Saturday, October 14, 2017

Various Aussie Artists - Classic Homegrown Rock (1988)

(Australian 1965 - 1980).
The first Triple M radio station was 2MMM in Sydney which commenced broadcasting on 2 August 1980. Together with then rival station 2Day FM (now also owned by Southern Cross Austereo), it was the first commercial FM radio station in Sydney. The station has always been primarily a rock music station, but with a more blue-collar/hard rock (Jimmy Barnes, Aerosmith, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC as some examples) emphasis than other stations in Melbourne in particular. Throughout the 1980s, Triple M was one of the highest-rating radio stations in Sydney, spearheaded by its morning show presented by Doug Mulray and featuring the writing of and occasional appearances by Andrew Denton. For all of this period and into the 1990s, Triple M's promotional campaign featured the character "Dr Dan", a guitar-playing satyr with wings, inspired by artwork by legendary Australian cartoonist Peter Ledger, and a theme song that was an extended reworking of the Mike Batt track "Introduction (The Journey of a Fool)", from his 1979 album Tarot Suite.

In 1988, Melbourne radio station EON FM (3EON), 92.3 was taken over by 2MMM and changed its callsign to 3MMM and moved to 105.1 MHz in November 1988. EON FM was Australia's first commercial FM radio station, commencing broadcasting on 11 July 1980. To commemorate the name change MMM released this compilation of classic homegrown rock through a collaboration between EMI and one of the largest record re-sellers in Australia at that time - Brashs.

The Easybeats
The Easybeats, are one of Australia's greatest pop bands of the 60's. Formed in Sydney in 1964, they were the first Australian rock n roll act to have an international hit with 'Friday On My Mind'.
Lead singer Stevie Wright originally came from England (although he'd been in Australia for some years), and bassist Dick Diamonde hailed from the Netherlands, as did guitarist Harry Vanda, while the others, guitarists George Young and drummer Gordon "Snowy" Fleet, were recent arrivals from
Scotland and England -- most significantly, Fleet was Liverpool born and raised, and had been a member of the Mojos, one of that city's more promising bands of 1963 and 1964.

They all had talent, but he had a sense of style and an idea of what worked in rock & roll; it was Snowy Fleet who came up with the name "The Easybeats," and the sharp image for the early group, which made them a piece of authentic Brit-beat right in the heart of Sydney, 13,000 miles from Liverpool and as precious there as water on a desert. By the time "Friday On My Mind" was released in Australia, The Easybeats had already had half a dozen Top 10 hits in Australia, including four at #1. "Easyfever" may have engulfed the Aussie pop scene, but in London the pressure was on them to come up with something fresh for their new British producer, Shel Talmy. One of the results, Harry Vanda and George Young’s Friday On My Mind, was their fifth Australian #1, but this time it was an international hit as well. It rose to the Top Ten not only in England but across Europe and much of the rest of the world, and reached the Top 20 in the United States as well where, for the first time, Americans became aware of The Easybeats.

Russell Morris
Russell Morris is one of Australia's most enduring singers. A major pop star in the late '60s, he went on to become one of the country's first singer/songwriters.
Morris' career started in September 1966 with the formation of the Melbourne group Somebody's Image, which rose to prominence with a local hit version of the Joe South song "Hush." Morris was convinced to leave Somebody's Image for a solo career. His manager/producer, local music identity Ian Meldrum, spent unprecedented hours and money to create a seven-minute production extravaganza around a song called "The Real Thing." Once the result was released to shocked radio programmers who had never been asked to play such a long Australian single before, it was up to Morris' personality, singing, and performing talents to make the record work. It reached Australia's number one spot in June 1969. Without any promotional support from Morris, "The Real Thing" reached number one in Chicago, Houston, and New York.

Line-up: Mike Rudd  (lead vocals, guitar); Mark Kennedy (drums); Bill Putt (bass guitar); Lee Neale (organ).
Mike (ex-Sons Of A Vegetal Mother) and Bill (ex-Lost Souls) founded Spectrum in April, 1969. They stuck mainly to the Melbourne disco circuit and their early style was very much akin to English band Traffic.
To the Australian public at large, Spectrum will always be remembered for the 1971 #1 hit ‘I’ll Be Gone’, an enduring rock classic if ever there was one. As song writer and Spectrum lynchpin Mike Rudd has put it “‘I’ll Be Gone’ has had a marvellous life”, with indications that its potency will continue to rise. It still gets played on Australian ‘Classic Hits’ radio to this day. Spectrum still play the song at practically ever gig with the enthusiastic, sing-along response of the audience inevitable; a perfect example of this was the band’s appearance at the 2002 arena rock spectacular Long Way to The Top. The sound of an entire concert audience singing the song’s rousing refrain at full voice, with little encouragement, was indeed magnificent. While the song’s appeal is unquestionable, to the dedicated Australian rock music aficionado Spectrum is more than just one gloriously brilliant song.

Many fans will tell you that Spectrum music is some of the greatest progressive psych rock recorded in the day, and nominate the band as purveyors of a uniquely Australian sound and identity. Spectrum’s debut, Part One was originally released on EMI’s progressive label Harvest and is rightfully regarded as not only a landmark progressive rock release, but the beginnings of one of Australia ’s more remarkable bands. In its original incarnation (1969-1973), the band went through three different lineups, also gigging extensively under the alter-ego moniker of the Indelible Murtceps, released five albums and five singles, and left behind many fond memories from their concert appearances.

Daddy Cool
Original line-up: Ross Wilson (vocals, guitar); Ross Hannaford (lead guitar); Gary Young (drums); Wayne Duncan (bass guitar).
The two Ross's started out in the Pink Finks in 1965. They formed a partnership that lasted until they formed Daddy Cool with Wayne and Gary, who had worked together in the Rondells.
Their first appearance was at the TF Much Ballroom in Melbourne in November 1970. From there they took the dance and disco circuit by storm with their vintage rock'n'roll, outrageous acts and ostentatious outfits (which included a towel and bathing cap, Mickey Mouse ears and an Archie-style cap complete with a propeller).
In May 1971, they released their first single, 'Eagle Rock' (written by Ross Wilson), backed by 'Bom Bom' (written by the two Rosses). The record entered the Melbourne charts at number twenty after only ten days in the shops. It went on to become the best selling Australian single of the year. On conquering Melbourne, the band set off on a hectic tour of all the capital cities. In July their debut album, Daddy Who? . .. Daddy Cool, was released.
The band was also voted Australia's best group of 1971 in the national Go-Set Pop Poll. This was quite an achievement when you consider they had only been on the scene for six months and had had to contend with competition like Chain, Zoot and Masters' Apprentices.
Meanwhile, their album was selling like wildfire, with radio stations programming all or most tracks. By August it had gone gold and, of course, the single had already achieved gold status within eleven weeks of its release. Also in August, the band took its first step toward international recognition when they set off for the US to play at the Whisky A Go Go in Hollywood. The gig was a success. As a result they were offered more concert dates later in the year. At the same time, 'Eagle Rock' was released in the US on Warner Brothers.

Zoot became one the most popular Australian bands of the second 'pop wave' of the late 'Sixties when they and other acts like The Valentines, the Masters Apprentices, Russell Morris and The New Dream were scoring hits and causing riots. Like so many groups at the time, Zoot were drawn along by the rapid stylistic shifts of that uncertain period and they suffered under some ill-advised management decisions that led to them being tagged as a lightweight 'bubblegum' act — an undeserved reputation which overshadowed their fine musicianship and their genuine desire to be taken seriously..
Ironically, they're probably best remembered these days for the 1970 single that they hoped would scuttle their pop image for good — their classic heavy-metal version of "Eleanor Rigby" — and also for the fact that Zoot was first successful outing for two future stars -- solo performer and soapie heart-throb guitarist Rick Springfield who went on to have major success in the U.S. in the eighties and Little River Band lynch pin Beeb Birtles.

Chain were an Australian blues band formed in Melbourne as The Chain in late 1968 with a lineup including guitarist, vocalist Phil Manning; they are sometimes known as Matt Taylor's Chain after lead singer-songwriter and harmonica player, Matt Taylor. Their January 1971 single "Black and Blue", which became their only top twenty hit, was recorded by Chain line-up of Manning, Taylor, drummer Barry Harvey and bass guitarist Barry Sullivan. The related album, Toward the Blues followed in September and peaked in the top ten albums chart.
Chain had various line-ups until July 1974, they separated for several years then reformed in 1982 for a one-off concert and more permanently from 1983–1986. Further line-up changes occurred with some forms called Matt Taylor's Chain, from 1998 Chain members are Harvey, Manning, Taylor and Dirk Du Bois on bass guitar. Both Manning and Taylor have also had separate solo careers.

Masters Apprentices
Masters Apprentices were a highly-rated band who formed in Adelaide in 1965. Their diverse musical styles ranged from R'n'B to psychedelic rock to heavy rock. They were one of Australia's most popular bands of the sixties and their talent has continued to be recognised to this day.They formed out of the instrumental outfit The Mustangs who started playing raucous R'n'B material penned by their guitarist Mick Bower and took on vocalist Jim Keays at the same time.
In early 1967 they moved to Melbourne and put out their eponymous debut album, which contained both sides of their first two singles to name some of its fine original material.
They started out as one of Australia's top R'n'B bands in the sixties and had moved into psych-pop territory towards the end of the decade. They had veered towards progressivism by the start of the seventies and "Turn Up Your Radio" in 1970 gave them their first and only Top 10 hit.
The Masters were hugely popular throughout Australia, scored a string of hits and were consistently hailed as one of Australia's best live and recording acts.

Billy Thorpe
Billy Thorpe is one of the enigmas of Australian music, a man of many careers. It began in Brisbane when the young Thorpe was overheard by a television producer playing his guitar and singing at the back of his parents' Brisbane store. At the age of ten he was appearing regularly on Queensland television and appearing on the same stage as many of the top artists of the day.

When he was 17 he moved to Sydney as a solo country/pop singer just as the Beatles were breaking. Always one to recognize opportunity knocking, Thorpe teamed up with instrumental band the Aztecs and together they became one of the first Australian groups to contribute to the new '60s era of pop, in June 1964 scoring a huge national hit with their version of the Rolling Stones' version of "Poison Ivy." After a couple more era-influenced hits, Billy Thorpe & the Aztecs gravitated toward releasing songs that showed off Thorpe's fine singing voice and scored another major hit with a straight ballad version of "Over the Rainbow" from the film The Wizard of Oz, and in July 1965 a version of the Platters' "Twilight Time." By now the original Aztecs had been replaced by other musicians. Thorpe also became the star of his own national TV show, 'It's All Happening' in 1966. In the space of two years he had scored nine major hits.

Entering the 70's, a new Aztecs' blues-based heavy-rock repertoire evolved that was dramatically different in style from the original group, and they quickly became famous (or notorious) for the ear-splitting volume at which they played. Thorpe had also drastically changed his appearance—he grew a beard, often wore his now shoulder-length hair braided in a pigtail, and he had long since traded the tailored suits for jeans and T-shirts. Needless to say this did not endear him to people who came to the shows expecting the 'old' Billy Thorpe of the "Poison Ivy" era, and this led to sometimes violent confrontations with disgruntled fans and promoters.
In early 1972 the Aztecs released what became their biggest hit, and Thorpe's signature tune – "Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy)", a song now widely regarded as one of the classics of Australian rock. It was a huge hit for the new Aztecs, peaking in the Go-Set National Top 40 Singles Chart at number 3 in May 1972; propelled to the top of charts by the band's triumphant appearance at the 1972 Sunbury Music Festival.

Stevie Wright
Stevie was born in the UK on December 20, 1948 and he migrated to Australia with his parents at the age of sixteen. On their arrival they stayed at the Villawood Hostel in Sydney and it was here that Stevie met with four other migrants who shared his interest in rock music and formed the Easybeats.
The band went on to become Australia's most successful group of the sixties and even achieved some international recognition..
The Easybeats finally disbanded early in 1970 and Stevie formed a group called Rachette which was only short-lived. He also did some songwriting with ex-Easybeat George Young and for a brief period he left the music business. Stevie worked as a process worker and a clothing salesman, but entertainment was in his blood and in 1972 he auditioned for the production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was awarded the part of Simon Zealotes and spent two years in the show.
At the end of his stint with Superstar he embarked on a solo career and formed his own eight piece backing group called the Stevie Wright Band. Coinciding with the band's formation he recorded an album entitled Hard Road, which was co-written and produced with former Easybeats, George Young and Harry Vanda. A single, "Evie", was lifted from it and it entered the charts in June, 1974, as did the album. A second track off the LP, 'Guitar Band', was released later in the year and it also became a top ten hit.

When Skyhooks appeared on the Melbourne pub circuit in 1973, little did Australia know that its entire bungling, struggling, apologetic little wader's pool of an industry was about to be swamped, revamped and exhilarated almost overnight.

Two years later Skyhooks, a band of unknowns with little more than a lot of lip, nerve, talent, imagination and several million dollar riffs with lyrics to match at their disposal, had completely revolutionised the face of Australian rock.
The band was the basic conception of bass-player Greg Macainsh, who wrote most of their repertoire, built upon by other Skyhooks Red Symons (aka Rocco Simone, guitar/vocals/odd compositions); Graeme Strachan (aka Shirley, vocals); Bob Starkie (aka Bongo Star, guitar) and Fred Strauks (aka Freddy Kaboodleschnitzer, drums/vocals).

They sold over 350,000 LP's and cassettes of their first two albums. 'Living in the 70's' and 'Ego Is Not A Dirty Word' (the first outside productions of the multi-talented Ross Wilson). 'Living in the 70's' alone sold around 200,000 LP's and cassettes by October '75; approximately four times the previous record sales for a locally-produced rock album in Australia (set by Daddy who? Daddy Cool in 71-72). This amounts to over thirteen gold records. Ego went gold several times in pre-release orders alone and continues to give its forerunner a run for its money. Both albums have sold gold cassettes, a first for Oz rock. "Horror Movie" was a gold single and both subsequent singles have been National Number 1.

When Dragon arrived from New Zealand in 1976, having spent the previous 4 years building up a small following and releasing two progressive rock albums, they released the more commercial single "This Time" for CBS. The single found its way onto the the Sydney charts and after being picked up by other states it peaked at number 26 on the Australian national charts in November 1976. With the success of this single, their manager at the time Sebastian Chase sent them touring around the country. They tightened up as a group and along the way began gaining fans like never before.
Through the brittle, tensile exhilaration of their early hits — This Time, Get That Jive, April Sun In Cuba and Are You Old Enough? among them — Dragon dominated the Australian charts for three intense years, from 1976 to 1978.

The fourth album "Running Free" was released in November 1977 and went on to exceed double platinum status with sales, reaching number 6 on the album charts. Again a mixture of songs from the four songwriters, the standout release was "April Sun In Cuba". Written by Paul and Marc, the single reached number 2 on the charts, only to be held out of the number 1 spot by Paul McCartney's "Mull Of Kintyre". The single was released in New Zealand to give them their first chart entry back home, making it to number 9 in March 1978.

Cold Chisel
Cold Chisel consisted of Jimmy Barnes (lead vocals, guitar), Ian Moss (lead vocals, lead guitar), Don Walker (keyboards), Steve Prestwich (drums) and Phil Small (bass guitar). All band members were also songwriters, the most proficient being Don Walker. The band spent their first 4 years working the Australian pub circuit and trying to get a recording contract. After being given a hard time by the record companies, WEA finally gave them a chance after hearing a four song demo tape (that another record company rejected!)
"What happened after this was that Cold Chisel produced one of the finest Oz rock albums of all time. Their debut album showcased the writing of Don Walker, who has a fine musical and lyrical sense, the wood-rasp voice of Jimmy Barnes and some fine flashes of guitar work from Ian Moss, perhaps one of the most expressive and hard-working guitarists currently playing in Oz."
The single from the album, the Vietnam-vet tribute "Khe Sanh" became one of Aussie rock's most enduring anthems with its punchy piano line and everyman pathos.

Split Enz
Split Enz was a successful New Zealand band during the late 1970s and the early 1980s featuring brothers Tim Finn and Neil Finn. They achieved success with the music charts in New Zealand, Australia and Canada during the early 1980s and built a cult following elsewhere. Their musical style was eclectic and original, incorporating influences from art rock, vaudeville, swing, punk, rock, New Wave and pop.
Split Enz was the first New Zealand band to achieve worldwide success. First known as Split Ends, the group began as a progressive art-rock band fuelled by the song writing talents of founders Tim Finn and Phil Judd. The group's career was marked by numerous changes in personnel. In 1977, the band went on a promotional tour of the United States after which Judd left the group. 1977 also saw the release of the band's third album "Dizrythmia". Split Enz soon returned to Australia and in 1979 released their most successful album, the new wave pop hit LP "True Colours" which reached No. 1 on the Australian charts as did the single 'I Got You'.

Australian Crawl
Australian Crawl (aka Aussie Crawl) was an Australian rock band founded by James Reyne (lead vocals / piano), Brad Robinson (rhythm guitar), Paul Williams (bass guitar), Simon Binks (lead guitar) and David Reyne (drums) in 1978. David Reyne soon left and was replaced by Bill McDonough (drums, percussion). They were later joined by his brother Guy McDonough (vocals, rhythm guitar). The band was named after the front crawl swimming style also known as the Australian crawl. Their first album 'The Boys Light Up', enjoyed an instantaneous popularity comparable only to Skyhooks' spectacular debut. The album remained high in the Australian charts for an unbroken 104 weeks, and when Countdown viewers were asked to name their favourite band and male vocalist for 1980, Australian Crawl and James Reyne won hands down. The single 'The Boys Light Up' (March, 1980), came close to being banned from radio airplay due to the explicit nature of some of the lyrics.

Original line-up - Malcolm Young (guitar); Angus Young (guitar); Peter Clark (drums); Rob Bailey (bass); Dave Evans (vocals).
Malcolm and Angus were younger brothers of ex-Easybeat George Young who played an important role in advising and directing the band. The boys began playing with a variety of musicians in 1973, consolidating with the above line-up in April 1974.
The band began working to develop the AC/DC sound, but their progress was temporarily delayed with Rob and Peter leaving to be replaced by Phillip Rudd (drums) and Mark Evans (bass).
This change was followed by the departure of vocalist Dave Evans to join Rabbit, and led to the new notorious line-up including singer Bon Scott. Bon was an experienced rock performer, having worked in top bands Fraternity and the Valentines and seemed to be the spark AC/DC needed to set the rock scene on fire.

Their single, "Can I Sit Next To You Girl?", sold only moderately. However, the follow-up, "Baby, Please Don't Go" (which was a hit for British blues group 'Them'), entered the charts in March 1975 and became a national hit.
The band's first album, 'High Voltage', which was also released in March 1975, became the second biggest Australian album of the year and stayed on the charts for a mammoth twenty-five weeks. The track "She's Got Balls" was lifted from their debut album for this compilation, and has become a crowd favourite when played live at gigs.
As well as establishing themselves on the charts, the band began to develop a strong punk rock (or at least hard rock) image with their aggressive stage act portraying Angus as a schoolboy, and publicity detailing their hard drinking, hard living lifestyles.
Meanwhile, their follow-up singles, "High Voltage" and "It's A Long Way To The Top", charted well and their second album, TNT, which was released at Christmas in 1975, was declared gold within two months.

The Angels
Line-up: Doc Neeson (Vocals); Buzz Throckman (drums); Chris Bailey (bass); John Brewster (guitar); Rick Brewster (guitar)
The band's early involvement with pure fifties rock, sixties pop and rhythm and blues finally established it in 1978 as a hard rock connoisseur's delight.
The embryo of the Angel's sound developed in 1971 when the nucleus of the group was playing in Adelaide coffee shops and universities as the Moonshine Jug and String Band.
Adopting a more electric sound, they evolved some three years later into the Keystone Angels, a four piece vintage rock band. The Keystone Angels toured with fifties rock king, Chuck Berry, and released a single 'Keep on Dancing'/'Good Day Rock 'n' Roll' (both originals), featuring drummer Peter Chris-Topoulos, with John doing lead vocals and Doc on the guitar.
As the band began developing their now-famous blues-based brand of seventies rock, they shortened their name to simply 'The Angels'. They released their first single as Angels, "Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again", on the Albert label early in 1976, and this iconic track is featured here.
The boys had developed a strong following on the pub circuit and early in 1977 their fans were treated to the band's first album, The Angels (produced by Vanda and Young). The group was now five piece with the acquisition of Chris Bailey, and Doc out front. Of course from here, the Angels released one hit single after another and have become one of the most popular names in Australian Music History.

The La De Das
Original line-up: Bryan Harris (drums); Trevor Wilson (bass); Bruce Howard (organ/sax); Phillip Key (lead vocals); Kevin Borich (lead guitar).
The band formed in New Zealand in 1965 and after reaching the top there (with their single, "Hey Baby" which made number one), they left for Sydney two years later.
On their arrival in Australia they received little attention from their recording company who at first refused to let them record. As a result they fell into a rut working steadily, but uneventfully, in Melbourne and Sydney. Then early in 1968 they decided to buy new instruments and develop a new act. The change brought with it a renewed interest in the band and in March, 1969 they released their highly acclaimed 'Happy Prince' album. Two months later they left Australia to try their luck in England. Other, more renowned groups, had tried before them without success and the La De Das found the going just as tough. They returned in April, 1970 minus Trevor and his place was taken by Reno Tehei (ex-Genesis and Compulsion). In the meantime their album had sold steadily during their absence, and later in the year Bryan left and he was replaced by Keith Barber.
More line-up changes occurred in January, 1971 when Bruce left to form a duo with Trevor, and Reno also moved out. The band added Peter Roberts and reformed as follows: Phil Keys (vocals and guitar); Peter Roberts (bass); Keith barber (drums); and Kevin Borich (vocals and guitar).
They consolidated with the new format and released a new single, "Sweet Girl"/"I Can't Find A Reason". Then in November, '71 came the breakthrough they had been waiting for when they made the charts with one of their biggest hits "Gonna See My Baby Tonight".

John Farnham
John Farnham, aka Farnsy, Johnny, Whispering Jack and The Voice is an iconic Australian entertainer whose career has spanned over four decades.
Farnham was born on the 1st July 1949 in England and moved to Melbourne at the age of 10 and has lived here ever since. This wannabe plumber took a break from his apprenticeship in order to pursue a music career which has seen him become one of Australia's best-loved performers with a career spanning over 40 years.
In 1967, Sadie (The Cleaning Lady) was his first hit which topped the Australian charts for six-weeks running.  Selling 180,000 copies in Australia, "Sadie" was the highest selling single by an Australian artist of the decade. Farnham's debut studio album, Sadie was issued in April 1968.
He later released a cover of BJ Thomas's "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" in 1969, which also reached the #1 position on the Australian charts and then a cover version of Harry Nilsson's hit "One"
Most of his early 70's material could be classified as being both Pop and Cabaret music, but he soon reinvented himself in the early 80's with the help of Glenn Wheatley to be labelled as one of the best voices in Australian rock and affectionately known as Whispering Jack.
This post consists of FLACs ripped from my CD copy and includes full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD. I have this album on both media and consider it to be one of the best 'Aussie' compilations released. Take note that the CD release comes with 2 extra tracks not included on the vinyl release, The La De Das single "Gonna See My Baby Tonight" and John Farnham's hit "One" which was his final #1 single while working in the cabaret industry.
Also take note that this album had previously been released in 1979 by EMI (under their TRAX series of albums), entitled 'Australian Made Vol 1.' and the cover is displayed below.  Note: it is my intention to post some more of the TRAX series at a later date, so stay tuned.

Track Listing
01 - Friday On My Mind  (The Easybeats)  
02 - The Real Thing (Russell Morris)  
03 - I'll Be Gone  (Spectrum)
04 - Eagle Rock  (Daddy Cool)
05 - Eleanor Rigby  (Zoot)
06 - Black And Blue  (Chain)
07 - Turn Up Your Radio (Master's Apprentices)
08 - Most People I Know (Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs)
09 - Evie (Edited Version)  (Stevie Wright)
10 - Horror Movie (Skyhooks)
11 -  April Sun In Cuba (Dragon)
12 - Khe Sahn  (Cold Chisel)
13 - I Got You  (Split Enz)
14 - The Boys Light Up (Australian Crawl)
15 - It's A Long Way To The Top (ACDC)
16 - Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again  (The Angels)
17 - Gonna See My Baby Tonight  (The La De Das) *
18 - One  (John Farnham) *

* CD only

Classic Homegrown Rock FLACs (478Mb)
New Link 23/09/2018

1 comment:

  1. Geez Stevie Wright looks so happy in that photo. Such a troubled soul.