Friday, January 20, 2017

Mike McClellan - Ask Any Dancer (1974)

(Australian 1966 - Current)
Mike McClellan has long been regarded as one of the finest singer, songwriter, guitarists Australia has ever produced.  He's had three top 5 singles, recorded ten albums, of which two went gold, many songs covered internationally, hosted his own TV series on the ABC (Australia's national broadcaster) for four years and sold out concerts across Australia.  He's universally known as The Song and Danceman after the title of his biggest hit which was voted song of the year by the Australian Music industry in 1974.  It's an iconic song in his native Australia and has been covered many times around the world.

For 15 years he was the pre-eminent singer songwriter of his generation in Australia before retiring from the road to pursue a very successful career in advertising.  But in the last 5 years he has returned to writing and performing and, in the words of ABC 702 radio's Drive presenter Richard Glover, "just gets better and better."

When Song and Danceman was released in 1974 Mike McClellan was already an established performer on the acoustic music scene.  That song topped the charts bringing him national recognition and a following that has remained loyal to his highly personal brand of music for over 40 years.  For those who had already experienced his talent his first hit single did no more than reinforce what they already knew: that he was one of the best songwriters to emerge from this country in many years and among its most talented singer/guitarists.

He had began performing in the late 60’s and released his first album, titled simply Mike McClellan in 1972.  It was regarded as one of the most auspicious debut albums from any writer/singer of his era.  He toured extensively for the next 2 years playing the songs and previewing the material that would make up his breakthrough record.

His second album, Ask Any Dancer went Gold and Song and Danceman was voted Song of the Year at the Annual Music Industry Awards in February 1975.  He hit the cover of every magazine in the country and played concerts from Darwin to Tasmania.  It hardly needs repeating that Song and Danceman has become an Australian classic having been recorded many times, both here and overseas.

Tours with such performers as Roger Miller, Melanie, Dr. Hook, The Hollies and Leo Kottke expanded his audience even further and he earned rave reviews for his capacity to hold his own in the company of such internationally recognised stars.  That recognition took a giant leap forward when Rick Nelson recorded one of his most acclaimed songs, Rock’n Roll Lady, in 1975 and John Farnham covered Saturday Dance.
Note: Mike McClellan was voted into the Australian Country Music Hands Hall of Fame in 1984, and  a picture of his hand print is shown below. To read more about this award, see The History Of Australian Country Music
Mike McClellan - 1984
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my near mint condition LP that I purchased from the Essendon Secondhand Records Store some years ago. Full album artwork and label scans are included, but of course.  Points of interest on this LP are the who's who of Aussie Rock that play on this album, namely Doug Ashdown and Graham Lowndes on backing vocals, Tim Partridge on bass, Kerry Tolhurst on guitar and Russell Dunlop on drums.
I really like this album and it is hard to pick a favourite track as they are all fantastic, so I'm not going to try. Have a listen for yourself - you won't be disappointed.
Track Listing
01. Song and Dance Man
02. Come Up To My Room
03. Me And Petunia

04. Rock ‘N’ Roll Lady
05. Catfish Ray
06. Traces

07. One Man Band
08. Another Grey Day
09. Sinking Ships
10. Sweet Rollin’ Man
11. One More Song
12. Saturday Dance
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, – Mike McClellan
Bass – Dave Ellis, Tim Partridge
Congas, Tambourine, Shaker, Washboard, Percussion – John Sangster
Drums – Doug Gallacher, Russell Dunlop
Electric Guitar – Mark Punch, Tim Piper

Harmony Vocals – Alison Mac Callum , Doug Ashdown, Graham Lowndes, Joy Mulligan, Norma Stoneman
Mandolin, Electric Guitar – Kerry Tolhurst
Piano – Tony Ansell
Piano Accordion – Enzo Toppano
Piano, Electric Piano, Harmonium – Tony Esterman
Soprano Saxophone, Arranged By [Strings & Brass] – Graham Lyall

Mike McClellan FLACS Link (243Mb)
Mike McClellan MP3 Link (98Mb)

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