Thursday, August 17, 2017

Grace Knight - Stormy Weather (1991)

(Australian 1976 - Present)
Grace Knight is well known as the lead singer of the 1980's Aussie band Eurogliders, for her performance in the ABC show 'Come In Spinner' and her latter career as a jazz diva.
'Come In Spinner' was a big hit on television and the soundtrack album was an even bigger success for the ABC. I was now apparently a ja2zy torch singer and bookings were coming in for me as opposed to Eurogliders. I was now a solo performer and was performing songs from 'Come In Spinner' with a 12-piece band, including a horn section. I swapped my wrestling boots for high heels and my chamois leather Indian top for an evening gown. My extensions were removed and my hair was brushed for the first time in years.
Eurogliders hadn't yet officially split, but we were well on the road of no return. Not many gigs and no money.

With the success of 'Come In Spinner', I would've been mad not to release a similar album immediately. So I went to Eurogliders' record company, Sony Music, and asked if they were interested in doing another album of classics. They were.
My second solo album, Stormy Weather, shot up the jazz charts and one week saw Spinner and Stormy Weather sitting at first and fifth position. Two different records through two different companies.
When it came to singing the classics, performing live was quite a different story, I was used to dancing onstage, but these songs were quite different, they didn't require a manic ballerina to express the wonderful stories. Clear diction seemed more of a prerequisite.

On The Set Of Spinners
Ray Alldridge, an absolute legend in jazz circles, became my music director. Ray was well aware of my pop background and instead of turning his nose up at my audacity for swapping genres, like many people on the jazz circuit did, he encouraged and lead me into each song, playing notes that would help me pitch, smiling at me when I was due to sing, or nodding his head off to the side to tell me not to sing.
Ray is a complete gentleman who plays piano like a deranged demon or a heartbroken angel, depending on what the song demands. I'm sure that without Ray I would not have had such an enduring career.

It frightened me to hear my voice for the first time singing these songs, there was no electronic drum kit, no bass player with his amp turned to maximum volume, no lead guitarist playing so loudly you'd feel the wax dripping across your eardrum trying to protect the sensitive innards, and no backing singers giving you a hand. With these jazz musicians the whole was more important than the individual and I was part of the whole. I fell in love with their sounds—beautiful, rich, wooden, hollow sounds from the double bass, wire brushes kissing tight snare-drum skins and brushing across metal cymbals ever so gently. I could hear every single pluck and whhhhoosh, and of course Ray's playing which I counted on as my safety net. If I happened to fall, Ray would spring me back into place by simply playing a progression of notes that left me nowhere else to go musically.

It took a fair few gigs before I stopped shouting 'SO-PHIS-TI-CA-TED LA-Dy into the microphone and learned that I could actually sing these songs, they didn't require belting, not like Euros, where I could barely speak until midway through the next day 'cause my throat was so rasped from shouting the night before.
At first I used to get nervous working at The Basement in Sydney. The venue was well known to jazz musicians and aficionados alike. It was so small there was nowhere to hide mistakes and fuck ups. The audience crammed in, many seated directly under my nostrils. One night when we played there I wore a particularly short black velvet dress, the stage at The Basement is small and I had little room to move given it was filled with musicians. One of my favourite musicians at the time was a young double bass player named Todd Logan. Such a cutie was Todd, he was barely old enough to drink but he played his beautiful double bass with the heart and soul of a man three times his age and experience.

I was in the dressing room with my manager, Diana, drawing a mouth with gnashing teeth on a strip of white gaffer tape. 'Oh shit, what are you up to now, Grace?'
'Di is this in the right place?'
I patted the gnarly gaffer tape teeth onto my panty-hosed, G-strung arse and swung around to look in the mirror. It looked suitably awful.
'Grace, y'can't. The audience, what'll they think?'
'They won't see, but keep yer eye on Todd.'
'Please don't?'
We pumped out the last set and I said our goodnight's and turned around to acknowledge the band, they all took a bow and as Todd came up from his, I took mine directly in front of him. I bent forward I flicked the back of my dress up exposing my arse and gnarly teeth taped across my crack. I heard a stumble behind me and turned to see Todd on the floor cradling his double bass, the band and audience wondered what on earth had promoted this fall—as I'd imagined, the only person who saw this in the packed Basement was Todd!

Reviews of gigs and of my albums were glowing, reviewers seemed to think it was a marvel a singer could cross over genres from pop to jazz. But the only difference I could discern between the two was space.
It wasn't me who called myself a 'jazz singer', it was a tag placed on me. I'm a singer who happens to work with jazz musicians, but I'm no Ella Fitzgerald, no Sarah Vaughan and I'm certainly no Cleo Laine, I just love singing. I was selling large quantities of albums classified in the 'jazz' section, but having never listened to or studied jazz, I felt a bit like a fraud that would surely one day be caught out. I just pretended it didn't bother me, though inside it did and I was petrified. [extract from Grace Knight: Pink Suit For A Blue Day, New Holland Books, 2010. p212-216]
This post consists of FLACs and MP3's (320kps) ripped from CD and includes full album artwork. Although not officially released on vinyl which is somewhat strange for the time period, this album was released on cassette (see below), so I figure it pretty much meets this blog's charter and deserves a place here.
If you get a chance to read Grace's biography Pink Suit then I don't think you'll be disappointed - she certainly had a tough childhood and managed to be become a very resilient and determined artist.
01 - Fever    3:39
02 - Drinking Again    3:05
03 - Love Or Leave Me    2:14
04 - Guess Who I Saw Today    2:59
05- Walkin' After Midnight    3:09
06 - That Ole Devil Called Love    3:07
07 - Danny Boy    3:08
08 - Stormy Weather    4:25
09 - Momma He Treats Your Daughter Mean    2:57
10 - Crazy    4:27
11 - Picking Up After You    3:38
12 - You'll Never Know    4:25
13 - God Bless The Child    5:34

Vocals - Grace Knight
Drums - John Morrison, Len Barnard,Doug Gallacher, Gordon Rytmeister
Bass - Craig Scott, Jonathan Zwartz, Gary Holgate, Ed Gaston, Dave Pudney, Alex Hewston
Guitar - Rex Goh
Keyboards - Larry Muhoberac
Percussion - Sunil De Silva 

Grace Knight FLACs Link (259Mb)
Grace Knight MP3 Link (110Mb)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Dugites - Selftitled (1980)

(Australian 1978-1984)
Like another Australian band 'The Numbers', label mates 'The Dugites' had formed in 1978, but they were very different in almost every other way. Brian Peacock aided their pursuit of pop success; he'd been managing his own band with Matt Taylor, Western Flyer, in Perth. With industry contacts stretching back fifteen years and his experience road-managing the New Seekers as part of David Joseph's entertainment empire. Peacock was a good fit for a Perth group with some but not all the components for mainstream success. The Dugites' Peter Crosbie visited him in his Fremantle office 'for advice about record deals', Peacock recalls:

They were getting a lot of interest out of the Eastern states... So I started going along to some of their gigs so I could advise them better. And before 1 knew it, I ended up managing them.

I think I knew that it didn't really matter where you came from. And I'd allied that to New Zealand, leaving New Zealand. I realised you could stay wherever you came from and you didn't have to run off and uproot yourself from everything you knew.
The rest of the band were all pretty intelligent people, who I got on well with. They had very firm ideas of what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go, which made it easy to work with them. 1 liked what they wanted to do myself. My management skills, if there were any, always came into play with a genuine admiration for the artist

Songwriter and keyboard player Peter Crosbie had a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Western Australia; during an extended trip to Britain in the mid 1970s, he had also written songs with King Crimsons Peter Sinfield. The group were inspired by their singer Lynda Nutters earlier garage band, which played 60s-girl-group songs such as 'Leader of the Pack'. Nutter and Crosbie were married when the Dugites began, but their personal relationship did not last long into the band's career.

Though the two women projected very differently, Nutter and Annalisse Morrow are both examples of a new type of female 'lead singer' in that they were clearly members of the band, not isolated or separate in some way. Additionally, like many women in bands at this time, Nutter found this to be a necessity. She told Rolling Stone's Jacky Hyams: 'I just don't agree with all that pouting and "look at me" ... I have to be one of the boys - and I'm quite good at that - in order to avoid hassles all the time.'

The Dugites' 'Hit Single' was self-released 'on their first birthday'; for the band it came at 'the end of Phase One', during which they had played in a number of different styles. Their parody of Countdown (see chapter 11) notwithstanding, the satirical 'Hit Single (it declared, for instance, that pop stars never had 'to go to the toilet') marked, for them, the beginning of 'Phase Two!

Deluxe enlisted Bob Andrews, from Graham Parker and the Rumour, to produce the first (self-titled) Dugites album. Fans of the band were pleased to see Andrews rein in Peter Crosbies "overbearing self-indulgence on keyboards, the extended, discoesque jam on the musically excellent 'Gay Guys' is probably a vestigial example of Crosbies druthers. This was the first song played on JJJ-FM after it converted from 2JJ into an FM station in 1984 (en route to the next level, national coverage). In retrospect the song s lyrics come across as nastily bitchy and populated with stereotypes, although at the time it seemed refreshingly sardonic It is also a good example of a male songwriter (Crosbie) utilising a female persona to create a narrator who would, in most peoples minds, critique the 'gay guys' in question not from a position of fear or desire, but from one of platonic affection.

Their first single for Deluxe, the buoyant and fresh 'In Your Car' got the Dugites off to a great start, but it was a success which, for reasons that remain unclear, the band seemed unable to build on. After several singles and two albums for Deluxe, they moved to Mercury, for whom they recorded a third album, Cut the Talking, with English producer Carey Taylor, who went on to assemble Dragon s immensely successful album Body and the Beat and its attendant singles, The Dugites' best song, among many gems, was perhaps the dark, synthesiser-dominated ballad 'Waiting', though the classic pop of Juno and Me' was more typical and highly . The group were Countdown mainstays and perennially good-natured and a solid proposition live; they struggled; nonetheless, to reach commercial sales heights at the time.

By the mid 80s both the Numbers and the Dugites were all but gone and have remained almost forgotten. [extract from DIG: Australian Rock and Pop Music, 1960-85, Verse Chorus Press, 2016 p413-415]

But for some (like myself) they still remain favourites today, and thus one reason for this post. The other is to acknowledge a generous blog follower called Dave who made this rip available to me in FLAC format.   Files were ripped from vinyl, with MP3 (320's) also available here, along with full album artwork and label scans.  If you're into the Dugites, you'll also find there third LP 'Cut The Talking' on this blog as well, and it is my intention to post their 2nd LP 'West Of The World' in the near future.
Track Listing
01 In Your Car
02 South Pacific
03 Mama Didn't Warn Me
04 Goodbye
05 Gay Guys
06 13 Again
07 No God, No Master
08 No One Would Listen
09 Amusing
10 Six Weeks
The Dugites are:
Lynda Nutter – vocals and percussion; 
Gunther Berghofer – guitar and vocals; 
Peter Crosbie – keyboards and vocals; 
Clarence Bailey – Drums and vocals; 
Paul Noonan – bass and vocals.
The Dugites FLAC Link (241Mb)
The Dugites MP3 Link (41Mb)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Led Zeppelin - You Shock Me (1990) Bootleg

(U.K 1968 - 1980)
With Led Zeppelin's career-long tradition of creative independence, it was inevitable that the band and Peter Grant would eventually form their own record label. The band had always fought for total creative control in the studio and the concert stage: their new records were delivered in the form of finished masters and jacket artwork, and the distributor had only to press the discs, print the jackets, promote the product and ship large quantities of every release to record stores in every corner of the globe. The circumstances were ideal for Led Zeppelin to own and operate their own label, but they would undertake the task with characteristic differences.

After taking a fairly long break over the winter of 1973 to 1974, initial steps were begun in the spring for the launching of the Led Zeppelin record label. As soon as the rumours started creaking out in the media, Robert Plant endeavoured to make it clear that the new label would be a legitimate and dedicated rock and roll exercise, with the accent on talent. It wouldn't, he insisted, be some sort of rock star plaything or ego exercise. The label obviously isn't going to be like the "Yeah, we'll have a label, far out heavy trip, man" and just putting yourself on it sort of trip. This label won't be just Led Zeppelin, that's for sure. (Note: The first band to be signed to their new label was Maggie Bell with Bad Company coming in close second).
It's too much effort to do as an ego trip and a waste of time really. I haven't got to build myself up on my own label for Christ sake! "We're going to work with people we've known and liked, and people we will know and will like. It's an outlet for people we admire and want to help. There are so many possible things that we can play around with, people we can help that we haven't been able to help before. People like Roy Harper, who's so good and whose records haven't even been put out in America. People there have yet to discover the genius of the man who set fire to the pavilion at die Blackpool Cricket Ground. 'In trying to come up with a name for the label, we went through the usual ones like Slut and Slag, the ones that twist off your tongue right away - all the names one would normally associate with us on tour in America. But that's not really how we want to be remembered. Better to have something really nice.' Other names that surfaced in creative discussions included Stairway, DeLuxe, Eclipse, Zeppelin and finally, Swan Song, which was arrived at by accident, or an uncommon, for some, twist of fate.
Jimmy Page duly informed New York pro-Led Zeppelin scribe, Lisa Robinson, 'I had a long acoustic guitar instrumental with just sparse vocal sections - die song was about twenty minutes long and the vocal was about six minutes. The whole thing was quite epic really - almost semi-classical I suppose. I'd worked on bits of it and we were recording with the mobile truck and there was no title for it. Someone shouted out, "Swan Song"! The whole thing stopped and we said what a great name for an LP. All the vibes started and suddenly it was out of the LP and on to the record label name.
'I think that Swan Song is a good name for a record label because if you don't have success on Swan Song - well, then, you shouldn't have signed up with them. I'm not personally involved with the business side of it because I'm so involved with the production of the records that I don't have time to worry about it or even take a look at it.'
The actual Swan Song logo was inspired by a painting called 'Evening, Fall of Day' by William Rimner, which is in the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Robert Plant summed it all up, The name "Led Zeppelin" means failure, and "Swan Song" means a last gasp - so why not name our record label that?'
Never one to downplay the chart potential of proven big names, Atlantic's Phil Carson was super-positive right from die start. 'Obviously it will be a winning label,' he smirked. And he was right. [extract from Led Zeppelin - The Definitive Biography, by Richie York. Virgin Books 1993, p 173-4)

Note: The company logo was based on‘Evening’also called The Fall of Day (1869) by painter William Rimmer, featuring a picture of the Greek God 'Apollo'

The Bootleg was ripped to MP3 (320kps) from CD and includes full album artwork along with all photos displayed above. These live recordings are excellent and come from three separate concerts and time periods in Led Zeppelin's career. Recordings originate from Soundboard and professional radio station broadcasts made in 1969, 71 and 75.  It is hard to find good bootleg recordings of Led Zeppelin and this is one of the best I've come across. I have also included an outtake track called "Swan Song" as a bonus track to compliment the cover story above.
Track Listing
01  Rock 'N' Roll / Sick Again  9:28 *
02  Over The Hill And Far Away  6:53 *
03  In My Time Of Dying  11:17 *
04  The Song Remains The Same  5:26 *
05  What Is And What Should Never Be  4:33 **
06  Stairway To Heaven  8:43 **
07  You Shook Me  10:09 ***
08  Whole Lotta Love medley incl. Boogie Chillun, That's Alright Mama, For What It's Worth, Minnesota Blues  10:17 ***
09  Immigrant Song  3:36  ***
10  Swan Song (Bonus Instrumental) 3:33

(*) Dallas Memorial Auditorium, Dallas, Texas Mar. 4 '75 (Superb stereo soundboard)
(**) In Concert, Paris Theatre, London, England Apr. 1 '71 (Superb stereo radio recording)
(***) One Night Stand, Playhouse Theatre, Westminster, London, June 27 '69 (Superb mono radio broadcast) 

Led Zeppelin were:
Robert Plant (Vocals)
Jimmy Page (Guitar)
John Paul Jones (Bass)
John Bohman (Drums)
Led Zeppelin Link (166Mb)