Monday, May 31, 2021

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - The Pelaco Bros: The Notorious Pelaco Bros Show (1977) + The Lost Demos E.P (1975)

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

The Pelaco Brothers were the seminal Melbourne ban. On their demise in 1975 they spawned Melbourne's response to the punk revolution - the frantic Joe Camilleri and the romantic Stephen Cummings. They helped make Melbourne the capital of Australian rock in the late '70's.

The Pelaco Brothers formed in 1974 in Melbourne with Joe Camilleri (ex-King Bees, Lipp and the Double Dekker Brothers, Sharks) on saxophone and vocals, Stephen Cummings (ex-Ewe and the Merinos) on lead vocals, Peter Lillie on guitar and vocals, Johnny Topper on bass guitar, Karl Wolfe on drums and Chris Worrall on guitar. 

The group was actually formed by Johnny Topper and Peter Lillie. The pair had been indulging in performance art with a concept of The After Dinner Moose. Topper was keen to give up the theatre and start a magazine with a friend, Stephen Cummings. Instead he was persuaded by Lillie to buy musical instruments and start a band which eventually included saxophonist Joe Camilleri. The band sang about truck drivers, roadhouse ladies and endless highways, playing a mix of rockabilly, R&B and Western Swing that forged a new musical aesthetic for the local scene. 

The Pelco Bros - Stephen Cummings with his back turned
The group were named after the Pelaco Sign located in Richmond, Melbourne (see below) which advertised a local shirt manufacturer. According to Australian musicologist, Ian McFarlane, they played  "rockabilly, country swing and R&B that recalled American outfits like Commander Cody and His  Lost Planet Airmen and Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. Yet, the band's delivery presented a fiercely  Australian outlook". Only existing for 18 months, they later included Ed Bates on guitar and Peter  Martin on slide guitar.

Their posthumous release was 'The Notorious Pelaco Brothers Show' a live six-track extended play (also seen as The Pelaco Bros) on the Ralph imprint in 1977. The Pelaco Brothers disbanded in late 1975, Camilleri went on to form a blues and rock music band, Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons; meanwhile Cummings and Bates formed a new wave group, The Sports in 1976. 

In 1982, The  Pelaco Brothers music was used for a suburban horror film, 'This Woman Is Not a Car.'

So this month's  WOCK on Vinyl is far from being Weird or Crazy. It is however, a very rare E.P due to it's limited print run and so ticks the Obscure category.  In fact, the rips contained in this post (MP3 / 320kps) was only sourced recently and I am very grateful to TARAGO for providing them.  The artwork for the 'Notorious EP' was sourced from Mr Weird and Wacky with thanks.


To add icing on the cake, I have managed to source some of these tracks and others in FLAC format from some Aussie compilation CDs that I own and have included them in this package. 
The music contained within is fantastic and gives us a great insight into where Stephen Cummings and Joe Camilleri first developed their skills in the music industry, later to appear in the Sports and Jo Jo Zep respectively.  

To read a full account of the Pelaco Bros, select the review article below, which is also included with the post along with the artwork

Track List:
'The Notorious Pelaco Bros. Show EP' (1977)
01 - Truckdrivin’ Queen
02 - Conga Line
03 - Cat Clothes
04 - Milkcow Blues
05 - Eskimo In Paris
06 - Mellow Saxophone

'The Lost Demos' from The Pelaco Bros. (1975)
01 - French Pom Pom
02 - I Can’t Do That
03 - 3rd Degree
04 - Ten Pin King
05 - Mordialloc

Bonus FLAC tracks
01 - Conga Line
02 - Mechanics in a Relaxed Manner
03 - Rockabilly Heaven
04 - Truck Driving Queen
05 - Truckdrivin' Guru

Members:
Joe Camilleri (saxophone vocals), 
Stephen Cummings (vocals), 
Peter Lillie (guitar), 
Johnny Topper (bass), 
Karl Wolfe (drums) 
Chris Worrall (guitar),
Ed Bates (guitar) 
Peter Martin (slide guitar)

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Jethro Tull - Too Old To Rock N Roll: Too Old To Die (1976) plus Bonus Track

 ( UK 1967 - 2012, 2017 - Present)

Jethro Tull isn't his name, of course, but it might as well be. At the mere mention of this venerable British art-rock outfit, most people flash on the image of flute-wielding Tull front man Ian Anderson. The LP's 'This Was' and 'Stand Up', both from 1969, present the group as jazz-and folk-influenced progressives; Anderson's rasping, melodramatic style of play takes off from Rahsaan Roland Kirk's multi-reed explorations. Guitarist Martin Barre contributes heavy, hooky riffs to accompany Anderson's burgeoning songwriting voice on Stand Up. And then, Tull clicked with young American audiences.

Aqualung combines heaving melodies and moralistic liberal diatribes against church and state: You know the rest. Thanks to 20 years of radio rotation, heavy handed manifestos like "Aqualung" and "Wind Up" rank right up there with "Stairway to Heaven" on the over familiarity meter. Living in the Past, which ably documents Tull to this point, is recommended over the later compilations.


The immediate success of Aqualung spurred Anderson to indulge his artistic whims, resulting in two challenging, wildly experimental, and occasionally obtuse theatrical concept albums: 'Thick as a Brick' and 'Passion Play'. After that strategy backfired, Jethro Tull returned to traditional song structure on War Child and the acoustic-flavoured Minstrel in the Gallery.

Ian Anderson

Things were never quite the same again, though. After the excessively snide 1976 hit "Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll, Too Young to Die!," Tull retreated into a sylvan glade of arty Elizabethan folk-rock. This latter-day approach is best captured on the lovely, smoke-flavoured Songs From the Wood and A. on which former members of Fairport Convention and Roxy Music add crucial support. 

Jethro Tull On Stage at Wolfgangs in 1976

After releasing a pair of electronic stinkers (Walk Into Light and Under Wraps) in the '80s, Anderson retired the Tull moniker for several years. The 1988 box-set retrospective (20 Years of Jethro Tull) is representative, but mighty tough for the average listener to wade through, Jethro Tull released the folkish Crest of a Knave in 1987; from then on, Anderson retreated into a prosaic formula that obliterated most of the pastoral passages and tricky time signatures in favour of shorter songs that rocked in surprisingly conventional ways. 

Ian Anderson and Martin Blarre

Anderson's darkly sarcastic sense of humour and the band's tight instrumental combustion has made Tull an exhilarating live experience to this day—long after its records ceased to hold much interest for anyone but hard-core fans. [extract from the New Rolling Stone Album Guide, 4th Edition, 2013]

Album Background
First, a bit of back story: after 1975's Minstrel in the Gallery, Jethro Tull had intended to not only record a new album but also put together a stage musical about an ageing rock star. Somewhere along the line, however, they walked away from the musical idea and instead utilised the material they'd written for it as the basis for their new album, Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!

Like 'Benefit' before it, 'Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll' has never got the credit it's due.

A Rock Opera containing some of the band's most anthemic Rock songs (the title track being the most famous example) and some of its most poignant and delicate acoustic ballads ('From A Dead Beat To An Old Greaser', 'Salamander', 'Bad-Eyed And Loveless'), 'Too Old' is one of the unsung gems of Jethro Tull's remarkable catalogue.
However, Ian Anderson should stick to music, because he most definitely is not a storyteller. This is the muddled story of one Ray Lomas, “the last of the old rockers,” whose long hair and tight jeans mark him as a person whom time has passed by. After a series of events remarkable only for their lack of humor and originality, we leave the “hero” as he is about to become a pop star in his own right.

We can take comfort, though, in knowing that Anderson’s technical prowess as a composer remains undiminished. The album abounds in breathtaking musical passages. The title cut, for one, is a textbook example of the use of dynamics and nuance in a rock song: instruments subtly creep in during the verses, with the slightest of musical nods to let us know they’re there. The music builds with a tension that heightens a desperate theme, then erupts in the chorus. “Quizz Kid” features, in addition to numerous startling changes in texture, several brief but pungent solos by guitarist Martin Barre, whose playing is exemplary throughout.

Album Review

Jethro Tull's Too Old to Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young to Die! remains one of the minor efforts in its catalogue. Though the group was never a critical favourite, this 1976 album was particularly dismissed, and it didn't find as much favour as usual from fans, either.

This LP remains the group's only release of the 1970's not to have at least gone gold in the U.S. In his liner notes to the reissue, bandleader Ian Anderson claims that the collection was intended to support a stage musical “based on a late-'50s motor cycle rocker and his living-in-the-past nostalgia for youthful years. Not me, guv, honest,” he added. “Why do people always think it has to be autobiographical?” Perhaps because the main character, Ray Lomas, bears a striking resemblance to Anderson in the cartoon strip included with the album and because the sentiments expressed in the songs revealed a curmudgeonly attitude familiar from past Jethro Tull efforts penned by Anderson.

The songs don't conform to the story line developed in the strip, nor do they tell a coherent story on their own, though they do have their own separate stories to tell. For example, “Crazed Institution,” in the strip, has something to do with Lomas' revulsion at a department store called “Horrids” (ie. Harrod's), but the song sounds like a put down of glam rockers who “live and die upon [their] cross of platinum.” The title track, which went on to become a classic rock and concert favourite, remains the most striking tune [extract from vinylpussycat.com].


This post consists of FLACs ripped from my Nice Price Cassette Tape (purchased from the Bargin Bin at Brash Suttons back in the late 70's) and includes full artwork and label scans. Sadly, I've never come across the vinyl release but the hunt still continues as it is an important hole to fill in my Jethro Tull collection. This album was the followup album to their critically acclaimed 'Minstrel In The Gallery', and as such suffered from the impossible expectations this created. In fact, Rolling Stone only rated the album with 2 stars and consequently album sales were not strong. For me, this album was in its own right still a strong album and tracks like Quizz Kids and Too Young To..... were up there with their best.

Tracklist:
01 - Quizz Kid
02 - Crazed Institution
03 - Salamander
04 - Taxi Grab
05 - From A Deadbeat To An Old Greaser
06 - Bad-Eyed And Loveless
07 - Big Dipper
08 - Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die
09 - Pied Piper
10 - The Chequered Flag (Dead Or Alive)
11 - Too Old To Rock 'N' Roll: Too Young To Die (Bonus Live)*


* Taken from Burstin Out

Jethro Tull were:
Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Flute, Harmonica, Electric Guitar [Occasional], Percussion [Occasional] – Ian Anderson
Bass, Vocals – John Glascock
Electric Guitar – Martin Barre
Drums, Percussion – Barriemore Barlow
Piano – John Evan

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

R.E.M - Unauthorised: Losing My Religion Vol.2 (1993) Bootleg

(U.S 1980 - 2011)

R.E.M.
was an American rock band from Athens, Georgia, formed in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and drummer Bill Berry. One of the first popular alternative rock bands, R.E.M. gained early attention due to Buck's ringing, arpeggiated guitar style and Stipe's unclear vocals. R.E.M. released its first single, "Radio Free Europe", in 1981 on the independent record label Hib-Tone. The single was followed by the Chronic Town EP in 1982, the band's first release on I.R.S. Records. In 1983, the group released its critically acclaimed debut album, Murmur, and built its reputation over the next few years through subsequent releases, constant touring, and the support of college radio. Following years of underground success, R.E.M. achieved a mainstream hit in 1987 with the single "The One I Love". The group signed to Warner Bros. Records in 1988, and began to espouse political and environmental concerns while playing large arenas worldwide.

By the early 1990s, when alternative rock began to experience broad mainstream success, R.E.M. was viewed by subsequent acts such as Nirvana and Pavement as a pioneer of the genre and released its two most commercially successful albums, Out of Time (1991) and Automatic for the People (1992), which veered from the band's established sound. R.E.M.'s 1994 release, Monster, was a return to a more rock-oriented sound. The band began its first tour in six years to support the album; the tour was marred by medical emergencies suffered by three band members. In 1996, R.E.M. re-signed with Warner Bros. for a reported US $80 million, at the time the most expensive recording contract in history. 

The following year, Bill Berry left the band, while Buck, Mills, and Stipe continued the group as a trio. Through some changes in musical style, the band continued its career into the next decade with mixed critical and commercial success. In 2007, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. R.E.M. disbanded in September 2011, announcing the split on its website.

Recording Details
This concert was recorded in Utrecht in the Netherlands on September 14, 1987 during their 'Work Tour', about two weeks after the Document studio album had been released (Support act: The Railway Children).
With eight songs off Document and five from Lifes Rich Pageant, this live recording gives us a very clear indication of how the REM sound was progressing in the late 80's.

By this stage, the band were very experienced and confident playing live but the venue is still relatively small (maximum capacity 5,000 people).


After years of being starved of official live recordings, R.E.M. have included live recording bonuses with other studio albums – a 1983 show with Murmur, a 1984 show with Reckoning and a 1989 show with Green.

So what are the essential years of REM's career?
Well I had ignored REM in their early days but the singles from Document had gained my attention and Green was the first of their albums that I bought. My bias therefore is for this middle period from 1987 to 1992 when they took on the world and won. [extract from bestlivealbums.com]

The Muziekcentrum
The Venue
"Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht"
Former music venue in Utrecht, The Netherlands with a capacity of 1700 and 300 people. It opened its' doors on January 26, 1979.
In the period 2007-2014, the venue was thoroughly rebuilt, only the original construction of the main hall was maintained, with the new venue being built around this.
Two temporary locations were used in this period. During this time the venue also merged with Tivoli, Utrecht and the new venue TivoliVredenburg opened in July, 2014.
Also sometimes listed on releases as The Music Centrum, Utrecht or Music Centre, Utrecht.

Inside the Muziekcentrum

This post consists of FLACS ripped from my fruity 'Banana Bootleg' and includes the distinct 'red artwork' typical of these Australian Unauthorised Bootlegs.  A Soundboard recording, it is rated as excellent and is the second half of the concert. Regrettably, I have yet to come across Vol.1 but when I do (and I will), I'll post it quick smart.  

I have taken the liberty of adding a live 'unplugged' rendition of "Losing My Religion" as a bonus track, giving the title of this bootleg more credibility.

This bootleg has also been released under the title of Red Rain (see cover right)

Tracks
01  Oddfellows Local 151 (Firehouse) 5:26
02  Little America 2:49
03  It's The End Of The World As We Know It (& I Feel Fine) 4:03
04  Begin The Begin 4:30
05  Strange 2:59
06  Disturbance At The Heron House 3:25
07  Funtime / Harpers 7:21
08  Moral Kiosk 4:41
09  Life And How To Live It 4:36
10 Time After Time / Red Rain 3:05
11 So Central Rain (I'm Sorry) 5:31
12 Losing My Religion (Bonus MTV track)   4:38



Friday, May 14, 2021

Robin Trower - Bridges Of Sighs (1974) + Bonus Tracks

 (U.K 1973 - Present)

When Robin Trower left Procol Harum in 1971 to form a new band, the expectations were not high.

Although he had shown glimpses of promise on Procol Harum tracks like "Simple Sister" and "Whiskey Train" he was nonetheless playing inside a band dominated by eclectic lyrics and classically influenced keyboards.

When a short lived quartet called Jude failed to take off, Robin took almost a year's hiatus to form a power trio featuring Jude bassist and vocalist James Dewar and accomplished drummer Reg Isidore. The band's trademark sound was based on Trower's guitar and Dewar's smooth, dark and soulful vocals.

After signing a solo deal with Chrysalis in 1972, Trower released his first album, 'Twice Removed From Yesterday'. The album (released in 1973) was reasonably well-received, if dogged a bit by Hendrix comparisons. Robin never denied the influence, in fact, he explained exactly when and where he got his inspiration in one of the album's standout tracks, "Daydream". Even considering the respectable success of this first album and the band's incessant touring, few would have predicted that Trower's next album would still be regarded as one of the greatest rock guitar albums ever recorded.

Dewar, Trower and Isidore (1973)

Robin once called 'Bridges Of Sighs (1974) a "stack of my favourites", while proclaiming that the title track was the most enjoyable song to play live. The album has proved to be an enduring work of artistic creative depth, and has remained a classic for 25+years. Rarely has one album so beautifully showcased such a diverse, expansive rainbow of sounds created by a rock and blues-based three piece. Understated, sparse, subtle and alluring - yet still very bright - Bridges of Sighs is the best example of Robin Trower's magical muscianship.

Trower Band playing on the 'Old Grey Whistle - BBC' 1974

Upon its release, the album flew up the U.S charts, reaching #7 on Billboard's Top 200. It eventually reached multi-platinum status without a true radio single or any concession to commercialism. Guitar Player magazine, the authority and most respective magazine of the time, would bestow their prestigious Album Of The Year award on Robin Trower for his songwriting and musical genius. The album clearly represented an artist and his band at the height of their craft, totally connecting with the audience.


'Bridges of Sighs' also benefited from the huge popularity of FM rock radio, which was at the pinnacle of its influence in 1974. This fact was not lost on bands or record companies, and Robin's trio responded by playing a series of live broadcasts. The bonus live tracks included in this post come from one such performance recorded at the legendary Record Plant in Los Angeles on May 29, 1974 - barely a month after the album's release. The show was broadcast live that night on L.A's legendary rock powerhouse KMET.

Such performances served as added proof of the trio's mastery of their art, and helped the band make the leap from clubs to arenas. A hearty work ethic and touring schedule built a huge and honest following which in turn confirmed the suggestion that 'Bridges Of Sighs' was the best rock album of 1974. A by-product of this success was Robin Trower's tremendous influence on the next generation of guitar players, who forever enshrined him among his generation's six-string elite.

In a '70s-era interview, Robin summed up the roots of his success, phenomenal skill and soul in his own words: "The blues are the single most important thing that has happened in this century. The blues are raw, vital and beautiful and in the right hands the electric guitar can be the most wonderful instrument". How true. [Liner notes by Jon Sutherland]

Trower's First 4 LP's

This post consists of FLACs ripped from the CD (Expanded Edition) release of this album which features bonus live tracks recorded at the legendary Record Plant in Los Angeles on May 29, 1974. 

Full album artwork for both vinyl and CD are included along with label scans.  I have also included a rip of the single release of "Too Rolling Stoned" (see left), which is an edited version featuring the first 'fast' section of the song. However, it leaves one feeling somewhat short changed when its over and craving for the slower coda, which features one of Trower's most memorable riffs.  

I clearly remember the first time I heard this album, while hanging out at a mates place (he was a big fan of Procol Harum), and listened to the album on his stereo with the volume cranked up to 10. When "Day of the Eagle" came blasting out of his Bose speakers I was gobsmacked, and it just got better and better. The other thing I love about this album and 3 other Trower LPS (see above) are the covers.  All designed by by Funky Paul, they have a distinct look which draws you in and certainly helps to grab your attention while they sit in the record racks.

'Bridges of Sighs' is definitely in my Top Ten Albums and I never tier of sitting back and playing this LP from start to finish, and the hairs on my back still stand up while I do.

Tracklist
01  Day Of The Eagle 5:00
02  Bridge Of Sighs 5:01
03  In This Place 4:27
04  The Fool And Me 3:54
05  Too Rolling Stoned 7:31
06  About To Begin 3:44
07  Lady Love 3:17
08  Little Bit Of Sympathy 4:27
[Bonus Tracks]
09  Day Of The Eagle (Live) 3:49
10  Bridge Of Sighs (Live) 5:16
11  Too Rolling Stoned (Live) 6:27
12  Lady Love (Live) 3:13
13  Little Bit Of Sympathy (Live) 4:48
14  Too Rolling Stone (Single Edit) 2:48


Robin Trower Band:
Robin Trower - Guitar
James Dewar - Bass, Vocals
Reg Is
idore - Drums

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