Wednesday, August 5, 2020

TEANA AMOR



Teana Amor was a washboard player with the Gutbucket Jug Band in the late 60s early 70s. The band gigged regularly at Frank Traynor's Folk and Jazz Club. The band also played the circuit of Uni, clubs, pubs and cafés including the Port Phillip Folk Festival. She currently plays with the Moonlighting Jug Band.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

MARY AZZOPARDI


Mary Azzopardi was born in Malta and is the thirteenth child in a family of 15 children. She migrated to Australia with her family when she was two. Coming from a family with a musical background there was no doubt in Mary's mind that she wanted to be a singer. As a child she entered many talent quests and always came home with trophies for first prize and singing solo and duets with her sister Rita.

Mary's first professional band experience was with nine piece band Afrika which included four members of her family. Afrika was heavily influenced by Earth Wind and Fire, Aretha Franklin, The Commodores Parliament and other great funk bands of the era. Afrika toured extensively around Australia for seven years from 1973 - 79. They cut their self titled debut album in the late 70s on the Axent label which Mary sang on a couple of tracks and played sax.

After Afrika split she sang with different cover bands of all styles of music around the traps in Sydney. One of these bands was Hot Cargo where she met Costa Coulounis (Danny D'Costa) a keyboard/vocalist with whom she teamed up together and became a songwriting duo called Thats That. They signed a recording deal with True Tone records and in the late 80s and released a couple of EPs and made their debut on TV show Countdown.

Mary's talent began to get noticed and she soon found herself doing sessions with Wendy Mathews. Also during this time she toured with The Models on their Australian Made Tour. She then toured with the Rockmelons and sang on their 'Tales Of The City' album.

More tours and backing vocal sessions followed which included some of the biggest names in the music industry: Ian Moss, Jimmy Barnes, Midnight Oil, John Farnham, INXS, Mondo Rock, The Angels etc. Another huge highlight was when she backed American legend Soul Brother Number One James Brown on his Australian tour. Mary has appeared on many TV shows including Hey Hey Its Saturday, Andrew Denton and The Midday Show. She was also a  backing vocalist on Australian Idol during series two. Mary is still singing in bands after many years in the industry and she also teaches and shares her knowledge and experience to aspiring vocalists.



Tuesday, July 14, 2020

CHICKS INCORPORATED


Chicks Incorporated were an Australian dance rock band formed in Brisbane, Queensland in 1977. Their sound was largely derived from American soul, funk, pop, rock and disco. Starting out as an almost all-female band with guitarist Chris Mitchell being the only male member, they were led by the late drummer Miriam Curtis, who produced their sole album 'Security' in 1980. They attracted a lot of local attention due to their sexy appearance and wild dancing. Other members were vocalist Safanya who had sung in Jesus Christ Superstar, Sue Neilson on bass and Pamela Withnell on sax.

The band's first single was "Jive To Stay Alive" released on RCA Records, and was also featured on a few disco compilation albums such as 'Dats Disco' on RCA. Most of the band's material was written by well-respected Brisbane songwriters Laurie Stone and Peter Moscos, as well as keyboard player David Bentley, formerly of Python Lee Jackson and best known for the hit "In A Broken Dream" which was sung by Rod Stewart. The band appeared on Countdown.

The band shortened their name to Chicks in 1979, but despite being signed with a major label, they had several problems finding and retaining competent members. Their final appearance on an album was "Stormy Nights" on the compilation 'That's Queensland' issued by radio station 4IP. The song was a departure from their early dance orientated material and geared towards the electro-pop sound of the early 80's and the band eventually split up.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

MARYKE STAPLETON


Maryke Stapleton was the bass player with successful Sydney band Pollyanna that released four albums during the 90s. 




Sunday, June 14, 2020

CREENAGH DALTON


Australian singer/actress who was member of the Australian casts for Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar in the 70s. Backing singer on Jon English's 'Wine Dark Sea' and 'Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong' to name a couple. Became a singing teacher at the Box Hill Institute. Still performing as a jazz singer as of the 2010s. Also known as Creenagh St. John and Creenagh Bradstock.

Friday, May 29, 2020

JOY McKEAN


Joy McKean was born in Singleton in the Hunter Region, New South Wales on 14 January 1930.  As an infant, McKean lived on the dairy farm belonging to her mother's family. Her father was a country school teacher and the family moved around to several regional centres during her youth. Her mother and their father, who was a steel guitar player, encouraged an interest in different types of music, including country performers Jimmie Rogers and the Carter Family. Joy learned the accordion, piano and steel guitar, while younger sister Heather McKean learned the ukulele and both took up yodeling. McKean also contracted polio as a child and was treated in Sydney by the famous Sister Kenny.

McKean first performed on the radio for the first time around the age of 10 on Sydney's 2GB radio station. Later McKean and her sister, Heather McKean (born February 20, 1932), sang for the Sydney University Revue, while a student at the university. By the age of 18, in the 1940s, she was performing live with her sister Heather on their own half-hour Saturday radio show on 2KY as the McKean Sisters, noted for their yodelling harmonies. The Melody Trail starring the two sisters ran from 1949 until 1956. The McKeans began recording, and from 1951 with Rodeo Label they cut such trademark hits as "Gymkhana Yodel" and "Yodel Down The Valley". During this time, Joy McKean first met Slim Dusty (real name David Kirkpatrick) whom she married in 1951 (becoming Mrs Kirkpatrick, but retaining Joy McKean as her stage name). 

The couple became a highly successful musical pairing. In 1964, the couple commenced their first Australian tour to limited success, Dusty attained international success with his 1957 hit "A Pub With No Beer", and remained at the forefront of Australian country music from that time until his death in 2003. McKean was Dusty's wife and manager for over 50 years. Together the couple had two children: Anne Kirkpatrick and David Kirkpatrick who are also accomplished singer-songwriters. The family began annual round Australia tours in 1964 - encompassing a 30,000 mile, 10-month journey which was the subject of a feature film, The Slim Dusty Movie in 1984.

McKean won the first ever Golden Guitar award in 1973, for writing "Lights on the Hill", performed by Slim Dusty. Other popular songs written by McKean for her husband include: "Walk A Country Mile", "Indian Pacific", "Kelly's Offsider", "The Angel Of Goulburn Hill" and "The Biggest Disappointment".

In 1993 the McKean Sisters reunited to record a CD, "The McKeans On Stage" and continued to perform together on stage various times with the Slim Dusty Show over the subsequent decade leading up to Slim's death in 2003 and Tamworth's tribute "Concert for Slim" in 2004. This tribute concert brought together over 30 Australian music artists and featured an historic duet performance by McKean and Paul Kelly of "Sunlander" and a cover of McKean's ''Lights on the Hill'' performed by Keith Urban.

McKean received her 6th Golden Guitar award in 2007 with ''Peppimenarti Cradle'' winning the Award for Bush Ballad of the Year. McKean celebrated her 80th birthday in 2010 with the Happy Birthday Joy concert at Capitol Theatre in Tamworth during the Country Music Festival in January 2010. McKean is one of the founders of the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the Country Music Association of Australia, and is also a biographer ("Slim Dusty: Another Day, Another Town"). McKean is Chair of the Slim Dusty Foundation Ltd, the organisation established to build and operate the Slim Dusty Centre in Slim’s home town of Kempsey, NSW. The centre opened in October 2015.




Sunday, May 10, 2020

JUDY SMALL


Judy Small was born in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. She moved to Sydney in 1972, studying psychology and began her career as a singer and songwriter in the late 1970s, inspired by the folk boom of the 1960s and describing her influences as such folk singers as Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and The Seekers. After a successful performance at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival in 1982 she became a full-time singer-songwriter and recorded her first album 'A Natural Selection'. 

Over the next the 16 years, she regularly toured in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand and released a number of albums. In 1990, she received the "Mo" Award - Mo Awards for Australian Folk Performer of the Year and in 1997 was the Port Fairy Folk Festival Artist of the Year. She was also invited to Beijing for the United Nations Women's Conference NGO Forum - UN in 1995, where she sang to thousands of women from all over the world. 

People had been asking for some years for Judy Small to release an album recorded live, so they could hear her introductions and stories of her songs, which have become much a part of the show, as her actual concert performance, so a concert was recorded called 'Live at the Artery' in her home town of Melbourne and subsequently was released as a double CD Collection set in 2006, spanning her 35-plus years of music. Judy Small retired from full-time performance in 1998. 




Sunday, May 3, 2020

WEE LIZ



Wee Liz was a 60s singer from the Wollongong area where she had quite a big following on the local teenage dance scene. Her real name is Elizabeth Reed and she migrated with her family from Scotland. Nat Kipner saw her performing on TV show Saturday Date and signed her to a recording contract. Her only single ''Tiny Pebble'' was released on the short-lived Downunder label. 




Sunday, April 19, 2020

JANE MADDICK


Jane Maddick grew up in Echuca and began singing with John Williams and Reg Poole. It was Reg Poole who encouraged her to enter the Star Maker Quest of 1986 at Tamworth. Jane at 18, took out the Star Maker title with a Marie Murphy song ''Rainbow Chaser''. It was her debut single. In 1987 at the Country Music Awards she won the Golden Guitar for Best New Talent. Her second single ''Boy With A Country Heart'' was one of the most played country songs of 1987. She toured with Johnny Chester for a couple of years and then recorded her album 'Still Chasin' Rainbows' on the Rich River label. She is still performing.




Monday, April 13, 2020

JOAN MARTIN


Joan was born in Orange in 1921. Her family was musical as her grandparents came from Ireland and brought their music and dances with them. Joan spent her early years on a farm, until her father was forced off the land during the great depression. In the 1930s her family moved to the Darling Downs in Queensland. Joan was soon singing regularly on Toowoomba's 4GR Radio and acting in radio plays and appearing in pantomime. Later she met Eric Tutin, a music teacher, who in the 1930's formed the musical group, The Sundowners. Eric and Joan were both songwriters, and it was while performing with the Sundowners, Joan became the first female country singer in Australia to record for the Regal Zonophone label, as part of the Sundowners. The group was Joan Martin (vocals, guitar), Eric Tutin (accordion) and Ted McMinn (fiddle). It's believed that Joan recorded several tracks for Regal Zonophone.

In 1942 Joan retired from recording and show business and moved to Sydney to care for her family. In 1976 Dave Ovenden from the Victorian Country Music Guild persuaded Joan to come to the Tamworth festival. She was amazed that people still remember her. After 35 years out of the business, Joan released the album 'The Girl With The Darling Eyes' for her mother’s 78th birthday in 1977. She wrote the 12 songs on this album.

The following year she recorded her second album 'Home Music Days'. She was also inducted into the Tamworth Hands of Fame. She then recorded the albums, 'Pioneer Lady', 'The Search' and 'Younger Every Day'.  In 1981 Joan and her daughter Ellen appeared in a television special with the Blanch family called 'The Lady and the Cowboy' which was eventually sold to US cable TV.



Sunday, April 5, 2020

MARGOT MOIR


Margot Rae Moir was born in 1959 in Scotland. She was part of The Moir Sisters a pop and folk vocal trio which formed in 1970 with sisters, Jean and Lesley. Their debut single, "Good Morning (How Are You?)" (1974), which featured their distinctive high-pitched harmonies, peaked at No. 8 on the Kent Music Report Singles Chart. The group released two albums, 'Lost: Somewhere Beyond Harmony' (1974) and 'State of Shock' as The Moirs in 1978). In 1989 Margot Moir (married name: Margot Cesario) released a solo single, "Scarlet Skies" followed by her debut album, 'Strong and Mighty', in 1996. Margot made many contributions to other artists’ recordings as an in-demand backing-vocalist, including being handpicked for the inaugural Whispering Jack tour by John Farnham himself. She recorded and performed with the bands Raymalane and Celtic Spirit for a period of over 10 years. Margot died on Monday 26 January 2015 aged 56 at Royal Melbourne Hospital due to complications from long term diabetes.



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.