Wednesday, November 30, 2016

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Elvira Presents Haunted Hits (1988)

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.

Mainstream goth punk icon Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), Mistress of the Dark is a valley girl voiced vampire persona created during the 1980s by Los Angeles KHJ-TV "Movie Macabre" hostess Cassandra Wilson.

Elvira gained fame on Los Angeles television station KHJ wearing a black, gothic, revealing, cleavage-enhancing gown as host of Elvira's Movie Macabre, a weekly horror movie presentation which started airing in 1981. Her wickedly vampish appearance is offset by her comical character, quirky and quick-witted personality, and Valley girl-type speech.

In 1987, Rhino released Haunted Hits, the first of three Elvira Halloween compilation albums. This grab bag of theatrically overbearing routines is most likely to amuse teenagers and drunk people, or more specifically drunken teenagers. It will however come in handy for regular folks of all ages who wish to throw Halloween theme parties that have nothing whatsoever to do with the authentic traditional cultural roots of Halloween (as in ancestor reverence) or the Day of the Dead as celebrated throughout Spain and Latin America. This campy to corny compilation briefly taps into Afro-American culture (Screamin' Jay Hawkins and La Vern Baker), twisted hipster goofiness (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross), and classic '50s-'60s pop culture (the Marketts, the Five Blobs, Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater," Vic Mizzy's "Addams Family Theme") as well as topical rock from Alice Cooper, the Cramps, and Oingo Boingo. The last of 17 tracks is performed by Elvira herself, kitschy and overbearing as ever.

Elvira made a cameo appearance in Tim Allen's sitcom Last Man Standing (Season 1, Episode 4) entitled 'The Last Halloween' and played Ed Alzate's latest female companion.  Starring in one of my favourite TV sitcoms, it was a pleasant surprise to say the least, to see Elvira playing a seductive mistress.

A belated Halloween post, this month's W.O.C.K on Vinyl offering (MP3's/320kps) was gratefully sourced from Mr Weird & Wacky's blog and includes full album artwork. With tracks taken from TV shows such as  'Twilight Zone' and 'The Adams Family' to classics such as "Put A spell On You" and Skyhook's "Horror Movie", this collection of Haunted Hits has something for everyone, especially if you are into a little bit of Wizardry and Cleavage LOL  

Track Listing
01 Bobby Boris Pickett & The Crypt Kickers - Monster Mash
02 Jumpin' Gene Simmons - Haunted House
03 Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters
04 The Marketts - Out of Limits
05 The Five Blobs - The Blob
06 Dave Edmunds - The Creature From the Black Lagoon
07 Sheb Wooley - The Purple People Eater
08 Vic Mizzy - The Addams Family (Main Title)
09 Alice Cooper - Welcome to My Nightmare
10 Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra - Twilight Zone
11 Oingo Boingo - Dead Man's Party
12 Lambert, Hendricks & Ross - Halloween Spooks
13 The Skyhooks - Horror Movie
14 Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I Put a Spell on You
15 The Cramps - I Was a Teenage Werewolf
16 LaVern Baker - Voodoo Voodoo
17 Elvira - Full Moon

Haunted Hits (73Mb) New Link 24/06/2022

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lyell Sayer & Clem Parkinson - Two Up (1983)

(Australian 1983)
Clem Parkinson & Lyell Sayer have become to be regarded as an important part of the Australian folk community. These contemporary songwriters are still “having very pointed things to say about social issues” and they still form a key part of a tradition of writing from the stance of the union movement.

"Life in Australia can be very much like a game of two-up. Sometimes you land on the seat of your pants and sometimes flat on your face! Lyell Sayer and Clem Parkinson have seen both sides of the coin and it shows in their songwriting whether the subject be frivolous or serious. Here, on their first record is a collection of a dozen of the best. Not that this is the first time these songs have found an audience ... not by a long shot... for these musical 'pen pushers' have been churning out songs for years and songs like Colonel Sanders and the F-l 11 have, thankfully, become well entrenched in the repertoire of many of our local singers.
Both Lyell and Clem enjoy taking the 'mickey' out of our politicians and why not! I have always felt that these contemporary folk songs play a real role in continuing the tradition of the folk song as the voice of the people. Long may the likes of Lyell Sayer and Clem Parkinson write and sing songs about us!"
[Linear notes by Warren Fahey]

Clem Parkinson
Clem Parkinson is a Melbourne Folk Song writer. In 1964, Parkinson penned the Pig Iron Song, which retold the story around how Menzies got one of his most well known nicknames. Clem Parkinson has also written many Union Songs (ie. Galloway and Stephens - a song about the fight for an 8 hour working day / 40 hours a week)

Clem's controversial song-attack on the Victorian government over the King Street Bridge reactivated old traditional vs contemporary tensions within the Victorian Folk Music Club.
Clem also had long history of support for the Maritime Union of Australia.
Lyell Sayer
Lyell Sayer is one of the legendary figures of Australian folk.
His songs have been covered by notables such as Wongawilli and Warren Fahey, and he is an inspiration to modern-day musical satirists such as Bruce Watson.
Lyell  has worked as a clerk, store man, driver, salesman, customs officer, as well as being a folk singer and song-writer for many years. His work with the Amalgamated Metal Workers' Union in Victoria in 1984 gave him and the union the opportunity to express a range of current issues and concerns through a medium not so common in workplaces - music and song. 'Stand by the union' is Lyell's contribution to a tradition of rousing union songs of solidarity in the 'Which side are you on?' mode.

He is best known for his song The F-111, regaling the many faults and failings of the RAAF's most controversial fighter jet acquisition of the 1970s. The General Dynamics F-111C was a controversial aircraft purchased by the Royal Australian Air Force in 1963. Problems began with a 10-year delay in delivery.

Lyell released a follow up album in 1984 called Victoria Street, also released on the Larrikin label. Lyell currently Tutors in Music at the The University of the Third Age in Knox, specialising in the Ukulele. More Info
Larrikin Records
In 1974, Warren Fahey’s Larrikin label began in Sydney. As noted earlier the first Larrikin release was an LP of Australian mining  songs 'Man of  the Earth'.
For twenty  years Larrikin would be the most important label in the Australian folk world. It released recordings of Eric Bogle, Clem Parkinson and Lyell Sayer, Jeannie Lewis, Peggy Seeger and Ewan MacColl, John Dengate, Denis Kevans, Dave de Hugard, Phyl Lobl and many other  songwriters and singers of the folk revival.
Larrikin also recorded the amplified folk band Redgum. Redgum became popular with the growing republican movement of the time and their debut LP 'If You Don’t Fight You Lose' was released on Larrikin in 1978. More Info

Clem's Songs 
Track 2: Expense Account Racket
The boss has always been fair game for topical songwriters as evidenced by the prolific output of songs and parodies by the legendary Joe Hill and his fellow Wobblies. Dick Keam provides the stern authoritarian voice of management and for non-Victorians I point out that Rosebud is a seaside resort south of Melbourne patronised by the proletariat. (E,F,G,I) 
Track 4: Mulwala
A nostalgic song about the town on the N.S.W. side of the Murray where I spent my early teens. Then a sleepy hamlet it is now in danger of of becoming a commercialised tourist resort, (E,F,G,HI)  
Track 6: Colonel Sanders
Dedicated to a fast food service we'd really like to take away. Pass the Quick-Eze and singalong. (E,F,HJ) 
Track 7: The Wimmin's Ball
The lament of an unfortunate all Aussie male who comes a cropper while attempting to gate crash a women
only dance. No doubt from now on he'll refere to the females a Ms. (E.H.I) 
Track 9: Temperance Shearers
This song which won the Newcastle Trades Hall May Day song competition in 1971 is quite authentic as I did actually catch a glimpse of a shearing shed in the distance while driving along the Hume Highway some years ago. (E,F) 
Track 10: Junk Mail
Would anyone care to swap a complete set of Clark-Maples furnishing brochures for a rare McEwans 1978 blue bordered summer sale catalogue? (E,F,G,H,I)

E. Clem Parkinson — vocal, guitar on "Temperance Shearers"
F. Tony Simpson — banjo
G. Dick Keam — whistles, guitar, chook noises
H. Jon Madin — mandolin, violin, accordion
I, Rudi Brandsma — bass

Lyell Sayer - 11th Goulburn Gathering 2016
Lyell's Songs 
Track 1: Walking Back to Bourke
My contribution to that large genre of songs concerned with the misadventures of pure young country folk down in the sinful city. A cautionary tale! (A,B,D) 
Track 3: Squizzy Taylor
A narrative account of the rise and violent fall of the notorious Melbourne gangster of the 1920's. Written some years ago and well prior to the current revival of interest in him. (A,B) 
Track 5: Words of Love
A simple love song, written for Lesley. (A,B,C) 
Track 8: The F-l 11
One of my earliest songs, and certainly the most popular. My best claim to having written a 'folk' song as it has been recently collected from Vietnam veterans by Graham Seal. The last two verses written later by Clem to keep the song current, are gratefully acknowledged. (A.B.D) 
Track 11: Life Begins at Forty
A poignant account of the horrors of turning forty from one who survived the ordeal. A middle aged lament for lost youth; listen and weep! (A,B,C,D) 
Track 12: Matt Gabbett
An appetizing little ditty concerning junk food and cannibalism. Although a fictional character in Marcus Oarke's convict classic 'For the Term of His Natural Life', Matt is based upon the real Alexander Pierce who initiated and participated in the killing and devouring of six fellow convicts during successive escape attempts from the infamous Macquarie Harbour Penal Settlement and who was hanged in Hobart for murder. A folk hero for our times! (A,B,C)

A. Lyell Sayer — vocals, guitars, banjo
B. Rudi Brandsma — bass, piano, synthesiser (cello & string sounds), rhythm guitar on "Squizzy
C. Andrew Rgby — flute, tin whistie.concertina.
D James Rigby — mandolin. 

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from an extremely rare 'near mint' vinyl copy which I stumbled across at a garage sale some months ago. I was blown away when I listened to this album for the first time - such talented musicians and song writers. Both artists complement one another beautifully with their individual contributions on this 'two sided' gem.  If you enjoy folk music with an Australiana take, then you're just gonna love this album.  Full album artwork and label scans are included.
Track Listing
01 - Walking back to Bourke / L. Sayer (4:03)
02 - Expense account racket / C. Parkinson (3:15)
03 - Squizzy Taylor / L. Sayer (3:44)
04 - Mulwala / C. Parkinson (3:31)
05 - Words of love / L. Sayer (3:48)
06 - Colonel Sanders / S. Parksinon (2:15)
07 - The Wimmin's ball / C. Parkinson (3:13)
08 - The F-111 / L. Sayer (3:26)
09 - Temperance shearers / C. Parkinson (3:24)
10 - Junk mail / C. Parkinson (3:35)
11 - Life begins at forty / L. Sayer (4:27)
12 - Matt Gabbett / L. Sayer (3:00)

Lyell Sayer & Clem Parkinson Link (104Mb)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

REPOST: Madder Lake - Live at Musicland on Asylum TV (2006)

(Australia 1971–1976, 1978–1979, 1982, 1996–current)
Madder Lake was one of the most original and distinctive of the "new wave" of Australian groups that emerged around 1970. They were also an important and popular part of the of the Melbourne music scene. It's unfortunate that they're only known for their two excellent 1970s Albums (Stillpoint and Butterfly Farm - both now available on CD from Aztec Records) and one "Best Of.." compilation -- because they are prolific writers, and according to Mick they have are "literally hundreds of songs" stockpiled,waiting to see the light of day.
The original lineup — McKenna, Kreemers, McKinnon, Mason and Fettes — all met in 1968, while studying at the Swinburne Institute of Technology, Melbourne's renowned arts and media college. They built up a solid following on the Melbourne pub, disco and dance circuit, which was then still booming. The young band, all still in their late teens, quickly found their feet musically, and at this stage they were playing regularly, often two or three gigs per night, while studying during the day.
Madder Lake certainly evolved a distinctive sound very early on. According to Mick, the group's sound was very much in place by 1971. And while influences can be identified — English progressive groups like King Crimson, Family, Traffic — one listen to the 'Stillpoint' album should convince you that they were very much their own band.
A focal point was the energetic, bear-like presence and tough, bluesy voice of Mick Fettes. It's become a convention to compare his singing to Joe Cocker, but it's really only a surface similarity. If you listen with open ears you quickly pretty realise that Mick was (and is) very much his own singer. Another often overlooked feature of the group was their strong harmony singing.
Their first big break came in January 1972, when they were placed as the opening act for the epcohal 1972 Sunbury concert (and later at the 1973 Sunbury Concert). Later in the year, they became one of the very first bands signed to Michael Gudinski's fledgling Mushroom label, which had grown out of his work with Consoldiated Rock. In November they recorded their first single, the naggingly catchy Goodbye Lollipop (b/w Bumper Bar Song).
1973 was a peak year for Madder Lake. In January they played at the second Sunbury festival, and Mick fondly recalls 'hanging out' backstage with host Paul Hogan. In February with Goodbye Lollipop in the charts, they supported The Rolling Stones at their Melbourne concerts at the Kooyong Tennis Centre. In April '73 Mushroom released their classic debut album, Stillpoint, recorded at TCS Studios in January and March, produced by John French. It was another breakthrough success for the band and provided Mushroom with their first gold record. It reached #11 nationally and #2 in Melbourne, where they had become one of the top live draws.
Keyboard player John McKinnon left the group mid-way through 1973 ("musical differences"), and he was was replaced by Andy Cowan, who was introduced to the band by future Skyhook Bob Starkie (another former schoolmate of Brendan and Kerry's) In August, Mushroom released a second single, "12lb Toothbrush" / "Country Blues", which became an even bigger hit, going Top 10 in Melbourne and #35 nationally. Simultaneously, radio began picking up other tracks form the LP and at one stage, according to Mick Fettes, there were four or five tracks on high rotation on various Melbourne stations. This later proved to be source of some regret, when the band realised that they could have made much more of their success if other tracks had also been released as singles.
The second LP, Butterfly Farm, was released in April 1974; it sold very well (giving the band their second gold album) and went to #18 in the album charts. Mushroom lifted two Singles from it: the first was Butterfly Farm / Back Seat Song (April '74). Radio in Melbourne picked up one of the album tracks, Booze Blues, and gave it a lot of airplay. Many fans thought it was the new single, so Mushroom rush-released it in May, but it was only a local hit in Melbourne and didn't chart nationally. The next single, It's All In Your Head / Slack Alice (November) was written specifically as with radio airplay in mind, but it didn't make the charts.
In 1975, while on a trip to Sydney, Mick Fettes, who was very much the voice and face of Madder Lake, decided he had had enough, and one night before a gig at the Bondi Lifesaver he quit the group.
Mick took a well-earned sabbatical and then teamed up with an his old mate, musician & comedian Shane Bourne (now also well-known as a serious actor). Mick and Shane knew each other from the Reefer Cabaret, where Madder Lake had played many times, and where Shane performed comedy spots between acts. After several months' writing the pair formed a new group, Bandicoot, which also included drummer Gary Young (Daddy Cool). They recorded an album and single in 1976 for the Rainbird label, and toured extensively.(See my earlier posting of this album Bandicoot)
Mick was repleaced in Madder Lake by Colin Setches who had been in the original Australian stage production of Hair. Andy Cowan also left in late '75 and the band played as a three piece until John McKinnon rejoined in early 1976, but there were more lineup changes to come. Kerry McKenna left for three months to go to London, and he was temporarily replaced by Ian Holding (ex-Sunshine, Sayla). When he returned, he rejoined on second guitar and Tony Lake also came in, replacing Setches on lead vocals. There was evidently a rapprochement of sorts with Mushroom, and they released a new single I Get High / Rodney's Birthday in July 1976, on which McKinnon sang lead vocals; unfortuantely it didn't chart.
Tony Lake left the group in May 1977, and by this time they were rarely playing live. There is little information on what happened over this year, but in May 1978 Mick Fettes rejoined the group in, having quit Bandicoot sometime before. His return coincided with the release of Mushroom's The Best Of Madder Lake. The group still had a loyal following, it seems, and the compilation sold well enough for Mushroom to consider re-signing them. Plans were made for a new LP, but the reunion didn't last and Mick again left the band in January 1979, heading off for a year in Europe with his wife Vicky.
Although there have been some long "dry" spells, it's important to note that Madder Lake have never actually split up.
Madderlake have since played at a number of major concert events, most notable being the Mushroom Evolution Concert in 1982. The band have since got together on occasion (with a new drummer, Luke McKinnon, the son of their old keybord player John).
The next reunion was at the Mushroom 25th anniversary show in 1998, followed by a gig this year for drummer Jack Kreemer's 60th birthday. They played at the Queenscliff Music Festival in 2008, and re-releasing old works.
Guitarist Brenden Mason described the band's second innings as "a gift". "Most people our age are winding down, but we're just winding up," Fetts told Sticky. "We were underground then and we're still underground now. What amazes us is that when we get together, the music is better than back then.
"We hadn't seen each other for a few years. We had a ball. All the juices started flowing again. It was good fun and we started doing new stuff and songs that hadn't been recorded."[extract from]
The rip provided here is a compilation of recent live recordings of Madder Lake, featuring their first come back concert at Musicland (Melbourne) in 2006 which was televised by Asylum TV. Many thanks to Ron Glover from Midoztouch for supplying me with this 'awesome recording' (320kps)
I have also put together some album artwork and included highlights taken from other 'guest appearances' at various major concert events (some sourced from YouTube)
Track Listing
01 - Interview 1

02 - Calling (Musicland 2006)

03 - Interview 2

04 - Song for Little Earnest (Musicland 2006)

05 - Interview 3

06 - Down The River (Musicland 2006)

07 - Interview 4

08 - 12lb Toothbrush (Musicland 2006)

09 - Live Medley (Mushroom Evolution Concert 1982)

10 - 12lb Toothbrush (Live Mushroom 25 Years 1998)

11 - Medley (Live at Guruland 2008)

12 - Medley (Live at Queenscliff Festival 2008)


Band Members:
Mick Fettes (Vocals and groans)

Brenden Mason (Guitar, Vocals)

Jack Kreemers (Drums)

Kerry McKenna (Bass, Vocals)

Andy Burns (Keyboards)

Madder Lake Link (112Mb) 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Mary's Danish - Experience Live + Foxey Lady (1990) Mini LP

(U.S 1988 - 1994, 1997-1999)
Mary's Danish, which came together in Los Angeles in the late '80s, was itself a diverse lot — in personality and background — that served up funk, pop, punk and country. The blending of the last two genres clearly betrays the influence of X, from whom lead singers Gretchen Seager and Julie Ritter also inherited intricately woven harmony vocals. They were joined in Mary's Danish by bassist Chris "Wag" Wagner, drummer James Bradley Jr., guitarist David A. King and second guitarist Louis Gutierrez, who had played in the Three O'Clock. All were accomplished musicians with an uncanny pliability, but their secret weapon was frequent sax sideman Michael Barbera, who added jazz and R&B flavor to the mix. Mary's Danish were as varied thematically as they were sonically, with religion, domestic violence, social criticism and biting self-analysis all receiving narrative attention.

The newly cemented group signed with Chameleon Records in 1989 and released their debut album 'There Goes the Wondertruck'. It featured the single "Don't Crash the Car Tonight" which gained the band an initial following. The band had some early success, and was chosen by Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times as one of 1989's brightest newcomers. That same year they were listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of their "Top Five New Faces." Hollywood Reporter referred to the band in a review as having "spirited anarchy and rock solid musicianship."

A live album was released later in the year titled Experience (Live + Foxy Lady). Five of the six live tracks on Experience are more fully realized versions of songs from 'There Goes the Wondertruck', particularly a frenzied, beefier "Blue Stockings" and the high lonesome croon of "It'll Probably Make Me Cry." The disc's studio track, a riotous take on Hendrix's "Foxey Lady," slyly recasts the classic rock staple with a letter-perfect Led Zeppelin quote inserted into the bridge.

Their live mini album Experience, sold well enough to attract the attention of both superstar manager Peter Asher and Morgan Creek Records, a newly formed label headed by producer David Kershenbaum and spun off from a successful film production company. Eager to score an "alternative" band when that genre was becoming the next big thing, Morgan Creek threw quite a bit of money at Mary's Danish to record and release their second album, Circa, in 1991. Unfortunately, the neophyte label dropped the ball on promotion, and although the singles "Julie's Blanket" and "Foxey Lady" (a winningly sarcastic treatment of the Jimi Hendrix classic) got a lot of MTV airplay, the well-reviewed album didn't sell as well as 'There Goes the Wondertruck'.

The band subsequently switched to Morgan Creek Records, with Circa being released in 1991 and American Standard in 1992. However, the experience with Morgan Creek was from all accounts not a happy one, and a dispute with the label ended with the band and Morgan Creek parting ways. However, their 1992 cover of "I Fought the Law" was featured in the film Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1992), and the accompanying soundtrack release Buffy the Vampire Slayer Soundtrack.

Since leaving Morgan Creek in 1992, the band has not released an album and have not made any announcements about recording any other music as a group.

Mary's Danish Onstage at the Ventura Theatre
In 1993, Mary's Danish backed Neil Diamond on his Asher-produced album Up on the Roof: Songs From the Brill Building. Following a series of contractual disagreements with their label, the frustrated band became inactive in 1994 and broke up a year later.

Bradley and King, with some help from Wag, formed Rob Rule with Robbie Allen, Edward Anisko and Steven Ossana. Their album is tepid southern rock whose low point is an uninspired replication of the Allman Brothers' "Melissa." Allen would later record as Thermadore, once again enlisting the Mary's Danish rhythm section, along with guests Smith and Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam.

 From the ashes of Mary's Danish rose Battery Acid, comprised of Gutierrez and Seager (who had married), with Wag on bass and David Harte on drums.

The band has occasionally reunited for one-off concerts. In June 1997, Mary's Danish got together for a show at the Viper Room in Los Angeles. In June 1999, Mary's Danish reunited for a show at LA's House of Blues. [by Jason W. Smith at Trouser Press]
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my vinyl Mini LP which I came across at the market while rummaging through a pile of records that were mostly rubbish. This album jumped out at me because of the cover and title. It's cover artwork was psychedelic and the words Experience & Foxey Lady grabbed my attention immediately.
Having not heard of Mary's Danish before, I was still prepared to pay the 1 dollar to have a listen. And how stoked was I when I put it on my turntable at home and heard this powerful L.A band for the first time. Every tack on this mini LP is a killer track and their rendition of Hendrix's "Foxey Lady" is the highlight.
So why don't you EXPERIENCE Mary's Danish for yourself  now by downloading it, using the link below.

Track Listing
01 - Tracy In The Bathroom - Killing Thrills
02 - Blue Stockings
03 - Don't Crash The Car Tonight
04 - Hey There Man
05 - It'll Probably Make Me Cry
06 - Shanty Pig
07 - Foxey Lady
* Recorded live at the Ventura Theatre

Mary's Danish were:
Gretchen Seager and Julie Ritter (Vocals)
Chris Wagner (Bass)
James Bradley (Drums)David A King (Guitar)
Louis Gutierrez (Guitar)
Michael Barbera (Sax)  

Mary's Danish Link (58Mb)

Monday, November 14, 2016

REPOST: The Cockroaches - Selftitled (1987) + Bonus 12" Singles

(Australian 1979–1994, 2014)
Paul Field (vocalist) recalls the story of the Cockroaches.........
Owning every Rolling Stones album was the source of some infamy at school. In the late 70's, the look was blond hair, surfie, you either came from the beaches or you didn't exist. Grey Levi's with pale blue sloppy-joe's was the look when going to a dance and so you would find packs of guys in exactly the same gear. The surfies loved bands like The Eagles and America. They would go to parties where the girls would sing "Sister Golden Hair'. My brothers and I went to a boarding school where ex-shearers cut our hair like we were in the army; we came from the western suburbs and only went to the beach for holidays I hated the Eagles and loved The Stones who by that stage were branded by the punks as old. We also loved Elvis, who was not only out of fashion but dead! So there we were, a young band playing music inspired by those who were at the lowest point of fashion. Yeah, The Cockroaches were on their way?

I first sung with the Year 10 band at Villa Maria Hall. Up until that point you would into a dance and either move quickly and speak to one of the few girls there or be stuck for the rest of the night with your mates forming rugby scrums in the middle of the dance floor After a particularly awful version of a Status Quo song we took a break. There we were and two girls came up and started talking, the girl who spoke to me was named Charmeon, not Margaret, Mary or Catherine. Now this might not seem like much, but for a fifteen year old, the moment was like the burning bush. Although dreadful at maths, the equation was simple, same daggy guy plus band equals girls with interesting names talking to you.

For my brothers, John and Anthony and our drummer Tony (a surfie) there was also another advantage. Anyone who played a musical instrument was allowed out of the two-hour study session to rehearse in the music rooms. So in the minds of very young boys at a boarding school, apart from the love of music, being able to get out of study to play Stones songs and an opportunity to meet girls seemed like a pretty good thing to do. Being huge Stones fans, we used one of their old norm de plumes and called ourselves The Cockroaches. Our first gig was to raise money for the missions and the self made poster featured pictures of dead bodies strewn across a war scene with the caption: "We're dying to see The Cockroaches". I think we raised $5, as it was 10 cents admission, it was probably the last gig we knew where all the money went.

We played at school dances and then rang up pubs and offered to play free and if they liked us to book us from there. So at age sixteen, my brothers would jump the wall and we'd play up at the Heritage Hotel in Kings Cross, then the Southern Cross Hotel in Surrey Hills. The publican liked us because we pulled lots of young drinkers and he even gave me a job behind the bar on Sundays so that we'd play there. Tony Henry would take his drum kit on the Manly ferry and I would pick him up, John and Anthony would borrow amps from friends School gigs. We were underage and so was our audience. We hired our P.A. from Jeff Fatt who joined the band when he saw how well we were fed at functions.

We appeared on shows like 'Wonder World' and 'Hey Hey It's Saturday' without having a record contract. Meantime, we played lots and lots of gigs when Sydney had a room in every pub that would have a band. Our bookings were on a nod and a handshake, we once drove to Noosa Heads only to find that the gig had been cancelled. We charted with our independent singles but no record company approached us. We heard of bands getting record contracts for five albums and it sounded like they had made it. Of course all it meant was that if it sold, the record company had you, if it didn't sell then no one else could have you Anthony's Elvis fixation got the best of him and he joined the Army, he still can't really think of any other reason other than the uniform. He would pay guys to do his sentry duty at night so that he could play a gig. His training made him fairly reactive and an incident regarding noise levels and the defense of our amplifiers at Wiiloughby Town Hall resulted in a letter being sent to The Cockroaches banning us for life from playing there. I thought it was a bit rough since you only got about ten years for murder in those days.

Eventually, Charles Fisher saw us at Setinas in Sydney supporting the Uncanny X Men, he saw the crowd reaction and thought no matter how bad these guys are, if they get a reaction like that they could sell records. He told Martin Fabinyi, the head of Regular Records, "if you don't sign them I will, and so he did. Our album cover has us all in a "uniform" of sorts. We had just seen "Love Me Tender" and liked how Elvis rolled his shirt sleeves, so we did that. We wanted to wear black shoes and pants so that it has a sixties took like our favorite bands.

We didn't have a stylist for the album cover. Our shirts look similar on the first album cover because half of them were mine. John and Anthony didn't have any ironed shirts and so it was easier to use my spares. And so our "clean cut look" was born. We had no idea how the album would go, my brother John had played cricket for New South Wales Under 19's and was always ready to bail for the whites if things didn't pan out. We released an album in early 1987 and all those thousands upon thousands of people who had seen us play live must have snapped it up. It entered the Sydney charts at number two, above U2! When the record company rang with the news, Anthony's famous quote was "is that good"?

It probably took the record company by surprise as they had only released it on vinyl and tape, but after the chart response they decided to put it on CD as well. We did even more gigs all around the country, we did television. After watching Countdown as kids we got to host it, we made more film clips, had more chart success and started the cycle of touring where no band had gone before! We did weeks of interviews, making things up to entertain ourselves. A girl named Halfpenny from The Melbourne Age asked me what we wanted to do and I told her that we wanted to make an album that people would play at parties over summer, it was all down hill from there. Despite chart action and TV appearances we still didn't look like a band, we dressed more like our audience and it presented a problem. We sold out most club venues but would be stopped at the door to ask who we were, we would have to turn to those in the queue and get them to vouch for us! We played more gigs than anyone gaining acknowledgement by Sydney Telegraph as "the hardest working band in Australia" We knew that, our partners knew that.

Six guys in a Tarago traveling more miles than the early explorers to get to an RSL in a country town where the guy on the door would say "Cockroaches, hey, better get the Baygon!" and crack up laughing at his witticism. If we had a dollar for every gag like that we'd be living like Julio Iglesias. We learned touring skills, how to pick out the only decent cafe in a country town. Towns where you were asked what meat you want with your salad sandwich, where the last band they had was "Redgum" in 1983; where stabbings happened only the night before in the disco you were playing: where we haven't had bands in this pub before but we were told you'd pull a crowd". The gigs could be absolutely brilliant or dreadful, we'd be the tightest band in the world or a shambles; gigs down the snow were positively insane. Where else but the Piggery at Byron Bay could Anthony lay on stage kissing a girl for a whole song; where the Canadian Womens' Water Polo Team joined the lads for an instructional game in the pool!; where the New Years Eve gig at Lennox Head ended up "Land of a thousand Dances" in the surf. They were big outdoor festivals, with lots of bands, ten thousand plus and they even had somewhere for us to change! For a time we even thought we lived in Queensland, the surf and sun seemed to go with the music. Most bands take drugs for recreation, we played cricket in car parks and tip football with the roadies. Most bands had car crashes after pill induced binges, we just fell off stage from bad eyesight.

Most bands have parents who worry about the road, our Dad retired early and traveled with us for the tour, drinking more grog than our Irish roadies, We did cruises on the South Pacific, played Island resorts and millionaires parties as well as the dirtiest dives that any town pub could offer. We got to meet and perform with some of the Monkees. the reformed Easybeats who were great, and lots of Aussie bands as well. The rest we can't remember, if anyone was to remember us then it would be in a pub. Like some frat rock band that worked with what they had and shouted "we came, we saw, we enjoyed and them someone found out!" [Bio written by Paul Field, taken from Linear notes from "Hey Let's Go - The Best of The Cockroaches", 1999]

Postscript: The Cockroaches released a total of four albums 'The Cockroaches', 'Fingertips', 'Positive' and an independent release 'St Patricks Day 10am'. They had eight charting singles, made over fifteen video clips and played thousands of shows. Bernadette Marie Field was Paul's second child and died from SIDS aged 18 months whilst they were touring Queensland. Nothing was the same after that, it crushed Paul and left the whole band wounded. They pulled off the road and struggled, and eventually did other things. Anthony went back to Uni and started a children's entertainment group called The Wiggles, he took Jeff ...... and of course, that's another story.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my clean vinyl copy of this amazing debut album, along with full album artwork and band member photos. Also included is their 12" single "Hey What Now" which was released after this LP's release, featuring 3 completely different takes on the title track plus one.

NOTE:  I've just added the 12inch Single, "You and Me" / "So Wild" / "Can't Sit Down" (1988) to this post - get it now while it's still hot (see separate link).
Don't pre-judge this album, just because of it's association with the kiddy group The Wiggles - these guys really rocked before they turned to the more lucrative business of Children's Entertainment.

Track Listing
01 - She's The One
02 - It's Alright
03 - Some Kind Of Girl
04 - I'll Come Running Back
05 - Double Shot
06 - Wait Up

07 - Is It Any Wonder
08 - Heaven
09 - She Goes On And On
10 - Pour Out My Heart

11 - Poison Girl
12 - Another Night Alone
13 - Hey What Now (Bonus Single - Extended Mix) *
14 - Hey What Now (Bonus Single - LP Version) *
15 - Hey What Now (Bonus Single - 99 Dub Mix) *
16 - Marie (Bonus Single) *

* taken from 12" Single 'Hey What Now' (1988)

The Cockroaches were:
Paul Field - Vocals
Anthony Field - Vocals, Guitar
John Field - Vocals, Guitar
Phil Robinson - Bass

Jeff Fatt - Keyboards
Tony Henry - Drums

The Cockroaches LP (128Mb) New Link 17/12/2016

The Coachroaches 12" Single FLACs (63Mb)  New Link 14/12/2020


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Heart - Barracuda (1977) Ex. Bootleg

(U.S 1973 - Present)
Heart were a melodic Canadian rock sextet led by the songwriting Wilson sisters and formed in 1974. They signed to the indie Mushroom label, who issued their debut album, 'Dreamboat Annie', in 1976. The first single 'Crazy On You' only grazed the Billboard Top 40, but the follow-up 'Magic Man' became a Number 9 hit and established the band in the US. After they switched to CBS subsidiary Portrait Records, Heart's next album, 'Little Queen', further refined their fusion of hard-rock with folk and the blues. A string of successful
albums ensued with 'Magazine', 'Dog and Butterfly' (1978) and 'Bebe Le Strange' (1980) achieving Top 20 placings, the latter reaching Number 5. Fisher quit at this point, Nancy Wilson taking on additional guitar duties.
'Private Audition' (1982), various personnel changes and 'Passionworks' (1983) signaled a downturn of fortunes. Enlisting producer Ron Nevison and switching to Capitol Records, their 1985 self-titled release saw a remarkable comeback. The album reached Number 1 and produced four US Top 10 hits: 'Never' and the chart-topping 'These Dreams', 'Nothing At All' and 'Alone'. Though not quite as successful, 'Bad Animals' (1987) and 'Brigade' (1990) were both Top 10 albums in both the UK and the US. 1993's 'Desire Walks On' lagged some way behind.

                                   "Wilson women have cleavage.
                              It's in the family. We think it's beautiful."

As a concept, it was a beaut - the Wilson sisters, Ann and Nancy, brunette and blonde, playing heavy rock, kind of Abba with decibels. There was also a touch of the Fleetwood Macs about Heart: Ann was involved with guitarist Roger Fisher, while Nancy was stepping out with his brother, the band's soundman; by the time those relationships ended they had established a mainstream melodic rock style on singles like 'Magic Man' and 'Barracuda'. When the formula threatened to stagnate in the mid-80s, new label Capitol re-focused Heart onto a string of power ballads - These Dreams', 'Nothing At All' and 'Alone' (another US Number One for the Steinberg/Kelly songwriting team who'd created 'Like A Virgin' and True Colors'). This new lease of life was given an additional fillip when their Bad Animals studios found itself at the centre of Seattle's musical renaissance, and the Wilsons consorted gamely with the new generation of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. [extract from The Book Of Rock by Phil Dodd. Hardie Grant Books, 2001. p202]

Anne and Nancy Wilson
Hailed as “the first women of rock” and “feminist icons” by fans and critics alike, Ann and Nancy Wilson made an indelible impact on the direction and sound of American rock music. That’s why, on April 18 2016, Heart were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in L.A., alongside Rush, Donna Summer, Quincy Jones and Albert King.

In an interview with Heart by Rock Cellar Magazine, some insight into what it was like for Heart in the 70's is explored:

RCM: You have a long history with Canada going all the way back to 1975, when you recorded Dreamboat Annie, at Can-Base Studios in Vancouver.

AW: Oh yes. Canada is unlike anywhere else in the world. It’s very… how do I say this without sounding weird…?  It’s a country that sort of keeps to itself, in its really fresh way. It doesn’t seem overrun by the fact that its next door neighbor is the U.S.

RCM:  You lived in Canada for awhile, right?

AW:  Right.  I remember when I was living up there in Vancouver, the whole political scene at the time in the ’70s was so anti-war in the States. There was so much turmoil and everyone was involved. But up in Canada where I lived, people would just sit in the pubs and sort of laughed about it; they didn’t get involved, and I thought that was so refreshing somehow. Anyways, my point is that it doesn’t allow itself to be anything but Canada.

RCM:  In the early days of Heart, you and Nancy were glamorized as much for being sex symbols as for your music.  How did you feel about that at the time?

AW: Well back then, women in rock was still like this new issue that journalists – especially male journalists – were struggling with.  They were trying to figure out how these girls could be really sexy and yet be equal at the same time.  And in a lot of cases, they couldn’t figure it out! (laughs).
I really don’t think they knew what to do with us, because there wasn’t a precedent.  It took a long time for us to be taken seriously, and for us to find so-called credibility, especially among the rock press.

I remember hearing someone say, “Boy, that Nancy is a fine looking girl – but is that guitar really plugged in?”

RCM: The song Barracuda was directly about that, right – being attractive women in the music business?

AW: Barracuda was actually written in anger by me, after this one really sleazy guy comes up to me after a show and says to me, “So, Annie, how are you and your lover doing?” referring to Nancy. Here was this guy trying to make my relationship with my sister into this girl-on-girl, nasty old man thing that I guess was really exciting to him. So afterwards I wrote the words to Barracuda.

And those experiences were frustrating, as Nancy and I were working really hard, trying to bring this message out which was, “Who cares if we’re women? Why can’t we just go ahead and do this, have our art and make our music?”

RCM:  Your voice is known as one of the most powerful ever in rock and roll.  How do you yourself feel your voice has changed over the years?

AW:  When I listen to myself sing now compared to the real early days, I can tell that I was so much younger – my voice just sounded way higher and more like a young girl.  Now it’s got more body to it.  It’s deeper.  But I think I probably have better pitch now, and I probably know a little more about restraint now than I did back then.  Compared to albums like Little Queen, Magazine, and especially Dreamboat Annie.

When we did the box set Strange Euphoria last year it was really interesting for me to listen to old tapes, as it reminded me how I used to sing a song.  Hearing demos of Magic Man and Crazy On You, I realized how we’ve changed the songs a bit over the years.  That process helped me think about singing those songs a little more like how they were originally written. [extract from]
Heart Onstage at LA Universal Amphitheatre 1977
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my 'Amazing Korny Fone Label' bootleg that has been rated as Ex Stereo by Hot Wax, but really only applies to Side 1.  Side 2 is far less superior and required some amplification enhancement on my part to bring it up to the same level as Side 1.
Full album artwork (coloured photo on the back) is included along with label scans.
Side 1 is listed as having being recorded at L.A. Universal Amphitheatre, 1977 and is either an edit or a partial broadcast of a King Biscuit Flour Hour broadcast.
Side 2 was recorded live at the Inglewood Forum 12.9.76
The bootleg labels are fake of course (a common feature of Amazing Korny Fone bootlegs) and say DragonFly Records present "The Sounds Of The '60's - A Musical Documentary - number 5 in this series"
Track Listing
01 Kick It Out   2:55
02 Sing Child  5:44
03 Silver Wheels  1:43
04 Dreamboat Annie  2:32
05 Little Queen  5:33
06 Magic Man  5:44
07 Barracuda  4:30
08 Crazy On You  4:33
09 White Lightning and Wine  6:00
10 Soul Of The Sea  4:50
11 Crazy For You  4:57

Heart were:
Ann Wilson - vocals,
Nancy Wilson - vocals, guitar,
Roger Fisher - guitar,
Steve Fossen - bass,
Howard Leese - keyboards, guitar,
Michael Derosier - drums.

Heart Link (114Mb)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

REPOST: Meo 245 - Screen Memory (1981) + Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1979-1983)
This Synth driven power pop outfit MEO 245 flew the new wave flag for Tasmania on the Australian music scene in the late 70s/early 80s.
They played their formative years whilst still in high school, at that time going by the moniker Guided Tour. At that stage the line-up included Chris Ball (vocals), Paul Brickhill (keyboards / vocals), Paul Northam (guitar/vocals), Mick Wilson (bass) and Campbell Laird (drums), playing a mix of covers from the songbooks of Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep. After graduating the band decided to try their luck in the ‘big smoke’, relocating to Melbourne in February 1979, as MEO 245.
The band’s new name referenced the catalogue number from an obscure French pressing of a Beatles’ EP released by Odeon records.

MEO 245 began writing and performing their own music on the local pub/club circuit, their early style influenced by the likes of Bowie, Yes and Roxy Music, with a bit of Zeppelin thrown in. Vocalist Chris Ball returned home to Tasmania within a year, leaving the band to carry on as a quartet. During the same period Mark Kellett replaced Mick Wilson on bass.
MEO 245 were signed to Mushroom Records and issued their debut single ‘Lady Love’ in October 1980. The song was your typical melodic synth laden pop song, not a million miles away from the likes of Machinations and Dear Enemy in ensuing years. Paul Northam’s vocals remind me a bit of Dave Mason from The Reels.

The band scored an appearance on Countdown, boosting the profile of the song immeasurably, though it still only hit a moderate chart position in Australia of #43 in early 1981. Interestingly, in attempting to track down details of the Beatles French EP release, I came across a website that lists the week to week top 10 songs in France by measure of airplay popularity. For a period of several weeks during mid ‘82, "Lady Love" is listed as high as #2, though I’ve not uncovered any details as to sales figures in France.
"Lady Love" really is a great song and has a terrific 'hook riff' that should have made this a major hit world wide.
On Christmas Eve 1980, MEO 245 performed a show at Storey Hall RMIT in Melbourne, with the show recorded and broadcast by Melbourne radio station 3RRR. I plan to post this show in the near future if there is interest, so leave a comment if you're interested.

MEO 245 followed up "Lady Love" with the stand alone single "Marching Feet", which is a great track, and "Jewels", though both missed the charts.
MEO 245’s debut album ‘Screen Memory’ followed soon after. The album title is a term taken from the textbook ‘A Critical Dictionary Of Psychoanalysis’. The whole Bowie influence rang throughout the album (similar to Flowers / Icehouse), with the stimulus of Joy Division and XTC also evident. ‘Screen Memory’ peaked at #69 in late 1981, with another single "Other Places" (#44) almost matching the performance of "Lady Love".
During April/May ‘82 MEO 245 recorded the 12" Mini LP ‘Rites Of Passage’, which featured the singles "Sin City" and "Summer Girl". Unfortunately, this LP was a complete disappointment in my opinion and fell well short of their debut album.

Immediately following the release of ‘Rites Of Passage’ bassist Kellett took a passage to leave the group, replaced by Anthony Moore. Moore’s tenure with the band would be short, as during January ‘83 key member Paul Brickhill left MEO 245 to join The Little Heroes. Soon after MEO 245’s number was up, and the band called it quits.
Keyboardist Paul Brickhill played with The Little Heroes on that group’s final album ‘Watch The World’. Drummer Campbell Laird joined Soldiers Of Fortune, whilst guitarist Paul Northam later played with Luxury Device. Circa 1997 drummer Campbell Laird was living in New York and working as a freelance cartoonist/illustrator. Paul Brickhill (keyboards) was head of the Australian Ballet School, Paul Northam (vocals/guitar) was running a Melbourne based screen printing business, and Mark Kellet (bass) was a carpenter.
In 1998 Mushroom Records repackaged and re-released ‘Screen Memory’ on CD, and the band reformed to perform at the Mushroom Evolution Concert (25th Anniversary).
This post is a mixture of CD and Vinyl rips, all done in FLAC format. I have included full artwork for both CD and LP releases and altered track listing accordingly for my bonus tracks. I have substituted the 'Rite of Passage' tracks (previously included in the CD release) with what I consider to be a better selection of tracks taken from non-album singles and live recordings. I have also included full scans of single covers and labels for the 'true collectors'. One thing that stands out with this album is the record label itself. Unlike the usual Mushroom label, Mushroom records released this album with a totally different look (see below)
I really liked MEO 245 in the 70'80's and saw them play on several occasions at La Trobe Uni and a nightclub in Preston, whose name escapes me at the moment. Perhaps if I had a better 'Screen Memory' I could remember LOL !

REPOST:  At the request of a blog follower, I'm adding a FLAC rip, taken from my vinyl album, along with the bonus tracks which are also from vinyl. Nice fresh copies folks

Track Listing
01 - Other Places

02 - Jewels

03 - Burning Bridges

04 - Promises

05 - Closing In

06 - White Lies

07 - Will He Ever

08 - So Far Away

09 - Generator

10 - Wrong World

Bonus Tracks

11 - Lady Love (A-Side Single 1980)

12 - Letters and Numbers (B-Side Single 1980)

13 - Other Places Live (Mushroom Evolution Concert 1980)
14 - Marching Feet (A-Side Single 1981)

15 - Somebody's Time (B-Side Single Live 1981)

16 - Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa (B-Side Single Live 1981)
17 - Wrong World (Rocking Australia Live 1982)

18 - Closing In (Rocking Australia Live 1982)
Band members:
Paul Brickhill (keyboards/vocals)

Paul Northam (guitar/vocals)

Mark Kellett (bass)

Campbell Laird (drums)


MEO 245 FLAC Link (413Mb) New link added 5/11/2016