Monday, November 30, 2020

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Uncle Sam Deodrant Flexi Disc - Angelo, What Are You Doing? (1973)

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.

Between 1973 and 1975, Uncle Sam was a brand of deodorant, shampoo and toothpaste which had a huge marketing campaign in Australia. An Australian brand and creation, the actor who played Uncle Sam was Piero von Arnim. 

As part of the marketing strategy for this popular 'teenager' bathroom accessory, a double-decker bus toured regional areas of Victoria and New South Wales, all painted up, playing the Uncle Sam jingle and handing out samples. They even had glamour girls giving out promotional stuff including a flexi disc - a cardboard, single sided disc entitled '"Angelo, What are you doing?".  It's essentially a comedy, with some lovely mad moments mixed in with the Uncle Sam jingle. Other items on offer was a promotional Poster, Stickers and Underarm cloth patches that were worn in the T.V commercial

The jingle itself was catchy, and the graphics on the deodorant can really popped…a brilliant piece of marketing from the 70’s.

Front man Piero von Arnim lived for performing but was bemused and then constrained by its byproduct, fame. The staggeringly handsome actor and musician became famous as ''Uncle Sam'' in this hugely popular 70s' deodorant commercial. The brand itself was short lived but the commercials imprinted themselves on Australian popular culture forever.

They were the forerunner of modern deodorant commercials that emphasise sex and youthful vigour. And they were powerfully catchy.

''It's the perfect connection for fellas and girls / And under your arm is the top of the world,'' von Arnim sang, in a garish stars-and-stripes' jumpsuit and top-hat. The advertisements won the now-defunct Logie for best television commercial in 1975 and 1976.

Promotional Poster And Cloth Patches

Von Arnim was amazed at how quickly he became a recognisable face. A crowd of female admirers mobbed and then chased him from a Melbourne beach.

The 190-centimetre actor was the Cleo centrefold in July 1975, for which he posed nude behind a piano. But Uncle Sam cast a pall over his career. During his run as Brad in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the audience sang the Uncle Sam theme when he came on stage.

Piero von Arnim was born in Cape Town, South Africa on April 29, 1950. As a youngster, Von Arnim had resolved to leave South Africa. His Swedish godfather implanted the idea of Australia in his head with the gift of a toy koala. After some wangling at the passport office and a $220 fare, he booked a one-way passage in 1971. He went to Adelaide, to take a master's degree in economics, but became drawn into university revues, led by a young Steve J. Spears.

In 1973, von Arnim was the titular Stud in Spears's first major stage play, a 1973 rock musical commissioned by a local sex shop owner. On tour with the show, von Arnim moved to Sydney and successfully auditioned for the leading role in McCann-Erickson's ''Uncle Sam'' commercials. To escape from the resulting fame, von Arnim left Australia. 

While visiting his family in South Africa, he landed a part in Zulu Dawn, with Burt Lancaster and Peter O'Toole. He played lead roles in a number of local films and was awarded best new actor. [extract from the Sydney Morning Herald, Nov 12, 2012 ]

So, this month's Uncle Sam post covers all facets of what makes W.O.C.K on Vinyl what it is today, a song that is Weird, Obscure (who else has this flexi disc?), a little Crazy and oh so Korny!  

A big thank you to Klaatu (at Ausrock) for the flexi-disc FLAC rip and artwork, and Peter's Milk Bar for the promotional material imagery. Now, if only Blogger could provide a 'scratch and sniff' feature, this post would be complete !

Friday, November 27, 2020

Stars - Paradise (1977) plus Bonus Singles

 (Australian 1975 - 1980,  2019)

Adelaide band The Stars first came to prominence with Quick on the Draw produced by Beeb Birtles in 1976. Beeb along with rest of Little River Band were impressed with the Adelaide band and brought tapes back to Melbourne where they scored a contract with Mushroom records. The band sported a “cowboy” look wearing boots, checked shirts and cowboy hats. The band consisted of Mick Pealing (vocals), Mal Eastick (guitar), Glyn Dowding (drums) and Graham Thompson (bass).

After the success of their first single they added Andy Durant as a second guitarist. In 1977, they toured with Joe Cocker and in 1978, The Beach Boys and Linda Ronstadt.

Although not a teen band in the mould of Sherbet or Hush, The Stars appeared regularly on Countdown and scored a top 30 hit with the Andy Durant song “Mighty Rock”.

Andy Durant died on 6 May 1980 aged 25 from cancer. Later that year, Stars guitarist Mal Eastick organised the Andrew Durant memorial concert in Melbourne. The concert featured Stars, Jimmy Barnes, Rene Geyer, Richard Clapton and many more. The profits from the concert and sale of the double album went to The Andrew Durant Cancer Research Centre.

The band eventually disbanded in 1980, in respect to Durant's passing. Eastick joined Broderick Smith's Big Combo (1979–1982) and later provided guitar for different artists including Max Merritt and Jimmy Barnes. Pealing formed his own band Mick Pealing and the Ideals (1980–1981), and were also a backing band for RenĂ©e Geyer. He then formed The Spaniards (1983–1986) and worked with other artists including Eastick. McLachlan toured with Cliff Richard in 1978, worked with John Farnham (1987–1988), briefly rejoined Little River Band (1998–1999) and was a member of Mighty Rock with Pealing in 2004. Eastick performed in Sydney pubs and clubs 1987/88 and had the distinction of being sponsored by Jack Daniels.

Stars eventually re-formed in 2019, announcing a tour in November and December of that year.

Album Review
In a sense, Paradise is as epoch-marking as the Dingoes' first LP. They both just about sum up the Australian attempt to hit the mainstream of '70's country rock.

Country rock, natch, is a field dominated exclusively by American-groups which (natch again) leads to accusations of Oz-Band Music Apes Overseas Trend, which leads to the conclusion Australia Has No Valid Musical Identity.

But that's just not true. There was something uniquely, ruggedly Australian about the Dingoes first - a rough and ready outlaw charm that had the same sort of energy, but different musical feel, as the Confederate boogie of the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.


There seemed no doubt the Dingoes could beat quite a few of them pesky Confederates at their own game. And sure enough they eventually got to America, and recorded a second album.

Unfortunately that second LP showed their musical cohesiveness was shot to pieces, and just about nothing has been heard of 'em since.

Ah, but the Dingoes were outlaws. Stars on the basis of this album and their smooth concert performances are professional marksmen. And they bag most of the targets they go for.

The current single "Look After Yourself" for instance seems one of those 'hey is that the Eagles or ....??' songs, except , halfway through you know it's not the Eagles or any other L.A band. The vocals are a little less slick, the harmonies a lot less choral, the guitar solo has an ingenuous bounce, that has nothing to do with the multi-tracked fulsomeness of Sunset Boulevard.

In fact, apart from Look After Yourself and the Life In The Fast Lane echoes in "Back Again", Stars steer clear of Sunset Boulevard all together. Their real meat is slow, sultry workouts on ballads such as "West Is The Way", "Jupiter Creek" and Ain't No Time For Cryin' ". "No Time For Cryin", by the way is from guitarist Mal Eastick, all other originals are from partner guitarist Andy Durant.

Durant concentrates on Australiana - either narrative as in Jupiter Creek or the romanticism of the Wild Oz Outdoors (Paradise & Song For The Road). He sure can pen fetching melodies and singer Mick Pealing can sure deliver 'em with clear, strong tones and mucho concentration on the lyrical mood.

Unhappily though, while aiming for the country rock midsection and retaining an Oz identity, the band are a bit too slow on the trigger for uptempo boogie. "Let's Get Moving" for instance is about an outlaw showdown with the phuzz, but it moves at the gentle pace of a picnic walk. "Mighty Rock" has a marvellous hookline but the rock backing is muted and Mick Pealing could be singing a grocery list, he sounds that excited about the energising power of rock 'n' roll. 

And then again, the live rendition of "Rocky Mountain Way" has gnashing, crashing guitars in the right places, but it doesn't sound nearly demented as Joe Walsh's original was. So for that matter was Joe's guitar solo on the "Hotel California" single.

And that's what Stars have to learn. At the moment they're hiding behind their music, which is fine for ballads and acceptable for medium-paced joggers. But if you wanna rock, you gotta sound demented, even if you're not.

Otherwise you'gotta stick with the softer side of Hip Easy Listening. As things stand, the one draw back to Stars is their own sensible sanity. [Review by Anthony O'Grady, RAM, March 10, 1978. p31]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my CD and includes full artwork for both vinyl and CD.  I own the LP but thought a CD rip would be better received. The bonus tracks, two singles released in 1976 are of course ripped from my 45's.  If there is sufficient interest in this post, I will post their live album '1157'  in the near future.  I saw these guys play numerous times while they did the Melbourne Pub and Uni circuit in the late 70's, but was mostly impressed by the set they played at the 1977 Nightmoves Concert at the Palais Theatre in St.Kilda. Their rendition of "Rocky Mountain Way"was electrifying, and established Andy Durant as one of the finest guitarists in Australia. Hope you enjoy their debut album and as O'Grady comments above in his review, it stands out right next to the Dingoes' stalwart debut album.

01. Back Again
02. Lets Get Moving
03. Paradise
04. Jupiter Creek
05. Mighty Rock
06. West Is The Way
07.  Song For The Road
08.  No Time For Crying
09.  Look After Yourself 
10.  Rocky Mountain Way (Live) 
11.  With A Winning Hand (Bonus A-Side Single)
12.  Drift Away (Bonus B-Sidec Single)
13.  Quick On The Draw (Bonus A-Side Single)
14.  Straight Life (Bonus B-Side Single)

The Stars were:
Mick Pealing (vocals), 
Mal Eastick (guitar)
Andy Durant (guitar) 
Glyn Dowding (drums)
Graham Thompson (bass)

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Warrant - Cherry Pie (1990)

 (U.S 1984 - Present)

If you applied a microscope to the late 80's American hard rock scene, looking for on pivotal song that encompassed the period, then you'd be hard pressed to get past "Cherry Pie", a track that was all conquering at the time, firmly establishing itself as one of the era's calling cards. With MTV embracing the accompanying video, and US radio elevating the track into overdrive, Warrant could do no wrong and deservedly so.

Emerging out of the Los Angeles Sunset Strip hotbed, the band initially struggled to gain a foothold, but eventually attracted major management and a coveted contract with industry heavyweight Columbia Records. Their debut album surpassed expectations, and produced a #2 hit single, spring boarding sales way in excess of gold status. The scene was set for their sophomore album but nobody was ready for the explosion of success that followed.

"Cherry Pie" once again produced by veteran studio wizard Beau Hill (RATT, Kix) and first released in 1990, launched the band to even bigger success, the title track becoming one of the most played songs of the year and a virtual prime time MTV staple. In addition, the band's front man Jani Lane had become a poster boy for the movement, with his, and the band's, faces splattered over virtually every music magazine around. Musically, the album was far superior to their debut and decidedly heavier, featuring such brazen rockers as "Uncle Tom's Cabin", "Love In Stereo" and of course, the superbly crafted title track. 'Mr. Rainmaker' is remarkably powerful with a chorus that is still memorable today, I love the catchiness of 'Bed of Roses' and 'Song and Dance Man', the party sense of 'Sure Feels Good to Me', and the groove of the Blackfoot cover 'Train Train'.Of course there's great ballads in the glossy 'I Saw Red' enhanced with piano, and the awesome 'Blind Faith' (much more than just a power ballad).

Warrant had some trouble continuing their multi-platinum success during the alternative explosion of 1992, although their third album, 'Dog Eat Dog', did go gold. 'Ultraphobic' (1995) and Belly to Belly (1996), however, failed to chart.The band's lineup began to splinter as the '90s progressed, with the majority of Warrant's founding members leaving the group. Under the Influence arrived in 2001, comprised of various cover songs and two original tracks; it also marked Jani Lane's last recording with the band. He ultimately left in 2004, taking two of Warrant's members with him, and was replaced by former Black 'N Blue vocalist Jaime St. James. While Lane attempted a solo career, the revised version of Warrant released Born Again in 2006. Jaime St. James' tenure in the band proved to be very short, as he was ousted in 2008 in favour of Lane's return. Later that year, Lane left once again and was replaced by Lynch Mob's Rob Mason. Lane was found dead of acute alcohol poisoning in a Los Angeles hotel room on August 2011 at the age of 47.

'Cherry Pie' video promo shot (feat. Bobbie Brown)

While Lane met a tragic end, “Cherry Pie” still holds up as a classic of a bygone era (with 50 million views on YouTube over the past decade), thanks in no small part to its iconic, if polarising, music video.

This post consist of FLACs ripped from my CD (still looking for this gem on vinyl) and of course comes with full artwork for both media.  I must admit that I've always been fond of  Apple Pie, but this release by Warrant has certainly opened my eyes (and taste buds) to trying some Cherry Pie every now and then!  On a more musical note, this album is well worth the listen, and particularly enjoy their take of Blackfoot's stalwart standard "Train Train".  Even if your'e not a sweet tooth, I think you'll still enjoy this album, Hair and all

01 - Cherry Pie
02 - Uncle Tom's Cabin
03 - I Saw Red
04 - Bed Of Roses
05 - Sure Feels Good To Me
06 - Love In Stereo
07 - Blind Faith
08 - Song And Dance Man
09 - You're The Only Hell Your Mama Ever Raised
10 - Mr. Rainmaker
11 - Train Train

Jani Lane - vocals
Joey Allen, Erik Turner - guitars
Jerry Dixon - bass
Steven Sweet - drums

Additional personnel:
C. C. DeVille, Mike Slamer - guest guitar
Eric Oswald (Jani Lane's brother) - intro on Uncle Tom's Cabin
Scott Warren - Keyboards
Bruno Ravel Steve West (Danger Danger) - backing vocals
Fiona - backing vocals
Alan Hewitt - organ, piano, strings
Beau Hill - organ, banjo, keyboards, production, mixing
Juke Logan - harmonica
Paul Harris - piano, strings

Warrant Link (280Mb)

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Def Leppard - On Through The Night (1980) + Bonus Single

 (U.K 1977 - Present)

For a band that initially embraced their place in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Def Leppard has done a lot to distance themselves from that genre. The new wave of the late '70s and early '80s featured an explosion of all sorts of rock and metal from the U.K. that relied less on blues references and instead took a faster; harder approach. Many of the bands didn't live up to the hype and never made it, but some, like Def Leppard and lron Maiden, became global stars.

Over the years, Def Leppard, which started out as more of a raw metal band, yet one that loved the melodies of '70s rock, evolved into a mass-appealing, super produced, blockbuster outfit that gave us mega hits like "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Love Bites." For my money, Def Leppard is all about the first three albums-their hardest and most rockin'.

Def Leppard 1980

'On Throuqh the Night', the band's 1980 debut, did fairly well in England, but it is often overlooked because of its lack of hits or airplay in America.

The band usually never plays much from it live, but it's a solid album with great riffs, which is especially impressive considering that all the group's members were in their teens when it was recorded. Even with a single called "Hello America" which shows just how bent these guys were on breaking stateside, something that didn't sit too well with the hometown crowd in Sheffield, England - 'On Throuqh the Night' failed to light a spark on U.S. sales charts. But musically, it laid a nice foundation for the hits to come. Songs like "Wasted", "Rock Brigade", and "When The Walls Came Tumbling Down" are early signs of greatness from a still wet-behind-the- ears Def Leppard.

One year later, Def Leppard released High 'n' Dry, which remains, in my opinion, the best record in their catalog, working for the first time with noted producer Mutt Lange (who was fresh off producing AC/DC's mega hit album 'Back in Black').   [extract from Eddie Trunk's 'Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal', 2011. p63-64]

Album Review

This is 100% NWOBHM, although it's not true Metal.
The album starts off with the killer "Rock Brigade". It's defiantly a sign of what's to come for the band, with harmonised vocals along with hard rock riffs. Like most NWOBHM, there is very little substance, but you're listening to Def Leppard, not Death, so you really shouldn't be expecting much anyway. "Rock Brigade" is followed up with the also good "Hello America". It isn't anything amazing, but a totally serviceable song with a great chorus. Songs with great chorus' can describe almost all the songs here, unfortunately most songs suffer from boring verses. Still, there is one song that is awesome through and through, that song is "Wasted". "Wasted" is an amazing song really, with an awesome riff, great chorus, and great solo. It's a real underrated gem.

As great as many of the songs are, they all are held back by the production and tempo. Every song here is played just a tad bit too slow. Live, these songs are awesome, but most lose their power on the album itself. The production job isn't bad by any means, but it's a touch too bottom heavy, and everything is just a but mushy. It doesn't kill the album, but it does it no favors. Look up "Dortmund 1983 Def Leppard" and just watch. Wasted live just destroys the album version in every way possible, and shows what the production and tempo really do to it as a song.

The point of a review is to show if an album is good or not in the reviewers opinion, and to me, this is a good album. While it doesn't do anything particularity well, it does stand out from other NWOBHM bands like Angel Witch or Diamond Head due to the fact that the album feels relaxed. This isn't an intense album, it's very much a classic rock version of NWOBHM and it does get the "feeling" of classic rock right. That is the album's biggest strong point, and if that's something that interests you, then I think you'll enjoy what you hear. However, if you're looking for a second Saxon, then this isn't for you, it simply isn't that heavy. I do recommend, if nothing else, to listen to "Wasted". In the end, it shows what is to come for the band rather than truly delivering on that potential.

And as for the album cover - many reviewers 'can' it, but I kinda like it - probably because it has a 'Deep Purple' look about it with a Stratocaster featured on it and it's big!

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Cassette copy.  I bought the vinyl when it first came out (pretty sure it was from an import shop in Flinders Street, Melbourne. Sadly, I sold it at a Camberwell Record Fair for some decent money but as usual regretted it years later.  Sourced this Cassette Tape from a garage sale some years ago, and it plays pretty well. If I ever come across it on CD I'll buy it in a heartbeat! Full album artwork included for all 3 media to complete the package.
As a bonus, I've also included t,he title track from their first recordings, the E.P "Ride Into The Sun" which was released in 1979.

Track Listing
01 Rock Brigade 3:08
02 Hello America 3:56
03 Sorrow Is A Woman 3:56
04 It Could Be You 2:33
05 Satellite 4:29
06 When The Walls Came Tumblin' Down 4:44
07 Wasted 3:43
08 Rocks Off 3:42
09 It Don't Matter 3:20
10 Answer To The Master 3:11
11 Overture 7:45
12 Ride Into The Sun (Bonus Track) * 2:45

* Taken from Def Leppard's 1979 EP 'Ride Into The Sun'

Def Leppard were:
Rick Allen (Drums)
Steve Clark (Guitar)
Joe Elliott (Vocals)
Rick Savage (Bass)
Pete Willis (Guitar)

Friday, November 6, 2020

Gandalf - Selftitled (1969)

(U.S   1965-1969)

Gandalf were an American psychedelic rock band formed in 1965 in New York City. Originally called the Rahgoos, the group consisted of guitarist Peter Sando, bassist Bob Muller, keyboardist Frank Hubach and drummer Davy Bauer.

They signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1967. Producers Koppelman & Rubin were not happy with the band's name, and suggested that it should be changed to the Knockrockers.

However Peter Sando commented that they "hated that and bantered about various names". Despite being against the band's will, and losing local fan recognition, Davy suggested the name "Gandalf and The Wizards", which ended up sticking as "Gandalf".

Gandalf 1967
They recorded their first and only LP the same year. The record includes covers of Tim Hardin, Eden Ahbez and Bonner & Gordon (the writers of "Happy Together") and two songs composed by the band's guitarist Peter Sando. But Capitol spurned them and only released the LP in 1969 with the wrong record inside the sleeve.

The copies were recalled and damaged the band's career. Capitol didn't promote the record which made the sales worse. Over the years the album's reputation grew and it was re-released by Sundazed records in 2002.

Album Reviews

Gandalf's self-titled album has some attractive baroque-psychedelia with a spacey air, though its quality depends very much on the standard of the material.

Generally they're better when they rely on the slightly weird and spacey production, such as on "Scarlet Ribbons" and their cover of Tim Hardin's "Hang on to a Dream". On tracks like "You Upset the Grace of Living" there's a nice balance of melody and quasi-classical keyboards on the cusp between pop, progressive rock and psychedelia. "Can You Travel in the Dark Alone," one of the few originals (by Peter Sando), is nice, harmonic sunshine pop with a slightly experimental feel, along the lines of some of the better things being done by Californian cult figures like Gary Usher and Curt Boettcher at the time [ by Richie Unterberger ]

Bob Muller & Peter Sando

Again, one of those bands that came up with a really good album just for disappearing from 'middle' earth right after. We all know those 60’s timeless classics that we have listened to so often that it doesn’t feel like something that came out in the 60’s, you know what I mean? But this is one of those albums that you listen to and makes you think “so this is what the 60’s sounded like”, a time capsule kind of album. This album is unequivocally psychedelic, it has everything: the crunchy guitars, the reverbed vocals, the feel-good LSD trip simulator. Although these songs are all covers, it doesn’t take the credit away from these guys who made it sound the way it sounds. I really love this album, it’s one of those jewels you come across by chance, a wonderful product of its era. 
[ by Dante15994 ]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from the Sundazed CD release and includes full album artwork for both CD and Vinyl.  I love this album, not just for its wonderful 60's psychedelic sounds but also for their great cover of Tim Hardin's hit single "Hang On To A Dream".  And who could resist picking up this album from the record racks with its eye catching cover !

Track Listing
01. Golden Earrings 
02. Hang On To A Dream 
03. Never Too Far
04. Scarlet Ribbons 
05. You Upset The Grace Of Living 
06. Can You Travel In The Dark Alone 
07. Nature Boy 
08. Tiffany Rings 
09. Me About You 
10. I Watch The Moon 

Band Members:
Peter Sando - guitar
Frank Hubach - keyboards
Bob Muller - bass guitar
Davy Bauer - drums