‘I Only Wash My Hands…’: Saturday, 21st May, 1977

This morning we voted in the Referendum that is being held to choose Australia’s National Song.

Donnie Sutherland has returned as the host of “Sounds Unlimited”, on Channel Seven. He is interviewing Bill Collins, questioning him as to whom is his favourite movie star. Bill has had little hesitation in naming Alan Ladd, ahead of Jeanette MacDonald and Gary Cooper. Interestingly, all three are deceased.

Actor, Ricardo Montalban, is a guest on “Sonny And Cher”, from noon.

“Jeopardy”, at five o’clock, is followed by “It’s Academic”, half an hour later. John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” concert runs for an hour from half past six, and is followed by “Baa Baa Black Sheep”. Barry Newman plays the New Mexican lawyer, Petrocelli, in the series of this name, at half past eight. Singer and actor, Rick Nelson, is a guest star and sings “One Night Stand”, which I used to hear played quite often on 2″KY Country” a year or two ago.

When I was in Third Year at high school I was a fan of Ricky/Rick Nelson, while my mates at that time, Max and Richard, were each fans of Roy Orbison and Bobby Vinton, respectively. Being an inane teenager, I used to stir Max by stating, “Is it Roy or is it a bison?”

If I may digress a little further? One day at lunchtime I espied Max emerging from a cubicle and as we walked from the toilet block I questioned him, “Aren’t you going to wash your hands?” to which he replied, in all seriousness, ‘I only wash my hands when my fingers go through the toilet paper’.

I stayed up to watch the western movie, “Whispering Smith”, from 1948. It stars Alan Ladd, Donald Crisp, Brenda Marshall and Robert Preston, who plays Alan Ladd’s character’s erstwhile best mate who has turned bad.

From a quarter past eleven I watched the final of the F.A. Cup, live, on Channel Seven. Manchester United defeated Liverpool by two goals to one, after the teams had been locked at nil all at half-time. Stuart Pearson and Lou Macari scored for the victors, and Jimmy Case netted for Liverpool. It was 2.00 a.m. before I retired to bed.

It hasn’t been my day! We voted for the national anthem, “God Save The Queen”, in the referendum and I barracked for Liverpool to defeat Manchester United. “Advance Australia Fair”, which was firstly performed in 1878, has clearly won the vote as the preferred national song, in advance of “Waltzing Matilda”, “God Save The Queen” and “Song Of Australia”.

The Ames Brothers

This quartet of brothers hailed from Malden, Massachusetts. The brothers’ parents, David and Sarah Urick, had emigrated from the Ukraine, and had nine children in all.

Only Ed Ames, who was born in July of 1927, survives at this time of writing. Joe (1921-2007), Gene (1923-1997) and Vic (1925-1978) were this vocal group’s other members.

Having moved to New York, in the late 1940s, it was decided that their collective name should be changed from The Amory Brothers to that of The Ames Brothers. The brothers became the first artists to record for Coral Records, a label that, in the late 1950s, was to become synonymous with the recordings of Buddy Holly.

Success was not long in coming, as “Rag Mop” reached No.1 in the early months of 1950.

The Ames Brothers became extremely popular, not only on the radio and television but in nightclubs, as well. Hit after hit followed “Rag Mop”, with “Sentimental Me” also reaching the covetted No.1 position, and, later in that year “Can Anyone Explain? (No, No, No)” ascended to No.5.

In 1951, “Undecided”, which was recorded with Les Brown and his Band of Renown, reached No.2. Nevertheless, the four had to wait until 1953 to savour their biggest success of all, “You You You”, which was to remain atop the hit parade for eight weeks. The Ames Brothers had just switched to recording on the RCA Victor label and were hence now accompanied by Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra.

The cleverly written “The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane”, released in late 1954, climbed to sit at No.3. In total The Ames Brothers had forty-nine recordings enter the American charts. There, the quartet’s other recordings to enter the Top 10 were “Tammy” and “Melodie D’Amour”, both of which peaked at No.5, in 1957.

http://youtu.be/_M1SVioazHs

“Pussy Cat” climbed to No.3 in Australia, in 1958, and remained on the chart for twenty weeks.

When The Ames Brothers disbanded, in 1960, Ed Ames pursued a career as an actor; in conjunction with that as a solo recording artist. He is perhaps best remembered, as an actor, for his portrayal of ‘Mingo’, an American Indian, in the television series, ‘Daniel Boone’, which ran from 1964-1970.

As a solo performer, Ed’s most notable recording is ‘My Cup Runneth Over’, which reached No.8, in 1967.

My favourite recordings by The Ames Brothers are “You You You”, “The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane”, “Melodie D’Amour”, “Pussy Cat” and, from 1956, “It Only Hurts For A Little While”.

All of the above five can be found on my list of favourite recordings, located in the suggested playlists. Perhaps you shall notice that in this list I have shown preference to Debbie Reynolds’ version of “Tammy”. It spent five weeks atop Billboard’s pop chart, in 1957, and features in the film, ‘Tammy And The Bachelor’, in which Debbie also stars.

As Flat As A Tack: Sunday, 22nd May, 1977

I began to pull up the old carpet in the bedrooms of our new house while Tiki ‘Baygoned’ the kitchen cupboards. We folded up the old carpet on the back lawn and left it, along with its underlay of felt, on the floor of the sunroom.

It was particularly dusty work, raising the carpets, but the worst task of all was the removal of those tacks that remained. The majority of which were surrounded by fibrous felt and the obvious thing to do was to flatten them as much as possible, for obtaining leverage with the claw hammer at my disposal had proven to be a futile exercise. The floorboards seem to be in a pretty good condition although plenty of knots jumped out of them as I hammered away.

At 2.30 p.m., we watched the motion picture, “Rhino”, from 1964, which stars Robert “Trackdown”/”I Spy” Culp and the British actress, Shirley Eaton. It was followed at four o’clock by another from that same year, in the form of “633 Squadron”, with Cliff Robertson, George Chakiris, Australian John Meillon, and John Bonney.

I had one eye on the television and one ear to my circa 1965 ‘Panasonic 8′ trannie as I listened to New South Wales just scrape home against Queensland, by fourteen points to thirteen, in the second game of the interstate series, which was also played at Lang Park, in Brisbane. The visitors trailed by two points to eight at half-time and two to thirteen at one stage. Queensland scored three tries to two.

Manly-Warringah was unimpressive in its victory over the wooden spooner’s Newtown, by ten points to five. “Seven’s Big League”, from half past six, features a delayed, edited replay of this afternoon’s match between Parramatta and Eastern Suburbs. The former won by twenty-one points to fourteen.

“This Is Your Life” follows, at half-past seven, and looks at that of actress and entertainer, Carol “The Mavis Bramston Show”/”Number 96” Raye. Born in Britain, in 1923, Carol emigrated to Australia in 1964. She has stated that she was once offered a seven years’ contract with M.G.M., but turned the offer down to have a family. Special guests on this evening’s programme include English actor, Stanley “Our Man Higgins” Holloway, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

“Nightwatch”, a motion picture, that bears the copyright of 1973, screens on Channel Nine from half past eight. It stars Elizabeth Taylor and the late British actor, Laurence Harvey.

 

Consecutive Centuries To Chappell: Monday, 23rd May, 1977

Despite the sunshine it was a cold nine degrees Celsius when we arose. At noon, “The Mike Walsh Show”, in the presence of a live audience, had among its guests Australian singers, Jamie Redfern and Ray Burgess. The latter, is the presenter of the pop series, “Flashez”, and sang “Gloria”, which was a hit in Australia, in 1965, for Them, a group, from Northern Ireland, led by Van Morrison. ‘Frankenstein’ came to life, however, when Mike Walsh pulled off its mask, it proved to be none other than the show’s resident larrikin, Mike Williams, whom, for whatever reason, is also regularly referred to as ‘Shirley Temple’. The irrepressible bandleader, Geoff Harvey, quaffed two glasses of champagne, served by a butler. Other guests included a lion cub, a seal called ‘Dopey’ and a penguin!

At three o’clock, Mannix looks for a Japanese courier, with the assistance of Tami Okada, a likeable Japanese private investigator.

“Flashez”, from half past five, is followed at six by “The Big Match”, in which Chelsea accounts for Hull City by four goals to nil. While still on the subject of soccer, Australian international, George Harris, who plays for St. George, in the Philips’ League, is interviewed on ATN Channel Seven’s “News” as a result of being unexpectedly struck above the right eye by a spectator at the conclusion to his side’s away game against Adelaide City.

“Michael Edgeley’s Circus Spectacular” was viewed from half past seven.

Australia defeated Gloucestershire by one hundred and seventy-three runs. Greg Chappell’s one hundred and two means that he has scored centuries in successive matches.

Lloyd Price

Lloyd Price is a songwriter, talented performer, bandleader, arranger and an astute businessman, who was born in New Orleans, in March of 1933. He was one of eleven children, whose parents were devout Baptists.

The thirteen lived in the suburb of Kenner, where his mother owned a small restaurant. When patrons activated its juke box, Lloyd found himself exposed to the music of Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five, Amos Milburn, and Joe and Jimmy Liggins, as well as many others of their ilk.

A local disc jockey, Okey-Dokey Smith, used the expression, ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’, and, after he and a younger brother, had formed a band, Lloyd set about developing a tune to this saying. Once lyrics were added the song caught the attention of bandleader, Dave Bartholomew, who had the nowadays famous Fats Domino devise an introduction to it on the piano, and, in 1952, the single became a national hit. It spent seven weeks atop Billboard’s rhythm and blues chart, on which it would remain for six months.

http://youtu.be/FiiZ147JUPA

That following year, Lloyd was drafted into the United States’ Army, in spite of the fact that five of his brothers were apparently already in it. There supposedly was a rule that not more than five members of any one family would be required to enter the military simultaneously.

Lloyd was shipped to Korea, in 1953, but had the good fortune to be moved to Japan where he was assigned to a unit that specialised in entertaining soldiers who were stationed there.

Upon his release from the Army, in 1956, Lloyd based himself in Washington D.C. where, with a promoter by the name of Harold Logan, he formed KRC Records. In 1957, Lloyd recorded “Just Because”, however, its success was moderate when compared to that of “Lawdy Miss Clawdy”.

ABC-Paramount Records engulfed KRC and Lloyd’s first single on this label was his own composition, “You Need Love”, which contained “Stagger Lee” on its reverse. The latter song contained lyrics put to traditional folklore in New Orleans. In 1950, a local musician, Leon T. Gross, under the pseudonym, Archibald, had released his version of ‘Stackolee’, calling it “Stack-A-Lee”.

http://youtu.be/-ZmNwikKU_w

Whilst “You Need Love” did not succeed, “Stagger Lee” certainly did! It stood atop Billboard’s pop chart for four weeks, following its release in late 1958. However, when television’s censors would not permit Dick Clark to play the recording’s graphically violent lyrics on ‘American Bandstand’, a diluted version was recorded especially for television.

Nineteen fifty-nine marked the climax of Lloyd Price’s recording career: “Stagger Lee”, spent its four weeks at No.1 from February; “Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)? reached No.23; his self-penned — he included Harold Logan’s name on the labels of his recordings merely out of his sheer respect for the man — “Personality” became his largest-selling single, in spite of it reaching its zenith at No.2; “I’m Gonna Get Married” ascended to No.3 and “Come Into My Heart” rose to peak at No.20. “Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)? reappeared, in 1999, when it was included in the soundtrack to the film, ‘Runaway Bride’, only on this occasion it was performed by Billy Joel.

In Britain, “Stagger Lee” peaked at No.7; “Where Were You (On Our Wedding Day)?”, No.15; “Personality”, No.9; and I’m Gonna Get Married”, at No.23. Whilst in Australia, Lloyd’s only three hits, full stop, were “Stagger Lee” (No.4), “Personality” (No.1) and I’m Gonna Get Married” (No.4).

http://youtu.be/CtfZp0lH5XQ

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Unlike in the current era where fans are seemingly entertained by a plethora of recordings that  bear warbling, electronically altered voices that monotonously echo the often same scant lyrics to an equally monotonous unchanging electronic beat, fans demanded change and freshness and artists who could not or would not offer this often rapidly fell by the wayside.

Nineteen sixty marked the beginning of the end of Lloyd’s meaningful entries to the charts. “Lady Luck” reached No.14 and “Question” No.19. He left ABC-Paramount and recorded for a succession of labels without achieving mentionable success.

After Harold Logan was murdered, in 1969, Lloyd decided to move to Africa. He worked at assisting American companies to invest in his adopted continent. A fan of boxing, in 1974, Lloyd partnered Don King in promoting the ‘Rumble In The Jungle’, in Zaire, between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, as well as the ‘Thrilla In Manila’ between Ali and Joe Frazier, in 1975.

Lloyd Price returned to live in the United States, in the early 1980s. In the 1990s, he returned to the stage, touring with other vintage rock stars, such as Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, James Brown, Dion, The Righteous Brothers, Wilson Pickett, Conway Twitty, Ricky Nelson, Tommy Roe, Joe Cocker, Neil Diamond and Nick Cave are just some of the recording artists to have covered material written and recorded by Lloyd Price.

 

‘Marshall’s Portable Music Machine’: Tuesday, 24th May, 1977

I left St. Peters at ten past nine to walk to Sydenham Station in the cold, and light rain. I had missed the earlier train and had to wait until ten o’clock for the one that was to transport me to Caringbah. Seated in the waiting room, I had passed the time by listening to two elderly women talk about their late husbands and what they, themselves, were wearing to keep out the cold.

As I walked home along Taren Road, an Alsatian was in two minds as to whether he would attack me; not once but twice! I arrived just as “11 A.M.”, presented by Steve Liebmann, was commencing.

At noon, “The Mike Walsh Show” proved to be most entertaining. A bloke demonstrated his own ‘Marshall’s Portable Music Machine’, complete with flashing lights. He takes it around to schools. It flushes its own “loo”, and even ‘washed’ Mike Walsh’s sock so thoroughly that it came out white!

The controversial sport presenter, Ron Casey, was on the programme and told Judy Ann Stewart that violence in sport was “bullshit”. The fact that George Harris required fourteen stitches to the wound above his right eye was mentioned.

Swearing on Australian television has, to a degree, become acceptable in the four years since American actor, Michael Cole — then a member of “The Mod Squad” — appeared at the Logie Awards, which are distributed for excellence in television, and, obviously affected by alcohol, dropped the ‘ess-word’¬† live for the nation to hear.

The appearance by a really humorous young comedian restored levity to “The Mike Walsh Show”. He commenced with his ‘News’ report which included a gag about how a truck driver, who had been trapped in his vehicle as a consequence of an accident, had the fortune to be pulled from the wreck by the Smiths and not the Balls.

In his parody ‘TV’s Weak’, a title based upon the weekly magazine, when talking about nudity he alluded to ‘Starkers And Crutch’.

“Medical Center”, from two o’clock has Bradford Dillman cast as a doctor who is prone to consuming alcohol and indulging in the pursuit of gambling. Stefanie “The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.” Powers plays the role of his wife.

From six o’clock, on ABC-TV’s Channel Two, the wildlife documentary, “Last Of The Wild”, centres upon the lion. “Willesee” and the American comedy “Good Times” follow, on Channel Seven, at seven o’clock and half past seven respectively.

Australian singer, Robin Jolley, took the ditty about “Marshall’s Portable Music Machine” to No.9 on the Australian pop chart in the middle of 1972.

 

 

‘More Thoughties Than Naughties?’: Wednesday, 25th May, 1977

En route to Tiki’s place of work, in glorious sunshine, we observed a severely dented 1963 Volkswagen ‘Beetle’ with bandaids strategically placed on those areas which were affected most prominently.

On platform No.4, at Sydenham, an elderly lady castigated the unions and workers employed on the railway, as I spoke with her.

Channel Seven’s ‘Midday Movie’, “Go Naked In The World”, that bears the copyright of 1961 and includes Gina Lollobrigida and Anthony Franciosa in its cast, appeared to be uninspiring and so I turned the dial to “The Mike Walsh Show”, on Channel Nine. Expatriate New Zealander, Dinah Lee, was singing. When another guest was asked about his sexual performance, he stated that it had much to do with inspiration. “More thoughties than naughties?” Mike Walsh retorted.

At five minutes to three I listened to the broadcast of the Lord Mayor’s Cup, from Southport, on Queensland’s Gold Coast. “Ngawyni”, trained by Bart Cummings, and the winner of this year’s Australian Cup, carried sixty kilogrammes to victory. Later, “Blue’s Finito” won the Flying Handicap there and paid $3.10, for a unit of twenty-five cents, placed on the tote for the win on the N.S.W. T.A.B.

On “Mannix”, from three o’clock, on Channel Seven, the private investigator assists an American Indian friend — whom he first met during the Korean War — whose mate is killed, and sister raped, by a young rich thug in Albuquerque.

This evening’s edition of “Last Of The Wild”, narrated by Lorne Greene, traces how animals are rescued from an area, in Venezuela, which has been stricken by drought.

“The Red Tent”, a motion picture from 1969, is shown from half past seven. It centres upon General Nobile whose airship crashes on the ice of the Arctic. The accident results in the death of Norwegian Roald Amundsen, the first man to have reached the South Pole, when he goes in search of survivors. The film stars the late Peter Finch, Sean Connery, Hardy Kruger and Claudia Cardinale.

The Vogues

The members of The Vogues had been friends since childhood, in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. This male, vocal group began as a doo-wop quartet, in 1958, but its success was to come amid the genre of garage-rock that emerged in the 1960s.

The Vogues’ leading vocalist was Bill Burkette. Bill was ably supported by baritone, Don Miller, and two tenors, Hugh Geyer and Chuck Blasco. As was the case with many groups, early success eluded the four. In fact, The Vogues was to remain virtually unknown until 1965.

That was the year in which the quartet received the opportunity to cover Petula Clark’s “You’re The One”. Petula had co-written the song in collaboration with fellow Briton Tony Hatch, who had already penned her international smash, “Downtown”, in that previous year.

Whilst Petula Clark was to take “You’re The One” into the British and Australian charts, it was to be The Vogues who would take it to No.4 in America.

http://youtu.be/Gc2xfWooktg

Coming from a suburb of Pittsburgh, a city with an industrial heart, it was, therefore, only fitting that The Vogues should follow its initial success with an anthem straight from the floor of a factory; in the form of the truly superb, “Five O’Clock World”.

Surely, it was only the volume of recordings of high quality at the time of its release, in November of 1965, that prevented “Five O’Clock World” from rising higher than No.4 on Billboard’s Hot 100?

http://youtu.be/smhOTGxzAV4

Not wishing to be pigeon-holed, and with a passion for harmonising, The Vogues turned to reviving standards from the 1950s and early Sixties. This, at a time when the youth of the day was much more attuned to the releases of Steppenwolf, The Doors, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, and Iron Butterfly: America’s precursor to heavy metal. Still, Top-Ten hits were there to be had albeit more than three years after “Five O’Clock World”.

The Vogues’ revivals of Bobby Helms’ “My Special Angel”, from 1957, and Glen Campbell’s initial entry to the charts, in 1961, “Turn Around, Look At Me”, both reached No.7 on Billboard, in 1968. The quartet’s last entry to the charts came in 1970 although The Vogues continued to record throughout the Seventies.

http://youtu.be/nWxm5YRmzEU

I have added “Five O’Clock World” to my list of favourite recordings, which is located in the suggested playlists.

‘The Naked Vicar Show’ Premieres: Thursday, 26th May, 1977

This morning is gloriously sunny. It cost us $81.25 to have the telephone connected to our new house.

Guests on “The Mike Walsh Show” from noon, on Channel Nine, included an obese toothless prostitute; as well as actor, John Waters and entertainer, Ross Dunbar, and the latter’s wife, talking about how their marriages have survived their careers in show business.

On “Mannix”, from three o’clock, on Channel Seven, a fellow, played by Paul “The Naked City”/”Twelve O’Clock High” Burke, survives the crash of an aeroplane in which the other three hundred and thirty-nine passengers and crew are killed. When he is released from hospital, after facial surgery, his wife believes that he is not her husband.

We turned the television off, at eight o’clock, half of the way through the premiere of Australian satirical comedy series, “The Naked Vicar Show”, on Channel Seven. It is a Seventies’ version of the Sixties’ “The Mavis Bramston Show”. It features Noeline Brown — who was also in “The Mavis Bramston Show” — Kevin Goldsby and Ross Higgins.

“These Boots Were Made For Laying!”: Friday, 27th May, 1977

I talked to a gentleman who once worked in Emmaville, in the north of New South Wales. Having briefly visited it, in 1974, I quipped that to visit that particular town was like going back twenty years in time. Without so much as a hint of a smile he retorted, “More like seventy years!”

An easygoing, happy gent, who had not had a holiday in seven years, laid our carpet for us. He was called upon to lay it hurriedly in the second bedroom because dusk was approaching rapidly and we had discovered that the light bulb was inoperative. The carpet is “short” near the door to the bathroom and, next week, he is going to obtain a special metal strip and cover the gap.

He told us of how his knee “blew up” as a result of him constantly hitting the stretcher. His doctor stuck a needle into it and since then he had experienced no further problems.

One carpet-layer, he had heard of, had filed the metal studs on a pair of football boots until each one possessed an extremely fine point, whereby he could move about the room stretching the carpet by kicking at it. This supposedly minimised the need to knee the stretcher, but, as our layer added, “It wouldn’t do the carpet much good!”

This evening we remained watching Channel Seven. The British comedies, “Doctor At Sea” (featuring Robin Nedwell, Geoffrey Davies and Ernest Clark) and “Mother Makes Three” (Wendy Craig), followed “Willesee”, and from half past eight, the film, “Fitzwilly”, from 1967, stars Dick “The Dick Van Dyke Show” Van Dyke and Barbara “Get Smart” Feldon.

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