Monday, July 30, 2018

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Ton Up Pirates - Therefore I Am / Animated Blues (1990)

(Australian 1988 - 1991)
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.

Ton Up Pirates were a Melbourne post-punk band in the late 1980's founded by Greg Bainbridge, and Tim Cluning.  There is scant little information available for this band and I have only been able to track down the derivation of the group.

Greg Bainbridge played with a number of Melbourne bands, including Jacksworld and Ton Up Pirates. Jacksworld comprised Bainbridge, Tim Cluning (vocals, guitar), David Bilston (lead guitar) and Michael Taylor (bass). The band played a moody brand of rock that drew comparisons with the likes of Echo and the Bunnymen, The Smiths and The Triffids. 

Bainbridge and Cluning split Jacksworld to form Ton Up Pirates with Greg Rodbard-Bean (bass) and Kenny Martin (lead guitar).  Greg Rodbard-Bean (bass) was later replaced by Nigel Harford from the band White Cross.  I suspect that the band took their name from a notorious Bikie Gang that existed back in the 50's. Below is one of their Club Pin Badges. But I digress.....

The band issued their debut recording in 1988, a 12-inch EP, "A Dirt Road So Far", on the Au-go-go label, followed by two 7" singles on White Label Records,  the first being "Therefore I Am" in 1990 and then a cover of Billy Thorpe's hit "Most People Think I'm Crazy" in 1991.

Ton-Up Pirates certainly fit the bill for this month's WOCK on Vinyl post, with a definite Obscure rating all round. I stumbled upon this single in amongst a box of records at my favourite Sunday Market some time ago, most of which were either water damaged or covered in 3 inches of dust.  
But when I saw the cover art and band's name - I decided it was worth saving. 

So, I hope you enjoy this 'unique' and 'rare' gem, ripped to FLAC with artwork sourced from the web (my cover was stuffed) and my label scans. I have also taken the liberty of including a YouTube clip of the Ton Up Pirates performing "Juke Box Baby".  This was the first ever live TV broadcast in Melbourne for free TV, later to become open channel 31 recorded live from Greek Theatre Richmond, 1988. 

The event featured Crown of Thorns, T.I.S.M. & Ton Up Pirates performing live at the Old Greek Theatre in Richmond. The vision is narrowcast to the inner west of Melbourne on UHF Ch47 during the week-long second test transmission by TVU.

Track List
01 - Therefore I Am
02 - Animated Blues
03 - Juke Box Baby (MP4 Video)

Recorded at Platinum Studios, Melbourne, March 1990.
Engineered by Paul Kosky.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Kanguru - Dreaming (1976)

(Australian 1975 - 1976)
Kanguru were an Australian hippy band from around the early to mid seventies. They were based in Northern New South Wales in Nimbin and Byron Bay. Four mainly instrumental tracks are featured on this very rare Aussie album, the only known product from this band. Most of the musos still play music locally in other bands.

Ethno-acoustic prog with a heavy indian classical fixation. Also, a slight Mahavishnu Orchestra vibe. Some very earnest singing with lyrics about being a rainbow and a moonbeam. Nothing special. Play it for your mom if she likes Peter Gabriel.
Good for mellowing out with some nice sitar tinged songs here. I like "Waves Of Aquarius" the best with some nice playing from Cleis Pearce.

An outstanding, cult Australian project mixing chamber prog with eastern influences due to gorgeously epiphanic, dream-like sitar / tabla duets. Similar to Shakti, Clem Alford or Oregon with more emphasis on tripped out harmonies.

Original Release On Ranger Records
Four mainly instrumental tracks are featured on this very rare Aussie album,the only known product from this band. From the artwork through to the music this looks and sounds like something produced by a bunch of guru worshipping hippies, and it well might be. However on colder inspection it is possible that this was produced by a group of guys who made it with their tongues firmly implanted in their cheeks.

Firstly it is released on Larrikin records, a small Aussie label better known for Aussie blues and bush bands. Secondly, the members of the band offer some amusing alias’s: future Sirocco member Guy Madigan is 'Koalananda'; Paul Gibson is 'Sri Wombat', former MacKenzie Theory violinist Cleis Peace is 'Clear light'  and Keith Manning is 'Professor'. Not the typical alias's that you would expect.

Thirdly the label shows that it was produced in 1980, although sounding like it was recorded in the late 60 or early 70s. In fact, the album was originally released on Ranger records in 1976.

Fourthly, it seems more than a coincidence that Guru Guru released an album called Kanguru years earlier (also four long tracks). Notwithstanding, the quality of musicianship is excellent. This album is part meditative, part ambient and heavily Indian influenced.

Cleis Pearce Today
Just for the record, Kanguru wasn't formed in Nimbin, although we toured the Northern Rivers and played several times at Nimbin and Blue Knob.

We played in Sydney and originally joined The White Company as musicians - later in 1976 we went to the Cotter River Down to Earth Festival where we decided to become Kanguru and gave the first performance there with Ion Pearce on cello [ Cleis's brother ]. I believe a video exists from the festival but haven't been able to track it down.

Some taped masters still exist of ABC recordings from Forbes St studios and Wayside Chapel concert. Paul and I have discussed releasing these tracks and others as archival material. Maybe a record company would be interested? [comment by Keith Manning on MidozTouch Forum]

Cleis Pearce in 90's
Cleis Pearce
Cleis has a long history playing violin and viola in many creative musical ventures, including improvising and writing music for contemporary dance and poetry performances. She has recently toured and performed with Gyan and Michael Leunig, Yuval Ashkar, Dha, Coolangubra and many more. Cleis is one of the country's finest melodic improvisers, and can keep an audience in raptures with her soaring virtuosity, tone, and facility on the violin and viola. Cleis is alco reknown for playing Violin and viola with the Progressive rock outfit Mckenzie Theory back in the early 70's, before joining Kanguru in 1975?. Cleis, also made 3 albums in the 90's in a band she formed called Coolangubra.  (see
She currently  lives/plays in Northern NSW in Byron Bay. To view her latest release see her bandcamp page.

Keith Manning today
Keith Manning
Keith is an accomplished musician who trained under a tabla guru in India for 16 years from 1975 to 1991. He has spent the past 30 years performing Indian and fusion music in Australia.
Keith was involved with the Indian musical society called Sangeet in Sydney during the 1970s and 1980s and was a member of the band Kanguru during the late 1970s playing east / west fusion music.

During his time in Bathurst, Keith has become heavily immersed in the local music scene. He played frequently with Matt Williamson, he performed at Cabaret Kite, the End Festival and Inland Sea of Sound Festival. Keith was also a frequent presenter for the 2MCE radio station over the past 10 years, starting his 'Out Of India' program in 2008 shortly after moving from Sydney to Bathurst with his family, and has only just recently retired. [extract from the Western Advocate]
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from a Larrikin vinyl release found circulating on the web some 10 years ago. It includes full album artwork and label scans (sourced from
Oddly enough, Chris Spencer lists this album in the Who's Who of Australian Rock as being a MLP but the total length of the tracks exceeding 40 mins clearly places this release as a standard LP.
This album remains a lost Australian classic from the progressive years in the early 70's when bands were experimenting with different string and wind instruments, and should be approached with an open mind. Mine was certainly blown apart when I first listened to Kanguru.

Note: many previous postings for this album have provided inaccurate details relating to the band members, with Oshia White being referred to as Ashia, Paul's 12-string guitar magically having 2 extra strings and Guy Madigan's double ended drum misspelt every which way except pakhawaj
Track Listing
01. Ras Lila (12:39) 
02. Waves Of Aquarius (9:53) 
03. Kanara Prakar (12:21) 
04. Invitation To Dance (9:39) 

Kanguru were:
Oshia White (vocals),
Guy Madigan [aka Koalananda] (pakhawaj [double ended drum], tanpura),
Paul Gibson [aka Sri Wombat] (electric sarode, vocals, Maton custom 12-string guitar, didgeridoo),
Cleis Pearce [aka Clear Light] (electric viola),
Keith Manning [aka Professor] (tabla, flute, percussion)
Kanguru Link (98Mb)

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Eddie Rabbitt - The Best Of (1976)

(U.S  1964 - 1998)
Eddie Rabbitt was one of the unsung pop-hybrid singer-songwriters who moved country music closer to a fusion with the pop and rock genres. The most successful country performer during the Urban Cowboy years, with a string of chart-topping singles, gold and platinum albums and sold-out tours, he shared a rare gift with Neil Diamond: the ability to make middle-of-the-road songs sound exciting. Like Diamond, he first gained prominence as a writer, Elvis’ Kentucky Rain and Ronnie Milsap’s Pure Love, being just two successful examples. Rabbitt’s songs profess love and romance as the common denominator and in the hits Suspicions, On Second Thought and I Love A Rainy Night he displayed a strong melodic sense with plenty of creative ideas to go with it. The classic honky-tonker, Two Dollars In The Jukebox, is one of those commercial jingles that tingles in your mind, a powerful mix of country music roots with a progressive approach. In comparison to Waylon, Willie, Hank Jnr., and his other contemporaries, Eddie’s songs were more gentle. He preferred a smooth, image-projecting style to the gut-wrenching bluntness of the Outlaws.

He continued to write for Presley and signed with Elektra Records in 1974 after writing Ronnie Milsap’s Pure Love. As a performer he overcame a somewhat thin and reedy voice by overdubbing himself in three-part harmonies, a process he called the ‘Eddie Rabbitt Chorale.’ After three charted singles, Rabbitt scored his first No. 1 with Drinkin’ My Baby (Off My Mind) in 1976. The hits soon came in a torrent: "I Love A Rainy Night", "Every Which Way But Loose" (from the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name), a duet with Crystal Gayle on "You And I", and the r&b influenced "Suspicions". At the peak of his career, in the early 1980s, he notched five No.1 singles in a row followed by a No.2 and two more No. 1s. That string included his "Drivin’ My Life Away", which was featured in the 1980 movie Roadie.

With his special brand of music he helped to blur the distinctions between country and pop songs, making the music more accessible. For a four-year period from 1978 through to 1982, he was outselling every other country act, including such heavyweights as Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Dolly Parton. Yet he did not pick up one major CMA award and seems destined to be overlooked in years to come when the history of country music is re-written and re-written by journalists who will decry his commercial success.  [extract from]

In 1997, Rabbitt signed with Intersound Records but was soon after diagnosed with lung cancer. Following a round of chemotherapy, he released the album Beatin' the Odds. Sadly, Rabbitt died on May 7, 1998, in Nashville from lung cancer at the age of 56.

Every Which Way But Loose
Was the title song of the 1978 Clint Eastwood comedy. Although best known for uncompromising tough guy roles such as the cynical police inspector Dirty Harry, Eastwood could also play it for laughs. In this film, Eastwood plays Philo Beddoe, an easy-going trucker and a great fist-fighter.  With two friends - Orville, who promotes prize-fights for him, and Clyde, an Orangutan he won on a bet - he roams the San Fernando Valley in search of cold beer, country music and the occasional punch-up. But he is literally floored by a dainty little country and western singer, who gives him the slip when she realizes he's getting too serious. Phil, Clyde and Orville set off in pursuit, pestered by a bunch of wacky bikers.

The bright new star of “Every Which Way but Loose” was the orangutan named Clyde, and he had quite a repertory. He could kiss human actors, smile bashfully and make obscene hand gestures. He could fling up his arms and fall over in a faint, in a game of bang-bang-you're dead. He could even steal scenes just at the right time - "Right hand turn Clyde" says Beddoe, and down go a dozen bikiers in a wonderful domino effect.

The title track was written over the phone in double quick time by Milton Brown, Steve Dorff and producer Snuff Garrett, even though they knew virtually nothing about the film. This appears to have been no obstacle at all because the team capture the spirit of the film's side plot, a romantic entanglement with a free spirited young woman who gets under Beddoe's skin. It was then that producer Garrett commenced his search for a suitable Country / Western singer to deliver the song, and Eddie Rabbitt got the gig.

8 Track Release
After Rabbitt made a few changes to the song, it was released on the Elektra Label prior to the film's nationwide premiere.  In the week of Dec. 23, 1978, this song went straight into the Country chart at #18, the equal highest debut on the Hot Country Songs list, and remained as Rabbitt's most popular release.
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my recently acquired vinyl which was still in mint condition, even after 40+ years.  I would like to say that I had found it on 8 Track format (see right), so typical of many Country & Western releases but not to be.
The associated Clint Eastwood movie was what introduced me to this talented artist and have since enjoyed listening to his music along with other Country music.
Album artwork is limited to the LP release and after unsuccessful searches for CD covers on the web, I suspect this particular best of collection has never been released on CD format.
Track Listing
01 Drinkin' My Baby (Off My Mind)  2:23
02 Rocky Mountain Music  3:33
03 Do You Right Tonight  2:30
04 Two Dollars In The Jukebox  2:22
05 I Can't Help Myself  3:10
06 We Can't Go On Living Like This 3:29
07 Hearts On Fire  2:34
08 You Don't Love Me Anymore  3:19
09 I Just Want To Love You  4:01
10 Every Which Way But Loose  2:48
Best of Eddie Rabbitt Link (75Mb)
New Link 05/04/2020

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Pearl Jam - Animal - Unauthorised (1994) Bootleg

(U.S 1990 - Present)
Pearl Jam is an American rock band formed in Seattle, Washington, in 1990. Since its inception, the band's line-up has consisted of Eddie Vedder (lead vocals), Mike McCready (lead guitar), Stone Gossard (rhythm guitar) and Jeff Ament (bass). The band's fifth member is drummer Matt Cameron (also of Soundgarden), who has been with the band since 1998. Boom Gaspar (piano) has also been a session/touring member with the band since 2002. Drummers Dave Krusen, Matt Chamberlain, Dave Abbruzzese and Jack Irons are former members of the band.
One of the most successful rock bands of the past quarter-century, Pearl Jam have released 10 studio LPs and numerous live records and official bootlegs over the course of their career, selling an estimated 60 million albums worldwide. But if they’d released only one record – their 1991 debut, Ten – their place in rock history would still be secure. Ten, which turns 25 on August 27th, unleashed the modern-rock classics “Alive,”  “Jeremy” and “Even Flow,” established the previously unknown Eddie Vedder as a superstar frontman and went on to sell more than 13 million copies in the U.S. alone.

For better or worse, the success of Ten also helped push the Seattle rock scene that spawned it (and “grunge” culture in general) squarely into the national spotlight, and inspired a host of lesser bands who blatantly imitated Pearl Jam’s densely rumbling attack and Vedder’s distinctive baritone roar. It also effectively blurred the lines between so-called alternative and mainstream rock, igniting a heated debate among the band’s critics, fans and fellow musicians over whether Pearl Jam were major-label sell-outs, or committed artists whose musical vision just happened to be broad enough to fill arenas. [extract from Rolling Stone, 'Pearl Jam’s ‘Ten’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know', August 2016]

The Pearl Jam 1993 European/North American Tour
Pearl Jam embarked on this tour after completing the recording sessions for its second album, Vs. The Europe leg included a few shows in which the band opened for U2 on the band's Zoo TV Tour, while both legs included several shows in which the band opened for Neil Young on his Harvest
Moon tour. Guitarist Mike McCready said that when the band opened for U2 in Europe the crowds hated Pearl Jam. The short tour of North America focused on Canada and the West Coast of the United States.

In 1993, Neil Young collaborated with Booker T and the MGs for a summer tour of Europe and North America, with Blues Traveler, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam also on the bill. Some European shows ended with a rendition of "Rockin’ In The Free World" played with Pearl Jam, foreshadowing their
eventual full-scale collaboration two years later.  Bassist Jeff Ament said that playing with Neil Young was the most inspiring thing that we've ever been involved in.

Eddie Vedder  & Neil Young
The bootleg recording posted here comes from their 07/16/93 concert held at the Sportpaleis Ahoy: Rotterdam, Holland with an attendance of 9,500. Supporting act were Tribe After Tribe.

The full set consisted of:
Release, Why Go, Deep, Jeremy, Rear view mirror, Elderly Woman, Glorified G, Daughter/(WMA), Garden, Go, Animal, Alive, Black, Porch/ Tearing, improvisation, Once, Fuckin' Up, Leash
Encore 1: Sonic Reducer, Rockin' in the Free World, State of Love and Trust
Encore 2: Indifference

Notes: Pearl Jam has a few problems adjusting to the size of this venue. Ed introduces 'Go' as "... a song you can sing to your own body ..." and he calls it "Don't Go Out On Me." Ed requests the lights be turned on and left on for 'Alive' ("Hey, we'd like to be able to see these people"). 
It was a Great show!

The post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from a very juicy Grapefruit Bootleg CD and includes the usual generic red artwork, along with alternative covers from similar bootleg releases, namely 'Jeremy Live', 'Against' and the Swingin' Pig release 'Europe 93'.
As indicated below, this bootleg is a combination from three different sources, and not just L.A in 1993 as indicated on the cover.
Recording quality is excellent and most certainly comes from Soundboard feeds. This bootleg is a must for any Pearl Jam enthusiast and for the uninitiated, this recording is a great starting point to familiarise oneself with this 90's Grunge band.
01 Release 4:25
02 Why Go 3:38
03 Deep 4:18
04 Jeremy 4:59
05 Daughter / W.M.A. 4:46
06 Garden 5:35
07 Even Flow 4:54
08 Go 2:34
09 Alive 4:53
10 Black 5:14
11 Fuckin' Up 4:09
12 Leash 2:49
13 Sonic Reducer    3:49
14 State Of Love And Trust 3:40
15 Baba O'Riley 3:55
16 Animal 3:08
17 Rockin'In The Free World
(Feat. Neil Young) 6:44

Band Members:
Jeff Ament – bass guitar
Stone Gossard – rhythm guitar
Mike McCready – lead guitar
Eddie Vedder – lead vocals, guitar
Dave Abbruzzese – drums

Tracks 1 to 13: radio-show recorded live at the Ahoy, Rotterdam (day 1 of 2), July 16, 1993. Rotterdam is a city in the Netherlands, in South Holland within the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt river delta at the North Sea.

Tracks 14 to 15: recorded live at the Park Plaza Hotel Ballroom, Los Angeles, September 10, 1992.
Premiere party for the "Singles" movie which was partly broadcasted by MTV. Due to the use of heavy profanity by Eddie during the live performance of "State Of Love And Trust", the broadcasted version was partly mixed with the studio version of the song and played with members of Alice In Chains as the last song.

Tracks 16 and 17: recorded live at the Universal Amphiteatre, Universal City, September 2, 1993.
Complete performance of Pearl Jam at the MTV Video Music Awards 1993 ceremony, "Rockin' In The Free World" was played with Neil Young as unannounced guest on guitar and vocals.
Pearl Jam Unauthorised Link (172Mb) New Link 30/12/2023

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary / On Stage (1991) Bootleg

(U.S 1967 - 1972)
Creedence Clearwater Revival, though one of the most commercially and artistically successful acts of the late 1960s and early 1970s, failed to release a live album during its initial four-piece run from 1968 to 1970. However dominated in the studio by John Fogerty’s near-unparalleled songwriting prowess and efficiency, CCR ultimately distinguished itself as a disciplined live act that saw solid input from each member. Propelled by a vastly underrated and contributing rhythm section in Stu Cook (bass) and Doug Clifford (drums), the group shed its undeniable three-minute AM appeal in the live setting with a willingness to venture off into surging jams. Aided by Fogerty’s infamously meticulous approach to rehearsals, the band maintained greater focus and momentum than its Bay Area contemporaries in this regard and provided the guitarist with ample opportunity for improvisational lead work.

Original CCR
The songs in this post come from the very limited Radioshow LP called "Retrorock" A radioshow is a show placed onto LP (or CD now) for use in radio stations. They play it on the radio and afterwards they (normally) must destroy the record. This concert recording is average quality and only very limited quantities exist. This radioshow had songs on it from the Fillmore West concert and songs live from Oakland, CA. January 31, 1970. The full radioshow is copied on this bootleg, without the commercials which are on every radioshow [extract from River Rising]

Although the cover artwork associated with this On Stage release indicates that the recordings were made at the Fillmore East, in March 1970, these recordings actually come from the final closing show at the Fillmore West, held on the 4th July, 1971. [ as reported at the Electric Bayou website]

Fillmore West
Fillmore West
One day after he closed New York's Fillmore East, promoter Bill Graham announced the lineup for the final week of San Francisco's Fillmore West. Graham would end three years of historic shows with five nights of music billed as "the bands that built the Fillmore." The final night, July 4, 1971, featured Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Tower of Power. Camera crews recorded the week's events for the documentary Last Days of the Fillmore.

In 1968, Graham moved from the original Fillmore Auditorium to the Carousel Ballroom, a former dance hall. Graham opened the venue as the Fillmore West on July 5, 1968.

The Sunday night finale was an invitation-only event that was broadcast live on KSAN and KSFX in quadraphonic FM. "This is going to be the greatest mother---ing evening of our lives," Graham promised as he opened the show. "And now, a bitch of a band from the East Bay – Tower of Power."

The funk-rock horn band was a tough act to follow but the audience was bowled over by surprise guests Creedence Clearwater Revival. The band, fronted by John Fogerty wearing a turquoise cowboy suit with matching boots, was now a trio. It was their first performance since Tom Fogerty quit back in January. The band opened with "Born on the Bayou" and the hour-long set of their hits ended with "Keep On Chooglin'."

The headliners of the evening were Santana, who took the stage just before 1AM. Santana's classic sextet was joined by guitarist Neil Schon and percussionist Coke Escovedo. The 90-minute set opened with "Incident at Neshabur" and included the hits "Black Magic Woman," Oye Como Va" and "Soul Sacrifice." The closing number was Miles Davis' "In a Silent Way."

Drummer Michael Shrieve explained that choice in the book Live at the Fillmore East and West. "We wanted to come off as a little more progressive, as we felt that it would represent us at the given time when the Fillmore closed. We were sort of transformed as a band and that's why we chose to do the Miles Davis tune … and have our kind of groove to it. That was really important to us."

The night ended as Van Morrison, Mike Bloomfield, Sam Andrew of Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Tower of Power horn section and others joined Santana for a jam session.

"The music was terrible (at one point Van Morrison insisted they all stop and try something else) but the show was great," wrote David Felton in Rolling Stone. "Graham and his staff pelted the audience with gifts – paper plates, beer, champagne and ice cubes. Sometime between 4 and 5AM, everyone gave up and went home. About 40 fans stuck around to shake hands with Graham, then left him to wander alone among the amps and debris."

"I'm closing the Fillmores for a combination of reasons," Graham told UPI. "They've been a 52-week a year operation and I'm tired of the anguish and lack of time for myself and for other activities as a result of having to work that way. You become a victim of your own creation. I want to get out of the grasp of the monster I created."

But Graham was soon back in the concert business, promoting huge outdoor concerts with performers that included Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers Band. Graham was killed in a helicopter crash on Oct. 25, 1991 while returning to his California home from a Huey Lewis and the News concert. [extract from Ultimate Classic Rock]
This post consists of MP3 (320kps) ripped from my CD 'On Stage' Bootleg and includes full artwork along with alternative covers for other bootleg releases for the same concert.
Note that the Back Tray song listing incorrectly states the title for Track 14 as "Up Around The Band" when in fact it should read "Up Around The Bend".  The quality of the recording is a little disappointing (6/10), however this famous recording belongs in everyone's collection as it represents an important part in the closing of the Fillmore West.
Alt Release
Track Listing
01 Bad Moon Rising 1:59
02 Green River 3:01
03 Hey Tonight 2:17
04 Keep On Chooglin' 8:19
05 Proud Mary 2:40
06 Travelling Band 2:02
07 Commotion 2:25
08 Born On The Bayou 4:38
09 It Came Out Of The Sky 2:58
10 Lodi' 3:01
11 Who'll Stop The Rain 2:15
12 Fortunate Son 2:15
13 Down On The Corner 2:32
14 Up Around The Band 2:34

CCR band:
John Fogerty - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Stu Cook - Bass
Doug Clifford - Drums
Creedence Clearwater Revival Link (100Mb) New Link 18/12/2023

Monday, July 9, 2018

Journey MEGA Post: Journey (1975), Look Into The Future (1976), Next (1977)

(U.S 1973 - Present)
Formed in late 1973, Journey made their debut at San Francisco Winterland on New Year's Eve that year, followed by New Year's Day second gig before 100,000 audience at annual Sunshine Festival at Diamond Head Crater, Hawaii (I plan to post this brilliant concert at a later stage as it shows a very different Journey). Originally called the Golden Gate Rhythm Section and intended to serve as a backup group for established Bay Area artists, the band included recent Santana alumni Neal Schon on lead guitar and Gregg Rolie on keyboards and lead vocals. Bassist Ross Valory and Rhythm Guitarist George Tickner, both of Frumious Bandersnatch, and drummer Prairie Prince of The Tubes rounded out the group. The band quickly abandoned the original "backup group" concept and developed a distinctive jazz fusion style.

After an unsuccessful radio contest to name the group, roadie John Villaneuva suggested the name "Journey." Prairie Prince rejoined The Tubes shortly thereafter, and the band hired British drummer Aynsley Dunbar, who had recently worked with John Lennon and Frank Zappa. On February 5, 1974, the new line-up made their debut at the Great American Music Hall and secured a recording contract with Columbia Records.

Journey 1975: Gregg Rolie, Ross Valory, Neal Schon, George Tickner and Aynsley Dunbar
Journey released their debut Selftitled album in 1975, and rhythm guitarist Tickner left the band before they cut their second album, Look into the Future (1976). Neither album achieved significant sales, so Schon, Valory, and Dunbar took singing lessons in an attempt to add vocal harmonies to Rolie's lead. The following year's Next (1977) contained shorter tracks with more vocals, and featured Schon as lead singer on several of the songs. Journey's album sales did not
improve and Columbia Records requested that they change their musical style and add a frontman, with whom keyboardist Gregg Rolie could share lead vocal duties. The band hired Robert Fleischman and transitioned to a more popular style, akin to that of Foreigner and Boston. Journey went on tour with Fleischman in 1977 and together the new incarnation of the band wrote the hit "Wheel in the Sky." But fans were lukewarm to the change, and personality differences resulted in Fleischman being fired within the year.

In the fall of 1977, Journey hired Steve Perry as their new lead singer. Perry added a clean, tenor sound and the band became a true pop act. Their fourth album, Infinity (1978), reached No. 21 on the album charts and gave the band their first ARIA-certified platinum album plus hit singles out of "Lights" (#68 U.S.) and "Wheel In the Sky".

Journey 1976: Aynsley Dunbar, Ross Valory, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon
Album Reviews
Journey are a band your neighbours are going to love to hate. It's suggested on the album sleeve that to fully appreciate the sound of Journey, you should play the record at the highest possible volume-just the sort of thing that's sure to win you friends.
But Journey aren't your average group of speaker-blowing hopefuls. The band has drawn its personnel from the likes of Santana, Zappa's Mothers of Invention, Grand Central Station and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. But if you get a little lost listening to Santana, plain confused with Zappa, or the Bluesbreakers were a little before your time, then Journey are definitely the band to listen to.
Although acclaimed as a supergroup when they were formed in late '73, Journey has received very little airplay in Australia. Possibly the first time many Australians heard of the band was when Skyhooks were their support band during the 'Hooks American Escapade'.

The title track of their first album Look Into The Future (released in '74) is probably the best place to start. If you're not sure about buying the album, get your local record man to play that track for you and if those 7 or 8 minutes don't have you ready to part with six or seven dollars of your drinking money, you'd better get your hearing aid tested.

The second album, Journey, is a little more complex, with once again the opening track setting the mood for the album. "Of a Lifetime" starts very gently but has a finish that tends to leave you nailed to the floor. Lyrically Journey seem to be a product of the late '60's British style of writing, much of which can be attributed to Greg Rollie on keyboards (co-founder of Santana with Carlos Santana). The lyrics tend to be overly poetic, particularly on "Mystery Mountain" and the very powerful "In My Lonely Feeling".

Journey 1977:  Neal Schon, Aynsley Dunbar, Ross Valory, Gregg Rolie
The current album Next lacks the outstanding track that made the first two albums, although "Feels Like The First Time" is a strong contender. It follows on from the previous album in style and complexity and seems to be a natural progression for both the band and listener.
But with Journey-start at the beginning. And try not to play it too late at night. .. for the neighbours' sake [Review by Marc Wallace from Vinylising, RAM Magazine, 21st October, 1977. p17]
This MEGA post consists of Journey's first three album (in my opinion their best) ripped to FLAC from my trusty vinyl (which have been in my collection since their release).
Full album artwork for both LP and CD formats are included, along with label scans.
Although I listen to Journey's more current releases, I still prefer the band before Steve Perry was brought in to give the band a more commercial appeal.  Nothing beats the blistering guitar / keyboard solos found on these three albums, and my neighbours have grown to enjoy them also!

Journey - Selftitled (1975)
01 - Of A Lifetime
02 - In the Morning Day
03 - Kohoutek
04 - To Play Some Music
05 - Topaz
06 - In My Lonely Feeling Conversations
07 - Mystery Mountain

Journey are:
Gregg Rolie - Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Neal Schon - Lead Guitars, Lead Vocals
George Tickner - Rhythm Guitar
Ross Valory - Bass, Piano, Background Vocals
Aynsley Dunbar - Drums, Percussion

Journey  FLACS Link (201Mb)  New Link 24/12/2023

Journey - Look Into The Future (1976)
01 - On A Saturday Nite
02 - Its All Too Much
03 - Anyway
04 - She Makes Me (Feel Alright)
05 - You're On Your Own
06 - Look Into The Future
07 - Midnight Dreamer
08 - I'm Gonna Leave You

Journey are:
Gregg Rolie - Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Neal Schon - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals
Ross Valory - Bass, Background Vocals
Aynsley Dunbar - Drums, Percussion

Look Into The Future FLACS Link (256Mb)  New Link 24/12/2023

Journey - Next (1977)
01 - Spaceman
02 - People
03 - I Would Find You
04 - Here We Are
05 - Hustler
06 - Next
07 - Nickel And Dime
08 - Karma

Journey are:
Gregg Rolie - Keyboards, Lead Vocals
Neal Schon - Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Lead Vocals
Ross Valory - Bass, Background Vocals
Aynsley Dunbar - Drums, Percussion

Next FLACS Link (230Mb)

Saturday, July 7, 2018

REPOST: Little Heroes - Watch The World (1983) plus Bonus Single

(Australian 1980-1984)
In amongst all the turbulence of line-up changes, The Little Heroes said bon voyage to Australia for a period during mid 1983, during which they recorded their third album ‘Watch The World’ at Farmyard Studios in the U.K., under the production supervision of Rupert Hine. The album surfaced in September ‘83, and went on to crack the top 50 in Australia. The title track single only rose to #73, but its follow up ‘Bon Voyage’ performed better (#51), though not to the level on the charts that would do justice to such a great song.
It was perhaps the commercial disappointment of ‘Watching The World’ that contributed to The Little Heroes calling it a day in June 1984. It’s a pity really because The Little Heroes seemed to be a band that were just hitting stride, as exemplified on ‘Bon Voyage’ and another great song from the same album called ‘Modern Times’. Whatever the reasons for The Little Heroes not reaching their absolute potential, they nonetheless left us with a fine body of work to savour.

A Perth Newspaper reported on Little Heroes on 8th March, 1984. The following is a transcript from this article:

Heroes Return
Little Heroes 'Watch The World' set the standards for Australian albums last year through its fine production and engineering.
The band suddenly found itself being watched by the world as the heroes became more than your average Oz pub band.

Back in Perth this week for a series of dates, Little Heroes founder (and until now chief songwriter) Roger Hart looks back on 1983 as the bands most satisfying year.
"It was the year we solidified", he said on the phone from Melbourne this week. "Whereas in the past I would have only given the band a life of two years at any given time, it now has an unlimited potential".
The cause of this burst of optimism is the lads' belief that the finally-settled Heroes line-up offers a social consistency and musical individuality that's hard to beat.
Hart says all five members have very individual and different playing styles and songs are now developing through different styles rather than the head of one person.
The big change to the next album, which will be cut after a six month break the band intend to take a couple of weeks, will be in the songwriting.
"Songs will be written by everyone in the band for the first time," says Roger. "Before, I've written everything and to be honest, the job got boring.
"There is no competition. They just went along with what I was doing. This way its going to be much more stimulating. We intend to have about 30 songs from which to pick when we cut the album.
"And the sound will be sparser as well. In retrospect one of the faults with Watch The World is there was too much going on musically".
So watch Little Heroes, their next step is the world. Find out why by catching them around town this week [article by Mike Gee, sourced from Little Heroes Facebook Page]

Unfortunately, this fourth album never saw the light of day, as the band disbanded within 3 months of this article been written, when Roger Hart chose to leave in June, 1984.
One can only wonder what this album would have sounded like, given their plans to change direction in their song writing. The following album reviews for 'Watch The World' were sourced from three different newspapers / magazines (thanks to Little Heroes Facebook Page) and provide a wide range of viewpoints about this album.
'Goodbye To All That' Review 1
The third album, although since lineup has drastically changed once again, one can hardly compare.
Nevertheless, main man Roger Hart seems to have got the best team and the best result this time (and recording in England with Rupert Hines hasn't done any harm either).
Music is more developed, less strict pop song forms, the prevailing mood is sombre, a bit cold even.
Still a band in search of gigantic hit and I can't hear it here. Perhaps if this lineup survives to make a second album, something more vital will have been forged [Artice by Greg Taylor]

Review 2
The Little Heroes 1982 album 'Play By Numbers' was a spotty offering sprinkled with gracious, heartfelt pop songs. Stained by the blood of a sentimental or street toughened heart, the fiery impact of these tracks was all too often doused-down by monochromatic tunes included for the sake of being modern rather than moving.

'Watch The World' is an album of greater substance  and less obvious commercial intent. It's not that the accessibility is missing. It's just that it is more strategically placed. The stuff borne of a band actively maturing and of a wild-hearted, clever minded producer like Rupert Hine.
On the title track, a suspicious choice for single release, the classy synthesizer works like a fuel-injection system, only spurting out its energy when necessary. Roger Hart's nasal, theatrical voice, arguably more suited to picturesque ballads, does a fine job bleeding the ordinary, hard nosed chorus. And, somehow, despite the lack of flair of this track, it becomes five minutes of lyrically-superior rock and roll. Yet it is far from The World's main beauty spot.
That honor goes to the chorus-dominated squelching guitar play "Modern Times". It's not hard to imagine this stern rhythm working well in the ash-filled pub corridors. It's got the energy, it's got the message and it's for the melody to make sure it reaches the right destination.

Even Hart's usually controlled, intellectual vocals prefer to make the path of the roads' scholar rather than the Rhodes Scholar. Ditto for the dynamic, complex "Beating Drums", another track that reveals the band's love of a big production chorus and hectic percussion  division.
One sad aspect of Watch The World is that the magic mix of lovely, terminal nostalgia and peachy, timeless memories, so ideally sketched on "One perfect Day" is not quite replicated here. "Bon Voyage" tries in vain to emulate that classic tune. It is a love story read from the lips of a tourist that's filled with unrepentantly lazy guitars, scratching about behind Hart's dynamic enunciation's.
"Memories", also pursues rockstalgia. But alas, the heavy drum beat fuzzes out the hypnotic processes of the rhythm section, leaving the track to languish in no-personland.

Live At Billboard Club, Melbourne. 1983
If Rupert Hine has ensured that Little Heroes is more intent these days to twisting the mind rather than twisting by the pool, he occasionally gives them reign to blissfully bop. "Seventh Heaven", a Reels-like jingle jive and the more lyrically worthwhile "Whose Turn To Cry" are unserious, undemanding and unfair for anyone who can't dance. They happily break up all the gravity and grief in the World.
Finally, as the ultimate statement of the band's versatility comes the almost L.A sound of "Waiting". Sounding more like that other big 'Little' band from Down-Under, Heroes show that West Coast sounds can be injected with electric energy and vocal rudeness without losing any of their suaveness and cool [Article by Robert Vella]


Review 3
The Little Heroes' third album is a sophisticated development of the flippant pop with its boppy rhythms that has dominated their previous albums. Unfortunately the romantic and emotional potential of Watch The World is never fully realised by producer Rupert Hine. With his characteristically compressed production, he has managed to wash away the melodies in a flood of synthesizer overlays. And it is so evident that even even the most sparse moments are brimming with harsh, synthesizer hiss.

This is the first album from the current line-up of the Little Heroes and it's their most compatible and musically effective combination yet. Banished, blessedly, are their bopping rhythms. The new arrangements focus much more successfully on melodic layers than rhythms. There's some nice guitar melodies from Paul Bell and keyboard player Paul Brickhall (ex MEO245) has introduced some clean, emotive lines. Using Hine's own synthesizer and programs, the arrangements inevitably sound remarkably like Hine's own work. Baffling though is why the arrangements defy, if not outright ignore, the lyric line leaving the songs floundering somewhere between blatant pop and something more substantial.

The Little Heroes force has always been their more melancholy songs and the highlight of Watch The World is undoubtedly "Bon Voyage", the song that originally drew Rupert Hine to the band. They've kept it simple, relatively clean and it shines as the logical successor to their biggest hit "One Perfect Day"
Watch The World in overview, however, is an incompatible meeting of the wrong band with the wrong producer. In other hands, this could have been a nice pop album with some soaring moments. As it is, it comes close but in the end the copious window dressing tends to smother rather than enhance the good ideas [Article by Andrea Jones]

Finally, below is a transcript of an article published in Juke Magazine (June 9, 1984) which talks about the band's decision to split.
'Little Heroes Split'
The Roger Hart-Paul Brickhall song writing team will stay together, but The Little Heroes have decided to split up The band's decision came as a shock. In an interview with Juke only a few months ago, on the eve of their going off the road to write and record the next album, the members indicated confidence that overseas recognition would take some time and suggested that they had the commitment to stick to it until then.
Certainly the news took EMI executives by surprise too. They had spent a small fortune getting English producer Rupert Hine to work on the Watch The World album and there was a strong indication Hine would also work on their next LP. The band also did well supporting Duran Duran on their Australian tour last year.

The Little Heroes were a band much praised by the Australian rock press but ended up having only a minor hit with "One Perfect Day" which momentarily widened their loyal cult following. [article by Jillian Hughes and Robbie Coates]
'Post Heroes'
* Roger Hart/Roger Wells went on to become an author and meditation trainer. His books on meditation are: Happy to Burn (Lothian 1997) and Love & Imagination. More recently his first novel, Levin's God was published by Fremantle Arts Centre Press (2004).
* John Taylor became a filmmaker and graphics designer, winning an AFI award in 1986.
* Paul Brickhill went on to head the Music Department at the Australian Ballet School.
* David Crosbie was the Chief Executive of Melbourne's Odyssey House, the largest drug and alcohol treatment centre in Victoria and is on the National Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs. He is now the Chief Executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia.
* Alan 'Clutch' Robertson worked for Warner Music for sixteen years in Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, after which he established Alan Robertson Management, representing bands such as Magic Dirt and TaxiRide.
* Martin Fisher became a Crown Prosecutor in the Northern Territory and played keyboards in popular Darwin band The Fabulous Baker Brothers [extract from Little Heroes Facebook Page]
This post consists of an FLACs taken from my Vinyl copy of this album. Full album artwork is included for both vinyl and CD. Note that EMI released both ‘Play The Numbers’ and ‘Watching The World’ albums on a CD twin pack in the 90s, but it’s been a while since they’ve been available to buy new. I would also like to acknowledge the use of photos included in this post which were taken from the Little Heroes Facebook Page, for which I am most grateful.

*  REPOST:  Added bonus non-album B-Side Single "Let It Go" and freshly ripped FLACs

Track Listing
01 - Watch The World
02 - Bon Voyage
03 - Modern Times
04 - Memories
05 - Seventh Heaven

06 - Painting Pictures
07 - Beating Drums
08 - Waiting
09 - Whose Turn To Cry
10 - Castles In The Air

11 - Let It Go (B-Side Single).

Band Members:
Roger Hart (Guitar/Lead Vocals)
Paul Brickhill (Keyboards/Vocals)
Anthony Tavasz (Bass/Synthesizer)

A. Paul Bell (Guitar/Vocals) 
Alan 'Clutch' Robertson (Drums/Percussion)

Little Heroes FLAC Link (310Mb)  New Link 26/02/2024