Tuesday, May 31, 2022

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Joe Camilleri - 92.3 EON-FM Will Achieve (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.

It can be said that Joe Camilleri is one of the most talented musical artists to call Australia home.
It's 48 years since Camilleri originally joined the Falcons, consisting of Wayne Burt and Jeff Burstin (both ex-Rock Granite) on guitars, John Power (from the Foreday Riders and Company Caine) on bass and former Daddy Cool drummer Gary Young - to record a version of 'Run Rudolph Run' as a Christmas single produced by Ross Wilson.

Even by that stage Camilleri was a local veteran, having played with mid-60's R&B band the King Bees, then the Adderly Smith Blues Band (which allegedly sacked him for sounding too much like Mick Jagger), Lipp and the Double Dekker Brothers, The Sharks and The Pelaco Brothers (with Stephen Cummings).

After recording the albums 'Don't Waste It' and 'Whip It Out', the mini-albums 'Loud and Clear' and 'So Young' (the title of which was covered by Elvis Costello) for Oz Records, the band - and its shifting cast of players - found themselves at Mushroom Records. By this stage Wayne Burt, one of the nations' great songwriters even then, had left - to be replaced by Tony Faehse (who had played in Alvin Stardust's band) - and the composing duties were thrown over to Camilleri and his colleagues. Soon afterwards, the ebullient Wilbur Wilde, who had been an integral member of Ol' 55, also joined the band.

The label move also teamed Camilleri up with producer Peter Solley who oversaw the hit singles 'Hit & Run', 'Shape I'm In' and 'All I Wanna Do' and the albums 'Screaming Targets' (1979), 'Hats Off Step Lively' (1981) and the 'Dexterity' mini-album (1981). The band toured overseas and even got to play at the Montreux Jazz and Blues festival.

Joe Camilleri and his Falcons

It was around this time that Australia's first commercial FM station (92.3 EON-FM) began broadcasting and to assist their launch across Victorian airways, they asked Joe Camilleri to write and sing a promotional radio jingle, which he entitled 'Will Achieve'. The single was produced by Camilleri along with long time friend Jimbo Barton (Engineer)

To hear some other 93.3 EON-FM Radio Jingles, jump across to soundcloud.com

92.3 EON-FM
43 Bank Street South Melbourne
92.3 EON-FM

Australia’s first commercial FM station began broadcasting on 92.3FM Melbourne on July 11 1980, first as EON-FM and later as Triple M on 105.1FM. A consortium that included entrepreneur Bill Armstrong, band manager Glenn Wheatley and stockbroker Bill Conn successfully bid on one of two Melbourne FM licenses in 1979. Armstrong headed the consortium, having seen the commercial opportunities of FM radio in the US and the UK and despite their application, had no blueprint from which to launch from. They did, however, beat Fox FM to the airwaves by just two weeks.

Clyde Simpson was the station’s first general manager, Lee Simon the first program director and Billy Pinnell the Melbourne station’s first music programmer. Other radio broadcasters that commenced their careers at EON-FM included Gavin Wood, John Peters and John Hood. Lee Simon who is affectionately known as the ‘godfather’ of rock radio and gave 47 years of service to the Aussie radio industry, having started out as a high-rating jock first on 3XY.

At first, EON played songs that “would not be played elsewhere”, having no playlist and avoiding Top 40 songs. “We thought we were going to be the beginning of a new era,” Armstrong admits. “It took us a while to realise we were wrong.” Simon went against the flow of the album rock formats favoured by Australia’s FM stations and radically changed EON-FM format by playing Top 40 hits and staging outdoor concerts. EON finally topped Melbourne’s ratings in 1985 and sold to Hoyts one year later for $37.5 million. The deal was reportedly negotiated by Wheatley. The station was rebranded 3MMM (Triple M) on November 27 in 1988 and moved to 105.1FM.

It launched the careers of programming greats including Ian Grace, Brad March, Jeff Allis, Grant Tothill and the network’s current head of content Mike Fitzpatrick. And so many more. “We’re all honoured to be the custodians of this radio station, and the history of EON as Australia’s first commercial FM,” Fitzpatrick told Radio Today. “It’s not lost on us how much we owe the founders, people like Lee, Gracie and Karl. Thanks to them, we’re able to continue to create great radio today.”

Over four decades the station’s many programmers are credited for breaking some of radio’s best lineups: The D Generation, The Cage and The Shebang among the alumni [extract from radiotoday.com.au]

This month's WOCK on vinyl post features another release by Joe Camilleri, this time a very rare radio promo jingle for the first FM radio station to hit the Australian Airwaves back in 1980. 92.3 EON-FM was my favourite radio station at the time and it was also renowned for organising and simulcasting rock concerts in Melbourne. 

Joe Camilleri Today
I came across this single at my local flee market some years ago  and it was the 92.3 EON-FM label that first caught my eye. It was only later that I noted thatJoe Camilleri was the artist and quite possibly his Falcons doing the backing. I don't think it would be the Black Sorrows as they didn't form until 1981. 
This is a great recording with a catchy 'reggae' riff and lyrics, which I'm sure would have pleased the radio station and listeners.  It certainly ticks the Obscure box with very few appearing on eBay for sale. I suspect it would have been a limited pressing, so I'm happy to own this copy.  The B-Side is just the backing band with no vocals, and was probably used for segment intro's and alike.
Hope this brings back memories for those of you who lived in Melbourne back in the 80's

Ripped to FLAC with label scans. Thanks to the EON-FM Facebook for the photos 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Billy Thorpe And The Aztecs - Pick Me Up, And Play Me Loud (1976)

(Australian 1956 - 2007)

'Pick Me Up And Play Me Loud' was the last album that Billy made with his beloved Aztecs, and the last album recorded in Australia. Note that the album cover credits the Aztecs, whereas the Infinity label doesn't, only showing Billy Thorpe's name. This album is a mixed bag - it starts by continuing the funk stylings that he developed in his previous album 'Million Dollar Bill' but reverts towards the end to a more rock feel and features a remake of his signature anthem "Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy" (originally a non-album Aztecs single from 1972), the remake having a very similar arrangement but extends the guitar break to be more like the live versions.

The album has a great cover (designed by Con Aslanis), featuring Bill's disembodied head, Wizard of Oz style over the Yellow Brick Road of the Australian Outback, wearing Dame Edna-style kangaroo glasses.

Although Billy reunited with some of his Aztec crew to make this album after releasing his first solo album in 1975 'Million Dollar Bill', he really had reached a pinnacle in his musical career by this stage, with his sights set on a new start in America.

Thorpie decides to move to America

As the summer of 1976 cooled off, Thorpie was in an unusually introspective place. Never one to allow himself to be overwhelmed by negativity, he nonetheless had to reassess his position. There was a story going around the Australian press that Billy had returned from his recent US trip immensely dissatisfied with his career and had decided in a fit of pique to disband the Aztecs.

In fact, Billy was not behind the earlier split of the group — it had simply been a matter of money. The costs of touring Australia were huge, and only exacerbated by the very popularity of the band. But it’s also likely that the US trip had set in his mind the idea that the Aztecs were on their last legs musically. Juke’s Christie Eliezer posited the idea in an article in 1976, saying that ‘the Aztecs’ disintegration was nothing to weep about: the band had been musically treading water for far too long’.

It’s doubtful that Billy would have agreed with Eliezer’s precise wording, but he probably would have registered the truth behind it. The instability of the Aztec line-up continued as players came and went; in recent years only Gil had been the constant. Gil was dedicated to all aspects of the band—even when he wasn’t producing the albums, he was still playing a pivotal role in addition to his seat behind the kit.

Billy's desire to move to America partially stemmed from the acceptance of ‘Captain Straightman’ into the first annual American Song Festival semi-finals back in 1973, where it went on to win in its category. Billy had gone to the US specifically to play the song at the festival, and the way he was treated there, being feted by US record company people, set Billy to thinking about making the move. He had always been quite open about his intention to relocate anyway, but England had proved barren ground and he was looking for further opportunities in a country where there were no limits—in America there were more cities to play, with more venues, the chance to tour with better-known acts and the possibility to build yourself a large following in the process.

L-R:  Billy Kristian, Derek Griffiths, Billy & Rats

In late 1976, after the release of his solo album 'Million Dollar Bill', Billy decided to revive the Aztecs and go straight back into the studio to record another album, 'Pick Me Up and Play Me Loud', produced and engineered by Gil Matthews. During the album’s production Billy confided to Gil that his heart was no longer in the Australian record industry.

Where could he go from here but down, he asked his old friend. It was a question that Billy must have given much consideration to. He couldn’t ignore the trend his singles and albums were taking, particularly since his fans were often confounded by the semiregular release of some cash-in compilation of his older material that only offered them the opportunity of buying something they already owned.

Again, creatively restless and feeling discouraged, Billy put his songs through many layers of inspection—he pulled apart "Most People I Know" and gave it an overhaul, and the heavy funk of
"Bass Balls" and "Movin On a Sound" showed further evidence of an attempt to ‘Americanise’ the Aztec sound. What quite a few people failed to initially notice was that the cover of Pick Me Up actually called it a ‘Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs’ album, rather than another solo effort à la Million Dollar Bill. The cover, a painting of Billy with his glasses morphing into two kangaroos on either side of his head and yet another kangaroo hitchhiking with a guitar, seemed contrived, as though he was conspicuously attempting to nail his ‘Aussie’ credentials to the mast for an overseas market.

The album was released in September 1976, and toured on almost immediately following the recording. In spite of everything, he still loved performing. The simple pleasure of delivering a song to an audience was the most enjoyable part of the day. The hours when he wasn’t onstage were always brimming over with promotion, rehearsals, examining contracts, proofreading artwork for a new album or simply sitting down with his guitar to write or jam with Warren Morgan, or anyone else who happened to be close by.

But even though there were plenty of shows that year, the reviews were mainly lack lustre. Critics panned the performances, carping at what they perceived as Billy’s ‘excessive’ posturing and his steadfast refusal to cave in to trends, even though he was not above a radical image change every six months or so. His heart was not in Australia for the remaining months of 1976, even as the Aztecs traipsed around the country for what would be the last time for nearly ten years. Then, suddenly, it was over, and in November Billy quickly left Melbourne for Adelaide with Lynn and Rusty.

Billy Thorpe 1976

There was no reason to wait for America’s invitation. Billy’s time had come. At age thirty, he felt he was hampered by his past, roped in with guitar leads, hemmed in by walls of amplifiers and the anticipation of a crowd wanting more of the same old pisssucking bullshit. But any artist who is content to stagnate in the past would never take the opportunities Billy was preparing to take. He left Australia in December 1976, finally bound for America, and ready for anything. [extract from 'Billy Thorpe's Time On Earth' by Jason Walker, 2009 p182-184]

Billy made a strong and sustained effort to break into the American music scene, utilising such famed US sessioneers as Leland Sklar and Earl Slick to create a series of ambitious concept albums, beginning with the highly successful space-rock concept album 'Children Of The Sun' (1976) which also marked the beginning of a long collaboration with producer Spencer Proffer. This was followed by '21st Century Man', 'Stimulation' (a particular favourite of this author's) and 'East Of Eden's Gate'. He also showed up in Mick Fleetwood's hobby band, Zoo, and returned occasionally to Australia for well-received spot appearances, often with a reunion of his old 70s Aztecs pals.

In the early '90s, Thorpe and family came back to Oz for good. Rejuvenated interest in Billy's amazing body of work led to the successful launch of a 3CD retrospective, 'Lock Up Your Mothers' and national concerts again reuniting the classic Sunbury Aztecs line-up. Billy continued to record and found a lucrative sideline in advertising composition (like the "Friday Night Football" TV promo for the 9 Network). He also penned two highly entertaining (and essential) autobiographical books, and for someone who has done all he has in his life, he still looked remarkably trim and youthful as he neared his 60s.

Billy continued to wow audiences into the 21st century, playing clubs and festivals with as much verve and power as he put out in his twenties and with the incendiary power of his extraordinary voice still completely intact. Among his many appearances in this period, a highlight for the lucky fans who saw it was his electrifying performance at the all-star "Gimme Ted" benefit in Sydney in 2001, and in 2002 Thorpie reunited with the original Aztecs for one more thrilling go-round as part of the now fabled "Long Way To The Top" concert tour.

During late 2006 and into early 2007 Billy continued to tour and record, as he worked on a landmark new "unplugged" project in which he revisited the songs from his 40-year career in an acoustic format, as well as an ambitious concept album. The new CD was virtually complete when, to the shock and dismay of all, our greatest road warrior was felled by a heart attack on 28 February 2007. The 'unpluggged' album was subsequently released on Michael Gudinski's Liberation Blue label as Solo: The Last Recordings [Extract from Milesago]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my prized vinyl and includes full album artwork for both CD and vinyl, along with label scans.  If you grew up listening to Billy and the Aztecs like I did, you'll find this album a little different to his earlier material, but it is a necessary stepping stone when listening to his later American releases.  Hope you enjoy it - "Bassballs" is my favourite track next to his rework of  "Most People I Know....... "

01 Movin' On The Sound 4:51
02 Blue Mary 4:02
03 Good Night Out 3:06
04 Most People I Know Think That I'm Crazy 6:10
05 Bassballs 3:28
06 See What I Mean 4:14
07 Let Yourself Go 4:40
08 You Keep Me Hangin' Around 4:06
09 Long Live Rock 'N' Roll 4:43

Billy Thorpe (Vocals & Guitar)
Gil Matthews (Drums)
Billy Kristian (Bass)
Derek Griffiths (Guitar)
Warren Morgan (Piano)  


Friday, May 20, 2022

Ten Years After - Recorded Live (1973)

 (U.K 1966-1975, 1988-2017)

Recorded Live is the third live album by British blues rock musicians Ten Years After, which was released as a double LP in 1973.

This album, containing no overdubs or additives, was recorded over four nights from January 26-29, 1973, in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Frankfurt and Paris with the Rolling Stones' mobile recording truck and later mixed from sixteen tracks to stereo at Olympic Studios in London. It was meant to be an "official bootleg" (such a term appears on the cover) and therefore no studio overtime or other corrections were made here, and the tracklist reflects the group's performances from January 1973, during the tour promoting the album "Rock & Roll Music to the World ".

The album made #39 USA & #36 UK on the charts, and features some of their best numbers. Standout track is the extended extemporisation on "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" which sees Alvin detuning the guitar and retuning it mid-song.

 The cover of Ten Years After’s 1973 album Recorded Live (see above) depicts a giant reel-to-reel recorder, which certainly captures the era when this double-LP set was recorded. Approaching the end of their run — only one more album would come, 1974’s Positive Vibrations — Ten Years After were deep into the thick of ’70s arena rock, so everything they played on-stage wound up stretching well beyond the five-minute mark, sometimes reaching upward of 11 minutes. Everything on this double-LP places improvisation over groove — a sentiment that is accentuated on the 2013 expansion, which winds up running 21 tracks over two discs, adding bonus outtakes to the original double-LP set. The best parts here are the improvisations, particularly Alvin Lee’s long, languid guitar solos, but this album — either in its original incarnation or in its expansion — is a distinctly ’70s creation: it’s unhurried and indulgent, reveling in its slow, steady march to a virtuosic, never-ending guitar solo.

Once Ten Years After’s performance in the Woodstock film cemented their command of the concert stage, it was only a matter of time before Chrysalis would want a full live album from the band. Undead from 1968 doesn’t do them justice; five years later with over a half-dozen studio albums under their belt to choose from, 1973’s double Recorded Live set is really the definitive document of Ten Years After at their absolute best. 

Album Review 1
They kick off with ‘One Of These Days’ (wow! but somebody cut down that ending jam, please!), only to continue with the unforgettable riff of ‘You Give Me Loving’: what a wise choice from their worst studio record so far, and I don’t even mind that Alvin messes up the lyrics because they were so convoluted in the first place.

Later on, the band, as usual, breaks in some of the oldies, like ‘Help Me’ and ‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’. On the way, Alvin displays some cute little tricks, like showing his prowess at classical guitar (‘Classical Thing’), resurrecting the ‘Skoobly-oobly-dooboob’ ditty (‘Scat Thing’) and just playing the fool (‘Silly Thing’). The two highlights of the show are, of course, a terrific fifteen-minute version of ‘I Can’t Keep From Crying’, which is again transformed into tons of different things on the way, including even a few lines from ‘Cat’s Squirrel’ and even ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ – sic!, and ‘I’m Going Home’. The former also was the central point for showing Alvin as a ‘guitar experimentator’ – in particular, he liked to tune his guitar and play it at the same time, which sometimes resulted in a truly awful, ear-destructive sound which I kinda like nevertheless.

And the latter (‘I’m Goin’ Home’, that is) is predictably close to the Woodstock version, except that the various sections are interspersed in a different way and the drums are much more prominent. And damn the stupid audience that mars the opening chords with its silly applause! Otherwise, though, it’s simply a superb version: with all the ‘boo-boo-babys’ in place, and the old rockabilly classics medley in the middle. It does seem a bit worn off as compared to the Woodstock version, but you can excuse the guys: after all, the piece was like a stone around their neck, and it’s a wonder they were still able to do it with enough authenticity and patience.

For me, the only letdown on the album is the eight minute version of the Hobbit which features a rather long and dull drum solo by Mr Lee and I quite often find myself skipping the track when listening to this album. This live record, on the other hand, is instantly amiable and friendly – and it features lots of guitar jams, too. But these kids are so frantic, so full of energy and they love the stuff they’re playing so much you’ll be sure to be caught in the fun. This is no Yessongs, either – just your basic love for dat electro guitar sound. And no ‘supergroup’ hype, either – they just play and they don’t give a damn. I like it when a record doesn’t have balls. [extract from classicrockreview.wordpress.com]

Album Review 2
(New Musical Express, July 21, 1973)
Considering the number of bands that have split recently, it's a wonder that Ten Years After are still around. Because listening to this, their first live album since their 1968 'Undead' album, it becomes clear that Ten Year After have progressed very little since the early days when the blues could be heard in just about every club in Britain. Back then, Ten Years After were one of the finest and even though a bit of flash, blues bands around. If you don't believe me, get a copy of 'Undead' and you'll doubt no more. There was fire and conviction in their playing, and they were a lot tighter, never allowing the self-indulgence which becomes evident on the sixteen minute plus version of "I Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes" included here.

Alvin Lee's guitar does all its tricks, and say what you like, Lee is a good guitarist, but it does get alittle long.. Unlike Cream, Ten Years After aren't that much of an improvising band.
Alvin and bassist Leo Lyons are really the only improvisers. In the past much has been written about Lyon's bass-playing, which just about keeps pace with Alvin. It's been said before, but Lyon's is one hell-of-a-dextrous bass player.

Naturally enough, "I'm Going Home", (ain't it about time he got there?) finds its way onto this album and it's not one of Lee's best version. This album album was recoded in Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, and Chrysalis are pushing it as 'The Official Tens Years After Bootleg' and at a cost of just three pounds, it's good value if you want a record of what was one of our finest blues bands.

Right now, Ten Years After are in extreme danger of becoming stagnant. Even Alvin Lee has said he's felt that way. (Article by Steve Clarke)

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my near 50 year old vinyl and includes album artwork for both vinyl and CD formats. Note that early CD versions did not include the full concert, and were missing The Hobbit and the incidental short tracks (Scat Thing, Classical Thing and Silly Thing) which are all present here.

This live album was my first introduction to Ten Years After and being a highly impressionable 15 year old at the time, it simply blew me away.....I can't tell you how many times I've played Side 1 and Side 3. Their blistering version of "Good Morning Little School Girl" and the epic "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes" were definitely favourites.  Of course, I proceeded to hunt down all of their albums over time and am now very proud of my TYA collection.   Thought I'd share this one with you in the hope that I can pass on the excitement that I felt when I first heard this album. Note the special price I got this gem for (see cover), at the time $7.95 represented about 25% off the normal price of a double album - bonus!  All photos and Review 2 above were sourced from Alvin Lee's Website with thanks

Track List
01 "One of These Days" – 5:36
02 "You Give Me Loving" – 5:25
03 "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" – 7:15
04 "Hobbit"  – 7:15
05 "Help Me"  – 10:44
06 "Classical Thing" – 0:55
07 "Scat Thing" – 0:54
08 "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes (Part 1)"  – 1:57
09 "Extension on One Chord"  – 10:46
10 "I Can't Keep From Cryin' Sometimes (Part 2)" – 3:21
11 "Silly Thing" – 0:26
12 "Slow Blues in 'C'" – 7:24
13 "I'm Going Home" – 9:30
14 "Choo Choo Mama" – 2:56

Ten Years After were:
Alvin Lee – guitar, vocals
Leo Lyons – bass
Chick Churchill – organ, piano
Ric Lee – drums 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Various Artists: All Fired Up - The Lost Treasures Of Australian Music 1970-1990

 (Australian/New Zealand 1970-1990)

All Fired Up is a collection of Australian rock rarities compiled by Paul Conn and released by ScreenSound Australia, the National Screen and Sound Archive, which features "hits, near misses and obscurities" of Australian music. The lineup includes famous Australian acts such as Mondo Rock, Icehouse, Redgum, Richard Clapton, John Paul Young, Ted Mulry and Goanna, and is especially welcome for the inclusion of some long-lost rarities by cult acts like Friends and Mandu.

All Fired Up presents an eclectic sampling of OzRock from the 70s to the 90s, and many tracks, most lifted from the B-sides of rare singles, have never before been released on CD. These include the original Australian version of the Pat Benatar hit All Fired Up (performed by Rattling Sabres), the Franklin Dam protest song Let the Franklin Flow performed by members of bands Goanna and Redgum, and the novelty song How About a Beer for the Horse performed by John Paul Young and the All Stars under the jokey guise of 'Sandshoe Willie and The Worn Out Soul Band'. The tracks were selected by Canberra music historian and radio presenter Paul Conn.

Radio, when it bothers to look back at all, presents predictable and narrow playlists that favour a handful of "usual suspects" from Australia and which are dominated by "golden oldies" from overseas. Only a fraction of the thousands of mainstream and independent music released in these years has been re-released or repackaged. Most now languish unheard in archives and private collections, and any effort to revive interest in this period of Australian music and uncover some of its lesser known artefacts is to be roundly applauded.

Such releases are gaining even greater importance because vinyl copies of these recordings are in some cases now the ONLY copies of this music to have survived. Sadly, even for recordings made as recently as the mid-1980s, we are discovering the lamentable fact that master tapes and multitracks -- even of recordings by prominent bands such as Dugites and Numbers -- have been lost or destroyed. Many singles released in these years were one-off independent efforts which were pressed in small quantities (and which mostly sold in even smaller quantities) and the archiving and re-release of such material is of vital importance.

All Fired Up - Battling Sabres
(Written by K. Tolhunt, M. Grombacher & N. Giraldo, Released in 1987)
Better known as a hit for Pat Benatar, this original version was a one-off release by short- lived Melbourne band Rattling Sabres and failed to chart. Written and produced by Kerryn Tolhurst, previously in bands such as Country Radio, Mississippi, the Dingoes, and the Richard Clapton Band since 1970, All Fired Up was the A-side of Battling Sabres' only single. Released in a picture sleeve, it was quite an investment for the independent Mighty Boy Records. Robert Price
(ex Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons) was lead vocalist, Kerryn Tolhurst played lead guitar and the future
music director for John Farnham. Chong Lym, was on keyboards.

Power - Sharon O'Neill
(Written by S. O'Neill, Released in 1984)
Sharon O'Neill was a successful export from New Zealand to Australia, where her strong song writing skills and vocals lifted her above other artists of the 1970s. Emerging from bands such as Chapta and Wellington Shiner in her native country, she gained recognition as the support act for Boz Scaggs 1980 Australian Tour. For three years she had consistent success with "How Do You Talk To Boys", "Waiting for You", "Losing You" and "Maxine" ln 1984, her career stalled when she resigned from her recording company. Short low-key tours of New Zealand in 2001 and 2002 with "When The Cat's Away" (including Margaret Urlich) was a surprise return. "Power" was her final single for CBS and lasted three weeks in the lower reaches of the charts in August 1984. The single was co-produced by her then husband Brent Thomas and guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.

B B Boogie - Friends

(Written by Friends, Released 1972)
By December 1971, heavy music or progressive rock was finding its Australian audience when a new Melbourne outfit formed its first line-up under the name, Friends. Centered on New Zealanders vocalists Leo De Castro and Charlie Tumahai. the band was fluid through its 18 month existence.
In August 1972, the only single Friends put together came out on the ATA label. B B Boogie was the A-side, credited to the band collectively, which attracted no radio interest. No further studio recordings were made, but a live performance was included on the Sunbury 1973 triple album and the Garrison - Final Blow Unit 1 LP. It proved to be a stepping stone to greater things for some: Mark Kenndy and Duncan McGuire formed Ayers Rock, Charlie Tumahal joined Mississippi before joining UK's Be Bop Deluxe, while Leo De Castro spent the next 20 years in around 15 different, largely unknown bands. "BB Boogie" is a lesser known example of the style dominating 1970's Australian rock.

Goodbye Barbara Ann - Richard Clapton

(Written by Richard Clapton, Released in 1984)
Recorded during the April-May 1984 sessions for the LP Solidarity, "Goodbye Barbara Ann" was released as a single on the strength of first reactions to the song. This marked a new beginning for Richard Clapton who had left WEA. following the success of The Great Escape LP and a short stint with the Party Boys in 1983.
A tribute to a north coast lifestyle, with an oblique reference to Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, the song failed to chart. Richard Clapton made one appearance on the popular ABC-TV show Countdown to promote the song but there was no serious promotional activity beyond this. By the time the Solidarity LP was released in September 1984, the song was discarded and was not included on the album or on either of the subsequent CD compilation sets.

I Heard It Through The Grapevine - The Chinless Elite

(Written by Strong/Whitfield, Released in 1985)
The Chinless Elite was a short lived band formed by Jeremy Oxley following the dissolution of his power pop band, the Sunnyboys. This unusual version of the Marvin Gayne song "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" was the B-Side of their only single released in November, 1985. Reminiscent of the Sunnyboys style (which had been influenced by the producer of their first tow LP's, veteran Lobby Loyde. The Chinless Elite demonstrated a creative approach to what was seen as a rhythm and blues classic song. They also released a 12" Mini Album in 1985 entitled Est Jest A Tastor. The band splintered within months and Jeremy Oxley disappeared from prominence in Australian rock music.

How About A Beer For The Horse - Sandshoe Willie And The Worn Out Soul Band

(Written by Sandshoe Will/Honest Stan, Released in 1979)
In 1979, John Paul Young and The All Stars were at the end of a series of successful singles (Yesterday's Hero, I Hate The Music, I Wanna Do It With You, Love Is In The Air and Standing In The Rain) and released this novelty single under a pseudonym. It was not a hit and was never preserved on LP, and the band at that time included Harry Vanda, George Young, Ray Arnott and Warren Morgan., who obviously enjoyed a joke. Although John Paul Young continued recording into the 1980's nothing matched his early successes until the revival of Love Is In The Air for the 1992 movie Strictly Ballroom, and it once again climbed the charts. How About A Beer For The Horse (and it's B-Side Truck Driver) is well worth remembering as a novelty song.

Rebecca - Mario Millo
(Written by M.Millo, Released in 1979)
Rebecca was an instrumental by guitarist Mario Millo, released as the single from The Australian Guitar Album, a compilation set of specially commissioned workouts by Kevin Borich, Ian Moss, Lobby Loyde, Phil manning and others in 1979. Mario Millo came from Sydney's western suburbs where he learned to play the mandolin as a child, releasing his first single as a 14 year old member of the Clik in 1969. During 1979 he had a busy year - writing and recording the soundtrack for Against The Wind TV series (including Jon English's "Six Ribbons" single), and recording his solo LP Epic III. After releasing a further LP Human Games in 1983, Mario Millo changed to focus on soundtrack work, including movies such as Shame (1987) and the Lighthorsemen (1987) and TV series such as Brides of Christ, Changi and Heroes Mountain - The Thredbo Story.

Let The Franklin Flow - Gordon Franklin and The Wilderness Ensemble

(Written by F.River (alias Shane Howard), Released in 1983)
Recorded live at the People For Nuclear Disarmament Concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne on 13 February 1983, this loosely assembled group was built around Goanna (led by Shane Howard) and members of other bands including Redgum. Production by Trevor Lucas (a Melbourne folk musician) turned this impromptu protest song against the damming of Tasmania's Franklin River into a hit. It reached number 15 on the charts in May that year. The B-side of the single Franklin River - World Heritage featured spoken discussion of issues by future Greens Senator, Bob Brown. The single was a fundraiser for the Tasmanian Wilderness Society.

Il Mondo Caffe - Mondo Rock

(Written by R Wilson/J Black, Released in 1982)

"Il Mondo Caffe" was the B-side of the first single lifted from Mondo Rock's successful Nuovo Mondo LP. Released in July 1982 to coincide with that LP, the A-Side "No Time" went to number 11 on the charts. It reinforced the slicker style that Ross Wilson bought to the band, contrasting with the derivative Daddy Cool. By this time, guitarist Eric McCusker was dominating songwriting in the band, but this B-side is an interesting instrumental workout co-written by Ross Wilson and keyboard player, James Black.

Roll It On Robbie - Redgum

(Written by H McDonald/M Spicer. Released in 1987)
Redgum, primarily known for it's highly politicised folk rock songs, recorded in 1987 this humorous single about condoms. The original members met in the mid 1970's at Adelaide Flinders University, but by 1987 the band's front man John Schuman had long since left. "Roll It On Robbie" was Redgum's final single release, co-written by band members Hugh McDonald and Michael Spicer. Nothing on the band's final LP Midnight Sun, would have prepared listeners for something like this song. Although it did enter the Top 40 Charts, due to it controversial content and presented in a picture sleeve complete with information about condom's usage, this rare single was regarded more as a novelty song than a serious piece of social advice. It was an unusual and unintentionally funny finale to the band's career, contrasting with the more serious content of their seven albums.

To The Shores Of His Heaven - Mandu

(Written by Mandu, Released in 1975)
This B-Side single was also the title of the only LP release by Melbourne singer Mandu whose real name was Chris Moraitis. Featuring the best of the Melbourne music scene of 1975 (Phil Manning, Gary Young, Barry Sullivan and others), this single was a sample from a very loosely arranged concept album about a visitor from space reflecting on the state of the earth. "To The Shores Of His Heaven" was recorded at Armstrong Studios in Melbourne by veteran producer Ern Rose. The A-Side was a version of the Rolling Stones "Gimme Shelter". Although he never released any further solo work, Mandu went on to work with Lobby Loyde as vocalist on two LPs - Obsecration and Live With Dubs, he then stopped recording.

Arcade - Doug Parkinson

(Written by M. Perjanik, Released in 1979)
During a career that had started in 1965 with his high school band Strings And Things, and later bands like Doug Parkinson In Focus and Fanny Adams, Doug Parkinson became famous for his rough vocals, strong stage presence and versatility. In late 1979, he took some time off from working with the Southern Star Band, to record this one-off single for the TV soap opera Arcade.
This was his only release on the ATA label. Written by Mike Perjanik and engineered by Duncan McGuire (a veteran of many bands, most notably Ayers Rock), this lightweight song still proved to be a vehicle to show off Doug Parkinson's fine voice.

Two Of A Kind - Split Enz

(Written by Tim Finn, Released in 1983)
"Two Of A Kind" was one of two songs on the B-Side of a single released by Split Enz on the 28th March, 1983. The single made no impact on Top 40 charts. Like the A-Side "Next Exit" and other B-side song "Remember When", "Two Of A Kind" was never released on a Split Enz album during the life of the band. Tim Finn wrote all three songs, the while the other two eventually made it to CD on the Rear Enz set, this one escaped. Each of the three songs was recorded in different studios - "Two Of Kind" was recorded at the Music Farm, Mullumbimby NSW. Two months after this single was released, Tim Finn released his first solo single "Fraction Too Much Friction", which charted well and was the start of the demise of Split Enz.

So Much In Love - Ted Mulry

(Written by Martin 'Ted' Mulry, Released in 1970)
In 1970, the liner notes on Ted Mulry's first solo LP said it all - "Nobody was emerging unless they were Americans who didn't need the Australian market anyway. Well, they sorted all that out and Julia did her thing...Meanwhile, Ted Mulry was driving his bulldozer and getting more gigs. His reputation as a rocking ballad singer was travelling by word of mouth as well as by radio"
British born Ted Mulry arrived in Australia in 1966, and four years later put out his first, self-written solo single. "Julia" peaked at number 5 on the Sydney charts in early 1970. The B-Side was another song in the same vein also penned by Ted Mulry, "So Much In Love". He was very shy about his prospects and was fortunate that Tony Geary from EMI Records took the chance to produce both songs on his first single on the Parlophone label. Mulry's solo career faltered after a year of moderate success, compounded by a disastrous foray back to the UK. Back in Australia, The Ted Mulry Gang revived his fortunes from 1974 onwards, and he made ten more albums until his untimely death from cancer. "So Much In Love" is a reminder of where it started for him.

Sorry - Flowers

(Written by H.Vanda/G.Young)
Recorded live in Studio 301, Sydney in August, 1980, this version of the Easybeats' hit song was released as a bonus single in 1990 as part of a double single tenth anniversary pack for Icehouse.

It was attributed to Flowers, the original name of their first album Icehouse, the reinvigorated band adopted this name to move into a decade of highly produced singles and albums. The first ten years of the band ended with 1990's Code Blue LP which saw them retreat into a studio-based vehicle for Iva Davies. The A-Side Sorry (backed with a version of the T-Rex song Think Zinc) is an energetic reminder of early punk rock.

This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD (sourced from Midoztouch many moons ago) and includes full album artwork.  I really like this Aussie/NZ compilation because it showcases such a diverse sample of musical styles and obscurities.  And I had no idea who Sandshoe Willie And The Worn Out Soul Band was until I came across this release - would never had picked it to be an Albert Production ruse.  

01  Rattling Sabres – All Fired Up
02  Sharon O'Neill – Power
03  Friends – B B Boogie
04  Richard Clapton – Goodbye Barbara Ann
05  The Chinless Elite – I Heard It Through The Grapevine
06  Sandshoe Willie & The Worn Out Soul Band – How About A Beer For The Horse
07  Mario Millo – Rebecca
08  Gordon Franklin And The Wilderness Ensemble – Let The Franklin Flow
09  Mondo Rock – Il Mondo Cafe
10 Redgum – Roll It On Robbie
11 Mandu – To The Shores Of His Heaven
12 Doug Parkinson – Arcade
13 Split Enz – Two Of A Kind
14 Ted Mulry – So Much In Love
15 Flowers – Sorry

All Fired Up Link (123Mb) New Link 05/09/2023

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Little River Band - Live Backstage Pass (1979) and Live In America (1980)

(Australian 1975 - Present)

Little River Band (LRB) is an Australian rock band, formed in Melbourne in early 1975.
The band chose its name after passing a road sign leading to the Victorian township of Little River, near Geelong, on the way to a performance. Little River Band enjoyed sustained commercial success not only in Australia, but also in the United States. They have sold more than 25 million records and achieved 13 U.S. Top 40 hits, besides many music awards gained in Australia.

The band's original members were: lead vocals Glenn Shorrock, acoustic guitar and vocals Graham Goble, rhythm guitar and vocals Beeb Birtles, lead guitar Ric Formosa, bass guitar Roger McLachlan, and drums Derek Pellicci. Goble was the only original member born in Australia. The music and lyrics for most of the group's compositions were primarily written by Goble and Shorrock, with contributions from Birtles, Briggs and Pellicci.

Just before LRB began touring abroad in the 70's, lead guitarist Ric Formosa, apparently not enthusiastic about touring outside of Australia, left the group in August 1976 to pursue other musical interests and was replaced by David Briggs. At the same time, the group decided to replace bassist Roger McLachlan, who left to join Stars and was replaced by George McArdle. However, Formosa remained in touch with his former bandmates and conducted and wrote string parts for several songs after he officially left the band.

More concert performances in the U.S. followed and in 1977 "Help Is on Its Way" (an Australian #1 single) and "Happy Anniversary" were both mid-top 20 Hot 100 singles. From 1978 until 1981, Little River Band achieved one gold album (Diamantina Cocktail, released in 1977) and two platinum albums (Sleeper Catcher in 1978 and First Under the Wire in 1979) plus six US Top 10 singles with "Reminiscing" (#3, their biggest hit), "Lady" (#10), "Lonesome Loser" (#6), "Cool Change" (#10), "The Night Owls" (#6) and "Take It Easy on Me" (#10). During their career they have sold more than 25 million records and scored 13 American Top 40 hits.

From 1976 through 1985, the group maintained a constant touring schedule which kept it in the U.S. for long periods of time and may have contributed to much of the constant shuffling of personnel. For example: The band's schedule was so busy that when drummer Derek Pellicci was severely injured in a gas grill fire in May 1978, the band brought in a substitute drummer (Geoff Cox) rather than cancel shows. Drummer Cox remained with the group through the summer of 1978 and even played alongside Pellicci after he came back until he was healed enough to continue on his own. A keyboardist, Mal Logan, was added in time for another U.S. tour in late 1978.
After finishing a U.S. tour in January 1979, bassist McArdle left after one final appearance with the band at the Nambassa Music & Alternatives Festival in New Zealand on 29 January 1979. He went on to take up Bible study, eventually pursuing a path as a minister. Barry Sullivan took over on bass until American Wayne Nelson, currently the group's lead singer, joined in April 1980. [extract from radioswisspop.ch]

Live Backstage Pass - Album Review
(Juke Magazine 30th Nov, 1979)

If you're looking for sheer professionalism, superb stereo fidelity, as close to perfect harmonies and world-class performance on a live album, then this one is quite simply the best sound on a live album yet to be recorded in Australia. That doesn't mean the most exciting by any means. There is no rawness, exuberant energy or gutlevel feel (definitely low level sweating going on here), just slick, smooth showmanship.

No problem reproducing the studio sound (with a little help from Adelaide's Symphony Orchestra) on stage for LRB. In fact, apart from the applause that greets the opening bars of "It's A Long Way There" through the clapping responses to "Reminiscing" and "Help Is On Its Way", you wouldn't know the album was recorded live at all.

This says a lot for the combined talents of LRB, but it makes one wonder why they bother releasing a live LP all. There are no rearrangements, expansions of ideas in 'live' exceptional moments - though there are subtle changes in the orchestration and accents in the rhythm section (tight and tasteful). The orchestra - conducted by David Measham, who has worked with Rick Wakeman among others - is always understated, they're more for gloss apart from the grandiose intros to some of the big numbers. True to their current 'philosophy', most of the time LRB come across as a band rather than a production.

Shorrock's and Birtles' vocal work comes across superbly and McArdle's (absent from the cover) bass solo on "Light Of Day" is worth having. Briggs' guitar, of course, is technically proficient and masterful throughout, but it all tends to become monotonous, in style as well as tone, which makes the album sound a bit thin and toppy, compared to the studio cuts.

Four of the eight tracks are taken from the 'Sleeper Catcher' LP, which the Home Run tour, from which these live tracks were taken, was set up to promote, with three songs from the first LP and "Help Is On Its Way" from 'Diamantina Cocktail', all perfectly reproduced here.

On the positive side, the album showcases a truly world-class Australian band outclassing a lot of the OS competition. It will sell by the truckload and might recoup some of the loss they incurred in putting on such an ambitious and lavish tour here last year. (Review by Michael Smith)

LRB Home Soon From America
(Juke Magazine, 12th July, 1980)

The Little River Band will return to Australia on July 25 following its successful tour of America in support of the double, live album Backstage Pass which has so far sold 350,000 copies.
The band arrived in the USA on June 7 and undertook a heavy schedule of concerts in Detroit, St Louis, Witchita, Oklahoma and Tulsa, supporting Pure Praire League.

The band also played support to Foreigner and Checker Dome in St Louis and to Player at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles for three nights. Their last concert was on Sunday at the 13000 seater Memorial Colosseum in Portland.

Little River Band arrives in Japan this week for five shows between July 15 and 22.
Prior to arriving in the States, the band spent two weeks touring Europe and in Munich they played before 40,000 people as support to Fleetwood Mac.
The trip was followed by a show at the Rainbow Theatre in London, the same venue they performed at on an earlier visit and failed to impress either the press or public. The scene was somewhat different this time around. The latest issue of the English rock magazine Lam carries this review "LRB are taking London by storm.

A record walk-up crowd witnessed pure, unadulterated Little River Band. Gone were any of the show gimmicks one normally expects from pop concerts. Instead it was the smooth professionalism of the group and the overall quality of the sound that carried the night".
LRB's latest single in America, "It's Not A Wonder" went into the high 40's in the trade charts before dropping out. No single is expected to be released there for some time.
In Australia, the single "Red Shoes" from the live album has been slow to move.
Once home, the band will rehearse material for their next studio album and a national tour will be arranged (by Graham Simpson).

The two rips below were taken from my vinyl in FLAC format and the post also includes artwork for both vinyl and CD releases. I have also taken the liberty of including the CD artwork for the US release of Backstage Pass which includes both of these live albums as a double CD compilation (see left).

I have always thought that LRB have been one of the best bands to come out of Australia, but only up until the late 90's when Pellicci (the last member of the original band) left the band. All iterations of the band since have been imposters in my opinion and the opinion of many other Australians. So, enjoy this post from the 'real LRB' and don't accept anything less. Link below contains both LP's plus all artwork

LIVE Backstage Pass (1979)
Recorded at a concert given by the Australian Broadcasting Commission in The Adelaide Festival Theatre, 1978. (Concert dates were 7th, 8th, 9th November, 1978)

Track List
01 It's A Long Way There
02 So Many Paths
03 Statue Of Liberty
04 Fall From Paradise
05 Light Of Day
06 Reminiscing
07 Man In Black
08 Help Is On Its Way

LRB were:
Glenn Shorrock - Lead vocals
Beeb Birtles - Vocals and Guitar
David Briggs - Lead Guitar
Graham Goble - Vocals and Guitar
George McArdle - Bass
Derek Pellicci - Drums

Live In America (1980)
Recorded In The USA And Canada during their American Tour in 1979. Tracks taken from their October and November concerts

Track List
01 Hard Life 4:22
02 The Rumour 4:04
03 Mistress Of Mine 5:36
04 Too Lonely Too Long 3:04
05 Red Shoes 4:29
06 I Don't Worry No More 4:10
07 Let's Dance 3:31
08 Man On The Run 3:57
09 It's Not A Wonder 4:24
10 Sweet Old Fashioned Man 4:29

LRB Were:
Glenn Shorrock - Lead Vocals
Beeb Birtles - Vocals and Guitar
Graham Goble - Vocals and Guitar
David Briggs - Lead Guitar
Barry Sulliuvan - Bass
Derek Pellicvi - Drums
Mal Logan - Keyboards

Little River Band Live Link (514Mb)