Thursday, December 31, 2015

The 4 Seasons - Gold Vault Of Hits (1965) plus Bonus Tracks

(U.K 1960 - Present)
The 4 Seasons took a "hit sound", put their personal stamp on it and made it look easy — easy to make one hit record after another — easy to reach that coveted top slot reserved for The Big Name.
It is easy if you are Frankie Valli singing first tenor with Bob Gaudio on second tenor with Nick Massi lending a fine bass and Tommy de Vito adding his rich baritone. Cap that combination with song-writing talents, superb musicianship and the exceptional showmanship shared by these four handsome fellows and it IS easy to understand the 4 Seasons' year-round successes.
With barely a breather between hit records for Philips, the 4 Seasons have put their formula to work again and their latest, "Let's Hang On" has fired a shot of excitement straight at its target — the No. 1 chart position.
The 4 Seasons is one of today's few singing groups ignoring the trends and fads that keep coming and going. They have their solid sound — as distinctive a styling as ever sizzled into record sales, and they are staying with it.
"We consider ourselves very fortunate that there seems no need to alter our style," says Bob Gaudio, who has written most of the 4 Seasons' hits.
Unafraid of hard work, the boys never cut a song without first holding a full scale conference — wading through ideas for its arranging and its harmony. Once they have agreed, and often this comes after some heated discussions, the way is clear. It was just such researching, idea exchanging and conferring that resulted in hit discs like "Dawn", "Rag Doll", "Ronnie", in fact all the tracks on this L.P. show the exciting results of this painstaking "behind the scenes" work.
Although they once placed first emphasis on their unique sound, today, the 4 Seasons seriously consider lyrics as well. Titles of their songs must be simple, easy to remember.
At home on the music charts, the 4 Seasons know what their fans want, how they want it and their Philips records are proving that every day.
They are DIFFERENT in an era of sameness. They are ORIGINAL in a time of imitation. [Album Linear Notes]

Whether you consider them the East Coast answer to The Beach Boys, or rivals to The Beatles (as on a famous Vee-Jay LP compilation), Frankie Valli and the 4 Seasons have had a long, illustrious career.  Despite having scored his first hit with the Seasons back in 1962, Valli has hardly slowed his pace over the years, overseeing companies and productions of the 2005 musical Jersey Boys, readying a film version, and recently performing a concert on Broadway with a new line-up of Seasons.

The 4 Seasons are an American rock and pop band that became internationally successful in the 1960s and 1970s. The Vocal Group Hall of Fame has stated that the group was the most popular rock band before the Beatles. Since 1970, they have also been known at times as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 1960, the group known as the Four Lovers evolved into the Four Seasons, with Frankie Valli as the lead singer, Bob Gaudio (formerly of the Royal Teens) on keyboards and tenor vocals, Tommy DeVito on lead guitar and baritone vocals, and Nick Massi on electric bass and bass vocals.

The legal name of the organization is the Four Seasons Partnership, formed by Gaudio and Valli after a failed audition in 1960. While singers, producers, and musicians have come and gone, Gaudio and Valli remain the group's constant (with each owning fifty percent of the act and its assets, including virtually all of its recording catalog). Gaudio no longer plays live, leaving Valli the only member of the group from its inception who is touring as of 2015.

The 4 Seasons (group members 1960–1966) were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and joined the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. They are one of the best-selling musical groups of all time, having sold an estimated 100 million records worldwide.

Album Review
Gold Vault of Hits was first released on the Philips label in 1965, with its follow-up 2nd Vault of Hits arriving the next year, in 1966.

Frankie Valli’s shimmering and utterly distinct falsetto soared above the 4 Seasons’ harmonies and rock-and-roll rhythms to create a vibrant and radio-friendly sound. Built on a foundation of doo-wop and traditional pop vocals honed on the mean streets of New Jersey, the 4 Seasons’ catalog contains some of the most enduring songs of all time.  You’ll find a great many of them on both of these wall-to-wall hits compilations.  Gold Vault overlooks the group’s earliest successes, most of which were saved for 2nd Vault compilation: “Sherry” (No. 1, 1962), “Walk Like a Man” (No. 1, 1963), “Big Girls Don’t Cry” (No. 1, 1962), “Candy Girl” (No. 3, 1963), “Marlena” (No. 36, 1963), and so on.  

The 4 Seasons' Gold Vault of Hits collection covered the first two years of their stay at Philips Records, a period nearly as successful as the previous two years spent at Vee Jay Records and covered by that label's 1963 Golden Hits LP. Instead, Gold Vault concentrates on more recent hits: “Dawn (Go Away)” (No. 3, 1964), “Ronnie” (No. 6, 1964), “Rag Doll” (No. 1, 1964), “Save It For Me” (No. 10, 1964), “Big Man in Town” (No. 20, 1964), “Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby, Goodbye)” (No. 12, 1964), “Let’s Hang On” (No. 3, 1964).

The group’s track record is even more impressive considering the fact that the British Invasion was in full swing as producers/songwriters Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe created their string of pop masterpieces for The Seasons.  Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell were also major parts of the Seasons’ songwriting family.
The reason for posting this album on the last day of 2015, is because the album is exactly 50 years old and its release should therefore be celebrated. The 4 Seasons (with Frankie Valli at the helm) have produced some wonderful music for more than half a century and it is only fitting that this blog acknowledges their contribution to the Performing Arts. I came across this album only recently at a local estate sale and was overwhelmed by the collection of records that was held within. Although the collection was not really from my era (mostly 50's and 60's) I did find some gems such as this one, and I will be posting the remainder in the new year. I've ripped the album (which is in pristine condition) to MP3 (320kps) and included full album artwork. As an added bonus, I've included two other major hits by The 4 Seasons (which were not released on the Phillips label), but I'm sure you will know them - "Sherry and "Big Boy's Don't Cry".

Happy New Year everyone!
01 - Let's Hang On    
02 - Rag Doll    
03 - Ronnie    
04 - Big Man In Town    
05 - Silence Is Golden    
06 - Bye,Bye Baby (Baby, Goodbye)    
07 - Dawn (Go Away)    
08 - Save It For Me    
09 - Girl Come Running    
10 - Betrayed    
11 - Toy Soldier    
12 - Cry Myself To Sleep
13 - (Bonus) Sherry
14 - (Bonus) Big Girls Don't Cry

Band members
Frankie Valli (Lead Vocals)
Tommy DeVito (Guitar, Vocals)
Bob Gaudio (Guitar, Keyboards,Vocals)
Nick Massi (Bass, Vocals)
The 4 Seasons Link (94Mb) New Link 04/04/2020

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Mike McClellan - Selftitled (1972) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1966 - Current)
Mike McClellan was born in NSW and his first big break came when he won a television talent quest. From there he became a regular on the TV series 'Sound of Music'. At this point, Mike formed his own band called the 'Currency Blues Co' in the mid-sixties.
During the 60's, he trained as a teacher in Armidale and taught in schools in New South Wales before recording his first album for Col Joye's ATA records in 1972, under his own name.

He recorded this debut album with the assistance of respective artists such as Graham Lowndes and Duncan McGuire (Ayers Rock). The album was released in June 1972 and although it received some excellent reviews, nothing much came of it, probably because his record company ATA did nothing to promote it. They did manage to get out a poster three months after it had been released but it received no airplay to speak of. Two singles were lifted from the album  "Some Other Sunrise" and "Suzie, Get Off This Train" but neither made an impression on the charts. In my opinion, ATA should have released "Lonely Man" as a single, as it is clearly the strongest track on the album.  Col didn't like his new material so he left and Mike recorded his next (and all subsequent albums) with EMI Australia.

Mike McClellan On GTK 1972
His second album, 'Ask Any Dancer', was released in England and Europe and in November, 1974 he made the charts with 'Song and Dance Man'. The single was highly acclaimed and was covered by artists in England, America and South Africa.
In 1975, he released a third album on the EMI label entitled 'Until The Song Is Done' but this too made no real impact on the charts as did the single "Carry Me".
In March, 1976 Mike came up with a more aggressive, rock style sound on his 'Coming Up For Air album'. A single, 'Caddie' (inspired by the movie) was lifted from it and its release coincided with his successful tour of Australia with Melanie.
Mike was noted as much for his songwriting as for his singing and his material was recorded overseas by several artists, including Rick Nelson.

A proposed trip to the US following an offer to record in Nashville unfortunately didn't materialise and it wasn't until mid 1977 that Mike surfaced again with an album and a single entitled 'Another Night'.
In September '77 he recorded a live album for EMI which was released in November under the title of An Evening With Mike McClellan - Live.  [extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia Of Rock, Outback Press, 1978. p215-216]

In 1979, he went on to host a television country music show.  In 1982, he toured overseas and his return to Australia in ‘83 marked another change in his career.  Weary of the constant traveling he sought more stability for he and his family.  Mojo, then regarded as the most dynamic ad agency in the country, persuaded him to write for them.  For 2 years he contributed some of the most memorable advertising on television, writing the concepts, words and music for clients such as Australian Airlines, Red Rooster, Channel 9 and growing the already established XXXX and Tooheys campaigns for the agency.  Invigorated by new challenges he and a partner left Mojo and set up their own agency which they called Kazoo.  It grew rapidly over the period from ‘86 to ‘91.  The 2 partners became 3, the staff went from 3 to 30 and the billings through the roof.

Through all the demands on his time he still managed to release a new album in 1990.  The Heartland is considered by many who know his work to be as good as anything he has recorded and marked a return to the EMI label.
He subsequently sold his share holding in Kazoo to re-establish Mike McClellan Pty Ltd and take complete control of his own destiny once more.  He needed the time to write for himself and take advantage of the dramatic changes that had been happening in the communications industry.
1998 marked the release of a single commissioned for Warner Music.  But the three songs it contained were a little different to past McClellan discs.  They were tributes to three great Australian sportsmen, Mark Taylor, the much-admired former Aussie cricket captain, the great Sir Donald Bradman, and David Campese, often called “the Bradman of Rugby.”

Late 2001 saw the release of a comprehensive retrospective of his recording career.  Personally chosen and carefully remastered from the original tapes Time. And Time Again. is a double CD containing 35 of his best songs.  Among them are re-recordings of two from his very first album, a studio version of California Cool that was only ever released as a B side on a single and New York City Blues, a never before released gem that was recorded during the sessions for The Heartland CD but didn’t fit comfortably with the other songs.
Late 2001 also saw the first of what were standout concerts with his old friends Kevin Johnson (who wrote Rock’n Roll I Gave You All The Best Years of My Life) and Doug Ashdown (Winter In America).  A sell out crowd at Sydney’s Basement and a standing ovation said it all – “Their artistic and intelligent acoustic alchemy had a capacity house singing, stamping and tingling beyond the witching hour.  A night indelibly imprinted”, said Glenn A. Baker.
In 2005, in conjunction with Andrew Pattison, who established Melbourne’s premier acoustic venue the Troubadour, he brought to Australia and shared the bill with the wonderful US singer/songwriter Danny O’Keefe.  The concert crowds reinforced his belief that there was still a sizeable, enthusiastic audience in Australia for acoustic music of depth, conviction and real quality.

Mike McClellan Today - Still Playing
Mike was, for 6 years, a senior tutor at the CMAA Country Music Academy in Tamworth and is a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Australian International Conservatorium of Music where he taught a course in song writing.  Ironically, after many, many years his original training as a school teacher is being put to good use once again and his song writing workshops have become an important part of his creative life.
2011 saw the release of his first album of new songs in 20 years.  In reviewing it for Country Update Pat Drummond called it "a stunning new CD. In the context of a long and illustrious career this is a very special album.... for one of Australia's most influential country/folk legends."
Mike took to the road again in 2011 playing concerts across the country to standing ovations.  As a performer he just seems to get better with time and it is a tribute to his talent that many in his audiences have been coming to see him sing for well over 40 years.  And now, 40 years after Song and Danceman hit the charts he is releasing a new CD, Dancing In The Rain.  If the initial reaction is any indication this one is even better than the last.
Reviewing one of Mike’s Troubadour performances for the Melbourne Age some years ago journalist Paul Speelman wrote, “McClellan is a national asset”.  His 2011 CD, If only for a moment… only added to his reputation as one of our finest singer songwriters.  The new one, Dancing In The Rain, will surely enhance what is already an exceptional body of work. [extract from Mike's Website]
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my rare vinyl copy (I've never seen another copy) and includes full album artwork and label scans.  Mike McClellan has a voice and sound that is similar to Justin Hayward (Moody Blues), Michael Murphy and on occasions, even John Denver.  As song writers go, he is as good as Doug Ashdown, John Williamson and Hans Poulsen. One observation however, is that his track "Playing It By Ear"
sounds a little like Harry Nilsson's megahit "Everybody's Talkin'" and as good as Mike's song sounds, one has to wonder.
As a bonus, I have included several live tracks taken from some early 70's GTK appearances, sourced from Youtube.
If you like this post, then stay tuned - cause' I've got a couple more albums of Mikes to post in the future which you are really going to enjoy.
Track Listing 
01 - Blues For Ginny
02 - There Is A Place
03 - Love Is A Lady
04 - Country Morning
05 - Will She Come?
06 - Lonely Man
07 - Some Other Sunrise
08 - The Fiddler
09 - Playing It By Ear
10 - Nursery Rhyme
11 - Where Will I Be Tomorrow?
12 - Susie Get Me Off This Train
13 - (Bonus) Good Time Charlie's Got The Blues (GTK) *
14 - (Bonus) Some Other Sunrise (GTK 1971) *

* Sourced from YouTube

Credits:Mike McClellan - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Grahame Lister - Harmony vocals, Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Red McKelvie - Electric Guitar
Duncan McGuire - Bass Guitar
Warren Daly - Drums
Gillian McIntyre - Violin
John Capek - Piano
Billy Weston - String Arrangements

Mike McClellan FLAC Link (269Mb)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Bonanza: Original TV Cast - Christmas on the Ponderosa (1963)

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.
While growing up as a young boy in Warrnambool, Australia during the 60's, I would religiously watch the T.V series Bonanza on the B&W telly with my brother and we would both aspire to living a life in the wild, wild west with the Cartwright family and fighting off any cattle rustlers and outlaws that might have came mozing by.

Did you like Bonanza and do you like Christmas music? If your answer to both questions is yes, then you'll love this little curio. Presented as a holiday gathering at the Cartwright homestead--The Ponderosa--it starts with Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) welcoming his guests (you the listener included) in to help decorate the x-mas tree. Soon, applejack is flowin', songs are bein' sung, stories of the season are told, and in Ben's case, the need to fend off the attentions of a persistent female neighbor ensue.

Now, Big Hoss (as portrayed by the one of a kind Dan Blocker) couldn't carry a tune if a white guy portraying an evil Mexican bandito holding a pistol to his head insisted on it but kinda like Ringo Starr, by sheer force of personality, he carries off a rousing version of "Deck The Halls" in such a way you feel like your snacking on some mincemeat pie, sipping applejack and stomping your feet in encouragement to the big loveable bear singing in front of the roaring Cartwright hearth.

Little Joe (Michael Landon) does his best Elvis impersonation on "Oh Fir Tree Dear" and imparts a surprisingly moving little memory of his departed mother to Pa (the Cartwright curse strikes down any woman who takes on the Cartwright name) and Adam (Pernell Roberts) humorously tries a little too hard to sound manly on "The New Born King" but there is a sense everyone sincerely had a good time making this.

Lorne Greene had a background in radio and stands out on this album with his Corinthian (Canadian?) leather rich tones imparting by turns some x-mas stories and leading some infectious sing-alongs, like "Christmas Is A Comin' (May God Bless You)". His voice is just tailor made for this medium. Most of the zestier sing-alongs feature the Ken Darby Singers and they help to bring a professional sheen to the fun but mostly amateur vocal stylings of the Bonanza cast regulars. They also make it seem that the Cartwright's have some neighbors who seem unusually gifted vocally and maybe should be spending more time tending their herds and crops and less time singing!

On the evidence of songs like the Landon sung "Santa Got Lost In Texas",  Elvis certainly didn't have anything to fret over and could content himself with more important activities, like his movies and pharmaceuticals. That said, the already mentioned sense of fun is absolutely infectious and surprisingly cohesive. When we, the guests, leave the party singing "Silent Night", the quiet ruminations of Lorne Greene's character Ben, are effectively emotional. As it's put in the liner notes, "Someone begins Silent Night, and we all sing it together, happy to share the words and the tune and the surge of Christmas joy. Only the shadowy ranch house and the big pines and the star sprinkled sky are near enough to hear Ben's quietly spoken words as he stands alone on the wide veranda listening to our carol drift back through the trees."

Like a good episode of it's parent show, your sort of sad it's over so quickly. At just over 29 minutes there's a whole lot of Ponderosa goodness packed in here. No, there's never a dull moment and, hell, what with all the work involved in living on the dangerous Western American frontier and all, you gotta pack your partying into dense, compact little bursts. Burn white hot and get the hell out so you can go ride the fences, brand the steer and get into a knock down drag out at the saloon in Virginia City on the morrow. Good old frontier life.

Pop this on at your next Christmas party and surprise, confuse and confound your guests. For that extra dumbfounded, glazed over expression from your family and friends, make sure you crank Hoss' "Deck The Halls" at maximum volume. Like Hoss KO'ing a sassin' outlaw on the show, his voice will floor your festive, hot buttered rum fueled guests. As those liner notes put it so perfectly, "Christmas On The Ponderosa will delight you in many ways; the happy spirit of the Cartwright's, the joyous songs, the funny, the wise, the tender stories; but, most of all, because you're not merely listening in, You're actually there!" Wonder if Hoss is up for a few shots...... [review by Godwaffle at]
This Month's WOCK on Vinyl post is a little earlier than normal to catch the festive season and share this nostalgic release with you before Christmas day.
I am very grateful to Ozzie Musicman for making this rip (MP3/320kps) available to me some time ago and so the O in WOCK is for Ozzie and the C is of course for Christmas
Merry Christmas everyone and I hope your Santa stockings are filled with lots of new and wonderful music.
Track Listing
01 - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
02 - Deck The Halls
03 - The New Born King
04 - The First Christmas Trees
05 - Oh Fir Tree Dear
06 - Christmas Is A-Comin' (May God Bless You)
07 - O Come, All Ye Faithful
08 - Jingle Bells
09 - Santa Got Lost In Texas
10 - Stuck In The Chimney
11 - Why We Light Candles On The Christmas Tree
12 - Merry Christmas Neighbor
13 - Merry Christmas And Goodnight (Silent Night)
Christmas On The Ponderosa (56Mb) New Link 16/07/2022

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Elton John - Unauthorised Rocket Man Vol.2 (1993) Bootleg

(U.K 1964 - Present)
A true super-showman, (Sir) Elton John has been called "the Liberace of Rock and Roll." Known almost as much for his outrageous stage costumes and sets as he is for his bluesy style on the piano, Elton John was the king of pop music in the mid-1970s, with such #1 hits as "Philadelphia Freedom", "Crocodile Rock", and "Don't Co Breaking My Heart". Though his songs no longer monopolize the radio airwaves as they did before his breakup with songwriter Bernie Taupin, Elton John continues to release albums, singles, and videos and to tour, often playing to sellout crowds. His stage performances remain hugely entertaining, and his talent as a pianist and his gift for melody have ensured him a place in the hearts of fans who enjoy his unique sound.

Reginald Dwight was born in England in 1947 and began playing the piano at the age of four. He became the keyboardist for the R & B band Bluesology, headed by Long John Baldry, and subsequently changed his name to Elton John, taking "Elton" from the band's saxophonist, Elton Dean, and "John" from Baldry. By 1968 Bluesology had been disbanded, and in 1969 Elton released his first hit single, Lady Samantha, from his debut album Empty Sky (he had started writing songs with lyricist Bernie Taupin at this time).

By the summer of 1970 the Elton John Band was formed and, with the release of the album Madman Across the Water, Elton John's career as one of the highest-paid performers in the music world was launched. A truly impressive string of hit singles followed for several years, including Rocket Man, Honky Cat, Crocodile Rock, Daniel, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Bennie and the Jets, Candle in the Wind, and, surprisingly, Lennon and McCartney's Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Until 1989, Don't Go Breaking My Heart -Elton's duet with Kiki Dee - was probably his best-known single, but the Number 1 hit Sacrifice changed all that. In recent years Elton has teamed up with a variety of other artists, most notably with George Michael in 1991 on Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, releasing an entire album (aptly titled Duets) with an all-star line-up of guest singers in 1993.

Elton John 1970
The line-up made its recording debut on Elton John, released in April 1970. On the evidence of the album, Uni Records claimed the group for America; as the label that had signed Neil Diamond, it clearly recognized a singer-songwriter of promise.
In the wake of this signing, the trio were sent out to the United States for a series of showcase gigs which started with a week at Los Angeles' prestigious Troubadour Club which was celebrating its twentieth anniversary in a blaze of media attention. From the outset, when Leon Russell turned up to take his seat in the front row, it was obvious that there was a buzz about town for this unknown Englishman in his yellow overalls, Donald Duck bib and aluminum boots. Graham Nash, the Beach Boys, Quincy Jones, Gordon Light-foot and others joined the throng as the residency progressed, and the press coverage was nothing short of sensational. Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hilburn's reaction was typical. 'Rejoice,' he said, 'Rock, which has been going through a rather uneventful period lately, has a new star!'
After returning briefly to Britain at the end of his three-week tour, Elton soon found the demand for more American appearances overwhelming. By November 1970 Elton John had sold 250,000 copies in its ascent to the dizzy heights of No. 4, while the soon-to-be-released Tumbleweed Connection would do nearly as well.

The coming year, 1971, would bring a surfeit of record releases: apart from his third and fourth albums, Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across The Water, Elton had scored the film Friends with Paul
Buckmaster, while a live radio-show broadcast in the United States by New York's WPLJ-FM radio was released as 17.11.70 (or 11.17.70, depending on which side of the Atlantic it was sold) and reached No. 20 in Britain and 11 in the States without the aid of a hit single.
From being a total unknown, Elton John had released five albums in four years and had become an international star.
Britain had finally caught on to the Elton John phenomenon, and 'Your Song' was lifted into chart contention in early 1971; Elton John itself reached No. 11. Indeed, the rewards had already proved enough for Elton to buy a bungalow on an exclusive private estate in Wentworth which boasted Rod Stewart (an old friend) and Donovan as neighbours. Tumbleweed Connection added to those rewards, becoming his first British Top 10 album. Its No. 6 position was beaten by one place in the Billboard listings, Britain and America in total accord as to the album's excellence. The bulk of this phenomenal success was down to the quality of the songwriting. [extract from Elton John, by Nick St Michael. Bison Books, 1994, p16]

Elton John 1976
1976 was the year in which Elton gave the first overt clues as to his complex sexuality, in a Rolling Stone interview. "There's nothing wrong with going to bed with someone of your own sex," he bravely admitted. Surprisingly, there was little backlash from his fans in Britain, although things-would be different a decade on, when a national newspaper took it upon itself to smear his name. In the United States, however, Elton believed 'it had a chilling effect on people. They didn't really want to know, and were offended.'
Elton now owed Dick James just one more album, which would be a live selection; the resulting Here And There, recorded in London and New York, was a transatlantic Top 10 entry. Although DJM retained the rights to a future Greatest Hits album, all Elton's future releases would now be on Rocket Records, 'home' of band members past and present Nigel Olsson and Davey Johnstone. Dee Murray meanwhile was touring the States (where he now lived), first with Procol Harum and then with Alice Cooper.

Real success, however, was left to the boss to achieve, and this he did with the assistance of 'Don't Go Breaking My Heart,' a duet performed with Kiki Dee. The song (written by Elton and Bernie under the pseudonyms of Ann Orson and Carte Blanche) would be memorably reprised twice on future occasions: firstly on The Muppet Show, with Miss Piggy taking Dee's place, and again in 1985 on the global stage that took Live Aid to an audience of 1.5 billion people. It was no surprise that the song topped the charts in the United States, but it was pleasing that it became Elton's first British No. 1. Indeed, it became the sound of that particular summer, staying in the top spot for six weeks. His old record company, DJM, would attempt to cash in by reissuing 'Bennie And The Jets,' never before released as a UK A-side. Back in America, Elton reinforced his record-breaking run of live shows by smashing a year-old Rolling Stones house record with seven sellout dates.

Talking of houses, Elton had quit 'Hercules/ his Wokingham home, in early 1976 for 'Woodside,' a mansion in Old Windsor, England, where he would reside into the 1990s. 'I always buy Country Life and have a look at houses for sale,' he would later admit. 'But I've got a nice house, a lot of garden and my little recording studio. It's close to London, it's close to the airport and it's close to Watford.' Despite buying a Los Angeles base in the mid-1970s, Elton had always shunned the idea of becoming a tax exile. 'I belong here,' he said simply.
As so often in previous years, in 1976 Elton planned a record release for the Christmas market. Blue Moves was his first such release for Rocket Records, but the last to be produced by Gus Dudgeon and with Bernie Taupin's words (entirely, at least). Famous friends chipping in on the backing-vocal front included David Crosby, Graham Nash, Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, and Toni Tennille of the Captain and Tennille.

A double album, Blue Moves came clad in a controversial sleeve on which nude men frolicked; indeed, certain critics initially tried to interpret the title as 'Blue Movies.' With regard to the content, parallels with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road were obvious. As frequently happens, the first single was the most successful, and .'Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word' was indeed a classic. The likes of 'Bite Your Lip (Get Up And Dance)' were hardly in the same class, while 'Cage The Songbird,' a paean to Edith Piaf, begged the inevitable comparison with 'Candle In The Wind.' The general tone of the album was less than optimistic, doubtless due to Bernie Taupin's split with his first wife Maxine. Two of the more cheerful songs were in fact instrumentals, including Elton's Theme From A Non-Existent TV Series.'
The reason behind the split with Gus Dudgeon was, reveals the producer, that 'the challenge had gone,' and he gave an insight into Elton's preferred way of working. 'He'd got to the point where he was going into the studio only five days before the album and writing the whole album in those five days - and writing three or four hits. He did it every time - what more could you ask for?' [extract from Elton John, by Nick St Michael. Bison Books, 1994, p28-29]

This post is a bootleg recording taken from a live recording from the WABC Studios, New York on Nov 17, 1970, with the last three tracks coming from Radio Broadcasts of his 1976 European Tour.  It consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my Australian 'Unauthorised' Banana CD release and is the 2nd volume in a series of four. Other tracks from the WABC Studios recordings were officially released under the title 'Elton John 11-17-70' (see below)
The quality of the recording is clear and dynamic and would rate it as an  8/10.  Full album artwork, along with a concise listing of all Unauthorised releases is provided.  This bootleg captures Elton in his early days when he was still building up his song repertoire and although subtitled 'Rocket Man' this hit was still two years away from being released.
Track Listing
01 - I Need You To Turn To
02 - Your Song
03 - Country Comfort
04 - Border Song
05 - Indian Sunset
06 - Amoreena
07 - My Father's Gun
o8 - Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word
09 - Island Girl
10 - Medley: I Got The Whole World In My Hands/Your Song/Daniel
11 - Your Song #2

Elton John - Piano, Vocals
Nigel Olsson - Drums
Dee Murray - Bass
Elton John Link (114Mb) New Link 20/12/2023

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show - Revisited (1976) plus Bonus Track

(U.S 1967 - 1985)
An American group, Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show assembled over a gradual period in late '60s around a nucleus of Locorriere and Southerners Sawyer, George Cummings and Francis. Sawyer, an eye-patched, ex-soul singer from Chicksaw, Alabama, and Locorriere, a New Jersey folkie, were vocalist-leaders of the group which played bars and dives around New Jersey area until their "discovery" by  cartoonist / songwriter Shel Silverstein.

Silverstein got them gig of appearing in, and performing soundtrack music for, a Dustin Hoffman movie he had scored, "Who Is Harry Kellerman And Why Is He Saying These Terrible Things About Me?"
This led to CBS recording contract for the band, at that time a five-piece. From their 1972 debut album came U.S. and U.K. hit single with the Silverstein written "Sylvia's Mother". The Hook added Garfat and Elswit to fill out their stage sound and recorded Sloppy Seconds (1972), from which Silverstein's "The Cover Of Rolling Stone" single was an American smash.

Dr. Hook and The Medicine Show were featured on the cover of the March 29 edition of Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, thus gaining a massive plug for their CBS single at the time, "The Cover Of The Rolling Stone", which entered the US Top 10 in its first week. The song was penned by Shel Silverstein, the Playboy writer and cartoonist, who also wrote most of Dr Hook's earlier material.

In fact, all the material on the first two albums was Silverstein composed (among his earlier credits was "A Boy Named Sue" for Johnny Cash), and the group returned the compliment by playing back-up on the songwriter's "Freakin' At The Freakers Ball" solo album (1973).
'Belly Up' (1973) introduced Dr Hook's own compositions, but their follow-up 'Fried Face' (not released in U.K.) caused friction between band and label resulting in a switch to Capitol.
Latter day hit singles include their version of Sam Cooke's "Only Sixteen" (in U.S.) and "If Not You", and the title cut from "A Little Bit More" (1976). On stage they remained as one of rock's more eccentric attractions.
Founder-member George Cummings (guitar, steel guitar) quit the band in autumn of 1975 suffering nervous problems; and Bob Henke eventually joined in 1976. Ray Sawyer's solo album, released in 1977 had minimum success. [extract from The Illustrated New Musical Express Encyclopedia of Rock by Nick Logan & Bob Woffinden, Salamander Books, 1977. p70]
Another Dose of Dr. Hook
The last time Dr Hook toured Australia, they fell foul of that old criticism that despite all their oil-stage looniness and zaniness, it was all a well-rehearsed act that was repeated with military precision the next show, and the one after.
American rock critic Lester Bangs summed it up beautifully when he wrote some years back: "They're the most pristine (outgoing) professional imitation of total non-professionalism I've ever seen."
Dr Hook didn't agree. They say there's always enough spontaneity to make each show different.
"One Night," cackles the one-eyed Ray Sawyer, "I knocked my microphone over and it scared me, so I jumped back and, knocked Rick's over, and that scared me so I jumped over and knocked Jay's over, and it scared him and he knocked his over!"
It ended up with the entire band grovelling onstage hunting for the microphones along with roadies, everyone going "quack, quack' like ducks.
"The audience just lapped it up," continues Sawyer, "and that's the way it should be. If something blows or breaks, we don't stop the show and scream for a roadie to come out and fix it. We let it stay broken awhile."
"You can get killed once a night," adds his partner in crime Dennis Locorriere, telling gleefully of the time when Sawyer fell off the stage and broke his leg, and the whole audience got up and cheered because they thought it was part of the act!
Or the time when they almost got banned from completing a European tour because one of their at an open-air festival in Copenhagen, had ended up with the band and audience running around in the nude.
"We were the last act on the show," recalls Ray, "and by that time everybody had been drinking quite a bit. In Scandinavia they don't think that much about takin' their clothes off - the human body is not that restricted. So there were quite a few people there with their clothes off.
"And Dennis made the mistake of saying something like 'Gee, it's really hot' and 'Hey, there's more to look at in the audience than onstage'. And more people started taking their clothes off and yelling at us to take ours off and become one of them. We Would have felt kinda funny if we didn't, so we went ahead and did it. But we wouldn't do it again though."
And then there was that time when King Weirdo himself, Alice Cooper, came up and said 'I saw you guys on the David Frost Show and you've got to be the weirdest band I've ever seen on television!" Dr Hook were freaked out that it could come from someone like him, but they took it as a  compliment anyway.
Originally known as Dr Hook's Medicine Show, they had a huge hit with "Sylvia's Mother" in 1972, followed it up with "Cover of the Rolling Stone" in 1973, and then faded into bankruptcy in 1974.
When they found themselves broke, they didn't disband. They stayed-together, hustled for bread for rented time in a recording studio, started rebuilding again in "Only Sixteen" and "Little Bit More" and found that they became huge in Australia, America, England and many parts of Europe.
"It was confusing, says Dennis."As it is, people are confused about Dr Hook anyway. People wonder,'which one is Dr Hook?' or 'is he wearing that patch 'cos he's got a bad wearing that patch 'cos he's got bad eye or is it a gimmich?' and 'are those slow songs for real or are they a send-up?'
"We're hard to define but it's basically good time music, where people have fun if they can see that you obviously are."

It's been a long time since "Sylvia's Mother" but the song still hangs around them like an albatross. It was back in the days when Dr Hook were more a vehicle for composer Shel Silverstein who wrote most of their stuff. But they know what the audience wants and play along with it. They send it up.
Sometimes on a fine night, Dennis will add extra words to it -

Sylvia's father says
   "Sylvia's pregnant
and you went and made her that way
   Sylvia's father says
   "you mother fucker"
"I'm gonna kill you some day"

And the whole audience roars with delight.
Every time they keep using a four letter word, Dr Hook gets the laughs. That's the role they've created for themselves (Article from JUKE Magazine - May 6, 1978 p7)
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my trusty vinyl that I purchased back in 77' when I was just starting Uni - Oh such wonderful memories.  Full album artwork and label scans are included as usual.
I've taken the liberty of including their 1976 hit "Only Sixteen" as a bonus track, as it didn't quite make it onto this Best Of Compilation. Also note that this album has also been released under the title of  'The Best Of ' (see cover below).

Track Listing
01 - Sylvia's Mother
02 - Acapulco Goldie
03 - Freakin' At The Freaker's Ball
04 - Makin' It Natural
05 - Penicillin Penny
06 - Cover Of The Rolling Stone
07 - Get My Rocks Off
08 - Carry Me, Carrie
09 - Queen Of The Silver Dollar
10 - Roland The Roadie And Gertrude The Groupie
11 - Only Sixteen (Bonus Single)

The Band:
Ray Sawyer - vocals, guitar 

Dennis Loconriere - vocals, guitar
Rik Elswit - guitar
Bob 'Willard' Henke - guitar
Billy Francis - keyboards
Lance Garfat - bass
John Wolters - drums

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Bushwackers - Lively (1984)

(Australian 1971 - Present)
When a group of Melbourne university students gathered to share their love of traditional music in 1971, little did they realise that they were establishing a musical ‘institution’.

There had been ‘bush bands’ before, but none that captured the public’s imagination to such an extent that they were able to turn professional.

Having established residencies in Melbourne pubs, the band’s attention quickly turned to Europe where two of their great influences – Fairport Convention and Planxty were leading a folk revival. They wanted to be part of the action, and in 1974 took off to try their luck. While in the United Kingdom, the Bushwackers were befriended by such top-ranked folk acts as the Chieftains, the Dubliners, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span.

Originally a trio featuring Jan Wositsky (vocals, harmonica, banjo, bass and various forms of traditional bush percussion), Dave Isom (guitar, vocals and mandolin) and Bert Kahanoff (largerphone), the Bushwackers attracted large crowds with their early performances in Melbourne.

The Bushwackers - early 1970's
In Australia, they continued to attract enthusiastic crowds to their performances at the Dan O'Connell Hotel in Fitzroy, where they appeared every Friday night from 1977 to 1980.  They released their first single, "When the Rain Tumbles Down in July," in 1973.

Their first 8-10 years were split between extensive tours at ‘home’, and 5 European tours from the band’s base in London. Their energy and musicianship made an instant impact – Melody Maker describing them as taking the UK folk scene “by storm”. Numerous and extensive tours of the UK, Ireland, France, Holland and Germany established them as confirmed club and festival favourites – Cambridge, Rotterdam, Edinburgh …., and their debut LP ‘The Shearers’ Dream’ reached No.1 on the Melody Maker Folk Chart. The combination of traditional instruments, electric guitar and bass and the unique percussive drive of the Lagerphone, meant they rocked like no other folk band!

During their home visits, the band began to explore and popularise the neglected area of bush dance.

The Bushwackers - early 1980's
The late 70s and early to mid 80s saw the band’s self-promoted Bush Dance Spectaculars attract 2-3,000 people to Town Halls and major venues throughout Australia. The impact of this dance phenomenon saw a single from their (Gold) ‘Dance Album’ reach the No. 14 on Melbourne’s leading commercial Pop/Rock station!

With the addition of drums in 1980, the Bushies entered musical territory previously unexplored in Australia. This was the decade of the ‘pub rock’ boom, and saw the band sharing stages (and holding their own) with the cream of Aussie rock – The Angels, Men At Work, Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil.

The band released two Australian Song Books and two dance books and albums which – to this day, hold sales records. No Aussie school could do without them.

This decade also saw the band ‘adopted’ by country music fans and, on their first visit (1981) to Australia’s largest music event – the 10-day, 4,000 gig Tamworth Country Music Festival, the band was awarded it’s highest honour – A Golden Guitar.?(They’ve returned every year, playing to sell-out crowds).

The band’s constant search and reputation for musical excellence saw them attract some of Australia’s best – drummers Robby Ross (Goanna) and Freddie Strauks (Skyhooks), guitar legends Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Housden (Little River Band), Tim Gaze (Ariel, Rose Tattoo) and bassist Pete Farndon who went on to international fame with The Pretenders.

Bushwackers on stage at the Revesby Worker Club in 1984
In addition to ten albums, the group's music was heard on numerous movie and television soundtracks. In 1984, they announced they were disbanding due to "the costs of keeping the band on the road and the desire to spend more time with families." The group continued to get together for annual reunion tours from 1984 until 1990.

Late in 1993, Roger Corbett (bass, mandolin, harmonica and vocals), who joined the group in 1980, and Dobe Newton (largerphone, whistle, bodhran, bones, spoons and vocals), a member since 1973, re-formed the group. Although they initially called the reorganized band "the Range Rovers", they went back to their original name upon signing a publishing contract with Warner Chappell and a recording contract with ABC/EMI.

After decades of relentless touring, in 1995 the band decided to take a break from the road. The national broadcaster – ABC, marked the occasion with a 1-hour TV special “The Last Dance”. The band continued to record and perform at major festivals/events.

They’ve continued that policy to this day – always being in demand for their unique and powerful stage shows.  The current lineup features Mark Oates (fiddle), Pete Drummond (drums), Tim Gaze (guitar) and Pamela Drysdale (accordion, guitar and vocals).

In 2007, the band realised a long-held dream, traveling to Nashville for the Australian Festival. The combination of Australian songs and subject matter and celtic-influenced music proved just as popular with Americans as it had with European fans 30 years earlier!

How many still-performing bands can boast 25 studio and live albums covering vinyl, cassette, CD and MP3 formats !

This LP was recorded live at the Revesby Workers Club in Sydney in 1984. At that time, the members of the band were Dobe Newton (only remaining original member), Roger Corbett, Tommy Emmanuel, Danny Bourke, Tony O'Neill, and Freddy Strauks. Although the LP features only 12 tracks, it contains about one hour of music as there are some extra instrumental segments in some tracks.

The Bushwackers - 1984

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my vinyl copy which I found in amongst a 'complete set' of Bushwacker albums, at the local flee market. I picked this album up along with a few other titles for a song (pun intended) and it was obvious from their 'mint condition' that their previous owner had really looked after the collection. I'm normally not attracted to Bush/Folk music, but with the presence of Tommy Emmanuel (on guitar) and Freddy Strauks (on drums) I couldn't resists and am glad I did so - this is a great album.
Track Listing
01 - Lime Juice Tub
02 - Lazy Harry's
03 - Marijuana Australia
04 - Murrumbidgee (instrumental)
05 - When the Rain Tumbles down in July
06 - And the band played Waltzing Matilda
07 - When Brittania ruled the Waves
08 - Les Darcy
09 - 1-2-3-4
10 - Beneath the Southern Cross
11 - Wall of Death12 - Waltzing Matilda (Queensland version)

The Band:
Dobe Newton - Lagerphone., Percussion, Vocals
Roger Corbett - Bass, Vocals
Tommy Emmanuel - Guitar, Vocals
Danny Bourke - Fiddle
Tony O'Neill - Fiddle, Guitar, Vocals
Freddy Strauks - Drums, Vocals

Thursday, December 3, 2015

George Harrison - Complete Rarities Vol.3 (1990) Bootleg

(U.K 1958-2001)
I'm not certain how many people know this, but George Harrison -along with Paul McCartney, John Lennon and various others - used to be a member of a Merseyside pop group whose act went down well with local teenagers. Later, quite a few of their gramophone records got into the hit parade. George was the readiest of the four to venture beyond pop music through his explorations of Indian culture and, after the group disbanded, the underwriting of Hand Made Films, now a pillar of British cinema. More subtly than John Lennon, he rode out the 1970s as the most self-contained - and oddest - ex-Beatle. Nevertheless, despite a career blighted with stimulant abuse, marital ructions, religious obsession and proven artistic plagiarism, muckrakers would be hard pressed to ravage a distinguished, charitable and humorous middle-aged musician whose character - in contrast to those of John, Paul and Ringo - was rooted in a secure family background.

Following the success of 1989's album, Cloud Nine, fans await George Harrison's next album with more anticipation than at any time since the celebrated All Things Must Pass triple LP of 1970. His growth as a composer was one of the pressures that caused the sundering of The Beatles in that same year, notably when his 'Something' - along with McCartney's 'Yesterday' - emerged as one of the most covered songs of all time.
Harrison's sojourn as a Beatle and its repercussions will always remain central to any consideration of him as a figure in time's fabric. [extract from George Harrison, by Alan Clayson, Sanctuary Publishers, 2003, p11]
George Harrison 1973
George Harrison had been responsible for two three-record albums (All Things Must Pass and Concert for Bangla Desh) in roughly a year's time span, but his next record, 'Living in the Material World' did not appear until the summer of 1973. His third post-Beatle rock album, 'Dark Horse', appeared in 1974, and the album 'Extra Texture' was released to correspond with his 1975 North American tour.

The music world-the material world-that George Harrison toured in 1975 had changed considerably in the nine years since he had last toured with the Beatles. Even the metamorphosis wrought by the phenomenal late 1960s era had come and gone in the meantime. Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin had died in 1970.

In 1976, George started his own label, called 'Dark Horse' after his 1974 album, and released his 'Thirty-Three and a Third' album in November. Capitol and Parlophone responded by releasing the 'Best of George Harrison', a collection of material dating back as far as his early years with the Beatles. George subsequently released three albums on Dark Horse between 1979 and 1982, but retired for five years before coming back with 'Cloud Nine' in January 1988 [extract from The Beatles, by Bill Yenne, Bison Books, 1989 p90-94]

.Volume 3 of Complete Rarities is a less interesting compilation than Volume 2, for most of it is from the famous Carl Perkins TV special, which has been available on several other bootlegs and in a superb quality official home video. But for those who haven't got "When We Was Fab" single and the Carl Perkins special, it's a fantastic CD. For those who have, it still offers some rare cuts from 1974 Long Beach show.

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD copy and includes full album artwork. No surprises here for Beatles fan's - but for those of you who say 'what's all the fuss about' I'm sure you are going to enjoy this compilation Bootleg

01 - For You Blue (Live in Largo, Maryland (not Washington)   
02 - Zig Zag (B-Side to When We Was Fab)   
03 - When We Was Fab (Extended Version with reversed end)    
04 - Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby (Carl Perkins And Friends)    
05 - Your True Love (Carl Perkins And Friends)    
06 - The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise (Carl Perkins And Friends)    
07 - Sun Records Medley    
08 - Glad All Over (Carl Perkins And Friends)    
09 - Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins And Friends)    
10 - I Don't Want To Do It (Single Version)    
11 - Dream Away (Alternate Mix)    
12 - In My Life (Live In California 1974)    
13 - Maya Love (Live In California 1974)    
14 - Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth) (Live In California 1974)    
15 - Dark Horse (Live In California 1974)    
16 - Hari's On Tour (Express) (Live In California 1974)    
17 - Sue Me Sue You Blues (Live In California 1974)    
18 - Who Can See It (Listed as Long Beach California 1974, but it was only played once, in Vancouver...)

Track 1 taken from Live in Largo, Maryland, Dec. 13, 1974 (Live version issued with «Songs By George» book on Feb. 15, 1988)
Track 2 taken from “When We Was Fab” single, B-side
Track 3 taken from “When We Was Fab” 12” single, B-side
Tracks 4 – 9 taken from A Rockabilly Session, Oct. 21, 1985 (George Harrison performing with Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Dave Edmunds & friends)
Track 10 taken from «Porky's Revenge» soundtrack
Track 11 taken from «Time Bandits» soundtrack
Tracks 12 – 17 taken from Live in Long Beach, California, Nov. 10, 1974
Track 18 taken from Live in Vancouver, Canada, Nov. 2, 1974

George Harrison Link (58Mb) New Link 21/12/2023

Monday, November 30, 2015

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - The Wiggles with Ross Wilson: Eagle Rock (2003)

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.
There wouldn't be many people who haven't heard of the children's group The Wiggles unless they have being living under a mushroom for the past 25 years or don't think of Ross Wilson (from Daddy Cool) when they hear "Eagle Rock" been played on a Classic 70's radio show. 
What makes this Month's W.O.C.K on Vinyl post interesting is how these two pinnacles in the music industry have come together to produce a refreshing rendition of the #1 Daddy Cool hit - "Eagle Rock"

Have A Wiggley WOCK On Vinyl Folks
With a stellar career spanning more than 45 years and showing no signs of slowing, Mr 'Eagle Rock' Ross Wilson is one of  Australian rock music's most enduring and lauded talents.  Twice inducted in to the ARIA Hall of Fame (1989 Solo and 2006 with Daddy Cool), Wilson continues to win acclaim in 2003 thanks to the Wiggles and their tribute release of "Eagle Rock", his signature track which has been included in the National Film and Sound Archive 'Sounds of Australia Collection'

King Mondo "Ross Wilson"
"Eagle Rock" is a classic Australian song, released by Daddy Cool in May 1971 on the Sparmac Record Label. It went on to become the best selling Australian single of the year, achieving gold status in eleven weeks, and remaining at #1 on the national charts for a (then) record ten weeks. "Eagle Rock" also spent 17 weeks at the #1 spot on the Melbourne Top 40 Singles Chart. The song was re-released by Wizard Records in 1982, and reached #17 on the Australian singles charts
"Eagle Rock" was released in early 2003 by the Wiggles to promote the upcoming video, Space Dancing. It featured both the audio and video for the Eagle Rock song, as well as all of the other songs from the video minus "Fergus' Jig". Ross Wilson is depicted as "King Mondo" in the film clip which is also included in this post.
At first, when I saw this single released in the shops, I couldn't help but think that this was one Weird combination, the Wiggles and Ross Wilson. But when I listened to the track, I immediately understood the  connection - both the Wiggles (who started out as the pop band called the Cockroaches) and Wilson (lead singer from Daddy Cool) just love to move when they perform, as highlighted in the song's lyrics

Now listen
Oh, we're steppin' out
I'm gonna turn around
Gonna turn 'round once
And we'll do the eagle rock

For this month's post, I've not only included a FLAC rip of the 2003 release of Eagle Rock but also the video clip that was also included on the CD single ->  HERE    New Link 16/07/2022