Showing posts with label Roy Rutanen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Roy Rutanen. Show all posts

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Last Song: Roy Rutanen and his short-lived band




If you haven't seen the most recent tdats comp from last week, the heavy 'Bosstown sound', get it here.

Right....getting on for two years ago now I included a song in the second New Zealand special (link) by a guy called Roy Rutanen. At that time I had fallen for what I now know was an incorrect rumour, believing him to have been a mysterious and enigmatic figure from New Zealand.

The album in question may be described by some as loner-folk, with pastoral sounds and mild psychedelia. It's a whimsical and humorous record with some darker fuzz-filled cuts, especially "Sinful Man" and "The Trip Song". It would fit right into the late '60s San Francisco sound. I find his voice is sometimes reminiscent of Jim Morrison, and sometimes Cat Stevens.

About a year and a half ago I was contacted out of the blue by a guy in Australia called Chris Hobrough. He told me that he took the picture on the front of Roy's Album, that Roy was most definitely American, and had never to his knowledge set foot in New Zealand. With Chris's much apreciated help, I have been able to contact Roy and some of his band members. Firstly I'd like to say a huge thanks to Chris Hobrough, Mick Norris, Ian Robins and Roy himself for being such great sports and making this possible. Learning the truth has been a great feeling, so to set the record straight, here it is!


The Beginning

Roy grew up in Southbridge, MA, the oldest of four; one brother and two sisters. His mother was a 'truly good' pianist and his father was a gifted auotobody mechanic, but unfortunately a desperate alcoholic. In Roy's own words: "I had kind of a bad childhood in many ways, but normal in others". He and a friend started playing guitar as teenagers. They became a trio and played in different cities around the area. All that was to end when he was drafted in 1966 by the US army, at which time he was working in a service station.

After a stint in Germany he was sent to Vietnam. Asked for his recollections of the war, he told me "I was in rocket attacks but didn't see much more action. I saw a lot of drug use and very little support from locals. I'll bet that the people there are living the same way today as they did back in the '60s".

During his time in Vietnam, he chose to use two R&R periods to visit Australia. He liked it there so much that he decided to fly straight back on discharge from the army. His early recollections of Australia were of having good times making many good friends: "I smoked a lot of pot and indulged in other highs. I lived right on Manly Beach in Sydney and went to sleep at night with the sound of surf coming in through the open balcony doors".


Making the band

Dee Why beach
Roy started putting his name about in the scene and playing his own songs at some local venues: "I began playing at a theater called P.A.C.T. and played at other places as well". The PACT (Producers, Authors, Composers and Talent) arts company still stands to this day (link). Roy befriended Michael 'Mick' Norris, who played in accoustic band 'Marastique' and a bluesrock band called Amageddon. Then Roy moved into a flat with friends in Pittwater Road, Dee Why, a suburb of northern Sydney which also has a beach. In Mick's words: "We used to meet at this flat, have a jam and smoke pot, supplied mostly by a local bloke who lived only about two hundred metres away in Harbord Road".

Mick would take along his band-mates Ray McKeown, Ian Robins and Graham Hilzinger. Ray played drums, Ian played electric guitar and Graham played flute and sax. Mick himself was playing bass at the time.

Mick recalls that at those sessions, they would set-up and Roy would play through all his songs, almost non-stop, as if doing a mini concert. Then they would all fall into it with him, making-up their own parts as Roy continued playing without stopping to correct anyone. "Occasionally we would all stop for a puff of pot, then get back to it". The guys got together a couple of nights a week, playing for few hours at a time. Roy adds: "They were all great guys and we worked well together. It was a wonderful experience".

Roy at a wedding
I asked Ian Robins to describe his memories of Roy: "Roy was a real pistol!  Very loud and ebullient. He had a great sense of humour and I remember he loved junk food. We all got a little substance crazy in those days. Roy had a favourite expression - 'Has anyone seen my mind - don't step on it!'. He was a very good acoustic picker and song writer, fun to work with too, very focused".

Eventually they all got to know Roy’s songs by ear, Ian remembers that Roy was vey open to the ideas of the other guys and they all developed their own individual parts.

The flat on Pittwater Road
- at mid-level
When they weren't playing, the Dee Why flat was a place for fun and hi-jinks. Mick recalls one party in particular: "There was one occasion at the flat when some friends of Roy’s had arrived from overseas, after back-packing I think. They brought some 8mm film they had shot of their adventures, and they also had some LSD micro-dots which they had gotten from the USA (very clean, pure and precise in dose level). We all had a trip together, as the LSD took effect, the film was played and projected onto a wall of the flat and it was also played back-wards to the great amusement of us all.

As the party progressed, most of us set-out in groups in different cars to go driving around the northern beaches, all in different directions. We had an amazing time laughing and hoo-harring all over the place. At one particular time, a few of the cars arrived at the same intersection all at the same time, all coming from different directions. Not having been in contact since the magical mystery tour had started, that was an amazing coincidence. We all just sat there at the intersection looking at each other, cracking up with laughter".

Before Roy's get-togethers with the nucleus of what was to become his recording band, he had been very enterprising. While recording a demo on his own, a local studio put him in touch with Jack Argent, MD of Leeds Music publishers. Jack liked what he heard and organised a deal for an album with MCA.


Making the album

The album was recorded at United Sounds studio in Sydney (link). Roy played classical acoustic guitar. From the Dee Why jams was Mick Norris on bass, Ian Robins on electric guitar, Graham Hilzinger on flute and Ray McKeown on drums. Some more players were added; John Hayles played second classical guitar, and on tracks "Plastic World", "The Old Man" and "Hitchin" steel guitar player Kenny Kitching can be heard. Kenny has since become one of he most renowned steel and Hawian guitar players in Australia. On this subject Roy said: "Kenny was brought in, I'd never met him before. I didn't know he'd done so well, since. He was very interested in the track(s) he played on and I appreciated his interest!"

Ian Robins had this to say about the recording: "I played all the electric guitar. I had a Gibson ES335 back then, a guitar I always regret parting with. It must be worth a fortune now. One song I recall, 'Plastic Jesus', was about the commercialization of religion".

At the time Roy told Mick that MCA were winding-down their activity in Australia, and so a meagre budget had been allocated for the sound recording and production. MCA was pushing to get it's contracts fulfilled quickly. As most of the players were by now well-practiced and knew their parts well, the album sessions went smoothly. Roy points out that most of the tracks were put down together as a band instead of over dubbing. A few things, like the flute, had to be put down later.

Label, Side 1
The record was released in the latter half of 1971, catalogue number MCA MAP/S 5100. The full track listing is:

A1 Searchin'
A2 Plastic World
A3 The Trip Song
A4 Anti-stink Song
A5 The Old Man
B1 The Country Song
B2 Hitchin'
B3 Sinful Man
B4 The Last Song

Things had moved on by this time, Roy had moved again and was working in a record shop on Pittwater Rd. He had also met his wife-to-be, Margaret Gray, from Narrabeen, NSW. The album cover shows Roy sitting under a tree strumming his guitar, with an attentive blonde-haired girl in audience. This girl is Margaret. The picture was taken by Chris Hobrough, a photographer friend of Roy's. Chris had this to say: "The pictures were taken in the garden of his place at Newport, Sydney. I remember positioning myself right on top of an ant nest to take some of those shots - they didn't appreciate it. 40 years and I still remember that".

The credited engineer is Spenser Lee, who quite amazingly was engineer on the first three Buffalo albums slightly later. The album was produced by Alan A. Freeman, ex-head of A&R at Pye records in England and CEO of MCA Australasia. Older readers may be interested to know Alan was a regular panelist on ATV's Saturday night talent programme, New Faces.

MCA did put out a single from the album, choosing 'Plastic World' with a flip-side of 'The Old Man'. I have just discovered another single that MCA released, which Roy confirms was recorded prior to the album sessions. That single was "Your Day Is Comin" (youtube) with flip-side "Hey You" (youtube). Thanks to Bill Stevens for uploading those two. Bill also got some info out of Roy: "The single 'Your Day Is Comin' was written on Manly Beach in Sydney and reflects my disillusion with the Vietnam War and war in general. 'Hey You' is another single but more of a love song".


Disapointment

Tragically, it would seem that the public had very little chance to even hear the finished album. Chris Hobrough offers his opinion: "The album wasn't a commercial success, mainly because the record company put zero effort into promoting it. It was basically all left up to Roy. That was quite a tall order, back then, for a young musician just starting out. Perhaps it would have been easier now with the Internet. Anyway, it wasn't enough support for Roy to develop his art, and I think that was a big disappointment for him".

Mick Norris has similarly negative things to say about the album's promotion: "As was a usual practice, MCA, or one of their agents, managed to have a review of the album published in the appropriate 'what’s going on' music page of one of Sydney’s main newspapers, giving the album 'record of the week', but it was not as if MCA showed any high hopes for Roy’s success. It seemed that they just wanted to get their contract obligations met at the cheapest possible cost, and I don’t recall how many copies of the album were pressed".

Ian Robins in
recent times
Ian Robins has equally melon collie memories of the time: "It would have been nice if the album had gone somewhere. Who knows how it may have changed one's life, eh? I feel bad for Roy though. He put a lot of energy and effort into the album."

Roy himself says that he made no money at all from the record, aside from the band's basic pay during the recording sessions. This immediate disapointment hit Roy hard. Soon after he was married and had a young daughter on the way, so he made plans to cut his losses and return to the US where he would be in a better position to support his new family. He does not remember any promotional efforts from MCA what so ever: "We should have gone on the road to promote it, but by that time, I was headed back to the states. I never saw it in a store".

Just after the release of the album, Mick Norris went on with Ray, Ian and Graham to form a new incarnation of the band, while Roy was drifting away from the original gang: "The rest of us carried on as a band in the Narrabeen/Mona Vale area, and we recorded a soundtrack for an Australian surfing film producer Bob Evans, the name of his film was 'Family Free'" (link).

Around the same time the band was approached to hurriedly come-up with a soundtrack for another locally-proposed surf film; of which Bruce Usher and Russell Shepherd, from Mona vale Beach, were the producers. Due to the urgency of needing original music finished within this film's strict time frame, Mick made contact with Roy with the hope that he might have some material, or be able to come-up with some fresh material. Roy did come to meet the producers at Mona Vale, and things started to move, with Roy showing keen and coming up with ideas. "Some how the wheels fell off the whole thing, and I don’t recall seeing Roy again, I think that was about the time that he and Margaret got married. It's hard to recall now, but I think that delays with the film’s production didn't help".


Back in the USA

So that was the end of Roy's personal and musical life in Australia: "In total, I lived in Aussie for just over two years. After I got married and had a daughter, I wanted my family in the US to meet them, so we left for Massachusetts in the early '70s. All in all, it was a wonderful experience, and in retrospect, I never should have left".

Back in the US, music just wasn't cutting it any more. With a daughter and wife to support, he decided to go back to school in Boston to study broadcasting. He worked for a while in radio and TV advertising, then: "From Connecticut, where I was living at the time, I got a job in Hyde Park, New York, at a small AM station working for a fat guy who was a little unstable. From there I became a program director for an FM station that was country when I got the job. With me it became a rock station, and a big hit in the Poughkeepsie, NY area".

Roy in 2010
Roy moved to Texas where he got into TV news: "My time in San Antonio working for KENS-TV was a highlight of my career.  From there it was back to radio in San Diego, California before returning to New England. I won several awards along the way and got to see a lot of the country. I went back to Australia in the mid 80's while working as a TV journalist and revisited Sydney - I'd like to go back there again some day. Back in New England I did something I'd always wanted to do and that was driving big rig trucks. I did that for three years and enjoyed seeing the country, but the business was tough. Now I'm retired".

After the impossibility of the public getting the chance to hear Roy and the gang's great album when it should have done, we can thank the power of the internet for allowing many to hear it easily now. Thanks to Roy and his efforts over 40 years ago for bringing us this great music!

© Richard Sheppard / www.aftersabbath.com / Roy Rutanen

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Day After The Sabbath 90: Good Morning Mr Rock&Roll; (NZ pt.2)

Download from [mf] or [mg]
unzip password:  tdats
For the 90th comp and I set myself the difficult and time-consuming challenge of making searches for a second collection of the heaviest and most progressive old New Zealand rock I could find. Not expecting to be very successful, I was amazed to find enough original bands to complete another hour of the small and remote country's finest riffing. My efforts were greatly assisted by the existence of two NZ compilations that have clearly saved some very obscure acts from oblivion; the Jayrem Records "New Zealand pop 1964-72" volumes 'Out from the Cold' and 'Get the Picture'.

Following on from the NZ Vol34, this volume includes two more acts that appeared at The Great Ngaruawahia Music Festival; Wellington experimentalists Mammal and Maori Rotorua/Christchurch rural rockers Butler (much humble gratitude again to Mick Mullin for re-mastering the Butler track). There are a couple of rare examples of later-70s styled NZ prog with Wellington's Airlord and Auckland's Think, and an abundance of great hard-fuzzing singles, courtesy of the afore-mentioned Jayrem compilations. Mantis were originally a Fijian funk band that secured a residency in a Wellington club. Two more points of interest, Quincy Conserve are certainly one of the only Kiwi horn rock bands I ever found, and Roy Rutanen's acid folk is a great find, with his Jim Morrison-like vocals. It looks like Wellington, the capital of NZ, was the place to be back then. Over half the bands I used were from there.

Tracks:
01. The Selected Few (Wellington) - Get the Picture (Pretty Things cover) (1966)
       single
02. Butler (Rotorua) - Southern Magic (1973)
       from album 'butler'
03. Lutha (Dunedin) - Here and Now (1973)
       from album 'earth'
04. Kaye Wolfgramm and Cruise Lane (Auckland) - Ego (1972)
       single
05. Taylor (Wellington) - Simpsons World (1972)
       from album 'taylor'
06. The Dedikation (Upper Hut)
           - Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith & Jones (Cryan' Shames cover) (1969)
       from album 'the dedikation'
07. Airlord (Wellington) - Ladies of the Night (1977)
       from album 'clockwork revenge'
08. Sam Hunt / Mammal (Wellington) - Beware the Man (1972)
       from album 'beware the man'    
09. Roy Rutanen - Sinful Man (1972)
       from album 'roy rutanen'
10. The Quincy Conserve (Wellington) - Common Man (1971)
       from album 'epitaph'
11. The Retaliation (Wellington) - Morning Dew (1969)
       single
12. Headband (Auckland) - Good Morning Mr Rock n' Roll (1971)
       from album 'happen out'
13. The Roadrunners (Wellington) - LSD (1967)
       single
14. Mantis (Fiji/Wellington) - You Don't Love Me (1973)
       from album 'turn onto music'
15. Think (Auckland) - Our Children (Think About) (1976)
       from album 'we'll give you a buzz'


references:
NZ Music 60s-70s | Bruce Sergent | audioculture.co.nz | progarchives.com
Dreams, Fantasies and Nightmares From Far Away Lands (Vernon Joynson)


The Selected Few - Get The Picture 45
The Selected Few : Get The Picture 45
We kick off with one of the great singles from the Jayrem comps, by The Selected Few. They were Peter Robertson (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Geoff Dixon (Guitar / Vocals), Kevin Pollitt (Bass Guitar), Bruce Robertson (Vocals) and Paul Moynihan (Drums), a young Wellington pop group who formed in 1966. Most of its members were still at high school throughout their career. They were regular performers in the Hutt Valley and on the Wellington youth club circuit. They released a single, "Get The Picture"/"Understand" on HMV in 1966. "Get The Picture" was a good cover of the Pretty Things song and was released to cash-in on the then big R&B boom [this cover has a substantially heavier, overdriven sound]. Their second single in 1967 was "Needle In A Haystack"/"The Other Side Of Life". The group disbanded in 1968 as a result of parental pressure to get real jobs. (thanks to Bruce Sergent for this info)

Butler LP (1973)
Butler were an all-Maori rock band, a very unusual thing back then. All four members (Steve Apirana-Guitar / Vocals, Heidi Warren-Guitar / Vocals, Angel Adams-Bass Guitar and Hori Sinnott (Drums) were originally from Rotorua, but the band formed in Christchurch in 1970. Predominantly an underground group, they played their early gigs at the Open Door, before moving into Trevor Spitz's nightspot Aubrey's. Having built a strong Christchurch following, the band took stabs at other South Island centres, returning to North Island hometown Rotorua in 1971. From there they began building up a northern following, proving popular on the University circuit with their combination of originals and Led Zeppelin / Wishbone Ash covers.

Some television exposure followed with a spot on 'Happen Inn', 'Popco' and 'Free Ride'. This was fairly rare for an underground group and even with this they never really gained much pulling power. In 1973 they recorded a self-titled album for Pye. It was released on the Family label and from it came one single, "Green River"/"Especially For You". (thanks to Bruce Sergent for this info)

Kaye Wolfgramm and Cruise Lane, 1972
Picture found at 
audioculture.co.nz
Kaye Wolfgramm (now Kaye Wilson) is a vocalist from Auckland, now living in Melbourne. Daughter of Hawaiian steel guitar player Bill Wolfgramm, Kaye was discovered at age 15 by Roger Skinner and The Motivation, who backed her during an Auckland Easter Show talent quest in the late 1960s. She had an eventful career with many different acts, including a stint with Cruise Lane (link). You can read all about her in an excellent article over at audioculture.co.nz. The song I have used here, Ego, is a b-side from a single and it is not Kaye on vocals here, it is Cruise Lane guitarist Al Hunter (link). Alas I have not heard the a-side yet, "Death Is in the Air". If I find out more I will update this, but enjoy the great song which is some brilliant jazzy, groovy rock! Al sent me an email and said this about Cruise Lane: "Cruise Lane was the little alley where the Embers night club was [in Auckland]. We got a residency there six nights a week, when we started we had a repertoire of about six songs, you can imagine that we had to change that pretty fast playing 45 minute sets from 9pm till 3am plus. Original lineup was Myself on vocals and percussion, Tony Pilcher guitar, Paul Lee sax and keyboards, Jerry Biggs bass and Claude Radics drums. Kaye was added shortly after  and Jerry was replaced by Pete Kershaw. We were a covers band formed specificly for the residency, playing songs by Traffic, Santana, Delaney and Bonnie, Clapton, Leon Russell, Van Morrison, Dylan and others I cant recall at the moment. We would add a bevvy of backup singers for special gigs ala Mad Dogs and Englishmen, opening for acts like Mungo Jerry and Aussie rocknrollers Daddy Cool, whose management Mushroom Records were suitably impressed that they invited us to go to Australia to be on that label, unfortunately Kaye fell pregnant and decided that she wouldn't go, Paul and Tony wouldn't go because of that so the Rhythm section and I went but as there was no band as such Mushroom lost interest and the band was consequently buggered. We were like Strangers In A Strange Land, didnt know anybody in Australia at that point, and I returned to my pregnant wife in Auckland".

Lutha 1973 (l-r): Graham Wardrop, Garry McAlpine,
 Peter Edmonds and Kevin Foster
Lutha was formed in Dunedin in 1970. They established themselves very quickly, as all five members (Graham Wardrop-Lead Guitar / Vocals, Garry McAlpine-Percussion / Vocals, Peter Edmonds-Drums, Peter Fraser-Bass Guitar / Vocals, Kevin Foster-Keyboards) had previously played in top local bands such as Throb and Pussyfoot. They were insistent on remaining a Dunedin based band even after attracting considerable national interest.

They signed to HMV in 1972 and produced two albums during that year. They were the self-titled "Lutha" and "Earth". Lutha released four singles during 1972 and the beginning of 1973, all coming from their two albums. They were "Then I Saw Her Face"/"Mountain Side", "Stop The Music Is Over"/"My Turn To Cry", "Earth"/"I Really Only Want To Be With You" and "Here And Now (My Friend)"/"Waterfall".

Their first North Island gigs didn't come until late 1972. Had they moved to one of the larger centres, Lutha could have proved to be even more popular, but when they did shift, it was only to Christchurch and by that stage, 1973, it was too late. In November 1972, EMI promoted a concert at the James Hay Theatre in Christchurch. Lutha performed there along with Blerta, Quincy Conserve and Desna Sisarich. The event was recorded and released early in 1973 as an album called "Live". Lutha contributed three tracks to the album. (thanks to Bruce Sergent for this info)

Taylor LP [1972]
For track 5 we have an album cut from a band called Taylor, who made one LP of slightly countrified/Southern rock and 'Simpsons World' ends with some brilliant duelling guitar which I find reminiscent of a laid back Lynyrd Skynyrd jam. The line-up was Keith Norris (Drums / Percussion), Steve McDonald (Keyboards / Vocals), Kevin Bayley (Lead Guitar), Rick White (Rhythm Guitar) and Clint Brown (Bass Guitar). They were a Wellington act that formed in 1971 and although only together for two years, produced one good and very rare album. The band included a couple of members of bands that I used in the first NZ Vol34: Timberjack and Farmyard.

Taylor had moderate success, releasing a single "Hard Life"/"Simpson's World" in 1971, recording a self-titled album which contained both songs from the single in 1972, securing a sought-after residency at John's Place in Auckland.

Keith Norris and Clint Brown had been playing together since 1969, starting in Wellington's Rebirth. In mid-1970, the pair left and headed to Australia, thereby ending Rebirth, and they joined up with expatriates Dave Brown and Milton Parker to form Tangent. This group disbanded in March 1971 and Brown and Norris returned to Wellington, where they joined up with guitarist Kevin Bayley, keyboardist Steve McDonald and guitarist Rick White, to form Taylor. Kevin Bayley playied lead guitar with Chapta  in 1970. Steve McDonald had played with his brother Eddie in a Wellington group called the Strangers, before joining Dizzy Limits in 1966. Dizzy Limits became Timberjack in 1970, after which he moved to Taylor. Rick White started back in 1964, while still at school, with a Wellington's The Relics who made one single in 1966. Rick moved to form Tom Thumb and stayed with them until 1970 when he joined Farmyard for a short time, before becoming part of Taylor.

The Dedikation
The Dedikation
The Dedikation's track here is a cover of the Cryan' Shames, the  Illinois, US band that made a 1968 heavy and brilliant psychedelic pop single which I used back on Vol77 called 'Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith & Jones'. The Dedikation's version lacks the production sheen of the 'Shames original, but retains the heaviness. maybe even surpassing it with extra distortion! They were originally formed in the Upper Hutt around 1967, with the original drummer Michael Parlane being replaced by Bruce Whitelaw when they turned professional. The other members were: Ray Mercer (Lead Guitar), Graeme Collins (Keyboards / Vocals) and Graham Harvey (Bass Guitar).

Their first single was released in 1969 and was a huge hit. It was "Wait For Me Maryanne"/"Sally Had A Party" and reached number 2 on the national charts. "Maryanne" was a far superior cover of the original song by the Marmalade from 1968. The Marmalade version lacks the depth of sound that the Dedikation managed to give it. The song was a monster and few bands are capable of following up such a hit with another smash. Their second single was "Hayride"/"Barefootin'" and didn't even make the charts. The third single, a cover of the Rolling Stones did better. It was "Ruby Tuesday"/"Be A Woman" and reached number 12 on the national charts in 1970. One self-titled album was released in 1969 and by 1970 the Dedikation had called it quits.

After their split, Graeme Collins went on to play with Human Instinct (see vol3vol34) in 1971 and also was an original member of  Dragon in 1972. Graham Harvey had a short time with another Wellington band, the Falcons.  (thanks to Bruce Sergent for the info)

Airlord
Airlord were a rare example of 70s kiwi progressive rock in the style of Yes/Genesis etc. I have used a track called 'Ladies of the Night', a charismatic song which ends in a guitar tour de force, taken from their 'Clockwork Revenge' album. This passage is adapted from Bruce Sergent's Airlord page: The band was: Steve MacKenzie (Guitar / Vocals), Ray Simenauer (Guitar / Vocals), Brad Murray (Bass / Vocals), Alan Blackburn (Keyboards) and Rick Mercer (Drums). They formed in Wellington in 1976, played the pubs and flew to Australia the following year, recorded a great albeit ignored album, "Clockwork Revenge", and disbanded in 1978. The group failed to secure a large New Zealand audience, largely because they performed original material. Airlord had to escape to Australia to earn a decent living, and although they were never a top draw card across the Tasman, their lifespan was a lot longer than had they stayed in New Zealand.

In 1979 after Airlord had disbanded, Steve MacKenzie and Alan Blackburn formed Machine with Tony Jax on drums and Steve Kulak on bass. They released one single in 1981 called "They Destroy Me". Before Airlord, Steve MacKenzie had teamed up with Reece Kirk to form a duo called Friends. They released two singles, one in 1974 and the other in 1975. Reece had also released a single by himself in 1972.

Mammal, 1973. Left to right: Tony Backhouse, Julie Needham,
Kerry Jacobson, Mark Hornibrook, Robert Taylor, Rick Bryant
Track 8: from Wellington's "Mammal", is taken from an album which was their collaborative effort with "New Zealand's best known poet" Sam Hunt. Many of the tracks begin with Sam's recitations of his poems, which lead into songs that are themed around the poems. 'Beware the Man' is a fast and eccentric hit of psych. Mammal seem to have had an interesting and unusual career, especially for an NZ band, but there is an unfortunate paucity of recorded material to judge them by as they only printed one single (in addition to the Sam Hunt album). I found a great account of the band here with a lot of pictures.

The album's cover scans include the insert that came with it and here is what is printed on it: "Sam Hunt lives on Bottle Creek and in the past few years has achieved a high reputation as a poet and a bit of notoriety as a pisshead. Now he's accepted by the poetry establishment, the NZBC features him on TV, but his poetry's lost none of its guts and style. Now he's off the booze, writing better than ever. Sam's big, wooly headed, a bit mad. His poems are like songs . . direct . . . like Bob Dylan's poetry a little, rhythmically . . . like rock. Mammal is solid. They love the best music and they've made something else of Sam's words: something beautiful, loud, deep, heavy, lyrical . . . whatever. This LP is the first by Sam Hunt and Mammal. Let it be the first of many to get to you."


Roy Rutanen LP (1972)
Roy Rutanen LP (1972)
So far, this is the only information I can gather regarding Roy Rutanen on-line, and it's mostly unsubstantiated. He was from New Zealand [This has now been discovered to be wrong - he was from the US and I have weeded out the truth by  interviewing him here!] and recorded one self-titled album in Australia, released on MCA through Astor Records in 1972. He also made two singles on MCA. They were "Your Day Is Comin' / Hey You" [1970] (MCA 1167 - both non-album tracks), and "Plastic World / The Old Man" [1971] (MCA 1230 - both from the album). The track I have used, Sinful Man, is from the album. It's the most brooding, aggressive one on there, amongst a collection of largely soothing pastoral music that has been described variously as acid / psych / folk / country rock and features mostly acoustic guitar, flute and electric bass, with some lap-steel guitar and fuzz guitar.

The Plastic World single was engineered by Spencer Lee, who also produced the Sydney hard rockers Buffalo (see Vol1 and Vol21). So far I have only managed to find a few low-res front cover scans of the album, which show a cross-legged guy sitting on grass playing acoustic guitar, partially obscured by a tree, with a blonde-haired girl watching in the foreground. I can only guess this guy is Roy, and I have not found mention of any other names who played on the record. He sings slightly more aggressively on Sinful Man and sounds agreeably like Jim Morrison, but this is not the case on all the songs. As for now, a mystery...

Quincy Conserve 1972 L to R: Mike Conway,Dave Orams,Kevin Furey,
Johnny McCormick,Barry Brown-Sharpe, Malcolm Hayman
and Rufus Rehu.
Track 10 introduces The Quincy Conserve, who debuted at Wellington's Downtown Club in February 1968, were one of the most talented and professional groups to appear on the New Zealand music scene in the late sixties, Wellington's first 'supergroup'. Releasing 4 albums, They had an eventful career which you can read all about on Bruce Seagent's brilliant site here, and included bass player Dave Orams from The Underdogs which I featured back on Vol34. Being a large multi-instrumentalist ensemble/showband with a revolving door lineup, they held residencies at a few Wellington clubs over their time, including the Cornhill Tavern and the Speakeasy Bar in Manners Street. After being signed to EMI they performed backing for pop singer Allison Durbin and another interesting note is they were billed along-side another act appearing later in this comp, Lutha. That was at the James Hay Theatre in Christchurch in 1972, and that resulted in a live album including both acts (and others from the night) called "Live".  Their powerful sound is demonstrated by the driving horns-assisted track I used here, 'Common Man', taken from their second album 'Epitaph' (1971).

'On The Beach' movie, inspiration
 behind the song 'Morning Dew'.
Another super-fuzz single now, a cover of 'Morning Dew' from The Retaliation. A recent comment on my Youtube channel prompted me to look into the song's interesting history. It was popularised by The Grateful Dead's 1967 cover, but was first performed by Fred Neil and Vince Martin in 1964. The song was written in 1961 by Canadian folk singer Bonnie Dobson in keeping with anti-nuclear sentiments at the time of the cold war, and has a post-apocalypse theme that was inspired by the 1959 WWIII movie 'On the Beach' staring Gregory Peck.

As for The Retaliation, they were a Wellington-based pop group around for a very short time in 1969. Phil Pritchard (guitar) had spent the later part of the sixties in Australia and when he returned to his hometown, Wellington in late-1969, he had a very short stint with this group, before deciding to form an underground band, to play original material, called Highway. Barry Leef (vocals) had recently been with the Simple Image. The rest of the band was made up of Nick Bagnall (Bass Guitar) and Mike Darby (Drums). They only released one single during their short time and that was "If You Think You're Groovy"/"Morning Dew" for HMV in 1969. (thanks to Bruce Sergent for this info) I have been looking for the Highway album, but as yet no luck....it looks like it could be a heavy one...

[EDIT 2/4/2014] Here is an update I received since posting this: "just a quick correction on Retaliation. Barry Leef did not sing on this record and nor did Mike Darby play drums. They both joined just after it's release. I have just recently interviewed Barry for a book I'm writing and he gave me the scoop. By the way book is on Australian band BAKERY and will include a companion CD with an albums worth of unreleased tracks.. mind blowing stuff. bookmark my company. www.highvoltagepublishing.com"

Headband
Headband
Headband take us onwards, into some awesome rock n' roll flute soloing (not something I say very often). In 1970 Tommy Adderley was inspired by the then current line-up of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, to form a group; Bluesbreakers had an unusual line-up, including an electric violin, but no drums. This was the sound Adderley had in mind. It didn't take too many rehearsals, however, before Tommy realised that this drumless unit wasn't working out, so Jimmy Hill was brought in on drums. At this point, the group was renamed Headband. Headband debuted at Molly Hatchetts nightclub in February 1971. This club closed shortly after, so Adderley purchased the old Bo-Peep club in Durham Lane in Auckland. He refurbished it and re-opened it as Grannys in June 1971. This gave Headband a permanent venue to play and became the venue at which great bands like Dragon and Ragnarok debuted.

In late 1971 Jack Stradwick (formerly with Action) left and was replaced by Billy Kristian, who along with Jimmy Hill had previously played in Ray Columbus's Invaders. With this line-up and Alan Quinnell (Guitar) and Ronnie Craig (Guitar) an album called "Happen Out" was recorded for HMV. A single was taken from it, "Ballad of Jacques Le Mere"/"The Error Of My Ways". It reached number 14 on the national charts. Two further singles came from the album, "Good Morning Mr Rock'n'Roll"/"Dip Tank" and "Love Is Bigger Than The Whole Wide World"/"The Loving Tree", with the latter reaching number 12 in September 1972. Another single "Time"/"Paranoia" failed to sell.

Headband did a Universities tour during 1972, but apart from that they seldom performed outside Auckland. The group disbanded in 1973, with Adderley concentrating on his nightclub. After numerous run-ins with the law, he was forced to close the venue in 1976. Tommy resurrected Headband for a national tour, single and album in 1975. He had a new line-up featuring himself, Dick Hopp and Hill, plus bassist Neil Edwards and keyboards player Len Whittle. The album was called "Rock Garden" with a single "I Get High (On Music)"/"Hey Little Schoolgirl" coming from it. Nothing more came from the group after this.

The Road Runners
The Road Runners
The Roadrunners were from the Lower Hutt, just north of Wellington and formed in 1964. With an average age of sixteen, they were a sensational live r&b band. During 1965 they had a residency at the Intermezzo Coffee Lounge for a short while. The Roadrunners were managed by their friend Jim Pilcher, who later went to the UK in a similar role with the Fourmyula.

This band was the starting point for Chaz Burke-Kennedy and Glyn Mason, who both went on to larger things. Chaz was a member of the Underdogs, Jigsaw and Fresh Air, while Glyn was with the Bitter End and  Jigsaw, before replacing Larry Morris in the Rebels. Noel Koskella (Bass Guitar) and Tim O'Connor (Drums) completed the band. Glyn eventually moved to Australia, and joined Chain in 1970. After a spell in England, he came back to Australia, where he joined Ariel in 1975 and later the Stockley See Mason Band (see the Aussie Vol80). In 1966, it just happened that the Roadrunners were forced into a temporary hiatus while guitarist Chaz Burke-Kennedy began to explore the delights of life as a recluse. This left drummer Tim O'Connor free to join the Derelicts for a short time, returning when Chaz decided to venture out into the wide world again.

The group never recorded, but did do a demo session. This session contained a song called "LSD", which has been located and can be heard on the CD "Get The Picture" from the Legenz series, produced by Jayrem Records. Another track from the session was "Get Out Of My Life Woman" and can be found on the other CD in the series, "Out From The Cold". (thanks to Bruce Sergent for the info)

Mantis LP
Mantis LP "Turn Onto Music" (1973)
Mantis were a Fijian rock group that came to Wellington and took up a residency at one of the clubs. Their style was very mainly funk but for the track included here I have used the most straight-ahead rocking one.While they were in Wellington they recorded an album in 1973 called "Turn Onto Music". They consisted of Joe Heritage (Bass Guitar / Vocals), Ronnie Sammuel (Keyboards), Paul Stephen (Drums), Waisea Vatuwaga (Lead Guitar / Vocals) and Reuben Davui (Guitar / Vocals). The LP was released on the Vertigo label. Two singles came from the album, "Night and Day"/"Time Is Tight" and "Turn On The Music"/"Get Down". (thanks to Bruce Sergent for this info)

Think 'We'll Give You a Buzz' LP (1976)
Think 'We'll Give You a Buzz' LP (1976)
Think were an Auckland progressive/art rock group who formed in 1976. Phil Whitehead and Don Mills came from the disbanded outfit Beam, with Phil Whitehead actually having had a short stint with Human Instinct in-between. They produced an album in 1976 called We'll Give You A Buzz and a single "Arrived In Time/Big Ladies" the following year. One further single came in 1979 with "Good Morning/Peanut Joe". Kevin Stanton was also a member at one time. He later went on to play with Mi-Sex. All other sources apart from their myspace site are rare. The band comprised of Alan Badger - Bass, Ritchie Pickett - Vocals, Don Mills - Keyboards, Neville Jess - Drums,Phil Whitehead - Guitars. (thanks to ProgArchives and Bruce Sergent for the info)

Thanks for listening, Kia Ora!

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