Sunday, May 29, 2011
Old Man Mose/20 Miles/500 Miles/Skinny Minnie/Gonna Send You Back To Walker/You Got That Way/Pride/Devoted To You/Shakin' All Over/Talking About You/Say It Again/If You Need Me
Ray Brown and the Whispers first album released in 1964 has the hits "20 Miles" #1 in Sydney, and also fared well in Melbourne, reaching #26 and "Pride" #1 in Sydney and #7 in Melbourne. Some other great tunes on the album my favorites Devoted To You,Say It Again and Shakin' All Over every bit as good a rendition as Normie's.
Typical of pop acts in the mid-sixties, Ray Brown and The Whispers resulted from a former instrumental group (the Nocturnes) finding themselves a singer in order to bring themselves in line with the Group Quake led by the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Together Ray and The Whispers became one of Australia's most popular pop acts of the day.
On paper Ray Brown and The Whispers were a repetition of the formula which had taken Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs to success. They replaced the Aztecs as resident group at Sydney's premier teenage venue Surf City, when Billy Thorpe and his group were enjoying national hits and touring interstate. Ray and the Whispers shared management with Billy and the Aztecs. Both acts tended to source their songs from a similar slightly-obscure fund of American soul. Both singers had distinctive voices. But there the similarity ended. While the Aztecs' erratic performance on record was carried by their popularity and Billy's personality, Ray Brown and the Whispers' recordings were far more consistent but when it counted Ray didn't have Billy's resiliance to see him through.
Ray Brown and the Whispers burst onto the charts in May 1965 with '20 Miles', originally recorded by Chubby Checker without charting in Australia. The Whispers' treatment of the song was quite different, and in keeping with the times. It was a No.1 hit at home in Sydney. The next two singles released where Sydney No.1s as well - 'Pride' (YouTube) and 'Fool Fool Fool' - and top ten nationally, as were 'In The Midnight Hour' and 'Tennessee Waltz'. "Howlspace"