Saturday, May 8, 2021

Status Quo - 'Golden Hour Presents Status Quo' Down The Dustpipe (1975)

 (U.K 1962 - Present)

Status Quo
are an English rock band that formed in 1962. The group originated as The Spectres and was founded by Francis Rossi and Alan Lancaster while they were still schoolboys. After a number of lineup changes, which included the introduction of Rick Parfitt in 1967, the band became The Status Quo in 1967 and Status Quo in 1969.

In January 1968, the group released the psychedelic-flavoured "Pictures of Matchstick Men". Rick Parfitt was invited to join the band just as the song hit the UK Singles Chart, reaching number seven; "Matchstick Men" became the group's only Top 40 hit in the United States, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. Although Status Quo's albums have been released in the United States throughout their career, they never achieved the same level of success there as they have in Britain. Though the follow-up was the unsuccessful single "Black Veils of Melancholy", they had a hit again the same year with a pop song penned by Marty Wilde and Ronnie Scott, "Ice in the Sun", which climbed to number eight. After the breakthrough, the band management hired Bob Young as a roadie and tour manager. Over the years Young became one of the most important songwriting partners for Status Quo, in addition to playing harmonica with them on stage and on record. [extract from Wikipedia]

Status Quo 1970

The Status Quo Sound and Image
In 1970, we realised that we were a rock'n'roll band, not a psychedelic one, and we'd have to do something consciously about the way we looked if we wanted to get the message across."
"We had a lot of faith in ourselves, but we had to turn our back on this pop thing," says Parfitt. "Fifty to sixty girls down the front screaming: fantastic, but we knew it weren't gonna last. But we knew we were good, we knew we had something, so we decided to literally heavy things up.
 
We came off the road in 1969 and we went back to just wearing jeans, T-shirts and pumps." "We rebelled against the system," he goes on. "Being told to wear frilly shirts, 'get your hair cut right, put that right, boys'. We hated it. I remember putting my head round the curtain once, and the tour manager said if I did that again l'd never work in show business again and I thought, 'Fuck that'. "The jeans had to be ripped, the pumps dirty, the hair long and unwashed - we were real scruffy bastards - and we decided to take on this heavier music: "Junior's Wailing", "Roadhouse Blues" and Them's "Gloria". We just wanted to be a lot heavier - and scruffier."

Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt 1970

In tandem with the rougher look came the tougher sound, inspired by The Doors' track.
"Me and Francis were out at this club in Germany, we were sort of just sitting there drunk and we saw this couple dancing to The Doors' 'Roadhouse Blues'," says Parfitt. "It had this infectious shuffle beat and the way they were moving their bodies - they were really silky and really smooth - it kind of turned us on. And that's largely responsible for why we do so many of these shuffle rhythms, because it turns us on. We like it and it's become our trademark, and all because we were getting drunk and watching this couple dance in that soppy little club."

"We were slowly hardening the sound," says Rossi. "We were now doing gigs in pubs and nobody wanted to know, but that was sort of good, and it almost continues to this day. The more they put a brick wall in front of us, the harder we tried, the more we dug our heels in. You go on and you think, 'We're going to show these fuckers, we're going to get them somehow'. That was the challenge every night."

In typically confident manner, Rossi was often heard to introduce the band thus: "You haven't heard of us, we're Status Quo, we're loud and you'll hate us." "l knew the band were good before I'd joined, and then when I joined it got that little bit worse, of course," laughs Parfitt. "But we eventually became a very, very good band. We believed in what we did, we've never not believed in what we do, right from the start. And we just worked and worked and worked." "We thought, 'Somebody's going to tell us off for this', but they didn't," adds Rossi. "We were really going places now - we were playing what we wanted to play, we were wearing what we wanted to wear and we were getting genuine reaction from the people.


"It was thirty or forty one night, then fifty or sixty the next time. We felt we had a purpose and it was going somewhere. That was one of the joys of those days. When you're struggling, it's definitely you against the world and it galvanised you and you could feel it was growing and growing."

"The change was pretty black and white. You could see it in people's faces when we took to the stage. They looked at each other as if to say: 'ls this the same "Matchstick Men" band?' But at that point we didn't care; we were like, either fucking like it, or piss off," says Parfitt. "We went the complete opposite, with the long hair, ripped jeans and pumps. It got to the point where we used to buy the filthiest, most disgusting jeans from people in the street. If we spotted someone with a really beaten-up, nasty-looking pair of jeans at a show, we used to try to buy them from them. Some of the pairs we had were hideous - smelly and dirty and everything." "I mean, you can call it a classic look now, but back then what we were aiming for, I suppose, was something that was the complete opposite of having an image," adds Rossi. By the turn of the decade, Quo were slowly becoming visually and musically more recognisable, but there was still a spot of stagecraft to be learnt.


"The Castle in Tooting was a real heads' gig. Greatcoat, pint, album under your arm, sitting on the floor. It was the first time we'd played to an audience that was sitting down on the floor. We were thinking, Blimey, this is weird. The stage was only three inches high, but I remember the audience being down there. You had to get down to the audience - and that's how the legs apart, head down thing happened," recalls Parfitt. 'And they were all nodding their heads, so we thought,
Do the same, copy the audience - you can't go wrong. We only looked up between numbers."
"We call it the attack stance. In the early days we used to play these halls that had stages at the end of them and the crowd used to sit down cross-legged on the floor while we were playing our set," Parfitt adds.

"The thing was, because they were sitting down and we were up high on the stage, we felt so far away from our audience. We started to lean forward and move our legs apart in a simple effort to get closer to our fans. We didn't want to be so far away, so the stance was born."

The Quo Stance

"It's just a great thing to nod your head on stage," says Rossi. "We just put our heads together. Funny, 'cos someone said to me, 'That's a good gimmick', but it's nothing like that at all. When we first did it, completely by accident, we got such a buzz off it, it had to be done again. We didn't suddenly say, 'Oh well, we'd better start standing in line shaking our hair'. It's gradually grown from the days when we just stood there nodding our heads and tapping our feet.... Once our heads start nodding, you know we're away." "We've often whacked one another," says Parfitt. "Once I had to follow France around the stage for five minutes because me [guitar] pegs were knotted up in his hair. The roadies had to untangle us halfway through a number. I pulled half his hair out! We've fallen over a lot too. We call that 'getting our wings'. I remember years ago doing a small youth club. We'd just gone on and the kids were going mad. Francis went dashing across the stage, turned round, fell off the stage and knocked himself out. Quite funny as it happens."

By early 1970, Quo had to capture this new sound and image for vinyl. The look was easy - don't shave. "When it came to doing the photo for Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon [LP], we knew about it in advance," says Rossi.
"We drove, did a gig, didn't wash. Did the next night's gig, didn't wash or shave, drove to London overnight, it had to look like that. It was a total rejection of all that 'press your trousers, make sure your make- up's right'. From then on, l'd always shave at night, so there'd be a bit of stubble the next morning."

The sound was best nailed on "Down the Dustpipe", written by Valley Music's Carl Grossman. lt also represented a welcome return to the charts, spending 17 weeks there and peaking at No. 12.

"It was a word-of-mouth hit," says Bob Young, who provided the track's lusty harmonica. "It only got anywhere by people coming to gigs and telling their friends, and them asking for it. It proved to us that some people were enjoying the band, no matter how unfashionable we were supposed to be."

So prevalent was Young that Rossi later quipped: "He's made four TV appearances in one week. It's all very flash. l think we're gonna pack in playing and send Bob out on his own to do the gigs." "There's nothing terribly involved," adds Rossi. "The lead guitar does things and then there's this riff. We did it in fifteen minutes in two takes. The first take was really miserable - really good - and it would have been fantastic except that something went wrong and there were a few giggles. It was a choker really. lt spoiled the misery." Although the track was not selected tor Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon it was very much in the style of the album, which also featured numerous live favourites and "Junior's Wailing", a track that became synonymous with the Quo sound throughout the Seventies as the opening anthem at their concerts.

And so, the Status Quo sound and image was born. The rest is history. [extract from Just Doin' It by Bob Young, Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt. Cassell Illustrated, 2006. p31-32]


This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Golden Hour vinyl, and as usual includes full album artwork and label scans. I remember buying this LP from K-Mart in Belmont (Geelong) back in the 70's for the pricely sum of $4.99 and was drawn to it by the cover. I already had their 'Hello' and 'Quo' LP's, and was looking for more of their material. Although not as heavy in sound, I was still happy with my purchase and of course now appreciate it more.  In absolute mint condition, you won't hear a pop or crackle in this rip. I have however added some bass enhancement to the tracks to improve this 'budget release' sound.
All tracks from the LP's 'Spare Parts (1969)', 'Ma Kelly's Greasy Spoon (1970)', 'Dog Of Two Head (1971)' and various singles.

Tracklist
01 Down The Dustpipe   2:00
02 Technicolour Dream   2:09
03 Lakky Lady   3:09
04 Spinning Wheel Blues   3:10
05 Shy Fly   3:40
06 Antique Angelica   3:15
07 Gerdundula   3:37
08 Daughter    2:52
09 Railroad    5:18
10 Umleitung   7:00
11 Mean Girl   3:45
12 Everything   2:30
13 Little Miss Nothing   2:53
14 Junior's Wailing   3:25
15 Make Me Stay A Bit Longer   2:47
16 Tune To The Music    3:00
17 To Be Free    2:28
18 In My Chair    2:35

Status Quo were:
Francis Rossi - Guitar, Vocals
Rick Parfitt - Guitar, Vocals
Alan Lancaster - Bass, Vocals
John Coghlan - Drums
Roy Lynes - Keyboards
Bob Young - Harmonica


Monday, May 3, 2021

Pussycat - The Best Of Pussycat (1979) + Bonus Track

 (Dutch 1973 - 1985, 2004 - 2005)

Pussycat
became the third European act to hit number one in Britain in 1976, the only year until 1982 in which so many U.K. chart-toppers would come from the continent.

Pussycat were Lou Wille, his wife Tony who sang lead, her two sisters Henson and Betty Dragsta, Theo Wetzels, Theo Coumans and John Theunissen. The three girls had been telephone operators in Limburg, while John and the two Theos had begun as a three-piece outfit called Scum. Lou Wille played with his brothers in a group called Ricky Rendall and his Centurions until he married Toni and helped create a band called Sweet Reaction.


When this band signed to EMI in Holland and producer Eddy Hilberts took them into the studio, he changed their name to Pussycat and gave them a song written six years earlier by Werner Theunissen, who was guitar tutor to the three girls in Pussycat. The song "Mississppi" was their first single and four and a half million copies worldwide, making them the biggest thing to come out of Linburg since their cheese. [taken from Liner Notes]

It was followed by "Smile" in 1976, and "Hey Joe" in 1978. Other hits were "If You Ever Come to Amsterdam", "Georgie", "Wet Day in September" and "My Broken Souvenirs". Their career in Europe spanned more than a decade and included some seventeen albums. By 1978 Hans Lutjens had replaced Coumans on drums, as the band continued to release albums and tour, travelling as far afield as South Africa. They made regular appearances on the West German TV series, Musikladen, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. [Wikipedia]

Pussycat were one of the many 70's bands that tried to mimic ABBA's sound, featuring complex multipart harmonies and catchy tunes. Unfortunately, they never really made it big in Australia, except for their first hit single "Mississippi".   
This post consists of FLACs ripped from CD, and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD.  As a bonus, I have included the B-Side to their single Mississippi  called "Do It", which was also released on their first LP (ripped from my trusty vinyl).

Tracklist
1975 Single
01 Mississippi
02 Georgie
03 Smile
04 My Broken Souvenirs
05 Just A Woman
06 Mexicali Lane
07 If You Ever Come To Amsterdam
08 Wet Day In September
09 Bad Boy
10 Hey Joe
11 I'll Be Your Woman
12 It's The Same Old Song
13 You Don't Know
14 Goodbye To Lovin'
15 Do It (B-Side Single) *

* Ripped from vinyl
Alt Cover


Pussycat were:
Toni Kowalczyk (married Willé) – lead vocals (1975-85)
Betty Kowalczyk (married Dragstra) – vocals (1975-85)
Marianne Kowalczyk (married Hensen, then Veldpaus) – vocals (1975-85)
Lou "Loulou" Willé (Toni's then husband) – guitar (1975-85)
John Theunissen – guitar (1975-80)
Theo Wetzels – bass guitar (1975-80)
Theo Coumans – drums (1975-78)



Friday, April 30, 2021

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy - Spaced Out [The Very Best Of ] (1997)

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

One of the true ultimates in so-bad-it's-sublime listening. This collection culls the most interesting results of the famously bad recording careers of Star Trek's Kirk and Spock, both of whom recorded albums in the late 1960s. William Shatner's seven cuts all stem from his notorious album 'The Transformed Man', which the liner notes aptly describe as "a bewildering collision of Dylan, Shakespeare, and the Beatles, narrated over a strangely disconnected free-for-all." 

Leonard Nimoy, meanwhile, gets considerably more attention, having recorded five albums of "musical" material -- mostly covers of folk-rock contemporary tunes. He turns in no genuinely good material, but his unsteady attempts at carrying a tune are worth more than a few laughs, whether in his struggles to keep the meter in "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" or his attempts to channel the "spirit" of Spock in "Highly Illogical" and "Spock Thoughts" (the latter of which is actually "Desiderata"). Although a high rating seems inappropriate for a collection such as this, 'Spaced Out' is actually that and is a must-have for ironists who wish to impress their friends with pop culture detritus. 

What? You and I sing together?
This is totally illogical Captain

So this months WOCK on Vinyl pays tribute to this pair of Treky icons, who perhaps should have stuck to their Warp Speed Adventures on the Enterprise rather than inflicting their spaced out vocal cords on this unsuspecting civilisation. Weird, Wacky and Warped folks. Enjoy and may you live a long and prosperous life, while you can.   

Ripped from CD to MP3 (320kps) and includes full album artwork and Liner Notes. Note alternative cover shown below.

Track Listing
01. King Henry The Fifth
 [William Shatner]
02. Elegy For The Brave 
[William Shatner]
03. Highly Illogical 
[Leonard Nimoy]
04. If I Had A Hammer (The Hammer Song) 
[Leonard Nimoy]
05. Mr. Tambourine Man 
[William Shatner]
06. Where Is Love 
[Leonard Nimoy]
07. Music To Watch Space Girls By 
[Leonard Nimoy]
08. It Was A Very Good Year 
[William Shatner]
09. Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town 
[Leonard Nimoy]
10. Hamlet 
[William Shatner]
11. A Visit To A Sad Planet 
[Leonard Nimoy]
12. Abraham, Martin and John 
[Leonard Nimoy]
13. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds 
[William Shatner]
14. If I Was A Carpenter 
[Leonard Nimoy]
15. How Insensitive 
[William Shatner]
16. I'd Love Making Love To You 
[Leonard Nimoy]
17. Put A Little Love In Your Heart 
[Leonard Nimoy]
18. Sunny 
[Leonard Nimoy]
19. Gentle On My Mind 
[Leonard Nimoy]
20. I Walk The Line 
[Leonard Nimoy]
21. Ballad Of Bilbo Baggins 
[Leonard Nimoy]
22. Everybody's Talkin' 
[Leonard Nimoy]
23. Both Sides Now 
[Leonard Nimoy]
24. Spock Thoughts 
[Leonard Nimoy]

Friday, April 23, 2021

REPOST: Various Aussie Artists - A Reefer Derci (1976)

(All Australian Artists)
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The Reefer Cabaret was the successor to the fabled TF Much / Much More Ballroom concert 'happenings' promoted by Bani McSpedden and John Pinder in 1971-72. The Much More events ended in December 1972, reportedly because of complaints from St Patrick's Cathedral (who owned Central Hall, where the shows were staged) about the type of music being performed and the use of drugs by audience and performers. During 1973 Pinder and McSpedden reportedly promoted similar events under the title "Stoned Again" (a name no doubt inspired by the famous Robert Crumb dope cartoon) but we've been unable to locate any details about these events as yet.

Like the Ballroom, the Reefer Cabaret was not the name of a venues per se (like Catcher or the Thumpin' Tum) but rather the title for a regular concert event held in one of the large community halls Melbourne that could be rented on a casual or regular basis for dances, meetings and similar functions -- in this case, the Dallas Brooks Hall in inner Melbourne, and built by the local chapter of the Order of Freemasons.

Like the Ballroom shows, the Reefer Cabaret events were usually held monthly and typically featured long concert-style performances, with multiple musical acts on the bill, interspersed with comedy, poetry readings, theatrical, dance or novelty performances.

The first Reefer Cabaret show was held on 3 August 1974 at the Dallas Brooks Hall. It starred The Dingoes, soul group Skylight, the avant garde group Wind and rising stars Skyhooks, with its charismatic new lead singer Graham "Shirley" Strahan. The night cost $1200 to stage, and attracted 850 people. Unfortunately the Freemasons, who owned the Hall, were not impressed by the type of music (or its volume), nor by the copious quantities of illicit substances which were consumed by the audience. Roberts was obliged to move the Reefer Cabaret to the Ormond Hall in Prahran, owned by the Blind Institute of Melbourne, who apparently didn't have the same qualms about the moral dangers of loud music and dope-smoking. The shows were then presented on a monthly basis, with newer bands such as Madder Lake, Ayers Rock, Split Enz, The Renee Geyer Band and Ariel, who gained invaluable experience before a relatively discerning audience.

The Reefer Cabaret shows ran until sometime in 1976. As with the Garrison venue (which closed in 1974) the Reefer Cabaret gave considerable support to artists on the fledgling Mushroom label and (like the earlier Garrison: The Final Blow double album) Mushroom commemorated the Reefer Cabaret by recording the final concerts and compiling a selection of tracks on the valedictory 2LP set A-Reefer-Derci, (1976), which featured performances by Ariel, Ayers Rock, the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, the Renee Geyer Band, Skyhooks and Split Enz (Extract from Milesago).
.

Standout tracks are Ayers Rocks cover versions of the Rolling Stone's 'Gimme Shelter' and Weather Report's 'Boogie Woogie Waltz'. Their live work is nothing short of spectacular. Another personal favourite is Split Enz's rendition of 'Time For A Change' which showcases the superb vocals of Tim Finn and the haunting keyboards of Eddie Rayner.
This rip was taken from a Vinyl pressing in MP3 (320kbs) and FLAC formats (thanks to Sunshine) and includes full album artwork (thanks to Micko at Midoztouch)

Reposted in FLAC format for your pleasure

Track Listing
1. Intro/Welcome
2. Intro To Renee Geyer Band
3. Renee Geyer Band: It's A Man's Man's World
4. Intro to Split Enz
5. Split Enz: Amy
6. Split Enz: Lovey Dovey
7. Split Enz: Time For A Change
8. Ayers Rock: Boogie Woogie Waltz
9. Ayers Rock - Gimme Shelter
10. Ariel - I Can't Say What I Mean
11. Ariel - Rock 'n' Roll Scars
12. Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band - Roll That Reefer
13. Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band - The Prefect
14. Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band - Out In The Suburbs
15. Skyhooks - Revolution
16. Skyhooks - Smut
17. Skyhooks - Saturday Night


A Reefer Derci Link (122Mb)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Borich 'n' Tilders - The Blues Had A Baby (1980) + Bonus Live Track

 (Australian 1980)

Dutch Tilders

Tilders bought his first guitar in 1959 and by the early 60's was gigging in a number of Melbourne coffee houses. Improvising most of his songs as he went along he found the blues was the perfect vehicle for him to express his feelings. With no immediate mentor he soon developed a unique and original style that was almost entirely self taught.

In 1972, he made his first record with collaborators Brian Cadd, Phil Manning, Barry Sullivan, Barry Harvey, Laurie Pryor and Broderick Smith and it was released the following year. A year later he started recording for the independent 'Eureka' label and consequently cut two direct to disc recordings with Jimmy Conway and Kevin Borich.

During the 70's Dutch fronted such seminal blues and boogie bands as the 'Elks', the 'Cyril B Bunter Band', and 'Mickey Finn'. In 1980 he formed the 'R & B Six', a band that included Charley Elul (drums), Peter Frazer (sax), Suzanne Petersen (flute and vocals), Mick Elliot (guitar) and Dave Murray (bass and vocals). They toured Australia extensively. In the meantime Dutch also worked solo and toured with John Mayall, Taj Mahal, Brownie McGee and Sonny Terry.

Legend has it B.B. King thought Dutch was black after hearing him perform when back stage awaiting to perform next, without yet seeing him in 1976. Whilst Brownie McGee became one of his best friends - simply because he believed the Dutchman was a genuine bluesman, regardless of his racial origin.

Since then Dutch Tilders has been honoured with many awards, most notably for his performances with his band 'The Blues Club'. Today he mostly performs solo; although he often combines with Geoff Achison doing amazing duo chops. Dutch also likes to join forces with Kenny Hatton and Rob O'Toole, forming a group he calls 'His Bluesicians'.

Kevin Borich

With a professional career spanning over 50 years, Kevin Borich has done it all.

Beginning with the La-De-Das in New Zealand, writing the classic hit `Gonna See My Baby Tonight’, to his Kevin Borich Express and The Party Boys, Kevin has performed at some of the biggest Rock events Australia has seen. Sunbury and the Rockarenas in the 70’s with 60,000 people, featuring Fleetwood Mac, Santana (with whom he was invited onstage to play with) and The Little River Band.

Two New Years Eve celebrations at the Sydney Opera House with 70,000 people, telecast live, nationally and internationally to Japan, at that time, a first! Numerous support shows for international acts, Elton John, Status Quo, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy to name but a few. Kevin has played and recorded with artists such as Renee’ Geyer `Blues License’ - Dutch Tilders `The Blues Had a Baby ‘- Richard Clapton `Prushan Blue’, Joe Walsh and The Party Boys, of which Kevin was a founding member.

Borich jammed with Carlos Santana on two of his tours, also with Bo Didley, Richie Blackmore (Deep Purple), Ron Wood (Rolling Stones), John Mayall, Taj Mahal, Living Colour.  Overseas tours and tours with Jimmy Barnes, Renee’ Geyer and Mark Hunter, have added spice to his career

'The Blues Had A Baby' was recorded in August 1980, using the 'Direct to Disc' process, but this time departing from the blues of previous albums for a blues rock style. Entering the studio with the Kevin Borich Express to record the album. The Express was comprised of Kevin Borich (lead guitar, vocals), Michael Deep (bass) and John Watson (drums), with Bob Bertles contributing sax. The single "Bad Books"/"The Blues Had a Baby" was released from the album in April 1981.

Tilders and Borich (20 years later)
I purchased this album when it was first released because I was a huge Borich fan at the time. I had heard of Dutch Tilders, but this album certainly opened my eyes (and ears) to his brilliance as a Bluesman.  Direct To Disc releases were a novelty at the time and were usually reserved for less mainstream music and bands, with  the Aussie jazz fusion group 'Crossfire' having released one two years earlier. Purchasing this record was a no brainer and it certainly one of my prize possessions in my record collection.  In absolute mint condition (both vinyl & cover) and having been recorded Direct To Disk, the rip provided in FLAC should not be missed. Full album artwork is included, along with a 'custom built' back tray for CD.  

 
As a bonus, I have included a rip taken from a YouTube clip featuring Borich playing "Beat Of My Heart" at a gig at The Fyshwick Tavern in Canberra in 1993 (exact date unknown)

Tracklist
01 - The Blues Had A Baby 3:22
02 - They Call Me Moonlight 4:14
03 - Something To Work On 2:50
04 - Don't Take Long 3:24
05 - The Hunter 2:36
06 - Baby What's Wrong 3:12
07 - K.B's Blues 3:48
08 - Beat Of My Heart 5:32
09 - Bad Books 4:00
[Bonus Track]
10 - Beat Of My Heart (Live at The Fyshwick Tavern, Canberra 1993)

Musicians:
Kevin Borich - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Dutch Tilders - Guitar, Vocals
John Watson - Drums
Michael Deep - Bass
Bob Bertles - Sax


Monday, April 12, 2021

The Bushwackers - Murrumbidgee (1977)

 (Australian 1971 - Present)


The Bushwackers
were familiar to many Australians before turning to country music in the late 1970s. Founded in Melbourne in 1971 by Dave Isom, Jan Wositzky, Bert Kahanoff and Mick Slocum, they gained international recognition when their frenetic folk/rock sound became prominent in the world wide revival of traditional song and dance. The band was conceived at Latrobe University in Melbourne when the founding members, in order to qualify for a grant to travel to the Aquarius Arts Festival 1972 at the ANU in Canberra, had to register as a formal act, consequently taking their name from the title of an album by the English folk singer Martyn Wyndham-Read.

Later, Dobe Newton (vocalist from 1973) and Roger Corbett (1980) took up the mantle and the Bushwackers started evolving with a strong country music flavour while still retaining their passionate focus on being Australian. Notable recordings include Faces in the Street, Beneath the Southern Cross, Bushfire, Murrumbidgee and The Shearers Dream – two of which were released through Australian record label Astor Records. The album And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda was released through EMI records in 1976 and is regarded as one of their finest recordings.

After his stint in The Bushwackers, Dave Isom co-founded The Sundowners with Peter McDonald from The Mulga Bill's Bicycle Band in 1977. They played Australian folk music and recorded their first album "Colonial Classics" in the early 80s.

The Bushwackers won their first Golden Guitar in 1981, becoming a fixture in Tamworth where their famous “Chardonnay” show is still a finale of the Festival.

They toured widely and, with Dobe and Roger as the core, a veritable cavalcade of talented country performers flowed through their ranks … Tommy Emmanuel, Clare O’Meara, Mark Oats and Michael Vidale to name a few.

For decades, Dobe and Roger and their “mates” have brought together the folk stories and traditional music of Australia, writing about, performing, recording and celebrating our heritage with an exciting mix of emotion, humour and floor-thumping energy.

A household name, The Bushwackers hold a unique place in the hearts of so many proud Australians. [extract from the Tamworth Festival Website]

The Bushwackers 1977

Album Review (by Paul The Stockman)
Their landmark ‘Murrumbidgee’ LP was recorded at London’s Morgan Studios with the legendary producer, John Wood, in 1977.
The opening track "Augathella Station" is more usually known as "Brisbane Ladies" or similar. It was penned by one Saul Mendelsohn, a stockman, in the 1880s but minor variations have been collected. It is firmly based on the British sea song "Spanish Ladies" about British sailors returning to England from Spain.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, someone with little or no idea decided the song could benefit from some tinkering. Now I'm not opposed to a bit of sensible tinkering - it is a folk song after all. I could live with the elimination of most of the place names although I can't see the point of it. The really absurd bit though is that this version has the drovers still in possession of the herd of cattle on the trip back to Augathella Station (Ranch) after having sold them in Brisbane?? No, they would not have driven any stock back home! Further, this version also has the drovers spending all their "money on the shanty town women" in some country town on the way home. This raises two points - firstly, it was very unlikely that any drovers that way inclined would have any money left after the "Brisbane Ladies" and the "girls of Toowong" (Toowong is an inner suburb of Brisbane) but more tellingly, Australia may have had "shantys" (inns), but not "shanty towns" in that sense and "shanty town women" appears to someone's crude attempt at evoking the concept of USA wild west saloon girls. Altogether, it is very disappointing that the Bushwackers had anything to do with such unauthentic garbage.

The Bushwackers pictured in London in 1976 before their Cambridge Folk Festival appearance. They appeared on the main stage alongside Don McLean, David Bromberg and Steve Goodman. 

"Rain Tumbles Down" was one of the legendary Slim Dusty's earliest songs; the classic "When the Rain Tumbles down in July". He wrote it in 1945 and it was first released in 1947 on the old Regal Zonophone label as a 78rpm. The initial release was definitely of the Australian "hillbilly" style but Slim thankfully released continuously improved performances of the song over the years and they appeared on several of his 103 albums. The Bushwackers remain fairly true to the song and it retains a country and western feel.

Great versions of "The Lachlan Tigers" and "Flash Jack from Gundagai".

For those who may be wondering, the LP cover is of a "lagerphone" in frantic motion. A very popular instrument in any respectable "Bush Band". It's often thought to be purely an Australian invention but it's an import from England but given the now very common name "lagerphone" in Australia (because of all the crown beer bottletops used in its construction). [see http://australianfolk.blogspot.com]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my well played vinyl. I've applied some minor crackle and pop removals to freshen up the rip, but in my opinion the crackles give the music a more rustic and natural sound that enhances the listening experience.  Full album artwork and label scans are also included.  To clench the deal, I've also included as a bonus track, their original 1973 single release of "When The Rain Tumbles Down In July" (a shorter / different sounding version than that on this album) recorded on Warner Bros.

Tracklist
01 Augathella Station 3:54
02 Lachlan Tigers 3:14
03 Billy Of Tea 3:52
04 Cold Feet      2:27
05 Rain Tumbles Down       4:18
06 Streets Of Forbes 5:14
07 The Cameo 1:05
08 Tomahawkin' Fred 2:53
09 Murrumbidgee River     4:59
10 Flash Jack 2:47
11 When The Rain Tumbles Down In July (1973 single)  3:00

Crédits
Bass – Pete Farndon
Bodhrán, Harmonica, Vocals – Jan Wositzky
Drums – Dave Mattacks
Fiddle, Viola, Vocals – Dave Kidd
Guitar, Fiddle, Mandolin – Louis McManus
Piano, Accordion, Vocals – Mick Slocum
Producer – John Wood
Vocals – Dobe Newton

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

REPOST: Think - We'll Give You A Buzz (1976)

(New Zealand 1976-1979)
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Winners of New Zealand’s battle of the band contest, Think recorded one album on Atlantic records. The band comprised Kiwis Richard Pickett (vocals), Alan Badger (bass), Phil Whitehead (guitar and one time member of Human Instinct), Don Mills (keyboards), and Neville Jess (drums).

Think were an Auckland progressive rock band who formed in 1976. Phil Whitehead and Don Mills came from the disbanded top 40 covers band Beam, which featured his brother Chris on drums and Alan Badger on bass. Phil also had a short stint with the legendary NZ band Human Instinct in-between. They produced an album in 1976 called "We'll Give You A Buzz" and a single "Arrived In Time"/"Big Ladies" the following year. One further single came in 1979 with "Good Morning" / "Peanut Joe". Kevin Stanton (guitar) was also a member at one time. He later went on to play with Mi-Sex. Whitehead also went on to join progressive rock unit called Father Thyme [extracts from NewZealand Music of the 60's and 70's].

Their one and only LP "We'll Give You A Buzz" is a great progressive rock album with loads of keyboard, guitar, mood shifts and includes some great riffs. For a progressive rock album it is very accessible so don’t expect any serious ‘head’ music. Keyboard sections have a Rick Wakeman/Ken Hensley feel about them while at times the guitar work of Phil Whitehead matches that of Mick Box, Joe Satriani and even the great man himself 'Carlos Santana'. Vocals exhibit great harmonies and at times sound a lot like Godley and Creme from 10CC.
The only negative is that some of the lyrics sometimes miss the mark and are somewhat shallow at times.
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The rip was taken from vinyl at 320kps (and in FLAC from the 2008 South Side CD release) and includes original album artwork. If you enjoy band's like Eloy, Sebastian Hardie, Uriah Heep or even Badger then you will really enjoy this album.

Tracks
01. Light Title
02. Look What I've Done
03. Ripoff
04. Stringless Provider
05. Big Ladies
06. Our Children (Think About)
..
Band members:
Alan Badger (Bass)
Phil Whitehead (Guitar)
Neville Jess (Drums)
Don Mills (Keyboards)
Ritchie Pickett (Vocals)
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Think MP3 Link (87Mb) New Link 01/10/2013

Think FLAC Link (244Mb)  Upgraded Link 07/04/2021

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Johnny Winter - The Progressive Blues Experiment (1972)

 (U.S 1959 - 2014)


Originally released in 1968 on small Austin, TX label Sonobeat Records in a small pressing of 100, Winter sold the rights to Imperial Records for wider release.

Give the press a lead on an up-and-coming blues musician who isn't black, and you can be sure that someone, somewhere is going to use the phrase 'Great white hope'. And, to be fair, it's hard to resist it when your up-and-comer is Johnny Winter, whose whiter shade of pale is the first thing you notice about him. Until he starts playing, that is. Then, the only thing that strikes you that has anything to do with colour is how naturally this man turns blue.


The blues was not exactly in the doldrums in the late '60s, but it was hardly a booming business. The time was ripe for new heroes, and during the winter of 1968-69 Rolling Stone devoted at least two articles to placing bets on one such. In a feature on Texas music, Larry Sepulvado and John Burks invited the magazine's readers to 'imagine a 130-pound cross-eyed albino bluesman with long fleecy hair playing some of the gutsiest blues guitar you have ever heard,' a trailer that hauled the 24-year-old Winter to prestigious New York gigs and lengthy contractual negotiations as several labels scuffled to sign him. CBS won and his debut album, simply called Johnny Winter, arrived in the spring of '69, sparking a long fuse of gigs that ended in explosive summer performances at Woodstock and Detroit's Motor City Rock Festival. 

Over the next five years Winter's records and appearances would establish him as one of the biggest draws on the blues-rock circuit. After several gear-changes and some stops on the road, not to say crashes, he still commands a substantial fan base and his career is carefully charted at at least one extensive website.


Just before the 'official' debut album hit the shops, another piece of Winter's work was exhibited by Imperial Records: an album he had made earlier for a small Texas label, Sonobeat, under the provocative title The Progressive Blues Experiment. Although the CBS release occupied most of the fierce spotlight that was being trained upon Winter, and prompted even hard line critics like Blues Unlimited's Mike Leadbitter to call him 'the best male, white blues guitarist there ever was', some reviewers - among them Rolling Stone's Pete Welding - preferred the rawer production of the Imperial set, and it has continued to find admirers ever since.'As murky as hell but fresh and powerful in approach', wrote Charles Shaar Murray recently. And here it is again.


It's Johnny Winter's earliest album as such, but by no means his first recording: he'd been in that game since his mid-teens. Born in 1944, he grew up partly in his father's hometown of Leland, Mississippi, and partly in his mother's, the Texas Gulf Coast city of Beaumont. As a youngster he played clarinet, then ukulele, before taking up guitar. With his three-years-younger brother Edgar he had a preteen group modelled on the Everly Brothers, then in high school in Beaumont they formed Johnny & The Jammers, with Edgar playing keyboards, and recorded a rock 'n' roll single, 'School Day Blues', for the Dart label, which got them some attention. Johnny quit technical college to go into music full time, and for most of the next ten years he was in and out of studios in Houston and Beaumont, making singles for local labels under a variety of names, or playing guitar on sessions with other artists - blues, R&8, rockabilly, pop, whatever.


Meanwhile the club work went on and on, sometimes in white joints, sometimes black. Johnny had loved blues since he was a kid, had hung out with Beaumont's Clarence Garlow, of 'Bon Ton Roulet' fame, and had spent some time visiting the blues clubs in Chicago, and he took every Opportunity of playing both with local black artists and with visiting out-of-towners like Jimmy Reed' Johnny & The Jammers were transformed into other entities: around '65/'66, they were Johnny Winter & The Black Plague, wearing black, playing in black light.


By '67', Uncle John'Turner was in place as the group's drummer, and soon afterwards Tommy Shannon (later a charter member of Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble) joined on bass: this is the rhythm section heard on The Progressive Blues Experiment. The album was recorded at the Vulcan Gas Company, a club in Austin, Texas, in 1967 or '68. Though a version has circulated with crowd-noise on it, implying a live recording, the original tapes, as heard here, indicate that the only audience in the club was the guys doing the recording.

Winter playing his National Steel Guitar
The influence of Muddy Waters (whom Winter would later produce, in a fine series of albums for Blue Sky) hangs over the proceedings like a dark blue cloud, from the opening 'Rollin'and Tumblin" through the tribute track - actually 'Still a Fool, Muddy's take on'Catfish Blues - to the acoustic 'Bad Luck and Trouble', which is pretty plainly modelled on Muddy's early sides with Little Walter. 0n this track Johnny plays the harmonica and mandolin as well as the National steel guitar. The National is also heard on'Broke Down Engine', where Johnny seems to apply the style of Robert Johnson to a theme by Blind Willie McTell. 'l Got Love If You Want it' came from Slim Harpo, 'Help Me'from Sonny Boy Williamson ll, 'lt's My Own Fault' from B.B. King and'Forty-Four' from Howlin' Wolf, 'Mean Town Blues' uses the riff from Slim Harpo's 'Shake Your Hips' - or Little Junior Parker's 'Feelin' Good, or John Lee Hooker's'Boogie Chillun', take your pick. Johnny sounds as if he has Hooker in mind: listen to his guitar solo, especially the passage from 1.52 onwards.

But the sources of Winter's material are much less the point than the skill with which he shifts his technical gears, from the throbbing slide lines of the Muddy tracks, through those Hookeresque chords, to the lissom single-string picking of 'It's My Own Fault'. In my own mind, I was the best white blues player around,'he would say later. A lot of white players have come down the blues highway in the last 30 years. Some of them, no doubt, have had chops to rival his.
But how many of them give you live blues action as incandescent as this? [Liner notes by Tony Bussell, July 1999]


This post consists of FLACs taken from my newly acquired CD (another great flee market find) with full album artwork for both vinyl and CD.  Winter's earlier material is certainly his strongest and this release is testament to this by far.  Absolutely brilliant and Blues at its Best.

Tracklist
01 Rollin' And Tumblin' 3:09
02 Tribute To Muddy 6:20
03 I Got Love If You Want It 3:52
04 Bad Luck And Trouble 3:43
05 Help Me 3:46
06 Mean Town Blues 4:26
07 Broke Down Engine 3:25
08 Black Cat Bone 3:46
09 It's My Own Fault 7:20
10 Forty-Four 3:28


The Winter Band:
Johnny Winter - Vocals, Guitar, Mandolin, Mouth Harp
Tommy Shannon - Bass
John 'Red' Turner - Drums