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Rob Greaves

The Cream of The Crate - Record #4

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The Cream of The Crate - Record #4

From the Cream of the Crate Collection – An album in my collection that is irreplaceable, and simply a classic!

Once again I take a sharp left hand turn in regard to style, and even country of origin, in regard to my fourth album that I would like to recognise as being special.

The fourth album I’m featuring is a tribute to the influence of Mike Rudd, and a number of other great Australian musicians, in regard to the influence they have had in the development of original Australian music

In my Crate, Spectrum rates as one of the most innovate groups that we can call our own. Over the coming months I will look at a range of fabulous Australian groups and artists, but I think it is appropriate that Spectrum rate as the first that I look at.

The album I have pulled from the Crate is in fact a compilation, released in 1984, and whilst it’s appearance came after the official demise of the group (mind you, Mike still operates with Spectrum so it can be claimed the group never finished, just that it had a musical hiatus!) it does, in my mind, represents the best of Spectrum and its alter ego – Murcepts (the smaller, more ‘pop’ oriented line up)

Titled, Red*Orange*Yellow*Green*Blue*Indigo*Violet, it may in fact have been a ‘grab for cash’ by EMI – but in releasing it they left us with an LP that does have all those tracks we remember so fondly. I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy from a radio station of the day, marked “Not For Sale, For Review & Demonstration Purposes Only” (EME 1100), and it remains in remarkable condition all these years later.

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It seems that Mike Rudd first came to prominence in the Party Machine, along with Ross Wilson. A quick glance at the track credits will see a Wilson composition (Make Your Stash) is included, representing the close relationship the two musicians had at that time. “I’ll Be Gone” is undoubtedly their most widely played, widely known and widely loved track. In the words of Mike Rudd at a very recent show – “We were very, very lucky….It’s been good to us!”

As 1971 opened, all the hard slog paid off handsomely when "I'll Be Gone" (b/w "Launching Place Part II") was released as Spectrum’s debut single in January 1971. Its success was considerably assisted by one of Australia's classic early promotional films, created by musician and filmmaker Chris Lofven. It became the National #1 in February 1971 and spent 20 weeks in the charts.

Now, what a line up! Bill Putt on bass has remained a constant with Rudd, throughout all the various incarnations and groups that he has been in. His throbbing and distinctive sounding fender bass, and his laconic attitude puts him as a major player in the group’s success. This can be shown with Mike and Bill recently playing on the Long Way To The Top show.

Their place in Australian Music History cannot be overstated, they broke new grounds, they popularised the ‘drug-songs’, but in a way that was hard to complain about, their music was infectious, their music smelt of quality. It was written on the liner notes that, “…they appeared regularly at the most exclusive Melbourne ‘head’ venues…” and they did, and what’s more, they made sure they were ‘inclusive’ of thir audiences, and we loved them for it!

Mike Rudd (vocals, guitar, recorder, harmonica)
Bill Putt (bass)
Mark Kennedy (drums) 1969-70
Ray Arnott (drums, vocals) 1970-73
Lee Neale (keyboards, vocals) 1969-72
John Mills (keyboards) 1972-3

Currently the line up is:
Mike Rudd- vocals, guitar, harmonica (1969–1973, 1999–present)
Bill Putt - bass (1969–1973, 1999–present)
Peter ‘Robbo Robinson’ - drums, percussion (1999–present)
Daryl Roberts - keyboards (1999–present)

Other musicians to have played with Spectrum include Mark Kennedy (Drums). Following the demise of Spectrum, Rudd, Putt and Mills joined forces with guitarist Tim Gaze and drummer Nigel Macara, ex-members of leading Sydney 'underground' band Taman Shud, to form the group Ariel.

Tracks on ROYGBIV (Spectrum)

I'll Be Gone" (Rudd) - single edit
Launching Place Pt II" (Rudd)
Make Your Stash" (Ross Wilson)
Drifting" (Rudd)
But That's Alright" (Rudd)
Love's My Bag" (Rudd)
Trust Me" (Arnott) - single edit

Tracks on ROYGBIV (Murcepts
Esmeralda" (My Crudd)
Stay Another Day" (My Crudd)
We Are Indelible" (My Crudd)
Indelible Shuffle" (My Crudd)
Some Good Advice" (My Crudd)
Dalmas (Theme)" (Rudd)

There are so many great tracks on this album, I felt it was an injustice to choose one over another, so the following is a compilation of some of those tracks. What tracks? Listen, and you identify them!

The following is a Spectrum clip from around 1970 - its the Ross Wilson composition, "Make Your Stash"

Previous Cream of The Crate Albums

#1 – Howling Wolf: Real Folk Blues

#2 – Otis Redding: Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Sings Soul

#3 – Dr John The Night Tripper: Gris Gris

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Updated 8th April 2013 at 07:49 PM by Mick Pacholli

Rob Greaves , The Cream of The Crate