Thursday, June 08, 2006

Vanda & Young: Marcus Hook Roll Band and William Shakespeare

In my not always so humble opinion; these guys were purveyors of top notch Pure Pop brilliance. Every time I go back to the Easybeats releases, I am always amazed at just how much they crammed into their little 2:30 minute operettas. Beyond Friday On My Mind, there are countless gems that still sound so fresh and inventive today. From 1966 onwards songs like Heaven and Hell, Do You Have A Soul, Made My Bed, Happy Is The Man or Land Of Make Believe are testaments to their genius. Even The Shame Just Drained (compilation of unreleased tracks) LP contains amazing tracks like Amanda Storey, Me and My Machine and Station On Third Avenue that could have been hits in their own right. Vanda & Young continued writing, performing and producing throughout the 70’s often using made up names (Tramp, Haffy’s Whiskey Sour etc..) as outlets for their ever consistent songwriting factory. They hit the big time again with more mainstream releases by John Paul Young and Flash In The Pan before concentrating on managing AC/DC

Anyhow I recently picked up a couple of worthy releases just to vindicate my belief…

Marcus Hook Roll Band – Natural Man / Boogalooing Is For Wooing –Regal Zonophone RZ 3061 (UK 1972)

Much closer to the rockier Easybeats material such St. Louis, Good Times or Rock And Roll Boogie, Natural Man is totally exhilarating. It’s a tough little number featuring clanging power chords, shaking maracas with an incredibly catchy chorus that will remain engraved on your brain. The delivery of the verse also reminds me of Alan Price’s Lucky Man. It’s a real bona fide classic. The B side is another fine rocker written by Wally Allen (Pretty Things).

William Shakespeare –Can’t Stop Myself From Loving You/ Goodbye Tomorrow, Hello Today –Albert Productions AP -10470 (AUS 1974)

Also known as “Billy Shake” –get it? in some countries (UK release on Youngblood), would-be Teen Idol William Shakespeare actually had a hit with this in Australia and you can understand why. It’s an anthemic Glam number that relies heavily on repeating its great chorus. The song builds nicely up to it and there’s a great chord sequence during the pre-chorus. Vanda & Young pulled out all the stops with the production and boy does it shine…




3 comments:

Collin said...

Great picks! I have both 45's and adore them. Billy Shakes has another desirable little number, a slightly tuffer (though not much tuffer) track called, 'Feelin' Alright.' And unsurprisingly, he has his share of slushy ballads - most of which are collected on the great Vanda Young Story LP

this_is_jimm said...

Can't Stop Myself and the follow up single, the schmaltzy "My Little Angel" both reached number 1 on the Australian charts. His next single was supposed to have been Yesterday's Hero, which Vanda and Young gave to John Paul Young instead. From there, the rest is history...Shakespeare became something of a joke and JPY became Australia's most successful act of the 70s.

this_is_jimm

QuizMasterChris said...

I've spent what little recreation time I've had the past few days reviewing all 3 yrs of your blog & I have to say it's wonderful. Dowloaded a lot of music I'll enjoy for some time to come!

FYI there's a town just squeezed in between Philadelphia (where I am) and the Pennsylvania/Delaware border - there's only a few miles in there to squeeze in - called Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania.

Not exactly famous, it's on the Delaware and is basically a location for oil refining and shipping, or at least it used to be. Pretty much an ugly little industrial/post-industrial place, I've lived here my whole life and never made an intentional trip there...

Anyway, greetings & thanks from the other side of the Atlantic!