1964, The Beatles were the new royalty and he was on sideshow alley at Sydney's Royal Easter Show fronting a Maori band as a curio, a figure of fun, the dethroned King of Rock doing sixteen shows a day next to Jimmy Sharman's Boxing Troupe and the Half-Man Half-Woman exhibition. He did it for two years and could go no lower.
But JO'K clawed his way back, managing acts, performing, slowly regaining control over his life. Although his mind had been knocked about he now had the distance he needed to come to terms with his manic life in the 1950s and early '60s. He could joke about himself, repeating a line at a roast by a bunch of hack comedians called the Echidnas: 'Brian Doyle got up on stage and said I believe Johnny O'Keefe is in the audience but I don't think he knows he's here. That raised a big laugh, and that to me wasn't knocking me, because half the bloody time my mind was going so damn fast that I don't even know where I am—really.'

Johnny O'Keefe in Vietnam
In 1975 Festival released the album 'The Living Legend Of Johnny O 'Keefe'. It was his fortieth birthday and it gave him a new lease of life re-forming the old rockers for a spearhead into the '50s nostalgia craze. He began charity work and business ventures, working the leagues clubs in a tuxedo, always with the aura of not just a star, and not just a Legend, but a living legend.

But the adrenaline still flowed and the night-time was his domain. Sleep always eluded him, only the energy kept him going. He tried everything, but kept returning to the sleeping pills to keep him sane. When Elvis died in 1977 John flinched and prepared for his own departure a year later. He became pensive, and as a guest star in Martin Fabinyi's video feature The Vacuum turned a satirical discussion on personal liberation into an honest confession about his death and reincarnation in London. He was a true star, and if John was running the show everything had to be just right. He deserved it, he'd been through the mill and back again, and survived with his humour and generosity intact. As he said, chatting about a television hostess having a nose job: 'I told her I knew everything about noses. I've had five.'

Valda Marshall, she who unwittingly paved the way for JO'K with her snippet (placed by him) in her column that he had a contract with Festival Records, wrote about the legend in Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper the day after his death:

'He was a shortish person, pleasant looking rather than handsome, friendly as a puppy to everyone. But in that rather ordinary frame was a human dynamo, an explosion of energy. He was not only a singer he was a one-man band, a master of publicity, promotion, gimmicks and showmanship. He bounced into radio stations hauling his records from DJ to DJ. He haunted newspaper offices and music writers. Sometimes, daily, there was a telephone call: "Oh Valda, I've got a great story." If there wasn't a story he invented one. On one of his early records "(You Hit The Wrong Note) Billy Goat" John rang one day to say he was driving out to a farm in the country to record a live billygoat to be on the record—and he did.
'His stage clothes were always flamboyant, some in leopard skin and gold lame. He wore pointy lizard-skin shoes. Even before he became a star, JO'K behaved like one. If you were taken out it was at the finest restaurant with the best food and the most expensive champagne. Even his entry in the 1978 Sydney telephone directory is typical showbiz O'Keefe—JOHNNY O'KEEFE, Rocker.'

O'Keefe was the prototype. He was the King of Australian rock & roll—impatient, brash, demanding to be heard on the world stage. He is remembered as a leader, his unique style made him the star he was, and his recordings alone are testament to an outstanding career. O'Keefe paved the way for many of Australian’s future stars, he was …. The Wild One     [extract from The Real Thing (1957-Now) by Toby Creswell & Martin Fabinyi,1999. p10-23]
This post consists of an MP3 (320kps) rip from vinyl, with the occasional crackle and pop, and full album artwork. I have also decided to include an alternative take of "She's My Baby', sourced from a CD anthology in my collection. I would like to acknowledge and say thanks for the use of some photos and newspaper articles taken from JO'Ks official website.  I came across this album only recently at the local flee market and was surprised how good a condition the album was in considering its age, and yep, you guessed it - another gold coin purchase. Hope you enjoy this blast from the past.
Track Listing
01 - She's My Baby
02 - I'm Counting On You
03 - Sing (And Tell The Blues So Long)
04 - Move Baby Move
05 - Good Luck Charm
06 - She Wears My Ring
07 - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
08 - The Sun's Gonna Shine Tomorrow
09 - Come On And Take My Hand
10 - Save The Last Dance With Me
11 - Rock 'N Roll Will Stand (It Will Stand)
12 - Twist And Shout
13 - Heaven Sent
14 - You'll Never Cherish A Love So True
15 - Right Now
16 - Mansion Over The Hilltop
17 - She's My Baby (Bonus Previously Unreleased Version)

JO'K  Link (94Mb)  New Link 21/06/2022

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Freedom - Soundtrack (1981)

(Australian 1981)
Freedom is a 1982 film directed by Scott Hicks. The movie was shot in May to June 1981 in and around Adelaide.  The story line goes something like this: A disillusioned youth, obsessed by fantasies of material wealth, steals a Porsche and with his girlfriend in tow, leads the authorities on a cross-country chase. A local entry into the 'road movie' genre, with excellent stunt work, high-speed chases and an atmospheric soundtrack, which is the focus of this post today.

Don Walker composed the music for this film about a man's love for his Porsche. First released on vinyl in 1982, it was re-released in 1996 as a CD sporting a different cover design. It features musicians from Cold Chisel and INXS along with guest vocalists - Liz Watters and Jason Currie. A single was also released in 1982.  "Speed Kills" / "Fascist Sounds" (WEA  100201).

Don Walker (born 29 November 1951) is an Australian musician and songwriter best known for writing many of the hits for Australian pub rock band Cold Chisel. He played piano and keyboard with the band from 1973 to 1983, when they disbanded. As a member of and main songwriter for Cold Chisel between 1973 and 1983 he wrote “Saturday Night”, “Cheap Wine”, “Standing on the Outside”, “Four Walls”, “Khe Sahn” along with many others, and co-wrote “Flame Trees”. He also wrote and produced the soundtrack for the Scott Hicks movie “Freedom” in 1981, featuring most of Cold Chisel and then unknown INXS singer Michael Hutchence. In 1989, after a break from music spent traveling, he released “Unlimited Address”, a set of songs under the band name Catfish, recorded with producer/guitar player Peter Walker and harmonica player David Blight. As a touring band Catfish also included guitar player Charlie Owen. In 1991 the second Catfish album, “Ruby”, was released, recorded with James Brown’s rhythm section of drummer Tony Cook and guitar player Ron Laster. The songs were more Australian in content. Slim Dusty had a hit with his version of “Charleville”, which he then invited Don to re-record as a duet.

He has since continued to record and tour, both solo and with Tex, Don and Charlie, and worked as a song-writer for others. In 2009, he released his first book “Shots”, published by Black Inc. I purchased a copy of this book recently, and am sorry to report that he probably should stick to writing songs (I found the book almost impossible to read - not my cup of tea I'm afraid).

Richard Clapton describes Walker as, "the most articulate Australian song writer there has ever been. Don just digs being a sort of Beat poet, who goes around observing, especially around the streets of Kings Cross. He soaks it up like a sponge and articulates it so well. Quite frankly, I think he's better than the rest of us."

Walker is considered to be one of Australia's best songwriters. In 2012 he was inducted into the Australian Songwriter's Hall of Fame.
Interview with Scott Hicks (Film Director)
(5th August 1996, 7th September 1996)
by Peter Malone

Q. Retracing your film journey from Freedom to Shine, what are your memories of Freedom?

Freedom was a very mixed experience. On the one hand, it was heady and exciting and intoxicating to be making your first feature film but, on the other, there were difficulties in the way the production was organised. The writer, John Emery, and I were kept separate from each other. In retrospect this was a huge blunder because the film was never totally focused in its vision, and I think that's reflected a little in the sort of schizophrenic nature of the film.
Scott Hicks - Director

Of course, it received very mixed reviews and it didn't do much at the box office. But there were elements about it of which I'm still extremely proud. And then there are things which, if we had worked this material better as writer and director together, we could have done something more substantial. So it was a mixed experience and a little scarifying in the end that it didn't work. And, you know, the director really cops it for good or ill.

Q. You mentioned the word `vision'. What was your vision of the film and what themes did you want to explore in the early '80s?

It's such a long time ago now. I think at the heart of it there was a character that I liked and that I recognised, someone with enormous frustration - not unintelligent, but obsessed with cars and in some ways constrained by the unemployment experience that was so rife then and indeed is, of course, now. So it was about someone trying to break free and trying to define himself. It had shades of Walter Mitty about it as well.

Freedom - CD Release
I used the word `schizophrenic' before. Freedom was a story that fell into two parts: one was about the whole environment, the whole milieu that Ron had grown up in; the second was about his hitting the road. When he tried to realise his dream, stole the Porsche, found the girl and did hit the road, it became another movie and I don't think those two elements were ever fully reconciled. So you had some people who loved the first half and hated the second and vice versa. When you have that happening with an audience, it's hard for it to jell.

This may be irrelevant, but I was looking for locations for Sebastian and the Sparrow; I drove across the Nullarbor and I stopped at various petrol stations along the way, and twice people said to me as they were pumping petrol into the car, `So, what are you doing?' I said, `I'm looking for locations for a film'. `What have you made before?' `I made this film called 'Freedom.' `Oh, my favourite film!' So there were people out there who really got something from it but, in broad terms, it simply didn't work. Sometimes that happens.
[extract from interviews conducted by Peter Malone]
This post consists of an MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my crispy clean, almost 'virgin mint' vinyl copy that I bought when the LP was first released, purely based on the Cold Chisel connection. Copies on eBay have fetched up to $200, so I think I might hold onto this little gem for just a little longer.
Full album artwork  for both LP & CD plus label scans are included, but no Porsche I'm afraid.
Overall the music on this album is pretty damn good for a Soundtrack and there are some killer tracks: namely the single "Speed Kills" on side A and the lengthy "Eleuptheria" opener on Side B.
Even if you're not a Cold Chisel / INXS fan, and you haven't heard this album before, you should do yourself a favour and grab a copy now.
Track Listing
01 - Port Adelaide
02 - Speed Kills
03 - Port Adelaide II
04 - Freedom Theme
05 - Sedan Hoot
06 - Eleuptheria
07 - Fascist Sounds
08 - Last Stretch
09 - Forest Theme

Don Walker - Vocals, Harmonica, Keyborads
Peter Walker - Guitar
Phil Small - Bass
Ian Moss - Vocals, Guitar
Steven Prestwich - Drums
Michael Hutchence - Vocals

Billy Rodgers - Saxophone
Jason Currie - Vocals
Liz Watters - Vocals
Quito Ray - Vocals
David Blight - Harmonica
Mark Collins - Banjo
Kayellen Bee, Miranda Brown - Backing Vocals

Freedom Link (76Mb)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Jimi Hendrix - Blues At Midnight (1968) Ex. Bootleg

(U.S 1963-1970)
(Also released as Jimi Hendrix - NYC)
If you're not familiar with this recording, it can best be described as a bunch of structured 'jams'. If you're into lyrics, this one's NOT for you!  If you're into great instrumentals, particularly electric guitar, JUMP ON THIS!  The sound quality is very nice. I'd rate the sound quality as a solid Excellent, in my humble opinion. Crowd noise can be heard at times, but it's faint at most. There are also a few fade-in/fade-outs, but almost hardly worth mentioning.
Sunday March 17, 1968
Cafe Au Go Go,
152 Bleecker Street, Greenwich Village, New York

Jimi has been in the audience watching a jam by the Electric Flag involving Elvin Bishop on guitar, Herbie Rich on organ, Harvey Brooks on bass, Phil Wilson on drums, and Paul Butterfield on harmonica. Before long he is persuaded to join in and is welcomed to the stage with shouts of delight from the audience. The ensemble start off with a few unidentified instrumental jams, and then Jimi plays a melodic instrumental version of' "Little Wing".
Does this kind of thing still happen? Befitting from the late hour and the unrehearsed nature of the session, it is a loose performance that starts off strong, then devolves into some bluesy noodling, as everybody gets a solo, before ending with a blistering guitar solo, that, again, perversely, fades into oblivion (which presumably didn’t happen live). No one seemed interested in singing, so we are left with a sometimes astonishing instrumental version, with Hendrix stretching out a bit more than on the original. The jam continues with "Everything's Gonna Be Alright", "Stormy Monday" and a jam that Jimi would later go on to record as "Three Little Bears". Midway through the jam, Jimi has some trouble with his guitar leads, though the problem is quickly sorted out. The group continue with a very fast upbeat jam which the other musicians present have some difficulty in keeping up with. [extract from 'Jimi Hendrix: Concert Files' by Tony Brown.Omnibus Press, 1999 p86]
There appears to be some discrepancy about the actual date of this recording, and it has been suggested that this recording was actually made on Thursday, 14th March, as documented by the website originalcafeaugogo which is devoted purely to gigs played at the Cafe Au Go Go from 1964-69.
Thursday, March 7 - Sunday, March 17, 1968: Electric Flag
Electric Flag was a famous Los Angeles-based blues, soul and rock group led by legendary guitarist Michael Bloomfield, and which also included some of the best musicians of that era like singer Nick Gravenites, drummer Buddy Miles, bassist Harvey Brooks and organist Barry Goldberg. On Thursday night, March 14, there was a recorded jam, probably after hours, that put together a cast of stars such as: Jimi Hendrix (guitar), Elvin Bishop (guitar), Buddy Miles (drums), Harvey Brooks (bass), Phil Wilson (drums), James “Jack” Tatum (sax), Herbie Rich (sax), Paul Butterfield (harp) and Al Kooper (organ).

This post consists of MP3 rip (320kps), originally taken from one of Jimi's private tape recordings which he made while working the club scene during the early years of his career. Also included are alternative bootleg covers for this release along with the official Midnight Beat release as depicted.
The quality of these recording are quite extraordinary considering the type of equipment Jimi would have used to tape this gig, and I would rate it as Excellent on all counts.
Track Listing:
01 - Little Wing
02 - Everythings Gonna Be Alright
03 - 3 Little Bears 1
04 - 3 Little Bears 2
05 - Instrumental Jam
06 - Stormy Monday
07 - Blues In C *

* Additional track recorded at the Generation Club, New York, April 15, 1968 with B.B King

Jimi Hendrix: Guitar
Paul Butterfield: guitar, vocals
Elvin Bishop: Guitar
Harvey Brooks: Bass
Herbie Rich: Organ
Buddy Miles: Drums
Phillip Wilson: Saxophone
James Tatum: Percussion

Midnight Blues Link (174Mb)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Firm - Selftitled (1985)

(U.K 1984-1986)
The Firm were a rock group comprising ex-Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, former Bad Company singer Paul Rogers, ex-Uriah Heep drummer Chris Slade, and Roy Harper bass player Tony Franklin. Formed in 1984, the band - although having a distinguished pedigree (and thus qualifying as a supergroup) - had only mediocre album sales, although they did have sellout tours. Page originally wanted former Yes drummer Bill Bruford and fretless bass virtuoso Pino Pallidino in the group however Bruford was contracted to another label and Palladino had tour commitments with singer Paul Young.

Both Page and Rodgers refused to play any material from their former bands and instead opted for a selection of songs from both their solo albums and new songs which were heavily infused with a soulful and more commercially accessible sound, courtesy of Franklin's fretless bass guitar underpinning and understated song structure. In subsequent press interviews, Page had indicated that The band was never meant to last more than two albums. After the band split, Page and Rogers returned to solo work while Chris Slade joined AC/DC and Franklin teamed up with guitarist John Sykes in Blue Murder [extract from Jimmy Page online]
Album Review
This is one of those albums everyone had in their vinyl collection ... and probably don't want to part with it but neither listen to it much either. Even when Paul Rodgers joined Queen ... the album probably got pulled out, looked at nostalgically and maybe Side A listened to ... and well, that says it all about this wanna-be powerhouse.
This is one of the legendary supergroups of the 80's, up there with Asia and GTR, staying together long enough to release 2 albums, but the idea is stronger than the outcome as became particularly obvious to the follow-up to this debut Mean Business. It's got all the pieces there for something great - all the recognizable musical bits that forged their own legacies decades earlier - but something just never clicked for The Firm. The foundation just wasn't ... firm enough. Paul Rodgers of Bad Company and Free on vocals is in fine form as always, albeit, as demonstrated in his work with Queen, it's the limited range of a blues belter who doesn't always let loose enough that is his weakest trait.

Led Zeppelin guitar god Jimmy Page creates his trademarked layered riffs and arrangements that at moments are reminiscent of later Zeppelin, albeit few of the songs ever really seem to rock out or even dig deep into his blues roots that laced so much of the Zep repertoire. Putting this together with his later reunion with Robert Plant one begins to realize how much John Paul Jones affected Plant's arrangements giving them a spice he seems to often miss and pushing Zeppelin to the forefront of music.
Steady beats are laid down by famous bald-headed drummer Chris Slade of Manfred Mann and Uriah Heep and later AC/DC. The relatively unknown Tony Franklin from Roy Harper is on bass, his largest credit being the introduction of the fretless bass into metal, playing a thick and funky bass that gives the album a definite 80's feel. The Firm largely plays it safe, almost too safe at moments. It's an enjoyable listen and Page is always a pleasure, but his joining with David Coverdale a decade later would be far more exciting.

Perhaps one of the problem is that this smells of its obvious commercial appeal, something Led Zeppelin never did, proof being that in Britain they refused to allow the release of singles, while Bad Company and Uriah Heep both existed in the shadows of progressive rock that believed in the art of music over pretty much everything else.
Nevertheless, it should be said The Firm is better than I'm probably describing it and there's a reason somewhere why it appears in everyone's collection, unlike the few people that probably claim a GTR album featuring Steve Howe of Yes and Steve Hackett of Genesis. It's just that these musicians are put up to such high expectations that one imagines that the album should be better. These guys came from good bands and would return to them in various ways. The Firm just wasn't meant to be, though it did nothing to damage any reputations.
This post consists of a clean MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my crisp vinyl copy, acquired from the sale bin at Brash Suttons in Geelong many moons ago, with its distinctive hole punch in the top right-hand corner to indicate 'sale item'.
Also included is full album artwork for CD and LP, plus select band related photos (sourced from Brandy Zep's Website with thanks).
Track Listing
01. Closer (02:53)
02. Make or Break (04:22)
03. Someone to Love (04:54)
04. Together (03:54)
05. Radioactive (02:49)
06. You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling (04:33)
07. Money Can't Buy (03:34)
08. Satisfaction Guaranteed (04:12)
09. Midnight Moonlight (09:13)

Band Members:
Paul Rodgers - vocals/guitars
Jimmy Page - guitars
Tony Franklin - bass/keyboards

Chris Slade - drums/backing vocals
Additional musicians:
Steve Dawson - trumpet
Paul "Shilts" Weimar, Willie Garnett, Don Weller - sax
Sam Brown, Helen Chappelle, Joy Yates - backing vocals

The Firm Link (106Mb)  New Link 03/01/2024

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Johnny Farnham - Everybody Oughta Sing A Song (1968)

(Australian 1967-Present)
Johnny (John) Farnham has been entertaining audiences worldwide since 1967. His impact on the Australian Music Industry is phenomenal and unrivaled. He has recorded a multitude of hits and received numerous awards and accolades.
Locally he has remained one of Australia's best-known performers with a career spanning over 45 years, and he is the only Australian artist to have a number one record in five consecutive decades (echoing that of Cliff Richard in the UK) with singles: "Sadie (The Cleaning Lady)" in 1967, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" in 1969/1970, and "Age of Reason" in 1988; and albums: Age of Reason, Chain Reaction in 1990, Then Again... in 1993, Anthology 1: Greatest Hits 1986–1997 in 1997, 33 1/3  in 2000 and The Last Time in 2002. [extract from wikipedia]
John's first real step towards a musical career was when he and two school friends formed a band called 'The Mavericks'. They didn't know many numbers but managed to get a few gigs at school socials. They all progressed to Lyndale High School together and the group regularly played at school concerts and at the Dandenong Town Hall. During School holidays, John worked with family friend Stan Foster in his plumbing business.
Several years later, John took a two year leave from the plumbing apprenticeship he would never return to, it was time to pursue his singing career. Darryl Sambell was from Adelaide and knew the music scene better there than in Melbourne, therefore John's first gigs were booked at The Princeton Club, St. Clair and Halfway Out. Three gigs on the same night and he received $20 for each performance. John's first television appearance was also in Adelaide on the daily pop-mine show 'Kommotion'.
Darryl scored John a session for the Ansett-ANA commercial ‘Susan Jones’. The theme was written by Peter Best and it was recorded by four different artists. These were pressed to an EP by Astor and distributed in a picture sleeve. The EP's were used for promotional purposes and given to customers who flew Ansett-ANA at the time. Apparently John was paid only $40 for what has today become a mega rare EP.
EMI producer, David McKay first became aware of John from his regular appearances on the pop-mime show,' Kommotion' and immediately recognised his talent. John’s signing to EMI for release on the Columbia label was facilitated by a private performance before McKay, backed by the band, Zoot. This was when his career really started to take off and he recorded "Sadie". Life would never be the same for John Farnham.
"Sadie" was very cleverly marketed. Publicity stunts included advertisements placed in newspapers for cleaning ladies, and an Electrolux vacuum cleaner making an appearance at the launch. A huge success, "Sadie" reached No. 1 and stayed there for 6 weeks, remaining on the chart for 23 weeks. It was the
largest selling single by an Australian artist in the 60's, selling a huge 180,000 units.
Following the success of "Sadie" the single, EMI/Columbia issued Johnny's first album also titled 'Sadie', which went on to achieve Gold Status. Johnny's second album ‘Everybody Oughta Sing A Song’ was also released in  November, 1968. [extract from John Farnham's Official Fan Website]
Album Review
Everybody Oughta Sing A Song is the second solo studio album by Australian pop singer John Farnham (billed then as Johnny Farnham) and was released on EMI Records in November 1968. Its first single, released in July, was the double A-sided, "Jamie"/"I Don't Want To Love You", which peaked at #8 on the Go-Set National Singles Charts. The second single, "Rose Coloured Glasses" was released in October and peaked at #16. Writers on the album included Hans Poulson, Neil Diamond and Quincy Jones. The album was re-released in 1974 with a different cover, it shows Farnham performing live on stage, whereas the initial 1968 release had him leaning against a Holden Monaro [extract from wikipedia]
Johnny Worth A Second Listen
(Review by Ed Nimmervoll, GO-SET Magazine, Wednesday Oct 16, 1968 p9)
"Rose Coloured Glasses"/"Scratchin' Ma Head" (Columbia Records)
At first I hated this! I had visions of writing all sorts of nasty things. Then I played both sides a few more times and discovered that actually this is quite good stuff.
I noticed the variety and thought in the arrangement, the fine instrumental work which drives along with Johnny's sometimes strained vocal. The conclusion is that this could be Johnny's biggest since "Sadie" and thankfully, both sides are completely opposite to that record.
I doubt whether Johnny's vocal does justice to Hans Poulsen's "Rose Coloured Glasses" but the forceful feel of the whole arrangement more than makes up for this. Johnny does a very good job of both sides, particular in "Scratchin' Me Back" a faster side which suits him to a tee, but I can't help wondering just how much Johnny is moulded by producer David Mackay.
Note: Nimmervoll couldn't seem to get the title of the B-Side track correct in his article, and "Scratchin' Ma Head" is the correct title.

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my Vinyl copy and includes full album artwork, including the cover of the 1974 re-release of the album (see below), and label scans. (Many thanks to WoodyNet for the Go-Set Article). Be warned that the quality of the recording is not brilliant as the original recording was quite poor with very little bass. Keeping in mind that the album was recorded in 1968 using fairly primitive recording equipment, there is only so much one can do with 'digital enhancement software'.  But this album is rare, and for those of you seeking to complete your Farnham collections, the post might just be for you.  Definitely no 'Sadie' or 'Raindrops Keep Falling' hits on this album, but maybe if you look at it with "Rose Coloured Glasses", you might find one or two interesting tracks. LOL
Track Listing:
01  - Everybody Oughta Sing A Song
02  - Jamie 
03  - There Is No Season To My Love 
04  - Two-Bit Manchild 
05  - The Last Thing On My Mind
06  - Strollin' 
07  - Scratchin' Ma Head 
08  - I Don't Want To Love You
09  - Confidentially 
10  - Rose Coloured Glasses 
11  - Grand Unspeakable Passion
12  - Sunday Will Never Be The Same 
13  - You Can Write A Song

John Farnham Link (81Mb) New Link 22/10/2015