Thursday, July 30, 2015

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Flying Lizards: Money (1979)

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
One of the most curious U.S. Top 50 hits of the very curious skinny-tie new wave era—a woman named Deborah Stickland recites, in a stark monotone, mercenary Berry Gordy lyrics that everybody from The Beatles to The Supremes to Waylon Jennings had sung since Mississippi soul man Barrett Strong first unveiled them (“the best things in life are free, but you can give them to the birds and bees, I want money”).

n Irish-born experimental composer named David Cunningham, schooled in Marxist theory and sound collage, offers cavernous dub echoes, swirling sounds, stereo-demonstration samples, and blurting horn farts while, supposedly, throwing rubber toys, phone books, Chopin sheet music, and ashtrays at a piano. 

The Flying Lizards do sound like they are trying to collide every sound they can make into their rhythmically uneven tracks, while still maintaining a stripped down sound. You get drums sounds more akin to banging on trashcan lids but even with the occasional burst of static-y radio noises, they never loose their tight control. It’s insanity, but the kind that feels like it operates within dystopian level limitations. 

Money was number 4 in the UK and number 3 in the USA as well as getting to number 1 in Australia in 1979. Strangely, Money has not been out of the public eye since, being regularly used in TV programmes about the Thatcher years and even a stint on the BBC's Money programme ... also their interesting documentary on the Monet exhibition. It has been used in a number of commercials, regularly played on the radio and used in three recent films, Empire Records, The Wedding Singer, and most recently Charlie's Angels. So in the USA the Flying Lizards seem to be something of a cult figure as are many of the Punk, Post-Punk and New Romantics of that time. At Occidental College in L.A., a young Barack Obama is said to have enjoyed blasting this record in his dorm [extract from ]

So why did I choose to post this single for this month's WOCK on Vinyl?  Simple - its Bizarre, it's Crazy, it's Money, and that's what I want !  
Flying Lizards Link (44Mb)  New Link 29/06/2022

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Marcia Hines - Ooh Child (1979)

(Australian 1970 - Present).

Marcia Hines was born in Boston, USA on July 20, 1953. As a small child she began singing at church. She made her first solo appearance at the age of nine at a church festival. Three years later, Marcia had started singing with rhythm and blues groups around Boston at dances and church socials.
Her big break came while she was still only sixteen when she was flown to Sydney after signing with Harry M. Miller to appear in the first Australian production of Hair. She toured with the show. The quality of her performance led to her winning the role of Mary Magdalene in Miller's production of Jesus Christ Superstar. By now Marcia had won herself a reputation for her professionalism. After Superstar came an offer to tour with the Daly-Wilson Big Band. The tour even included performances in the Soviet Union.

Marcia's recording career started with the signing of a recording contract with the Wizard label early in July 1974. Her first single, "Fire And Rain", was released in March 1975. It zoomed into the top ten two months later. The follow-up single, "From The Inside"/"Jumpin' Jack Flash", was released in conjunction with her debut album, Marcia Shines, in October '75. The album was an instant success and within one week it had sold 7,000 copies. Over the next eight months it topped the 50,000 sales mark.

In February 1976, she toured with Gene Pitney. Then, in May, came her third single, "Don't Let The Grass Grow"/"You Gotta Let Go", which didn't make the charts. Hot on the heels of her first successful album, Marcia left for Los Angeles midway through 1976 to record her second at the Arbee Studios. The album was called 'Shining', and was released in October '76. Within one month it had gone gold. That same year she was crowned TV Week Queen of Pop for the first time. In September she released her biggest selling single to date, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", which stayed in the charts for an amazing twenty one weeks.
Marcia's next national tour came early in 1977. It was promoted as her Shining Over Australia Tour. It was so successful that an 'encore' tour was scheduled for March '77, covering twenty eight additional venues. At this stage, her basic backing unit (which was supplemented by other musicians) consisted of fiance Mark Kennedy (drums); Jackie Orszaczky (bass guitar, musical direction); Stephen Howsden (guitar); and Warren Ford (keyboards). In the meantime, sales of the Shining album were still rising and by the end of March '77, they had topped the 150,000 mark (triple platinum status).

Then, in April, Marcia spent most of her time in the studios recording her third album. It was a slightly more mellow record although it did reflect her diversified vocal ability. The album was called 'Ladies And Gentlemen . . . Marcia Hines'. Amazingly it went gold only two hours after it was shipped to two states. By the end of 1977 it had sold over 50,000 copies. Pre-empting the album was a single from it entitled "What I Did For Love". The song was from the stage show, A Chorus Line, and entered the charts at the end of July. At the same time Marcia embarked on her biggest tour ever, which spanned one hundred and thirty days and included eighty six shows. It also covered both South East and Far East Asia.

Marcia on Countdown 1979
To top off 1977 she was again crowned TV Week Queen of Pop and another single from her album, 'You', was released in October. At the end of the year, Marcia recorded a Christmas special for the ABC network. Her plans for 1978 included more TV specials for the ABC and the possibility of a trip to the USA and Europe early in the year.
With only three years' recording behind her, Marcia has become probably Australia's biggest selling, locally recorded female artist ever. Quite an achievement!
About the greatest recognition a female vocalist can get in Australia is to be voted Queen of Pop at the TV Week King of Pop Awards. Marcia was crowned in October '78 for the third time in a row — a feat which has been equaled by only one other female artist, the first Queen of Pop, Allison Durbin.

Marcia's 1977 number one single, "You", continued in the charts for the first two and a half months of 1978. In February, she released a new album, Marcia Hines Live Across Australia, recorded during her international tour in '77. Thanks to her producer, Robie Porter, the result was a studio-class sound; by April it was declared double platinum (over 100,000 copies sold). A single from it, "Music Is My Life", provided Marcia with her seventh national hit. It was followed by 'Imagination', another track from the live album (released mid '78), and in December by a special single featuring "Let The Music Play" and "Empty", issued on brown vinyl and sporting a picture cover.

Marcia entered television during 1978 with her own ABC network series, Marcia Hines Music. The show was so successful that she was signed to do a second series for early in 1979.
Marcia also returned briefly in autumn '78 to her role as Mary Magdalene in the revival for the Sydney club circuit of Jesus Christ Superstar, but missed some performances due to throat and respiratory ailments. In September, she contracted bronchial pneumonia, but fortunately recuperated in time to set off with manager, Peter Rix, on a promotional trip of the US, Canada and Europe. She also completed a tour of the Far East.

Marcia on Countdown with Molly Meldrum
 It was an important year for establishing herself as an international artist. She signed a big UK-based recording deal with the new Logo label and "You" was released throughout Europe (with the exception of England where other tracks were being considered).
She recorded her next studio album 'Ooh Child' early in 1979 for release midway through the year, and consequently undertook a 63 date national tour from April through to July, to promote her first soul/funk album. [extract from Noel McGraths Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press, 1978 p143-145; 1978-79 Yearbook p24-25]

Marcia stopped recording in the early 1980s until she returned with 'Right Here and Now' in 1994, the same year she became an Australian citizen. "What a Feeling" was released in 1999 and is a single taken from the album 'Time of Our Lives' it made it to #66 here in Australia and #23 in New Zealand.

The success continued into the millennium with the Australian Olympic Team choosing Marcia's new single "Rise" as their official team song. "I am incredibly honored and inspired that 'Rise' has been chosen by the athletes as the official Australian Olympic Team Song," Marcia says. "The athletes are the true heroes of the Olympic Games and I hope this song promotes inspiration and success for our elite athletes during the Games."

She was the subject of the 2001 biography 'Diva: the life of Marcia Hines' which coincided with the release of the compilation album, 'Diva'. Commencing in  2003, she was a judge on the TV music talent show Australian Idol, and her elevated profile led to a renewed interest in her as a performer. Her 2006 album, 'Discotheque', peaked at #6 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) albums chart.

Marcia is the mother of singer Deni Hines, with whom she performed on the duet single "Stomp!" (2006). She now lives near Newcastle, New South Wales with Christopher Morrissey, her husband since 2005. Her status in the Australian music industry was recognised when she was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame on 18 July 2007

Maybe you could call Marcia Hines a survivor but it's more a case of just being - being your best at all times. Whether it is taking center stage at the Fox Studios Australia Opening, the Stadium Australian Opening or her sell-out concert tours throughout Australia and New Zealand, there is no doubt that Marcia Hines will continue to remain at the peak of her recording and performing career rewarding old fans and embracing new ones. [extract from the Australian Jazz Agency]
I've always thought very highly of Marcia Hines during her career as a singer, a T.V personality and ambassador of Australia. She is such a genuine person and has been a wonderful mentor for many other Australian Musicians. As she sang back in the early 70's "Music Is My Life" and it has been this philosophy that has made her such a success story. For your enjoyment, I am posting one of her lesser known albums 'Ooh Child' which was her first overseas recordings, and features some famous international artists such as Lee Ritenour (guitar), Mike Pocaro (Bass) and David Hungate (Bass).

This post consists of both FLACs ripped from vinyl and includes full album artwork along with 'Miracle' label scans.  The album was also released in the states by Logo records using a different cover (see above).
The album has a strong Soul / Funk feel to it and demonstrates the amazing versatility in Marcia's voice.  The only oddity on the album is her cover of Dragon's "April Sun In Cuba" which she combines in a medley with the Drifter's "Save The Last Dance For Me". What the two songs have in common escapes me and the pairing doesn't really work in my opinion.
Otherwise, this is an enjoyable album that should not be overlooked. Enjoy.

Track Listing
01 - Ooh Child    
02 - Something's Missing (In My Life)

03 - You're So Good    
04 - Moments    
05 - I Wanna Make It With You Tonight    
06 - Dance You Fool, Dance    
07 - April Sun In Cuba / Save The Last Dance For Me    
08 - Where Did We Go Wrong    
09 - Let The Music Play

. .
Bass : Mike Porcaro & David Hungate
Guitar Solos : Lee Ritenour
Guitars : Lee Ritenour, Tim May, Fred Tackett, Rick Springfield, Bob Mack & Paul Sabu
Drums : Willie Ornelas & Ed Greene Keyboards : Jaï Winding, Al Camps & Terry Young
Marimba / Vibes : Julius Wechter
Rhythm Percussion : Robie G. Porter, Steve Forman, Bob Conti & Carl Friberg
Synthesizer Program : Jan Lucas
Strings led by Sid Sharp


Ooh Child FLACs (244Mb) New Link 09/07/2019


Sunday, July 19, 2015

String Driven Thing - Please Mind Your Head (1975)

(Scottish 1967-1975, 1991, 2001 - Present)
One of the finest bands signed to the Charisma label during its early-'70s heyday, Scotland's String Driven Thing originally formed as a trio in 1969, led by the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Pauline Adams, plus percussionist John Mannion. Locally popular at the tail end of the 1960s, the band faded from view shortly after releasing a self-titled debut album in 1970. They continued playing, however, with the lineup expanding to include bassist Colin Wilson.

In early 1972, Chris Adams journeyed to London, hoping to interest the Strawbs' management with a three-song demo. Finding himself with some free time, he was flicking through the record labels section of the Yellow Pages when he spotted Stratton Smith Enterprises. He called and found himself in conversation with the head of Charisma chief Tony Stratton Smith's publishing company, Mooncrest Music. Within a week, Stratton Smith himself was in Glasgow, for a String Driven Thing showcase at the Burns' Howff pub; a week after that, the band signed with his label.

Shedding Mannion around the same time, the group returned to Glasgow with a princely retainer of 20 pounds per week, to rehearse. A month later, they went back south for their first ever live shows as a "signed" band: a community hall in the town of Tunbridge Wells, where Strat had his country retreat, and the 1972 Reading Festival. It was an audacious entry, but it worked and the group quickly set to work on its first Charisma album, to be titled — like its independent predecessor — String Driven Thing.
Recorded in two weeks in August 1972 with producer Shel Talmy, the album landed rave reviews across the music press, with Melody Maker in particular leaping onto the group's side. (Amusingly, it later transpired that the album's distinctive gatefold sleeve, designed by Po of Hipgnosis, cost more than the actual recording sessions!)

The band continued pushing forward. Visiting France, they stopped by the renowned Chateau D'Heuroville studios (the Honky Chateau of Elton John fame), where they were filmed recording some songs with a French producer, who later claimed he'd done a better job than Shel Talmy ("he had a point," mused Adams); December 1972, meanwhile, saw the band fly to New York to support Genesis at that band's first ever American show, at the Philharmonic Hall.

String Driven Thing 1974
 When Chris and Pauline Adams left String Driven Thing after the release of "The Machine that cried", the heart of the band essentially went with them. To his credit, Grahame Smith rebuilt String Driven Thing from scratch, but the truth was that this was a completely different band using the same name (per Fleetwood Mac). The new line up recorded two albums - 'Please Mind Your Head', recorded by engineer Tony Taverner at Escape Studios in Kent, and 'Keep Yer A'nd On It', produced by Andy Johns at Island's Basing Street studios.

Vocal duties were taken on by Kim Beacon (here referred to as Kimberley) who was the principal vocalist on Tony Banks' first solo album. Beacon's vocals represented a fundamental change from those of Chris and Pauline Adams, implying an immediately apparent change of sound for the band. This, combined with a general move towards a more orthodox pop rock direction alienated many of String Driven Thing's original fans.

Things start off brightly enough with "Overdrive" a mid-paced pop song with a fine harmonic chorus.. Songs such as "Without you" try to be more adventurous, with Smith's violin and viola contributions moving the songs on. Vocalist the late Kim Beacon was one of the finest rock singers of his day, his voice being a cross between Paul Rogers and Rod Stewart. Standout tracks are "Overdrive", and the instrumental "Timpani for the devil".  This instrumental piece draws in brief classical influences as Grahame Smith gets loose on his violin while drummer Colin Fairley expresses himself...[extract from SpaceRitual] 

The Break up
Their American tour of 1975 highlighted issues which the new lineup had with continuity and finding an appropriate audience. In October that year, they opened for Lou Reed, after which drummer Colin Fairley left the band and Charisma withdrew their support. Fairley went on to have a career as a studio engineer and record producer, for Elvis Costello and The Bluebells among others. Alun Roberts became guitar tech for Jeff Beck and Stevie Winwood, while Jimmy Exell still plays in Denmark. Beacon sang lead on Tony Banks' solo debut, A Curious Feeling, in 1979 and also had solo material issued. He died in 2001.

Violinist Graham Smith joined Charisma labelmates Van der Graaf in 1977 and also featured on some Peter Hammill albums. He later joined the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, and put out three solo album in Iceland, later reissued on CD by specialist progressive label Ozit Morpheus Records.

All early String Driven Thing, Chris Adams and Graham Smith albums are available on CD (Ozit Morpheus Records). Some live material and some hard to find tracks and outtakes appear on a German CD called Dischotomy with some alternate takes and rare material not found anywhere else. There are several BBC transcription discs of String Driven Thing live performances featuring both line-ups and two of these sets are on a German live bootleg CD called It's a Game.

Reformation and career
After 15 years of silence, Chris Adams released a solo album, The Damage, in 1991 and subsequently reformed String Driven Thing for a German tour, the Berlin leg of which was released on Ozit as $uicide, Live in Berlin. Variations of that band toured sporadically throughout the 1990s, but since 2001 the lineup has stabilised, with Andy Allan on bass, Richard Drake on drums and either George Tucker or Chris' son Robin Adams on guitar, with Pauline Adams and Graham Smith occasionally joining them in concert.

In 2007, the band released Moments of Truth, their first studio album in over 30 years, featuring twelve new Adams songs. April 2009 brought the Americana-tinged Songs From Another Country (released for contractual reasons as String Driven) on Backshop Records. The new material was first heard publicly at Fifestock in March 2009 and their new website was launched at the same time as the album release. In 2010, the Adams's gigged with original member John Mannion to celebrate the first album's 40th anniversary. As 2012 was the 40th anniversary of String Driven Thing's signing to Charisma and touring with Genesis, the band did some English gigs with Graham Smith and Pauline Adams. Bass player Colin Wilson died in 2013. [extract from]

Album Review by Bad Cat Records
With Grahame Smith the only holdover from the earlier String Driven Things line-ups, the revamped band featured the talents of singer Kimberly Beacon, bassist James Exell, drummer Colin Fairley, guitarist Alun Roberts, and cello player Clare Sealey. With most of the band contributing to the writing chores, 1974's 'Please Mind You Head' found the group shifting towards a more contemporary pop and FM friendly blues-rock sound.  Assuming they'd gotten over the departure of creative mainstays Chris and Pauline Adams, longstanding fans were almost certainly appalled by tracks like the Bad Company-styled rockers "Overdrive", "Without You", and "Black Eyed Queen".

If that didn't get under their skin, then Faces-flavored tunes like "Mrs. O'Reilly" and "Man of Means" almost certainly did.  Seriously, if you'd deleted Smith's violin work, a significant number of these nine tracks wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Bad Company, or Faces album.  As a big '70s AOR fan I didn't find the change in direction all that bad.  Yeah, the revamped band lost much of their unique identify, but Beacon was an impressive singer - criminally overlooked.   Always liked the goofy Hipgnosis album cover ...

 "Please Mind Your Head"
(Side 1)
1. Overdrive   (James Exell - Alun Roberts) - 3:10

With Kim Beacon turning in his best Paul Rogers impression, 'Overdrive' was a surprisingly impressive blues-rock number.  Powerful, tuneful, and quite commercial, it would have made a nice single. 
2. Without You  (Kim Beacon) - 4:00

Anyone hearing the rollicking 'Without You' was bound to wonder why these guys were so often dumped under the progressive sales plank.   Once again  Beacon sounded like a slightly easier going Paul Rogers while Alun Roberts displayed some tasty lead guitar chops.   Another track that would have made a dandy FM single.
3. Josephine   (Colin Fairley) - 4:10

Always loved James Bell's churning bass line on this one  ...  nice Bad Company-styled blues-rocker that should have provided the band with a massive AOR commercial success.
4. Mrs. O'Reilly   (Colin Fairley) - 3:40

There's something about this one that's always reminded me a bit of a Faces track - overlooking Grahame Smith's violin, there was a certain charming sloppiness to the performance that bore more than a passing resemblance to Rod Stewart and company.   The song was released as a single in England and German.  
5. Man Of Means   (James Exell - Alun Roberts) - 2:46

'Man of Means' sounded even more like a Faces tune, though this time around the reference was Rod Stewart singing a Ronnie Lane composition.   High compliment in my book. 

(Side 2)
1. Black Eyed Queen   (James Exell - Alun Roberts) - 4:43

'Black Eyed Queen' started side two with another enjoyable Bad Company-styled blues-rocker, though the mid-song doo-wop detour was disconcerting.
2. Keep On Moving   (James Exell - Alun Roberts) - 3:18

Decent boogie tune, but nowhere near as impressive as some of the other numbers.  rating: *** stars
3. Timpani For The Devil (instrumental)  (Grahame Smith) - 4:15

Smith's lone composition, the instrumental 'Timpani For The Devil' was unlike anything else on the album - essentially a showcase for his violin, it wasn't particularly melodic, or enjoyable and simply went on far too long.  The album's most progressive oriented tune, but it sounded totally out of place on the album. 
4. To Know You Is To Love You  (Syreeta Wright - Stevie Wonder) - 6:25

Technically I guess this wasn't a Stevie Wonder cover since it was actually written and recorded for Wonder's then wife Syreeta Wright and appeared on her 1972 debut album "Syreeta".   Regardless, you seldom hear a good Stevie Wonder cover, so this was one of those isolated exceptions.   With Beacon handling the lead vocals, the band seldom sounded as good as on this blazing blued-eyed soul adaptation.   Strange to say, but slinky and easily one of the album highlights.  
[extract from Bad Cat Records]
This post consists consists of FLACs ripped from my Bargin Bin Vinyl (yes folks, I paid a mere $1.99 for this album a short time after it was first released, from the bargin bin at Brash Suttons in Geelong. I also remember picking up other bargins like Eric Claptons "E.C was Here" and Dragon's  "Universal Radio" &  "Scented Gardens For The Blind", all for the same price. That was a day I'll never forget).  Of course, full album artwork is included along with label scans - just love that Famous Charisma Label logo !
This was the first time I'd heard String Driven Thing and was pleasantly surprised by their 'fresh new sound' - especially with the violin featuring in most tracks - and what a voice Kimberley Beacon has !
This album comes highly recommended.
01. Overdrive
02. Without You
03. Josephine
04. Mrs. O'Reilly
05. Man of Means
06. Black Eyed Queen
07. Keep on Moving

08. Timpani for the Devil
09. To Know You Is to Love You

Band Members:
*Grahame Smith - Violin, Viola
*Kim Beacon - Vocals
*James Exell - Bass, High Vocals
*Colin Fairly - Drums, Perc, Low Vocals
*Alun Roberts - Guitar, Banjo, Bass Vocals
*Pete Wood -- Keyboards
Additional Artists
*Harry McDonald - Keyboard
*Alan Skidmore - Sax
*Cuddley Juddley - Flute, Bagpipes

String Driven Thing FLACs (224Mb) New Link 02/01/2024

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Hoodoo Gurus - Live In Sydney (1984) Bootleg

(Australian 1981–1997, 2003–present)
In the early 1980s college radio dominated the rock industry. A loose network of campus stations across the US was breaking guitar rock from the likes of R.E.M. and The Replacements into the charts. This style of aggressive post-punk rock suited many Australian bands of the time. The Hoodoo Gurus, Died Pretty, The Church and The Celibate Rifles all found welcome on the college circuit. The Hoodoo Gurus in particular spent some years playing US campuses.
By the time they recorded the first album, Stoneage Romeos, Dave Faulkner had restructured the Gurus from a party band to a tight, powerful rock machine with the addition of guitarist Brad Shepherd and bassist Clyde Bramley whilst drummer James Baker was soon replaced by Mark Kingsmill. With their roots still firmly in the style of garage punk rock, Faulkner expanded his palette as a songwriter to pen a number of hit songs. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, Faulkner had no interest 4 in an inner-city elitism and he led the Gurus out to the suburbs on punishing tours. Within a couple of years the group had established a size able following on both sides of the Pacific. [extract from The Real Thing 1957 - Now, p159]

The Hoodoo Gurus continued to be a popular live act through the 1980's and '90's. Dave Faulkner became a production partner in Trafalgar Records and made some interesting records with a variety of artists. Faulkner also branched out into film scores.
Hoodoo Gurus had a string of acclaimed pop-rock singles including “Leilani” (1982), “Tojo” (1983), “My Girl” (1983), “I Want You Back” (1984), “Bittersweet”, “Like Wow – Wipeout!”, and “What’s My Scene?”. After touring the United States from 1984 onwards they gained popularity on the U.S. college rock circuit with singles “Come Anytime” (1989) reaching #1 and “Miss Freelove ‘69? (1991) reaching #3 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart.
Gurus’ biggest Australian hit single was their 1987 Top 3 hit song “What’s My Scene?” or, as modified for the National Rugby League 2000s theme, “That’s My Team”.  [extract from Juice magazine]
Early Hoodoo Gurus

Hoodoo Gurus learned the hard way exactly how difficult it is to keep the old band together. Back in 1998, still at the peak of their prowess and popularity, Faulkner and his fellow Gurus - guitarist Brad Shepherd, bassist Rick Grossman and drummer Mark Kingsmill - decided it was time to call it a day and broke up the band. They all went off to perform and record with other people, but soon missed each other so much that they formed a new band together, the Persian Rugs, which they insisted for years had nothing to do with the Hoodoo Gurus, except that the two bands coincidentally shared exactly the same line-up for a time.

Thankfully, in 2003, they put an end to that charade and reformed as the Hoodoo Gurus."The real wake up call for me was when the band broke up for six years," says singer Dave Faulkner. "I had never questioned what it was like being in the Hoodoo Gurus because I always was. After about four years, we did a one-off show at the Homebake festival in Sydney. We went up on stage and played and there was that exact same chemistry there - a more powerful entity than just the four of us on stage, a shared identity that was larger than all of us. The champion team versus the team of champions. None of us are the greatest musicians on Earth individually. It's just when we get together, we add something to each other and harmonise in certain ways."
Live in Sydney

Since reforming, the Gurus have recorded two more critically-acclaimed studio albums, Mach Schau [2004] and Purity Of Essence [2010], which now sit seamlessly alongside the band's pre-split classic recordings: Stoneage Romeos [1984]; Mars Needs Guitars! [1985]; Blow Your Cool! [1987]; Magnum Cum Louder [1989]; Kinky [1991]; Crank [1994] and In Blue Cave [1996].

In 2012, they released a brilliant all-new summary of an extraordinary career thus far, the best-of companion, 'Gold Watch'. It should be noted that this is not the Hoodoo Gurus' first greatest hits collection. Way back in 1992, to mark their 10th anniversary, the Gurus released Electric Soup - The Singles Collection, which went on to achieve triple-platinum sales and became one of the most successful albums in Australia at that time. But that collection only told part of the story. Gold Watch is the first compilation to represent all nine of the Gurus' studio albums, and then some.

Gig Poster 2012
As elder statesmen of Australian rock & roll, the Hoodoo Gurus are held in the same high esteem by their peers as they are by their fans. In 2007, the group was inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame. Two years earlier, a cross-section of the Australian music community paid the band the ultimate homage by lovingly producing a tribute album of Gurus covers entitled Stoneage Cameos. It included contributions from the likes of You Am I, Spiderbait, The Living End, Grinspoon and, most bizarrely, the Persian Rugs.

Dave Faulkner says he remains amazed and eternally thankful that, three decades on, the music of the Hoodoo Gurus still holds such resonance with the Australian public. "I'm very grateful that we've got away with it for so long,' he says with a laugh. "Obviously, I'm proud of the songs and, as a writer, I'm so chuffed they've been adopted by people as part of their lives. They're not really my songs anymore; they're everyone else's. I just played a part in the beginning in raising them."

Since their debut recordings as Le Hoodoo Gurus at the start of the 1980s, through to their chart-topping successes throughout the '80s and '90s, their international triumphs and countless sold-out local tours, from their break-up through to their comeback, the Hoodoo Gurus have been and remain one of the most popular and successful musical acts Australia has ever produced.  [extract from the Hoodoo Gurus Website]
This post features James Baker's last show with the band. Recorded in the Silver Spade Room at the Cheveron Hotel, Sydney on July 18th, 1984. The concert was later broadcast as part of the "Impossible Music Festival" on May 27, 2007 on Triple J FM.
This is a Soundboard Recording Concert ripped from CD and consists of MP3's (320kps) with full album artwork. Although the quality of the recording is exceptional the track listing featured on this bootleg is not totally reflective of what was played on the night which is a shame (see Setlist right).
Track Listing
01. Who Do You Love?
02. Dig It Up
03. I Want You Back
04. Death Ship
05. Tomorrow That Was Yesterday

06. I Want You
07. My Girl
08. Because You're Mine
09. Leilani Pt. 2
10. Be My Guru

11. I Was A Kamikaze Pilot
12. Rock 'n' Roll (Part 2)

The Hoodoo Gurus were:
Dave Faulkner (vocals, guitar, keyboards)
Brad Shepherd (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Clyde Bramley (bass, backing vocals)
James Baker (drums)
Hoodoo Gurus Link (88Mb) New Link 10/04/2020

Friday, July 10, 2015

John Miles - Rebel (1976) + Bonus Live Track

(U.K 1970 - Present)
Born April 23, 1949, in Jarrow, John Miles was no overnight success. A singer and guitarist who also plays piano, he played with local bands in the Newcastle area for several years before leaving to try his luck in London. His luck wasn't good: leading the John Miles Set, which he had formed in Jarrow in 1970, he released a string of undistinguished singles on manager Cliff Cooper's Orange label before it was decided to trade in Miles' effete hairdresser's- apprentice image and reincarnate him as a blond "James Dean" - this despite the massive incongruity of his material and despite his total physical unsuitability to the part.
Nevertheless his singles, "Highfly" (first released in U.K. 1975) and "Music" (1976), both artfully crafted slices of MOR Pop-Rock of equal parts catchy riff and melodramatic arrangement, at last gave him hit singles and a following on both sides of the Atlantic.
His single "Music," truly established him and gave him tours with people like Elton John, the Stones, and Jethro Tull, and was one of the best songs and records of 1976. And he had his own show at the Apollo in Glasgow to prove it. His album, "Rebel," was in the U.K top ten for four months, a quite astonishing achievement.
Music Maker Interview (1976)
[Author Unknown]
When John Miles hit our charts with "High Fly" towards the end of last year, more was said of his James Dean appearance than his music, and John found that people were expecting him to live up to the rebel image of the mean, moody and arrogant star. But that was never the real John as Robin Tucek discovered when he interviewed him recently. John did choose the image, but that was built-up only to complement the music. If the soft spoken, polite 26 year old from Jarrow was going to take his chance of stardom when he heard that "High Fly" was in the charts and TV appearances had been booked, he would have to make a quick decision. Up till then John had had long, shoulder length, blond hair (pictured left) but that took the chop from the barber's scissors and in came the Jimmy Dean haircut and with it the image, although that was an afterthought. Then came "Music", destined to be one of the sounds of 1976.

How long have you been playing professionally?
"I've been playing professionally for seven years, most of that time in local clubs in the North East. Then two years ago Bob Marshall, the band's bass guitarist, and I decided that to get to the top we would have to come to London first. We stopped live work for about a year and concentrated on writing."

In all that time, did you ever think of giving up?
"I only once thought of packing it all in. That was about three years ago, during a period when nothing was happening at all - that was when I started thinking about moving away from Newcastle. Bob was keen on the idea, but it took me about six months or so to make up my mind, then we moved to London. I wish we had done it sooner." In London, John lives with his wife, Eileen, in a flat in Highgate, although he is now looking for a house.

How long have you known Bob Marshall, and how important an influence have you been on him?
"I've known Bob for about four years now, and we've been writing together for about three of them. Bob's a great influence on me, because basically I'm a bit lazy. He's pushed me along. Bob is a Sunderland fanatic, and we both used to go and watch them nearly every week. He still does! In fact, he even bought his car from Sunderland's Billy Hughes. Bob lives with us in London, and he's unbearable if Sunderland lose - if they win, he's ecstatic! "After Sunderland had won the F.A. Cup in 1973, my Dad gave him a mug with the dates Sunderland won the cup on it. My Dad's a Newcastle supporter, and he bought me one with their winning dates on it. That didn't please me however, as Newcastle have won it six times to Sunder land's two!

Which do you prefer - appearing on TV or in front of a concert audience?
"I find TV appearances, especially "Super-sonic", more nerve racking than performing live at a concert. You go over your number so many times that, when you finally get to record the show, it's easy to panic. When you're appearing on TV. you're in the Studio for a long time. You can even be there at 10 o'clock at night if things are running late. Once your audience has accepted you at a concert, you can relax.

You write with Bob, but do you find writing songs comes naturally, or does it take a lot of time shut away?
"One day I find it easy, but there are others when I just can't seem to begin."

How would you describe the music you write?
"That's difficult, but I prefer songs to be melodic like Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder, but I wouldn't really like to compare my songs to those they write."

When did you first take an interest in music?
"I started playing the piano when I was five. It was the usual thing, my parents sending me to a classical music teacher, but I didn't really enjoy it. I wish I had carried on longer then and learn't more. It wasn't until I was at grammar school that I started to take an interest in the classics, and I feel that they have influenced me subconsciously."

You used to play soul music, and had admitted an influence from Stevie Wonder. Now that you have developed your own style of music, do you see its direction changing again?
"Certainly as far as singing goes, I was very much influenced by Stevie Wonder, but if was not a conscious thing. I like the idea of having the backing of a full orchestra, with lots of violins. I hope other artists will record our material; it keeps you fresh if you don't only write for yourself. It's not a good thing to do that." 

"Rebel" has won acclaim with the critics, but are you happy with the album itself?
"Yes, I'm happy with it. It was the sort of album I wanted to do. I've never been one of those musicians who could play rock all night - I like variety in music. It's the same when listening to albums. That's why we've tried to put plenty of variety in ours."

So what has John Miles got in store for us now?
"At the end of May, the band starts a British headline tour, covering major towns, and there should be another album out in the Autumn." If that album is as good as "Rebel", then John Miles and Bob Marshall will find that everyone wants to record their songs, which will be nice. Their talent is enormous and they deserve their success - certainly no music critic can deny it to them! 

Album Review
(by Stephen A Carson)
The first track is "Music" and is only one of two tracks, on the album, penned by John without Bob. Melody Maker said that "Music is a dynamite track, one of those tunes you find yourself humming and loving - then hating for its familiarity." In a way I believe Music is John Miles albatross, the one song he is pigeon holed with against which all his other work is measured.
"Everybody wants some More" is more often than not referred to as reminiscent of the early Kinks or the Beatles. My view is of the latter with its "multi-flavoured vocals and good tempo changes" per Jester with touches of "Yellow Submarine" (megaphone effects) per Melody maker.
"You have it all" was described by Rolling Stone as bathing "Yes-styled modal fragments in lush orchestration. I have no idea what that means but I like it.
"Rebel" & "Highfly" have already been touched on. However, Rolling Stone states "Rebel dramatically interposes a Tango for electric guitar and synthesiser with a string quartet." While Melody Maker called it " a chunky, beefy scorcher."
"When You Lose Someone So Young" is a very strong track lyrically. As such some reviewers have criticised it for too much backing as it could be a stand out song with just an acoustic guitar. While I do not wholeheartedly agree I can see the point especially as it would have made it a contrast to the rest of the album. There are shades of fellow Geordie Alan Price and also Elton John in this song.
"Lady of My Life" makes me think of Stevie Wonder, who I know is one of John's musical influences. This was also picked up upon by almost every review I have read. It is "softy and delicate" to quote Melody Maker and there is a terrific sax solo by Phil Kenzie. It is the 2nd song written solely by John and it is beautiful. I think he probably wrote it for his wife, Eileen.
"Pull the Damn Thing Down" is apparently reminiscent of the Kinks per Record World. I agree with Melody Makers view that it "His guitar solo is a killer, refreshingly lacking in clichés". Earlier in their review they describe the track as "a blazing commentary on the pollution of the environment by the architectural planners". I am sure that I have read that one of the influences for this song was his own background as his parents live in the High Street in Jarrow, an industrial town in the North East of England, where there was a lot of redevelopment.
Top Of The Pops - 1976
Hopefully the impression I have given you was that there were few criticisms of Rebel or of John and plenty praise and expectation of great things to come. His biography at the time placed him with the "new" songwriters of the time, Leo Sayer and David Essex as well as noting similarities with established British songwriters, Bowie and Elton. Even Noel Edmonds, in his time as a BBC Radio 1 DJ had Rebel as his album of the week. Billboard magazine said, "Miles could potentially fill the gap that has long existed between some of the more electronic rockers and AM play". Almost as an after thought they ended with "Good guitarist as well". What an understatement!
So it got good write-ups. But did it sell? For a debut album it did really well peaking at number 9. In the states for a time it was retitled "Highfly" after his first hit but did not match its UK success. One of John's prize possessions is the gold disc he received (presented to him by Jimmy Saville a UK disc jockey) for the sales achieved. [extract from Stephen Carson's website]
John Miles - 2012
Ripped from my trusty Vinyl, this post consists of MP3 (320kps) and includes full album artwork for both LP and CD.  This album has been long deleted and finding digital copies on the net is near impossible, and thus the reason for this post.  I purchased John's hit single back in 1976 but stupidly sold it at a record fair, and now regret not having the non-album B-Side "Putting my new song together".  As an added bonus, I'm including a YouTube rip of a recent rendition of "Music" from Night of Proms, 2012 as a bonus track and only confirms that he still has the goods - a ripper version indeed.
The lyrics to Music are special to me and speak volumes to what this blog is all about.....

Music was my first love
And it will be my last,
Music of the future
And music of the past.

To live without my music
Would be impossible to do,
In this world of troubles
My music pulls me through.
Track Listing
01 - Music
02 - Everybody Wants Some More
03 - Highfly
04 - You Have It All
05 - Rebel

06 - When You Lose Someone So Young
07 - Lady Of My Life *
08 - Pull The Damn Thing Down
09 - Music (Reprise)

10 - Music (Bonus Live - Night of Proms 2012)
John Miles Band (formerly the Set):
John Miles (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards, Synthesisers)
Bob Marshall (bass)
Barry Black (drums)
* Phil Kenzie (Sax)

John Miles Link (123Mb) New Link 15/05/2021

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Various Artists - Go Set Pop Poll Awards (1971)

(Australian Artists 1971)
Go-Set was the first Australian weekly newspaper which focused on Australian teenage popular music, culture and fashion.  Its role was to bring these aspects of Australian life to its readership, Australian youth aged between 14 and 20 years old.  In performing this role it also established and developed as an institution through which rock music journalists and writers in popular culture could flourish. Go-Set was able to provide this environment while being produced and published independent of the other mainstream presses at the time.

It was the first sixties newspaper to explore an emerging and developing Australian popular music industry.  Go-Set did not remain locked in its 1960s persona and shifted its appearance and musical tastes to keep up with the changes that were taking place within its areas of interest.  The dynamics of these changes were so strong that by the early seventies Go-Set was a significantly different paper in appearance to what it had been in 1966. Its decline and demise in 1974 was as much a condition brought on by crisis as had been its life in keeping in touch with, and reporting on the state of the Australian and overseas music and fashion. [extract from Milesago "Life and Death of an Australian Pop Magazine", by David Kent]
Australian Pop Awards
In Australia, Rock Music Awards have had a somewhat haphazard existence. Looking back on the 1967 King Of Pop Award, Ed Nimmervoll wrote:- 'Normie Rowe was the first King Of Pop, although accidentally rather than officially. "Go Set" was the big teen magazine of the day and in 1967 they conducted a standard pop poll to arrive at the most popular personalities and groups of the day .. When those awards were announced on the Go!! Television Show, in a moment of fun it was decided to close the show with a mock crowning of the King Of Pop'. (from Juke Magazine, 28 October 1978).

3rd July, 1971
Such was the beginnings of the king of pop awards which evolved into the T.V. Week King Of Pop Awards (also known as the T.V. Week Rock Awards). But well before all that was the National Battle Of The Sounds.
The Battle Of The Sounds was the most important event of the year for Australian bands during the late sixties and early seventies. Apart from the prizes (which included trips to the UK, and the US and cash), the contest was highly respected and being judged top group in the country for the year was a great honour.
The major prize was awarded following a series of semi-finals held on a country area and state level. Hoadleys were the main organisers and sponsors.
National Awards Show Trend To Australian Talent
(Article from Billboard Magazine, August 7, 1971)
Sydney, Australia - The 1971 National Pop Poll Awards conducted by Go Set magazine for the past six years and now televised nationally, showed a marked trend towards original creative music reflected in the mushrooming success of the local industry over the past twelve months.
Voting in the International sections of the poll saw the Beatles after five years on top of group poll slipping to the number five position. Creedence took out the top spot in this section. Individually, however, the Beatles showed up well in the voting as composers, performers and musicians. George Harrison's 'All Things Must Pass' won the best album award. Deep Purple and Free, who both toured Australia earlier in the year and broke box office records, polled extremely well in all sections.
In the Australian section for the first time there was more than a handful of local albums to vote for. The Master's Apprentices 'Choice Cuts' took out top placing. This album, released in the U.K under the title of 'Master's Apprentices', gave the group their second award in a row. They previously won the best group section in 1970.
Daddy Cool won the best group award this year and took out second placing in the best single category with "Eagle Rock". Their success is the most meteoric in the history of the poll, the group having been formed for a mere three months before polling.
Daddy Cool also won a new section in the awards, the Industry Poll along with managing director and producer of Fable Records Ron Tudor. This section of the poll was conducted by sending a special voting form to 300 key executives in the Australian music business.
10th July, 1971
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my precious vinyl, which is in extremely good condition considering its age. Full album artwork and label scans are included as usual. This album was given to me by a close friend recently, in amongst a box load of Aussie LP's and 45's.
While researching the Go-Set Pop Awards it became apparent that this release was missing an important track from the most popular band in 1971, as voted by the Go-Set readers - Daddy Cool's "Eagle Rock"
Why Daddy Cool wasn't featured on this album is a mystery - perhaps there were problems getting SPARMAC to release it to EMI for inclusion.  So I have taken the liberty of including "Eagle Rock" as a bonus track.  This is a great compilation of classic Aussie hits from the start of the 70's and was a fitting tribute to the home grown musical talent that was starting to emerge amongst the well established International acts.
If you're interested in viewing some more Go-Set magazine covers, take a look at the Go-Set Magazine website
Track Listing
01 - Acapulco Sun (Johnny Farnham)
02 - Eleanor Rigby (Zoot)
03 - Because I Love You (Master's Apprentices)
04 - Going Home (Spectrum)
05 - Falling In Love Again (Ted Mulry)
06 - Black And Blue (Chain)
07 - Sweet, Sweet Love (Russell Morris)
08 - I'm Your Satisfier (Master's Apprentices)
09 - I'll Be Gone (Spectrum)
10 - Evil Child (Zoot)
11 - Put Your Hand In The Hand (Allison Durbin)
12 - As Long As Life Goes On (Johnny Farnham)

Bonus Track
13 - Eagle Rock (Daddy Cool)


Go-Set Pop Poll Awards FLACs  (306Mb) New Link 15/10/2015