Friday, February 24, 2012
Love Grows Cold/Lunatic Love Part II
Alison McCallum's pop/rock music career began when, at the age of 16, she joined the Big Apple Union, a soul, blues and Tamla Motown influenced band gigging around Sydney's inner city/Oxford Street area in 1967. This band seems to have evolved into Dr Kandy's Third Eye, where she shared lead vocal chores with the enigmatic Gulliver Smith (Little Gulliver). The combination of Smith's Dylanesque vocals and McCallum's soulful voice made an interesting contrast. Considered to be an "underground" band they were one of the first to use strobe lighting and smoke to create a psychedelic atmosphere at their gigs. In June 1969 she joined the seven piece blue eyed soul band, This Hallelujah Chorus, once again doing shared lead vocals in the lineup with a male vocalist, Ed Mayne. This Hallelujah Chorus played the clubs of Sydney's Kings Cross, a scene much frequented in that time by American servicemen on R and R from Vietnam. It was also during 1969 she recorded a version of The Bee Gees song "To Love Somebody" with art-rock psychedelic band, Tully, for the ABC-TV show "Fusions", however this was not be released commercially until 1979 on the Alberts compilation "Alberts Archives".
At the end of 1970 she joined Freshwater, a progressive band, who prior to her joining had achieved a certain level of notoriety with their controversial single "Satan", a song about the horrific US Sharon Tate murders. Originally sharing lead vocals with the powerful male vocals of Ian Johnson, by September 1971 she was sole lead vocalist. In November 1971, saw the issue of her first recorded release with her lead vocals on the bands final single, the rocky "I Ain't Got The Time", a track that saw some success on the Sydney charts and was to give her much wider public exposure. With the demise of Freshwater in November 1971 she briefly joined singer Ray Brown's band, One Ton Gypsy before going solo in early 1972.
In April 1972 her first solo single "Superman" was released on RCA and this was an immediate success going to No.12 on the Australian national charts. This single was flipped with a Ted Mulry composition "Take Me Back". She followed this up with her first album called "Fresh Water", a title chosen presumably to focus in on her success with her former band of that name. This album was produced by the well known (The Yardbirds, T-Rex) UK producer Simon Napier-Bell and included a mix of rock, jazz and blues material. This album was later re-released under a different title "Anyway You Want Me". Following this the Pat Aulton produced and co-written single, "It's Time" was released. In 1973 she travelled to Europe to perform and whilst there showcased "Superman" at the 8th MIDEM International Music Trade Fair at Cannes. She released a further 3 singles on RCA, including a version of the Rotary Connection song "Teach Me How To Fly" which had previously been a hit by Jeff St John in 1970. None of these singles were successful. In October 1974 she got together with fellow sister vocalists Bobbi Marchini and Janice Slater to put out a single as The Hooter Sisters, the old Carole King song,"To Know Him Is To Love Him".
In 1975 she signed a new record deal with Albert Productions and this resulted in her second and final hit single "Excuse Me", a track which managed to clinge to the bottom of the Top 30 for am amazing 42 weeks.. This was followed by an album of the same name, "Excuse Me" which included two Vanda/Young songs and a version of the Flying Burrito Brothers song "Hot Burrito". Two more last singles, albeit unsuccessful, followed this "Her Kind of Guy (Hot Burrito)"/"If Your Eyes Could Smile" and "Love Grows Cold"/"Lunatic Love" posted here . In the late 1970's she concentrated on TV & session work in particular doing backing vocals on guitarist John Robinson's "Pity for the Victim" album and with artists such as Billy Thorpe and Jeff St John.
Monday, February 20, 2012
Ruby With The Red Hair/Appeal
Released in July 1969, this was not a huge success but it charted moderately in Victoria and Queensland, may have been the length of the song that put people off. When I first heard this song I was immediately taken by it and went out and bought it straight away, this was going to be such a huge hit, not the first time I've been wrong. But for me this is one of my all time favourite singles of the sixties as both sides are fantastic plenty of other great singles from that period but not to many with two strong sides. A side is written by Marty the B side by Terry Britten of the Twilights who was just starting to come into his own as a songwriter.