Your moderator, aged eighteen, Armidale C1965

What motivates a person to be the moderator of a music discussion board? That answer is simple: A love of the music.

I cannot remember a time when I did not love music. My parents and siblings had their favourites and whilst growing up, music was played in our house all the time. So in hindsight, I did not have a choice.

Born in 1947 this allowed me the good fortune to be brought up in the era of ‘true’ rock ‘n’ roll. This term (rock ‘n’ roll) is widely accepted by purists to have changed once Elvis went into the Army and we were then introduced to ‘Pop’ music. This consisted of the Johnny’s, Bobby’s and Frankie’s and many others.

Although I am known in some circles as a historian on music from the 50’s and in particular the music that emanated from Clovis, New Mexico (e.g. Buddy Holly and The Crickets and I have written four books  on the subject) please remember,  I was only eleven years  of age when Holly died in early 1959 so it was not long before I was starting to love the music for the next decade (60’s).
Music from all corners of the globe of course but I especially enjoyed and still cherish the Australian artists from this era. The Easybeats, Throb, Ray Brown & The Whispers, The Bee Gees, The Seekers, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Ray Hoff & The Offbeats, Normie Rowe & The Playboys, The Masters Apprentices, The Atlantics, The Groop, Digger Revell & The Denvermen, Lonnie Lee & The Leemen, Col Joye & The Joyboys, Johnny Devlin & The Devils (NZ), Ray Columbus & The Invaders (NZ) and many more. It was a rich time for Australian and New Zealand acts and the European countries recognised this and still to this day, it is difficult to keep up with the demand from these many countries for original recordings of these artists. They called it ‘Beat Music’ a term I am reliably informed emanates from the Beatles?

I would like to share some totally useless information with you regarding Lonnie Lee and Johnny O’Keefe. Both singers recorded a popular song ‘Yes Indeed I do’ and if you listen carefully to both tracks, you will find they used the same backing for their version. They both recorded for Leedon Records at the time. This label’s name of course, is derived from the wonderful promoter Lee Gordon who brought over 200 artists to Australia during the 50’s and 60’s.

It was during this period (1963 – 1967) at ‘Surf City’ in Kings Cross (a suburb of Sydney), I saw three boys performing on a show with two of the above artists (Brown and Thorpe) and was introduced to the brothers, then named Barry Gibb and the Bee Gees. I was mesmerised by their harmony then and still am to this day.

Although born in England, I claim The Bee Gees to be Australian artists because this is where they learned their craft. For nearly eleven years they performed at venues of all kinds. Plus, they made many appearances on TV, honing their skills and writing their own songs with many being recorded by local artists. Some of these 45 singles are now very valuable 45’s.

They recorded 11 singles, two EP’s and three LP’s whilst here with many tracks ‘still in the can’ so to speak. A few of us now have the majority of these unreleased tracks but I am aware there are still more. Therefore, with the above history it is fair we do claim them for our own. In fact, their older sister (Lesley) still lives here with her Australian husband and family and the boys were regularly coming back to catch up with her and many of their musical friends.

Their many recordings whilst in Australia are HIGHLY sought after worldwide and I just love their Australian recordings. Their first EP simply titled ‘The Bee Gees (Leedon LX-10747) recently sold for over $4,000 on EBay. It is so hard to find. Additionally, their first LP here “The Bee Gees Sing Fourteen Barry Gibb Songs” and also released on the Leedon label, is very difficult to find. Many collectors are still looking for it.

Regarding The Easybeats, I was privileged or just damn lucky to be in the crowd at their very first public appearance in Sydney at ‘Beatle Village’ in Taylor Square, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, a suburb of Sydney. This was in late 1964 or early ’65 if my recollection is correct. I really cannot remember the songs they sang but even then they were writing their own music.

As well as the Australian acts, I enjoyed the majority of artists from the UK and US and am an unabashed fan of The Rolling Stones and Hollies. Two groups so varied in style and substance. I stopped collecting the Stones music after their fifth or sixth album as they altered their musical direction and I was not particularly fond of it.

However, I classify the LP ‘Aftermath’ as one of the most perfect LP’s ever recorded. That is just a personal opinion folks.

I did not ‘desert’ the Hollies and the near perfect harmonies, as I believe they are still the same today as they were 45 years ago. I have met Graham Nash a few times now and he is a nice bloke. Just briefly back to The Stones, I was, in particular, a big fan of the guitar style of Brian Jones, the co-founder and original guitarist with the group. I call him the forgotten man of music. He played both harmony and lead guitar.

Additionally, I enjoy the music of Cliff Richard & The Shadows or ‘Shads’ as we call them. To me, the greatest instrumental band ever. Also the Searchers, Animals, Kinks, Troggs, The wonderful Yardbirds, Them, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Moody Blues, Spencer Davis Group and many more.

You may have noticed I have not included The Beatles. I did not mind a couple of their songs such as ‘It Won’t Be Long and Something’ and other tracks from their first two albums but then I lost interest. Again, just a personal choice. However, please feel free to discuss them, as I would like this board to cover all artists.

Regarding American artists? Well, to me, the first has to be Del Shannon, the man I call ‘the writer of mini operas’. I even put him on the same level as Holly. People somehow relate Shannon to the 50’s but his first monster hit ‘Runaway’ was issued in the early 60’s. If you are like me and have heard the original version of this song it is much slower then the one we know. The producers decided to ‘speed it up’ as Del was singing flat and it was the only way they could achieve their objective. Unfortunately, Del was a tortured soul. Another big favourite is Roy Orbison. He was like Shannon in that for some reason he is put into the 50’s category of singers. Again, this is incorrect. His breakout hit was ‘Only The Lonely’ and that was issued in the middle of 1960. I never grow tired of listening to his music.

Plus, of course we cannot forget Elvis. Although he commenced his musical career in the 50’s, he had many number one hits in the 60’s as well.

Additional artists are The Beach Boys, The Byrd’s, CCR, Bob Dylan, Bobby Fuller Four and again, many more. I have always said that John Fogarty from CCR was born 10-15 years too late because, to me, he has a great ‘true’ rock ‘n’ roll voice.

Finally, I have always loved instrumentals. Music from the 1950’s to the late 1960’s when they started to fade away. Groups like the Shadows, Ventures, Sandy Nelson, Tornados, Chantays, Santo & Johnny, The Joyboys, Invaders (NZ), Fireballs, String-A-Longs and many more. However, it was an Australian group ‘The Atlantics’ who I believe recorded the greatest instrumental ever. The song was called ‘Bombora’ and it is a feverish song from the surfing era.

If you were fortunate enough like me to have seen the Atlantics live, they will blow you away with their superb technique, style and sound.

Please remember folks, these are just personal opinions and choices and you may not agree with them and that is certainly your right. However, this is what this board is all about: Choices.

Please feel free to contribute in anyway you believe you can.

Roderick Jordan 2017