Saturday, April 30, 2022

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Jo Jo Zep And The Falcons - Limited Edition Double Single (1980)

 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.

Joe Camilleri was born in Malta during 1948, the third of ten children. In 1964, he was singing with a band called The Brollies, then joined up with ex-Captain Matchbox member Dave Flett in the King Bees. After they split, Camilleri retired from rock'n'roll for a few years, resurfacing as leader of the Adderley Smith Blues Band in 1970. Two years later he was with Lipp & The Double Decker Brothers and, even later, toured WA mining towns with Flett and Skyhooks founder Peter Starkie — as Roger Rocket & The Millionaires.

In 1973, Joe Camilleri moved from Western Australia to Melbourne to play with The Sharks and then formed The Pelaco Brothers in 1974, who recorded a memorable EP (see previous post). This led to a brief association with Mushroom Records for the Christmas 1975 single "Run Run Rudolph" (as Jo Jo Zep), produced by Ross Wilson. Camilleri was then asked to open for Skyhooks at a Myer Music Bowl concert in Melbourne and recruited Gary Young, John Powers, Wayne Burt and Jeff Burstin. Thus was born Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, who debuted on vinyl with "Beatin' Around The Bush", which was featured in the film Oz.

This was followed by the 1977 albums 'Don't Waste It' and 'Whip It Out' produced by Ross Wilson, the live EP 'Loud And Clear' and a 10" mini-album 'So Young'.

The hard-blowing, hot-swinging Falcons were a distillation of a decade of diligently noncommercial urban blues bands. They stood their uncompromised ground until Australian rock caught up with them and then proceeded to blow everyone else offstage with contagious boogie of a relevant and intelligent nature. Highly regarded in diverse musical circles, they toured with Graham Parker & The Rumour and were invited to play at the 1980 Montreaux Jazz & Blues Festival, in the wake of the acclaimed 'Screaming Targets' album and two strong chart hits, "Hit and Run" and "Shape I'm In".

The band continued on its winning streak with the 1980 'Hats Off Step Lively' album and the hit single "I Will Return" which was the band's first attempt at using strings in a recording. In Joe's words 'We had a great arrangement for it and I had the whole song down and recorded apart from the very first bit which I just could not sing in tune for ages!'

This month's WOCK on Vinyl post features a limited edition Double Single package which contained two 45's from Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons. The first 45 features two versions of "I Will Return", the A side is a track from Hats Off Step Lively album which was recorded at AAV studios in March, 1980, whilst the B side was recorded live at the bottomline nightclub, New York in July, 1980. The second 45 showcases the tracks "Don't Wanna Come Down" and "I Need Your Loving" which were both recorded live at the 1980 Montreux Jazz & Blues Festival held in Switzerland. This unique double single, four track package was strictly a limited edition release (selling for $1.99, the same price as a normal 45 at that time). To ensure that the two 45's were not sold separately by dodgy record outlets, Mushroom records printed "Bonus Single Not For Sale" on the 2nd 45's label.

 Because this double single had a limited number of pressings and rarely appears on eBay, it certainly ticks the Obscure check box for  being a WOCK on vinyl candidate.  This post consists of FLACs,  cover artwork and label scans taken from my prized vinyl. Although my copy is in almost mint condition, it was still necessary to increase the volume of the D-Side "I Need Your Loving", due to it's excessive length - 8:40.  This release is certainly worth grabbing, as you won't hear any of these live recordings elsewhere. 

Track Listing
Side A -  I Will Return (Studio)  3:20
Side B -  I Will Return (Live at the Bottomline nightclub, New York)  3:29
Side C -  Don't Wanna Come Down (Live At The Montreaux Jazz & Blues Festival)  3:26
Side D -  I Need Your Loving (Live At The Montreaux Jazz & Blues Festival)  8:40

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Larry Carlton - Singing-Playing (1973)

 (U.S 1962 - Present)

Welcome to one of the rarest albums by a guitarist whose session work appears on more records than probably even he can remember! Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, The Crusaders, Al Jarreau, Minnie Fliperton, Ftandy Crawford, Christopher Cross, Bill Withers, Gap Mangione, Paul Anka, Michael McDonald, Mike Post, Barbra Streisand and many others have utilised his talents.

Larry Carlton was born on 2nd March 1948 in Torrance, California. Musically gifted from an early age, he was a great admirer of the great jazz guitarists like Wes Montgomery, Howard Roberts, Barney Kessel and Joe Pass - in fact Larry almost left college in his teens to replace Joe Pass in George Shearing's quintet.

Early musical employment included a spell in Disneyland's house band, a spell at NBC TV as a staff music writer in 1969, and numerous sessions - to quote one source: "three sessions a day, five days a week, and commanding triple-scale rates".

Larry Carlton (Centre) with the 
This, his first album recorded for Blue Thumb Records in 1973 (and later re-issued by MCA in 1980), introduced his own individual style of playing the Gibson 335 guitar, as well as featuring his singing on six of the eight tracks (on his later albums the vocals would become less of a feature). Relatively unknown writers provided the six songs (although "I Cry Mercy" was written and recorded by Smith Perkins Smith, an Island Records group whose guitarist Wayne Perkins was briefly touted to replace Mick Taylor in The Rolling Stones).

The trademark 'Carlton' guitar sound is evident throughout, as is his toneless singing. The tracks here have a more earthy feel, as opposed to the over-produced stylings he would later employ; however, the overall results are disappointing. The guitar playing is certainly impressive (especially the distortion-filled "Free Way"), but sadly there is not enough of it. Regardless, this is an interesting part of Carlton's beginnings and there are enough moments here that foreshadow his evolvement into one of the most distinctive voices in the history of electric guitar.

He was backed by some of the best session players of the day, with The Crusaders accompanying him on the two instrumental cuts. Inspired no doubt by these recordings, the long-established Jazz group recruited Carlton to their ranks and he featured on several of their mid-seventies albums, most notably "Those Southern Knights" in 1976. At the same time, along with The Crusaders and several others of the session alumni on this album he played on Joni Mitchell's commercial breakthrough albums "Court And Spark" and "The Hissing Of Summer Lawns", though arguably Larry's best playing for Mitchell is to be found on "Hejira".

Around this time he also played on Steely Dan albums, being responsible for the staggering boundary-defying solo on "Kid Charlemagne" on the "Royal Scam" album. The fluidity of his playing and the tastefulness with which he explores previously uncharted guitar territory is only rivalled by that of Lee Ritenour.

Larry left The Crusaders in 1977 to resume his solo recording career, and thus missed out on playing on their top 10 album and top 5 single "Street Life" in 1979. His debut album for Warner Brothers "Larry Carlton" was released in August 1978 and featured the instant classic "Point It Up", an instrumental which also featured on "Mr 335 Live - ln Japan". More excellent albums followed for Warner Brothers and MCA, winning him a brace of Grammies on the way, and Larry is currently with Dave Grusin's GRP Records.

ln 1988, he disturbed an intruder at his studio, who shot him in the neck. Emergency operations ensued, but thankfully after physiotherapy he eventually made a complete recovery, and returned to recording and touring. His most recent project has been the long-anticipated collaboration with Lee Ritenour, "Larry And Lee", having been released in spring 1995 on GRP Records.

This album is a snapshot of a young developing guitarist before he released those brilliant trilogy of jazz fusion albums for Warner Brothers (see the first of these on my blog HERE). 

This post consists of FLACS ripped from CD (quality is far superior to my vinyl copy, even though it is a Japanese release), and includes full album artwork for both media.  

01 Easy Evil  4:57
02 I Cry Mercy  3:15
03 One More Chance  3:13
04 With Respect to Coltrane  5:53
05 American Family  4:03
06 Wavin' and Smilin'  3:01
07 Captain, Captain  3:28
08 Free Way  6:15

Backing Vocals – Chris Nelson, Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Oma Drake
Bass – Joe Osborne, Max Bennett, Reinie Press, Wilton Felder
Drums – "Stix" Hooper, Jim Gordon, John Guerin, Ron Tutt
Electric Piano – Joe Sample
Guitar, Vocals, Bass, Vibraphone, Percussion, Producer – Larry Carlton
Keyboards – Michael Omartian
Percussion – Alan Estes, Michael Mills

Larry Carlton Link (177Mb) New Link 05/09/2023

Monday, April 18, 2022

Journey - Infinity (1978) + Bonus Demo

 (U.S 1973-1987, 1991, 1995-Present)

The Steve Perry Story

Prior to Steve Perry's arrival,  Journey had been a fairly inconspicuous and mainly instrumental fusion outfit, looking to muscle in on the jazz-rock scene perpetrated by the likes of Weather Report and the Mahavisnu Orchestra.

Journey’s interest in experimental jazz-fusion was confirmed on their self-titled debut album issued in 1975. A classy work, the album resonates with a surety beyond their recent formation, all players coming across as both fluid and experienced. Neal Schon in particular rips up his fretboard like combination of Jeff Beck and Robert Fripp. Check out the seven-minute long Kahoutek where he trades call-and-response licks with Gregg Rolie.

Surprisingly for such complex music, the album sold moderately well, reaching No.138 on the Billboard chart. After George Tickner bailed out of the band, their next two albums – 1976’s 'Look Into The Future' and 1977’s 'Next' – repeated the pattern, with Gregg Rolie making a concerted effort to deliver reasonably effective vocals atop what was clearly a jazz-fusion fanfaronade.

Great players, Journey’s early style and meticulous arrangements would, inevitably, limit their appeal unless radical changes were implemented. Their sound had attracted stellar critical reviews but, as a commercial entity, they were stuck in a rut. Not surprisingly, at the behest of their label, Columbia, changes needed to be made, a radical re-modelling of the band was demanded to expand their appeal.

Effectively this meant adding a proper vocalist/frontman and modifying the musical direction. It was a bitter pill to swallow but the band took it on the chin and cast their net to see what was possible.

Journey with Robert Fleischman (Far Right) 1977

 They settled on Californian Robert Fleischman, who teamed up with the band in June 1977, at the request of label president Bruce Lundvall, who asked Robert to fly to San Francisco and see the band. Fleischman rapidly assimilated with his new bandmates, co-writing a handful of songs, three of which – Wheel In The Sky, Anytime and Winds Of March – would later surface on Infinity.

However, after touring with Fleischman for nearly one year, things fell apart between the band and their nearly acquired vocalist and the decision was made to recruit Perry (who was working as the band's technician) to the position, after he auditioned for the role during a sound check.

It was the beginning of a new chapter for Journey. Equipped with an appealing personality, good looks and a voice to kill for, Perry soon became the focal point of attention. It was now time to unleash his talent in the studio by recording Journey’s fourth and pivotal album, Infinity.

Journey Infinity Publicity Photo 1978

The plan was simple: write songs, hire a producer, select a studio and make an album that would set out their stall for the next 10 years or more. Steve immersed himself in songwriting with all the band members, but mainly with new creative partner Neal Schon, eventually securing co-writing credits on eight of the 10 songs.

Steve and Neal struck up a strong rapport and quickly established a beachhead, strengthening the band’s sound and setting in place a new direction. The emphasis was now on fully formed songs with melodies, hooks and the sort of contemporary buff that made the competition quake in their boots.

The choice of producer was inspired. Band, management and label all agreed on Roy Thomas Baker, the flamboyant British studio craftsman who had worked with some of the most influential rock bands around, including Free and – most importantly – Queen.

After seeing the band live in Santa Monica, RTB (as he is affectionately known) and his trusted engineer Geoff Workman rendezvoused with the band at His Master’s Wheels Studio (formerly Alembic Studios), located on Brady Street in downtown San Francisco.

“They put me in a little apartment on Bay Street,” remembers Steve. “I went to SIR [Studio Instrument Rentals, a well-known rehearsal room] every day and wrote songs with band.

“Then, all of a sudden RTB comes in. We had enormous respect for him, because he’d produced Queen and Free. He was so much fun. The studio [His Master’s Wheels] had an old Neve console and a large tracking room, and the next thing you know he was really giving us a different sound.

 “Neal’s doing what we called ‘violin guitars’. Roy had me stack all the vocals on a 40-track machine, and I really enjoyed that process. Also, Geoff Workman was so instrumental that we ended up grabbing him to do one of the records [Departure] without RTB.

“We rehearsed the material quite a bit before we recorded it so everything was ready to go before Roy got there. What Roy gave us was the opportunity to try different textures and ideas, but the foundational aspect of the songs and the arrangements were done. He really gave us a direction, and from there the band found itself.”

“I have fond memories of working with Roy and Geoff,” says Gregg. “Roy was very much into experimentation, and quite wild in the studio. The multi-tracking of guitars and vocals was a brand new thing for us – all the layering. It was intense work. He created a sound which a lot of the guys didn’t like because it was so edgy, but I happened to dig it.

“Those tracks had a specific sound to them, which is what a good producer does. He was, and still is, a real character. Him and Workman both – they were fun to be around. Workman did a lot of the heavy lifting, inasmuch as getting things done.

 “Geoff had worked with Roy for a long time and knew what he wanted. If Roy disappeared for a couple of hours, Geoff just carried on because he knew what they were doing as a team. We used the same team on the next album, Evolution. It got us on the map.”

Not surprisingly, the biggest impact was the quality and strength of Steve Perry’s vocals.

“I certainly discovered the depth of multi-tracking, as I never had a chance to work on a 40-track machine before,” says Perry. “I’d never had the ability to do eight root notes and then bounce them to one track, then wipe those and do the eight thirds, wipe those then do eight fifths and eight octaves and so on – and suddenly you have a big stack like on Anytime. When they are layered and smeared tight they just really block up. Roy knew how to do that.”

With the album completed, a design makeover followed. The band brought in renowned San Francisco artists Alton Kelley and Stanley Mouse (real name Stanley George Miller). The duo had first hooked up with San Francisco’s counter-cultural doyens the Grateful Dead (designing their album covers) and legendary West Coast promoter Bill Graham (designing his gig posters). During the early 70s they had formed the Mouse Studio, and helped rebrand Journey by designing and standardising their cover art, including Infinity’s colourful flaming wings. The pair also came up with a Journey logo.

 Says Perry: “Bruce Lundvall was the president of Columbia at the time, and he quipped that, in order for us to make another record with me singing, we would have to sell one million units. Hence the reason we stayed on the road for 298 shows that year. We started touring in February and didn’t come home for almost a year.

"Wheel In The Sky" was the first single. Neal and I went to a pizza place, and I went over to the jukebox and saw a Wheel In The Sky 45 in that machine – an ecstatic feeling. I didn’t tell Neal, I just put two quarters in, pushed the button and sat down and the song started. Neal looked at me and started laughing. It was a monumental moment. Back then if you were starting to show up in jukeboxes it was a sign that you might be finally starting to happen."

 'Infinity' marked Perry’s initiation into the world of professional recording, a milestone in contemporary aural acrobatics. Within the confinement of 10 songs he effortlessly switched from breezy improvisation (La Do Da) to epic bombast (Wheel In The Sky), providing a template from which future creative diamonds would emerge, forever cementing the appeal of Journey and securing his place in rock’s vocal Hall Of Fame. [ extract from Louder Sound)

Album Review (by Easy Livin' - Progarchives)
Following the spectacular lack of success for their musically credible first three albums, Journey succumbed to pressure from their record company and reinvented themselves. Recognising that they were weak in the vocal department, they initially brought in Robert Fleischman as lead vocalist. He however lasted less than a year, there being only one commercially available recording by the band with his vocal ("For you" can be found on the "Time 3" box set). He did however write other songs with the band, three of which can be found on "Infinity".

Towards the end of 1977, in the most significant move of the band's entire existence, Steve Perry took on the role of lead vocalist. For my money, Perry has one of the best voices in rock. Derided for steering the band away from the fusion based rock which they had played thus far, it must however be acknowledged that his arrival immediately delivered the commercial success the band and their record label craved. On this album Perry shares lead vocal duties with founder Gregg Rolie, but it is already apparent that Rolie's talents are stronger elsewhere.

Noted Queen producer Roy Thomas Baker was brought in to produce the album, Baker bringing with him many of the techniques he had used to great success with Queen.

The opening "Lights", written by Steve Perry and Neal Schon, gives an immediate indication of the way Journey will head forever more. This classic AOR ballad may be ultra smooth, but it has a killer melody and all the ingredients of a live anthem. Perry and Schon dominate the writing on the album as a whole, but the other band members do contribute too.

The songs alternate between the ballads, the anthems and the upbeat rock songs, but all the while they are shorter and much more focused. Gone are the long instrumental breaks, and improvisations are now a definite no go area. The tracks here run from 2½ to 5 minutes, with most being around the preferred single length of 3-4 minutes.

Tracks such as the vocal ballad "Patiently" may sound nothing like anything we have heard thus far from Journey, but sales of the album speak for themselves, and such songs at least secured a future for Journey. Personally, I consider it a wonderful song anyway.

The upbeat "Wheel in the sky" is similar to Gary Moore's "Murder in the skies", melodically at least but not in sentiment. "Wheel In The Sky" was chosen to be released as the album's first single.

The five minute "Winds of March", written during Robert Fleischman's brief time with the band, is the closest we get to anything prog here. The song includes some fine organ and guitar, which sit well alongside Perry's superb vocal.

In all, an album which for my money is unfairly derided, not for the music it contains, but for what it represents in terms of Journey's history. The simple fact is though that the band's record label were ready to drop them. They had to reinvent or die. It is to their credit that they took the bold steps they did. While "Infinity" may represent the end of Journey as a band with progressive credentials, it is still a fine album.

This post consists of FLACS ripped from my vinyl copy, acquired from one of the major Import Shops in Melbourne back in 1979, located in Flinders Street if my memory serves me right. The album cover and records labels have their Record Label details blackened out with texter, a common practice by Aussie import shops at the time. Why, I am unsure. 
As a bonus, I am also including a demo of "Wheel In The Sky", recorded in 1977 with Robert Fleischman on lead vocals. Fleischman's vocals have a distinct Robert Plant feel about them, and although good; they lack the refinedness and vocal range of Perry's. Steve Perry is definitely one of the great voices of rock, a one of a kind type of vocalist and will influence a whole generation of aspiring crooners.

Tracks Listing
01. Lights (3:10)
02. Feeling That Way (3:27)
03. Anytime (3:28)
04. Lă Do Dā (2:58)
05. Patiently (3:20)
06. Wheel In The Sky (4:12)
07. Somethin' To Hide (3:26)
08. Winds Of March (5:04)
09. Can Do (2:39)
10. Opened The Door (4:34)
11. Wheel In The Sky (Bonus Demo with Robert Fleischman on vocals)

- Steve Perry / lead vocals
- Neal Schon / electric & acoustic guitars, backing vocals
- Gregg Rolie / keyboards, lead (2,3) & backing vocals
- Ross Valory / bass, backing vocals
- Aynsley Dunbar / drums, percussion

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Avion - Selftitled LP (1983) with Bonus Single (1984)

 (Australian 1981 - 1987)

Sydney band Avion (not to be confused with the L.A. act current in the 00’s or the ‘Par’ variety) came into being during 1981. Randall Waller (vocals/guitar) had already released two solo albums (‘Oasis’ in 1978 and ‘Midnight Fire’ in 1980) before forming the band Lionheart which soon evolved into Avion. Completing the original line-up were Martin Toole (guitar), Evan Murray (keyboards), along with Waller’s brothers Kendall (bass) and John (drums). Avion’s musical style was unabashedly influenced by American Adult Oriented Rock, similar to Journey and Boston.

A recording contract with RCA led to the release of their eponymous debut album in 1983 (OZ48). RCA obviously thought the group’s sound better suited the North American market because the album was release there before it was at home in Australia. The album debuted at #67 on the Kent Music Report Top 100 Albums chart (KMR #483, Sep 26) and soon rose to a peak of #48 which it held for two weeks before falling to the bottom of the chart late Oct. It dropped out of the charts November 7 but sold reasonably well to sit just outside the chart for 2 weeks before disappearing mid-late November.

Early Avion (as Lionheart) 1982
Avion did however chart in the UK at No 2 on the Heavy Metal charts for a couple weeks in 1983. A friend Pete Whittred tried to talk them into going over, but their manager Dave Smallbone did not want to take the chance, and convinced them to remain in Oz and trying to make it here. The album didn’t receive much promotion by RCA and although the first single from it ‘I Need You’ was a minor hit (OZ61 – reaching as high as 40 in NSW), Avion didn’t break through in a major way. And so, despite being mixed by the famous Bob Clearmountain and being a high quality example of classic 80's Australian Rock, the album was not a success.

Two more singles - ‘Diamond Eyes’ and ‘Never Let Me Go’ were lifted from the album but neither made the charts. A stand alone single ‘Still The Night’ was released in August 1984 but again didn’t sell well. Lack of airplay didn't help and RCA decided not to renew their contract after the first album.

They eventually signed with EMI, and Paul Gannell came in to replace Toole on guitar for the band’s second album, 1986’s ‘White Noise’. The album included the earlier single releases ‘We’ve Got Secrets’ and ‘Celebration’ but the celebrations were non existent as none made the charts. The band had remained a solid touring outfit throughout this period though, and it was on a late 1987 tour that keyboardist Evan Murray was killed in a car accident. The loss of Murray and the failure to break through commercially finally led Waller to call an end to Avion’s tenure. In 1987, the band self-released a "Live" tape, with the best songs of their career, some never recorded previously which they dedicated to Evan.

Avion 1984

After Evan’s death, John stopped drumming and went into the family business of floor coverings. Kendall played bass with an American gospel band for a short time and Randall worked writing and recording jingles, touring with bands and producing other people’s albums. Randall Waller played in the Sharon O'Neill band for a year, then in 1988 he joined Dragon for their 'Bondi Road' album. He then became a member of Bonnie Tyler's band in 1989 and eventually joined Billy Thorpe's band in 1996.

Avion Live 1983

Randall then had a stint with Jon English in 1998 before jetting back to the US to join Shania Twain in upstate New York. While playing in her band (guitar and vocals for Shania Twain 1998–2004) he also had stints with: Keith Urban (guitar and vocals 1999–2001); SHeDAISY, Rodney Crowell (2003-2005)… in July 2011 he joined Rose Tattoo (guitar July 2011- until 2017) [Extracts from Paul Gannell’s MySpace page and album notes by Ozmuse ]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from Vinyl (thanks to Deutros) and includes full artwork for both CD and vinyl releases, along with label scans.  It is worth noting that the Australian cover artwork displayed above, is different to that used with overseas releases (shown right).  I have taken the liberty of including their 1984 single "Still The Night" / "Southern Cross" as bonus tracks for your pleasure, freshly ripped from my 45 (another nice little find at my local flee market) which is in mint condition.

If there is sufficient interest in this post, I might be persuaded to post their 2nd LP "Whitenoise' and their 'Live Release Cassette' at a later stage.

#Note: Track 10 "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" is not a cover of Ian Hunter's Single

Track List
01 I Need You 3:51
02 Diamond Eyes 4:17
03 Lady Of The Night 2:58
04 We Can Try 3:24
05 Warrior 4:34
06 Never Let Me Go 4:27
07 Where Do We Go From Here 3:40
08 Always Waiting 3:32
09 Who's Crying Now 3:06
10 Once Bitten, Twice Shy 3:19
11 Still The Night (Bonus A-Side Single) 3:54
12 Southern Cross (Bonus B-Side Single) 4:12

Randall Waller – Vocals & Guitar.
Martyn Toole – Guitar
Kendall Waller – Bass
Evan Murray – Keyboards
John Waller – Drums

Avion Link (300Mb)

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Renee Geyer: Live At Dallas Brooks Hall [Really Really Love You] (1976) / Live At The Basement (1986)

 (Australian 1970 - Present)

Renee Geyer has been classed as one of Australia's top rock/blues singers. But in my mind, she should also be named as one of Australia's top musicians. Because, in her voice there is a perfectly tuned instrument that is superbly controlled.

Over the past two years, Renee has emerged out of the Sydney club session scene into the Top 40 commercial market. Where many singers have had to sell themselves down the drain to achieve that necessary hit single, Renee stood firm - it was her way or forget it.

After her early LP recording in Sydney of 'Sun' she joined RCA Records and recorded 'Renee Geyer' Acclaimed by the critics, this album introduced Renee to a new and younger audience. But Renee was not happy with the finished product. She felt much more at home with her third album 'It's A Man's World', which subsequently went gold.

Renee Geyer Band On Stage At Dallas Brooks Hall 1976

Late last year, after joining Mushroom, Renee recorded another album, entitled 'Ready To Deal' and with her band of musicians which she had so carefully picked - Mal Logan, Barry Sullivan, Greg Tell and Mark Punch, she felt she had recorded a collection of songs which showed the true talents of herself and her band.

Renee Geyer with Molly Meldrum (on right)

Obviously the Australian public thought so too, as this album also went gold within a matter of months. During this time there was a string of successful singles on the Top 40 and Renee's following had expanded to all ages. Performance wise, Renee toured the country appearing at discos and concert halls. With a good steady flow of Jim Beam and Jonnie Walker always at hand, many of Renee's performances were memorable and some were forgettable.

Early 1975 Renee toured with Eric Clapton as support act and granted her vocal performance was excellent, but presentation wise, she was shabby to say the least. Her big problem was that she was too frightened to come out from behind the musicians and be a performer in her own right.

Live At Dallas Brooks Hall (1976)

Dallas Brooks Hall in the late 70's

One could be excused for thinking that she wore Barry Sullivan's bass amp for an earring! Over the next six months her confidence grew and on December 21, 1975 at Dallas Brooks Hall, the Renee Geyer Band headlined their own concert. It was a magical night and in my mind it marked the beginning of 'Miss Renee Geyer - Singer/Performer'.

Apart from the band's own title track, and a version of the jazz standard "Masquerade", she covers contemporary soul/funk tracks by Johnny 'Guitar' Watson, the Temptations, Aretha Franklin (a duet of "It Only Happens" with Doug Williams), Sly Stone, and the Average White Band. Her cover of Watson's "Hard Head" has appeared on a few rare soul/funk compilations before.

Dallas Brooks Hall that night was packed with followers, musicians and groups - their encore was unanimous. This is what this live album is all about, April 11, 1976 at Dallas Brooks Hall, Renee sang goodbye and 'Really, Really...Love You'. [Liner notes by Molly Meldrum]

Live At The Basement (1986)

This is one of Renee's lesser known albums, released mid 1986, but with Renee in the US it did not chart. It was recorded at Sydney's famous Basement club on one of her return trips from the US, just before she went back to form Easy Pieces with members of The Average White Band.

Recorded at midnight on 12th May, 1986, within 12 hours she would be on that plane back to New York and this was a kind of farewell party, to farewell her friends at Sydney's Basement Club. The basement had always heard the best of Renee Geyer. On this occasion the mood was especially electric and celebratory. 

From the moment she opened her set with the rocking "Release Yourself", her message was clear: Miss Geyer was happy to be singing her favourite music, on a familiar stage, with eight of Australia's finest musicians around her.

Renee essentially avoids the synth trappings of her 1980's recordings for her much loved big band soul sound. So with the exception of "Baby I've Been Missing You" from Renee's 'So Lucky' album and the ever present fave "It's A Man's Man's World", the performance here consists of Renee and the band jamming on old soul faves.

And what a big band it was too, with all having played with a who's who of Oz rock royalty and including the grossly underrated Mark Williams on backing vocals. However, he also performs 2 spine tingling duets with Renee on Otis' "Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay" and James Brown's "I've Got You (I Feel Good)"

With her own blend of funk and soul, Renee and her band gave a thrilling performance. If proof was ever needed of the special place that Renee Geyer occupied in Australia's music scene over the past 50 years, this is it. [extracts from liner notes and notes by Micko at Midoztouch]

It is interesting to compare these two live recordings, released 10 years apart and clearly shows a maturing in Renee's live presence and confidence on stage. I remember seeing her perform at Waurn Ponds in Geelong in the late 70's and although I was somewhat star struck by her performance, I did sense that she was not fully comfortable being on stage. Mind you, I wasn't really focusing on her voice but rather other attributes that she had !
Nevertheless, these two live recordings provide a great insight into how good a performer Renee Geyer was and her ability to make any of the classics her own.  

This double post consists of FLACs ripped from CD (Dallas Brooks) and Vinyl (The Basement) and  includes full artwork and label scans.

Really Really Love You [Live At Dallas Brooks Hall)
01 Hard Head - 5.33 
02 Shakey Ground - 4.38 
03 Person to Person - 4.08 
04 It Only Happens (Duet with Doug Williams) - 4.18 
05 Booty - 5.06 
06 Masquerade - 6.41 
07 Really Really Love You - 11.08 

Renée Geyer Band were:
Renée Geyer: Vocals
John Pugh: Guitars
Mal Logan: Keyboards
Barry "Big Goose" Sullivan: Bass
Greg Tell: Drums
Russell Smith: Trumpet
Bruce Sandell: Saxophones
Miguel Carranza: Trombone
Doug Williams : backing vocals
Otis Kevinagh : backing vocals
Stanley Brown : backing vocals

New Link 25/02/2024

Live At The Basement
01 Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay:  5.46
02 Baby I've Been Missing You:  4.25
03 I've Got You (I Feel Good):  5.13
04 It's A Man's Man's World:  7.28
05 Peace And Understanding Is Hard To Find:  5.52
06 Who Was That Girl:  5.31
07 (If You Leave Me) I'll Go Crazy:  3.30
08 Release Yourself:   8.24

The Band were:
Renee Geyer: Vocals
Mark Williams: Backing/Lead Vocals
Steve Housden: Guitars
Jamie McKinley: Keyboards
Geoff Oakes: Tenor Sax
Andy Thompson: Tenor/Baritone Sax
Mike Bukowsky: Trumpet 
Harry Brus: Bass 
John Watson: Drums

New Link 05/09/2023