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The Human Instinct - The Human Instincts & The Four Fours 1963-1968

The Human Instinct - The Human Instincts & The Four Fours 1963-1968

Biography by Mark Deming
Stoned GuitarA celebrated New Zealand rock band whose music grew from psychedelia into hard rock during their lifetime, the Human Instinct were a tough but agile guitar group who had a long career in their homeland, as well as recording and performing in the U.K. Evolving from a Kiwi beat group called the Four Fours, the Human Instinct cut a handful of tough R&B- and freakbeat-leaning singles for Mercury in 1966 and 1967, and a pair of more adventurous psychedelic 45s for Deram in 1967 and 1968 during a sojourn in London. After returning to Auckland, they steered into hard rock with plentiful guitar heroics on their albums Stoned Guitar (1970), Snatmin Cuthin? (1972), and The Hustler (1974). Their star began to fade in the mid-'70s, but despite plentiful lineup changes, the Human Instinct lived on as a live act and cut a comeback album, Midnight Sun, in 2009.
The Human Instinct story began in 1957, with the birth of the Four Fours. That year, pianist Mike Horman and clarinet player Colin Minifie formed a dance band to play a steady flow of gigs in Tauranga, a popular vacation destination in New Zealand. Within a year, the duo had expanded to a quartet with the addition of drummer Trevor Spitz and saxman Rob Smith, and they began adding rock & roll tunes to their repertoire. They adopted the name the Four Fours (from the common 4/4 time signature), and recruited Bill Ward to play lead guitar and sing. Before long, the Four Fours were performing regularly in Tauranga, both at a late-night club called The Inferno operated by Spitz, and at teen dances promoted by the group. In 1960, Colin Minifie dropped out of the band and Dave Hartstone came on board, playing rhythm guitar and singing backups. For a while, Rob Smith's brother Richard was regularly sitting in with the band as a vocalist; he later relocated to England, changed his name to Richard O'Brien, and found fame as the author of the cult musical The Rocky Horror Show.

In 1963, the New Zealand-based Allied International label signed the Four Fours, and they released their debut single, "That Happy Feeling" b/w "Janice B." By this time, Mike Horman was serving double duty on piano and bass, but when the group decided to relocate to Auckland, Horman opted to stay behind, as did sax player Rob Smith. Frank Hay, who knew Spitz through working at The Inferno, joined the group in time to make the move, and they stepped forward as a quartet. It didn't take long for the Four Fours to become one of the busiest bands in Auckland, and 1965's "Time Slips Away" b/w "Theme from an Empty Coffee Lounge" became a hit when the B-side unexpectedly won the favor of audiences. In late 1965, the Four Fours began mapping out plans to move to England in hopes of winning a larger audience. Drummer Trevor Spitz developed cold feet and chose to stay behind, and Maurice Greer, an outgoing stand-up percussionist from a Palmerston North combo called the Saints (no relation to the pioneering Australian punk combo), accepted an offer to join the band. The Four Fours left Allied International for Zodiac Records; their first single for the label, "This Time Tomorrow" b/w "Trucking Blues," was released in time for them to hit the road as the opening act for the Rolling Stones on their 1966 tour of New Zealand. After the release of "Go Go" b/w "Don't Print My Memoirs," which became another NZ hit, the Four Fours boarded the Fairsky, an ocean liner sailing from New Zealand to London in September 1966. En route, the members of the group decided they needed to adopt a new name that reflected the changing tides of rock & roll. When they arrived in England, they were billing themselves as the Human Instinct.

After settling in England, the Human Instinct quickly landed a recording contract with Mercury Records, which had been tipped off to the Four Fours' talents by the staff at Zodiac Records. Their Mercury debut, "Can't Stop Around" b/w "Want to Be Loved by You," was issued in November 1966 and found the band moving in a leaner and more R&B-influenced direction. After an initial period of struggle, the Human Instinct made an impact on the British club scene and were gigging regularly, headlining clubs and sharing bills with the likes of the Spencer Davis Group, the Jeff Beck Group, the Herd, and the Moody Blues. While the group cut two more singles for Mercury, "The Rich Man" b/w "Illusions" and a remake of "Go Go" b/w "I Can't Live Without You," none made the charts, and after their deal was up, they signed with Deram Records, where producer Mike Hurst helped them put their growing psychedelic leanings up front on 1967's "A Day in My Mind's Mind" b/w "Death of the Seaside." The Human Instinct had upgraded their backline to include a full complement of Marshall amplifiers that beefed up their guitar attack, and their second Deram release, early 1968's "Renaissance Fair" b/w "Pink Dawn," was their most sophisticated to date, and included arrangements featuring the London Symphony Orchestra. A few months after the release of their second Deram 45, the Human Instinct were still without a hit record, and several members held work visas that were soon to expire. Dave Hartstone, who held a British passport, opted to stay behind, and the remaining members of the band chose to return to New Zealand and regroup. While Hartstone had agreed to take over payments on the group's van, his bandmates were upset when he declined to ship their amps back home, and Hartstone quickly moved away from performing to a career road managing groups on tour (including Led Zeppelin) and renting sound and lighting equipment to major touring acts

Burning up YearsAfter the loss of their gear, Bill Ward became disillusioned and dropped out of performing for many years, and Frank Hay soon followed. But Maurice Greer was determined to keep the Human Instinct alive, and he launched a new edition of the band with guitarist Billy Te Kahika (aka Billy TK) and bassist Peter Barton, which followed trends of the day into a sound informed by hard rock, while Te Kahika was clearly influenced by Jimi Hendrix. A return trip to England didn't fare as well as the group had hoped, but they bonded with fellow New Zealand rocker Doug Jerebine, who was also trying his luck in the U.K. Jerebine had been writing and recording under the name Jesse Harper, and Greer thought his material had potential. With Jerebine's OK, the Human Instinct added a number of his songs to their repertoire, and they would dominate the set lists of the group's first two albums, 1969's Burning Up Years and 1970's Stoned Guitar. By the time Burning Up Years was completed, Peter Barton had stepped down from the Human Instinct, and Larry Waide took over on bass; Waide bowed out after the release of Stoned Guitar, and Neil Edwards became their bassist in time to cut their third album, 1971's Pins in It. After Pins in It came out, Billy TK resigned from the Human Instinct, and from that point on, Maurice Greer became the sole constant member as the group reconnected with Zodiac Records and cut the albums Snatmin Cuthin? (1972) and The Hustler (1974). In 1975, the Human Instinct cut an album titled Peg Leg, but it went unreleased, and the band briefly broke up. Greer would revive the group and they would soldier on as a live act for the next several decades, but they went without releasing a record until 2009, when they brought out the album Midnight Sun, which featured guitar work from Billy TK on two cuts. (Peg Leg was given a belated release in 2002.) Maurice Greer continued to lead a version of the Human Instinct well into the 2010s; Zodiac Records issued a three-disc box set of the albums Snatmin Cuthin?, The Hustler, and Peg Leg in 2010, while the British RPM label brought out 1963-1968, a collection of their best singles in their Four Fours and Human Instinct incarnations, in 2019.

The Human Instinct - The Human Instincts & The Four Fours 1963-1968

Thanks for this,Cor

The Human Instinct - The Human Instincts & The Four Fours 1963-1968

The Simple Image - Spinning Spinning Spinning

The Simple Image - Spinning Spinning Spinning

The Simple Image - Spinning Spinning Spinning

    Harry Leki (Lead Guitar)
    Barry Leef (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
    Ron Gascoigne (Bass Guitar / Vocals)
    Allan Gordon (Drums)

The original line-up of the Simple Image is as listed above, but Allan Gordon didn't stay very long and he was replaced by Gordon Wylie on drums. Barry, Harry and Gordon were all employees of Todd Motors in Wellington when they first started playing together. Harry had been around the music scene for a while, originally starting out in a group called the Young Ones, which after Harry left, went on to eventually become Larry's Rebels. Ron Gascoigne had originally played with South Island band, the Termites, before joining the Insect for six months. He left them at the end of 1966 to join the Simple Image. The Insect eventually evolved into the Fourmyula. Original drummer Allan also came from a South Island band called the Vaqueros.

Much of Simple Image's initial repertoire was strictly middle-of-the-road, and able to cross the age barrier, they soon proved popular on the wedding reception trail, while at the same time appearing in the Pantomime, Dick Whittington. After accepting an offer as ship's band, they then spent a month touring the islands aboard Arcadia before their road to fame began when booking agent Tom McDonald added the group to his booking agent roster. With him they began to get plum gigs. National support tours with Maria Dallas and Gerry Merito followed and in 1968 they signed a five year recording contract with HMV.

Their first single was "Two Kinds Of Lovers"/"Summer Wine", and released with little fanfare, it spent four weeks in the national charts in March 1968, peaking at number 11. It was their second single which really established Simple Image outside their hometown. Producer Howard Gable used a phasing technique in the mix and it gave the song a very distinctive sound. "Spinning Spinning Spinning"/"Shy Boy" climbed to number one on the charts and spent two weeks in that position in July 1968. "Spinning" was entered into the 1968 Loxene Gold Disc Awards and narrowly missed winning the top spot.

The follow-up single showed they weren't a one-hit wonder, as "Little Bell That Cried"/"I Wanna Go To Heaven" also made the top 10, peaking at number 9. A self-titled album was also released and sold very well. It had some very striking artwork on its cover.

Another single was released from the album, called "Hold Me Tight"/"Tomorrow Is Another Day" it didn't feature on the charts.
The group adopted a very 'mod' image, with their stage uniform always consisting of navy blue capes with pink lining, floral shirts, bell-bottomed trousers and Cuban-heel boots.
Moving into 1969 they released another huge single. This was "Grooviest Girl In The World"/"Make Time Stand Still" and it made it to number 3 on the charts. Bruce Walker, formerly from a group called Soul Sect, was added to the line-up on organ. The next single was "Ulla"/"Tomorrow Today", but it didn't make the charts.

Barry Leef left the group in June 1969 and had a short spell in a group called Retaliation, before he headed to Australia. He joined up with fellow Kiwis, Jack Stradwick, Mike Wilson and Mike Darby to form Straw Patch. They had a minor hit with a song called "Send Me No More Flowers". Barry's replacement in the Simple Image was Doug Smith and with him they chose to do a cover of a song by the Equals called "Michael and the Slipper Tree". Backed with "Mean So Much", the single was another top 10 hit, reaching number 7 in September. It was the last time the group featured on the charts.

The Simple Image won the "Group Award" at the 1969 NEBOA Entertainer Of The Year Awards. Also in 1969 the group released an EP called "Four Hits From The Simple Image" and it contained "Michael and the Slipper Tree", "Ulla", "Spinning Spinning Spinning" and "Grooviest Girl In The World".
At the end of 1969 they decided to make an assault on the Australian market. They accepted a residency at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, a prestigious venue that they inherited from the now defunct Avengers. They had only been there a few weeks when Barry Leef rejoined them in place of Doug, but despite their popularity, they were unable to find a single to break them into the Australian charts.

Over the next two years they went through a number of dramatic musical changes to meet the demands of the Whiskey clientele. They also found a liking to some artificial stimulants and as a result, Harry Leki's behaviour became quite bizarre and this eventually led to the group's demise in late 1971. Before disbanding, one final single called "Goodbye Birds"/"Send Me No More Letters" was released in 1971.

Harry Leki returned to New Zealand and joined Arkastra. He also had a very short spell with Quincy Conserve. Barry Leef joined West Australian band Bakery as lead singer. He also formed the Barry Leef Band, which included Billy Williams, Steve Hopes, Mick Kenny, and Tim Partridge. They released one single in 1976 called "To Be Back Home"/"What Do You Wanna Do". Over the next twelve years he released four more solo singles, and was also a member of a jazz group called Crossfire in the eighties. Erana Clarke became a member of that group and by the end of the eighties her and Barry had married.

In 2001 EMI released a CD called "Spinning Spinning Spinning - The Complete Simple Image" which, using the cover from their original album, contains the entire album, plus every single they did and two previously unreleased songs.

The Simple Image - Spinning Spinning Spinning

The Chicks - C'Mon Chicks (1968 New Zealand)

The Chicks - C'Mon Chicks (1968 New Zealand)

The Chicks - C'Mon Chicks (1968 New Zealand)

The Chicks - sisters Suzanne and Judy Donaldson. They had a steam of pop hits in New Zealand between 1965 and 1970. Suzanne married Bruce Lynch and records as Suzanne Lynch. Instantly recognisable with their matching outfits, trendy haircuts and up-tempo, harmony-rich pop singles, sisters Donaldson rose to become some of New Zealand’s biggest stars as The Chicks. For a whirlwind five-year period from 1965 they were seldom off our TV screens or radio airwaves. They played countless gigs and toured with other New Zealand stars and international artists, including Sandie Shaw, PJ Proby and The Pretty Things.

It's a pity that Gary can't make this repost himself ....

The Human Instinct - Singles 1966-1971

 The Human Instinct - Singles 1966-1971

 The Human Instinct - Singles 1966-1971

One of New Zealand's most popular hard rock/psychedelic bands of the late 1960s and early '70s, the Human Instinct never broke into the international market, despite a couple of concerted attempts to do so in England. The group evolved from the Four Fours, which had some hits in New Zealand in the mid-'60s, including "Moon Blues," the instrumental "Theme from an Empty Coffee Lounge," and "Go Go." The last of these was a fair beat number that made number 12 in New Zealand in September 1966, the same year the Four Fours supported the Rolling Stones on the visiting superstars' second New Zealand tour. In August of that year, the Four Fours sailed to England to try and make an entree into the British pop scene, changing their name to the Human Instinct on the way.

In London, the Human Instinct got to play under numerous star groups as a support act. After three Mercury singles stiffed in 1967, they recorded for Deram under producer Mike Hurst and made a couple more unsuccessful 45s. Some of these -- the most renowned is "Day in My Mind's Mind" -- have surfaced on specialist British '60s rock reissues, and show a competent but rather colorless psychedelic-sprinkled pop band with accomplished vocal harmonies. Drummer Maurice Greer, it has been written, declined a chance to play in Jeff Beck's group before the Human Instinct returned to New Zealand.

Upon the band's return, their personnel and sound were radically reorganized, with only Greer left from the U.K. lineup. The most significant addition was guitarist Billy Tekahika, who played under the name Billy TK. Partly because of Tekahika, the Human Instinct embarked in a far heavier psychedelic direction, influenced heavily by the wah-wah and distortion of Jimi Hendrix. Some of the material on their early-'70s albums on Pye was supplied by non-member Jesse Harper, whose tape allegedly impressed Hendrix himself. The later incarnation of the Human Instinct did go to England again to try and widen their audience, and again failed.

The Human Instinct's cult reputation rests largely upon their first three albums in the '70s, which have been reissued on CD by Ascension in Australia. Without denying the band's importance in New Zealand, where talented hard rock guitarists were rarer than they were in bigger countries, the records are so-so, or worse, blues-rock-psychedelia that offer little appeal or charm for the collector, despite Billy TK's abilities on guitar. Maurice Greer was still keeping a lineup of the Human Instinct going and recording in the late '90s.

 The Human Instinct - Singles 1966-1971

The Embers - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964)

The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964)

The Embers: A New Zealand Band formed in 1961. 

The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964)

    Johnny Willetts (Lead Guitar)
    Glyn Tucker (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals)
    Gary Daverne (Saxophone / Piano)
    Keith Graham (Bass Guitar)
    Mike Kelly (Drums)

The career of Ronnie Sundin was on the slide, until he was asked in mid-1962 to put together a backing band for himself, to play at the newly opened Shiralee nightclub in Auckland. The backing band was called the Embers and contained Johnny Willetts, who had been with the Buccaneers, Keith Graham from the Devils, along with Glyn, Gary and Mike. They only worked with Ronnie for a matter of weeks, before totally going it on their own. Glyn had previously been with the Stereotones.
In the early sixties, the Embers became one of the top bands in Auckland, being at one stage the house band at the Shiralee Cabaret, but like all the other groups around at the time, they suffered when a young band from Christchurch moved into town. Armed with a matching set of Fender Stratocasters, Ray Columbus and the Invaders were very professional and everyone else were pushed into the background.
The Embers had produced three singles during 1962 and 1963 on both the Viscount and Viking label. They were "Rinky Dink"/"Green Leaves Of Summer", "Planet 10"/"Man From Laramie" and "Metropolis"/"Painted Tainted Rose". In 1963 they released a self-titled album and followed that up with another album called "The Embers Dig Doug", that wasn't released until 1964, after the Embers had folded.
In 1963 Willetts left and went to Terry Dean and the Nitebeats. He was replaced by Doug Jerebine, who was to go on to become a legendary guitarist. Over the years, his sound was to play a major role in the ranks of other top Auckland bands, most notably the Brew. In September 1965 he was working as Tommy Adderley's guitarist on the Dinah Lee Spectacular, her farewell tour of the country.
Gary Daverne left and was replaced by Mike Perjanik. Keith Graham was replaced by John 'Yuk' Harrison. Willie Schneider joined on saxophone. He had previously been with the Meteors. Mike Kelly was replaced by Bruce King, from the Stereotones. By the end of 1963 the Embers were no more.
Mike Perjanik grabbed some of the remnants and formed the Mike Perjanik Band, who became the mainstay session band on the Auckland recording scene for the next few years. In 1966 Mike took his band to Australia with Allison Durbin. Glyn Tucker later appeared in the Gremlins. John 'Yuk' Harrison became a member of the Meteors and also played in the Invaders. Doug Jerebine went to the UK after his stint with Brew.

The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964) Original album

Viking ‎– VP.123, Viking ‎– VP 123

The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964)

The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug!  (2014)

Viking Sevenseas Ltd

01. The Embers-Watermelon Man 
02. The Embers-Telstar 
03. The Embers-Little Green Valley 
04. The Embers-Summer Holiday 
05. The Embers-Trambone 
06. The Embers-Experiment In Terror 
07. The Embers-Rinky Dink 
08. The Embers-Shake Rattle & Roll 
09. The Embers-Diamonds 
10. The Embers-The Hucklebuck 
11. The Embers-Recado 
12. The Embers-On The Rebound 
13. The Embers-The Man From Laramie 
14. The Embers-Planet 10 
15. The Embers-Metropolis 
16. The Embers-Memphis 
17. The Embers-Painted Tainted Rose 
18. The Embers-Nola 
19. The Embers-Ginchy 
20. The Embers-Scarlet O'hara 
21. The Embers-Venus In Blue Jeans 
22. The Embers-Hully Gully Baby 
23. The Embers-Old Macdonald's Cave 
24. The Embers-In A Persian Market 


The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964)

Hi-Revving Tongues - Tropic Of Capricorn (1967)

Hi-Revving Tongues - Tropic Of Capricorn (1967)

The Hi-Revving Tongues are best remembered, perhaps inappropriately, for their 1969 chart-topping single ‘Rain & Tears’. The band can also lay claim to pioneering New Zealand psychedelic pop while their six-month residency at Sydney’s Whiskey-A-Go-Go gave them a decidedly hard edge and their stage show was one of the most spectacular of the era. But mostly they are remembered for an atypical strings-laden ballad that they rarely performed live.

Hi-Revving Tongues - Tropic Of Capricorn (1967)

Bob Noad, Bruce Coleman , Chris Parfitt , John Walmsley, Mike Balcombe

Hi-Revving Tongues - Tropic Of Capricorn (1967)

Bari & The Breakaways - Let's Take A Sea Cruise! (1966)

Bari & The Breakaways - Let's Take A Sea Cruise!  (1966)

Bari and The Breakaways 
Bari Gordon (Lead Guitar) 
Dave Orams (Bass) 
Keith "Midge" Marsden (Rhythm Guitar) 
Bryan Beauchamp (Lead Vocalist / Drums)

Teenage R & B groups were thin on the ground in New Zealand in early 1965. Auckland had The Dark Ages, Christchurch had Chants R & B, and Wellington had Bari and The Breakaways, the most successful of this early bunch of teenagers inspired by The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Pretty Things, and the raucous side of The Beatles who all toured New Zealand in 1964 and 1965.

Since emerging from the Taranaki province onto the Wellington pop scene in late 1964 Bari and The Breakaways - Bari Gordon (lead guitar), Keith 'Midge' Marsden (rhythm guitar), Dave Orams (bass), and Bryan Beauchamp (vocals and drums) - had steered clear of obvious chart fodder.

Midge Marsden: "We were picking up alot of songs from the American sailors that came in to port. We were the playing the Mexicali and all the United States navy icebreakers would come in, and they'd be in port for weeks at a time (they came to break up ice at Antarctica). They'd all club out. It was the first time I'd seen alot of black people in one hit.

"They invited us down to the ship. It'd be early in the morning, and they'd have these juke boxes of stuff we never heard - Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, soul stuff - we'd get these records and take them home, and tape them, and learn them the next day. We'd be playing them that night - the hottest sounds from America. The other bands would be asking were we got them. It was very competitive as to who got the new songs first."

The Breakaways' sets were further fortified by their signing to HMV Records in early 1965. Bryan Beauchamp: "HMV would arrive at our flat with a box of records. They weren't going to released in New Zealand until we'd had a listen to it. We'd pick out a dozen or more to have a crack at live. Announce them as "The latest release from England.

"If it wasn't their tough new sounds that were getting them noticed, it was their ever lengthening hair and stylish mod gear. When they returned home to New Plymouth in early 1965 "for a short rest from amplified chords, buzzing microphones and cold coffee," they were undoubtedly on the rise. John McBeth in the Taranaki Sports Post noted that the group who'd left "un-noticed, had climbed to success in New Zealand's land of shaggy hair and the big beat."

Bari and The Breakaways had appeared on the hot Let's Go TV show performing the Kinks' All Day and All of the Night, picked up a rising pop manager in Tom McDonald and opened the Lower Hutt Teenarama, also playing around Wellington at the Hideaway, the Wellington Teenarama and the Sorrento, and out in the surrounding provinces at Palmerston North, Foxton, Otaki, and Shannon as a featured act on Tommy Cooper's popular Talent Shows.

The welcomes were raucous. At Levin, Bari got attacked by a fan who cut off some of his hair and normally reserved Foxton swarmed over the stage.In January 1965, they were off to Christchurch for a two week stint at the Safari in Christchurch, where The Breakaways struck up a strong friendship with kindred spirits, Chants R & B.

Midge Marsden: "We lived in Christchurch for a few months. Did a residency there and we'd hang out with the Chants as much as possible. We were group brothers. They dug what we were doing too, as an R & B band." R & B fans at the Chants' cellar club hangout, The Stage Door, were treated to several impromptu Breakaways shows.

The next month, they were booked to play the Taranaki section of the Let's Go tour with fellow Taranaki boy Lew Pryme, and the Pleasers. Better still, they'd signed to HMV Records and their first disc (recorded only as a demo and released in March 1965), a clean clipped version of The Who's first single I Can't Explain, and a version of The Kinks' first single, Long Tall Shorty, was out. They promoted Long Tall Shorty on Wellington Television's Teen Scene show shortly after.

The embryonic beat group "with a weakness for slow chugging blues and wistful ballads" who left Taranaki in late 1964, without a bass player, were now on the cusp of local pop stardom. Lead guitarist Bari Gordon and bassist Dave Orams were a long way from New Plymouth dance band, the Nite Lites, the band they'd both cut their musical teeth in. The distance to the Blue Diamonds, the beat band, Bari formed in 1964 to rev up the audience and play behind the featured artists such as Dinah Lee, Tommy Adderley and John Hore on Johnny Cooper's Talent Shows, was less.

When the line-up settled on Bari (lead guitar), his sister's boyfriend, guitar novice, Midge Marsden, and Auckland drummer Bryan Beauchamp, they were only a steady bass player away from a solid unit. Tim Nuku and Colin Lambert had been tried and dropped by the time Bari secured a December 1964 opening at a Phil Warren dance in Wellington. Dave Orams was up for it. Time for a name change to Bari and The Breakaways as suggested by popular soloist Tommy Adderley.

With R & B breaking bigtime in the charts in 1965, Bari and The Breakaways, secured more work and the kudos of being on top of a trend before it broke. "Better than ever - wild and unpredictable", said their ad for the Hide-A-Way in Victoria Street.

Out in the suburbs, particularly R & B strongholds, Wainuiomata and the Hutt Valley, The Breakaways were packing them in. Further out in provincial Waiarapa and Manawatu, they were experiencing a localised form of pop stardom.

Beauchamp: "In Waiarapa we became an overnight sensation. Every night it was packed. They went totally berserk in Masterton. Our records went straight to top of the hit parade there. We were huge in Hawera and Taranaki.

"They found time to back a number of HMV solo artists on disc, including Lew Pryme. A new single of their own appeared in October 1965; a sharp version of Frankie Ford's Sea Cruise backed with a hard R & B tune, Tough Enough. It was the band's biggest hit, described by Marsden as "our finest hour."

In December 1965, Midge Marsden was called up for three months of compulsory military training, making the news pages of The Dominion in the process. The bad news kept coming. Bari decided to leave to get married. They'd also been tensions in the group over money, musical direction and the desire of Beauchamp and Orams, and to a lesser extent Marsden, to further mine the earthier sounds of R & B. Bari had always a pop man. He bowed out with Old Man Mose, a Swinging Blue Jeans album track and tribute to jazz pianist Mose Allison.

With Midge out of action for three months, The Breakaways shortened their name, and recruited 17 year old Palmerston North guitarist Dave Hurley, late of Palmerston North's Saints.Beauchamp: "We were starting to develop a heavier R & B sound style. Bari didn't have the feel for it. We'd heard Dave Hurley with The Saints in Palmerston North. He had the real feel, the Chuck Berry riffs."

With their first album half-completed, and Beauchamp handling lead vocals from behind the drums, the three-piece Breakaways headed for Nelson, and a resident season in the popular South Island city and resort playing the Top Twenty Coffee Lounge, Wednesdays six - 12 p.m. It wasn't a good time for long-haired musicians to be playing the provinces.

Dave Orams: "We got a hard time from police, truckies. We were asked to leave our rental house. The neighbours didn't like having long-haired musicians next door. So we were sleeping on the floor in the coffee bar. The police saw us climbing up the back stairs one day, said: "If you're staying here, you're in big trouble."

"We were sleeping in the car. Broke in a sports hall one night and slept under gym mats. Then we were walking down the street one day and these big burly truckies with spanners and black woolly singlets, jumped out, saying; "If you don't get your hair cut in a week, we'll cut it for you."

They moved South to Christchurch, playing a return date at The Safari Room, followed by shows in Timaru, Oamaru and Dunedin. In May 1966, they started recording the rest of their first album Let's Take a Sea Cruise with Bari and the Breakaways, which would include Bari-era recordings. It was an interesting mix of tracks reflecting the group's R & B passions, Beauchamp and Orams offbeat taste for the Everley Brothers and a Dave Orams original, All For One, which he also sang.

The next month, they were back in HMV studios recording the backing for Murray Marsden (ex-Countdown) on It's A Crying Shame/ Lipstick Traces, a service the Breakaways also provided for female vocalist Gwynn Owen.

On the live front, they continued impressing and progressing, stalled just before the big-time. They were one of the biggest bands in the biggest scene in New Zealand, but still Auckland remained elusive. Even with their records in the Auckland hit parades and Harbour City radio, The Breakaways were still unable to break through the Auckland-Wellington pop divide.

They played as far up the island as Te Awamutu with "singing compere Bari Gordon" and at the Starlight Ballroom in nearby Hamilton in September, promoting their latest single, A Travelled Man, backed with Perhaps I'll Settle Down.

Back in Wellington, Lew Pryme, then working as a journalist for the Truth checked out The Breakaways current attire and was impressed: "Their stage makeup is as mod as Carnaby Street. They have stage suits made from outlandish tartan checks and bell bottomed trousers tailored from Union Jack patterns."

The Breakaways second HMV Studio recorded album was near complete. In December, they released their first original as the topside of a single Despair, written by Dave Orams and Bryan Beauchamp on Orams' parents' piano, and backed Dene Hunter on his version (of Them's version) of Paul Simon's Richard Corey.

Bryan Beauchamp, who sung lead on most of the band's records, was eyeing a solo career. He'd already had his first outing as a soloist at The Place (in inner-city Wellington) in November. He stuck around for three shows as lead vocalist while new drummer Doug Thomas of New Plymouth's Rex and The Roadrunners fitted in (Thomas also played on two second album tracks), then the "little guy with the big sound" as he'd be billed, finally departed.

He'd be missed, but he'd done everything he thought he could with the band. They'd stopped moving forward. They should really have gone to Australia, says Beauchamp now, but it never happened. Midge (long since honking away on harp) and Dave took over the vocals.

The Breakaways spent the Christmas season at Timaru in the South Island ladding about with The Echophonics and The Boys.

When they returned to Wellington, they finally inquired about the money they'd been making over the frantic previous two years. When it wasn't accounted for to Dave Hurley's satisfaction, he quit the band.

In February, the Breakaways released their last single Walk Right Back, backed with Baby, Please Don't Go. After a brief break-up, they reformed in March 1967, with Tim Piper, late of Christchurch's Chants R & B on guitar. Dave Hurley soon returned, but The Breakaways were all but spent. They played a big Lower Hutt Town Hall Jamboree in April with Wellington's top pop acts (and a solo Bryan Beauchamp) and in May, the same year, finally lined up Auckland.

The group knew that they had to break Auckland to survive, but after a show at the Galaxie, and an appearance on TV pop show C'mon, they broke up instead. Their second album, The Breakaways, was released posthumously.

Bari Gordon, who'd been working as a promoter, died suddenly under mysterious circumstances in a New Plymouth hotel room in January 1969 aged just 22.

Midge: "I guess we'll never know why. He was depressed. His marriage had fallen apart. He'd lost a lot of money on a La De Das tour. He booked himself into the Criterion hotel in New Plymouth for the weekend. By Sunday morning, he was dead.

"Death by OD was a pretty rare occurrence then. We were beside ourselves with guilt. He was a good mate - got me my start. He was quite innovative for his time. Good at getting contacts. He was focused for a farmer's son from Stratford."

Midge Marsden continued on in music, never really losing his passion for R & B. He still performs today. Dave Orams went on to The Bitter End and The Underdogs. He now lives in Australia. Bryan Beauchamp is back in Taranaki. Dave Hurley played in a number of bands before founding Mandrill Studios in Auckland.© 2000 - Andrew Schmidt

Bari & The Breakaways - Let's Take A Sea Cruise!  (1966)

1966 debut album from the Beatles inspired Rhythm and Blues outfit, originally from New Zealand. Includes their UK hit "Sea Cruise." Originally credited only as The Breakaways, this album includes tracks written by original singer Bari Gordon who left the group earlier that year. One of the many bands of the time who's lead singer was also their drummer, in this case Bryan Beauchamp, the Breakaways went through numerous line up changes recording only two albums. Twenty nine track album includes "I Can't Explain", "Dancing In The Street" and "As Tears Go By"
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The Avengers - Medallion (1969)

The Avengers - Medallion (1969)


Original line-up was:
CLIVE COCKBURN – lead guitar/organ/vocals
DAVE BROWN – rhythm guitar/vocals
EDDIE MCDONALD – bass guitar/vocals
IAN (HANK) DAVIS – drums/vocals

Electric Recording CSDM 6266
Dial AAA – Alive! Avengers in Action at Ali Baba’s CSDM 6297
Medallion CSDM 6304

Rock group from New Zealand, formed 1966 in Wellington. 

The Avengers - Medallion (1969)

One of the most polished pop groups this town has ever produced, these guys
were also probably one of the first ‘manufactured’ groups of the era. Ken
Cooper, the fiendish bongo-playing ex member of The Swamp Dwellers, turned
entrepreneur, decided to create a super- group to play at his club, The Place. Herecruited Clive from The Mustangs, Dave from The Wanderers, and Dave Diver (ex Librettos) from The Countdowns. Just as Ken was about to winkle out a bass player, Dave Diver decided to move back to Christchurch. Undaunted by this set-back, Ken dragged in Eddie (from Miramar’s The Strangers) on bass, and Hank (who worked for NZR) on drums. With this line- up completed, all they needed was a name.

The Avengers - Medallion (1969)

So a competition was organised and on13 March 1966 the results were published
in The Dominion Sunday Times. The name decided upon was, of course, The
Avengers. Those responsible for naming the band were: Mailyn Tronsen of
Taradale, Napier and Dalvanius Prime (yes, the very same large and soulful
crooner who, in his turn, found fame in the 70’s) then of Aro Street, Wellington. They got three LP’s from EMI for their trouble.

The Avengers took the stage for their debut performance at The Place on
Queen’s Birthday weekend of 1966. In no time flat, they established a big following and quite a reputation for their mode of dress. Dapper would sum it up more than adequately. They carried commercialism a bit further than the norm by having their dresser’s logo painted on the front of Hank’s bass drum: no doubt The Vault made a quid or five from the arrangement. Not content with local fame, the band industriously toured the length and breadth of both islands, gaining more fans all the while.

Quite apart from their very competent instrumental prowess, they
developed their vocal abilities as well, and after a year of honing the act on the road they were ready to make their initial foray into the recording studio in 1967. The resulting debut single was Everyone’s Gonna Wonder and it soared into the No 7 position on the national Top 20 that October. Naturally, more furious touring followed in the wake of this unexpected (but very welcome) success. The boys were hot! ‘Where’s the money?’ they cried. ‘I’ve got expenses,’ came the reply from their delirious manager. Rumours began to circulate about an impending trip to the USA – or even Australia!

Reassured by the success of their first disc, a follow- up was released in January 1967. Only Once In My Life was another national Top 10 hit for them – they were on a roll. And so it went on – touring, rehearsing, new stage outfits, writing, TV appearances, interviews, more new clothes, yet more touring. By now household names, rumours of a possible USA trip for The Avengers grew to fever pitch with the news that Cashbox had selected Everyone as their Cashbox Newcomers Pick of the Week. But for one reason or another, it was not to be. Instead, the band continued to record singles and albums, among which is the excellent LP, Dial AAA – Alive! Avengers in Action at Ali Baba’s.

Their first jaunt across the Tasman was a success. They filled in for The Castaways (who were visiting Godzone briefly) at the trendy Prince Albert Disco in trendy Sydney, ‘sending’ the locals might-ily. Returning to Wellington, they released Love, Hate Revenge and hit the trail once more, blowing away the switched-on set in Auckland with their act. But having once tasted the delights of international acceptance, it wasn’t long before they headed back across the ditch. So 1970 saw The Avengers begin a round of inter-state tour-ing, TV appearances and club engagements in ‘the big country’. A problem they had to overcome almost immediately was the confusion that arose over their name. There was a Brisbane band also called The Avengers, and they weren’t about to change for these Kiwi upstarts. Our plucky lads simply began to call themselves The New Zealand Avengers and carried right on blowing away our Aussie cousins. Then, just as they seemed set to make a major impact, disaster struck.

Dave was ordered into hospital for a hernia operation. In order to fulfil contractual obligations, the guys brought in Melbourne musician John Pugh (from a band known as The James Taylor Move) as his temporary replacement. However, this hiccup proved to be the death knell for The Avengers, and shortly afterwards they decided to call it quits. Dave and Clive came home while Hank, Eddie and John joined a band in Perth. Dave resumed his ‘ career as a builder, and Clive joined TVNZ as a floor manager before rising to exalted heights as a director. It didn’t take long before he came to his senses, and he re- signed to do what he does best – music. By now married to local blues shouter Val Murphy, and living in the romantic ambience of Katherine Mansfield’s Eastbourne summer home, the pair composed- in rapid succession – two rock operas: Jennifer and Valdramar. Clive now works full-time as a composer of TV and film music, whilst supplementing his income by writing and recording commercials. Eddie eventually returned home to take his place in the family electrical business, and Hank now lives in Sydney, where he runs a furniture business.

Surely one of the finest bands this country has produced. The Avengers have left us a healthy collection of records to remember them by. ~

The Avengers - Medallion (1969)

The Avengers - Medallion (1969)

Peter Nelson & The Castaways - Down In The Mine - Singles (1965-1967) (2017 NZ-Australia)

Peter Nelson & The Castaways - Down In The Mine - Singles (1965-1967) (2017 NZ-Australia)

Peter Nelson & The Castaways - Down In The Mine - Singles (1965-1967) (2017 NZ-Australia)

There are many bands called The Castaways - from the USA and the UK, etc. In the catalog of 45cat singles there are 20 of them ... Here is a rare & good band from New Zealand.
Peter Nelson & The Castaways (NZ-Australia)
    Peter Nelson (Lead Vocalist)
    Len Ormsby (Lead Guitar)
    Doug Petrie (Drums)
    Doug Henderson (Rhythm Guitar)
    Don Clarkson (Bass)
    Peter Gillette (Keyboards)
Peter Nelson and the Castaways originated from Christchurch. Peter's real name was Peter Trebilcock. They appeared on the local TV show "Teen Scene" there before basing themselves in Wellington. With this original line-up they recorded two singles "Baby Can I Take You Home"/"I'll Never Be Blue" and "Down The Road Apiece"/"I'll Go Crazy" in 1965. They were good examples of R&B from that time. Unlike other New Zealand bands of the era the Castaways chose to mine a rich vein of obscure tracks of R&B and mixed them with their own originals.
It was the next single that they were best known for. It was "Down In The Mine"/"So Don't Go". "Down In The Mine" was written by Peter Hindmarsh, who was the bass player for the Wellington band, the Premiers, in the early sixties. Around this time Doug Rowe, from Palmerston North's Saints, replaced Don Clarkson on bass in 1965.
One more single was released, "Goin' Out Of My Mind"/"Skye Boat Song", before the group left for Australia in 1966. Following the groups arrival in Australia, Peter Nelson left them to find fame as a solo artist, heading to the lucrative scene in Hong Kong. Peter was replaced by a new vocalist called Frankie Stevens, brother of Jon Stevens and they changed their name to the Castaways.
Frankie Stevens was born Francis Donald McKechnie Stevenson in Wellington, New Zealand in 1950. His mother was Maori, and his father Scottish. He has 10 brothers and sisters. One of his younger brothers is Jon Stevens, who has also had a very successful career in his own right.
Frankie knew from an early age that singing was going to be his career, commencing when he sang with the school band in Upper Hutt at the age of thirteen. This was in 1962 when Wayne Mason formed his first band with classmates from Heretaunga College. Calling themselves the Southern Auroras, they consisted of Frank Stevenson, as he called himself then, on vocals, Martin Hope on lead guitar, Les Gruebner on bass, Jim McEwan on drums, and Wayne Mason on rhythm guitar. As a group they never really got going, but it was a sufficient experience to learn their musical basics. This group was the embryo band for Wayne Mason and he evolved it over the years into what would later become the Fourmyula.
Frankie's professional career began at the age of 16 when he moved to Sydney, Australia in 1966. At the same time as Frankie went to Australia, another New Zealand group was doing the same. They were Peter Nelson and the Castaways and following the groups arrival in Australia, Peter Nelson left them to find fame as a solo artist. Peter was replaced by new vocalist Frankie Stevens, and they changed their name to the Castaways.
As the Castaways they released the singles "Any Little Bit"/"Early Morning" in 1967 and "One More Fool"/"Baby What I Mean" and "Angelica"/"Love Is A Hurtin' Thing"  for EMI in Australia before returning to New Zealand in 1968. After a couple of years of touring Australia and New Zealand, he left the group to try his luck as a solo artist.
There were still two singles to be released as Peter Nelson and the Castaways. They were "Knock On Wood"/"Old Man Mose" and "At A Time Like This"/"A Little Lovin' Somethin' ", both released in 1967. As the Castaways they released the singles "Any Little Bit"/"Early Morning" in 1967 and "One More Fool"/"Baby What I Mean" and "Angelica"/"Love Is A Hurtin' Thing"  for EMI in Australia before returning to New Zealand in 1968. During their time in Australia, Len Ormsby was replaced by Reno Tehei, Doug Petrie by ex-Twilights drummer Laurie Pryor, and Peter Gillette by Lance Dixon.

Australian pop of the 60's The Human Instinct - The Human Instincts & The Four Fours 1963-1968 The Simple Image - Spinning Spinning SpinningThe Chicks - C'Mon Chicks (1968 New Zealand) The Human Instinct - Singles 1966-1971The Embers  - The Embers Dig Doug! (1964)Hi-Revving Tongues - Tropic Of Capricorn (1967)Bari & The Breakaways - Let's Take A Sea Cruise!  (1966)The Avengers - Medallion (1969)Peter Nelson & The Castaways - Down In The Mine - Singles (1965-1967) (2017 NZ-Australia)

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