Ray Columbus & The Invaders - Greatest Numbers
Bass – Billy Kristian, Puni Soloman
Drums – Jimmy Hill
Guitar – Dave Russell, Wally Scott
Producer – Eldred Stebbing, John Hawkins
Vocals, Percussion, Producer – Ray Columbus
One of the best New Zealand groups of the '60s, and the first to successfully react to the changes wrought by the British Invasion. Starting out as a fairly accomplished outfit in the mold of Cliff Richard & the Shadows, though rawer, the group hit the top of the charts in both New Zealand and Australia with "She's a Mod" in 1964. A cover of an obscure British beat single by the equally obscure Senators, it took obvious inspiration from "She Loves You" with its "yeah-yeah" chorus, but it was a strong harmony rocker that was one of the biggest singles of the '60s in Australia. Although their biggest hit was quite Beatlesque, most of the group's repertoire (much of it self-penned) was in a decidedly more pronounced R&B direction. The Invaders would have most likely ground ashore had they actually made a determined effort to invade the U.S. or U.K. markets, but they were a decent outfit that stood way above most other Kiwi acts in 1964. The group managed a few more New Zealand hits, but couldn't crack Australia in as big a way again before splitting in 1966. Ray Columbus actually tried to crack the States as a solo artist for a year or two, recording the collectable psychedelic "Kick Me" single with a California group, the Art Collection.
With 30 songs, this is about twice as long as the only other Columbus anthology that has been at all available to international consumers (Epic's 1981 vinyl collection Anthology). Being twice as long, however, does not necessarily mean twice as good. The songs here that were not included on Anthology are largely run-of-the-mill, whether they're shopworn covers like "Shakin' All Over" and "Poison Ivy," Shadows-type instrumentals, or less familiar tunes. As it contains 12 of the 16 songs on Anthology, and as none of the other 18 tracks are as good as the best of the Anthology cuts, you're not missing much if you just stick with the 1981 compilation (which is admittedly much harder to find than it was in the 1980s). As another strike against this package, there are no liner notes or songwriting credits, though it does have a discography.
The Invaders -The Best Of
The rise of the Invaders can be traced directly to the South African tour in March 1961 of Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Richard and The Shadows were appearing at the Feather Market Hall in Port Elizabeth, a concert for which twenty-one year old John Henry Burke (born 23 March 1940) of Uitenhage had purchased a ticket. Johnny Burke rushed home after the show, tried a few chords on an old, battered guitar in front of a mirror and declared aloud, “I was born for show business and someday I’ll be famous like The Shadows!” Prophetic words indeed.
The Allusions & The Rayders - Same (1967) & Rack Raid With The Rayders (1965)
The Allusions was an Australian quintet based in Sydney, New South Wales formed in late 1965. Its members were drawn from several other accomplished Sydney groups, and boasted four singers. Their leader, singer/guitarist/composer Mike Morris (9), had previously played with Dennis & The Dellawares; Terry Hearne had been the bassist in popular instrumental group The Dave Bridge Trio. Terry Chapman (2) and Kevin Hughes (5) had both been members of the early 1960's Sydney surf band The Midnighters (3). Terry Chapman quit the band in July 1966, not long before their third single was recorded. Chapman's replacement was Bruce Davis (4), who had worked with Morris in The Dellawares. Mike Morris left the band in late 1967, and he was replaced by John Spence (7). The Allusions continued as a four-piece until October 1968, when Terry Hearne quit to join Digger Revell's backing band. Mike Morris then rejoined, to raise money for an overseas trip, but by this time the momentum of their early success had dissipated, and in the face of changing trends they split for good in early 1969. Artist John Shaw (10) is recorded as a vocalist and playing piano and organ but his exact tenure with the band is unclear.
It didn’t do Auckland beat group The Seakers any harm to include "Ray" in their name, as they did in 1965 when they became The Rayders to avoid a clash with Australian pop-folk quartet The Seekers.
Ray Columbus and The Invaders had stunned the Australasian pop world with ‘She’s A Mod’ the year before. The Rayders had a legitimate claim to the name in drummer Ray Mullholland, who with guitarist Owen ‘Danny’ Campbell, bass player Lyndsay Mullholland and guitarist Brian McCarthy captured a typical beat/R&B set for release on Auckland’s Zodiac Records as Platterrack Raid With The Rayders.
An ill-fated 1965 trip to Sydney foundered when the club they were to be resident at burned to the ground. Returning to Auckland, they won a resident spot at The Galaxie Ballroom, before moving to Hamilton in 1966 to play The Three Musicians club on Victoria street. Wrote Simon Grigg, "The band's star was fading a little by this stage and they moved from Auckland to Hamilton, which must be one of the oddest career moves of all time." While in Hamilton, The Rayders picked up The Mods’ bass player Kevin McNeil, and released two singles, including the storming Who-influenced ‘Working Man’ sung by Campbell. Clive Coulson, formerly of The Dark Ages, joined that year, and sang on the single ‘It's All Over Now Baby Blue’.
But The Rayders split at the end of 1966.
The Rajahs – Beatlemania 7" (1964) & The Festival File Volume Fourteeen (1964-66)
Dig Richards and the R'Jays / The Rajahs
Dig Richards and the R'Jays played an important role in the early days of Australian rock and went on to support a huge range of Australian acts during the early sixties. Originally called the Red Jeans, the band started out as a loose collection of hopefuls around teenage guitarist Jon Hayton. Joined by good looking singer and front man Digby 'Dig' Richards, - who they recruited when they heard him singing as he worked at Waltons Department store - they changed their name to Dig Richards and the R'Jays, expecting their red jeans to go out of fashion).
Their first gig was at a dance at Castlecrag in August '58, featuring a line-up of Dig Richards (vocals), Barry Lewis (drums), Kenny Konyard (rhythm guitar), Peter Morris (sax), Jon Hayton (lead guitar) and Roger Paulfreman (tea chest bass). The line-up changed frequently, mostly because the band was unable to hang onto sax players for long. They were difficult years for young bands, with US equipment hard to get, so when Peter Baker replaced Paulfreman on bass, he had to make his own - which he called the 'Off-fender'.
Despite the problems, the band proved a hit, and were signed to Festival soon after. Their first single 'I Wanna Love You', which also proved to be their most successful, peaked at #8 on the charts in Sydney. It was enough to establish them, and no doubt with the help of Richards' good looks and natural charm, both Richards and the band landed a two-year stint with their own TV show 'Teen Time' on Channel 7. They were also the first band to play live on Brian Henderson's 'Bandstand' and became regulars on Johnny O'Keefe's 'Six O'Clock Rock'.
Increasing success led to increasing pressures on the band and shortly after one too many a prank, it was decided that drummer Barry Lewis had to be replaced. Leon Isackson, ex- Ray Hoff and the Offbeats, was persuaded to sign up, and stayed until the end. At about the same time, in late '59, Dig Richards was injured in a car accident on Sydney Harbour Bridge and put out of action for a couple of months. The band soldiered on, bringing in Lonnie Lee as a temporary replacement for Richards, and working through a succession of sax players, including Brian Smith, Bob Bertles and Rob Patton.
The R'Jays also landed the job as Festival Records' 'house band', supporting a wide range of acts over the following years, including Noeleen Batley, Jimmy Little, the Delltones, and Johnny O'Keefe. Conditions were primitive by today's standards and drums notoriously difficult to record - Isackson routinely had to play outside the studio to avoid overpowering the rest of the band.
Despite all this, their own records achieved only modest success, and it was their reputation as a live band that kept them in work, with perhaps the highlight of their career coming in 1961, when they played to an audience of 15,000 at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne. It was also a time of change in the industry generally, with successive music styles making life difficult for the original rock'n'roll acts. Late in 1961 the EFS agency informed them they had booked good gigs in Adelaide and Canberra - however Adelaide wanted Dig by himself and Canberra wanted the R'Jays alone. They accepted and it was the beginning of the end for the partnership. Dig Richards went on to a successful solo career while the band continued on its hard-working path. The music scene was changing around them, and although they adapted and survived, they never achieved the same prominence.
1964 saw more changes, with Nosmo King joining on guitar and the band undergoing a final change of name, to the Rajahs, which was suggested by Johnny O'Keefe who used them as his backing band (complete with turbans). Their last hurrah came in the form of being promoted as 'Australia's Beatles' having released a six track EP of Beatles covers which was then promoted heavily by the Sunday Mirror. Their last notable actions were to tour Vietnam, becoming the first band to make the trip. Together with Lucky Starr, they were hired by the US Navy to entertain US troops in 1965. While there they managed to perform a number of free concerts for Australian troops. They returned in 1966 with Sheryl Blake. Having survived a number of changes in the music world, they found on their return that the world was changing yet again, and the band called it a day
Dig Richards & The R'Jays - A Tribute Anthology
Australian rock and roll singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, musical theatre actor and television presenter, active during the late 1950s and early 1960s as lead singer with the R'Jays. Richards was the first Australian rock and roll artist to record a 12" LP record in Australia, with the self-titled album Dig Richards, released in November 1959. From 1971 he performed as a solo country music artist. According to the Kent Music Report he had four Top 30 national hit singles, " Little Lover" / "Quarrels ", "A Little Piece of Peace", "People Call Me Country" / "The Dancer", and "Do the Spunky Monkey".
31 No Peace Of Mind - Dig Richards
32 You Gotta Love Me - Dig Richards
33 My Baby's Not A Baby Anymore - Franz Conde
34 Bony Moronie - Larry Williams
35 My Babe - W. Dixson, Stone
36 Please Don't Tease - P. Chester, B. Welch
31 Little Boxes - Pete Seeger (Live with Johnny O'Keefe)
32 Move Baby Move - M. Maurer, Wes Farrell (Live with Johnny Devlin, Paul Wayne & Johnny O'Keefe
33 Dig Deep (South Of The Border) (Previously Released Stuff Up) - Kennedy, Carr
The Lee Kings - Complete Collection
The Lee Kings were a short-lived Swedish rock quintet who rode the wave of the British Invasion to multiple appearances in theTop Ten of their country's singles chart in 1966 and 1967. Formed in 1964 as Lenne & the Lee Kings, founding members included Lenne Broberg, guitarists Bengt Dahlén and Bjarne Möller, bassist Olle Nordström, and drummer Lasse Sandgren. Nordström parted ways with the band in 1966 and was replaced by Mike Watson. The next year, Johnny Lundin would replace Möller and Tony Walter took over for Sandgren before the band dissolved. After hitting number two with their song "Stop the Music" in January 1966, they topped the chart with their sole number one, "L.O.D.," a month later. Both tunes appeared on their 1966 debut album, Stop the Music, which was fleshed out with three tracks by Stockholm's the Sunspots and released by the Grand Prix label. "Why, Why, Why" from the RCA Victor LP Bingo! made the Top Ten later that year, and "I Can't Go on Living" was a summer hit in Sweden in 1967.
The Staccatos – Initially (1965)
The Staccatos (Brian Rading, Les Emmerson, Rick Belanger, Vern Craig)were formed in 1963 in Toronto by guitarists/vocalists Les Emmerson and Vern Craig, drummer/vocalists Mike and Rick Bell, keyboard player Ted Gerow and bassist/vocalist Brian Rading. After recording "Small Town Girl" for Capitol in 1965, the group recorded a few Coke commercials that resulted in the album Wild Pair, a collaboration with the Guess Who. The Staccatos released Initially the Staccatos in 1965 and The Five Man Electrical Band three years later, and took the latter album's name for themselves beginning with 1969's "It Never Rains on Maple Lane." With the new designation, they released Goodbyes and Butterflies (1971), Coming of Age (1972), Sweet Paradise (1973) and The Power of the Five Man Electrical Band (1974). After disbanding, Les Emmerson formed the Emmerson Electrical Band and later, Blue Blood. He now records as part of Cooper, King and Emmerson.
The Du-Cats – The Du-Cats (1965)
Bob Battiste, Claude Caines, Cyril Brown, Eddie Eastman, Edward Rowsell, Jim Crewe, Joe Boulos, Lewis Skinner, Roger Skinner , Winston Blackmore
In 1965, The Du-Cats recorded the second (first were The Keatniks) rock and roll album by a Newfoundlander. Nicknamed "The Tartan Album" (the band members wore the Newfoundland Tartan blazers), the album had three different pressings, with two different covers. The first pressing was a mono pressing on RCA PC-1018. It had ""Hey Woman" and "Stay Awhile", are included in this album" written on the back (although the album did not have these tracks on it). This misprint was quickly fixed for the next mono pressing. The second pressing was stereo and was released on RCA PCS 1018. Although they all shared the same photo, the second pressing was zoomed in a bit further.
Herma Keil & The Keil Isles - The Very Best Of
Samoan NZ family group which evolved in the 1960s to a backing band for Herma Keil.
The Keil Isles’ place in New Zealand’s music history has often been understated, even though they were a drawcard in Auckland playing rock and roll well before Johnny Devlin left Wanganui.
Why? Possibly because they were mostly an Auckland phenomenon, or that cover versions dominated their set lists, or just that New Zealand’s rock history needed an iconoclastic lone ranger like Devlin to be its first star.
But the Keil Isles were local pioneers, just like the R&B groups in the USA who started rockin’ and rollin’ back in the late 1940s, well before Elvis. And while their legacy on record is dominated by those cover versions – even their biggest hit ‘The Twist’, which outsold Chubby Checker’s disc in New Zealand – there is no doubt that they were a phenomenon.
In October 1962 promoter Phil Warren placed an advertisement in the Auckland Star announcing that he had signed the Keil Isles to an exclusive contract; somehow word got out that the contract was worth £10,000 for 12 months’ work. He quickly advertised their availability. Every weekday, the band would appear at the Bali Hai club on Chancery Street at lunchtimes, plus Friday nights. Each Tuesday and Wednesday night, they played the Montmartre on Lorne Street. And on Saturday nights, they packed crowds into the sweaty Crystal Palace Ballroom on Mt Eden Road.
Those were just the Keil Isles’ residencies for Warren: On Labour Weekend at the Oriental Ballroom on Symonds Street they played a Sunday show starting at midnight, and the following day a show at 8pm.
The Keil Isles were hard workers, rewarded with crowds who kept coming back to their slickly rehearsed, energetic shows where they played the latest rock and roll songs just days after their release overseas.
The band’s origins date to 1951 when Olaf Keil arrived in New Zealand from Samoa. He was then about 18, and during his childhood had made ukuleles out of coconut shells, and enjoyed woodworking and electronics. In Auckland, he joined his uncle’s 14-piece band to play guitar. When rock and roll first reached New Zealand, Olaf was approached by his cousin Freddie to accompany him singing a few songs. By 1956, the Keil Isles had formed, with the addition of Olaf’s brothers – Herma on guitar, Klaus on drums and Rudolph on bass – and began playing at functions for the Mormon Church. Apparently, Mormon contacts in the USA enabled the band to import the latest instruments, and smart cowboy-style stage outfits.
Their first regular booking was at the Orange Ballroom in 1958, and the next year they added a weekly gig at the Jive Centre on Hobson Street when they replaced the Bob Paris Combo. By this stage Olaf’s sister Eliza was in the group as a singer, often performing duets such as ‘Deep Purple’ with Herma. Māori pianist Heke Kewene joined the group, a “gentle giant” who also liked to play Bach and Chopin.
In 1958 Tempo magazine described the Keil Isles as “one of the most sensational rock’n’roll groups to hit the Queen City”, and Australian Music Maker magazine reported that they were “a smartly dressed group with plenty of showmanship and a ton of rhythm.”