30 jun. 2013

Mark Mulcahy - 'Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You'




Una agradable sorpresa. Último trabajo de Mark Mulcahy

Mark Mulcahy es un cantante y compositor. Fue miembro y líder de la banda indie Miracle Legion desde mediados de la década del 80 hasta mediados de los 90. Formo parte de Polaris banda con integrantes de Miracle Legion formada para la serie de televisión Las aventuras de Pete & Pete (1993-1996). Su canción se usó para el opening del programa durante los 3 años de emisión, también aparecen tocando la canción "Summerbaby" en un capítulo de la serie. Al terminar la serie Mulcahy siguió su carrera como solista.
Mulcahy fue telonero de varias bandas y artistas notables que incluyen a OasisJeff Buckley e inclusive a Thom Yorke, cantante deRadiohead, que le dedicó una canción a Mulcahy en uno de sus shows.
En 2009 fallece su esposa Melissa, dejándolo a él solo a cargo de la crianza de sus hijas gemelas de 3 años de edad. En ese mismo año, un total de 21 artistas, entre los cuales se encuentran Frank Black(Pixies), Michael Stipe, Thom Yorke(Radiohead) y otros artistas destacados, graban un CD de covers de Mulcahy titulado Ciao My Shining Star:The Songs of Mark Mulcahy, con la intencion de recaudar dinero, para darle apoyo economico en la crianza de sus hijas.

  • Fathering (1997) CD en The Mezzotint Label/Loose Records
  • C.O.D. (1999) 7-inch vinyl en Lissy Records
  • I Just Shot Myself in the Foot Again (2000) EP en Mezzotint
  • smilesunset (2001) CD/LP on Mezzotint/Loose
  • In Pursuit of Your Happiness (2005) CD en Mezzotint/Loose
  • Love's The Only Thing That Shuts Me Up (2005) EP en Mezzotint

WIKIPEDIA

28 jun. 2013

Mavis Staples - 'One True Vine,'




Otra maravilla de disco.Como se ve en el vídeo con el calor de la familia y el hogar La gran voz de Mavis junto al trabajo de  Jeff Tweedy (una producción exquisita por su sencillez ) el cual ademas de componer también toca casi todos los instrumentos y en algunos momentos le da el toque Wilco (alguna guitarra o bajo). Ademas de los temas de Jeff hay alguna versión. La canción de Nick Lowe "far celestial shore" , fantastica. Y   "can you get to that"de Funkadelic. Y los coros, que me dicen de los coros...Increibles!!!Un disco que recoge el espíritu de sus discos clásicos de los 70's.
No creo en Dios. Pero doy gracias a que haya religión por cantantes como esta.

25 jun. 2013

James Booker



James Carroll Booker III (17 diciembre 1939-8 noviembre 1983) músico de blues nacido en Nueva Orleans, Louisiana, Estados Unidos. El estilo único de Booker combinado rhythm and blues con los estándares de jazz. Booker era hijo y nieto de ministros bautistas, quienes tocaban el piano.  Pasó la mayor parte de su infancia en la costa del Golfo de Mississippi, donde su padre fue pastor de una iglesia. Booker recibió un saxofón como  regalo de su madre, pero demostro má interes por los teclados. Toco por primra vez en la iglesia de su padre, tocando el organo. Después de regresar a Nueva Orleans en su temprana adolescencia, Booker asistió a la Xavier Academy Preparatory Aprendió algunos elementos de su estilo de teclado de Tuts Washington y Edward Frank.  Booker era muy hábil en la música clásica y tocaba Bach y Chopin, entre otros compositores. Su formación exhaustiva le hicieron un virtuoso en todos los estilos.
Booker hizo su debut discográfico en 1954 en la etiqueta imperial, con "Doin 'the Hambone" y "Thinkin' 'Bout My Baby" . Esto condujo a alguna sesión de trabajo con Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis y Lloyd Price.
En 1958, Arthur Rubinstein dio un concierto en Nueva Orleans.Con 18 años fue introducido como concertista y tocando varias piezas para él. Rubinstein se maravillaban, diciendo "Yo nunca podría tocar esto...nunca con este tempo..(The Times-Picayune, 1958).  Booker también se hizo conocido por su personalidad extravagante. Después de grabar algunos otros sencillos, se matriculó como estudiante en el departamento de música de la Universidad Austral. En 1960, "Gonzo" de Booker alcanzó el número 43 en la lista Billboard EE.UU., y el número 3 en la lista de R & B. Esto fue seguido por algunos sencillos con exito moderado.
En los 60s se introdujo en las drogas y en 1970 tuvo una condena en Angola Prison por posesión
Professor Longhair y Ray Charles estaban entre sus influencias principales.
En 1973 grabó The Lost Paramount Tapes en Paramount Studios de Hollywood, California, con los miembros de la banda de Dr.John que incluian a John Boudreaux en la batería, Jessie Hill, en la percusión,
Alvin Robinson en guitarra y voz, Richard "Dídimo" Washington en la percusión, David Lastie al saxo y Dave Johnson en el bajo.  Este álbum fue producido por los miembros de la banda de Dr. John y Sweathog
David L. Johnson y Daniel J. Moore.  Las cintas originales desaparecieron de la Paramount Recording Studios, pero una copia de algunas de las mezclas realizadas cerca de la fecha de las grabaciones fue descubierto en 1992, y publicado en CD.
 Booker tocaba el órgano en Bonnaroo banda de gira de Dr. John Revue en 1974 y apareció como acompañante en los álbumes de Ringo Starr, John Mayall, The Doobie Brothers, Labelle y María Muldaur lo largo de este período.El tocar en 1975 en New Orleans Jazz y Heritage Festival le valió un contrato discográfico con Island Records.  Su álbum con Island, Junco Partner fue producido por Joe Boyd,  En enero de 1976, Booker se unió a la banda de Jerry García, tras dos conciertos en Palo Alto, California .
Booker grabó una serie de álbumes mientras gira por Europa en 1977.  Nueva Orleans Piano Wizard: Live,fue grabado en su actuación en el "Boogie Woogie y el Concurso de Piano Ragtime" en Zurich, Suiza.  Este álbum ganó el Grand Prix du Disque!. Tocó en los Festivales de Jazz de Niza y Montreux en 1978. Catorce años más tarde, una grabación en Leipzig de este tour se convertiría en el último registro que se producirá en la antigua Alemania Oriental. Se titulaba Vamos a hacer un mundo mejor!.
De 1977 a 1982 fue el pianista del Maple Leaf Bar en el barrio residencial de Carrollton de Nueva Orleans. Grabaciones de este periodo realizadas por John Parsons son Spider on the Keys y Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah. Su última grabación "Classified" la realizó en 1982. En cuatro horas según su productor
 Scott Billington . En este momento, su estado físico y mental se había deteriorado. A finales de octubre de 1983 el cineasta Jim Gabour filma su último concierto, The footage from the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans., fue transmitido por Cox Cable y la improvisación de 7 minutos "Jam de Seagram," apareció en la película de Gabour - All Alone con los Blues. Booker murió diez días más tarde, el 8 de noviembre de 1983, mientras se está sentado en una silla de ruedas, a la espera de ser visto en la sala de emergencias del Hospital de Nueva Orleans. La causa de la muerte fue una insuficiencia renal. (Certificado de defunción de Orleans Parish Coroner). Su muerte fue llorada por los amantes de la música, pero no  fue una sorpresa para  los que estaban al tanto de la historia de toda la vida de l drogadicción y el alcoholismo crónico grave que padecía. Harry Connick Jr., un estudiante y amigo cercano de Booker, es probablemente el más famoso discípulo. Connick, Henry Butler, y el Dr. John, entre otros, han grabado canciones con títulos y estilos musicales,  que hacen referencia a Booker. El último disco de Booker, lanzado en junio de 2007, es el Manchester 77, que consiste en una actuación en directo grabado en octubre de 1977 en El Lago Hotel, Belle Vue, Manchester con Norman Beaker en la guitarra.
Se ha especulado que su canción "Gonzo" fue la inspiración para el uso de la palabra para describir el estilo de periodismo de Hunter S. Thompson.
Un largometraje documental titulado "Bayou Maharajah" está siendo producido por Lily Keber sobre la vida de James Booker

ALLMUSIC
http://jamesbooker.com/
http://www.bayoumaharajah.com/

21 jun. 2013

Shannon McNally - Small Town Talk




Small Town Talk es una colaboración estelar entre Shannon McNally, una artista que viene consolidándose en el rock de raíces americano, y el inefable Dr. John. ¿Suena interesante? Pues si a esto le añadimos que se trata de un homenaje al legendario Bobby Charles, uno de los mejores escritores de canciones de las últimas décadas, la fiesta está servida. Con un sonido de lujo, es una delicia disfrutar de 14 canciones que son 14 clásicos. Lo mejor que se puede decir de este álbum es que no desmerece al lado de los originales, y eso ya es mucho.

Un disco muy recomendable que confirma varias cosas: (1) La enorme estatura de Bobby Charles, basta con dejarse llevar por el ritmo de Street People, la lírica de String of Hearts, el humor de Long Face, el comentario social de Small Town Talk, el toque jazz de But I Do, la crítica de Save Me Jesus o la elegancia sublime de I Must Be in a Good Place Now, para darse cuenta de que estas canciones – como las de un Townes Van Zandt, por ejemplo – son eternas. (2) El rejuvenecimiento del Dr. John, al que últimamente vemos colaborando con las nuevas generaciones con espléndidos resultados. (3) La confirmación del talento de Shannon McNally, de la que vale la pena descubrir sus discos en solitario, como Geronimo, del 2005. Bonnie Raitt puede estar tranquila, su legado está en buenas manos.


Puntuació: 9/10

Van the Man

19 jun. 2013

Kirsty MacColl





Kirsty Anna MacColl (CroydonReino Unido10 de octubre de 1959 – Cozumel,México18 de diciembre de 2000)1 fue una cantante y compositora inglesa de pop yrock que alcanzó su máxima popularidad durante los años ochenta y principios de losnoventa. Colaboró con Talking HeadsSimple MindsThe PoguesThe SmithsRobert Plant y Evan Dando, entre otros artistas. Casada con el productor Steve Lillywhite.
Falleció en un accidente en México, en circunstancias que son objeto de polémica.

Nacida en 1959 en Croydon, un municipio del Gran Londres, era hija del cantante de folk Ewan MacColl y de la bailarina y coreógrafa Jean Newlove, pasó su infancia únicamente junto a su madre y su hermano Hamish, ya que su padre abandonó a la familia para iniciar una relación con la también cantante de folk Peggy Seeger, que se convirtió en piedra de escándalo en el Reino Unido.

Estudió en la escuela Park Hill Primary School y más tarde en el instituto Monks Hill High School. Durante su adolescencia, fueron los discos de Beach Boys y Neil Young de su hermano los que la aficionaron a las armonías vocales y la animaron a la composición musical. Como influencias, cita también a The KinksThe Shangri-Las o The Mothers of Invention de Frank Zappa. Encuadrada inicialmente en la new wave, se resisitió a seguir los pasos de su padre en el género folk, hasta el punto de, en un principio, rehusar a colaborar con The Pogues cuando éstos le ofrecieron grabar juntos.2
Comenzó su carrera musical en 1978, cuando se unió a Drug Addix, una banda de punk rock, para grabar una maqueta de cuatro canciones que inmediatamente se editó como EP (The Drug Addix Make a Record: Close Encounters Of An Unsavoury KindChiswickSW39, 1978).3 4 En realidad, Kirsty se limitó a añadir coros bajo el seudónimo de Mandy Doubt, ya que por entonces era la novia del cantante Rick Smith.5 La discográfica Stiff Records, que había propuesto al grupo la grabación de la maqueta, quedó decepcionada con el resultado; pero reparó en MacColl, para entonces ya expulsada del grupo, a la que ofreció un contrato.6 Por su parte, Drug Addix no fueron más allá de grabar un sencillo («Too Blind To See/No Such Thing As A Bad Boy», Zigzag Records1979) y de servir de teloneros de Graham Parker and the Rumour.7

«They Don't Know» (Stiff, 1979) fue el primer sencillo grabado por Kirsty MacColl. Stiff Records le había propuesto una audición en solitario y la cantante no disponía de material propio, así que compuso el tema y regresó unas semanas más tarde.6


«La escribí con 18 años. Aunque entonces era la explosión del punk, y yo escuchaba a The Sex Pistols y Ramones, me había convertido también por entonces en una gran fan dePhil Spector y los grupos vocales de chicas en general.»
El sencillo se editó en junio de 1979, alcanzando el éxito en las emisoras de radio británicas, en cuyas listas de emisión alcanzó el puesto número 2.8 Sin embargo, coincidió con una huelga de las distribuidoras de discos, lo que hizo que la canción no entrara en las listas de ventas.6 9 Sólo más tarde la versión de Tracey Ullman conseguiría un rotundo éxito, cuando incluyó este tema y «You Broke My Heart in 17 Places», también de MacColl, en su álbum homónimo (You Broke My Heart in 17 Places, Stiff, 1984).10 El videoclip de Ullman contaría, además, con la aparición de Paul McCartney.
Editó un segundo sencillo en octubre, «You Caught Me Out» (Stiff, 1979), compuesto e interpretado junto a The Boomtown Rats.1 Pero la cantante y la discográfica rompieron su contrato en aquel momento, de modo que solo llegaron a distribuirse unos cuantos centenares de copias de promoción, retirándose la referencia del catálogo.
En 1981 fichó por Polydor Records. El sencillo «There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis» llegó al Nº 14 de las listas de ventas del Reino Unido. Editaría posteriormente el álbum Desperate Caracter (Polydor, 1981), que mezclaba composiciones propias con versiones de otros artistas. A pesar de ser aclamado por la crítica, no consiguió entrar en las listas, por lo que en 1983tuvo nuevamente que cancelar su contrato, cuando ya estaban grabadas todas las canciones para un segundo álbum, cuyo nombre previsto era Real.
Conocería a su marido Steve Lillywhite en medio de las grabaciones del disco Sparke in the Rain de Simple Minds en 1983, donde Lillywhite era el productor y Kirsty colaboraría con las voces femeninas.

Kirsty murió el 18 de diciembre de 2000 en la isla de Cozumel (México) cuando se encontraba de vacaciones con sus dos hijos. Fue golpeada mientras practicaba el buceo por una lancha a motor que entró en el área donde se encontraba y que estaba reservada a los bañistas.

Kirsty MacColl fue incinerada en el crematorio de Mortlake, en Richmond upon Thames.
Wikipedia

16 jun. 2013

Robyn Hitchcock






Robyn Hitchcock es uno de esos artistas peculiares que van a su bola y que por tanto son un tanto inclasiflicables.  A pesar de haber sido persistentemente calificado como excéntricos o extravagantes durante gran parte de su 
carrera, Hitchcock ha seguido desarrollando un repertorio a una gran altura y personal. Una de las figuras paternas del rock alternativo
Comenzando su carrera como folkie en Cambridge, Inglaterra, Hitchcock se ha comparado con las otras figuras de folk-rock británico como Roy Harper y la Incredible String Band, especialmente a causa de su guitarra acústica y el estilo vocal, aunque su voz lleva matices de John Lennon y Syd Barrett. empezó en  los Soft Boys en la época del punk,
 especializado en pop melódico y letras inteligentes  (Underwater Moonlight sigue siendo un clásico del género).
 no pasó mucho tiempo antes de abandonar la banda y seguir en solitario Black snake  role  (1981) fué su primer trabajo y  confirmó su reputación como un bicho raro, gracias a sus títulos. Le siguió la psicodelia de Groovy Decay (1982). y más tarde  I often dream of trains  (1984), Fegmania! (1985). En 1988, obtuvo su primer contrato importante de EE.UU. con el sello A & M Records, y siguió a la firma por la liberación de los ambiciosos Globe of Frogs (1988) y Queen Elvis (1989).  Continuó grabando  perspex island (1991) y Respect (1993). Consiguiendo exito en las radios universitarias. Después de un ligero bajón se recupero en 1996 con el retorno a la forma  con Moss Elixir  volviendo a sus raices folkis. En 1999 sacó Jewels of sophia. En 2002 lanzó Robyn Sings, una colección de dos discos de canciones de Bob Dylan extraídas de diversas presentaciones en vivo en los Estados Unidos y en el extranjero durante el 1999-2000. En 2003 LUXOR coincidiendo con su 50 cumpleaños.
En 2007, Hitchcock se convirtió en el tema de un documental del director John Edginton (Robyn Hitchcock: El sexo, la comida, la muerte ... e insectos) - una mirada detrás de las escenas de la obra de Hitchcock con Nick Lowe, John Paul Jones, Peter Buck, Bill Rieflin, Gillian Welch y otros colaboradores en el proyecto Venus 3.
 A finales de 2007, Yep Roc comenzó reeditando todos los trabajos anteriores de Hitchcock, que culminó en la colección en caja I Wanna Go Backwards. Hitchcock se adentró de nuevo en los archivos de Cat Shadow de 2008, una colección de material inédito de la segunda mitad de los años 90, y también para Luminous Groove, un cuadro de conjunto de las emisiones y rarezas antiguos Egyptians. Goodnight .   Al año siguiente, Hitchcock dejó Propellor tiempo, una colaboración con los Smiths Johnny Marr, Nick Lowe y John Paul Jones (así como la Venus 3), que era de tres años en la fabricación. Una nueva salida en solitario, Amor Desde Londres, llegó el 4 de marzo de 2013, un día después de su cumpleaños número 60.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robyn_Hitchcock

http://www.allmusic.com/artist/robyn-hitchcock-mn0000832524

Original studio albums





13 jun. 2013

Carla Olson - have harmony will travel


Una joya, que maravilla de disco.. Después de años sin grabar se hace realidad su deseo de grabar un trabajo de versiones en plan duetos con amigos y compañeros (y los tiene buenos , buenos). Pero sobran las palabras cuando podéis disfrutarla en estas canciones atemporales!!!!






ALLMUSIC

A Conversation with Carla Olson
Mike Ragogna: Hi Carla, how are you?
Carla Olson: I'm great. LA is not too hot today, and it's going to be a great day.
MR: Every day is a great day in LA.
CO: Well, that could be debated, but I think I'll probably just agree with you there.
MR: [laughs] You have a new album, Have Harmony, Will Travel. How did you come up with the material for this one?
CO: Several years ago, I was in between production projects, which is what I mainly do. I haven't done a studio album in a long time, mainly because I've been working at producing. One day I just thought, "Well, I'm in between projects. Maybe I should try to start something." I did have about half an album's worth of material written, but it wasn't really what I wanted to do at the time. I approached a could of people about doing a duet album, one of them being Peter Case, who I've known since the '70s, and he said, "Yeah, I'd love to." He loved the two suggestions of songs that I ran past him. Then, Scott Kempner, from The Del-Lords and The Dictators, flew into LA and I asked him as well, and he said, "Yes, I'd love to." So, that's how it started. Then about a year later, I finally got the funds together and the opportunity to start recording.
MR: As you mentioned, you been producing a lot of artists over the years. When you're in the studio with any of these artists, do you notice that you experience a mutual growth through the process?
CO: I would say so. I know that with this duets album, most of the singers and players that I've been working with I've known previously. When you're producing something that you're performing on it's much different than when you're producing something for somebody else. It's a little different when you're performing on something because you have to tip that producer hat to the side, and kind of be the person that is guiding the track and making sure that everyone is happy with what they're doing, especially the singers. A lot of these singers maybe wouldn't have chosen the song that I chose for them to sing, and that's where the growth is, I think. Nobody went, "No, I don't want to do that one." Everybody was really cool and went, "Oh, I never thought about that." One person actually suggested a song to do that I hadn't thought of. I had wanted to do an Everly Brothers song, and the person that I was going to sing with said, "What about this one?" And I said, "Yeah, that's a great choice." So there is a lot of growth, I think. Hopefully, on my side, there is a lot of growth. The enjoyment of singing and playing with people in the same room... There was one long distance session, but other than that, everything was done together, all at the same time. I would make sure that everybody was happy with their parts, especially if they were a featured singer and they were going on the road; Peter is always going out. Yeah, I think the growth is mutual.
MR: You kick off the album with "You Can Come Crying To Me," written by my old buddy, Radney Foster.
CO: I love Foster and Lloyd. They were so cool. Bill Lloyd was a twelve-string monster, and Radney was such a great singer and writer--well, they were both great writers and singers. I always loved that song, and when that album came out it was one of my favorites, and I loved every song on that album. I think it was back in '85.
MR: Nice song choice, glad you covered that.
CO: My husband and manager, Saul Davis, and I have tried to pitch that song for several projects because we've always loved it. For one reason or another, the projects just never happened, so it's always been on a list of songs to pitch to other people. Then I just decided that I'm going to do this song. I originally had wanted to do it with Juice Newton singing lead and me singing harmony, but she was late for the session because she lives down near San Diego and got stuck in a traffic jam and couldn't get there in time. So we were all there, everybody was ready, the studio was on the clock, and so we tried it in a key that we thought would work for her, but when she got there, we found out it was too low, so I said, "I'll tell you what, I'll throw a scratch vocal on it and you sing the harmony. Then I'll go back in and re-do the vocal to match your harmony." It worked out fine. I would have much rather heard her beautiful voice on it instead of mine.
MR: Next up at bat, "Keep Searchin'..." featuring Peter Case.
CO: I had always wanted to cut "Keep Searchin'..." with The Textones. We worked it up and we played it in rehearsal all the time, but we never recorded it. Del Shannon was a close friend and a wonderful guy, and that was one of our favorite songs of his. Peter, unbeknownst to me, had worked it up as well, but had never played it. So when I said I'd like to do "Keep Searchin'," he said, "Oh, that's my favorite Del Shannon song."
MR: There's also Moby Grape's "8:05," your other Peter case duet.
CO: I was originally going to cut it with Gene Clark on our second duets album, and it was a song that he had always loved, but then he passed away, so we didn't get to cut it. But I always kept it in my back pocket as a possible song to do with Pete. When I was growing up, in Austin in the '60s, all the bands would play that song as a ballad. It's one of my absolute favorite songs.
MR: And you covered Don Williams material. He's one of my favorite artists ever. You did a version of his "Til The Rivers All Run Dry" and "Look What You've Done," his hit with The Pezo-Seco Singers.
CO: That was another song that was a huge hit in Austin because they were from Corpus Christi. They had all kinds of radio play in Texas, and when I was growing up that was one of my favorite songs to sing along with the radio because it had the "answer" part--the lady was singing an answer to him. She wasn't competing with him, but was just acknowledging this beautiful love testimonial. I never knew that was Don Williams because on the album, it said "Donald Williams," and I never knew it was the same person until I was going to actually do this song. Saul said, "This is Don Williams," and I said, "Yeah, Donald Williams." Then he said, "No, DON Williams." I couldn't believe that I never recognized that it was his voice. Most of those songs are perfectly suited to Rob Waller's voice--he has that deep voice, and then he also has what I call the "Springsteen" voice that he uses. It was a perfect fit, I think.
MR: And one of my favorites was your track with Richie Furay, "She Don't Care About Time." Have you worked with him in the past?
CO: No, I haven't, actually. I met Richie when Buffalo Springfield opened for The Beach Boys in Austin, and I have an 8x10 glossy signed by everybody but Stephen Stills. They had a meet and greet at the hotel they were staying at, with all the guys there to sign everything, and Richie was the first one to sign my 8x10. Then I got re-acquainted with him through Chris Hillman, when I went to see a show they played together in Malibu. I brought him a copy of one of the CDs I had done with Gene Clark, and the tears just started welling up in his eyes, and he said, "I love Gene Clark. I miss him so much." I chose "She Don't Care About Time" because Gene and I used to do that when I played with him. Richie was just so gracious to say that he would sing on it. I didn't even want to put my voice on it after I heard his. I just started crying because it was so beautiful. I'm glad you like it.
MR: How did your tight connection with Gene happen?
CO: Well, The Firebirds were doing a show here in LA, and it wasn't very crowded to be honest with you. We were just sitting in a booth as the show was ending, and then there was this voice saying, "Hi, you're Carla Olson from The Textones, aren't you?" I said, "Yeah." He continued, "Gene wants you to come up and do an encore." I had never met him. We worked with the same publisher, but I had never met him. We sang the song together without even knowing each other. There's actually a picture on my website that somebody took of me and Gene shaking hands on stage that night. Afterwards, we chatted and introduced ourselves. We had some mutual friends, and we were friends after that. Saul decided that he was going to approach Gene about management because he didn't have a manager, and that's really how our relationship together began. As far as the recording goes, it was a total accident. I used to go with Saul to Gene's house when he went for business, and I would just sort of be the third wheel sitting around. One day, I suddenly found myself singing with Gene, and he said, "Hey, we ought to do an acoustic album." Next thing you know, Saul had us in the studio and we released a vinyl record. It didn't come out on CD right away, but a number of years later it did on another label.
MR: What advice do you have for new artists?
CO: Well, it's a double-edged sword being a new artist. You have all the freshness and you can bring something completely unseen to the forefront if you mange to get your stuff out. My suggestion is just to follow your heart and not try to be anybody else. You can obviously draw from other people, but that happens naturally because musicians are like sponges. Don't struggle over the recording of it so much -- don't try to make it so perfect--because the best thing about music, and the things we remember the most, are the little flaws that are in the music. There are certain things like on The Beatles record where John would sing a different word than Paul. Don't fix all the little things. Just make it your own and make it human.
MR: What was the best advice ever given to you?
CO: Follow your heart, definitely. That and to not try to be somebody you're not. One time, somebody wanted me to do a record with them, and he was very sweet about it, but he said, "I really picture you as more of a Pat Benatar type singer. Ditch the guitar." I said, "I've been playing the guitar since I took the thumb out of my mouth. I would feel uncomfortable getting on stage without my guitar." He might have been trying to throw me a compliment by saying I could sing like Pat Benatar, but no, I can't because it's just not me and it doesn't fit with my persona. I've always been one of the boys in a way. I had some real heroes when I was growing up--Joan Baez and Mary Travers were two of my biggest influences, but you couldn't take The Stones away from me, or The Kinks, or The Beatles, or the Yardbirds. Those were my guys. When I wanted to play the electric guitar I sold the acoustic guitar my dad had gotten me, and he was a classical musician, so he kind of wanted to see me go a little more in that direction, but I didn't have those chops at all. I could play Bach and Beethoven, but after the second year of classical piano I had to beg off. I wasn't one of those people who was going to practice for eight hours a day, and my dad was.
MR: You know, there's still time to get Stephen Stills' signature on that photo.
CO: [laughs] There is a photo of me and Stephen Stills from a benefit we did at The Roxy. My first producer, Barry Goldberg, has an album coming out with Stephen Stills--it's like a super session kind of thing. One of these days, I'm hoping to get him to play or sing on something. I've got a new album coming out with Paul Jones that should be finished in the middle of the summer, and hopefully, that will be out before the fall.
MR: Nice. Are you going to be touring for this album?
CO: I'm doing a benefit for The Midnight Mission on May 6th at The Beverly Wilshire. Tom Arnold is the MC and it's kind of a gala thing, but I'm doing about six songs at that. If anybody wants to buy a ticket to that, it's a great charity. They are an organization in Downtown LA that takes care of the homeless.
MR: So when volume two hits is ready, you'll have to come talk to me again.
CO: That would be wonderful, Mike.
Tracks:
1. You Can Come Cryin' To Me - with Juice Newton
2. Look What You've Done - with Rob Waller 
3. Love's Made a Fool Of You - with James Intveld 
4. Keep Searchin' (We'll Follow The Sun) - with Peter Case
5. Still Waters - with Gary Myrick
6. She Don't Care About Time - with Richie Furay
7. All I Needed Was You - with Scott Kempner
8. The First In Line - with John York
9. Stringin' Me On - with Juice Newton 
10. Upon a Painted Ocean - with John York 
11. 8:05 - with Peter Case
12. Til The Rivers All Run Dry - with Rob Waller

11 jun. 2013

The La De Das






Aparte de ay Columbus & the Invaders, La De Das fueron el grupo de rock más popular de Nueva Zelanda de los años 60. Como pez grande en un estanque pequeño, su trabajo se pierde en medio de una época donde aparecieron los grandes artistas ingleses y americanos. Pero grabaron buenas canciones garaje/pop en la onda de los Stones a mediados de los 60s. Algunas como "How Is the Air Up There?" y "All Purpose Low" fueron hits en su Nueva Zelanda natal y llegaron al top 10 con la versión de John Mayall "On Top of the World" Intentaron entrar en el mercado ingles pero no lo consiguieron

by Richie Unterber (ALLMUSIC)

Discografía
1966 - The La De Da's
1967 - Find Us A Way
1969 - The Happy Prince
1972 - Sunbury 1972
1973 - Rock'N'Roll Sandwich
1975 - Legends
1981 - Rock n' Roll Decade 1964-74
2000 - How Was The Air Up There?: 1966-1969

The La De Da's were a leading New Zealand rock band of the 1960s and early 1970s. Formed in New Zealand in 1963 (as The Mergers), they enjoyed considerable success in both New Zealand and Australia until their split in 1975.
In Australia the band is probably best known as the launching place for the career of guitarist Kevin Borich, and for their recording of the first Australasian rock concept album,The Happy Prince (EMI, 1968).

1963–66 [edit]


Kevin Borich performing at Mountain Rock
The band which eventually became The La De Das was started by three young musicians from the rural Huapai district, near Auckland in the North Island of New Zealand .
Friends Kevin Borich, Brett Neilson and Trevor Wilson were all from Rutherford High School inTe Atatu. Kevin had actually started much earlier in music – at 12 he had recorded a single with two young sisters, Judi and Sue Donaldson, who lived on a neighbouring property. The pair later became a popular NZ singing duo called The Chicks, and Sue went on to work overseas with artists such as Cat Stevens.
The Mergers formed in late 1963 as a Shadows-style instrumental group and began playing local dances and school socials, but The Beatles' visit in June 1964, and the emergence of The Rolling Stones, crystallised the need for change of style – and a lead singer. Trevor Wilson suggested a friend from nearby Mt Albert Grammar SchoolPhil Key, who was invited to join as vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Key was a major addition to the group. According to NZ music historian John Dix, Key "has been generally underrated as a vocalist, and few people have appreciated as one of the best to come out of the Antipodes."[citation needed]
It was Key's older sister, an avid record collector with an interest in obscure British groups, as well as hard-core American R&B, who provided the bulk of their early repertoire.
The group decided that "The Mergers" failed to reflect the toughness of their music, so began searching for another name. One promoter even changed their name to The Gonks for an early 1965 gig at a summer carnival. They decided on The Criminals, but Key's mother was not impressed and after rehearsals one night at the Wilson house she jokingly suggested instead that they call themselves "something nice, like the la-de-das ...". Key loved it and the name stuck.
By early 1965 their weekend hobby had taken off and they were getting regular bookings on Auckland's booming dance circuit. They also began hanging out regularly at the city's leading clubs and discos.
The first major media exposure for the band soon to be lauded as "New Zealand's Rolling Stones"[citation needed] was in April 1965, when a new British comedy film, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, opened in New Zealand and local TV producer Robert Handlin came up with a quaint idea for promoting it on TV. Needing a group for the task, and having seen them at a local club, the Platterack, he offered the La De Da's the gig, with the added inducement of some recording time. Decked out in matching black suits with bowler hats, white shirts and bow ties, The La De Da's made their first TV appearance, live across New Zealand, miming to the film's theme song.
In exchange, Handlin gave them the time to make their first recordings in an Auckland 2-track studio. They cut two tracks written by Borich, "Ever Since That Night" and "Little Girl" (co-written with Trevor Wilson). The single was released on the Talent City label in April 1965, but it only sold to friends, family and fans and is consequently by far the rarest of their recorded output.
In November 1965 they got a major break when they were called up to fill in for popular local band The Dallas Four (led by Red McKelvie, later of The Flying Circus), who were unable to play a full night at The Platterack, which had become Auckland's No. 1 nightspot. The La De Da's went over well and were offered further bookings at the club. After Phil Key finished school in December, the band turned professional. The Platterack took on The Las De Da's as the resident band, replacing the Dallas Four. The band received £12 per week and were soon packing out the club on a regular basis. It was here they linked up with one of the regular patrons, Bruce Howard, a classically trained keyboard player then playing with The Feetbeats, who had been catching their gigs at every opportunity. One of the few pop keyboard players on the local scene, he was invited to audition at their next rehearsal and immediately offered a place in the band. He and Trevor Wilson became the creative core of the band, writing all their original material.
From the outset, the La De Da's had their sights clearly set on emulating the trans-Tasman success of fellow Kiwis Max Merritt & The Meteors and Ray Columbus & The Invaders. Their growing reputation soon attracted the attention of Eldred Stebbing, who owned the Zodiac studio and label, which produced recordings for some of New Zealand's top pop groups, including Ray Columbus & The Invaders,The PleazersMax Merritt & The Meteors and Dave Miller & The Byrds.
In January 1966 Stebbing was given an import copy of a Changin' Times album by Philips A&R man John McCready, and he immediately tagged the track "How Is The Air Up There?" as possible song for a local band. However, the organ was a key part of the song's arrangement, and there were few local bands with an organist in the lineup. Zodiac house producer/engineer John Hawkins had already heard about the La De Da's, so they approached the group, gave them a copy of the album and told them to see what they could do with it. They returned the following week to check out the Da's version and were impressed enough to invite them to the Zodiac studio to cut a recording. Stebbing signed them to Zodiac for both management and production, with their recordings distributed through Phillips.
This first single catapulted them to the top of the NZ pop scene, and from that point on they were the top-selling NZ pop group until they moved to Australia in 1967.[citation needed] Although Stebbing was the boss – and on a couple of occasions they were obliged to follow his orders about what to record – the band were fortunate in having a relatively free hand in the studio. Despite the fairly primitive equipment in Zodiac's basement studio (his original home-made setup consisted of four mono Telefunken recorders hitched together), Stebbing's instinct for picking good material, the skills of house producer/engineer John Hawkins, and the La De Da's' burgeoning talent proved to be a winning combination, which bore fruit in their gutsy Zodiac/Philips recordings, earning them a string of chart-topping hits through 1966-67, all of which are now regarded as classics of 60s R&B, and are highly prized by collectors.
Their classic cover of the "How Is The Air Up There" (b/w "The Pied Piper") was released in February and was an instant hit. It shot into the newly established New Zealand Hit Parade on 13 May and within weeks it was No.4 in New Zealand. The song was also picked up by radio stations in Sydney and was soon charting there.
The La De Da's toured widely around New Zealand through the first half of 1966, before issuing their second single, which was also their first self-penned release: the Wilson-Howard song "Don't You Stand In My Way" backed with "I Take What I Want" (June 1966). Unfortunately it didn't make the charts, which prompted Stebbing to insist on another cover as the next single. He chose a John Mayallsong called "On Top Of The World", backed by a cover of the Small Faces' "Hey Girl". The new single eventually peaked at #2. Stebbing then offered them residency at his Galaxie nightclub and they were regulars on the C'mon TV show. As indicated by the choice of B-side, the band were now well and truly into their Mod phase, setting Auckland trends with plaid trousers, satin shirts and buckle shoes.
Phil Key - "The hits just inspired confidence in us. We became totally involved in getting dressed up and going out to gigs, the gigs and rehearsals were everything. Nothing worried us, we were so busy consuming what was happening around us. We were super aware, on top of every trend in music and clothes and language. We tried to be honest and sincere with our music, only playing and recording what we liked. The guys in the good record bars dug what we were doing and they got in all the latest English R&B records for us. We were listening to Zoot Money, John Mayall, Manfred MannThe Animals, all that sort of stuff and trying to create that sound. We were different from groups like The Underdogs who just played 12-bar blues all night; we tried to be a lot more imaginative about what we did ... We had no idea what we were earning on tour, we just spent what we wanted and ploughed the rest back into the band. We had our way with girls, bought more clothes and equipment and just enjoyed being stars"
In November '66 "How Is The Air Up There" reached the finals of the Loxene Golden Disc awards but although the Las De Da's were popular favourites, they did not win. In the meantime they had also been laying down tracks for their debut album. The 14-track The La De Da's was a collection of stage favourites; although their stage repertoire was about 50/50 originals and covers, the album was all covers including The Small Faces' "Hey Girl", Sam Cooke's "Shake", "Land of a Thousand Dances", the Bacaharach & David hit "Little Red Book", "Bright Lights, Big City", and Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm". Released in time for Christmas 1966, it immediately sold out of its first pressing.
They made another major tour of NZ in January 1967, which included their first South Island appearances, but before it kicked off, the band cut their next single. They had been looking for suitable follow-up to their last hit, but Stebbing was wary of trying another original just yet, after the disappointing experience with "Don't You Stand In My Way".
At this point they met keyboard player Claude Papesch, the prodigiously talented (blind) multi-instrumentalist who had made his name in Johnny Devlin's backing band, The Devils. Just back from a stint in Australia, Papesch introduced them to Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby" and predicted it would be a surefire hit for them. They cut it immediately, released it as their next single (b/w "Other Love") in February, and just as Claude had predicted, it was a smash, giving them their first #1 hit in March 1967. It gave them a double distinction by becoming was the first New Zealand-made single to reach #1 on the newly established NZ Hit Parade and knocking The Beatles' masterpiece "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever" off the top spot.
In April they released their classic Stupidity EP. Like their debut album, the songs were all proven stage favourites: "Stupidity", "Coming Home", the Young Rascals’ "I Ain't Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore" and Otis Redding's "Respect". Aficionados now regard it as one of the best of New Zealand R&B records of the 1960s.
While preparing for their second album, Trevor Wilson came up with a project that he felt would put the group way ahead of their contemporaries, and put them on the map internationally. He hit on the idea of creating what would later be called "rock opera". For the basis of the piece he chose to adapt Oscar Wilde's classic tale "The Happy Prince". At this point Bruce Howard was his only ally in the band, but together they started to piece the work together, although it would take several years to come to fruition, but it was also the seed of later divisions within the band.
The second LP, Find Us A Way showed the band taking a more progressive direction, with a deliberate move away from their R&B roots and taking in new influences from acts like The Spencer Davis Group, who were themselves starting to take move away from their earlier style. This time the album contained some original compositions as well as stage favourites. Although they were apparently unhappy about not being not consulted over the final track selection or the cover art, it also sold very well.

1967–69 [edit]

The release of Find Us A Way in May 1967 coincided with The La De Da's' first exploratory trip to Australia. Although they had their sights set ultimately on the UK, the only feasible way to get there was via Australia, so they followed Stebbing's advice and flew to Sydney. The trip started fairly well with a week-long engagement at Ward Austin's Jungle disco, followed by a support slot on the historic homecoming shows at the Sydney Stadium by The Easybeats, who were back in triumph from the UK, riding high on the international success of Friday On My Mind .
Stebbing had arranged for Australian entrepreneur Ivan Dayman to manage the group's affairs while they were in Australia, and Dayman in turn put his employee Jimmy Murta in charge of promoting them. Murta's first order was that they clean up their image, so they were duly obliged to have their near-shoulder-length hair trimmed back. Murta arranged expensive publicity photos, and press and radio interviews, pitching the band squarely at the teenage market, a ploy which did not sit comfortably with them.
While they worked in Sydney, living in a squalid King's Cross hotel and appearing at Dayman's Op Pop disco, two singles were culled from the Find Us A Way album for release in NZ. Both did extremely well in spite of the band's absence—the first, "All Purpose Low"/"My Girl", was released in June and went to #3 on the NZ charts, followed in August by "Rosalie"/"Find Us A Way" which reached #5. However, they hadn't had a single released in Australia since "Don't You Stand In My Way", so Stebbing negotiated a deal for the boys to record a new single for Dayman's Sunshine label, which was distributed by Festival Records. Unfortunately, their one Festival session was a disaster—the La De Da's were used to having their own way in the studio, and they clashed with Festival house producer Steve Neale, leading to the mutual termination of the Sunshine contract, and more ill-feeling all round.
Their first foray to Melbourne, in August, was also disappointing. Under-prepared, they had gigs lined up at leading Melbourne discos Berties, Catcher and Thumpin' Tum, but no accommodation, no transport and no roadies. They were forced to lug all their gear around from gig to gig for the two-week stay, slept at a squalid St Kilda hotel and were paid only a pittance for the gigs. There were some important outcomes from that trip, though—finding themselves in Australia's pop headquarters at the height of the "Summer Of Love" forced them to realise that their old R&B repertoire was rapidly becoming old hat.
Another important event was seeing The Twilights at Berties discothèque in Melbourne. Fresh from their recent trip to England, decked out in the latest Carnaby Street gear, The Twilights wowed local audiences with note-perfect live renditions of the entire Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, some weeks before it was even released in Australia. Seeing them gave Howard and Wilson's plan to realise The Happy Prince project even more impetus, although they knew it was something they probably wouldn’t be able to achieve in Australia.
They returned to Auckland in September and found the single "Rosalie" climbing the charts. They recharged their finances with a major national tour and a residency at Radio Hauraki's 1480 Village club, and it was here that they began put together a new repertoire, soaking in all the latest sounds, including Traffic, who were to become a major influence.
On the eve of their second visit to Australia drummer Brett Neilson decided to stay in NZ, and he left the group. He was replaced by Bryan Harris, drummer with The Action. In February 1968, The La De Das' made their second trip to Australia, a sojourn that proved considerably more successful than their first. This time they were well ahead of the game—they were the first local band to perform material by Traffic and The Band on stage—and it was during 1968 that the La De Da's really began to make their mark, gaining a reputation for uncompromising and flamboyant live shows on the Sydney circuit. Now dubbed "The Beautiful La De Das" they were at the forefront of Australian psychedelia. As usual, they channelled most of their income back into the group, augmenting their stage setup with exotic and varied instrumentation like organ, electric piano, saxophone, sitar, flute, mandolin, cello and even bagpipes.
In June, Bryan Harris left and he was replaced by Keith Barber, from The Wild Cherries, and Harry Widmer of the Cordon Bleu booking agency took over as their manager. His arrival enabled them to choose better—and better paying—gigs, and generally guiding them towards a much more stable financial position. In August, they made their second trip to Melbourne, but this time they were coming back as "Sydney's Gods of Psychedelia" and they packed out venues around the city. The direct result was their winning the vote as "Best Australian Disco Act" in the 1968 Go-Set Pop Poll in December.
After more than months in Australia, the La De Da's were a hit on the live circuit, but they still hadn't released any records, steadfastly refusing to record anything other than their cherished The Happy Prince project. The chance finally came their way in late 1968. Jimmy Stewart, expatriate English producer behind Pastoral Symphony's one-off hit "Love Machine", had recently set up a new independent label, Sweet Peach. Based in Adelaide, it was already releasing new music by FraternityLevi Smith's ClefsDoug Ashdown and Lee Conway.
Stewart approached the La De Da's with an offer to record and release The Happy Prince. The band began intensive rehearsals in preparation for recording at Bill Armstrong's Melbourne studio. But as the year wore on, Sweet Peach repeatedly arranged sessions and then postponed them, and by November the label had pulled out and the deal collapsed. This was a major disappointment for the band, who had worked for several months to arrange and rehearse the piece, and the failure of the deal was a massive letdown for Trevor Wilson.
It was at this point that Melbourne poet, writer, 'cultural commentator' and hip identity Adrian Rawlins came to their rescue. He had attended many of the rehearsals and was profoundly impressed with the piece (even going so far as to compare the music to Dvořák). On his way north to Townsville in December, he stopped off in Sydney to catch a La De Da's gig at the Here Disco in North Sydney; he exhorted the band not to give up on the project and his enthusiasm convinced Trevor Wilson to give it one more try. Gathering support from Widmer and Cordon Bleu, Barry Kimberly of publishers Essex Music and the EMI label, Rawlins and Widmer managed to stitch together a deal to record the album.
Overseen by up-and-coming young producer David Woodley-PageThe Happy Prince was recorded over four weeks in early 1969, and whatever its supposed artistic limitations, it was a fine technical achievement, especially considering that Australia at that time lagged several years behind the UK and USA in its access to the latest recording technology. Although multitrack recorders were in common use overseas—major American pop recordings had been made on 8-track as far back as 1965, but 8-track was still not readily available in Australian commcercial studios. The first 8-track machine installed in a major independent studio was at Armstrong's in Melbourne, in 1970.
Four-track recorders, which were the standard in Australia at that time, had definite limitations, as the Beatles had found when they began creating more complex music in the mid-60s. The process of "bouncing down"—dubbing a completed 4-track recording onto one track of another tape—demanded skill, care and good equipment, otherwise the buildup of noise on the master tape soon became unacceptable. However, by a neat technical trick, The Happy Prince effectively became Australia's first 8-track recording, a feat Woodley-Page achieved by recording onto on two Scully half-inch, 4-track recorders that were electronically synchronised. This de facto 8-track method provided much greater scope for multitracking and overdubbing and a considerable improvement in overall sound quality.
The band released its magnum opus in April 1969. Hailed as the first Australian concept album, the ambitious LP was a suite of songs co-written by Howard and Wilson. Lead vocals were, for the sake of dramatic consistency, performed entirely by Phil Key. It was lauded by writers such as David ElfickMolly Meldrum and Brian Cadd, but rave reviews from critics failed to transfer into sales, and the band came close to splitting after its release. The production is excellent and was a breakthrough for the time, although the material has been criticised as being patchy and rather overblown in parts. It was also the album was also marred for some critics by the rather campy tone of the narrated links, which were read by Adrian Rawlins.
With The Happy Prince finally realised, the La De Da's decided that now was the time to try their luck in England. As soon as the album was released, they make a quick visit home to NZ and undertook a whirlwind tour of Australian capital cities. At the end of the month they boarded a boat for London. Regrettably, it proved to be a repeat of their disastrous first trip to Melbourne. They had plenty of ambition but no plan, no manager, no agent, no record company support and little money. Their Traffic covers carried little weight on Traffic's home turf, so they soon retreated to the country, renting a country cottage to thrash out a new, mostly original repertoire, spiced with a few covers like "Honky Tonk Women" and "Shotgun". They were also unsuccessful in trying to arrange for recording time with EMI UK.
Phil Key - "Over there they didn't want to know, didn't care. In the end they said we could do a single, but it would have to be a song from The Beatles' Abbey Road album. We were really disappointed because we'd done the whole trip our own way up until that point. We tried, but our hearts weren't into it."
Despite their misgivings, The La De Da's cut a strong version of "Come Together", produced by Norman "Hurricane" Smith, former engineer for The Beatles and producer of Pink Floyd. Credited to "The La De Dah Band", it was released in the UK in September. Initially, it looked like it might be a success, but The La De Da's' cover was 'gazumped' by EMI's release of The Beatles' original version, just as the La De Da's' began to get regular airplay on BBC1 and Radio Luxembourg.
Live work was also a problem. They did a few well-received shows at London's Stax Club, the Corn Exchange and at clubs in Birmingham, but with no manager or agent, the gigs soon dried up. Piling into an ancient and temperamental Thames commercial van (kept alive by faithful roadie Wayne Jarvis) they were forced to accept a month of poorly paid gigs in France. The only highlight of that trip was a meeting with veteran rocker Gene Vincent.
Phil Key - "After hours of constant travelling to a country gig, our old Thames van dropped dead on us, and Wayne had to hitch back to England for parts. We were dead broke and nearly destitute. For six days we stayed in this rotten French hotel with no hot water, no baths, and nobody who could understand us."
Another possible break came their way after the French trip. Expatriate Aussie muso Clive Coulson (the former lead singer of Sydney band Mecca) was now in the UK working as a roadie for Led Zeppelin. Coulson was able to interest Zeppelin's manager Peter Grant in hearing the La De Da's, and he arranged an audition, but unfortunately their old Thames van lost a wheel on the M4 on the way to the meeting, Grant immediately lost interest, and nothing more came of the connection.
The group then had to choose whether to take up the offer of a considerable fee for gigs back in Australia, or try their luck in America. They had reportedly received a serious offer to stage The Happy Prince as a rock musical on Broadway, but this subsequently came to nothing. The final obstacle came in the form of visa difficulties—the British Home Office had already extended the group's work visas twice, based on the belief that they would tour America. When this didn't happen, all the members except Trevor (who had a British passport) were ordered to either return to New Zealand or go on to the US. Interviewed some years later, the members looked back ruefully on the experience:
Phil Key - "There were bills there and money here, so we left. All but Trevor (who held a British passport) it would've beaten him to come home, he had to stay. It broke his heart, physically and spiritually, he'd always believed we could crack it. I suppose we did too."
Trevor: "We made a lot of mistakes in England, we tried to be too smart. We got a house in the country and started learning a new repertoire but we wasted time and money -- we should have rocked on with the material we had, but instead we just sat around the house looking at each other."
Keith Barber: "We blew it on the business side. The industry is tainted with hype and bullshit and if you're not prepared to play the game you may as well forget it."
Leaving Wilson in the UK, the rest of the group borrowed heavily from friends and relatives to return to Australia. On their return they found out that there was far less work on offer than they had been led to believe, but they took what was available and continued gigging to pay back the airfares. To fill out the lineup, Phil Key brought in New Zealander Reno Tahei (ex-Sounds Unlimited, Compulsion, Castaways, Luke's Walnut, Genesis) to replace the absent Wilson, but his tenure in the La De Da's was only a matter of months. Trevor Wilson returned to Australia in October, and for a short time they struggled on as a six-piece, with Reno moving to rhythm guitar.
The relationships between the band members were rapidly deteriorating. Squabbles and arguments escalated, and tensions were especially high between Wilson and Barber, who reportedly couldn't stand each other. At one stage Wilson suggested that Barber should leave, Phil Key should move to drums and Reno Tahei should take over lead vocals, but before this could be implemented the three-guitar lineup was brought to an abrupt end by Tahei's arrest—he was deported back to New Zealand and imprisoned, reportedly because of his involvement in a bank robbery.
The constant infighting and turmoil almost destroyed the group, and in fact for a brief period the La De Da's effectively ceased to exist—in short order Barber decided to leave, and he was quickly followed by both Phil Key and Kevin Borich. Bruce Howard took up an offer to join The Clefs, and Trevor Wilson also moved on to concentrate on songwriting; he later had brief stints in both Home and Company Caine.
The sudden exit of Tahei, Howard and Wilson enabled the three other members to reclaim the La De Da's name. They decided to continue, but to regroup as a four-piece. At the very end of 1970, they offered the vacant bass chair to Peter Roberts from Freshwater, a skilled musician with extensive classical training and wide experience in rock bands. He had begun learning piano at the age of six, and as a teenager became proficient on guitar, bass, drums and organ, playing with local groups in country Victoria, as well as some better known names including Andy James Asylum, and even a stint in New Zealand with the Dallas Four.
Roberts was well known to the group—they and Freshwater were both signed to Cordon Bleu, and often shared the bill at Sydney's Go-Set Club, in the PACT building. Borich later admitted that the La De Da's would almost certainly have broken up at that point if Roberts had turned them down. His change of band forced Freshwater to cancel a planned Queensland tour, so the La De Da's picked up their dates. At Byron Bay on New Year's Eve 1970, the La De Da's unveiled their new 4-piece's stripped-down hard rock style, which took them back to their R&B roots, and drew heavily from 12-bar Chicago blues and the legacy of Jimi Hendrix.
Phil Key - "I moved to a loud rhythm guitar and there was no looking back. We really fired."
With Phil's bluesy vocals and slide guitar, and a revitalised rhythm section, the quartet immediately established themselves as one of the permier hard rock outfits on the Australian scene. Alongside Key, Kevin Borich was coming to the fore as a guitarist of note, and taking more of the lead vocals, with a set of fine, boogie-styled originals and a distinctive (and very loud) guitar style.
The new lineup got a rousing reception at the Wallacia Festival in January, but in March, EMI incongruously issued "Sweet Girl", a throwback to their earlier, more pastoral style. They did their best to promote it, but it flopped. Undeterred, they forged ahead to an increasingly warm reception. They regularly shared bills with the leading groups of the day -- Tamam ShudCompany CaineChain and the similarly revitalised Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs.
In the latter half of the year they often appeared alongside new sensations Daddy Cool whose singles and debut album had taken the country by storm, and the press made much of the supposed rivalry between the two bands. In September they teamed with Chain, Tamam Shud and Country Radio for two outdoor concerts at Wollongong and Sydney Showgrounds, before a combined crowd of about 10,000 people, and on Boxing Day 1971 they co-headlined with Daddy Cool before an estimated 50,000 people at the 3XY Rosebud Show in Victoria, cementing their position as one of the top three bands in the country, beside The Aztecs and Daddy Cool.
Towards the end of the year, the La De Da's finally got back into gear with recording. They headed down to TCS Studios in Melbourne to cut their long-overdue fourth single. With producer Howard Gable, the band was joined at a booze-fuelled party session by an all-star cast of mates including Billy Thorpe, Tony Hamilton (Pirana), Laurie Pryor (Healing Force), Duncan McGuire (In Focus) and the erstwhile Bruce Howard, who was now a member of The Aztecs. Cut more or less live, the original track was over 5 minutes long, but was eventually trimmed down by Gable to 3-1/2 minutes for radio release. When released in November, the A-side provided clear proof of Kevin Borich's blossoming talent as a writer. "Gonna See My Baby Tonight" drew a rave review from Molly Meldrum in Go-Set ("...a fantastic song, intelligently recorded, it has to be number one.") and it raced up the charts, reaching #6.

1971–72 [edit]

In November '71 the La De Da's were scheduled to go to New Zealand for a four-week return tour. Although the shows sold out well in advance, and they even had a lavish "farewell" at Jonathan's Disco in Sydney, the group dropped out at the last minute at Phil Key's insistence, supposedly because of currency problems and uncertainty over their tour schedule. Local Kiwi band Stafford Bridge took over the gigs, but the La De Da's copped some flak in Go-Set, and it caused more bad feeling between Phil and the rest of the band (which was to increase over succeeding months).
In January 1972 they capped their comeback with a rousing performance at the inaugural Sunbury Pop Festival, and they proved to be one of the highlights of the weekend. Their set included rock'n'roll standards like The Rolling Stones' "Carol", B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby", Dave Mason's "Give More Than You Can Take" and a selection of their own tracks, including "I Can't Find A Reason", "Roundabout", "Gonna See My Baby Tonight" and the yet-to-be-released "Morning Good Morning". The last three tracks were included on EMI's Sunbury double album live set, released in October '72.
Already well on the way to becoming one the country's top live draws, the chart success of "Gonna See My Baby Tonight" propelled the band into a welter of engagements, as Peter Roberts recalled of the events surrounding their Sunbury appearance:
"We were playing fourteen gigs in eight days -- in four different states! Once we played Sunbury Festival at around three in the morning, the Meadows Fair Festival in Adelaide (with Mary Hopkin and Tom Paxton!!) later in the day, a Sorrento dance that night and then Sunbury again at about 3am - all that in the space of 24 hours."
By this time it was obvious that they needed a full-time agent, and they hired Michael Chugg of Consolidated Rock (the Melbourne agency which became a cornerstone of the Mushroom Records empire). "Chuggie" had originally met the group in Melbourne, when a scheduled appearance at Melbourne Town Hall gig fell through because of an organisational mix-up. Chugg moved to Sydney and established a branch of the agency in Paddington, assisted by former Co. Caine roadie (and future Sherbet manager) Roger Davies. Chugg took over management and bookings for the La De Da's and the group was soon netting regular fees of $300–400 per show. Chugg later left Con Rock and set up his own agency, Sunrise, which continued to handle The La De Da's.
When the La De Da's prepared to cut their follow-up single, they turned to an old friend, Freshwater bassist Rod Coe. A fellow NZ expat., Coe had recently branched out into production and scored a notable success with the Blown album for Melbourne boogie kingsCarson in 1971, and he later earned renown as the producer of The Saints legendary debut single "(I'm) Stranded".
Rod set about creating the same kind of casual ambience that had worked so well for the recording of the previous single, setting up a full Jands PA plus lightshow, and bringing in an invited audience of 30 friends.The result was Phil Key's finest moment, "Morning, Good Morning", which he co-wrote and sang. Although it's regarded as one of their very best recordings, it inexplicably failed to replicate the huge national success of its predecessor, and only managed to scrape into the lower reaches of the Sydney charts.
This had no effect on the La De Da's live reputation, however. They continued to draw huge crowds through 1972, touring nationally supporting Manfred Mann's Chapter III, and making a record-breaking appearance with Gerry Humphries, Friends and Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs at 3XY's free concert at the Myer Music Bowl, which drew over 200,000 people --- the largest concert audience ever in Australia at that time.
In spite of the successes, internal tension in the band had been growing. Much of it stemmed from Phil Key's role as the band's self-appointed treasurer and booking agent, and when the disputes over money came to a head, Phil abruptly left the group, taking Peter Roberts with him. According to Glenn A. Baker, artistic differences were also a factor—both Phil and Kevin were producing a lot of original material, although much of Phil's output was not finding its way into the La De Da's set lists, and the chart failure of "Morning Good Morning" probably added to the tensions.
Key and Peter left in September 1972 to form a new four piece outfit called Band of Light. This was something of a supergroup—Key and Roberts recruited respected drummer Tony Buettel (ex- Bay City Union, Levi Smith's Clefs, Fraternity and Band of Tabalene ) and former Gutbucket and Lotus guitarist Norm Roue, who was rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Australia's top electric slide guitarists. Although the new band was fairly short-lived, they did have considerable initial success with their first single "Destiny Song" and their debut LP Total Union. Roberts left the band after only a few weeks, and went on to work with Band Of Tabalene and Chariot with Dennis Wilson (ex Kahvas Jute).
Michael Chugg has resigned as their manager a month before the split, and in the meantime Sunrise, led by Roger Davies managed the La De Da's. Kevin Borich—now the only remaining original member—took up the reins and brought in another old mate, and one of the real troupers of Australasian rock) -- Ronnie Peel (aka "Rockwell T. James"). He retained Keith Barber and decided to carry on as a power trio. Their debut performance as a trio was at Sydney's Paddington Town Hall in November, at a concert promoted by Glenn A. Baker.

1973–75 [edit]

In January, Borich returned to New Zealand, bringing back the new La De Da's lineup to headline at Robert Raymond's 54-act Great Ngaruawahia Festival, and they gave a triumphant performance. According to John Dix, the La De Da's delivered "...a well paced set [that] blew Black Sabbath and everything New Zealand had to offer clear off the stage." Their ecstatic reception encouraged them to organise a short major-city concert tour there in May, when they returned with four tons of equipment and made their live mastery evident to all who attended. For the rest of the year, it was a constant round of touring, either as headliners, or sharing the bill with Sherbet (who were now being managed by Roger Davies) or as support to visiting international acts such as Little RichardGary Glitter,Three Dog NightThe Guess Who and Lindisfarne. They also provided backing on two tracks for Richard Clapton's debut albumPrussian Blue.
On 8 July, on the way to a Lindisfarne gig, their truck was involved in a head-on collision on the Hume Highway between Holbrook andAlbury. Ronnie Peel and their roadie John Brewster (not John Brewster of The Angels) were both hospitalised, although their injuries were not serious. The major casualty was the band's equipment, most of which was destroyed in the crash. Three weeks later the Sunrise agency organised a benefit gig in Sydney at the Green Elephant (the Doncaster Theatre) in Kensington, featuring a top lineup, including the Las De Da's, Sherbet, Buffalo, Pirana, Lotus, Home, Country Radio, I'Tambu, Original Battersea Heroes and Hush, which raised almost $2000 for the group.
By mid-year, the band were being hailed as Australia's leading live act and Borich's was widely regarded as our pre-eminent guitar hero. During the year the group also contributed to Richard Clapton's debut album Prussian Blue, backing him on two album tracks which were also released on Clapton's second and third single. With Chugg back on board as manager, Kevin was impatient to record a new album, but EMI were less enthusiastic. To pressure them, Borich instructed Michael Chugg to get the band out of their contract. The ploy worked, and EMI reluctantly agreed to a new record in September. But the first sessions at EMI's studios were deemed unsatisfactory by the band and all but two tracks were scrapped. (The two tracks, "She Tell Me What To Do" and "No Law Against Having Fun" later surfaced on the compilation LP Legend.)
According to Glenn A. Baker, the main stumbling block was that Borich couldn't get a guitar sound that was anywhere near his live sound, so Rod Coe solved the problem by installing a portable 8-track recording rig and JBL monitors in the Green Elephant Hotel and recording them there. Kevin swapped his familiar Gibson SG for a Fender Stratocaster and, as Glenn Baker charmingly puts it " ... the whole album went down like a sinker off a pier, in just two days." Back at EMI, they overdubbed piano parts, added backing vocals byRenée Geyer and Bobbi Marchini and horns by Don Reid.
The resulting LP, Rock'n'Roll Sandwich, was lauded by Glenn Baker as "one of Australia's finest rock albums, a fiery, cohesive work dominated by the superbly talented Kevin Borich and carried off by the reliable gutsiness of Peel and Barber." Touring behind the new LP, released in November 1973, the La De Da's enjoyed their most successful period to date, including supports for Elton John andSuzi Quatro on their Australian tours.
The solid gigging continued through 1974 and into 1975, including a well-received appearance at the final Sunbury Festival in January 1975. The La De Da's' appearance was one of the few high points in this ill-fated event, which was marred by bad weather and poor attendance. Headliners Deep Purple were criticised for the aggressive conduct of their crew, with their roadies provoking a fight withAC/DC and former Easybeat George Young after refusing to allow AC/DC to follow them on stage. There was also resentment over Deep Purple's huge fee of A$60,000—about ten times the going rate for a top-rank Aussie act of the day—and the controversy was magnified by the fact that almost all the local groups went unpaid. Despite these altercations, the La De Da's made a positive impression on Deep Purple, and lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore expressed an interest in jamming with them.
Kevin Borich - "I said, 'Come down and have a blow', thinking he'd never show. Anyhow, we were playing the once-famous Hard Rock Cafe in Melbourne, and it was a night to remember, folks. We were on stage and this roadie comes up with a Stratocaster and says 'Uh, Ritchie wants to have a blow' and I said 'Oh!'. So all the people pushed to the front of the stage to watch his lightning fingers. We had a good play and a bit of a drink and talk after. He enjoyed the blow, most polite of him to come down because I don't think he's the kind of guy who f***s around."
During 1975 problems for the band increased—Australian commercial radio was ignoring their records, and internal tensions were building; according to John Dix, Keith Barber was becoming increasingly erratic and difficult. But the overriding problem was eloquently summarised by Glenn A. Baker in 1981:
"The disintegration that took hold ... was an easily diagnosed malady which has afflicted every Australian rock & roll band that has ever achieved a degree of popular success. Essentially it comes down to: the bigger you become, the more meaningless your future. Overseas bands can make an album, do a tour and then hide away for a year or two to prepare the next LP with no concern for loss of position. In Australia, just three months off the road to prepare new material and a band's gig price drops to half, the media erects new superstars in their place, and the public acts as if they never were ... That is what killed the La De Da's: the bludgeoning effect of realising that, after 10 hard years, nothing tangible had really been achieved and the only thing that lay ahead was more of the same."
Although they were still a top concert attraction, by early in 1975, the band's spirits were flagging and it was clear that an attempt to try their luck overseas would probably be futile. In March EMI issued Legend, a valedictory sampler of single A-sides, recent recordings and leftovers put together by Michael Chugg, which also included a much-requested studio rendition of "All Along The Watchtower", Kevin's Hendrix-inspired live showpiece.
In May 1975, Borich officially announced that the La De Da's would disband.

After The La De Da's [edit]

Kevin Borich put together a short-lived touring band under the La De Da's name, with Harry Brus and Barry Harvey, after which he formed the Kevin Borich Express which has continued to this day in various forms. He has contributed to many top albums, singles and other recordings (including the solo on the original 2MMM radio theme) and he remains one of the most respected musicians in the country. Kevin now lives in Queensland and continues to perform regularly all over Australia.
After the split of Band of Light in 1975, Phil Key left the music business and spent several years living quietly, raising a family and working as a cab driver in Sydney. He died from a congenital heart condition in 1984.
The remaining original La De Da's reunited in New Zealand in 1992 for a Galaxie Club reunion show and played a set dedicated to the memory of Phil Key.

Personnel [edit]

1964 [edit]

  • Phil Key (guitar, vocals)
  • Trevor Wilson (bass)
  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Brett Neilsen (drums, vocals)

1965–67 [edit]

  • Phil Key (guitar, vocals)
  • Trevor Wilson (bass)
  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Brett Neilsen (drums, vocals)
  • Bruce Howard (keyboards)

1968 [edit]

  • Phil Key (guitar, vocals)
  • Trevor Wilson (bass)
  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Bryan Harris (drums)
  • Bruce Howard (keyboards)

1968–70 [edit]

  • Phil Key (guitar, vocals)
  • Trevor Wilson (bass)
  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Keith Barber (drums)
  • Bruce Howard (keyboards)

1970 [edit]

  • Phil Key (guitar, vocals)
  • Reno Tehei (bass)
  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Keith Barber (drums)
  • Bruce Howard (keyboards)

1971–72 [edit]

  • Phil Key (guitar, vocals)
  • Peter Roberts (bass)
  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Keith Barber (drums)

1973–75 [edit]

  • Kevin Borich (guitar, vocals)
  • Keith Barber (drums)
  • Ronnie Peel (bass, vocals)

Discography [edit]

Singles [edit]

Song TitleHighest NZ
Chart Position
Peak Month
"Little Girl"#32June 1965
"How is the Air Up There?"#4May 1966
"Don't You Stand in My Way"-June 1966
"On Top of the World"#2November 1966
"Hey Baby"#1March 1967
"All Purpose Low"#3June 1967
"Rosalie"#5September 1967
"Come Together"-September 1969
"Come and Fly With Me"-December 1969
"Sweet Girl"-February 1971
"Gonna See My Baby Tonight"-November 1971
"Morning, Good Morning"-May 1972
"I'll Never Stop Loving You"-November 1972
"The Place"#48May 1974
"Too Pooped To Pop"-July 1974
"Honky Tonkin'"-August 1974

EP [edit]

Stupidity (Philips PE 420601) 1967

Albums [edit]

1966 - The La De Da's
1967 - Find Us A Way
1969 - The Happy Prince
1972 - Sunbury 1972
1973 - Rock'N'Roll Sandwich
1975 - Legends
1981 - Rock n' Roll Decade 1964-74
2000 - How Was The Air Up There?: 1966-1969

Tracks on compilations [edit]

The La De Da's were the only New Zealand band to be featured in the Nuggets series of psychedelic music albums. Their track "How is the Air Up There?" appeared on the album Nuggets II: Original Artyfacts from the British Empire and Beyond, 1964–1969.
"How Is The Air Up There?" and "Don't You Stand In My Way" both appeared on the 1992 New Zealand garage-rock compilation Wild Things: Wyld Kiwi Garage 1966-1969.

Awards [edit]

  • 1977 - Australian Rock Music Awards - Best Guitarist
  • 1978 - Australian Rock Music Awards - Best Guitarist
  • 1978 - Concert of The Year Award (Marconi Club)
  • 1983 - Ampex Golden Reel Award
  • 1983 - The Party Boys - LP EMI Gold Record
  • 1983 - Live at Several 21st (Party Boys) EMI Gold Record
  • 1987 - He’s Gonna Step on You (Party Boys) EMI Gold Record
  • 1999 - Australian Blues Music Festival - Heritage Award
  • 2003 – Australian Blues Foundation – Hall of Fame