Wednesday, March 25, 2020

ANNE WILLS


Anne Wills, best known to Adelaide TV audiences as ‘Willsy’, started her career as the weather girl on Channel 9 back in 1965. It wasn’t long however before her natural talents were recognised and she was making regular appearances on Adelaide Tonight variety show with Ernie Sigley and Lionel Williams. She also presented and appeared on many other locally based Channel 9 TV programs, including AM Adelaide.

In 1969 Anne toured Vietnam with Lorrae Desmond and Johnny Mac to entertain the troops. She returned a second time in 1970, this time with her sister Susan where they were the headline act performing as The Wills Sisters along with Bev Harrell and Ricky and Tammy. They visited almost every American and Australian base in South Vietnam, coming a little too close to the conflict on one occasion in the town of Ben Hoi. She recorded one album 'Colour My World' on the Raven label in 1972.

She later moved to Channel 7, also as a weather presenter on 7 Nightly News and made regular appearances on Adelaide radio, including co-hosting the 5DN Breakfast Show with Geoff Sunderland. Anne has been part of the Adelaide entertainment scene for many years and during that time has won a total of 19 Logies, an Australian record.




Monday, March 16, 2020

LOUISA WISSELING


Dutch born Louisa Wisseling was the female vocalist in The Seekers after they reformed in the mid 70s. Athol Guy discovered her singing at a place called The Swagman and offered her the job. She was a semi-professional folk singer formerly with Melbourne group the Settlers. With Louisa out front, The Seekers jumped straight back into the Australian charts with Bruce Woodley's "Sparrow Song" (#7 in June 1975) and the album 'The Seekers' (#17 in July). In September 1975, they undertook a national tour and released two subsequent singles: "Reunion" (# 83 in November) and "Where in the World?" ( #55 April in 1976). In July 1976 they released their second album 'Giving and Taking'. Wisseling left the band in 1978 being replaced by Cheryl Webb. If anyone knows what became of Judith's replacement, Louisa Wisseling, please let us know!




Monday, March 9, 2020

KATHRYN BROWNHILL


Kathryn Brownhill is a violinist who has been a member of  The Gadflys, Whopping Big Naughty, Ministry of Truth and Wifey and has been a session musician on albums by Something For Kate, The Whitlams, Machine Translations and many more

Sunday, March 1, 2020

MARGARET MCLAREN


Researching information on Margaret McLaren is almost zilch, however, from what I have gleaned, is that she provided vocals for Johnny O'Keefe's backing band (The Stuart Park Showband) for a couple of years - 1972 - 74. In 1973 she recorded a duet with O'Keefe covering Inez and Charlie Foxx's 1969 hit ''Mockingbird''.  Released on the Festival label it reached the national charts top ten coming in at #8. Margaret McLaren did not release any other records which was a real shame because she was a powerhouse singer. In the 80s she was in Melbourne band Vocamotion playing the local pub scene. Any other info would be gladly welcomed. Cheers



Monday, February 17, 2020

SHIRLEY SIMMONS


In the 1950s Shirley Simmons started out as an office typist. Bored with her job, she quit and started singing. In no time she got nightclub jobs all over Sydney and was heard on radio and appeared on TV like Johnny O'Keefe's Six O'clock Rock. She also toured South East Asia singing in stage shows in Hong Kong and Singapore. She recorded on the Festival label. Shirley also did seven tours of Vietnam from 1964 to entertain the troops. 





Thursday, February 6, 2020

KAREN MARKS


Melbourne singer Karen Marks found her footing in music, first through rock journalism and then in band management. Formally of Adelaide, newly arrived synth-punks JAB (Johnny Crash, Ash Wednesday and Bodhan X) approached her for representation and JAB were signed to Suicide Records in January 1978, and two of their songs, "Blonde and Bombed" and "Let's Go", were included on the Lethal Weapons compilation of 1978. They played at the Crystal Ballroom's opening night. Wednesday and Crash would soon dissolve JAB, enlisting Mark Ferrie and Sean Kelly to create Models. Still under Mark's management, Models became one of the fastest rising new bands of the punk movement, playing to full houses of dedicated and frenzied fans everywhere. Sadly, internal frictions forced Marks and Wednesday to leave after two years.

Her creative relationship with Wednesday fortified with the co-production of his 1980 machine-pop prank ''Love By Numbers'', her swooning chorus uplifting his deadpan count to 100, before the two collaborated on Marks’ own recording persona.  ''Cold Café/Won't Wear It For Long'' was released on the Astor label in 1981 with future Icehouse member Robert Kretschmer on guitar.

Fans know of one more recording, ''You Bring These Things'', a forlorn arrangement of an otherwise unreleased Paul Kelly song, gifted to her by the revered wordsmith. The track only ever appeared on the Astor promotional LP 'Terra Australis', alongside Mike Brady's ''Up There Cazaly'' and Joe Dolce's ''Shaddup Your Face'' - hard proof that the label grossly misunderstood her talent (Marks recalls their persistent requests to show midriff and cleavage). Locked in a dissatisfying label arrangement and at this stage unwilling to follow her peers to greener pastures overseas, she felt her only way out was to cease all further activities. In 2019 label Efficient Space reissued the complete works of Karen Marks in May. The result is a five-track EP.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

PAMELA HIRD


Born in 1936 in Australia, Pamela Hird started her career in the 50s. A world class trumpeter she played in many trad jazz bands for decades. She made her debut at The Melbourne Town Hall then moved to the UK with her husband trombonist Llew Hird who formed the  Llew Hird Jazz Band in the late 50s. Booked by the James Tate Agency they did many gigs around London. Pamela returned to Australia in 1965 with her husband Llew via gigs in Spain, France, Egypt, Libya and Greece. On return she cut records with the Sydney Stompers and recorded an album in New Orleans. Pamela died in 2000.


Saturday, January 25, 2020

REBECCA HANCOCK


Born in England, Rebecca moved to Australia when she was 8, and settled in Sydney. She returned to England at 19 to audition for ballet companies, but abandoned that idea after many years of study and returned to Australia to join her first band Watusi Now in 1983. The band released ''Sound Of God'' on Hot records in 1984 with Rebecca on lead vocals. She then went on to sing with Louis Tillett's Paris Green and its off-shoot Paris Pink.

 In the late 80s she toured internationally with Ed Kuepper as a backing singer and keyboard player. Then she took a break from music to go back to university and to devote time to her family. Rebecca returned to music when Gerry Kortegast asked her to sing on his band Desert Boot's second album.

Then she engaged in a project of her own and founded Rebecca Hancock And The Prison Wives with musicians John Sandow, Mark Bradridge and Nick Fisher to record 'Somewhere to Land' (2002).
She released a new album in 2010 'Under My Bed'. 





Wednesday, January 15, 2020

ANNETTE KLOOGER


Annette Klooger was a jazz and swing singer whose career started in the 1950's as a vocalist with the Graeme Bell Jazz Band. She hosted The Annette Klooger Show (a half-hour variety series that aired live in Melbourne) from 1959 -61. She appeared on many Australian shows during the 60s and released a number of recordings. In the 70s she moved to the USA with her husband Ray Taylor who began writing scripts for TV shows like Cosby, All in the Family, Barney Miller, Dinah! and Cher.



Saturday, January 11, 2020

ELLEN LEE OSTERFIELD


Ellen Lee Osterfield was born in Bendigo central Victoria. Writing poetry and painting from a young age was a prelude to writing songs from her mid teen years.  A singing career in the field of country music put Ellen on the Australian country entertainment map! Recording on the Hadley label she released her first album in 1979, 'Ghost Town Lady'. Then a hectic round of making records and appearing on television and radio Australia wide followed on.

A three year engagement as resident entertainer on a cruising restaurant operating from the Port of Echuca in northern Victoria was the last major commitment to the music industry before semi retiring from music to raise a much longed for family. She has been the recipient of numerous awards for her singing/song writing (3 awards at Parkes/Forbes CM festival and a finalist in at Tamworth’s Golden Guitars in 1980.



Thursday, January 2, 2020

CHRISTINE SULLIVAN


Christine Sullivan was born in Hobart, Tasmania. Her early interest was in contemporary folk and rock idioms, but like her idol Joni Mitchell developed an interest in modern jazz, which she approaches in her own personal style. She moved to Melbourne in 1986, studying classical technique at the Melba Conservatorium, also with American soul, gospel and session vocalist, Venetta Fields.

While working at the Limerick Arms in Melbourne in 1990, Christine was heard by British Jazz impresario Ronnie Scott, who invited her to perform at his famous club in London. She performed there later that year, with Chico Freeman and Brainstorm and again in 1992, opening for Chucho Valdés and Irakere. She was a competitor (unplaced) in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in Washington, D.C. in 1998. The judging panel included Dianne Reeves, Nnenna Freelon, Diana Krall, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Joe Williams. The band backing the competitors included Norman Simmons, Grady Tate and bassist Michael Bowie.

She has performed at many Australian jazz festivals: the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz, the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and the biennial Brisbane Festival. She has performed as guest or lead vocalist with James Morrison, Paul Grabowsky, Don Burrows, Graeme Lyall, Tony Gould, percussionist Alex Pertout, Chad Wackerman, guitarist Doug de Vries, David Hirschfelder, Slava Grigoryan, Joe Chindamo, drummer David Jones, bassist Jeremy Alsop, Art Garfunkel, Randy Crawford and Kurt Elling. She is a regular performer at such venues as Bennetts Lane, The Limerick Arms and Dizzy's Jazz Bar in Melbourne and The Basement in Sydney. Christine's recordings began in 1990 with 'Its about Time' on independent label Larrikin. 'Live at Mietta's with Friends', 'Here and Now', 'Bloom' and most recently 'Away' featuring tracks from the "Murdunna" project for Arts Victoria. 




Friday, December 20, 2019

JENNY WRENN


Jenny Wrenn was born in England and came to Australia at the age of 11. A highly versatile singer she enjoys great demand as a studio session singer. Heavily influenced by blues and gospel her repertoire consists of bop tunes and rearranged standards as well as group harmonies in the vocal group Birdland. She was the feature vocalist with Mike Nelson's Four On The Floor and has performed and recorded with the Mike Nelson Quartet for national broadcast on Jim McLeod's "Jazz Track".

Wrenn has performed as a soloist with the W.A. Symphony Orchestra on numerous occasions. She sang in the Playhouse production of Sondheim's "Company". As a vocalist with the group Manteca, she was recorded by the ABC in a 10 part TV series. She returned to England in 1974 and enjoyed several years working as a floorshow artist and studio session singer based in London.

She is currently performing as a member of the vocal trio Birdland and as a featured artist with the One For All jazz big band. She has taught vocal technique privately for several years. In 1999 she taught at Mater Dei private secondary college. In 2000 she moved to Canberra where she performed regularly at the National Press Club.

In February, 2001 the Jenny Wrenn Quintet, consisting of faculty from the Canberra School of Music (Gary France drums, Eric C. Ajaye bass, John Mackey tenor sax and Mike Nelson piano) performed at the Australian Jazz Festival. In April, 2002 she was the featured artist in a national broadcast from Llewellyn Hall, School of Music, ANU by the ABC for "Sunday Live". Also featured in a live broadcast from Artsound FM, Canberra

In June 2003 she returned to Perth to perform with Birdland in concert for the Perth Jazz Society at the Hyde Park Hotel accompanied by the Mike Nelson Trio (Eric Ajaye, bass and Ric Eastman, drums). In October 2003 she left Canberra and now resides with her family in Perth WA.



Thursday, December 12, 2019

SUSIE COLES


Not much is known about guitarist/singer Susie Coles, but what I do know is that Susie won the Grand Final of New Faces in 1971 and recorded an album. The album 'Once Again With You' was released in 1971 on the BEA label containing folk covers like ''500 Miles''. In 2016 the album was re-released on the Buttercup label with a limited press of 300 copies. If anyone has any more info please comment below.



Thursday, November 28, 2019

BETH SCHURR


Folk singer Beth Schurr had a light soprano voice and repertoire comparable to those of popular American balladeer Susan Reed. Schurr (nee Doran) taught herself guitar and started collecting songs after hearing Burl Ives and Mary O’Hara in concert in the early 50s. Specialising in material from Britain and the Appalachians, she gave her first major public performance at the first Australian Folklore Festival in September 1955. She recorded a couple of 78s on the Wattle label, most notably a lovely version of ‘Green Bushes’ (learned from the singing of Sally Sloane).

TV appearances (TV was then in its infancy) led to her writing, compering and performing on a live-to-air children’s show for Channel 9 (and “for the princely sum of five pounds a week”). Her co-star was former child-actor Desmond Tester, who subsequently ran camel tours in the outback. Raising a family ultimately “put paid” to Schurr’s folksinging career, although she would continue to perform occasionally into the 1960s.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

KILEY GAFFNEY


Kiley Joy Gaffney is a rock musician and performance artist. Before signing to Warner (WEA) in 1995, she worked in theatre (acting and singing) and the art world (performance). She released two albums with Warner, 'Bitter Fluff' (August 1997) and 'Sweet Meat' (early 2001), writing and playing most of the instruments on the former and writing, producing and playing everything on the latter. Outspoken and ardently political, Gaffney completed a PhD and then worked as an academic at Queensland University of Technology.



Friday, November 15, 2019

HELEN JOWSEY


Helen Jowsey is a vocalist/jazz pianist who has led her own trio for many years and has been a member of many jazz ensembles. She has been resident TV studio pianist, accompanist, backing vocalist, music director and teacher of jazz piano at the Victorian College of the Arts. She recorded on the Astor label and is known for her work on the film Northern Safari (1966) and The Graham Kennedy Show.





Thursday, November 7, 2019

BERYL KIMBER


Beryl Kimber was born to a musical family in Perth and made her debut as a violin soloist at the age of 13. She won the ABC Instrumental and Vocal Competition and studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she made her debut at Wigmore Hall in 1950. Kimber was a soloist with every major British orchestra. In 1958 Beryl Kimber won First Distinction at the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, where she studied with David Oistrakh. She returned to Australia in 1963 to take up a position of lecturer at the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide. She continued there until 1998. As a teacher she attracted some of the most gifted young violinists from around the country.



Monday, November 4, 2019

GITA RIVERA


Singer/actress, who emigrated to Australia with her family, including her brother Silvio in 1961.She had roles in They're a Weird Mob (1966), Skippy (1968) and The Story of Making the Film They're a Weird Mob (1966). In 1966 she was signed to RCA on a five year contract by Phyllis Rounce who was also Rolf Harris's manager at the time. She appeared on local TV shows like Bandstand etc


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

PAT QUA


Patricia Qua (née Barraclough) was born in Sydney NSW on 26 January 1926 and grew up in a musical environment in Ormond Street, Ashfield. Her father Len played piano for silent movies, her mother Isabel was a violinist and pianist and both were members of a light classical string quartet.

A band pianist, but rarely a soloist, Pat worked several nights a week with her own and other groups including Bill Boldiston's Ocean City Jazz Band at the North Sydney Jazz Club in 1959 and Ken Longman's Harbour City Jazzmakers from 1964 for its long residency at the Brooklyn Hotel opposite the Ironworkers Hall in George Street. She played on the Opera House construction site in 1965 for the AJC concert with Eric Richards Ill-Chosen Seven and when Nick Boston arrived in Sydney from Brisbane in 1966 and formed his Colonial Jazz Band he chose her as his pianist.

Pat also played, toured and recorded with the Ray Price quintet in 1974, toured with singer Ricky May, went to California with Tom Baker's San Francisco Jazz Band in 1978 sitting in with the band and, from 1983 to 1992, worked and recorded with Tom Baker's Chicago Seven and Swing Street Orchestra. She died on 7 September 2018 aged 92. 


Sunday, October 13, 2019

GAY KAYLER


Gay Kayler (born 27 September 1941, is an Australian country music entertainer, recording artist and singer. Gay used her maiden name in her professional career until 1978, when she changed the spelling from Kahler to Kayler to maintain a consistency of pronunciation. Gay comes from a musical family. Her mother sang and played piano, piano accordion and violin with her siblings in their father's band on the Darling Downs, Queensland, in the 1930s. In 1942, the Kahler family moved to Sydney, where Gay continued this musical tradition when, at the age of two-and-a-half, she captivated commuters on Sydney's trams and buses as she sang for them.

In the early 1950s, Gay sang on one of the first reel-to-reel tape recorders in Australia – as part of its demonstration at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. After attaining her certificate for 7th Grade Piano, Theory and Musical Perception, Gay and her family moved to Toowoomba, Queensland. It was there that Gay made her first professional performance in 1958.

Gay's reputation blossomed when she was chosen to sing the Alexandra Waltz for Princess Alexandra during her 1959 visit to Australia. The Fairy Princess wanted to hear more so, by royal command, the teenager sang a selection of songs. Ultimately, this led to Gay being contracted to Brisbane's Channel Seven for 3 years, where she appeared in shows such as the multi-Logie-Award-winning Theatre Royal with George Wallace Jnr.

Gay's recording career began in 1973 when she recorded the EMI album, 'Faces of Love', with Johnny Ashcroft. She had a double charting single in 1975 of ''Nobody's Child'' coupled with the first Australian female trucking song, ''My Home-Coming Trucker's Coming Home'', composed by Johnny Ashcroft. Her last recording in 1995 was ''Child of Koonapippi'', a song of the Aboriginal Stolen Generations, written by Eric Watson (re-released 2001). Gay is best known for her version of ''The White Magnolia Tree'', which was in EMI and Readers Digest catalogues for over 33 years; also for her work on the heritage LP, 'The Cross of the Five Silver Stars'.

Gay Kayler's 40-year professional showbusiness career included appearances on most national TV shows, e.g. Brian Henderson's Bandstand, Johnny O'Keefe's Sing, Sing, Sing and Graeme Bell's Trad Jazz. She performed eight times in the main Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, including on the first all-Australian Country Music Concert and the first all-Australian Variety Show held in that iconic venue. Gay also featured her Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal Song, Captain Joe Henry's Happy Hand-Clapping, Open Air Rhythm Band, backed by a 300-voice choir and huge Salvation Army band, when she opened and closed a 1976 concert in that venue. Other notable venues included Melbourne's Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Adelaide's Chrysler Auditorium and the 1,500 strong NSW Registered Club Circuit, said to be the biggest entertainment circuit in the world in its day.