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The 60's Rocked Again - The Launch of The 100 Greatest Australian Singles of the '60s

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  • The 60's Rocked Again - The Launch of The 100 Greatest Australian Singles of the '60s

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ID:	38110 When is a book launch far more than a book launch? When you are launching the 100 Greatest Australian Singles of the ‘60s!

    The publication “100 Greatest Australian Singles of the 60’s was formally launched at a fantastic show at Melbourne’s wonderful Memo Music hall, in St Kilda, yesterday -Sunday 1st November.

    The book was compiled and written by David N. Pepperell (alias Dr. pepper) and Colin Talbot, and is accompanied by the Festival double CD Release.

    In order to affect a launch befitting such an important and timely publication, local entrepreneur Karen Marks underwrote this fantastic event and put what can only be described as an immense amount of time,energy and work into it.

    One of her great decisions was to put the music for the event in the hands of Mick Hamilton, who is widely known and highly respected throughout the Australian music scene. When I spoke to Mick after the performance he said he wondered why Karen had asked him, but realised later he had the knowledge and contacts to be able to pull together some great musicians. He did, and he delivered in spades!

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    Before the doors opened the crowd stretched the length of the street outside.

    I spoke to the people on the door and they registered between 250 and 270 guests in attendance, and not one went home disappointed. With David Pepperell and Colin Talbot signing books and CDs, and the full range of merchandise on sale, there was a buzz around the hall even before the performances had started.

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    The two authors (Colin Talbot & David Pepperell) in full signing mode

    I think everyone in attendance wished and hoped for a memorable afternoon, and they got it. Words floating around the hall were “fantastic’, “amazing”, unbelievable”, “I never thought I’d hear that song played live again” and many many more superlatives including - "memorable!" And so it was.

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    The list of artists wasn’t the who’s who of Australian music of that period, and with name such as Billy Thorpe, J OK, Betty McQuade and Mick Hadley - just to name a few no longer with us, you may be forgiven for thinking, well who was left?

    Ahhh, we had names we hoped to see, and a few surprises.

    Performing their own music and tributes to performers no longer with us were, Bob Bright, Tony Barber, Ross Wilson, Keith Glass, Ronnie Charles and Normie Rowe, Buddy England, John Perry Ross D. Wylie and Danny Robinson.

    On stage the core band consisted of Wayne Duncan and Gary Young, Chris Stockley and Mick Hamilton who were joined from time to time by other artists including Geoff Skews and Graham “Trotta” Trottman.

    The event opened with Karen Marks thanking everyone for being there and noting that two important Bills were in attendance, those being Duff and Armstrong. But more on them later. She spoke about the book and it’s authors, Pepperell and Talbott, and of course spoke about the amazing lineup that would shortly be on stage.

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    Karen Marks welcomes everone


    She was followed by David Pepperell, who spoke eloquently on behalf of himself and Colin Talbot about the book and how it came to be, recalling both personal recollections from the period, and events many in attendance shared in.

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    David Pepperell informs and entertains

    Then, the music started and the place rocked. That is an overused phrase, but it is the best one to describe what happened.

    During the evening the surprises kept coming, such such as the appearance of Keith Glass from the 18th Century Quartet and Cam-pact, and who is now a permanent resident in the USA.

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    Buddy England
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    Danny Robinson
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    Chris Stockley & Mick Hamilton
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    Chris, Mick & Keith Glass
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    Ronnie Charles - a star performance
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    Tony Barber still rockin'
    After an hour of full on performances which were either a track on the CD that the artist had played on or a crowd favourite from the period. There was an interval during which the audience partook of refreshments as the place was cooking and the energy and heat generated befitted a concert that could have had thousands in attendance.

    It's probably a good place to mention what a great venue it is, it may not be absolutely perfect for live performances but the layout is great, the stage is more than adequate in size, and the sound when monitored by people who know what they are doing like during this performance fills the hall well. And, despite it being in St Kilda, there are many car parks near and around, and lots of public transport.


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    The second half of the show was equal to the first. Among those to step onto the stage was Ross Wilson who sang Louie Louie as recorded by the Pink Finks, probably for the first and last time since the group broke up - mind you he got a spectacular response.

    Finally there was the amazing appearance of Normie Rowe who sounded better than ever. In fact it’s almost not fair to the other artists who appeared to mention these three, because everyone gave their all, and more.

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    Ross Wilson belting out Louie Louie
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    Normie Rowe - It Ain't Necessarily So
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    Bob Bright - consummate entertainer
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    Normie thanks the crowd
    The whole program finished with a rousing rendition of Poison Ivy in recognition of that early hit by Billy Thorpe, by all the artists that appeared during the show. A little rough, a little ready, we loved it and joined in, and so the show closed.

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    The show concludes

    I spoke to Karen Marks after the show, and she was still spinning out at the response of the crowd and the energies of the performers. Yes, she had a few qualms prior to the afternoon, but she also backed her judgement that the book, the CD and the show would be well received.

    In fact Karen mentioned that initially the idea was to have a small band play a few numbers for entertainment, but through the mighty effort of Mick Hamilton, it grew and grew to the spectacular it was.

    Yes the live music was to support the launch of the book and CD, but, it took on a life of its own and everyone including the performers, knew that that some extra special had materialised - it was an afternoon of music and performance that was very, very special and seriously celebrated those halcyon years of the music of the 60’s - especially the magic of the 45 rpm vinyl singles.

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    Just two of the 100 entries in the book

    It would also be remiss not to mention people like Bill Armstrong, who was in attendance, because not only did he run Telfil Studios in the very promises in which we sat and stood, but recorded so many of the artists in the book. The other was Bill Duff who was a legend at Festival records. They were both instrumental in providing the mechanisms for the music to get to the audiences through the subsequent recordings.

    In a Toorak Times exclusive we can share, that promoter Karen Marks has it in her mind, once the Christmas period has passed, to look at the viability of taking a similar show on the road to regional towns.

    Should this eventuate we could only congratulate her on her foresight over what would be, quite probably a touring show that should get as rapturous a reception as this one received.

    They were indeed legends on the stage - and I will borrow an ANZAC phrase, “Age has not wearied them”! In fact sure the bodies have aged, and the voices have to work that little harder, and sometimes some fingers are not as nimble as they were fifty years ago - but the talent, energies and enthusiasm was not just still there, it was there screaming to be be shared again!

    I spoke with Mick Hamilton and Bob Bright backstage after the performance, and they both agreed, they did the show for the same reason they have always performed, because they love it, they passionately love it. You get the idea that in fact it becomes an imperative for them to perform and the real reward” well it isn’t financial, which frankly in Australia has never been sufficient to support an artists, their reward is the way the crowd reacted to the performances, like this one.

    Well done to Karen Marks for her organisation, to David and Colin for what was an enormous labor of love, for Festival Records for producing the great 100 tracks that follow the book, for Karen again who along with David Tenenbaum from Melbourne books, were responsible for publishing the works. Of course we all seriously gave our thanks to the amazing lineup of talent who did far more than entertain, they took us back to the magic and excitement of the music from those wonderful 1960's.

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    Bill Armstrong and Bill Duff

    To the audience, you paid not just your respects to those who played a part in the whole event, you were part of it, and your energy and enthusiasm belied your . . . our age! You know for a couple of hours we were all back in the 1960’s, and didn’t we love it!

    Finally, pending approval of the artists, we hope to be able to provide a link a video of the show, of this very important moment in Australian music, in the near future.

    Now there were far too many pictures to post, and far too many for the body of this review, so here are a few more that will give you an idea of what a wonderful time it was.

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    The seriously fabulous Ronnie Charles
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    Gary Young

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    Ross D. Wylie
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    Normie sharing a joke

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    Scarlett DeMasson and partner - happy buyers
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    Two doyens of music, one a performer, one a writer
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    Susie Gamble with Bill Armstrong

    Attached Files
    Last edited by Rob Greaves; 2 November 2015, 04:45 PM.
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