Thursday, April 8, 2010

Record Hunting In Australia in Scotland and Vintage Violence nite club

Hello and best wishes from Scotland!
I haven't posted here recently as I've spent the last two months traveling New Zealand and South America on a slow journey home after a great few months living in Australia, finally landing in Edinburgh a couple of nights ago. To be honest I wasn't sure anyone would notice my abscence, but at least Cousin Creep has missed me (thanks for the comment!). 
I will definitley carry on this blog in some form, and I have a LOT more records that I hunted down in Australia to share; though unfortunately I sent them back sea mail so they're currently missing in action somewhere between here and Melbourne...  At some point I guess I'll move on to other records (I already grabbed a few gems from NZ and South America along the way) and I'll have to change the name of the blog, but until then I'll remain Record Hunting In Australia.  Hey it's my blog I guess I can call it what I want even if I'm about as far as you can bloody get from Australia.
In other news, I'll be deejaying at the fabulous Edinburgh nite club Vintage Violence on Friday 23 April, spinning a hot mix of garage rawk, bubblegum pop, new wave spazz, glitter stomp and whatnot.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

THE CHEROKEES- Minnie The Moocher/I've Gone Wild

Here's another classic Aussie disc, this time from 1967 and courtesy of Melbourne's Cherokees.  The A-side is a slightly bizarre beat take on Cab Calloway's 'Minnie The Moocher' and I guess it works on it's own terms as a likeable piece of novelty that saw fair chart and radio action for the band.  
The CHEROKEES- Minnie The Moocher
But, as so often the case, the real dark meat is lurking on the B-side.  'I've Gone Wild' lives up to it's title; a brooding slab of prime freakbeat with uk mod-style vocals and an excellent psychedelic guitar effect- I'm afraid my copy is a little beat up, but you'll get the idea.
The CHEROKEES- I've Gone Wild

Monday, February 15, 2010

RAY BROWN and THE WHISPERS- Fool, Fool, Fool/Go To Him

Based in Sydney and operating from just 1964 to 1966, Ray Brown and The Whispers were a very popular beat and soul group both live and in the Australian charts.  This 45 was their third release and the band's third No.1 in Sydney (there were no national charts in Australia until the end of the sixties).  It was also sonically their most adventurous record, particularly on the spectacular 'Go To Him', with both sides benefiting from other worldly production: double tracked drums, echoey vocals, and treated guitars sounding not unlike something Joe Meek might have concocted at 304 Holloway Road.

RAY BROWN and THE WHISPERS- Fool, Fool, Fool

Monday, February 8, 2010

BLACKTOP- Here I Am.../Searchin'

BLACKTOP- Here I Am...

After the demise of the phenomenal Gories, and before the Dirtbombs, Mick Collins joined forces with Fireworks frontman Darin Lin Wood to form Blacktop.  On the A side of the above 7" they cover one of my favourite obscuro Captain Beefheart songs 'Here I Am, I Always Am' and do a grand job on it.  The flip side, another cover, this time a Coasters tune is good too if a bit throw away.   
BLACKTOP- Searchin'

'Here I Am...' came out in '95 on legendary Australian record label Au-Go-Go, who also released a Blacktop long player Up All Night after Crypt turned the tracks down.  Au-Go-Go was run by Melbourne music kingpin Bruce Milne and I'll post a little more about Bruce shortly since I just bought a pile of his records (he's been raising funds to pay off debts after the sad closure of what was Melbourne's best venue the Tote).

Thursday, February 4, 2010

JOHNNY O'KEEFE and The DEE JAYS- So Tough/That'll Be Allright

Johnny O'Keefe or JO'K or 'The Wild One', was Australia's first and biggest rock'n'roll star.  He was an unlikely teen idol, with limited singing talent and perhaps closer in looks to Bill Hayley (his initial inspiration) than Elvis Presley (who's wild stage presence and gyrations JO'K imitated in his own unique way).  But as ever in rock'n'roll such obstacles were overcome by determined self publicity, showmanship and being in the right place at the right time (and gold lame suits).  
Outside Australia JO'K is best known for his signature song "Wild One". Jerry Allison of the Crickets took the song back to the USA after hearing JO'K play it while on the same bill (see the programme below).  Jerry recorded the song as 'Real Wild Child' under the name Ivan, with Buddy Holly on guitar/backing vocals, and it's probably my favourite version. Since then the song has been covered by countless artists including Jerry Lee Lewis, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Joan Jett, and probably stands as Australia's only bona fide addition to the cannon of classic 50s rock'n'roll standards.
I won't try and relate JO'K's full story here, suffice to say it's an interesting one featuring flamboyant costumes, gigs with nearly all the first wave American rock'n'roll stars, failed attempts to crack America (despite the odd number one in New Orleans), a near fatal car crash, lots of mental breakdown, drink, drugs, 29 top 40 Australian hit singles, a successful TV career and an eventual overdose of prescription drugs.
'So Tough' bw 'That'll Be Allright' came out in 1958 and is one of JO'K's best and most rocking 45s.  'So Tough' was a then current track in the US charts thanks to a myriad of recordings by various New York Doo-Wop groups, the original being by The Casuals.  JO'K's version is at least as good as any of the American ones, though to be honest all the versions I've heard are great, raw, zany rock'n'roll fun.  'That'll Be Allright' (sic) is a JO'K and The Dee Jays original and shows that 'Wild One' was no fluke, as it's a classic slice of rock'n'roll with cool percussion and bad boy lyrics.
JOHNNY O'KEEFE and The DEE JAYS- That'll Be Allright

This 1950s footage of Johnny O'Keefe offers a glimpse of his unique stage presence and the fan adoration he received as Australia's king of rock'n'roll.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The SHY GUYS- You Are My Sunshine/Rockin' Pnemonia And The Booga Loo Flu

I know very little about this record. I think that the Al Schultz Orchestrations mentioned on the label was some sort of music agency based in Chicago, but not sure if that means The Shy Guys were from Chicago too?  The date hand written on the label of 16/1/70 seems too late for the sound of the record, that I'd guess to be closer to mid-60s.  I would be grateful if anyone can point me towards more info.
What I do know for sure is that this is a storming two sider of a 45.  My pick is the B-side, 'You Are My Sunshine'; a raw slice of soul with rough gospel style vocals and swinging garage rock instrumentation.  On the plug side, a version of the Huey 'Piano' Smith classic, The Shy Guys add a horn section, but otherwise keep it raw and soulfull.  Great stuff.
THE SHY GUYS- You Are My Sunshine

THE SHY GUYS- Rockin' Pnemonia And The Booga Loo Flu

Sunday, January 17, 2010


BILLY BLAND- Let The Little Girl Dance

Billy Bland's 'Let The Little Girl Dance' is an absolute classic RnB/pop crossover record.  Nice to get an original copy on Old Town, a really consistent label out of New York.
The story goes that Billy was in the studio when Titus Turner was recording this song and stepped in to show him how to sing it, little knowing producer Henry Glover had the tape rolling and that Bland's demonstration would end up a hit single.

GRANTLEY DEE- Let The Little Girl Dance

In 1966, six years after Bland, well known Melbourne DJ Grantley Dee released his own version of 'Let The Little Girl Dance' it was a minor local hit and a sought after record now.  The arrangement was kept pretty much the same for Dee's version (if it ain't broke...), except the parping sax is replaced by a nice raw guitar break, in fact it's a shame Bland's hadn't had more guitar considering the mighty Mickey Baker apparently played on the session.  
Dee was the first blind singing star in Australia, and you can witness a little of his charismatic DJing style in this great 60s doco about Melbourne radio.

Grantley Dee with trade mark black glasses.