Thursday, February 29, 2024

W.O.C.K On Vinyl: Phyllis Diller – Are You Ready For Phyllis Diller? (1962)


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

Phyllis Diller (1917-2012) began her comedy career in the 1950s at the age of 37 and broke barriers in the comedy world to become the first solo female comic to be a household name. Diller was also an actress, author and musician. She developed a stage persona of an incompetent housewife and dressed in outlandish outfits with wild hair and exaggerated, crackling laugh.  Her material focused on self-deprecating jokes that tackled the idealized image of American mothers and homemakers. She also created many mythical personas for her stage act including her “husband” Fang, her “neighbor” Mrs. Clean, and her “mother-in-law” Moby Dick.

Diller was one of the first female comics to become a household name in the U.S., credited as an influence by Joan Rivers, Roseanne Barr, and Ellen DeGeneres, among others. She had a large gay following and is considered a gay icon. She was also one of the first celebrities to openly champion plastic surgery, for which she was recognized by the cosmetic surgery industry.

They said it couldn't be done back then (to be a successful lady comic, that is) but the doyenne of female stand-up did just that -- opened the doors for other odd-duck funny girls who dared to intrude on what was considered a man's profession. Initially, the comedienne whipped up an alter-ego that could have only been created with the aid of hallucinogens. Boldly facing the world as a scrawny, witchy-faced, flyaway haired, outlandishly costumed, cigarette-holding, magpie-cackling version of "Auntie Mame", Diller made a virtue out of her weird looks and cashed in on her wifely horror tales and her own idiosyncratic tendencies.

Phyllis Diller's Gag File containing
over 50,000 joke cards
Starting in 1959 and throughout the 1960s, Diller released multiple comedy albums, including the titles 'Wet Toe in a Hot Socket!', 'Laughs', 'The Beautiful Phyllis Diller' and  the featured LP 'Are You Ready for Phyllis Diller?'

For an in-depth discussion and appraisal of this comedy album, I highly recommend you listen to Jason Klamm's Podscast with Riley Silverman at The Comedy On Vinyl Podcast  

And so, this month's WOCK on Vinyl post is not only a big tick for Crazy but also for Comedy, because you are really gonna have some laughs with this one. Note:  a bonus song has been included on this recording - Diller singing the Rolling Stones hit "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" which originally appeared on Side-1 of a 1970 Columbia Records Label LP titled 'Born to Sing'.

I have fond memories as a youngster, seeing Phyllis Diller appear on the T.V comedy show 'Laugh In' back in the early 70's and although her gags probably went straight over my head, her voice and appearance was enough to make me laugh and admire her greatly. 

Satisfaction (song) 2:55
Don't Eat Here 1:08
The Way I Dress 2:55
Beadcraft 1:47
Hypochondriac 2:05
Cook Book 5:57
Household Hints 2:48
Cheese And Turkey 5:38
Tightwad Airlines 11:50
Small Chest Condition 4:15
Labor Day 1:00

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Roberta Flack - Feel Like Makin' Love (1975) + Bonus Live Tracks

 (U.S 1968 - 2022)

Classy, urbane, reserved, smooth, and sophisticated -- all of these terms have been used to describe the music of Roberta Flack, particularly her string of romantic, light jazz ballad hits in the 1970s, which continue to enjoy popularity on MOR-oriented adult contemporary stations. Flack was the daughter of a church organist and started playing piano early enough to get a music scholarship and eventual degree from Howard University. After a period of student teaching, Flack was discovered singing at a club by jazz musician Les McCann and signed to Atlantic.

Some of legendary singer Roberta Flack’s most popular albums include her debut "First Take" and later "Killing Me Softly", gospel-leaning soul albums with immortal ballads like “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and the latter album’s famously Fugees-covered title track. But my favorite is the under-appreciated 'Feel Like Makin’ Love', a lush and sensual foray into the Adult Contemporary sound that defined many hits of the mid-70s.

The Album
Musically, 'Feel Like Makin’ Love' is a little like Carol King, its breezy title track earning a #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 as well as three Grammy nominations including Song of the Year.

The vibe here is resolutely mellow and sexy, with a much larger band than previous Flack recordings, including but not limited to jazz legends Bob James (keyboards), Idris Muhammad and Alphonse Mouzon (drums), and Joe Farrell (oboe). Though quite accessible, the record is expertly arranged and performed, with an early highlight in “I Can See the Sun in Late December”.

“I Can See the Sun” was penned by Stevie Wonder, who was at a career peak around this time. It shows: the nearly 13-minute epic feels less than half that length, with Flack carrying the soaring melody and the band filling out the sound like sunlight shining into the forest of the album cover. It’s a wonderful song on an album full of them.

This album did not come easily however. Her producer of five years, Joel Dorn, departed the album's sessions before they had started, in a flurry of dissension with Atlantic brass. "I didn't know nothing about nothing," Flack stated in the Aquarian. "I had nobody to help me finish the album, so I did it myself. It was one of my worst experiences."

Dubbing herself Rubina Flake, she admitted she was not exactly a whiz at the job. "I knew what I wanted musically but I didn't know a lot of technical things or the business aspects of producing. I learned the hard way," she admitted in the Washington Post. Despite their misgivings, Atlantic Records allowed her free reign, though she "spent a fortune" and took eight months to finish. "If you know what you're doing you can't spend too much time on a album, though you can certainly spend too much money," she defended in the Aquarian.

However, the final product is an outstanding collection of smooth soul, ideal for summer days and nights.

Roberta Flack scored her third No. 1 hit in 1974 with "Feel Like Makin' Love," also her sixth Billboard Top 40 hit. Co-written by Flack and Eugene McDaniels, the single first charted on July 6, 1974, and spent a total of 13 weeks on the chart. It was the title track from Flack's sixth album, "Feel Like Makin' Love", which first charted Mar. 29, 1975, peaking at No. 24 on the Hot 200 album chart and remaining on the chart for 26 weeks.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my prized vinyl and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD media. Although the title track is certainly the pinnacle track on this album, I also think that “I Can See the Sun in Late December” is a standout track, with some wonderful instrumental music by her backing band, as reviewed above. 
As a bonus, I have decided to include live recordings of three of her best known hits, taken from the 1992 Newport Jazz Festival and a concert held in Tokyo, Japan in 1993.

Track List:
01 Feelin' That Glow 5:48
02 I Wanted It Too 2:51
03 I Can See The Sun In Late December 12:48
04 Some Gospel According To Matthew 2:37
05 Feel Like Makin' Love 2:55
06 Mr. Magic 3:55
07 Early Ev'ry Midnite 5:54
08 Old Heartbreak Top Ten 4:22
09 She's Not Blind 5:24
10 Killing Me Softly with His Song (Live At Newport Jazz Festival, 1992)
11 Feel Like Makin' Love (Live At Newport Jazz Festival, 1992)
12 The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Live in Tokyo, 1993)

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Various Artists - Andrew Durant Memorial Concert (1980)

 (Australian 1980)

Andrew MacLeish Durant (2 October 1954 – 6 May 1980) was an Australian musician-songwriter. He was a member of country rock group Stars (1976–79) providing guitar, harmonica, and backing vocals. He was also a session and backing musician for a range of artists. He died of cancer, aged 25. On 19 August 1980 a tribute performance was held in his honour, with a live double-album recorded by various artists, Andrew Durant Memorial Concert, which was released on 9 March 1981. All but three tracks were written by Durant. It peaked at No. 8 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and reached No. 40 on the End of Year Top 100 Albums Chart for 1981...R.I.P

Andy's Story

Andrew was born in Adelaide on 2nd October, 1954, the youngest of six children. Four of his five brothers and sisters played guitar at various times, and this influence, together with the blues and folk records they brought home during their teenage years induced Andy to show a musical interest at a very early age. He taught himself to play guitar around the time he started High School, and developed to the point where he performed solo at school concerts. At the age of fifteen he bought his first electric guitar and started jamming with other beginners in the area; playing material from the Beatles, The Band, Cream and Grand Funk Railroad.

He quickly earned respect as the best local musician, showing a strong talent for guitar, harmonica and vocals. Songwriting ideas were also starting to come through at this time.

His friends also remember him for his performances at parties. playing accurate renditions of Dylan songs such as "Love Minus Zero - No Limit", "George Jackson", and "Knockin' on Heaven's Door".

In late 1972 Andy, Glyn Dowding and I formed a band called Astrakhan, with the intent of developing a career- Towards the end of the band's 18 month life Andy introduced his first original song to our repertoire of material by groups such as Free and Deep Purple. He left Astrakhan just before it disbanded, and formed a band called Mirrormere, to play more experimental music under the influence of bands such as King Crimson.

In 1975, I formed Stars with Glyn. Mick Pealing and Graham Thompson. and after working for a year and earning ourselves a record contract in Melbourne, we asked Andy to rejoin us as rhythm guitarist/ harmony vocalist. He accepted, expressing an interest in developing his songwriting. Within only a few months he became the major writing force in the band, producing some ten songs, most of which were recorded for the Stars 'Paradise' album released in January 1978. These songs, which were to earn Andy his reputation as a songwriter, were his first serious works.

The Stars -1978
The success of Paradise led to a consistent national touring schedule for Stars. which, together with line-up changes, detained the release of the follow-up album 'Land of Fortune' till June 1979. ln August 1979, after months of hesitation. Andy submitted himself for medical tests to investigate the unusual growth of a mole on his back. The tests confirmed that the mole had become malignant. This form of cancer is called melanoma. Stars fulfilled their September commitments with a replacement guitarist while Andy recuperated after a removal operation. He resumed live performances with the band in October after further tests indicated an "all clear" on his health.

In November, Stars disbanded due to disappointing sales of the 'Land of Fortune' album, coupled with the need for new direction and a change of pace after four years of constant touring.

Andy was invited to Sydney in December to play guitar on Richard Clapton's current album, 'Dark Spaces', but had to abandon the project before completion due to the discomfort of severe back pains. He returned to Melbourne and after extensive medical tests at the Peter MacCallum Hospital, was diagnosed as having "secondary's" in the form of bone cancer. Extensive chemotherapy and ray treatment were prescribed immediately, but by February 1980, Andy was bedridden. To enable him to remain at home with his family regular ambulance transport was provided to and from the hospital.

Andy made clear his wish that his condition be kept secret, for the entitlement of his privacy, and to avoid the pain it would cause his many friends. He had great determination to win his battle and despite his illness, his talent and love for song writing continued to grow. The small group of family and friends who surrounded him encouraged him to further the musical statement he had already made. Andrew Durant died on Tuesday, May 6th. 1980, aged 25.

This Memorial Concert was conceived as a gesture of love and respect from Andy's friends and peers. The full potential of his talent may never be realized, but his music remains and it is befitting that it be performed in its entirety. Showtime will realise the magnitude of the entire entertainment industry pulling together to make this unique event possible.

The plan commenced with the intention of using proceeds of the concert to establish the annual "Andrew Durant Songwriter's Award". Sponsorship since received now enables us to direct the majority of the proceeds to the Peter MacCallum Hospital for further research into the drugs used in Andrew's treatment.

A copy of the Hospital's letter acknowledging the proposal is included below for your reference.

This post consists of FLACs ripped from both Vinyl (original 2LP release) and CD (bonus tracks) and includes full album artwork for both media, along with label scans

I saw Andy Durant playing with Stars back in 1977, during the 'Nightmovies Concerts' and was a huge fan of his guitar playing. His passing was a huge shock to the Australian Music Industry and fan community and his legacy will never be forgotten. This post is a tribute to both his amazing contributions to the Australian Music Scene and the strength he demonstrated as a Cancer patient.

Artists who contributed to this memorial concert were: Mick Pealing, Malcolm Eastick, Glyn Dowding, Renee Geyer, Broderick Smith, Ian Moss, Don Walker, Graham Thompson, Kerryn Tolhurst, Jimmy Barnes, Richard Clapton, Rick Formosa, John-James Hackett, Glyn Mason, Mick O'Connor, Billy Rogers

LP Track List
A1 Back Again 4:35
A2 Pick Up The Pieces 5:42
A3 Paradise 3:48
A4 Jive Town 3:51
A5 Good Times 1:17
B1 Last Of The Riverboats 4:03
B2 Jupiter Creek 4:19
B3 Ocean Deep 5:31
B4 Look After Yourself 4:03
C1 Innocent Bystanders 4:02
C2 Iceman 6:15
C3 Solitaire 6:02
C4 Wasted Words 5:22
D1 Song For The Road 4:55
D2 Mighty Rock 7:17
D3 Knockin' On Heavens Door 9:41
Bonus Tracks
01 - Let's Get Moving
02 - Living A Lie
03 - Red Neck Boogie
04 - West Is The Way

Bonus Tracks Only (106Mb) * If you downloaded this post on the 20/02/2024 with faulty bonus tracks

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Rick Springfield - Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet (1982) + Bonus E.P 'Jessie's Girl'

(Australian 1962 - Present)

To the uninitiated, the name Rick Springfield conjures up everything 1980s: Jessie’s Girl, General Hospital , Polo shirts and Converse tennis shoes. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Rick Springfield is much more than the mistakenly categorized “actor turned musician”. A songwriter and guitar player to rival the greats, Rick Springfield is an Aussie musician that has stood the test of time and the decades since his surge of fame starting in 1981.

He was a member of the pop rock group Zoot from 1969 to 1971, then started his solo career with his debut single, “Speak to the Sky”, which reached the top 10 in Australia in mid-1972. When he moved to the United States, he had a No. 1 hit with “Jessie’s Girl” in 1981 in both Australia and the US, for which he received the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

Rick recorded his next album, "Success Hasn't Spoiled Me Yet" during his off hours on General Hospital and toured in the same way. "I have never seen anyone work that hard," recalled drummer Jack White on VH-1's Behind the Music. While critics still didn't quite trust a rocker with such a pretty face and huge teen following, many were beginning to come around to see Rick's talent as a rocker.

'Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet' was released by RCA Records in 1982. The album was certified Platinum in the United States, and produced three top 40 singles; “Don’t Talk to Strangers” (#2 – for four weeks), “What Kind of Fool Am I” (#21, not the show tune of the same name) and “I Get Excited” (#32). “Don’t Talk to Strangers” and “Calling All Girls” also received considerable Album Rock airplay, charting at #11 and #4 respectively.

In an interview with Songfacts, Springfield explained that “Don’t Talk to Strangers” was about his paranoia that his girlfriend was being unfaithful when he was away. The song melody is actually from the earlier recording called “Spanish Eyes”, found on Rick’s “Sound City Recordings” from 1978. “Kristina” is a remake of the Bachman–Turner Overdrive song “Jamaica”, using different lyrics, while "I Get Excited" is a reworking of his 1981 Mega hit "Jessie's Girl" which I think is a bit of a cop out and I find myself asking 'why would you do this?'.

The album’s name is a play on the question Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, the name used for a 1955 play and a 1957 film that were mostly unrelated to each other.

In 1982, Rick was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Male Vocal. MTV played his videos in heavy rotation, and Showtime aired a live special, "Live and Kicking." Rick Springfield was here to stay.

Album Review

'Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet', which was slapped together practically a year after the popular 1981 Working Class Dog, is clearly aimed to replicate the success of its predecessor, despite the ironic statement in the title. Besides the short gap between the two albums this goal is also confirmed by the cover: it has the same cute dog that this time has come up in the world from the working class and the grateful driver Springfield who serves it champagne. A very strong sense of repetition follows for the duration of listening to the record. It has the same anthemic wanna be hit songs about girls and relationships with straightforward and measured rhythms, slick guitars, and a generous helping of the then-current studio polish. The feeling of déja vu (or impression that you listen to Side 2 of the 1981 LP) intensifies when one hears "I Get Excited", which recalls the superhit under the same number on the previous album to a fault. And this unabashed exploitation of the same approach continues until the end.

One interesting track on the album is Rick's cover of a 70's classic entitled "Black Is Black". Written and first performed by Los Bravos, "Black Is Black" was also covered by French vocal trio La Belle Epoque and released as a 1976 single, and peaked at number two in the UK, and reached number one in Australia the following year.  His interpretation of this mega hit is interesting and somewhat refreshing.

Certainly there are occasional solid songs, primarily ballads, like "Don’t Talk to Strangers", despite its clear ties to the time period, or "Still Crazy for You", which is surprisingly moving and possessing a somewhat timeless quality. But these instances do not save the LP from sinking in the flow that overtook many musicians and was only getting stronger at the time.

In the end, Rick Springfield managed to step into the same waters again, bringing joy to the fans of the previous album, but failed to add anything worthy to the bank of his artistic legacy. The record is recommended to those with nostalgia for the 80s, since it effectively translates the vibe and the spirit of the time. As for the other music fans, they can either rewind back to the good old rock or try going forward with a hope for a miracle, at one’s own risk. [Review by Batareziz, Sputnik Music - Aug, 2017]

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my vinyl and includes full album artwork for both Vinyl and CD formats, plus label scans.
As as added bonus, I am also including a rip of his 1981 E.P release entitled 'Jessie's Girl', also ripped to FLAC format. Originally released at the same time as his 'Working Class Dog' LP, the E.P is not easy to find, and as such should put icing on the cake for this post. Artwork for the E.P is also included.

Track Listing
01 Don't Talk To Strangers 3:00
02 Calling All Girls 3:19
03 I Get Excited 2:32
04 What Kind Of Fool Am I 3:20
05 Kristina 3:00
06 Tonight 3:16
07 How Do You Talk To Girls 3:18
08 Still Crazy For You     3:46
09 The American Girl 3:10
10 Just One Kiss    3:10
11 Black Is Black   2:52
12 April 24, 1981 1:32

Band Members:
Lead Vocals - Rick Springfield
Backing Vocals – Richard Page, Tom Kelly, Tom Funderburk
Bass – Dennis Belfield
Drums – Mike Baird
Guitar – Charles Sandford, Rick Springfield, Tim Pierce
Keyboards – Alan Pasqua, Gabriel Katona

BONUS: Jessie's Girl E.P 
01 - Jessie's Girl
02 - Carry Me Away
03 - I've Done Everything For You
04 - Everybody's Girl


Friday, February 9, 2024

REPOST: Cybotron - Colossus (1978) + Bonus Single

(Australian 1975-81)
The pioneering electronic outfit Cybotron deserves its posting on Rock On Vinyl, since it one of the first (if not the first) Australian examples of pure electronic rock, a genre that later blossomed with the likes of Ollie Olsen's various projects. Here was the blueprint. Synthesizer fanatic Steve Maxwell Von Braund teamed in the mid-70s with Geoff Green to form Cybotron in 1976, but Von Braund had already caused a considerable stir by releasing what is largely regarded as Australia's first fully electronic album, Monster Planet (Clear Light Of Jupiter, 1975).
Influenced by contemporary "Krautrock" electronic outfits like Can, Amon Duul, Faust and Tangerine Dream (not surprisingly, the German-born Von Braund had been an associate/friend of some of these musicians) the ambitious suite impressed with its rich layers of synths, treated sax and electro-percussion. Former Masters Apprentices singer Jim Keays contributed vocals to the title track, while Aztecs drummer, producer and long-time collaborator Gil Matthews engineered and provided bass and drums support, with Henry Vynhal on treated violin.

The “mind-expanding brain food” offered by that debut release continued with the official formation of Cybotron during 1976, and the ensemble went on to create some marvelously inventive aural soundscapes. Their self-titled debut LP (1976) has been described as "a cross between late 60's Stockhausen and Kraftwerk's Autobahn album ... disco melodies warped with hypnotic synth fusion".
It was followed by a bootlegged live radio performance, 'Sunday Night Live' (1977), and two further official albums. 'Colossus' (1978) featured "a more progressive edge backed by a massive symphonic sound" and included contributions by Colin Butcher (drums, percussion, synthesiser). Mark Jones (bass, guitar, keyboards) joined for 'Implosion' (1980) with Gil Matthews again playing drums and keyboards. 'Implosion' was recently released on CD by Aztec Music but I personally prefer their earlier albums, their 2nd LP posted here for your enjoyment.

In more recent times an American electronic group has appropriated the name but has no other connection with the Aussie Cybotron. Von Braund and Green are still about, making "far-out music and vibes". In early 2002 Geoff Green reported that Cybotron is back in action and recording with Gil Mathews. He also announced that their old albums will be released on CD, along with a new live CD recorded when they supported Split Enz.
This rip was taken from CD in FLAC format (thanks to Deutros) and comes with 2 bonus tracks from their 1979 single 'Ride To Infinity' (thanks to Sunshine)


Track Listing:
01 - Colossus
02 - Eclipse
03 - Medusa
04 - Raga
05 - Colossus (Short Mix)
06 - Ride To Infinity
07 - Xmas Hills (Live Christmas Hills Festival 1978 Bonus B-Side Single)
Band Members
Steve Maxwell Von Braund (keyboards, synthesisers, sax, percussion)
Geoff Green (keyboards, synthesisers)
Gil Matthews (drums, percussion, engineering)

Cybotron Link (345Mb) New Link 09/02/2024

Saturday, February 3, 2024

Ross Ryan - I Thought This Might Happen (1973-1977)

(Australian 1968-Present)

American-born Ross Ryan (1950) emigrated with his family from Kansas (USA) to Western Australia in 1959, and took up residence on a 3,000-acre sheep property at Manypeaks near Albany in the south-west corner of the state. Ross gigged locally with several bands including The Sett and Saffron, and in 1969 he relocated to Perth and performed at Gramps Wine Bar, pubs and on university campuses, where he was compared to Cat Stevens, even though his inspirations were more closely aligned with Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne, and Joni Mitchell.

After completing an electronics course, he took a job as an audio operator at TVW 9, and in 1972 got his big break when he picked up the support act gig on Roy Orbison’s 1972 tour of Aust. At the end of that tour he relocated to Sydney and secured a recording contract with EMI via Peter Dawkins (above centre), who would produce his future records. He would emerge in the 1970’s as one of Australia’s foremost singer/songwriters along with such contemporaries as Kevin Johnson, Mike McClellan, Richard Clapton and Glenn Cardier.

Ryan’s debut album 'Homemovies' (1972) was recorded independently at Channel Nine’s studios in Perth, for a total cost of only $500 (Ross worked as a sound engineer for STW-9 so he had the contacts).

Ross distributed copies among his friends, and the LP finally came to the attention of Perth radio station 6PM, and manager Al Maricic.

In 1973, he released his second album 'A Poem You Can Keep' which charted well at #22, and went on to record his signature hits later in the same year. The haunting and poetic "I Am Pegasus" was the product of Ryan merging two previously separate compositions, one about a messy love affair with a female flight attendant, and another about the fact that he discovered his name Ross, is a German/Hebrew metonymic name for a horse breeder/ keeper, literally a horse.

The single was released in November, 1973 and went on to be his biggest hit. In 1974, Ross was presented with a gold record for Pegasus by then-Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.

In November ’73, he also had success with the albums 'My Name Means Horse' (#3 in ’74) and 'After the Applause' (#35 in ‘75) and he continued to assemble a credible body of work over the next 20 years but never really rose to these heights again.

Album Tracks (as described by Ryan)

Track 1:  I Am Pegasus
From the album 'My Name Means Horse' 1974

As anyone who has heard me discuss this song will know, I have always had mixed feelings about the old 'Pegasus'. It would of course be churlish for me to slag off my (as I like to refer to it) 'albatross-foot-in-the-door-song' and I must admit that with the passage of time I've become rather fond of it.

My call is that "I Am Pegasus" was and still is a great record - and in this regard, the credit for its success should rightly go to producer Peter Dawkins (who alone picked it as a potential hit) and arranger Peter Martin. They took a quirky, almost comedic song that I'd written in my lounge room and turned it into an anthem. How cool is that?

I guess the turning point for me was about 20 years ago when I heard a muzak version of 'Pegasus' as I sat on a plane at Kununurra airport in northern WA. I realised then that the song didn't really belong to me any more. It had a life of its own. I was thrilled!

As a song, I've written better. But for a piece of music that was exactly in the right place at the right time; that was one of those songs that became part of the soundtrack to the lives of many folks I'll never know - I am truly grateful. The track features the legendary Eniruobmat (aka Tambourine)

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by Peter Martin
Engineered by Martin Benge
Additional Engineering: Richard Lush & Ernie Rose

Drums: Doug Gallacher
Bass: George Bruno
Keyboards: Tony Esterman
Acoustic Guitars: Peter Martin & RR
Domora: Keith Harris
Eniruobmat: Peter Dawkins

Track 2:  Empire lady

From the album 'A Poem You Can Keep' 1973

"Empire Lady" is a very '70s kind of track. Close your eyes and you'll see visions of flared jeans, cheesecloth shirts, unkempt beards and black and white TV. Sort of charming and scary all at the same time.

An early criticism of my recordings was that they were somewhat over-arranged. Maybe so, but I tend to think that arranger Peter Martin's orchestral approach worked well on this track. I hope you agree.

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by Peter Martin
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Doug Gallacher
Bass: Dave Ellis
Piano: Tony Esterman
Acoustic Guitars: Peter Martin & RR
Tambourine: John Sangster
Backing Vocals: Terry Walker, Mike Leyton, Betty Lys & Bobbi Marchini

Track 3:  Blood On The Microphone
From the album 'My Name Means Horse' 1974

Shortly after the success of the Roy Orbison tour, I got to see the other side of show business when I was booked to play at the just opened Wrestpoint Casino in Hobart, supporting Shari Lewis and her loveable puppets - Hush Puppy, Charlie Horse and Lamb Chop (see above). 
Needless to say, it wasn't a great mix and I just died! Talk about seeing the other side of show business! And so it was an unsettling week-long experience immortalised by the song 'Blood On The Microphone'

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by Peter Martin
Engineered by Martin Benge
Additional Engineering: Richard Lush & Ernie Rose

Drums: Doug Gallacher
Bass: George Bruno
Keyboards: Tony Esterman
Acoustic Guitars: Peter Martin & RR
Domora: Keith Harris
Eniruobmat: Peter Dawkins

Track 4:  Orchestra Ladies
From the album 'My Name Means Horse' 1974

This song was an early attempt at writing a song sympathetic to the feminist cause. Unfortunately, due to a misguided attempt at humour, it totally missed its mark. So, to all the Australian university campuses that blacklisted me in the 70's because of this song, let me set the record straight. 'Orchestra Ladies' is satire. Not a putdown and certainly not autobiographical.

Putting all that aside; why is it that there are so many derogatory terms for women (and only for women I might add) who are attracted to musicians? Being a muso and having known quite a few, I agree there may be a case for saying these women are nuts - but not per se, sleazy or 'fallen'! Hell, I'm sure there are people with a penchant for plumbers or accountants or whatever - but no one slanders them!

I won't deny that being an entertainer is a great icebreaker and there are many (Bob Geldoff springs to mind) who openly admit they formed a band to get laid. Because it's not uncommon, after a gig, for a total stranger to come up and to start talking to you like they know you - and in a sense, they do. And if that person happens to be a member of the opposite sex and the chemistry and timing is right ... well it sure beats the pants off speed dating! Title courtesy of Maria Van Vljman.

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by Peter Martin
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Doug Gallacher
Bass: Valda Hammick
Keyboards: Tony Esterman
Acoustic Guitars: Peter Martin & RR
Mandolins: Keith Harris
Accordion: Enzo Toppano

Track 5:  I Don't Want To Know About It
From the album 'A Poem You Can Keep' 1973

This was the opening track on the 'Poem' album and my first single. At the time I recall folks raving about the opening drum fill. I'm still not quite sure what to make of that.

The song was an exercise in writing for a band, any band - rather than something I'd play. However producer Peter Dawkins felt it was somewhat more commercial than most of the material I had at the time and would help balance the album.

As a single it charted in Queensland and in my home state of Western Australia - entering the Go-Set National Top 40 charts (attributed to Ross Egan) at number 38 before vanishing the following week. But hey - I'd made the top 40!

Interesting Note: The single was also released in the U.S Unfortunately, a St Louis radio station - the only station in America with the song on its playlist - was struck by lightning and burnt to the ground.

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by Peter Martin
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Doug Gallacher
Bass: Dave Ellis
Keyboards: Tony Esterman
Acoustic Guitars: Peter Martin & RR
E. Guitar: Peter Martin
Backing Vocals: Terry Walker, Mike Leyton, Betty Lys & Bobbi Marchini

Track 6:  Goodbye Mitchie (Mitchy)
From the album 'Smiling For The Camera' 1977

Written (somewhat fatalistically and definitely prophetically) for my then girlfriend Jan Miller (now Henderson), 'Mitchy' materialised as a whole song whilst I was driving from Subiaco to my house in West Perth - a 10 minute journey. Ah - those were the days! Maybe it's my farm-boy background, but for some reason - with such lines as "you ain't gone yet" and "I done my best" - it sounds like it was composed by a toothless, Alabama sharecropper. Well, I was driving a Ford Ute at the time.

Sadly, I lost touch with Mitchy after she moved back to New Zealand. If there's anyone out there who knows her whereabouts, please ask her to give me an ahoy!

'Goodbye Mitchy' is not a track I would have necessarily chosen for a 'best of', because it features the worst rhyme of my writing career - "lady" with (ahem ..) "afraid-ee".

Note: 'Mitchy' has also been spelt 'Mitchie' on some pressings - including the cover of this album.

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by Peter Martin
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Doug Gallacher
Bass: Dave Ellis
Piano: Tony Esterman
Acoustic Guitars: Peter Martin & RR
Handclaps: Peter Martin, Peter Dawkins & RR
Tambourine: Peter Dawkins
Backing Vocals: Terry Walker, Mike Leyton, Betty Lys & Bobbi Marchini

Track 7:  Blue Chevrolet Ballerina

From the album 'After The Applause' 1975

"Blue Chevrolet Ballerina" brings together the banjo feel of Neil Young's 'For The Turnstiles' (from 'On The Beach') and Jeanie C. O' Reilly's 60's hit, 'Ode To Billy Joe'. In fact I've just realised how similar these two songs are.
Another influence was Jackson Browne's 'The Late Show' from the album 'Late For The Sky'', a peerless piece of work that I highly recommend to anyone. From that song (and the album's cover) I grabbed 'Chevrolet'. I have little interest in cars but I loved the sound and romance of the word and somehow, and from somewhere, 'ballerina' seemed to fit too. All I had to do then was work out the car's colour!

From 'Billy Joe' came the idea of writing a mysterious, clue-laden short story song. A puzzle, that if you were inclined, you could look closely at and solve. For lots of reasons, I really enjoyed writing 'Blue Chev' and have never tired of performing it.

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by William Motzing
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Will Dower
Bass: John Young
Guitars: Jimmy Kelly & RR
Piano: Ian Mawson
Fiddle: Paul Trenwith
Backing Vocals: Alison MacCallum, Ian Stewart, Sonny Egan
Track 8: Sedel (Never Smiled At Me)

From the album 'After The Applause' 1975

One night, at an after work staff party, some friends were teasing me about an attractive croupier who was sitting alone; encouraging me to go and talk to her. The notion quickly became academic as moments later her boyfriend arrived and whisked her away. This then became the running joke of the evening, creating enough source material for this song. And because I didn't even know the girl's name, I simply made one up. Sedel. I don't know .. it sounded French or something.

The punch line to all this is that over the years I've been contacted by a number of couples who actually named their daughters Sedel. One of these girls even wrote enquiring as to the name's origin. I can only imagine her horror when I told her the story!

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by William Motzing
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Will Dower
Bass: John Bartlett
Guitars: Jimmy Kelly & RR
Synthesizer: Mike Carlos

Track 10:  Postcard From Berlin

From the album 'After The Applause' 1975

Boy meets girl. Girl already with another boy. Boy in first instance typically becomes depressive. For effect, writes love song set in Nazi Germany. Uses open G tuning - capo second fret.

"Postcard From Berlin" was written late one night in Melbourne after the final mixing session for "I Am Pegasus".

At the time I was 'seeing' (or to be more precise, I was trying to 'see') an air hostess named Kathy who was a major inspiration for the 'horse' song. For reasons that to this day escape me; and completely forgetting her involvement - I stupidly (not to mention tactlessly) invited her to the session at Armstrong Studios. Cue lead balloon metaphors.

My muse was unamused !

Unsurprisingly, I ended up alone in my hotel room. There, under the influence of Leonard Cohen and several bottles of red wine, I took the events of the day, superimposed them over a Nazi Germany scenario and somehow, blind drunk, managed to write 'Berlin'. Sometimes that's what it takes.

Produced by Peter Dawkins
Arranged by William Motzing
Engineered by Martin Benge

Drums: Russell Dunlop
Bass: Tim Partridge
Guitar: RR
Backing Vocals: Catherine Hastings, Lorraine Dalton & Bronwyn Macintosh

Track 9:  Dancing
The third single taken from the album 'Smile For The Camera'.

Track 11:  Who Am I?
This was the first single taken from the album 'Smile For The Camera'.

Track 12. Anthem

The B-Side to Dancing and also taken from the album 'Smiling For The Camera' 1977.

"Anthem" was an attempt at writing the 4 minute Great Australian Novel. Having immigrated to Australian from America back in the 50's as a young child, I ceased to be an American, which at such a young age didn't mean anything anyway - but at the same time I can't say I grew to feel Australian. To paraphrase this song, I've never really known what that meant; and in 1976 when I wrote 'Anthem', it seemed to me that a lot of Australians, in a sense, felt the same way.

Today Oz is a more confident nation; globalisation, the affordability of travel and the communication revolution having helped level the playing field. The cultural cringe hasn't entirely disappeared, but at the same time, despite the certainly cringe-worthy "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie" mentality of the sunburn set and the occasional 'Jumbuck Fascist', Australians have little regard for the kind of dangerously moronic patriotism often associated with the land of my birth.

Good on ya! This song was dedicated to Gough and Gunston.

Unfortunately, neither the album nor these singles charted, and the changing trends in music with the emergence of punk and New Wave saw the singer-songwriter 'genre' being perceived as "old hat" by record companies and radio programmers.

Produced & Arranged by Rick Formosa
Engineered by Michael Vidale

Drums: Jim Duke-Yonge
Bass: Les Young
Piano: Roger Frampton
E. Guitar: Rick Formosa
French Horn: Boof Thomsen
Tenor Sax: Tony Buchanan
Vocal Assistance: Mark Holden
Strings: Conducted by Riccardo Formosa, Section Leader: John Lyle
[Extracts from Ross Ryan's Website with thanks]

Ross Ryan Pinboard Collage
Ross's EMI contract came to an end after the release of 'Smiling for the Camera', and he consequently split with his manager 'Doug Henderson'.

Following his departure from the label, EMI released this compilation of Ross’ best tracks entitled 'I Thought This Might Happen 1973-77'. During 1977, Ryan supported U.S visitors Roberta Flack and   Dr Hook on their respective Australian tours. He then set off on an overseas holiday with his girlfriend (now wife) Helen covering Europe, England and the USA.

Ryan returned invigorated and would embark on a rich and varied second stage of his career that would see a greater emphasis on his comedic leanings, including the cult ABC-TV comedy series 'Give 'Em Heaps', two one-man audio visual shows 'Sing The One About The Horse' (1984-1985) and 'You Can Trust me, I'm A Musician' (1988). Two further singles "Chaplin & Harlow" / "Postmark Paradise" (Polygram) and "Hello Stranger" / "Ballad Of The Double Bay Batman" (Powderworks) failed to chart and apart from another EMI compilation (on CD) entitled 'The Greats Of Ross 1973-1990' (AXIS) all subsequent releases were self-released on his 'Coathanger' label.

Ross' landmark 1974 LP My Name Means Horse has been reissued on CD by Gil Matthews and Ted Lethborg's Aztec Music label. The CD includes two bonus tracks, "Blood On The Microphone" (1984 re-recording) and a live acoustic version of "I Am Pegasus" from GTK in 1973. (see AZTEC RECORDS)

This post consists of FLACs ripped from my vinyl (purchased from Brash Suttons in Geelong back in the late 70's) and includes full vinyl artwork and label scans. As far as I can tell, this compilation has never been released on CD.  Although there have been other 'best of' releases since, I think this one is the BEST !   I think I saw Ross play at La Trobe University in 1977 (but am only 50/50 on this as much of my first year at Uni was a blur  LOL )

Track Listing
01 I Am Pegasus  3:40
02 Empire Lady  4:45
03 Blood On The Microphone 4:10
04 Orchestra Ladies  2:50
05 I Don't Want To Know  3:10
06 Goodbye Mitchie 3:05
07 Blue Chevrolet Ballerina  4:00
08 Sedel (Never Smiled At Me)  4:15
09 Dancing 4:35
10 Postcard From Berlin  4:40
11 Who Am I?  3:00
12 Anthem 4:45