Friday, July 21, 2017

Renee Geyer - Blues License (1978)

(Australian 1970-Present)
Renée Geyer is Australia's most respected and successful soul singer, with a recording career of nearly 30 years. Her career began around 1971 in Sydney, when a girlfriend took her along to the rehearsal of friends who were forming a band. Geyer was encouraged to get up and have a sing and was instantly invited to join as singer. Although she was so shy in the beginning she couldn't face the audience, musicians noticed her, and Geyer was invited to join one more experienced band after another until 1971, when she became part of an ambitious jazz fusion group called Sun. Geyer was still just 19 at the time.

After one album (Sun '72), Sun and Geyer parted company; Geyer eventually found herself part of a group called Mother Earth, still with jazz leanings but also incorporating the soul and R&B Geyer loved and excelled at. With Mother Earth, she started touring and was offered a solo recording contract. She insisted that Mother Earth provide the backings on her first album.

For her second album, the cream of Melbourne musicians were assembled for the sessions. Geyer formed such a strong bond with these musicians, but by the time the 'It's a Man's World' album was released and her powerfully provocative version of the James Brown title song was a big hit, Geyer was ready to throw her lot in with those musicians rather than be a solo performer. Her two solo albums so far had been cover versions or sourced songs, apart from the single "Heading in the Right Direction." The Renée Geyer Band wrote the songs for 1975's 'Ready to Deal' album in the studio and toured extensively.

A live album, 'Really.. Really Love You', followed, based on Geyer's building reputation as a powerfully voiced, raunchy performer, to be followed by an even more powerful blues album called 'Blues License' which featured the brilliant guitar virtuoso Kevin Borich (and his Express). That reputation found its way to America and led to an invitation to record an album in Los Angeles with famed Motown producer Frank Wilson. While the 'Movin' Along' album provided another hit at home, in America 'Stares and Whispers' created confusion. R&B stations loved the record, but didn't know what to do when they discovered Geyer was a white Jewish girl from Australia. For the next few years, Geyer bounced between Australia and America, working in Australia and recording two more albums in America. When 1981's So Lucky album presented her with a huge hit with "Say I Love You" both in Australia and New Zealand, it became necessary to put the American dream aside for two years.

In 1983, Geyer returned to base herself in America permanently, still keeping in touch with her Australasian fans with tours. While in America, Geyer became part of a group called Easy Pieces with former members of the Average White Band. But the album took so long to record, by the time it was finished, the group had never performed and were going their separate ways. Geyer spent several years in America doing session work for Sting (the fade vocal on "We'll Be Together"), Neil Diamond, Jackson Browne, and others, touring with Joe Cocker and Chaka Khan and others, and writing songs.

During one foray back to Australia, Geyer was invited to sing the Paul Kelly song "Foggy Highway" for the soundtrack of a TV series based on the seven deadly sins. Kelly was so impressed by Geyer's version, he offered to produce an album and wrote some of the songs, including the title track, which (alongside "It's a Man's Man's World" has become Geyer's signature song, Difficult Woman). The working relationship with Paul Kelly was such a happy and satisfying one, Geyer decided to base herself back in Australia. With Paul Kelly and Joe Camilleri (Jo Jo Zep, Black Sorrows) producing, she recorded 1999's Sweet Life album.

At the end of 1999, Geyer released her frank life story, Confessions of a Difficult Woman through Harper Collins.( © Ed Nimmervoll, All Music Guide )

'Blues License' is the sixth studio album by Australian musician Renée Geyer. The album was recorded in 1978 and then released in 1979, peakeing at number 41 on the Kent Music Report.

During the 1980's and 1990's, Renee Geyer, the great Australian soul/blues/jazz/R&B singer spent a great deal of time between Australia and America performing with artists like Sting, Chaka Kan, Joe Cocker, Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Brown. She also toured Europe with Joe Cocker and Chaka Khan. She really needs to be more widely heard outside the Australasian area. This album is a good starter if you need a demonstration of Renée's talents. It's a great blues/soul album with backing by the Kevin Borich Express on most tracks. In fact, all the musicians featured here are "top notch."

Blues License may be the least recognised Renee Geyer album, but is her most stylish and consistent album. This is a more bluesy album than most of her normal R&B/soul releases, and there quite a few blues standards on this album, which are brilliantly sung in Renée's easily recognisable voice. Renee has the great "knack" of adopting and adapting tunes to make them her own. If you get a chance, source her 1975 'Ready To Deal' or her 1986 'Renee Live at the Basement' albums, as they are standout efforts in my opinion.

Album Review
Renee has often included the occasional blues song on her albums and in her live sets, but this is her only straight blues release.  Even though it consists of predominantly well known blues standards ie. "The Thrill Is Gone", "Dust My Blues", "Stormy Monday" etc Renee proves to be a natural blues wailer with a real feeling for the genre and is capable of stamping her own style on them. And the way she and Kevin's guitar spark off each other is positively electric.

Kevin plays some blistering guitar work on 5 of the 8 tracks & his Express has the brilliant John Annas on drums and bassist Tim Partridge (Co Caine, Mighty Kong & Foreday Riders) who plays on all tracks along with Renee's regular keyboard man Mal Logan.
On the tracks where Borich is absent, he's more than capably replaced by the superb Tim Piper (Chain, Blackfeather) on 2 tracks and Renee Geyer band regular Mark Punch on one. Add Kerrie Biddell's sublime backing vocals on 2 tracks and Sydney blues legend Ron King (Foreday Riders) playing harp on another and what we have here is one killer blues/rock album. (by Micko at Midoztouch)
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my 'near mint' vinyl purchased on release and cared for like it was my youngest child. And what a cover, it was an instant love affair when I saw this album in the racks and then turned it over to see my favourite Aussie guitarist supporting her. Full album artwork and label scans (for both RCA and Mushroom releases) are included. Once you've listened to this album, you'll want to play it again and again, trust me. Thanks to Greg Noakes for the publicity shots of Renee featured in this post (Ooh la la)
Track listing
01 - The Thrill Is Gone – 6.55 (Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins)
02 - That Did It Babe – 5.15 (Pearl Woods)
03 - Set Me Free – 4.08 (Deadric Malone)
04 - Bellhop Blues – 3.23 (Kevin Borich)
05 - Won't Be Long – 3.48 (J. Leslie McFarland)
06 - Stormy Monday – 6.43 (Aaron "T-Bone" Walker)
07 - Dust My Blues – 3.03 (Elmore James)
08 - Feeling Is Believing – 7.01 (Willie Henderson, Richard Parker)

Renée Geyer: vocals, backing vocals
Mal Logan: keyboards
Bass – Tim Partridge
Drums – John Annus, Steve Hopes

Featuring – Kevin Borich Express 
Guitar – Kevin Borich, Mark Punch
Harp – Ron King (6)
Keyboards – Mal Logan
Vocals – Kerrie Biddell, Renee Geyer

Renee Geyer FLAC Link (253Mb)

Renee Geyer MP3 Link (91Mb)

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Stevie Wright - Face The Music (1986)

(Australian 1964 - 1992)
(Stevie Wright - Moving back into easy street)
Stevie Wright tore apart the Australian music scene as front man for the Easybeats in the sixties, It's Wrights voice that punctuates the band's classic material on tunes such as "Friday On My Mind", "Sorry", "Good Times" and a host of others. Originally a writer in the band, he opted to concentrate on his singing while the Harry Vanda - George Young partnership built a head of steam. Later Wright became a solo star when his old Easybeats mate Harry and George penned the "Evie" trilogy. Check out Wrights mannerisms on old footage and you'll see where Bon Scott took his cues. Sadly, much of Wright's life has been dominated by drug addiction. For years, many music fans wondered if he was still alive or just missing in action.

Stevie Wright was only sixteen when he hit it big time with the Easybeats. Now thirty-eight, his voice crackles down the phone line from Sydney. He calls me 'babe' and 'darling' as only the die-hard rock and rollers do even when we broach the subject of heroin addiction.
'I don't like to talk about my addiction,' Stevie says wearily, though he continues, "Basically it was introduced to me during the last week of Jesus Christ Superstar [where Wright played Hess for the show's two-year run. I was at a party and it was given to me in aluminum foil, I accepted it that way. There was no shooting up then. It didn't take long before I was addicted.'

Although Stevie said heroin was never around when he was in the Easybeats ('we didn't even drink then'), he was interested in the drug primarily because of Ray Charles.
'Ray Charles was a very big attraction for me then and I knew he used heroin. It was brilliant, but what I didn't realise was the brilliance was me, not the drug.'

Stevie Wright has had it pretty rough since those Jesus Christ Superstar days.
I have undergone shock treatment, sedation, two years of rehabilitation treatment with Salvation Army, and two lots of six-month treatments at a rehabilitation centre called Westmount. I was dying really. But then someone suggested that I do this gig. They said I could have anyone I wanted to play with.

So some one thousand people packed a small suburban hotel to see a one-off gig. Wright was backed by some of Australia's best musos: guitarists Kevin Borich and Chris Turner played along with former Sherbet bassist Tony Mitchell, drummer Greg Hanson and Peter Kerke on keyboards. And ironically, after twelve and a half years, rock and roll was the one thing that worked for Stevie Wright.
'All the bad things went away. I just flick 'em when I come across them now.'

On the back of his national tour with a top-notch backing band, Stevie Wright will soon be releasing a new solo album called 'Facing The Music' before an Easybeats re-formation tour later this year, which will include all members (including Vanda and Young),
'We already have half a million dollars worth of work for the re-formation said Stevie. 'Now all we have to do is get together and practise so we don't end up with egg on our faces.'
Until then, punters can check out the mix of old Easybeats material with newer numbers in Wright's eclectic set. If you go by Stevie's word, it's something to see.

'I'm totally over the top right now. The crowds love it. I have to play country and western numbers so they'll let me off the stage', he says with a grin. (Extract from Off the Record: 25 Years of Music Street Press edited by Scan Sennett, Simon Groth, 2010 - Original text: Shar Adams, July 1986)
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my CD copy of this album, and have yet to sight a vinyl pressing (see below). Full album artwork and label scans are also included.
It is interesting to read in this 1986 article by Ahar Adams that Stevie was in the throws of releasing a solo album of new material to coincide with his return tour with the Easybeats. In fact, this was not the case and the album was nothing more than a compilation of tracks from his solo LP's 'Hard Road' and 'Back Eyed Bruiser' - no new material here, I'm afraid folks. Nevertheless this compilation is certainly worth having in ya collection. .

Track Listing 
01 - Hard Road
02 - Evie - Part 1 (Let your hair down)
03 - Evie (Evie)
04 - Evie (I'm Losing You)
05 - Life Gets Better
06 - I Got You Good
07 - Didn't Take You Higher
08 - Black Eyed Bruiser
09 - The Loser
10 - Help Help
11 - Guitar Road
12 - My Kind Of Music
13 - You
14 - I've Got The Power

Band Members
Stevie Wright (Vocals)
Time Gaze, Kevin Borich (Guitar)
Ken Firth, Ronnie Peel (Bass)
Warren 'Pig' Morgan (Piano)
Johnny Dick (Drums)

Stevie Wright FLAC Link (354Mb) New Link 18/07/2017
Stevie Wright MP3 Link (141Mb)

Monday, July 10, 2017

GRP - Live In Session (1985)

(U.S - 1985)
On August 14, 1985, a concert of GRP artists was held in the big room at the Record Plant in Los Angeles. It was recorded for both audio and video release. The lineup was Dave Grusin (keyboards), Lee Ritenour (guitar), Dianne Schuur (vocals), Dave Valentin (flute), Ivan Lins (keyboards, vocals), Larry Williams (keyboards, sax), Abraham Laboriel (bass), and Carlos Vega (drums). A special guest, Phil Perry, was brought in to sing on Lee Ritenour's "Countdown" at the end of the show.

This single concert was released to the public in several variations - none of them complete. There was an Vinyl record (see this post) and a CD called "GRP Live in Session" and a video called "GRP Live in Session", with identical covers but different tracks. Then there were two releases under the names "GRP All-Stars Live from the Record Plant" and "Dave Grusin & Lee Ritenour Live at the Record Plant"; those are the two DVD's in this set, and between them, you end up with the whole show, although it's chopped up and resequenced. See the youtube link:

I've been hoping for years that there would be a single release of the entire show, end to end and in original sequence, but I've stopped holding my breath. Still, with this post, you can experience a rare combination of incredible talent, inspired performances, and exquisite sound & video quality.

Album Review
Not just an album exhibiting jazz stars doing their party pieces, “Live In Session” is the culmination of  a lengthy tour crossing both Europe and the United States. Cut at The famous Record Plant in Los Angeles in the summer of 1985, it offers a perfect documentation of what GRP was all about.

Inspired by the highly successful  "Harlequin" album,  the group of GRP headliners had returned from a number of JVC Jazz Festival dates in the US, and then swung across Europe, appearing at the North Sea Jazz Festival, Pori Festival, Montreux and Nice as well.  This was followed by a number of concerts in California - including one at the Hollywood Bowl - before they came into the recording studio together.

“Live In Session” is the documentation of the magical sort of interaction individual  jazz performers can achieve after this much time together - perfect spontaneity matched with perfect understanding of one another.

The record opens with something very exceptional.  For devotees of  the exhilarating “Mountain Dance” (and that must include 100% of Dave Grusin's devoted fans plus many more), here is a chance to hear the composer playing a new interpretation of the piece live.

Flutist Dave Valentin is featured next on the tasty “Oasis,” which is full of the energy and charm he infuses into all his performances, with standout solos by the rest of the group.  Lee Ritenour follows with his guitar tour de force “The Rit Variations” with Larry Williams complementing him at the keyboard.

Diane Schuur, who can reach you at the deepest  places of the heart when singing a love song, really turns on her power to mesmerize when she relates the story of “Reverend Lee.”

What a complete reversal of mood is then achieved when Lee Ritenour picks up the synthaxe to evoke “Dolphin Dreams.” Backed by Larry Williams, this time on saxophone, the atmosphere is at first reverent, then intense, making one almost wonder if these are all real dolphins materialized into humans for the day.

It's back to a Lee Ritenour staple, the Brazilian fusion spellbinder “Rio Funk” next, and the entire group rocks.

The album concludes - obviously leaving you wanting more - with Dave Grusin's theme from the TV series “St. Elsewhere.”  And you ask yourself, how can a piece so obviously crafted to be a functional creation, nevertheless engulf you like the best jazz does.  Performed live, it sparkles all the more.  [extract from Dave Grusin's Website]
This post consists of MP3's (320kps) ripped from my pristine, near mint vinyl copy and includes full album artwork for both vinyl and CD. (Note: Some copies exist that are pressed in translucent black vinyl - sadly mine isn't one of these). I've always loved Lee Ritenour's guitar playing, ever since I purchased his Captain Fingers album back in the 70's and have placed him in my top 10 guitar players of all time, along with Al Di Meola and Jan Akkerman.  This is Jazz Fusion at its best - enjoy.
Track Listing  
01  -   Mountain Dance   6:11
02  -   Oasis   7:25
03  -  The Rit Variations   6:24
04  -   Reverend Lee   4:55
05  -   Dolphin Dreams  6:33
06  -   Rio Funk   6:08
07  -   St. Elsewhere   4:25

GRP were:

Electric Guitar, Synthesizer [Synthaxe] – Lee Ritenour
Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizer – Dave GrusinVocals – Diane Schuur
Bass – Abraham Laboriel
Drums – Carlos Vega
Flute – Dave Valentin
Keyboards, Tenor Saxophone – Larry Williams
Produced by Lee Ritenour for Captain Fingers Productions

GRP Live In Session Link (100Mb)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Various Artists - Australian Guitar Album (1979)

(Australian 1979)
The electric guitar is the ignition, spark and combustion of rock & roll, the very backbone of its existence. Those who wield it are inevitably drawn by a symbolic representation of power, freedom and seemly ultimate expression while those who master the instrument with any degree of individual expertise tend to reap a reward of almost disproportionate adulation and cultural prominence.

Guitar fascination is a peculiarly male domain, for reasons which encompass the physical shape, dominant stance and sheer energy potential. Schoolboys are inevitably drawn toward guitar 'heroes' while school girls are usually more concerned with a singer's cherubic face.

Adolescent influences invariably mold the style of any guitarist and such influences can be clearly identified as belonging to a few certain players and periods. For many of the participants in this collection, Shadow's leader Hank B.Marvin exemplified every virtue of the electric guitar with his straight forward but inventive approach. For other, younger players it was Jimi Hendrix' unorthodox, groundbreaking use of the axe which left them stunned and eager to imitate. Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and other products of the mid-60's British R&B boom, have also been objects of admiration for notable guitarists of the 70's.

As is every other sphere of achievement, Australia has produced some truly superb guitarists. Some have failed to realise the full extent of their potential, either because of our antipodean isolation of our universal inferiority complex; while others have found (and will!) become recognised internationally for their skills.

"This album represents but eleven of Australia's hundred's of prominent guitarists - each unique in style from the others. All have been allowed the freedom to continue in or step outside of, their usual scope of performance and the result are exciting to the extreme"  (Notes by Glenn A. Baker)

This album's uniqueness is the fact that most of the featured guitarists put a band together just for the album. This results in some interesting line-up combinations not seen before. Below is a transcript of the linear notes that came with this album and so each artist's biography is only current to 1977.

Kevin Borich
After twenty years of dedication to the craft, the amazing Kevin Borich looks set to finally realise his dream of international fame. As early as 1959, 12 year old Borich was making private recordings on his parent's New Zealand orchard farm, with two young girls from a neighbouring poultry farm. In 1964, he joined The Mergers and cut his teeth on the Auckland school-football club dance circuit. The Mergers evolved into The La De Das and Kevin regularly cycled 20 miles to rehearsals.

Within a year The La De Das were the hottest young R&B group in the country, with a residency at the famed Platterack Club and an eventual string of six consecutive top 5 hit singles. In 1967 the group moved base to Australia and were instantly acclaimed for their consummate musicianship. They remained a respected entity, despite increasing lineup changes, until 1975 with Borich as leader for the final four years. Since then he has fronted his own Kevin Borich Express and greatly increased his legion of devotees.

Kevin is an exceptionally enigmatic guitarist who has influenced many an emerging young player with his almost classic  machismo rock pose. The Borich style was moulded by early American R&B and even today he considers himself to be 'just a blues player' and still features such classics as "Little Red Rooster" in his stage act. To his eternal credit, Kevin has always remained loyal to tight, tough rock 'n' roll and refused to compromise his stance for commercial success, though current American  awareness of his recent album and tour seems likely to bring rewards on his own terms.

Kevin's recording legacy, which is well worth unearthing, comprises 8 fine albums, a dozen rare singles and assorted one off obscurities on live festival albums etc.

Mario Millo
Mario's father taught him the skills of Mandolin when only 5 and the guitar at 8. By 10 he was the star of floor shows with Lionel Long's band at Canley Vale's Village Nightclub, bringing home an enormous $12 a week. At 11 (1966) he joined his first rock band, the Beatles influenced The Wanted and a year later was leading The Menu in Blacktown (Sydney).

Gigging after school and on weekends, The Menu drew a huge legion of fans throughout Sydney's western suburbs and eventually won the 1969 2SM-Pepsi Pop Poll.
Renamed The Clik, Mario and friends cut two moderately successful singles before dissolving around 1971. When old friends Sebastian Hardie reformed (after the loss of Jon English) in 1973 they invited Mario to front them, having long been impressed by his advanced musical abilities and aspirations. Two highly acclaimed albums and one hit single "Rosanna" later, Mario Millo emerged as a highly individual guitarist with a leaning toward bold electronic experimentation.

"My playing expresses words without my having to actually say them, it is a totally emotional style" explains Mario. "My heroes are people like Hank Marvin (The Shadows), my father and This Van Leer (Focus) but my mentor is Jan Akerman (Focus)"

Throughout 1977 Mario toured Australia as Windchase and cut another superb album - Symphinity. He then locked himself away in his own 8 track suburban studio to create and record, the most notable result being the soundtrack album to Against The Wind and the national number one single Six Ribbons. Lately he has been appearing on stage with Jon English and is about to participate in the reformation of Sebastian Hardie (to meet an enormous Japanese demand for new recorded product). Mario is not really sure why his instrumental contribution to this album is titled "Rebecca"; "it seems to conjure up images of Spain and Rebecca sounds very Spanish to me" he suggests.

Ian Moss
Ian, born and raised in Alice Springs, began classical piano training when 8 years old. By 12 he had lost interest and so turned to electric guitar; an event which coincided with the emergence of Jimi Hendrix and an entire new concept of rock guitar playing. He was invited to join the ranks of local hotshots The Scene, as rhythm guitarist and, a year later (at 15), started his own band Anger & Tears.

In 1972, when 17, Ian moved to Adelaide for scholastic reasons and, upon meeting keyboard player Don Walker, formed what would become Cold Chisel. The group's heavy metal blues entrenched them as Adelaide heroes and, after short successful tours into the Eastern states early in 1976, they moved base to Sydney at the end of the year. By the end of 1977 Cold Chisel were signed to WEA and have subsequently captured fearsome national prominence via two exceptional power rock albums.

Ian's influence comes from two areas - the blues of such masters as B.B.King and Muddy Waters and the heavy metal of Beck, Blackmore & Page, which he grew up with. "I suppose I lean toward the English heavy rock style" he concludes, "but I also admire jazz-rock players like Bill Connors and Al Di Meola  from Return to Forever"

"The Dummy", Ian's contribution to this album, is actually a Cold Chisel track, with his lead vocals, rather than Jimmy Barnes. The virtuosity displayed in this fiery funk sound is almost incongruous with his tender age of just 24.

Chris Turner
Primal rock and roller Chris Turner began his career in native England when just 12 years old. As a member of the Shadows-imitating Concerts, he paid his dues in seedy dives along with fellow beginners such as David Bowie, Peter Frampton and Steve Marriott. When 17, Chris lugged his massive 50 watt amp to New Zealand, where he resided for five years (during which time he learned to play foxtrots and rumbas, as leader of a show band).

In 1970 Chris made his way to Australia and, after tiring of the money treadwheel, turned his energies toward the creation of Drain in 1973 - one of Australia's first true punk groups. After three years of unrewarded raunch, Buffalo invited him to replace the departing Karl Taylor and he participated in the recording of their final album 'Average Rock & Roller'.

Since the beginning of 1978, Chris has been pounding through Sydney's rock haunts with The Chris Turner Band. He has also backed Rockwell T.James on tour and served two months in Rose Tattoo. Chris' playing is heavily influenced by his idols Hank B.Marvin, Chris Green (Fleetwood Mac) and Jeff Beck and he describes his contribution to this collection as "straight ahead tough rock & roll, nothing more".

Lobby Loyde
Lobby comes closer than any other contender to being Australia's greatest guitar hero. He is one of the few true legends of Australian rock and has used his innovative talent to influence the direction of music in this country.

He first came to light in Brisbane in 1966 as Barry Lyde, leader of the incredible Purple Hearts. The Hearts were raw, exciting and dynamic but no more so than their leader, who was single handily exploring the realms of guitar as a means of violent, aggressive expressions. By 1967 he had turned Melbourne's respected jazz cum rock band The Wild Cherries into a visually charismatic, musically anarchistic and relentlessly experimental rock unit - not unlike Detroit's Stooges or MC5. Their handful of singles (notably "That's Life") were bizarre excursions into a musical void, which both influenced and amazed peers.

At the beginning of the 70's, Lobby joined forces with ex teen idol Billy Thorpe and, with the classic The Hoax Is Over album, commenced an entire new chapter of Australian rock history. After teaching Billy to play guitar, Lobby returned as a short lived three piece lineup of The Wild Cherries, put down the much over looked George Guitar album and then fronted Brisbane's Coloured Balls (formed by old Purple Hearts associates Mick Hartley & Bob Darnes.

Resplendent in skinhead haircuts, The Coloured Balls wreaked heavy rock havoc from 1971 to 1974, with such mighty powerhouse singles as "Liberate Rock" and "Mess Of Blues". Then, after a 1976 album Obsecration, Lobby departed for England, where he still resides.

Mick Elliott
Mick may not be a household name as an Australian guitarist but among those with a knowledge of antipodean rock he is held in high regard as an uncompromisingly rough, heavy rock guitarist.

Elliot's professional career began in 1966 as a member of Melbourne's Moppa Blues band with Rick Springfield. When Andy James departed the legendary Running Jumping Standing Still in 1968, Mick stepped in and led the rock outfit until its demise. He emerged again in the early 70's in the hard rock band Sid Rumpo and participated in their album for Mushroom Records.. In 1975 he formed the much under rated Wild Beaver Band, which drew a sizable cult following on the Melbourne pub circuit , and the following year he became the mainstay of Jim Keay's Southern Cross. Since 1978, Mick has been calling his own shots out front of The Mick Elliott Band and recently joined up for a stint in Western Flyer. In The Cards is characteristic of Mick's guts 'n' all style and it is a worthy inclusion in this collection.

Russell Smith
Russell first turned onto Dylan and blues as a 17 year old schoolboy and whiled away much of his adolescence in such Melbourne blues clubs as Bastille and Blues On Stag. With friend John De Bois (later in the Dingoes) he formed The Circle Of Love during flowery 1967, playing secondhand Hendrix riffs and trusty R&B. A year later he graduated to the Black Panther Blues Band, rendering Bobby Bland / B.B King type Chicago blues. A year later he was a budding teen idol, along with later soloist Gill Robert, in the 'three gigs a night for $90' 1968. Later in 1969 he joined Ray Arnott in the last formation of CamPact, the nucleus of which eventually evolved into Co.Caine.

The highly acclaimed but commercially unrewarded Co.Caine cut one fine album (Product of a Broken Reality) and expired during 1973. Russell spent 9 months in Mighty Kong with Ross Hanaford & Wilson and switched to guitar tutoring in Melbourne, while composing the score for the Rainbow Farm film.
A reunion with singer Gulliver Smith in Metropolis during 1975 led to a reformation of Co.Caine and another fine innovative album - Dr. Chop. This lasted for just 9 months so Russell returned to teaching, where he ran into Ross Hanaford, who invited him to join Billy T. After two minor hit singles the outfit fell into disarray and Russell split to Sydney to join the short lived Leo De Castro band.

Radioactivity was written some years ago as a protest against the French nuclear tests in the Pacific. It was recorded by the eventual 3rd lineup of Billy T (which disintegrated before any major product could be released) and  features four guitar tracks - one slide, one straight lead, one lead with octave divider and one rhythm. It's a very funky offering but, as Russell himself puts it, "you can't stay in Sydney for long without getting into funk"

Ian Miller
The pin-up poster physical appearance of 27 year old Ian Miller tends to belie his status as a fine, inventive guitarist. His professional career began in Melbourne around 1968/69 with the Basin Street Blues Band and continued on through Langford Lever, Chetarca and the Wild Beaver Band.

Between 1973 and 1976 Ian worked as house producer at EMI (Melbourne) and was responsible for quality rock product by Jim Keays, Stuart & McKay, The Colored Balls and Skylight. His stunning sound achievement on the Moir Sister's 'Good Morning, How Are You?' has earned him a coveted 'Producer Of The Year' award in 1974.

Ian's guitar interest extends to jazz and classical music and Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin and Keith Richards are amongst those whom he admirers, From 1976 to 1978 Ian attended Melbourne's Conservatorium for Music for studies on musical theory, an indication of the seriousness with which he takes his playing.

For the past year, Ian has been in choice musical company as a member of John Paul Young's All Stars. For his contributions to this album he has exhumed and newly recorded The Old Money Blues, a song written some six years ago.

Phil Manning
apart from Erol Flynn, Phil just may be the only truly notable export of Tasmania. He emerged from the Apple Isle as a gangly, youthful guitarist hopeful around 1966 and made his way to 'discotheque city' - Melbourne. There he became gainfully employed as a member of The Blue Jays and The Laurie Allen Revenue before being taken on as leag guitarist by ex-Brisbane blues outfit The Bay City Union. After one single, Manning linked up with Perth blues band The Beaten Track, late in 1968. This outfit evolved into Chain early in 1969, with the addition of ex-James Taylor Move vocalist Wendy Saddington.

Phil Manning remained the mainstay of Chain from 1969 to 1973, as some of Australia's finest rock/blues musicians passed through its ranks. His name became synonymous with BLUES, of the finest integrity and quality. A lucid, flowing style of blues guitar endeared him to serious rock fans and enabled him to win countless guitar polls throughout the late 60's and early 70's. When Muddy Waters Blues Band visited

After Chain finally breathed its last, Manning passed through a variety of relatively unsatisfying formations, such as Pilgrimage, Friends, Might Mouse and Band Of Talabone. Signed to Mushroom Records as the Phil Manning Band in 1975, he began to re orientate his direction to a more straight forward rock vein and has since recorded a solo album with Rainbird Records.

Rockwell T.James and Harvey James
The acquisition of a $20 Barclay guitar in 1969 commenced the career of, then, 16 year old Harvey James Harrop. While working at Allen's Music Store in Melbourne, Harvey honed his skills in a succession of long-forgotten amateur rock outfits. By 1972 he was working in Sailor with fellow guitarist Mick Elliott (also featured herein) and a year later both players were offered gigs with Mississippi. Harvey accepted and spent a year with the group, which included a trip to England. In May 1974 Mike Rudd invited him to join Ariel, where he remained until he successfully auditioned as Clive Shakespeare's replacement in Sherbet early in 1976. Harvey's tasty and adventurous style has been influenced by Clapton and Hendrix during his fledgling years and, of late, by Amos Garrett and Larry Carlton.

Rockwell T.James (no relation at all) is the rock 'n' roll non de plume for Ron Peel, a battle-scarred version of Oz rock. Rockwell's amazing professional career commenced in 1965 in the ranks of the incredible Missing Links and went on to include The Mystics, The (NZ) Pleasers, The Ray Brown Group, Leo & The Browns and in 1968, the first version of Rockwell T.James & The Rhythm Aces.

During 1970-71 he worked in England as bassist for Thunderclap Newman and upon his return, after stints with One Ton Gypsy and a Doug Parkinson Band, joined Kevin Borich in the fiery 3 piece  La De Das. It was in this band, from 1972 to 1975, that Rockwell drew considerable acclaim for his powerful vice-tight style. In 1976 he followed Borich into the All Stars, backing John Paul Young and is currently still in such employ. An early single (Come On Home) under Ron's old pseudonym has led to a full tome recording career as Rockwell T.James and even a national tour under his own banner.

Harvey and Rockwell's contribution to this set was laid down during the sessions for Rockwell's album and features both guitarists trading off against each other, with the Sherbet rhythm section backing.

Australia in September 1973, guitarist James 'Pee Wee' Madison was so impressed with Manning's inherent understanding of the blues, he consented to record an album with Chain (Two Of A Kind).

This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from my mint condition vinyl - purchased back in 1979 when the album was first released. Full artwork for both vinyl and CD are also included along with label scans. Thanks to Greg Noakes for some of the great photos displayed here.
My main interest in the album at the time was focused on the tracks by Kevin Borich and Ian Moss, however I quickly discovered that there was a lot more talent on this album than I first realised. This is truly a Who's Who of great Aussie axemen and should not missed.

Track Listing:
01 Kevin Borich - "End of Me"
Guitar/vocals - Kevin Borich
Drums - Barry Harvey
Bass - Harry Brus 

02 Mario Millo - "Rebecca" 
Guitar - Mario Millo
Drums - Greg Henson
Bass - Jacky Orszaczky
Piano - Peter Kenny 

03 Ian Moss - "The Dummy" 
Guitar/vocals - Ian Moss
Drums - Steve Prestwich
Bass - Phil Small
Piano - Don Walker 

04 Chris Turner - "Rock and Roll Man"
Guitar/vocals - Chris Turner
Drums - Geoff Plummer
Bass - Lindsay Osbourne 

05 Lobby Loyde - "John's Song
"Guitar - Lobby Loyde
Drums - Clive Edwards
Bass - Billy Kristian

06 Mick Elliott - "On the Cards"
 Guitar - Mick Elliott
Drums - Noel Herridge
Bass - Ian Ferguson
Piano - Ian Mason 

07 Russell Smith - "Radioactivity" 
Guitar - Russell Smith
Drums - Mick Holden
Bass - John Rees
Organ - Neil Macpherson 

08 Ian Miller - "Old Money Blues" 
Guitar/vocals - Ian Miller
Drums - Mark Kennedy
Bass - Duncan Maguire
piano - Frank Esler-Smith
Arp Synthesiser - Mark Opitz 

09 Phil Manning - "Turkey Trot"
Guitar/vocals - Phil Manning
Drums - Trevo Courteney
Bass - Paul Wheeler
Piano - Ian Mason 

10 Rockwell T. James - "Let it Go" 
Rhythm Guitar - Rockwell T. James
Lead Guitar - Harvey James
Bass - Tony Mitchell
Drums - Alan Sandow
Elect. Piano - Garth Porter

Australian Guitar Album FLACs (250Mb)
Australian Guitar Album MP3's (83Mb)

Thursday, June 29, 2017

W.O.C.K on Vinyl: Various - AFL Footy Favourites (1981)

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.
You've probably heard them belt out renditions of the club theme song after a win, so it can hardly come as a surprise that as singers, most AFL players make good footballers.

Whenever attention turns to the subject of AFL league footballers singing, the reference point is the 1981 LP Footy Favourites. One player from each of the then 12 VFL clubs was roped into recording a song, the brainchild of Jeff Joseph, a music manager who also looked after the affairs of footballers such as Trevor Barker and Tony Lockett (Alas Plugger). Apparently a similar rugby league version did well in the northern markets, but that's not saying much back here in AFL territory.

Back in 2008, several of the players spoke to the Herald Sun’s Jon Anderson about the experience.

Swans ruckman Barry Round, a big country and western man, somehow ended up sing Elton John’s "Little Jeannie", and although reluctant at first “after 14 cans I wanted to do the whole album’’.

Former Collingwood captain Ray Shaw (Danny Boy), recorded his effort a couple of days after doing his knee, and said the guidance of musicians Peter Cupples and Gene Pierson, “made a very, very ordinary effort sound very ordinary’’.

Melbourne great Robbie Flower, probably the skinniest footballer ever to be inducted into the hall of fame (182cm, 68kg), sang the Village People’s "Macho Man", “such an appropriate song for someone built like me’’.

Shaw reckons the players were paid $342 — “a dollar for each record sold’’. [by Warwick Green, Herald Sun, May 6, 2014]

Following the release of the N.S.W Footy Favourites LP, Victoria released their album in 1981 on Studio One Records. Here your football stars sing their favourite hits. The album was engineered by John French and recorded at Flagstaff Studios West Melbourne, and remixed a EMI Sydney. The vocal production was by Gene Pierson and Peter Cuppies. Contributing to this album are Tim Watson (Essendon), Trevor Barker (St.Kilda), Ray Shaw (Collingwood), Wayne Schimmelbusch (North Melb.), Barry Round (South Melb.), David Cloke (Richmond), Michael Turner (Geelong), Laurie Serafini (Fitzroy), Mark Maclure (Carlton), Michael Moncrieff (Hawthorn), Robert Flower (Melbourne) and Kelvin Templeton (Footscray). Here to download is the LP "Footy Favourites" (SO 802). All the players appear by kind permission of their respective clubs and the V.F.L. Football players liaison: Jeff Joseph.

Comment: I remember 3XY played a couple of songs from the album just to be polite really. They were AWFUL!! I also remember reading that the project ultimately lost Thirty Thousand Dollars.


Tim Watson -  Tim is a prominent and popular sports journalist and media personality. On television he regularly appears on the Seven Network, where he does sports reports for the Melbourne news and has a special comments role on the station's Australian Football League (AFL) football coverage.

Tim Watson recently rang in to talk about the recording session for the 1981 Footy Favourites album with the Triple M Hot Breakfast Show crew.  Listen to the podcast HERE

Trevor Barker - After retiring from the Saints in 1989, Barker embarked on a coaching career with Victorian Football Association club Sandringham. He coached the Zebras to premierships in 1992 and 1994 before leaving after his second premiership to return to the Saints as an assistant coach to Stan Alves.

Wayne Schimmelbusch - Schimmelbusch was appointed coach of the North Melbourne Football Club in 1990. The team did not perform well, and in the 1993 pre-season, Schimmelbusch was replaced by Denis Pagan. Schimmelbusch was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1997 and named in the North Melbourne "Team of the Century" (half forward flank) in 2001.


Ray Shaw - After a fallout with Collingwood officialdom in 1981, Shaw returned to Preston as captain-coach and led them to the 1983 and 1984 premierships. Shaw then continued on to coach various clubs in the lower suburban competitions around Melbourne, including Lalor and Hurstbridge and Oakleigh Districts.

Barry Round - After retirement from VFL football, he played and coached for several years for Williamstown in the Victorian Football Association, the second highest level of football in Victoria, where he participated in their 1986 and Captain/Coached their 1990 premiership teams. Round then captained the Williamstown Football Club in the 1989-1991 seasons, and Coached the club from 1989-1993. In 2001 Round was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

David Cloke - In 1992, post his VFL/AFL career, Cloke joined Ainslie Football Club in the ACT as captain-coach, and guided them to a flag, a success repeated the following year when he won the Alex Jesaulenko Trophy for best afield in the grand final. He joined Victorian Football Association club Port Melbourne as non-playing coach in 1994, although did come out of retirement to play a handful of games during the season due to his team's long injury list. Cloke was inducted into Richmond's Hall of Fame in 2007.

Michael Turner - In 1989, Turner signed on as captain-coach of Werribee in the Victorian Football Association. In 1995 he was appointed by AFL Victoria to be the regional manager for the Geelong Falcons, responsible for the development of junior talent in the area.

Laurie Serafini - Serafini remained involved in football after injuries caused his premature retirement and when his old club merged with the Bears he became a director at the Brisbane Lions.

Mark Maclure - He currently works as a football commentator for ABC Radio and appears once a week on AFL 360, Fox Footy's Monday to Thursday television program.

Michael Moncrieff - After retirement from AFL in 1986, Moncrieff played for Sandringham in the Victorian Football Association. Off-field, Moncrieff served as president of the Victorian Football League Players' Association, and later served as a member of the AFL Grievance Tribunal.

Robert Flower - After retiring as a player, Flower was inducted in the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and was named on the wing in Melbourne's Team of the Century. He later served on the Melbourne board until he resigned after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 2004. Sadly, Flower died on 2 October 2014, after a brief illness.

Kelvin Templeton - Templeton become the CEO of the Sydney Swans as they started to become a power in the Australian Football League.

So, it's not rocket science to work out why 'Footy Favourites' has been chosen to be the centre of attention for this months WOCK on Vinyl post - the singing is Wofull, Out of Bounds, Corny and no goals were Kicked during the making of this album. Enjoy if you can.  

Track listing
A1 Tim Watson (Essendon) - Ruby (Don't Take Your Love to Town)
A2 Trevor Barker (St Kilda) - I Can See Clearly Now
A3 Ray Shaw (Collingwood) - Danny Boy
A4 Wayne Schimmelbusch (North Melbourne) - Twenty Miles
A5 Barry Round (South Melbourne) - Little Jeannie
A6 David Cloke (Richmond) - The Letter
B1 Michael Turner (Geelong) - I Go to Rio
B2 Laurie Serafini (Fitzroy) - Hard Rock Cafe
B3 Mark Maclure (Carlton) - Imagine
B4 Michael Moncrieff (Hawthorn) - Don't Stand So Close to Me
B5 Robert Flower (Melbourne) - Macho Man
B6 Kelvin Templeton (Footscray) - Who's Sorry Now 

Footy Favourites MP3 (320kps) Link (62Mb)

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Gregg Allman Band - Playin' Up A Storm (1977)

(U.S 1960 - 2017)
Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Gregg Allman was known for his long blond hair. He was raised in Florida by a single mother after his father was shot to death. Allman idolised his older brother, Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band. The original band featured extended jams, tight guitar harmonies by Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, rhythms from a pair of drummers and the smoky blues inflected voice of Gregg Allman. Songs such as Whipping Post, Ramblin’ Man and Midnight Rider helped define what came to be known as Southern rock and opened the doors for such stars as Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band.

In 1975, Cher and Allman married three days after she divorced her husband and singing partner, Sonny Bono. Their marriage was tumultuous from the start; Cher requested a divorce just nine days after their Las Vegas wedding, although she dismissed the suit a month later.

Together they released a widely panned duets album under the name Allman and Woman. They had one child together, Elijah Blue, and Cher filed for legal separation in 1977. He recorded his second solo album, 'Playin' Up a Storm', with the Gregg Allman Band, and it was released in May 1977.

Sadly, Allman recently passed away (May 27, 2017) at the age of 69 of complications from liver cancer.

Cher & Gregg 1977
Album Review
'Playin’ Up A Storm' is the debut album under The Gregg Allman Band title and is Greg Allman’s overall second effort outside The Allman Brothers Band. “Playin’ Up A Storm” was released in 1977 on the Capricorn label and was produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman.

The “Playin’ Up A Storm” lineup consisted of Gregg Allman on vocals, acoustic guitar, organ and piano, Bill Stewart on drums, Neil Larsen on the fender rhodes, piano, electric piano and synthesizer, Ricky Hirsch on acoustic, electric and slide guitar, Steve Beckmeier on electric guitar, John Hug on electric guitar and lastly, Willie Weeks on bass.

According to my research “Playin’ Up A Storm” didn’t receive much attention back in 1977 despite Gregg Allman already being an established household name. I think it’s truly a shame it wasn’t represented and supported more back then but it’s even more saddening to know that almost 40 years later “Playin’ Up A Storm” is still practically under the covers.

“Playin’ Up A Storm” is a well blended mixture of Southern Rock, Pop, Blues, Jazz and some Soul. Consisting of nine tracks, the album has a very pleasurable and easy listening flow from start to finish. I think the musicianship is top notch, Gregg’s vocals are inviting and the production is both clear and polished.

There wasn’t a song that I found to be less likable than the other, in my opinion this album is a very solid effort from The Gregg Allman Band. There is one song that's had slightly more of an impact on me which is track five “Cryin’ Shame”. The song starts off low key with a hint of guitar, a smooth bass line, a friendly drum beat and a lonesome sounding keyboard while Gregg Allman's voice floats over top talking about the familiar tale of heartbreak. When the chorus comes around the band becomes more lively and both a organ and backup singers are then added to the mix. The song continues to build momentum and grab your interest more from there. The sweet spot of the song in my opinion is the keyboard solo more towards the end, it’s like golden rich honey pouring out of your speakers.

I do enjoy the album artwork, it’s simplistic and works but I also think it showcases how intimate the music is. A nice action shot of Gregg Allman is the main centerpiece showing his eyes closed and his fingers exploring the keyboard before him. Gregg having his eyes closed I think represents the intimate and soul touching, feel good music that lies ahead for the listener. Another attractive element of “Playin’ Up A Storm” is its long list of credits which include Dr. John and Ray Charles just to name a few. Those two paired with Gregg Allman makes a great threesome already but then add the other musicians and features of the album and you’ve got one genuinely great piece.

“Playin’ Up A Storm” is a gem of my album collection that I pull out from time to time and it never ceases to entertain. If you’ve heard of this album before but don’t recall its sound or passed it over back in the day, give it another shot. Or if you’ve never heard of it, treat yourself to some great music, go give it a listen. [review by By Daniel Watts at]

This 'whipping' post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) and full album artwork from vinyl and CD media.  I purchased this album second hand in my late teens and always remember how impressed I was when I first heard the album. It was very different to the Allman Brothers material that I had heard previously, but it had such a laid back groove that I immediately feel in love with it. The B-side contains my favourite tracks but having said this, there isn't a bad track on the whole album. I therefore pay tribute to Gregg Allman with this post and hope you enjoy his solo material.
Track Listing:
01. Come And Go Blues - 4:48

02. Let This Be A Lesson To Ya' - 3:42
03. Brightest Smile In Town - 3:06
04. Bring It On Back - 4:49
05. Cryin' Shame - 3:44
06. Sweet Feelin' - 3:37
07. It Ain't No Use - 3:54
08. Matthew's Arrival - 3:50
09. One More Try - 3:53

The Gregg Allman Band is:
Gregg Allman - Vocals, Organ, Piano, Acoustic Guitar
Willie Weeks - Bass, Fender Rhodes
Steve Beckmeier - Guitar
Ricky Hirsch - Guitar, Slide Guitar
John Leslie Hug - Guitar
Neil Larsen - Synthesizer, Piano, Keyboards, Fender Rhodes, Horn Arrangements
Bill Stewart - Drums
Guest Musicians

Fred Beckmeier - Bass
Red Callender- Bass
Dr. John - Keyboards
Victor Feldman - Percussion
Venetta Fields - Background Vocals
Clydie King - Background Vocals
Milt Holland - Percussion
David Luell - Horn, Saxophone
Steve Madaio - Horn
Pat Rizzo - Horn
Sherlie Matthews - Background Vocals
Bill Payne - Synthesizer, Keyboards
Gregg Allman Band FLACs Link (195Mb)
Gregg Allman Band MP3 Link (81Mb)