Saturday, February 28, 2015

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - The Never Never: On The Beach / It Doesn't Mean Anything (1980)

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.
Here's a rare single by a Geelong band called 'The Never Never', who formed out of another band called 'Southern Aurora'. (but not to be confused with another band called the Never Never from Perth, in 1982)
"The Never Never" played the pub circuits in Geelong and Melbourne between 1978 and 1981, but never really hit the big time.
They only released one single on an Independent Label "Media Sound" in 1980, tracks were "It Doesn't Mean Anything" and "On The Beach".
There is some confusion as to which track was the A-Side as both sides of the record label have side A printed on them. In addition, Chris Spencer's 'Who's Who of Australian Rock' managed to give incorrect credit to the Perth band for their single in their 1989 edition, but did correct it in later editions. Who's Who's spelling of band member names is also inaccurate in comparison to what is printed on the singles back cover and their reference to 'Never Never Band' rather than 'The Never Never' is also incorrect, going by what is printed on the record label. Spencer also incorrectly sites the release date of the single as being 1981, whereas the cover clearly states 1980.
To add more confusion, the back cover lists 'Tom Micheals' as vocalist and guitarist, yet his real name is Mick Thomas.  Hmm... somebody didn't do their research properly.
In late 1984, Mick Thomas (lead vocals, lead guitar and bass guitar) went on to form the first version of folk rock band 'Weddings Parties Anything' with a former band mate, Adams.
It's hard to know which of the tracks was meant to be the A-Side but Who's Who site it as "It Doesn't Mean Anything".
I personally like the other track "On The Beach" with its simple but catchy melody and "It Doesn't Mean Anything" which sounds a lot like Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him"
Anyhow, have a listen to this rare and Obscure single from the Never, Never (literally folks) and tell me what you think.

Band Members:
Joe Nado - Lead Guitar
Tom Micheals (alias Mick Thomas) - Vocals & Guitar
Wendy Harrison - Bass
Arch Enemy (aka Archie Cuthbertson) - Drums

The Never Never (17Mb)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Jon English - Beating The Boards (1983)

(Australian 1972-Present)
Jon English is one of few Australian performers who have successfully combined a career in so many genres of music, television, and stage.
From the early 70’s in the demanding role of Judas in Australia’s first and enormously successful production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, to his Logie winning performance as the convict Jonathan Garrett in the TV mini series, ‘Against the Wind’, together with countless return seasons as the dashing Pirate King in ‘Pirates of Penzance’ and the lovable Bobby Rivers in the TV sitcom, ‘All Together Now’, Jon has contributed immeasurably to the performing arts for nearly four decades.

With no less than 16 music albums to his credit, including the self penned rock opera ‘Paris’, any attempt to list his many achievements in this short space would only result in copious sins of omission.  His hits include Turn the Page, Some People, Hollywood 7, Six Ribbons, Words are not Enough, Hot Town, Carmilla – just to name a few – and his many accolades include multiple Logie, Aria, TV Week, Countdown, RAM Magazine, Melbourne Critics Green Room, AFI and MO awards.
A prolific songwriter, experienced screen composer, and a popular actor with wide community recognition and critical public acclaim, Jon is one of Australia’s most successful, loved, and enduring recording and performing artists.
Jon English BIO  (pre1983)
Jon's birthplace was Hampstead, England. He migrated to Australia with his family at the age of thirteen and two years later joined forces with three fellow students at Cabramatta High School to form the original Sebastian Hardie.
He remained with the band until January 1972 when he auditioned, along with 2,000 other hopefuls, for a part in Jesus Christ Superstar. Not only did Jon win a part, but he was given the very demanding and prestigious role of Judas. His performance in the show was highly acclaimed wherever it was staged. He remained in the production for two years.
Superstar was not his only activity during this period though. Initially he worked casually with a band called Duck and appeared on the LP called Laid. Then, later in 1972, he began recording his own album entitled Wine Dark Sea, which was released in March 1973 on the Warm and Genuine label through Phonogram. A single, 'Handbags And Gladrags', was cut from the LP and a follow-up, 'Close Every Door', came out in July '73.

In March 1974, Superstar closed and Jon went straight into the studio to record the soundtrack of the rock opera of Ned Kelly (in which he took the part of Ned). Jon also started doing a lot of live performances as well as cameo appearances with his old band (Sebastian Hardie) and an outfit called Baxter Funt. Other activities included starring in the play Bacchoi, the co-writing of a ballet called Phases, and writing a column for the Sydney Daily Mirror. Somehow Jon found time at the end of the year to record his second album, It's All A Game, which was released in January 1975. One of the outstanding tracks on the album was 'Turn The Page', and as a single it became his first hit.
A new version of Jesus Christ Superstar had emerged meanwhile, and Jon rejoined the show and toured with it around Australia and New Zealand. He remained with the production until early in 1976 when he began recording his next album, Hollywood Seven. The title track was released as a single first of all, and the LP hit the market in August. Another song, 'I'm A Survivor', was also lifted from the album. Later in the year Jon and Trevor released a joint single, 'Laid Back In Anger'.
Jon's acting career was also expanding with appearances in TV dramas such as Homicide, Matlock Police and No.96. In March 1977, another single, 'Lay It All Down', was issued from the forthcoming Minutes To Midnight album. Then came a tour with Bryan Ferry and another single, 'Behind Blue Eyes' (May 77). At this point, with touring becoming such an integral part of his career, Jon decided to form his own five piece band which included two keyboard players. Jon's last single for 1977 was 'Every Time I Sing A Love Song', released in August.
Plans for 1978 included a proposed European and US tour (where 'Hollywood Seven' received airplay) in February and the release of his new album which was completed in December '77.
Not only was 1978 Jon's biggest year for recording ("Words Are Not Enough' scored higher on the national charts than any of his previous singles), but his acting career received a tremendous boost when he landed a lead role in the million dollar Australian-made television show, Against the Wind.Jon's part as a 19th century convict in the thirteen episodes kept him busy from February to August. The first episode was screened in September, and the show was sold in England, parts of Europe and also — a major breakthrough — for a six figure sum in the US.
In December, an Against the Wind soundtrack album was released by Polydor. All tracks were arranged, composed, performed and produced by Jon and Mario Millo. (Their relationship dates back to the early seventies when they worked together in Sebastian Hardie). A single, 'Six Ribbons', was lifted from the album and released in December.
Jon also worked on his solo career during '78. In June, 'Words Are Not Enough', released as a single, soared to the number five position on the charts. It was followed by an album in August. Originally titled Fluent English, but changed after the single's success to Words Are Not Enough, it was recorded at Albert Studios in Sydney and mastered in the UK. It displayed a more diversified sound than his previous work, and a second track, 'Nights In Paradise', was lifted from it in September providing Jon with yet another hit.
Apart from television acting, recording and touring (with his band Baxter Funt) he completed a third stint as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar on the Sydney club circuit midway through the year.
A 'Best Of 'compilation planned for release in the first half of the year; and with a green card that will allow him to work in the U.S, he plans a visit there early in the year to pursue his acting/recording career
[extract from Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, 1978: p105-106, 1979: p19-20]

In April 1980, English released Calm Before the Storm which peaked at No.17 on the albums charts, with a single "Carmilla" peaking at No.27; this was followed by the less successful Inroads from January 1981 and singles "Hold Back the Night" and "Ask no Questions". Meanwhile, Against the Wind was shown on international TV stations in United Kingdom and other parts of Europe as Gegen den Wind in Mot alla vindar in Scandinavia. Success in Scandinavia included the soundtrack peaking at No.1 on the Norwegian Albums charts and two singles, "Mot alla vindar" and "Six Ribbons" both peaking at No.1 on the Norwegian Singles charts, all in 1981. English History, his compilation album also peaked at No.1, follow up albums Calm Before the Storm and Inroads both reached the Top Ten in Norway. In Sweden the soundtrack and the "Six Ribbons" single both peaked at No.4 on the relevant charts in 1980, later English History and "Hollywood Seven" reached the top twenty in their charts.

During 1981, English toured UK and Scandinavia with Mario Millo (guitars, ex-Sebastian Hardie), (guitar), Jackie Orszaczky (bass; ex-Syrius, Bakery, Marcia Hines Band), Coz Russo (keyboards), Richard Gawned (tenor sax, flute; ex-Marcia Hines Band) and Nick Lister (drums; ex-Kush).
English teamed with former Superstar co-lead, Marcia Hines, to produce July 1982's mini-album Jokers & Queens (see previous post) and its self-titled single, the album peaked at No.36 on the Australian albums charts and the single reached No.62 on the singles charts
His double live album, 'Beating the Boards' was released in early 1983 with backing by the Foster Brothers containing John Coker (bass), John Dallimore (guitar, flute, vocals; ex-Redhouse), Peter Deacon (keyboards, vocals), Greg Henson (drums) and Keith Kerwin (guitar, vocals; ex-Southern Star Band).  [extract from Wikipedia]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from a CD release (now out of print) and includes full album artwork for both CD and Vinyl releases. I chose to rip the CD rather than my vinyl copy, because the LP's cause the stylus to jump around a bit.  Imperfections in the pressing I suspect.
This double live set acts as a good anthology of Jon's recording history, but some of the tracks don't quite capture the sound quality of their equivalent studio tracks (eg. Hollywood Seven and Turn The Page)
Track Listing
A1 - Beating The Boards         (3:54)
A2 - Survivor                 (5:03)
A3 - Turn The Page            (3:27)
A4 - Been In Love Before         (8:15)
A5 - Lay It All Down            (4:42)
B1 - The Shining            (4:48)
B2 - Josephine (Too Many Secrets)    (5:08)
B3 - Lovin' Arms            (5:00)
B4 - You Might Need Somebody        (3:47)
B5 - Get Your Love Right        (5:09)

C1 - Words Are Not Enough        (5:12)
C2 - Beautiful Loser            (4:52)
C3 - Against The Wind/Six Ribbons    (8:22)
C4 - Hot Town                (5:57)
D1 - Hollywood                (7:00)
D2 - Move Better In The Night        (5:33)
D3 - I Can't Turn You Loose        (4:48)
D4 - Every Time I Sing A Love Song    (5:30)

Lead Vocals - Jon English
Acoustic Guitar – Keith Kerwin, Jon English
Bass Guitar – John Coker
Drums – Greg Henson
Electric Guitar – John Dallimore, Keith Kerwin
Flute – John Dallimore
Keyboards – Peter Deacon
Lead Vocals – Jon English
Producer – David Williams, Jon English
Backing Vocals – John Coker, John Dallimore, Keith Kerwin, Peter Deacon
Engineer [Live] – Duncan McGuire, Roger Savage

New Link 18/10/2015

Beating The Boards LP2 (FLAC)
New Link 18/10/2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Journey - Guitar & Amps (1978) Ex SB [REPOST]

(US 1973-Present) 
REPOST - Improved RIP and artwork
Found this gem at the Victoria Market one sunny Sunday afternoon back in the late 70's and paid a small fortune for it. Bootleggers could charge what they liked back in those days, particularly when the band was considered to be obscure and Journey was still very much an unknown band in Australia. But it was worth the money, the recording is excellent and the cover is almost commercial standard. This boot must be very rare! as I have yet to find it in a Google search.
I already had Journey's first three albums with their heavy rock and jazz fusion flavours and was very much into the band's long instrumentals and soaring guitar and keyboard solo's. Then came along Steve Perry, who added some refined vocals on their "Infinity" album making it far more commercial than their previous releases.
"Guitar & Amps" picks up the band at this stage of their career and showcases both old and new tracks from their catalog, including their big hit 'Wheel In The Sky'. It was recorded at the Monitro Studios in front of a small audience.
Formed in late 1973, Journey made their debut at San Francisco Winterland on New Year's Eve that year, followed by New Year's Day second gig before 100,000 audience at annual Sunshine Festival at Diamond Head Crater, Hawaii (I plan to post this brilliant concert at a later stage as it shows a very different Journey). Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included recent Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Bassist Ross Valory and Rhythm Guitarist George Tickner, both of Frumious Bandersnatch, and drummer Prairie Prince of The Tubes rounded out the group. The band quickly abandoned the original "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz fusion style.

After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villaneuva suggested the name "Journey." Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with John Lennon and Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records
Journey released their debut selftitled album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, Look into the Future (1976). Neither album achieved significant sales, so Schon, Valory, and Dunbar took singing lessons in an attempt to add vocal harmonies to Rolie's lead. The following year's Next (1977) contained shorter tracks with more vocals, and featured Schon as lead singer on several of the songs. Journey's album sales did not
improve and Columbia Records requested that they change their musical style and add a frontman, with whom keyboardist Gregg Rolie could share lead vocal duties. The band hired Robert Fleischman and transitioned to a more popular style, akin to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977 and together the new incarnation of the band wrote the hit "Wheel in the Sky." But fans were lukewarm to the change, and personality differences resulted in Fleischman being fired within the year.
In the fall of 1977, Journey hired Steve Perry as their new lead singer. Perry added a clean, tenor sound and the band became a true pop act. Their fourth album, Infinity (1978), reached No. 21 on the album charts and gave the band their first ARIA-certified platinum album plus hit singles out of "Lights" (#68 U.S.) and "Wheel In the Sky".
The post consists of FLACs ripped from vinyl and includes full LP artwork. Recorded in front of a small studio audience, the quality of the recording improves after the first track (sound engineers must have been asleep !). This is a rare bootleg indeed.
Note: Track listing printed on back cover is not accurate - listing below is correct
Track Listing
01 - Of A Lifetime
02 - I Would Find You
03 - Feeling That Way
04 - Anytime
05 - La Do Da / Can Do
06 - Winds Of March
07 - On A Saturday Nite
08 - Wheel In The Sky
09 - Next
Band Members
Steve Perry (Lead vocals)
Neal Schon (Guitar)
Gregg Rolie (Keyboards / Vocals)
Ross Valory (Bass / Vocals)
Ansley Dunbar (Drums)
Journey FLACs (309Mb) New Link 17/10/2015

. .

Monday, February 16, 2015

Various Australian Artists - Molly's Aus. Evolution (1982)

(Various Australian Artists)

When we hear the word 'Countdown' we all of course think of Ian 'Molly' Meldrum
On any given Sunday night from 1974 to 1987 Molly was loved, loathed, reviled, respected but above  all,  watched.  Molly  had  a  real  passion  that connected  with  his  audience and co-workers at Studio 31 in Ripponlea. He wasn't perfect. He was like one of those World War II fighter pilots you read about, flying by the seat of their pants, half-cut from a late night in the officers' mess but somehow managing to fly his 'crate' of string, wire and balsa wood across the heavens, week in, week out. If the job of a TV host is to present with a detached poise then Molly will   be judged a complete failure. But if it's more important that a host promote, provoke, perplex, perspire, inspire and embody the program itself, then Molly was an outstanding success. You simply couldn't ignore Molly and neither could the Australian music industry.
Everyone has a Molly story, even those who've never met him. Many of them are outrageous. Most of them are true. The most commonly parleyed anecdote concerns an incident at Los Angeles Airport and goes something like this: Late and argumentative as usual, a Melbourne-bound Molly has completed his formalities and received his boarding pass when he reaches for the briefcase that is no longer by his feet. Fleeced of all essential possessions, he is subsequently denied entry to a Pan-Am Jumbo. "Without your passport Mr Meldrum," he is sternly advised, "you won't be allowed into Australia and we will be liable to bring you back here."
Molly yells, Molly screams and then Molly applies the cunning that has kept him firmly in the public eye since 1966. He dashes over to the passengers awaiting boarding, people he doesn't know from Adam, and says "Do you know me?". "Yea, you're Molly," they chorus. He gets to fly home.

It's an ideal household name, one which rolls off the tongue like Ita, Hoges, Edna, Hawkie, Barnsie and Deek. Molly the mouth, Molly the mumbler, Molly the unlikely media mainstay. It's known from Albury to Zealand and is likely to come tumbling from the lips of Madonna, Elton John, David Bowie, Michael Jackson and Rod Stewart at the most unexpected moments. Molly. He has helped to shape the opinions of up to five distinct 'generations' of Australian youth. Outside of Ross Wilson and Glenn Shorrock, no local pop star has outlasted him; he even predates the chart career of John Farnham.
Molly has very definite ideas about how the pop business should work; after all he's helped determine its modus operand since the sixties. Music is not something that Ian Meldrum ever just listened to. Left on his own as a child, he would crank up West Side Story, Oklahoma or a piece of opera on the family gramophone and madly flail away with a makeshift baton. At the first Melbourne concert by The Beatles in June 1964, Meldrum and mate Ronnie Burns were tossed out of Festival Hall by over-zealous security men just before the final song, for screaming too loudly, and spent the duration of Long Tall Sally pounding on the back door in a tearful state of near-collapse.
Two years later, while juggling law studies with a job as ace pop reporter on Go Set magazine, Molly covered the walk-out of the miming stars of the Kommotion pop television show and found himself recruited as a replacement. "I'd refused," he recalls, "but Phillip Frazer, my editor, said 'It will be good for the magazine, do it'. So I became the fool. I mimed to things like Winchester Cathedral, Lady Godiva and something called Why Don't Women Like Me?... ..(laughs fitfully) although I didn't even realise myself at that stage!"
After traveling to London with The Groop in 1968 and landing a short stint actually working within the Beatles' Apple organisation, Meldrum was ready to stop promoting other people's music and start creating his own. He produced a hit for the Melbourne group Somebody's Image and persuaded lead singer Russell Morris to pursue solo fame. Before EMI Records had realised what was happening, Meldrum had spent $10,000 of their money (sufficient budget for 2-3 albums at that time) recording a wizard's brew of swirling electronic noise and mesmerising chants — a spectacular six minute epic which the distraught company presumed to be a B-side.
He was sacked from the project but refused to let go and when a corporate decision was made to release the single only in Victoria, hit the road to Sydney with Morris to persuade influential disc jockeys Ward Austin and Groover Wayne to air the song. In April 1969, "The Real Thing" was number one around Australia and by the end of the year the pair had been awarded a rare gold disc. After that, there was no looking back.
Molly is now an Australian fact of life but although he may insist "I give everyone a fair go, bloody everyone, there's no grey area on that score", one could not fairly describe him as well loved, at least not within the close confines of Australia's fairly claustrophobic music industry. The Great Unwashed is another matter entirely. "I can't assess what I mean in this country," he says coyly, "I'm so used to it. I enjoy people smiling. I shouldn't take everything as seriously as I do. I was booked onto the Air India flight that crashed into the Irish Sea and didn't make it because Rod Stewart and his old manager, Billy Gaff, after a lot of argument, got me to stay over in London for a dinner party. By the grace of God I'm still here. That's the way you've got to look at life. As long as I'm enjoying this, we'll all have a giggle."
There was really only one question left to ask: As the producer of a decent handful of classic Australian hits, with a reputation for blowing out more budgets than a housewife with a purse full of credit cards, will Molly be producing records for Melodian? His retort came before I was able to get all the words out. "I'd never be that stupid, not with my own label!"  [extracts from Countdown "The Wonder Years 1974-87' by Dave Warner, 2006, p131-133 and "External Combustion" by Glenn Baker, 1990, p77-81]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3s ripped from my extra 'virgin' (untouched, un-played and raring to be ripped) vinyl. Also included is full album artwork plus label scans. Released on the Summit label (a budget label used by Festival in the 80's) this collection of 'Aussie Only' tracks has been specifically chosen by the man himself Molly 'Do Ya Self a Favour' Meldrum.
Interestingly enough, it was only when I decided to post this album, that I became aware of a misconception that I have had with one of the featured artists for more than 30 years. I had always thought that Billy Field was an American artist, yet he is 100% Home Grown and therefore an Aussie artist. Not sure how I missed this one, but I would like to dedicate this post to Billy in recompense for my ignorance.
Anyhow, in the famous words of Molly himself, 'Do Ya Self A Favour', and grab a copy of this awesome compilation today.
Track Listing:
LP1 - Side1
1 - Evie (parts 1, 2 & 3) - Stevie Wright (11.24) 
2 - It's a long way to the top - AC/DC (5.10) 
3 - I'll be gone - Spectrum (3.25) 
4 - Help is on it's way - Little River Band (4.04) 
5 - I honestly love you - Olivia Newton-John (3.38) 
6 - Don't fall in love - The Ferrets (3.12) 
7 - The loved one - The Loved Ones (2.50) 
LP1 - Side2

1 - The Boys light up - Australian Crawl (3.48) 
2 - Heading in the right direction - Renee Geyer (2.58) 
3 - Eagle Rock - Daddy Cool (3.50) 
4 - Eleanor Rigby - The Zoot (4.40) 
5 - Turn up your radio - Masters Apprentices (3.33) 
6 - Speak to the sky - Rick Springfield (3.00) 
7 - Most people I know (think that I'm crazy) - Billy Thorpe (4.17) 
8 - You weren't in love with me - Billy Field (3.24) 
LP2 - Side3
1 - April Sun in Cuba - Dragon (3.24) 
2 - The real thing - Russell Morris (6.20) 
3 - Howzat - Sherbet (3.39) 
4 - Horror movie - Skyhooks (3.47) 
5 - I go to Rio - Peter Allen (3.22) 
6 - Spicks and Specks - Bee Gees (2.52) 
7 - I got you - Split Enz (3.28) 
8 - Such a lovely way - The Groop (3.16) 

LP2 - Side4
1 - No secrets - The Angels (4.17) 
2 - Yesterday's heroes - John Paul Young (3.43) 
3 - Friday on my mind - The Easybeats (2.48) 
4 - Here I am - Air Supply (3.51) 

5 - One - Johnny Farnham (2.46) 
6 - We can get together - Icehouse (3.46) 
7 - Hollywood seven - Jon English (4.52) 
8 - Cheap wine - Cold Chisel (3.10) 
9 - Who can it be now - Men at Work (3.20)

Molly's Aus. Evolution LP1 (FLACs) New Links 18/10/2015
Molly's Aus. Evolution LP2 (FLACs)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Steppenwolf - Best Of (1978)

(Canada 1967–72, 1974–76, 1980–present)
Steppenwolf is a Canadian-American rock group that was prominent from 1968 to 1972. The group was formed in late 1967 in Toronto by vocalist John Kay, keyboardist Goldy McJohn and drummer Jerry Edmonton under the name of the "Sparrows". Guitarist Michael "Monarch and bassist Rushton Moreve were recruited by notices placed in LA area record stores and musical  instrument stores. The essential core of Steppenwolf was John Kay, Jerry Edmonton, his brother Dennis Edmonton and Goldy McJohn from The Sparrows (originally Jack  London & the Sparrows from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada).
Cover Linear Notes
From 1968 through the end of 1971 there were not many rock acts bigger than Steppenwolf. During that period the band placed three singles in the national Top 10 and nine more in the Top 100. The quintet cut eight gold LPs and played to audiences numbering two million. Steppenwolf, in fact, was one of the most successful and popular groups in the history of rock.
Good rock is always at a premium and Steppenwolf was among the best. It was the best of the American heavy metal groups of the late '60s, combining pure rock with political philosophy and social commentary as well as any other band of the period. Rock, however, is the key. No matter what the subject matter of the song, Steppenwolf was above all a rock band, and.lead singer John Kay was one of the genre's best vocalists.

Kay and his mother escaped from East to West Germany in 1958 when he was fourteen. Moving soon after to Canada, John became involved in a number of rock and blues groups in the Toronto area. One such group, Sparrow, gained a strong local following through its fusion of the two musical styles.
In 1967, Kay, along with fellow Sparrows Jerry Edmonton and Goldy McJohn, moved to Los Angeles. Forming Steppenwolf (named after the main character in the Herman Hesse novel of the same name), Kay and his pals were soon successful.
Steppenwolf first rocketed to public attention with what is still rock's classic biker song, "Born To Be Wild." The single reached the second slot on the national charts. The group followed with the semi-psychedelic "Magic Carpet Ride," which landed in the number three position. The goodtime "Rock Me" also reached the Top 10.
Steppenwolf did not concentrate on spreading philosophy or advocating political direction with its first three singles. Instead, the quintet wisely concentrated on reaching and establishing a foothold with the masses. Later projects/however,, showed a sense of social consciousness and ability to reflect current climate of opinion absent in most rock bands.
As mentioned earlier, Kay is an educated and highly articulate individual. Though his constant shades and leather pants sometimes made him look like a parody of a rock singer, Kay effectively used the band as a forum to express far deeper thoughts than those contained in "Born To Be Wild" and "Magic Carpet Ride."
Through '"Monster,'' Kay and co-writer Edmonton offer a powerful indictment of the then-current state of American affairs within the framework of a good rock' song. "It's Never Too Late" is the old theme of "anyone can start over anytime," but strong vocals and a good instrumental track make up for some of the less than fresh ideas served up. "Hey Lawdy Mama" is an interesting showcase for the band's feel for the blues.
"Who Needs Ya" is a typically strong Steppenwolf rocker with some rather amusing lyrics while "For Ladies Only" is a group composition that winds up as one of the band's softer but better cuts.
Steppenwolf was not a band the critics raved over, much like Led Zeppelin and Grand Funk. Critical approval or not, however, Steppenwolf was an enormous commercial success. John Kay, if the truth be told, developed into one of rock's finer vocalists.
And if we take a sharp look back, it's quite evident fiat Steppenwolf was one of those rare groups deserving of the description of superstar.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my trusty Pickwick Vinyl which has seen more spins on my turntable than re-runs of the movie 'Easy Rider'. So I've had to clean up the files a little to get rid of the inevitable crackles and pops one would expect from a classic 70's album.
Full album artwork and label scans are included as usual. My favourite track on this album is in fact "For Ladies Only", a 9 minute rock ballad which demonstrates that Steppenwolf were able to produce more than just those Top 10 hits which they are best known for.
Track Listing
A1  Born To Be Wild    3:28
A2  Monster    3:52
A3  It's Never Too Late    4:05
A4  Hey Lawdy Mama    2:54
A5  Rock Me    3:39
B1  Magic Carpet Ride    2:41
B2  Ride With Me    3:21
B3  Who Needs Ya    2:57
B4  For Ladies Only    8:40

The Band were:
John Kay (Vocals, Guitar)
Goldy McJohn (Keyboards)
Jerry Edmonton (Drums)
Michael Monarch (Lead Guitar)
Rushton Moreve (Bass)

Steppenwolf Link (87Mb) New Link 17/07/2022

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Johnny O'Keefe - King Of Rock (1974)

(Australian 1953–1978)
The greatest showman in Australian history, Johnny O'Keefe's career started in the Great Rock Era of the 50's. Sydney born johnny, in a short span of frantic activity, injected such a shot in the arm to the Australian Show Business Scene that it started the rise of some of our best local talent on the road to success. His uncanny pulse touch of what people young and old wanted in the way of entertainment has never wavered and it is the remarkable sense of show business judgement which has kept Johnny O'Keefe sitting high on the Oak tree while fast fell the acorns.
His transition from wild one to conservatively dressed club and dance performer has caused no turbulent loss in his popularity, instead the O'Keefe image has always been on the rise. His concerts — sellouts; His recordings — ever popular. To define Johnny O'Keefe has been attempted by fans and critics alike but no two answers have ever been the same. One explanation put forward by a prominent east coast musician might come close to the mark — "Johnny O'Keefe has the drive of a tycoon, the virility of four wild cats and when he sings a song he sings it straight from the heart, not from the head. Johnny really gives his all."
Many things have happened to the wild one in his twelve years in the music business — nervous breakdowns, a near fatal car accident, TV shows being cancelled, but always his enthusiasm and courage have shown through. He has made many comebacks, all of them successful — take for instance the re-issue of his 10-year-old single "She's My Baby" which re-entered the charts Australia wide and became another top seller. His recent single "Mockingbird" has also taken off the length and breadth of Australia.    ! One thing is certain — Australia has never known another entertainer like him and all Australia watches with respect his almost super human fight to reach almost greater heights, this era of Australian Entertainers must go down as the age with one undisputed King — The unforgettable J.O'K. [Taken from Album Linear Notes]

John in the early 60's
.In Brian Cadd's Autobiography 'From This Side Of Things' he recalls a chance meeting with the great JOK while they were both at Channel O in Melbourne doing the Happening 72 show.
Although I'd met Johnny O'Keefe a few times, I'd never hung out with him. He was an earlier era than all of us and by the time we were in bands like The Groop and Axiom, he was firmly entrenched in Clubland.
One Saturday morning in 1972, I was at Channel O doing the Happening 72 show. You had to get there incredibly early for make-up and then sometimes wait for long periods before your segment came up.
This morning I was in the dressing room and, after a moment, realised that I was sharing it with 'The Wild One'. He wasn't actually looking all that wild at that hour, but then neither was I.
We got chatting and I gradually became more comfortable in his presence. After all, no-one had ever come close to achieving his exalted status in Australia and, even though he was way past his prime, he was still 'the man'.
We realised that neither of us was going on until the last hour of the three-hour show. This gave us a considerable gap in which to entertain ourselves. When it got to IOAM, we decided to stroll outside and get some air.

Opposite Channel O was a pub and, to our amazement and delight, we noticed it had already opened. Johnny said, 'C'mon mate, they'll never miss us Lesley Shaw ran the show with an iron fist and I prayed that he was right!
We marched into the main bar with me trying to look like it was perfectly normal to be there that early. We were not alone. There were a handful of barflies already there and you can imagine their amazement when Johnny stood right there among them at the bar and ordered two brandies and ice.
This was starting off pretty full-on! Johnny was already ordering two more as I struggled to keep the initial sip of my first one down. Pretty soon, though. I was in the game and we left there 45 minutes later several brandies in and a half dozen 'mates' richer.

We snuck back into the dressing room, got changed and then, brandishing large innocent coffees, strolled into the studio ready for our performances.
Back in the dressing room afterwards Johnny asked me which way I was headed. In truth, I was heading in the opposite direction to the city but was not going to lose the opportunity to hang with him, so I volunteered to give him a lift to the Southern Cross Hotel in Exhibition Street in central Melbourne.
Up we went to his lavish suite (he knew how to travel, this guy) and before he even put his bags down he was onto room service. 'Do you like bloody marys?' he growled. I nodded and he instructed them to bring up six of them post haste.
When those arrived, he told the waiter to rustle up another six. I was having a nice time by now as he was full of great stories and we got on really well.
After the second group of six drinks had been dispatched, he took his bags into the bedroom, saying, 'Let me show you something cool.' He returned with a Pelaco shirt box, filled to the brim with dope. 'Someone gave me that as a present last night at the club/ he explained as he ripped open the top.
It was now only one o'clock in the afternoon and he was rolling a 'big one'. Somewhere deep in my subconscious, I had a little nagging feeling that I had to be somewhere else and that, now the Pelaco box was compromised, my chances of ever getting there were severely reduced.Somewhat numb from the brandies followed by all the vodkas, I managed to make my farewells and get out of the room. I stumbled around and eventually found the elevator. As I got out at ground level, I saw a waiter heading for the elevators with six bloody marys on his tray.
The rest of the day was somewhat wasted for me so I can't even begin to imagine what his show was like later that same evening.[extract from Brian Cadd "From This Side Of Things" Newholland Publ, 2010. p152-153]

This post consists of  FLACs ripped from a mint condition vinyl copy that I found at a flee market in Sorento over the holiday period, still in its cellophane cover.  As usual, full album artwork and label scans are also included.
This release on the 'Summit Label' was one of many low budget albums that John's record company 'Festival' released in the early 70's. Not truly appreciated at the time, they have now become collectable gems - especially when found in pristine condition.  Hope you enjoy this selection of songs from the late JO'K and note that track 2 "Lawdy Lawdy, Miss Clawdy" appears to be a bit of a rarity.

Track Listing
01 - Come On And Take My Hand
02 - Lawdy Lawdy, Miss Clawdy
03 - That'll Be Alright

04 - What'd I Say
05 - I Believe

06 - Keep A Walkin'
07 - I Aint Gonna Do It
08 - To Love
09 - Rock 'n' Roll Will Stand
10 - You'll Never Cherish A Love So True
11 - Peek-A-Boo
12 - Shake Baby Shake


JOK  Link  (183Mb)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Jimi Hendrix - Diggin' In the Dust' 1969-70 (Bootleg)

(U.S 1967-70)
The price of success in the record business is often exploitation; and no artist can possibly ever have been exploited so recklessly and completely as Jimi Hendrix. When he died in 1970 he left behind a legacy of a handful of 'official' albums, prepared and passed by Hendrix himself. It is these recordings on which his reputation rests, although they have long since been dwarfed by the indiscriminate release of (literally) scores of tracks that were never intended for public consumption. With no performer around to object to their efforts, the owners of every tape on which Hendrix so much as blows his nose have thrown their wares into the marketplace, fundamentally altering the public's conception of the guitarist — and no doubt leading many to wonder why Hendrix was so highly rated in the first place.

There must be many collectors whose first Jimi Hendrix album was called "The Eternal Fire Of Jimi Hendrix", "Jimi Hendrix At His Best" or "The Genius Of Jimi Hendrix". Led to expect flashes of guitar genius, they have been disappointed to discover that their purchases contain poorly-recorded, often aimless jam sessions, many of which seem to have no connection with Jimi at all. But not all of these unofficial recordings are worthless.
The morality of unofficial recordings, like that of bootlegs, is obviously questionable. Musicians feel that they should have the final say over what is issued under their names, and the right to prevent their earliest meanderings on record from being reissued as soon as they strike it rich. On the other hand, record companies who have invested time and money in a young performer without any commercial reward understandably feel justified in making the most of their early generosity when their failure becomes someone else's success.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from vinyl and includes full album artwork. This is an 11 track unofficial collection of scarce studio recordings and alternate mixes from 1969-1970 period - Isabella (single lead guitar), Message To Love (percussion mix), Crash Landing (two vocal tracks), Freedom (different version), Bleeding Heart (alternate mix), Dolly Dagger (different vocals & guitar), Power Of Love (first part without vocals), Isabella (jungle mix), Steppin' Stone (original "Band of Gypsies" mix), Easy Blues (edited original version), and Earth Blues (basic track).  It comes in professional quality psychedelic colour picture sleeve featuring flower and 3 inset colour picture bubbles of Jimi Hendrix.
Track Listing:
01. Izabella I      
02. Message to Love       
03. Crash Landing       
04. Freedom       
05. Bleeding Heart       
06. Dolly Digger       
07. Power of Soul       
08. Izabella II       
09. Stepping Stone       
10. Easy Blues       
11. Earth Blues 

Jimi Hendrix Link (102Mb)  New Link 27/05/2020