Saturday, August 30, 2014

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: The Chaps - Rawhide (1982)

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.
In  1982, the Scottish band The Chaps (pronounced Shaps) released a parody of the 60's T.V series 'Rawhide'.
"Rawhide" is a Western song written by Ned Washington (lyrics) and composed by Dimitri Tiomkin in 1958. It was originally recorded by Frankie Laine. The song was used as the theme to Rawhide, the western television series that ran on CBS from 1959 to 1966. The song is about the job of a drover on a cattle drive.
Rawhide was an American Western series starring Eric Fleming and Clint Eastwood that aired for eight seasons on the CBS network on Friday nights, from January 9, 1959 to September 3, 1965, before moving to Tuesday nights from September 14, 1965 until January 4, 1966, with a total of 217 black-and-white episodes. The series was produced and sometimes directed by
Clint Eastwood  'Rowdy Yates'
Charles Marquis Warren, who also produced early episodes of Gunsmoke. It is often said that this series was the catapult that launched Clint Eastwood to stardom, first in Spaghetti Western Movies and then later moving onto more series Westerns and then into the role of Dirty Harry as a rough and tough cop.

Spanning seven and a half years, Rawhide was the fifth-longest-running American television Western, exceeded only by eight years of Wagon Train, nine years of The Virginian, fourteen years of Bonanza, and twenty years of Gunsmoke.
The typical Rawhide story involved drovers, portrayed by Eric Fleming (trail boss Gil Favor) and Clint Eastwood (ramrod Rowdy Yates), coming upon people on the trail and getting drawn into solving whatever problem they presented or were confronting. Sometimes one of the members of the cattle drive or some of the others would venture into a nearby town and encounter some trouble from which they needed to be rescued. Rowdy Yates was young and at times impetuous in the earliest episodes and Favor had to keep a tight rein on him. Favor was a savvy and strong leader who always played "square" with his fellow men. He was a tough customer who could handle the challenges and get the job done. 
This single is certainly worth inclusion into the 'W.O.C.K on Vinyl' hall of fame, as its Scottish tones and Gaelic vocals are nothing short of being Weird  and Crazy. Featuring the traditional tune "Ghost Riders In The Sky" the B-Side has the better version in my opinion.  Apparently, the first pressings of the single were incorrectly labelled as McRAWHIDE and are probably collector items in their own right. Guess who's got a copy!
Note: "Rawhide" is defined in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate as 
"1. a whip of untanned hide. 
2. untanned cattle skin".  
So it refers to the material, or the whip itself.
Chaps were and are normally made from leather; less expensive ones could possibly be made from rawhide, but they wouldn't be very durable. Therefore, I don't think "rawhide" is a slang for "chaps."
Track Listing
01 - Rawhide (I Belong To Glasgow)
02 - 02 - Rawhide (Ghost Riders In The Sky)
The Chaps Link (16Mb)

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Who - Best Of (1993) - Bootleg

(U.K 1964–82, 1989, 1996–present)
Note: Through a loophole in the law, the contents of this CD were sourced from a soundboard bootleg of the 09/29/69 Amsterdam, Netherlands, Concertgebouw concert

Four London Mods who smashed guitars, overturned drum kits, trashed hotels — and, at the same time created classic rock.
The Who began life in 1962 as a skiffle group known as the Detours, comprised of vocalist Roger Daltrey, bassist John Entwistle, guitarist Pete Townshend and drummer Doug Sandom. In 1964 Moon took over the drumstool and the band became the Who for a short time, before manager Peter Meaden suggested the High Numbers as a name and blatantly cultivated a Mod image. Purveying high-energy R&B, the band initially relied on covers for the bulk of their live set, which ranged from James Brown to Bo Diddley.
Written by Meaden, the High Numbers' sole single, I'm The Face' on the Fontana label, sank without trace. Film directors Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp who had been considering a documentary on the Mod phenomenon, saw the High Numbers in concert, however, and decided to manage them. They bought out Peter Meaden's interest for £500.
The image of the band destroying equipment originated at the Railway Hotel, Harrow, where the low ceiling was a constant source of impact for the top of Townshend's guitar. One night the guitar neck snapped clean off to the delight of the delirious crowd. Lambert and Stamp were quick to realize that repetition and exaggeration of this stunt would attract considerable publicity.
Lambert renamed them the Who and secured them a Tuesday night slot at London's famous Marquee Club. Townshend began writing original material as a vehicle to express his ideas on youth culture; alienation, confusion, amphetamine abuse and a disregard for authority all featured prominently in his lyrics. After some difficulty, including a rejection from EMI, they eventually secured a deal through Shel Talmy, an independent producer who negotiated a contract through Decca in the US. The band's debut 'I Can't Explain' in 1965 became a UK Top 10 hit following appearances on Ready Steady Go! and Top Of The Pops.
'Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere' resulted in a further Top 10 success, even though the mod movement was beginning to lose its impetus.
'My Generation', the anti-establishment anthem, reached Number 2 in the UK charts and featured stuttered obscene innuendo's as well as Townshend's personal philosophy in the line "Hope I die, before I get old". In addition, the band's stage show became more outrageous; Townshend's windmill guitar antics and the total trashing of equipment became commonplace, especially if media moguls were in attendance.
December 1965 saw the release of the band's debut album 'My Generation', an angst-ridden statement that highlighted teenage frustrations and took them into the UK Top 5. Further single success ensued with 'Substitute' (UK Number 5), I'm A Boy' (UK Number 2) and 'Happy Jack', (UK Number 3, US Number 24) and saw Townshend widen his lyrical horizons with comments on awakening sexuality as well as society's eccentrics. In December 1966, 'A Quick One' became the band's second Top 5 album success and included the nine-minute, mini-rock opera 'A Quick One, While He's Away7, which pre-dates the Beatles' 'Sgt Pepper' and is a blueprint for Tommy'.
The US market became primed following the band's infamous equipment-wrecking show at the Monterey Pop Festival on 25 June 1967. 'I Can See For Miles' became a Top 10 hit on both sides of the Atlantic, while The Who Sell Out (1967) which featured tracks linked by commercial radio ads was a success in the album charts reaching Number 48 in the UK charts and Number 13 in the US. Townshend began work on an ambitious rock opera in the spring of 1968, which eventually materialized two years later as Tommy' (1969).
'Pinball Wizard', the advance single, went to the Top 5 in the UK and the Top 20 in the US, with the double concept album (a UK Number 2 and US Number 4) relating the story of a deaf, dumb and blind kid, whose only talent was playing pinball machines. He eventually becomes the guru-like reader of a new quasi-religious cult, based on pinball, but is finally rejected by his disenchanted disciples.
The band only performed Tommy' in its entirety twice, but in 1972 Townshend coordinated a new recording with the London Svmphony Orchestra, featuring guest appearances from Rod Stewart, Sandy Denny, Steve Winwood and others. In 1975, Ken Russell produced a film version of Tommy starring The Who, with Daltrey in the central role, arid featuring Tina Turner as the Acid Queen' and Elton John as the 'Pinball Wizard'. Controversial and violent performances at Woodstock and the Isle of Wight festival elevated the band to legendary status.
Following the studio labours of Tommy', in 1970 the band recorded 'Live At Leeds' (UK Number 3, US Number 4), a charged set of high-energy R&B, featuring screeching feedback and explosive guitar work from Townshend. This is considered by many as one of the greatest ever live recordings. Who's Next (1971) (UK Number 1, US Number 4) saw the band utilize synthesizers for the first time and achieve a more refined sound. Won't Get Fooled Again', released as a single, went to Number 9 in the UK and Number 15 in the US. A trio of new single releases ensued over the next eighteen months, to mark time until Townshend's second rock opera was fully completed; 'Let's See Action', 'Join Together' and 'Relay1 helped to maintain a high media profile during this period.
The Who - Idols Of Swinging London
In November 1973, the ambitious 'Quadrophenia' went to Number 2 in both the UK and US and brought the inevitable comparisons with Tommy'. Another double concept album, this time based on the story of 'Jimmy', an adolescent mod searching for the true meaning of life. Although the album was a worldwide success, singles released from the project fared relatively poorly. In 1979, a film version was produced under the direction of Franc Roddam, featuring Sting of the Police in a minor role.
Following the release of 'Odds And Sods' (1974), a compilation of unreleased leftovers from the previous decade, The Who By Numbers' (1975) suggested that Townshend's lyrical and musical cutting edge had become less sharp. With the advent of punk, Townshend had to radically reassess his approach, and against the odds the band rediscovered themselves in 1978 with the more confident and aggressive Who Are You?' (UK Number 6, US Number 2). However, tragedy struck in September 1978 when Keith Moon died from an overdose of drugs; ironically, these had been prescribed to treat his alcoholism.
Keith Moon - played the largest drum kit at that time

 After serious contemplation, the remaining trio decided to continue and recruited former Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones. Following the release of 'The Kids Are Alright' (1979), a double album retrospective, the long-delayed 'Face Dances' (1981) represented a creative nadir reaching Number 2 in the UK and Number 4 in the US which was further confirmed by 'It's Hard' (1982) (UK Number 11, US Number 8), the band's final studio release. In December 1982, the band split up following the last gig of a North American farewell tour. The event was filmed and recorded for subsequent video and album release.
The band re-formed for live Aid in 1985 and again in 1989 for a lucrative 25th-anniversary tour, which yielded Join Together', yet another live album. Although somewhat tarnished, the legend of the Who lives on; their flamboyant, aggressive style has influenced many generations of bands over the years and their-characteristic trademarks are still copied, but rarely equaled. [extract from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Rock, edited by Michael Heatley, Carlton Books, 1994.p216-217]
Townsend destroys another guitar
The Who's Tour 1969
The Who Tour 1969 was a series of performances and tours by The Who, partially in support of their Tommy album. 1969 was an extremely transitional year for the band, due almost entirely to Pete Townshend's rock opera Tommy, which they had begun recording the previous autumn. By the second half of the year, the success of Tommy began to elevate the status of the band, who continued to feature it as the focal point of their act.
Starting with the show at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, London on 21 September, the band added several songs to the Tommy set to present the rock opera in more complete form, while shows generally ended with long versions of "My Generation" that included reprised themes from Tommy, along with various other instrumental sections. A live FM radio broadcast from the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam followed shortly afterwards (from which this Bootleg probably originated), and the group returned to North America for another five-week tour in early October, highlighted by six nights at the Fillmore East in New York City.[extract from wikipedia]

Daltrey & Townsend 1969
About the recording
This recording was made by a Dutch radio/TV broadcast. It's not 100% certain who did it, but it was probably done by the VPRO, who also did the Pink Floyd recording the same year at the same venue. And just like that Pink Floyd recording, this one was also bootlegged a million times from various very good to very poor sources. All of these sources were originated from radio broadcast/s. Back then, and today still, the 'Concertgebouw' in Amsterdam was not a place for rock bands but for opera's and other classic music. Mixed directly to 2-tracks, this may been one of the reasons why the mixing engineer had a hard time finding the right balance. The mix changes often, and sometimes the drums or the guitar just disappear or get buried for a while. It also must have been hard for the band to hear each other, because of the extremely reverberating acoustics.
Remember, this was 1969 and sound monitoring on stage was still a thing for the future. When comparing this one to other Who shows from this period, this one probably isn't the best. Roger Daltrey has once said that he didn't think he sang very well this night. And playing the Tommy album on stage was obviously not a routine for the band yet. But, there is more than enough to enjoy here. It is the only complete soundboard recording from this year. It is also the only one with complete lineage, and it has the best sound. Beside that, all other Who '69 board tapes are far from complete and don't have most of Tommy. Somewhere around 2000, a Pre-FM source of this show was unearthed. Funny enough, the same thing happened with the aforementioned Pink Floyd recording, but that's another story. They may have come from the same person though. Read the quote below: "My source in Amsterdam worked on a Who anniversary special, for the same radio station that broadcast the show in 1969. He suggested that the DJ use some of this show, so a technician produced the original masters. He took the chance to make a copy on their professional reel-to-reel equipment. Our CD was transferred off his 1st generation reels. Although this show has been booted repeatedly, this is the REAL source. It sounds amazing, like it was taped off the radio yesterday, perfect except for a little tape hiss in the very quiet bits.
First Hand Account Of The Concert
Did you know that Keith fell off the stage that night in Amsterdam? When the band came on stage, Keith came running up the stairs on the right side of the stage (which was a small one) and he forgot to stop. He tried to get his balance again, but he fell into the audience and took some speakers with him in his fall. I was standing maybe three feet away from where he fell and with some other people, we lifted him up onto the stage again. He shaked his head, which was covered with blood, jumped behind his drums and the show was on. This was my 1st WHO Concert and since than they are still the best band for me. [review by Henk Hulstkamp at]
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from an AMCOS CD (Australian) release and includes full album artwork (plus several other bootleg covers for same concert).  The quality of this bootleg recording is pretty good for the period in which it was recorded, but don't expect another Live at Leeds !
The track listing is quite interesting and most of their well known songs are here, including a good slab of material from their rock opera Tommy and some of their classic standards like "Shakin' All Over" and "Substitute". The only bummer is that my favourite Who track "Magic Bus" wasn't on the playlist, but I guess I've got 'Live At Leeds' to console me.  Enjoy.
Track Listing
01 - I Can't Explain
02 - Fortune Teller
03 - Tattoo
04 - Young Man Blues
05 - Pinball Wizard
06 - Substitute
07 - Happy Jack
08 - I'm Free
09 - 1921
10 - Summertime Blues
11 - See Me, Feel Me
12 - I'm A Boy
13 - Christmas
14 - The Acid Queen
15 - Shakin' All Over
16 - My Generation

The Who Line Up:
Pete Townshend (guitars, vocal)
Roger Daltey (vocal)
John Entwistle (bass, vocal)
Keith Moon (drums, vocal)

The Who Link (149Mb)  New Link 22/09/2018

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Men At Work - Two Hearts (1985) + Bonus Tracks

(1978–1986, 1996–2002)
Men At Work were a success phenomena which comes along once in a decade — in any country. Early in 1983, not much more than three years after formation, they were holding down the number one single and album spot in both Britain and the United States — a grand slam only achieved in the past by the mega-star likes of Rod Stewart and Barbra Streisand. The group's debut album, Business As Usual, became the longest running number one debut LP in American chart history, displacing The Monkees. It remained at the summit for a staggering 15 weeks, shifting around 8 million copies during its stay. The Men's first two American single releases reached number one, as they had done in Australia.

These achievements had far greater significance than the dramatic international explosion of a hot new band. They represented a victory not just for Men At Work but for Australian music in general, For almost three decades this sort of breakthrough had been the ultimate wet dream of down under musicians — to develop a sound so irresistible, so unique that it would sweep the world and leave the titans and moguls goggle-eyed with disbelief. The Bee Gees had come close in the sixties but with Australia just a stepping stone for the three English-born singers, there was no real sense of national pride in their international exploits, The Easybeats, Sherbet, John Paul Young and Little River Band all made their mark but invariably it was short lived and not quite cataclysmic.

Men At Work 1985 (L-R): Ron Strykert, Colin Hay, Greg Ham
The Men At Work saga was truly breathtaking. Their second album, Cargo, followed Business As Usual into the high reaches of the American charts and sold well over 4 million units. They won a Grammy, a wall full of other awards and citations, and enormous radio popularity. At a time when the new British rock was sounding a little too left-of-centre and even Americans were finding their own mass-appeal rock tame and predictable, Men At Work sailed into the void brandishing a bright, quirky and moderately inventive sound which struck a surprisingly responsive chord with both consumers and programmers.
Being Australian was certainly no disadvantage. "Americans don't know much about Australia but they're fascinated by it," observed founding keyboards/reeds player Greg Ham after a North American tour. "There is this mystique, or at least a lack of knowledge and they have a thing about this being the Last Frontier. I think that a lot of Americans would like to feel that there is a last frontier around because they haven't got one of their own any more.

The irony of this American furore was that, as Colin Hay emphasises, "Americans were almost the last to be sold on us, they weren't quick off the mark at all". By the end of 1981, the band had notched up number one singles in Holland and Germany, a number two in France, and had scored a platinum album in Canada, but were still being passed over by CBS America, the company which would eventually present them with a plaque for generating $100 million worth of international record business.

"The A&R guy in New York turned the album down twice," wryly recalls Hay, "and the decision was overturned by the vice-president of the company. That was solely because Russell Deppler, our manager, used to sit in their offices from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m. wanting money. They finally decided to release the LP just to get rid of him, and that's no joke! Even then, at great cost to us, we hired an independent publicist to ring up the radio stations and sell them Men At Work. The first single was quirky and very different from what American radio played. The kids loved it, they thought it was a very cool sound, and it snowballed from there."
As the snowball grew almost ludicrously huge in the northern hemisphere, all was not well down south. As soon as international success became apparent, the heavily ingrained Tall Poppy Syndrome' began to manifest itself at home. As scores of sportsmen, politicians, artists and musicians have bitterly discovered, when the fiercely egalitarian Australians sense their own becoming 'too big for their boots' they set about cutting the tall poppies down to size. "That's why people leave this country," snarls Hay. "That's why they can't stand to be here any more. They have to go somewhere to just do their work and be appreciated for that, and nothing else. Americans are more positive, they put a priority on someone achieving what they can do, which I find is a quality which puts them apart from the rest. In its cleanest, purest form, it's the essence of 'I can achieve my dreams'. If I went to see a band in a New York club and I stood on the end of the queue, people would think I was a bit dumb because they like their star system. If I was in Melbourne and I pushed my way to the front of the queue, the reaction would be 'who the f**k does this bastard think he is'." Greg Ham concurs, "Every person in America is potentially a star, every cabby writes songs or has a friend who is in films. I get off on that sort of positive energy."

Air Supply had already become accustomed to being in the top three in America and the lower thirties at home, but for Men At Work the rejection was a cruel blow. Following their first triumphant US tour they flew home to play Narara, the huge outdoor rock festival, alongside such concert champions as the Angels and Dragon. The punters sat back smugly and said, 'O.K. big shots, show us your stuff. Tired and possibly intimidated, the Men turned in a lack lustre performance which generated derision and saw them widely dismissed as 'wimps'. Many arbiters of public taste were unashamed in their dismissal of the recent heroes as fabricated 'popstars', a venomous swear word. "What did upset us," admitted Ham, "was other bands who shot their mouths off about how they deserved success more than us. It was incredibly short-sighted because what we did helped every other Australian band trying to make it overseas.

By 1983 the roller coaster ride was beginning to lose its sheen for the five flippant but talented musicians who had been lucky to earn $50 a show at the dank Cricketer's Arms pub in the working class Melbourne suburb of Richmond not much more than two years before. They were playing what Rees describes as "a cross between Emerson, Lake & Palmer on speed and hippie punk". Even the American media was running out of angles on the rags to riches story (or 'dags to riches' as the band liked to refer to it). Men At Work were simply running out of interest and the cracks, even if they were not yet showing, had begun to rent the one-inviolable unit. By the end of an arduous 70 city tour, according to Hay, "the group became the Men who didn't care if they ever worked again".

"When the 1983 tour finished, for all intents and purposes it wasn't really a band then," explains Hay. "We all just ran away. Basically, the original line-up did not have a common goal, and we were never a cohesive unit, socially, philosophically or musically. We'd played together for five years and it was just clear that the band had to reform if it was going to survive. When you've worked with people for that long it's like being married to five different people at the same time. There's bound to be a couple of divorces along the way."

"After a while, Greg, Ron and I drifted back together and started playing each other's tunes," says Hay. "It was then that we realised we should really keep going as Men At Work. We tossed around the idea of changing the name but then we thought that'd be really stupid because for the next two years everybody would be asking us why we changed the name. Members of bands change all the time."
The break gave Hay the precious opportunity to slowly craft an album. "We recorded the first album in three weeks. I just had one and a half days to do my guitar bits. We didn't have a clue how things were done. Looking back, that LP has a charm for me. Cargo had just three songs that I liked." American producer Peter Mclan, despite his magnificent success, was dispensed with. Rhett Davies said no to a trip to Australia so Jimmy Lovine was flown in for a week. "We needed somebody to pull a bit of soul from us. Jimmy just didn't work. You couldn't just say it was that we had no common ground, It was more a case of two different planets going whoosh!, whoosh!, completely missing each other."
Agreed on the perilous path of self-production, Hay and Ham, with undetermined input from the seemingly disinterested Strykert, set about recording the 'Two Hearts' album, their third in Australia. "There were no artistic restrictions," says Hay, "Greg would produce my vocals and I'd produce his sax. It was very exciting to work like that."

Unfortunately, the excitement did not rub off on the buying public. At a glittering Sydney launch party, CBS executives read a cable from head office enthusing over the album and predicting another mega-million sales performance. However, when it hit the shops in America, purchasers stayed away in droves. The album lurched to 50 on Billboard and then faded away gracelessly. Hay's reaction to this debacle differed according to his mood. To one interviewer he snapped, "Cargo was supposed to have flopped because it only got to number three in America! And with this one, people say 'ooh, it's a stiff, isn't it?'. And I say 'yea I guess it is, it's only sold 750,000 copies'. Any other band that sells that much would be over the moon." But in a less defensive mood he conceded, "It was disappointing though. I went into a deep and lasting depression about that. I take it to heart, I make no bones about that. I hate it. I want it one more time, thank you very much. That will happen, if not today, it will happen tomorrow. I'm not in any hurry, but when a two month American tour gets pulled out from under you, you feel distress. We could have done that American tour but we couldn't do it on the level we planned on... I think it's the best album. I don't feel it deserves to be forgotten."

Following an extended break in 1984, the band started to fall apart. By the time they recorded their third and final release, drummer Jerry Speiser and bass player Johnathan Rees were already gone, replaced by session players. This left three core members, Scottish-born singer Colin Hay, keyboard/sax player and occasional vocalist Greg Ham and guitarist Ron Strykert. It's possible that Strykert may have left during the recording sessions, as he doesn't appear at all on two of the ten tracks. Two Hearts spawned the minor hit "Everything I Need."
Greg Ham cooled his heels a little and at least waited until "Maria" and "Hard Luck Story" had been given a chance. Inevitably, he too shuffled off into the sunset, muttering something about working on film and television scores. Both musicians, with exceptionally healthy bank balances, no doubt viewed with some distaste the prospect of hauling their carcasses around the world once more trying to rekindle a flame that had quite obviously flickered and all but died.

Hay would have none of it. His own inner furnace was far from extinguished. He railed against headlines proclaiming 'Men At Work Split' following the announcement of Ham's departure, screaming loudly to all who would listen that Men At Work was very much alive and kicking. "We are not going away," he warned one reporter. "There are a lot of people who want to kill the band off. They say we've had the knife into these guys for a while, now let's twist it. A lot of people felt our success wasn't warranted, they didn't realise how much work we put into it and how many things we did right. It offended people who had been trying for so long and doing things wrong for so long." To another writer the resilient Scotsman who admits to warming slowly to strangers thundered, "Listen, I don't care, I don't give a f**k what people say about my band. It's no concern to me. I'm only concerned with creating quality and that's what I've done, I've got no problems with that."

Men At Work in the 90's
The fighting words continued until the critics backed off and then Hay came back warring with real ammunition. He handpicked a new Men At Work — drummer Chad Wackerman (ex-Frank Zappa), guitarist Colin Bayley (ex-Mi-Sex), bassist Jeremy Alsop, guitarist James Black (ex-Mondo Rock) and sax player Paul Williamson. When Sail To You, the fourth single from the Two Hearts album was issued, it almost arrogantly sported a jacket photo of the new (and then-unrecorded) line up. Toward the end of 1985 the new Men hit the brutal Australian pub rock circuit, where no excuses are ever accepted. All superstar trappings were eschewed, as the band rocked on in the manner of hopeful aspirants without a recording contract. Hay called the tour Back to Business, declared that it would include Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand, and having told the critics to go and get stuffed, basked in their praise. The shows were mostly sellouts and the punters' verdict unanimously affirmative. "We'd always seemed to play Australia at the end of a world tour, when we'd be really tired," said Hay, as if in apology for the Men's previous live reputation. "This time it's different, the audiences have been great. Now it's more relaxed and more musical, it's not as crazy as it was."  [extract from External Combustion by Glenn A Baker. 1990 p117-120]

Men at Work broke up shortly thereafter. Colin Hay and Greg Ham reformed the band for a reunion tour in 1996, with a live CD from the tour, Brazil, issued in 1998. In May 2001 "Down Under" was listed at No. 4 on the APRA Top 30 Australian songs and Business as Usual appeared in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums (October 2010). In February 2010 Larrikin Music Publishing won a case against Hay and Strykert, their record label (Sony BMG Music Entertainment) and music publishing company (EMI Songs Australia) arising from the uncredited appropriation of "Kookaburra" for the flute line in "Down Under". On 19 April 2012 Greg Ham's body was found at his home "in what police said were non-suspicious circumstances"
I was a huge Men at Work fan in my early twenty's. I listened to those first two albums countless times. Amazingly, I still remembered all of their lyrics after all that time. When Two Hearts first came out, it didn't hit me the same way as their first two. It was different than what I was expecting. It was different than what anybody was expecting. The trademark quirky wit of their first two albums gave way to a seriousness and maturity that must have resulted from their overwhelming international success. Two Hearts is evidence of a more meaningful and intense Men at Work. It's a shame we didn't get to hear more.
This post consists of a MP3 rip taken from the CD release of this album, and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD. Also included are three bonus tracks:  12 inch single extended versions of "Down Under" and "Sail To You" (thanks to Ozzie Musicman) and a live track "Blue Heaven" recorded at the Sun Plaza Hall, Tokyo in 1985 (sourced from Colin Hay's Website with thanks). Hope you enjoy this week's post.
Track Listing
01 - Man With Two Hearts
02 - Giving Up
03 - Everything I Need
04 - Sail To You
05 - Children On Parade
06 - Maria
07 - Stay At Home
08 - Hard Luck Story
09 - Snakes and Ladders
10 - Still Life
11 - Down Under (Extended Version)*
12 - Sail To You (Extended Version)*
13 - Blue Heaven (Bonus Live)+
Men At Work:
Colin Hay - Vocals, Guitar

Greg Ham - Vocals, Keyboards, Drum Programming
Ron Strykert - Guitar
Jeremy Alsop - Bass
Mark Kennedy - Drums
Guest artists:
James Black - Guitar
Paul Gadsby - Bass
Ian Hackett - Drums
Kate Ceberano, Renee Geyer - Backing vocals

Men At Work Link (142Mb)  New Link 29/10/2020

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ralph McTell - Streets (1975)

(U.K 1965–present)
Although he's best-known for his classic folk song staple "Streets of London," which first appeared on his 'Spiral Staircase' album in 1969, Ralph McTell is a multi-dimensional guitarist and singer/songwriter who's influenced hundreds of folk singers in Great Britain, Europe, and the U.S. Fortunately, people in the U.S. and Europe are beginning to connect to his vast body of excellent original work, and not just "Streets," which has been recorded more than 200 times by artists as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, and even the angry punk group Anti-Nowhere League, and is still McTell's most requested song.

McTell, named Ralph May, was raised in post-WWII London with his mother and a younger brother. His father left home when he was two. He began to show musical talent when he was seven, when he began playing harmonica. When skiffle bands became all the rage in England, Scotland, and Ireland, he began playing ukulele and formed his first band. Later in his teens, he began playing guitar.

At the College Jazz Club in London, McTell first heard Ramblin' Jack Elliott sing Jesse Fuller's "San Francisco Bay Blues." Elliott's performance proved to be a revelatory experience for the shy, young, impressionable McTell. He took his earliest cues from the great blues and folk singers: Elliott, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, and Blind Willie McTell. He took his adopted last name from blues singer McTell, and his songwriting inspiration from the writings of Jack Kerouac and John Steinbeck. After a few years hanging around London, he took off to travel along the south coast of England and the rest of Europe, where he made his way around hitchhiking and busking. While busking around Europe, he met his wife Nanna; shortly thereafter, they had a son.

McTell tried a conventional career as a teacher, but continued playing the folk clubs around London. He began a long tenure at Les Cousins in the Soho section of London and there he began to make a name for himself. A music publisher was so impressed by McTell's early songs that he secured a recording deal for him. His first album, Eight Frames a Second, was released on the Transatlantic label in 1968. With a gentle voice, superb guitar playing skills gleaned from his days as a ukulele player, and a level of modesty that showed through on-stage, McTell began incorporating his own songs into his live shows, which were mostly blues in those days. By July 1969, he was booked at the Cambridge Folk Festival, and in December of that year was headlining his first major London concert at Hornsey Town Hall. By May 1970, McTell completely sold out the Royal Festival Hall and was booked to play the Isle of Wight Festival alongside Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan. He made his first U.S. tour in 1972 and returned to London to sell out the Royal Albert Hall in 1974, the first British solo act to accomplish such a feat in 14 years.

The third song he ever wrote, "Streets of London," was something he deliberately left off his debut album, but at a producer's insistence, he included it on his second album for Transatlantic, 'Spiral Staircase'. After the song was re-recorded in 1974 as a single for Reprise/Warner Bros. it became a huge world-wide hit. The song reached number two on the British charts, and in Germany, there were four different versions of the song on the charts at one point, three by McTell and one by a German singer.

The pressures of world-wide success temporarily became too much for the shy, reserved McTell, and in the spring of 1975, he announced his intention to quit touring and withdraw from the music business for a while. He came to the U.S., where he relaxed and wrote songs in relative anonymity for a year before going back to the U.K. to play a Christmas benefit concert in Belfast. He continued recording for Warner Bros. in the '70s, releasing 'Right Side Up' in 1976, 'Ralph, Albert and Sydney' in 1977, and 'Slide Away' the Screen in 1979. For most of the '80s, he spent his time touring and working on a children's television show called Alphabet Zoo, which led the TV network to create a show especially for him, Tickle on the Tum, and both programs introduced McTell to new generations of fans.

In 1995 and 1996, McTell returned to the U.S. and performed a series of sold-out shows on the East Coast, and his visibility in the U.S. may have been helped along by Nanci Griffith's decision to record one of his songs, "From Clare to Here," on her Grammy-winning Other Voices, Other Rooms album.

McTell's discography is very extensive and demonstrates his commitment to his craft as a songwriter. Though many of these albums are hard to locate, they're well worth seeking out, most originally recorded for Transatlantic, Reprise/Warner Bros., or Mays.

In 1992, he recorded an ambitious project about the life and times of poet Dylan Thomas, The Boy with a Note, released on Leola Music; recently, the U.S. has seen the Stateside release of From Clare to Here (1996), a U.S. release of 'Silver Celebration', and 'Sand in Your Shoes' (1998). 'Blue Skies Black Heroes' appeared the following year.  [bio by by Richard Skelly]
This post contains MP3 (320kps) files ripped from a recently acquired vinyl copy which has been in the possession of someone who certainly looked after their records. Also included is full album artwork, featuring a gatefold with lyrics and a bonus B-Side single to Streets Of London called "Summer Lightning"  The one thing that attracted me to this album is the re-recording of his 1969 single "Streets Of London" which features the inclusion of harmonica and back singers, and is probably the version that most people have heard. To hear his original 'raw' version of the song, see my earlier posting of Spiral Suitcase.   Having said this, the remaining tracks on this album are still strong in comparison and I was pleasantly surprised when I heard this album for the first time. Ralph McTell is certainly not a one-hit-wonder and he is a very talented artist and composer. This album comes highly recommended.
Track Listing 
01 - Streets of London
02 - You Make Me Feel Good
03 - Grande Affaire
04 - Seeds Of Heaven
05 - El Progresso
06 - Red Apple Juice
07 - Heron Song
08 - Pity The Boy
09 - Interest On The Loan
10 - Jenny Taylor
11 - Lunar Lullaby

12 - Summer  Lightning (Bonus B-Side Single)
. .
Ralp McTell - Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Harmonica, Vocals
Rod Clements, Dave Pegg - Bass

Danny Lane - Drums
Peter Berryman - Electric Guitar
Rod Edwards - Piano
Bob Kerr - Sax
Sandy Spencer - Cello
Mike Piggott - Violin, Fiddle
Mr. Rabbit - Hammond Organ
The Goldrushers - Harmonies

Ralph McTell Link (103Mb)  New Link 29/08/2015

Saturday, August 9, 2014

John Paul Young - Hero (1975) + Bonus Track

(Australian 1972 - Present)
John was born in Glasgow, Scotland on June 21, 1950 and he migrated to Australia with his parents in 1966. His early musical experience involved learning to play the piano accordion.
When he left school he took on an apprenticeship as a sheet metal worker and he began singing with a band called 'Elm Tree'. The group's one and only single was "Rainbow"/"Lonely Nights", which was released late in 1970 and was basically a flop. Following the band's break up John joined the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, playing the part of Annas. Around the same time he was spotted by producer Simon Napier-Bell, who was looking for a singer to record Vanda and Young's "Pasadena". John recorded the number and it became his first hit in April, 1972.
He stayed with Superstar for a period of two years and in the meantime two more singles were released — "You Drive Me Crazy"/ "Better Go Back To Bed" and "Bad Trip"/"It's Only Love". Both were unsuccessful and it wasn't until April, 1975 that he re-entered the charts with another Vanda and Young composition, 'Yesterday's Hero'. J.P.Y.'s single "Yesterday's Hero", was released in March 1975, and was a song about the fleeting nature of pop stardom which clearly drew on Harry Vanda & George Young's own experiences as members of 'The Easybeats'. The record made the national charts and soared to number one. A key factor to Yesterday's Hero success was the film clip made to promote it, which enabled the song to be given exposure on Countdown (following the official start of colour TV broadcasting March 1, 1975.

His Best Of album 'Hero'  reached #20 on the charts in November 1975 and became a gold record. In addition, it sold well in the US and apparently reached the number forty-two position on the Cashbox top one hundred, which is quite an achievement. In fact-critics claimed at the time that John should have gone to the States and promoted the record, which perhaps would have caused it to be an even bigger hit there. However, he felt it was too early in his career to leave Australia and decided to stay here and consolidate himself. In the interim, "Yesterday's Hero" was covered by the Bay City Rollers. In October 75, he released his debut album, 'Hero', which was dominated by Vanda and Young compositions.
At this point John adopted his full name of John Paul Young in order to avoid confusion with established pop star Johnny Young. He also formed his own band, the All Stars, which included Warren Morgan, Johnny Dick, Ian Winter, Ronnie Peel and Ray Goodwin. John's next single, "The Love Game", was released in August, 1975 and during the year he completed two national tours (one with Sherbet).
Another single, "I Hate The Music", was issued in March, 1976 and it was also released in the US. The record became his first gold disc and later in the year he released his second album, 'JPY', which like Hero achieved platinum status. Also in 1976 John -was voted the Most Popular Male Performer in the National Music Industry Awards and in September he scored another hit with "Keep On Smilin".

In February, 1977 Ian left the All Stars and the gap was filled by Dallas McDermit That same month John scored his sixth hit with "I Wanna Do It With You" and in March his third album, 'Green', was released. It consisted of good basic pop in a similar vein to his earlier albums, although it did feature some songs written by John and Warren Morgan.
April, May and June were spent on the road and midway through the Australia-wide tour a new single, "Here We Go", was released. Meanwhile things had started to happen for John overseas. In Germany a track from the Green album, "Standing In The Rain", made the charts and eventually reached the number six position. As a result John left for a promotional tour of Germany and Holland in August.
However, it was South Africa where he was most popular, with four singles making the top ten — "Yesterday's Hero", "Keep On Smilin", "I Hate The Music" and "I Wanna Do It With You" - so in September John left with the All Stars (featuring new guitarist lan Miller) for an extensive tour of South Africa. The trip was immensely successful, with scenes of hysteria unequaled even in Australia, and John stayed on an extra four weeks.
They returned to Australia in December to find that their most recent local single, "Where The Action Is", was suffering from a lack of airplay and had not made the national charts.
John and the boys rounded off 1977 with a tour of the capital cities and by then the Green album had been declared gold. His plans for 1978 included a return to Germany and Holland late in January where his new single there, "Love Is In The Air", had reached the top twenty. In Australia "Standing In The Rain" was released in January, and in March John intended recording a new album.
[extract from Noel McGrath's 'Australian Encyclopedia of Rock' 1978, p 344-346]
Album Review
(By Mike Guthrie, RAM Magazine Dec 5, 1975 p24. #20)
Whadis? Already a Best Of collection for John Paul? I mean, the kid's career is just starting and here we have an elpee of past single tracks with a few rough-edged ballads thrown in to weigh down the mixture.
Well, it was put together in a hurry, I 'spose. Had to get that album out while the kid was hot.
'Spose also that "Yesterday's Hero", "The Love Game" and previous minor hit "Pasadena" had to go on. Even though "Hero" and "Love Game" are already in many collections as singles. 'Spose it was also worth resurrecting the previous non-hit, "Bad Trip". Radio wouldn't play it back in '74, 'cos radio figured it referred to drugs. (It's about suicide actually.)
Lemme see now. There's also the old Easybeats song, "St.Louis". It's a good feature of J.P's stage act and the re-record is a nice re-spray job at that.
Getting onto the newly recorded stuff, there's "Friends", a well-structured, full-of-effects pop epic of paranoia, and there's the Motownish "The Next Time". There's the sing-along gallows humour of "Birmingham". There's a ballad "Silver Shoes And Strawberry Wine" that comes from an album the producers/writers Vanda and Young themselves made some years ago. There's another ballad "Things To Do". In both these instances John P. sings with his usual gruff distinctive sweetness and the production (seemingly intentionally) is rough-edged and sparse. This leaves mucho room for Mr. Young's voice - but doesn't give him much of a backdrop to use it against.
It's by no means a bummer album. There is a certain ambiance of teenage tragedy to most of the lyrics but much of it has a compulsive listenability. It's well-packaged, mainstream, commercial - pop. Does it really matter if 4 of the 10 tracks have been heard time and time again before on radio?  I think not. Mike Guthrie
This post consists of an MP3 Rip (320kps) taken from Cd and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD.  As a bonus, I'm also including the B-Side single "You Drive Me Crazy" which did not appear on any album but is quite decent for a B side. Although "Squeak" wasn't really my cup of tea when I was an adolescent young boy going through my teens, I still enjoyed hearing his #1 Hits when they hit the radio - particularly "Yesterday's Hero" and "The Love Game".  But shhhh - don't tell anyone !
Track Listing
01 - St.Louis
02 - Pasadena
03 - Friends
04 - Silver Shoes and Strawberry Wine
05 - The Love Game
06 - Yesterday's Hero
07 - Bad Trip
08 - Things To Do
09 - The Next Time
10 - Birmingham
11 - You Drive Me Crazy (Bonus Single 1973)

John Paul Young and the Allstars were:
John Paul Young (vocals)
Ian "Willie" Winter (guitar)
Johnny Dick (drums, percussion)
Warren Morgan (keyboards, b/vcls)
Ronnie Peel (bass, b/vcls)
Ray Goodwin (guitar)

JPY Hero Link (119Mb)  New Link 20/10/2015


Monday, August 4, 2014

Paul Kelly And The Dots - Manila (1982) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1978-1982)
Paul Kelly had already established himself as a respected songwriter—other Melbourne musicians would go to see him on their nights off. Richard Guilliatt, writing for The Monthly, later described Kelly from a 1979 performance at Richmond's Kingston Hotel, the singer was "a skinny guy with a head of black curls framing a pale face and a bent nose... singing with his eyes closed, one arm outstretched and the other resting on the body of the Fender Telecaster".
On a good night they were a white-hot amalgam of ’60s classicism and ’70s edge; you could hear Dylan and Lou Reed and maybe even Phil Spector in there, but also trace elements of the New York new wave and British ska and punk. They played solidly for three years and developed a rep so big that when their first album was finally released in 1981, the disappointment was palpable.
The band released their debut single "Recognition" in 1979, which did not reach the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart top 50. Paul Kelly and the Dots signed to Mushroom Records and issued "Billy Baxter" in November, 1980, which peaked at No. 38. Rock historian, Ian McFarlane described it as a 'delightful, ska-tinged' track. Kelly's first television performance was "Billy Baxter" on the national pop show Countdown.
Their debut album, 'Talk' followed in March 1981, which reached No.44 on the Kent Music Report Albums Chart late in 1981.  But 'Talk' sounded thin and unconvincing; the guitars were cleaned up, the vocals were reedy and hollow, the cheesy touches of synthetic strings and girly choruses added nothing. The sheer firepower of the band got the songs over on stage, but on record their flaws were magnified. Kelly had hurt his back before the recording session and sang most of his vocals lying down. “The songs were the problem,” was his assessment in How To Make Gravy. “And the flailing singer.”
Considerable line-up changes had occurred within the Dots since its 1978 formation in Melbourne. The band that travelled to The Philippines in July 1981 with Kelly was Tony Thornton on drums, Alan Brooker on bass guitar, Tim Brosnan on guitar and Michael Holmes on guitar.
After returning to Australia, the band became involved in Gillian Armstrong's 1982 film Starstruck which starred Jo Kennedy. Paul Kelly and the Dots supplied "Rocking Institution" for the soundtrack and Kelly added to the score. Acting in a minor role in Starstruck was Kaarin Fairfax, who later became Kelly's second wife. Kelly had replaced Holmes with Maurice Frawley on guitar and Thornton with Huk Treloar on drums, and started working on his 2nd album 'Manila', originally released in August 1982 by Mushroom Records and re-released in 1990 on CD.

Paul Kelly and the Dots 1982
Manila was an altogether darker and more claustrophobic work whose mise en scène was established in the words of its opening song, ‘Forbidden Street’:

Here below in the land of stealth
Far away from a land called health
Intrigue is all I breathe
Thy will be done! Thy kingdom come!
On Forbidden Street

Whilst in Melbourne Kelly was assaulted and had his jaw broken. The first single from the album "Clean this House" was released in April, and "Alive and Well" in July, but neither album nor singles had any chart success. The line-up changes and Kelly's broken jaw had delayed the release of Manila until August 1982. The Dots were disbanded and the Paul Kelly Band was formed in 1983, Kelly's next album was his solo release 'Post' which was recorded after he had relocated to Sydney by January 1985 and to this day remains as a successful solo artist. [extracts from Wikipedia &]
This post consists of an MP3 rip (320kps) taken from CD and includes full album artwork. I have also included some bonus tracks,the rare B-side single "Rocking Institution" and a live rendition of "Alive & Well" performed on Countdown, in 1982.  For your pleasure, I have also chosen to include the video clip as well.
I must admit that "Billy Baxter" (from their first album) was their best single and unfortunately there is no equivalent on this album, but this album is still worth a listen, so enjoy.
Track Listing
01 - Forbidden Street

02 - Clean This House
03 - Alive And Well
04 - Skidding Hearts
05 - Some Guys
06 - Last Resort
07 - See You In Paradise
08 - Touchy Babe
09 - When The Girl's Not Even English
10 - Lenny (To Live Is To Burn)
11 - Rockin' Institution (Bonus B-Side Single)
12 - Alive And Well (Bonus Countdown 1982)

Band Members:
Paul Kelly (Lead Vocals, Guitar)
Tim Brosnan (Vocals, Guitar)
Michael Holmes (Guitar)
Alan Brooker (Bass)
Tony Thornton (Drums)

Paul Kelly And The Dots (141Mb)  New Link 18/07/2020