Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Texas - Reel To Reel (1979) plus Bonus Tracks

 (Australian 1975-1979)

Texas were formerly known as Fat Daddy who were signed to the Bootleg label and released two singles between 1975-1976. Their first public appearance was as a four piece group at the 1976 famed 3XY (Melbourne) Expo where they gave performances over three days. Their first single "Roll Daddy Roll", released in 1975 was a no-nonsense-straight-ahead boogie piece followed by the rockin' "Fat Funky Rock n Roll" released in 1976. The band later merged with Ken Murdoch (ex Taste) in October, 77' and became Texas. Midway through 1978 they were signed by Festival Records and their first release - in October - was a single on the Infinity label, featuring "Good Morning" and "Ain't No Place Like Home".

Texas were pretty big on the live scene from 1977-79 and released a few singles and a live album in a rockin’ bluesy ZZ Top style. Texas were the resident band at the Glengala hotel in Sunshine, Victoria and also appeared on Countdown. I also remember seeing Texas New Year's Eve '79 at the pub in Torquay and they blew the roof off the place.

Texas did a 30 year reunion gig in April 2012. Once again they blew the roof off of the place. It was a one off gig at the Middle Park Bowling Club in Melbourne. Unbelievable show -- these guys could still rock!! It was one of the top shows I saw for the year. At the show, they had some CD releases of the 'Real to Reel' album, as featured here in this post. [Extracts from  Kimbo's 'History Of Aussie Music Blog' and Noel McGrath's 'Australian Encyclopedia Of Rock (1978-79) Yearbook]

This post consists of a mixture of FLACs and MP3 (320kps) ripped from CD and Vinyl. Thanks to Deutros and Sunshine for the Texas files.  Full album artwork and label scans are also included.

My interest in this band mainly stems from Ken Murdoch's involvement with the band as I was a big fan of  Taste (while growing up in Geelong).  I particularly enjoy their rendition of ZZ Top's "La Grange" as well as their very first single "Roll Daddy Roll" under the name of  'Fat Daddy'.

01 Confessions Of A Kleptomaniac 
(Living With You Drives Me Crazy) 3:40
02 Sweden 3:25
03 Good Morning 7:25
04 I Won't Say No 3:40
05 I Wanna Dance With You 3:10
06 Regimental Breakdown 4:05
07 Cecilly 4:10
08 Infatuation 3:48
09 La Grange 10:55
Bonus Tracks
10 Good Morning (A-Side Single) *
11 Ain't No Place Like Home (B-Side Single) *
12  Roll Daddy Roll (Fat Daddy Single) *

Max Vella (guitar/vocals/harp),
Mick Stillo (bass),
Carl Stanley (drums),
Tony Catz (guitar/vocals),
Ken Murdoch (guitar, keyboards)

Texas Link (147Mb)

Friday, December 24, 2021

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Kate Ceberano - Merry Christmas (2009)

 Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song or album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

Kate Ceberano first came to prominence singing back-up vocals with Melbourne band The Models. The band produced a top five album in 1985 called 'Out of Mind, Out of Sight', before Ceberano found fame with her funk band I'm Talking. I’m Talking are acknowledged as the band “who pioneered New York-style art pop in Australia during the Jurassic Period of Pub Rock”. The group’s ‘platinum’ debut album 'Bear Witness' included three top ten singles and achieved a platinum sales certification. Ceberano won Best Female Vocalist at the 1986 Countdown Awards. After such an auspicious debut album, the group broke up and Kate went solo.

It was here, in the late 80s, that Ceberano earned a formidable reputation for her soul, jazz and pop repertoire. Quite rightly radio labelled her as having “one of the greatest voices our music industry has ever produced” Kate’s first solo album was the live recording "Kate Ceberano and her Septet", released in 1987. In 1989, Ceberano released her acclaimed album 'Brave'. The album was the 20th highest-selling album in Australia in the 1980s and spawned four singles, including "Bedroom Eyes", which became the 5th highest-selling single in Australia in 1989 and the highest-selling single by an Australian artist in that year.

At the 1989 ARIA awards, she won the ARIA Award for Best Female Artist, as well as 'Highest Selling Single' for "Bedroom Eyes". At the end of 1990, she received three Mo Awards for Jazz Performer, Female Rock Performer and Contemporary Concert Performer of the Year. Ceberano contributed "Nature Boy" to the The Crossing soundtrack, before releasing the albums 'Like Now', in 1990, and 'Think About It!', in 1991. In 1992, Ceberano joined the Australian cast of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which she performed the role of Mary Magdalene, and the show toured nationally. Two singles were released from the album, including "Everything's Alright" (with John Farnham and Jon Stevens), which peaked at No. 6 on the ARIA charts.

In 1996, Kate released her next solo album 'Blue Box', which also went Gold and saw her nominated for another Best Female Artist at the ARIA’s. In 1997 Kate wrote and released what has become an Australian pop classic ''Pash''. A gorgeous slice of three-minute pop, the song went Platinum and established Kate as one of our leading female songwriters. The subsequent album 'Pash' shot to #5 in the ARIA charts, was certified gold and produced the singles "Pash" and "Love Is Alive". Richard Wilkins of the Today Show simply referred to her as “Australian Music Royalty”. Ceberano returned with her 2003 studio album 'Girl Can Help It'. 

In 2007, Ceberano saluted the 1980s with her cover album 'Nine Lime Avenue', which was recorded in three weeks while she was on television show Dancing with the Stars. The album was a commercial success, peaking at No. 4 and gave Ceberano her first 'top 5' album since 1989's 'Brave'. Ceberano toured in late 2007 before recording another cover album, released in 2008, titled 'So Much Beauty', which peaked at No. 9 in Australia. Ceberano released three albums in 2009: the first is a collaborative jazz album that was recorded with Mark Isham, titled 'Bittersweet', which earned Ceberano a nomination at the 2009 ARIA awards; the second, an indie album with Dallas Cosmas, titled 'Dallas et Kate'; and in November, Ceberano released her first Christmas album, simply titled 'Merry Christmas', which was certified gold.

Interview With Kate
In 2009, Kate released her first ever Christmas album ‘Merry Christmas’.
Despite some people who’ve questioned it’s release given Kate’s Scientology beliefs, Kate says the album’s intentions were pure and simple. In Kate's words:

“In a nutshell… I think Christmas belongs to family, first and foremost. I don’t think it matters necessarily what you believe religiously, I think people innately all believe in family. And that’s what we honour – and that’s what anybody honours – anybody who isn’t a Grinch. Let’s face it, all the Grinch is really is someone who didn’t get what they wanted for Christmas, so we know what makes Grinches. Somebody should have just bought them that present. They didn’t buy them that present, so from thereafter they were like ‘F.... you, I’m never going to follow Christmas again’.”

Er.. Did Kate Ceberano just drop the ‘f’ bomb? Surely not.

“For me, it’s a private joy knowing that other people know me to be a certain way. It’s never going to be a public persona – they won’t believe it. You could tell them I speak a language like that, but they go ‘Ceberano? Oh no – she’s a Scientologist – she’d n
ever say anything like that!’ They’re imposing their own stereotype all across me! I mean, I am so bawdy. And I’m not saying it to gloat, it’s just I’m a rock and roll girl – I was born and raised in a tour bus. It’s authentic, but they see something different.”

We suggest it may be this bawdy side of Kate that sees her purring sexily all over the Christmas classic ‘Santa Baby’ on the new album.

“Oh you’re just hearing it through different ears. If you listen to it through a child’s ears… It does sound like a little baby singing it to me. I think that there’s something that…” (we interrupt, saying she’s pulling our leg) “You’re seeing me as sexy! Kids are not seeing me as sexy, so there’s like the double life of Veronique is what I’m saying.”

At this point, a couple of Universal Music reps have meandered into the boardroom, and we ask for a vote. It’s unanimous – Kate’s version of ‘Santa Baby’ is sexy.

(Kate, innocently) “I can’t help it. It’s not my fault if they write lyrics like ‘come on down my chimney tonight’ – that’s someone’s innuendo, it’s not mine!! Come inside my chimney tonight? No. (Laughter). Come and trim my Christmas tree! Well they’re the words! I’m just singing how it was written!”

We tell her we’ll have to get this well-hidden Kate Ceberano out to the general public.

“Listen, you could try, but they won’t believe you. Because even myself I can’t put my own scandal out there. You could and they’d be like ‘gee these guys are a bit down on Ceberano. They clearly don’t understand her, the sexy Scientologist would never use words like that.’,“ she jokes.

But she does admit to having a little crush on a certain Irish crooner who joins her for a duet on the new album.

“Ronan Keating… I have to admit, I’ve got a little bit of a crush. I gotta say. Because he’s got a great sense of humour and he’s a musician – I’m a bit partial to both those things. I’ve found his interest in me, thinking that I’m a middle-aged mum compared to him, the fact that he was interested and he was sincere really blew me away. I was saying ‘I really like your voice and I love singing with you’ and I was going (GUSHES). Wiping spit off the table.”

Ronan Keating & Kate Ceberano

More laughter ensues. Joy and laughter. Two essential ingredients for the festive season – and two that Miss Kate Ceberano delivers in spades. Merry Christmas Everyone!  [extract from auspop.com.au]

So, here is another Aussie Christmas WOCK on Vinyl post for my wonderful blog followers. Stay safe on the roads during the festive season and don't forget to give your neighbours a friendly smile - it's been a long time since they've seen your face !  Merry Christmas Everyone.

01.  White Christmas  3:26
02.  Feliz Navidad  3:16
03.  Jingle Bells Rock  3:38
04.  Santa Baby  3:23
05.  I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus  3:05
06.  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas  4:11
07.  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town  2:35
08.  Jingle Bells  2:53
09.  The Christmas Song  4:25
10.  Blue Christmas  3:25
11.  Happy Christmas (War Is Over)  5:49
12.  It's Only Christmas [Duet with Ronan Keating]  3:24

Kate Ceberano MP3 Link (46Mb) New Link 26/03/22

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Golden Earring - Grab It For A Second (1978) + Bonus B-Side Single

 (Netherlands 1961 - Present)

Golden Earring was formed in 1961 in The Hague by 13-year-old George Kooymans and his 15-year-old neighbour, Rinus Gerritsen. Originally called The Tornados, the name was changed to Golden Earrings, when they discovered that The Tornados was already in use by another group.

They achieved their first success in 1965 with "Please Go," as a pop rock band with Frans Krassenburg as lead singer. It reached number 9 on the music charts in The Netherlands. Their next single "That Day", went up to # 2 on the Dutch charts, stopped only by the Beatles "Michelle". Come 1968, they topped the Dutch charts for the first of many times with "Dong-Dong-Di-Ki-Di-Gi-Dong," a song that spread their name through Europe.

By 1969, the rest of the lineup had stabilized, with lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Barry Hay and drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk. As with many late 60s groups, they find themselves looking for their own style for several years before settling on straightforward hard rock, initially much like that of the Who, who invited them to open their 1972 European tour.

From '69 and their first tour in the U.S., through their European treks in the early 70s, the group slowly builds up a following. By '71, they are a regular presence on Dutch charts, and are starting to climb up the ladder in Germany. They sign on to the Who's Track label, which released a compilation of Dutch singles, Hearing Earring, helping the group break through in England. Already on the way up to stardom in Europe, 1973 becomes their big year. That most driven of driving songs is released on the world. Golden Earring have grabbed the golden ring with "Radar Love" and the album "Moontan". They hit the American market for long tours with such acts as Santana, the Doobie Brothers, & J Geils. The world seems theirs. But the lack of a follow-up hit ensured that their popularity remained short-lived in America, even though they remained a top draw in Europe over the rest of the 1970s, as their singles & albums continue their success. 1982 saw a brief American comeback with the album Cut and the Top Ten single "Twilight Zone," but as before, Golden Earring could not sustain its momentum and faded away in the U.S. marketplace. "Radar Love" even enjoyed a second round of popularity when pop-metal band White Lion covered the song in 1989.

L to R: George Kooymans, Rinus Gerritsen, George Kooymans,
Barry Hay & Eelco Gelling

Golden Earring celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2011, which the Dutch postal service honored with a stamp that contained a music link: when a smartphone with a special app is held up to the music stamp, Golden Earring's "Radar Love" plays. They have had the same unchanged line-up of the same four musicians and friends since 1970, augmented time to time with a fifth member (Dutch keyboardist Robert Jan Stips).

And for a band known to many for one of the all-time classic rock tracks - Radar Love - they are a group that has built up a solid & very varied body of work that will interest beyond the typical rock n roller.

Album Review

Somewhere between the release of Moontan and Cut, the two most popular albums by Golden Earring, the band continued it's aimless wandering of trying to find their next hit, and the proof of their wandering is probably most evident in their 1978 release "Grab It For a Second". With the release of each album during this time, their popularity kept waning as their music just seemed to keep missing the mark. The band was constantly trying to get notoriety, but it seems they were having a lot of trouble trying to find that sweet spot, pushing their music to be more rock oriented, radio friendly and less progressive.

What we have here is a very short album with 8 songs on it, only one of them exceeding the 6 minute mark. Throughout the album, you hear the band missing opportunities left and right to make some great music, even if it isn't progressive, yet they can't seem to pull that off. Neither Hay nor Kooyman's vocals show any kind of emotion. The entire band just seems like they are going through the motions of "hurry and release another album and fill it with songs that were written in 5 minutes".

There really are only three tracks that stand out on this lackluster album: "Cell 29", a mini-prog epic in the classic Golden Earring vein. Nice guitar brings this one in, with the solo searing through the gentle picking, as the song tells the story of a prisoner's lament. We got melody. We got a soaring, memorable choral hook. Mood. Ambiance. All stretched out over a very non-commercial 6:39. 

 It's that Golden Earring sound some of us dug the hell outta, back with Moontan. The next track is "Against the Grain" which breaks from the boring formula of rock beats to be a bit more heartfelt and more ballad-like, even hinting at some progressiveness. Finally, the album closes with "U-Turn Time," which presents some of the best guitar on the album before dropping into a rather punky rocker. It may not sound like the band I remember from the Moontan days, but it's a corker and a fun song.

This Golden Earring album received mixed reviews on it's release. The album is arguably better than many critics made it out to be. The album is not as complex in it's musical structure as other Golden Earring releases. Instead, it is more of a rockin' album with some great guitar work. Maybe this is not the album Golden Earring fans had hoped for back in the days, and certainly not one that would restore their lost fortunes. But it is a solid album nonetheless which still deserves a spin on ya turntable.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my 'still in shrink wrap' vinyl MCA pressing, and includes full album artwork along with label scans.  I have also included as a bonus the non-album track "Can't Talk Now" which was the flip side of the single "Movin' Down Life" (see cover above). 
I've always considered this album to be the poor cousin to their later release 'Cut' which I posted recently HERE but still enjoy listening to it when I tier of playing  Cut.   But of course, nothing compares to their masterpiece 'Moontan' which I plan to post here very soon - so stay tuned.

Track Listing:
01. Movin' Down Life (3:31)
02. Against the Grain (4:35)
03. Grab It for a Second (4:10)
04. Cell 29 (6:39)
05. Roxanne (3:39)
06. Leather (5:01)
07. Temptin' (3:43)
08. U-Turn Time (3:25)
09. Can't Talk Now [B-Side Single] (3:30)

Golden Earring were:
Barry Hay - vocals
George Kooymans - guitar, Arp synthesizer guitar, vocals
Eelco Gelling - guitar, slide guitar
Rinus Gerritsen - bass guitar, Moog Bison synth bass
Cesar Zuiderwijk - drums
Lani Groves - backing vocals
Jimmy Maelen - percussion
Kevin Nance - keyboards
John Zangrando - saxophone on "Against the Grain" 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Joe Cocker - Luxury You Can Afford (1978)

(U.K 1961 - 2014)

John Robert "Joe" Cocker (20 May 1944 – 22 December 2014) was an English singer known for his gritty, bluesy voice and dynamic stage performances that featured expressive body movements. Most of his best known singles were covers of songs by other artists, though he composed a number of his own songs for most of his albums as well, often in conjunction with songwriting partner Chris Stainton.

His first album featured a recording of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from My Friends", which brought him to near-instant stardom. The song reached number one in the UK in 1968, became a staple of his many live shows, including Woodstock and Isle of Wight in 1969, the Party at the Palace in 2002, and was also known as the theme song for the TV series The Wonder Years. He continued his success with his second album, which included a second Beatles cover: "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window".

A hastily thrown together 1970 U.S. tour led to the live double-album Mad Dogs & Englishmen, which featured an all-star band organized by Leon Russell. His 1974 cover of "You Are So Beautiful" reached number five in the U.S., and became his signature song. Cocker's best selling song was the U.S. number one "Up Where We Belong", a duet with Jennifer Warnes that earned a 1983 Grammy Award. He released a total of 22 studio albums over a 43-year recording career.

In 1993, Cocker was nominated for the Brit Award for Best British Male. He was awarded a bronze Sheffield Legends plaque in his hometown in 2007, and received an OBE the following year for services to music. Cocker was ranked number 97 on Rolling Stone's 100 greatest singers list. [Extract from Wikipedia]

Album Review
Cocker has finally gone totally mainstream, but so far, 'mainstream' for him still means 'retro' - you won't find any experiments with disco or even modernistic production on here, as that change wouldn't happen until the complete sellout of Sheffield Steel. The album cover is very demonstrative: Joe already sports a stylish official outfit, but at least his hair is still long, you know. And the record itself is for the most part dedicated to some covers of R'n'B and soul material. Huge arrangements, bombastic brass section, gospelish female backing vocals... ye know. Strong Motown influences.

'Whiter Shade Of Pale' does come out surprisingly good, perhaps it's because it's the only song on the album that ditches the formula, if only slightly. I seriously doubt that anybody could ever improve on the beautiful original version of the song, but Joe probably does it more justice than anybody else. It's kinda strange that he actually selected the song, though: so far, I haven't noticed him singing too many songs whose lyrics didn't make immediate sense, but it seems that he really digs this selection. So accolades to Joe for paying a tribute to one of the greatest art-rock bands of all time.

He sings pretty well on most of the tracks, but then again, name an album where Joe sings poorly? It's like naming a Led Zeppelin album where Jimmy Page didn't play guitar well. The faster, more upbeat numbers make this album different to previous releases, and his version of 'Grapevine' is energetic enough, but same can be said of the original, and after CCR's version of it the tune belongs to Mr Fogerty anyway.

Some of the slow numbers are really moving, though: I suppose that I could really extol the virtues of 'Southern Lady' and especially the subtle 'Wasted Years' without too much hypocrisy. See, when Cocker 'boogies' along, it seems that he's just boogieing for the sake of it. It's like 'I want to show my skills at doing a fast number, even if I don't feel like really getting it on'. But when we get these slow ballads where Joe's passionate vocal delivery isn't overshadowed by anything, it's hard not to get moved. Granted, 'Southern Lady' is hardly up to the standard of 'Something To Say', for instance; but I just love the way he roars through the lyrics like there was no tomorrow. And 'Wasted Years' is a concealed minor gem in the Cocker catalog that shouldn't be overlooked: the song is clearly heartfelt and self-referential.

The Joe Cocker Band

Overall, not his best album but still an important part of Cocker's vast calogue and an honest attempt to liven things up in a world that was being subjected to disco and dance.

This album was ripped to FLAC from my vinyl copy and includes full album artwork and label scans. I played this album quite regularly during my early Uni years and found it to be very uplifting while studying for exams. I really liked his version of "A Whiter Shade Of Pale", and so probably played Side1 considerably more than the flip side. Cocker's voice is one of a kind and this album should not be missed. Pictured above is Cocker's life long friend Leon Russell

Track Listing
01. "Fun Time" (Allen Toussaint) – 2:39
02. "Watching the River Flow" (Bob Dylan) – 3:16
03. "Boogie Baby" (Phil Driscoll) – 3:51
04 . "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (Gary Brooker, Keith Reid, Matthew Fisher) – 5:27
05. "I Can't Say No" (John Bettis, Daniel Moore) – 2:51
06. "Southern Lady" ( Phil Driscoll) – 3:16
07. "I Know (You Don'
08. "What You Did To Me Last Night" (Bettye Crutcher) – 3:28
09. "Lady Put The Lights Out" (Guy Fletcher, Doug Flett) – 4:46
10. "Wasted Years" (Phil Driscoll) – 4:49
11. "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" (Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong) – 4:29

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Ariel - Goodnight Fiona (1976) + Bonus Single

 (Australian 1973 -1977)

From the cinders of two of Australia's more important rock bands - Sydney's Tamam Shud and the legendary Spectrum from Melbourne - rose Ariel, an eclectic art-pop group that was the child of guitarist/singer Mike Rudd [born in New Zealand] and bassist Bill Putt. Upon the dissolution of Spectrum, songwriting partners Rudd & Putt formed the new band consisting of Nigel Macara (drums), John Mills (keys), and Tim Gaze (voice, guitar) in 1973. They secured support on EMI's progressive label Harvest, producing debut 'A Strange Fantastic Dream' in November '73, probably their most consistent Prog rock album featuring complicated arrangements and spirited performances. Despite the controversial drug-tinged cover, the album reached #12 on the Aussie LP charts in 1974.

Their second, the till recently long-lost 'Jellabad Mutant', was intended to be a thoroughly ambitious prog opera with no spared expense described as "a John Whyndham-ish science fiction concept piece". But after much work and rehearsals, the final tapes were ultimately rejected by EMI with its overflowing vault of turgid and twiddly prog. Mike Rudd reflects:

"It's interesting to speculate what might have happened had we been allowed to proceed with the Mutant with an intact budget {EMI slashed the budget for Rock 'n' Roll Scars adding to the pressure} and with the time to to reflect and be creative with the raw material you hear in the demos. I regret not going in to bat for it at the time. We had a fabulous opportunity with the best technical assistance any band could have wanted. But I didn't sell the dream, even to myself".
In October 1974, the band recorded their follow-up 'Rock 'n Roll Scars' at Abbey Road Studios with a much-altered line up. Upon returning to Australia from England, Rudd & Putt recruited Glyn Mason [Chain, Copperwine] on vocals & guitar, drummer John LEE and guitarist Harvey James. By mid-1975 Mike Rudd had become involved with New Zealanders Dragon and after more member changes, Ariel switched labels to CBS and released a third effort 'Goodnight Fiona' in 1976. The new line-up recorded "I Can Do Anything" and "Goodnight Fiona". The album was a showcase for Ariel’s pub-rock blues and country sound. It peaked at #19 in Melbourne during 1976.

By 1977, the remnants of the band had stretched ARIEL's potential as far as they felt possible and released the tongue-in-cheek 'Disco Dilemma' single just before the CBS contract expired. In August '77 a final concert was performed and later released as 'Aloha Ariel' and 'Live:More From Before'.

ARIEL was a bold, sometimes flamboyant group of guys who knew what they wanted and became one of the hardest-working institutions in the Aussie artrock scene, producing an ever-surprising collection of inventive but unpretentious heavy progressive rock music. [Atavachron (David) - progarchives.com]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my vinyl (acquired second hand from a bazaar in Geelong) which was in pristine condition. Full album artwork along with label scans are included.  I also felt it necessary to include their post album single release "Disco Dilemma" / "How Do You Do It" as bonus tracks, mainly because I loved this track when it was on the radio. I also saw them play live on numerous occasions in 76-77, including their final concert appearance at Dallas Brooks Hall, where they played Disco Dilemma.
Although not their best album release, Goodnight Fiona is still a strong release and under rated amongst other Aussie band releases during the same time period.   Have a listen, you won't be disappointed.

01 - Hot Sweet Love
02 - Take Me For A Ride
03 - Goodnight Fiona
04 - Rock N' Roll Lady
05 - Rock Critic
06 - Cypherland Blues
07 - I'll Not Fade Away
08 - Redwing
09 - I Can Do Anything
10 - Caught In The Middle Again
11 - Disco Dilemma (Bonus A-Side 1977 Single)
12 - How Do You Do It (Bonus B-Side 1977 Single)

Ariel were:
Mike Rudd - Guitar, vocals, harmonica
Bill Putt - Bass
Nigel Macara - Drums, Percussion, vocal harmonies
Glyn Mason  - Guitar, vocals
Tony Slavich - Keyboards, vocal harmonies

Ariel Link (297Mb) New Link 15/12/2023

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Chipmunks Sing The Beatles Hits (1964)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song or album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

The first official vocal appearance of Alvin and the Chipmunks was their three-time Grammy award-winning single "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" in 1958. Driven by the success of this hit, Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. created The Alvin Show, The Chipmunks' first television series, in 1961 and the group's first solo album, The Alvin Show. 

After his death in 1972, his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., relit the franchise in 1980 with the album Chipmunk Punk. Seeing an opportunity to continue his father's legacy, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and his wife, Janice Karman, launched the 80s Chipmunks with the TV series Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Chipmunks, and The Chipmunks Go to the Movies, lasting eight seasons total. They would also create The Chipettes in 1983 and release the first animated feature film, The Chipmunk Adventure, in 1987. 

In 2007, the franchise entered into a second revival which began with the release of the group's third platinum album, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and the start of the CG Chipmunks. The CGI/live-action films Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Squeakquel, and Chipwrecked together opened the door for the creation of a new TV series, ALVINNN!!! and The Chipmunks, and a fourth CGI/live-action film, The Road Chip, in 2015. Four years later, the Bagdasarian family accepted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrating Alvin and the Chipmunks' 60th anniversary.

The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits features The Chipmunks covering the early hits of The Beatles. The album was re-released in 1982 by Liberty Records, in 1987 by EMI-Manhattan Records on CD, in 1995 by Capitol Special Products on cassette and CD, and again in 2008 by Capitol Records on CD.
The Chipmunks Sing the Beatles Hits won a Grammy for Best Engineered Recording - Special Or Novel Effects in 1965.

After The Beatles claimed the title of the "fastest selling song of all time" from "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)," Ross Bagdasarian, Sr. visited them in London and received their blessing to create this album.

"Twist and Shout" and "I Saw Her Standing There" are not part of the 1982 reissue.
A float celebrating the release of this album was featured in the 1965 Rose Bowl parade.
When it came time to sing The Chipmunks Sing The Beatles, Ross Bagdasarian (the voice behind the Chipmunks) actually brought in some other singers that were wonderful session singers but none of them were famous, they were just really talented.

The following is part of an interview with Ross Bagdasarian Jnr, where he explained how his father met the Beatles to ask their permission to record The Chipmunks Sing The Beatles:

You know what, it was such a great time because my dad was not only a songwriter but also loved music. He had such respect for what The Beatles were doing then. As you know, you can go sing anybody's song that you wanna do, you pay them a mechanical license and you'd be done. But my dad had such respect for them he said, "No, I wanna fly to London, I wanna meet with the guys, and I wanna make sure they're good with me doing this with The Chipmunks because if it doesn't get their seal of approval I'm not going to do it." He wound up having the greatest time with them because not only were they great musicians and great singers and great performers, but they were also real students of how you record and engineering and so forth. They were so impressed because my dad in '58 only had two tracks to record on so he had to record and bounce. Of course The Beatles, when they started at '63-'64, they had four tracks so they picked my dad's brain for "how could you get so many cool things with only two track recording." They had a wonderful thing in common in terms of how to record and so forth.   [extracts from alvin.fandom.com]

Much as I hate this album, the high-key songs present the Chipmunks at their shrillest, particularly “She Loves You” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” When they do The Beatles’ “whoo,” it sounds like a whistling teakettle. They are best suited to the lower-key harmonies of songs like “From Me to You” and “P.S. I Love You.”  

How this album reached the top 20 on the Billboard 200 and remained in the charts for 23 weeks is anyone's guess but it certainly deserves a place in the WOCK on Vinyl hall of fame.  
Korny (tick), Weird (tick), Crazy (tick) and judging by the insane prices it fetches on eBay it is must be Obscure (tick).  If you really hate your neighbors, play this one REALLY loud at Midnight and watch the fun !

And if you're looking for another Beatles related send up, you might find the Beatle Barkers of interest as well.

Ripped from vinyl at MP3 (320kps) and includes full album artwork

Friday, November 26, 2021

Cotton, Lloyd & Christian - Cotton, Lloyd & Christian (1975)

 (Australian 1975 - 1976)

Cotton, Lloyd and Christian were a soft rock trio comprising singer-songwriters Darryl Cotton from Australia, and Michael Lloyd and Chris Christian from the United States. They achieved some success in the mid-1970s.

Darryl first rose to prominence in the pop field in the sixties as lead singer with the highly successful group, Zoot. Following the band's break up, he worked briefly with Beeb Birtles (who eventually helped to form the highly successful Little River Band in the 70's) in a duo called Frieze before setting off for the U.S in 1972.

His six year stay in America was most lucrative. Starting in 1973, Daryl joined United States-based group, Friends, with Michael Lloyd and Australian-raised singer-songwriter Steve Kipner (ex-Steve and the Board, Tin Tin). They issued a single, "Gonna Have a Good Time" (a cover of The Easybeats's song "Good Times") backed by "Would You Laugh" which was co-written by Cotton with Lloyd and Kipner. 

Friends followed with self-titled album before Cotton and Lloyd left to form a vocal trio, Cotton, Lloyd and Christian with Chris Christian. In 1975 the trio issued a self titled album on 20th Century records.

Their version of the Del Shannon song "I Go to Pieces" - a 1965 hit for Peter and Gordon - became a #66 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and #10 on the Easy Listening chart. Other tracks included a slowed-down version of the Supremes' hit "Baby Love"; a medley of songs from the Who's Tommy; and "I Don't Know Why You Love Me". The album was repackaged by Curb and Lloyd in 1976, and used as the music soundtrack of a movie, 'The Pom Pom Girls'. 

The trio's second album, Number Two, also appeared in 1976, and in April 1977 they released another single, "Crying in the Rain", written by Carole King and Howie Greenfield and first recorded by the Everly Brothers. Both albums were produced by Lloyd and Curb. No further recordings by the trio were released.

Lloyd continued to work in Los Angeles, working with artists including Olivia Newton John and the Osmonds. He produced hit records by Shaun Cassidy and Leif Garrett, as well as the soundtrack to Dirty Dancing. Darryl also exploited his composing talents and his success in this field included songs for two movies - 'Playground in the Sky' and 'Land of the Lost'. Cotton continued as a songwriter and performer, returning to Australia in 1978.

Back in Australia, he almost immediately resumed his active role in the local rock scene and was snapped up by the Oz label. Under the co-production of Beeb Birtles, he recorded "Don't Let It Get To You", released as a single in August. The single became a national hit and Darryl set about looking for the right young musicians to form a band.

In February 1980, Cotton released his most successful solo single, "Same Old Girl", which reached top ten on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart. "Same Old Girl" was co-written with former bandmate Christian. Cotton's work in 1980 earned him an award for Best Solo Male Performance, 10 years after Zoot had won a similar award for a group.

Christian also continued to work successfully as a songwriter and record producer, with Amy Grant and others.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from vinyl (thanks to Sunshine at Ausrock) and includes full album artwork and label scans. When I first heard this album, it reminded me of England Dan and John Ford Coley, not only for its easy listening melodic harmonies and but also the strong song writing skills of this trio.  Every track is a winner and this album should not be overlooked.
I should also admit that I have a soft spot for Darryl Cotton, especially his hit single "Same Old Girl" released some years later in 1980. And so, I have decided to include it here as a bonus track. 

01 Don't Play With The One Who Loves You 2:21
02 I Go To Pieces 2:57
03 Robot Man 3:16
04 I Can Sing, I Can Dance 2:36
05 Tommy Medley 3:11
06 You're Gonna Find Love 2:21
07 Baby Love 3:36
08 Mr. Rock 'N' Roll 3:05
09 Love Me Away 2:35
10 (You've Given Me) Sunshine 2:57
11 Same Old Girl (Bonus)   4:56

Friday, November 19, 2021

Mark Gillespie - Small Mercies 'Best Of' (1984) + Bonus Tracks

 (Australian 1977 - 1983, 1992)     TRIBUTE POST

Author, poet, architect by trade, songwriter, singer, explorer. Mark Gillespie is the epitome of the creatively restless spirit. Long considered one of Australia's most outstanding songwriters, his three albums to date, from which this collection of some of his finest songs has been culled, reveal a man of unique vision. Gillespie exposes and touches raw nerves, mirrors the complexity of emotions and illuminates a dark sense of humor. He's a reclusive and elusive man, in spirit, on record and in life.

He shuns and defies - labels, wrestling with conformity and, in his own words, always looking over his shoulder to be sure there's another door open.

Mark Gillespie first came to public notice when two of his songs were featured on an LP released in 1977 by Ross Wilson and Glenn Wheatley's Oz Records label titled 'Debutantes'. Previously Mark had been something of a legend, performing with a number of ad hoc combos in between studying architecture at Melbourne University. His heart has always been in words and music. He wrote a book of short stories titled 'Makeup' (published in 1978) and he surfaced regularly to perform not only in bars and hotels, but also on the larger concert stages of Australia, working with luminaries such as Tom Waits, Maria Muldaur and Rodrigues.

One of his bands be named The Victims, a somewhat sardonic reflection on Mark's cautious approach to the business side of music. "I think that has always been my priority - just good songs", he once said. "I haven't orientated anything towards the great beast that gobbles - the masses and the industry". Indeed, soon after release of his first album, Only Human in 1980, he declined the usual rounds of touring and press interviews and instead went to India and the Himalayas. "I found something in India I couldn't find in Australia or anywhere else when I'd been in America or Europe, I can't explain it - you have to go there to experience it. It's a place that makes you think". And if Mark had self-doubts about music as a worthwhile pursuit in life, India helped clear them away. "Maybe I got strength from it, maybe a confidence that it was all going somewhere.

"There is showbiz and there is music. If there is no driving force behind the music, apart from commercial success, then it's totally manufactured". "If something is good in itself, without pertaining to fashion, it is going to sell". Mark could hardly be said to be fashionable.

This compilation album marks the evolution of Mark Gillespie over more than seven years, a period during which he has made his mark as a rare artist - a writer of challenging vision who doesn't demand to be heard, but truly deserves to be. [Liner Notes]

RIP Mark Gillespie 
Australian singer-songwriter Mark Gillespie passed away on Thursday, November 11, 2021 in hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, the country in which he had lived for many years.

Gillespie’s death was confirmed by a relative and by musician Joe Creighton who worked on Gillespie’s early albums. Creighton had said that Gillespie, “came across as a tortured soul with an air of mystery about him.”

A friend of Gillespie’s, who was working for British Airways when he met him in the early ’80s, recalled that Gillespie was working as a volunteer in a children’s home in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and helped build and and run a new home in the village of Sreepur. “Mark played a vital part in establishing what became a safe and secure refuge for hundreds of vulnerable women and children,” he recalls. He added that Gillespie “later married a local woman and lived in a typical rural village close by with none of the trappings of western life.”

In recent years Gillespie’s health declined, which he reported to Rhythms, while late last year his wife died.

Gillespie released four albums between 1980 and 1992, with the first two albums being re-released in recent years by Aztec Records. After his final album he also did some gigs at The Continental Cafe with the band The Casuals. In 2020, Gillespie allowed Rhythms magazine to showcase some of his archived recordings in conjunction with a major feature on his career. 'Only Human' is one of the greatest Australian debut albums of all time.

“Mark Gillespie created a remarkable body of work in a short space of time but he was a reluctant rock star in many ways,” wrote one critic. “His recorded legacy should not be overlooked. He was a heartfelt singer / songwriter and Only Human is a classic debut album.”

In the feature, Joe Creighton also added of Gillespie that: “Going to Bangladesh was a bit of a spiritual quest for him, he just wanted to do something completely different. He was a reluctant rock star. That whole thing of rock ’n’ roll, management and the press, he was anti all that. I don’t want to speculate too much, but this is what it seemed like to me: he just wanted a break from it all. And then he would come back, record a bit more and then he went again and just didn’t come back.” [extract from Rhythms: Australia's Roots Music Magazine]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from both CD and Vinyl and includes full album artwork along with label skins. I bought this album about 10 years ago, having already purchased his other albums when they were first released. Of course 'Only Human' was a mind blower and was nothing like I'd heard before.  While this compilation is a great introduction for those of you not familiar with this legendary Aussie artist, this post is also meant to be a tribute to the musical legacy that Mark has left behind.  If you enjoy this album then consider popping over to Aztec Records and check out his first two brilliant albums. 
As a bonus, I have also include 2 tracks from a compilation album that Mark appeared on titled 'Debutantes', before he released his debut album, These tracks are not only rare but are also essential as they give an insight into the roots of his 'Only Human' album.

01 Small Mercies 3:24
02 Only Human 4:33
03 Suicide Sister 4:30
04 Mercury 3:50
05 Traveller In The Night 4:00
06 Damsel In Distress 6:00
07 Comin'Back For More 3:00
08 Nothin'Special 4:25
09 Swing Tonight 3:10
10 Ring Of Truth 3:55
11 Letting Go 4:20
12 Miss Right 4:12
13 Savanarola * 4:35
14 Lost In Wonder 4:30
15 The Joke's On You [Bonus from OZ Records Sampler LP Debutantes] * 4:36
16 I'm A Kite [Bonus from OZ Records Sampler LP Debutantes] * 4:57

Mark Gillespie - Guitar, Synthesisers, Hammond Organ, Piano, Mandolin, Lead Vocals
Ross Hannaford - Lead guitar, Bass, Harmony Vocals
Joe Creighton - Bass Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Tim Partridge - bass Guitar
Mark Meyer - Drums
Lisa Bade - Harmony Vocals
Andrew Thompson - Saxaphone
Trevor Courtney - Percussion