Wednesday, 5 April 2017
The story of Honeybus is almost a cautionary tale. Considering that most have never heard of them, it's amazing to ponder that they came very close, in the eyes of the critics, to being Decca Records' answer to the Rubber Soul-era Beatles. The harmonies were there, along with some catchy, hook-laden songs and usually tastefully overdubbed brass and violins. The pop sensibilities of Honeybus' main resident composers, Pete Dello and Ray Cane, were astonishingly close in quality and content to those of Paul McCartney and the softer sides of John Lennon of that same era. What's more, the critics loved their records. Yet, somehow, Honeybus never got it right; they never had the right single out at the proper time, and only once in their history did they connect with the public for a major hit, in early 1968. Their best known lineup consisted of Pete Dello (vocals, keyboards, guitar), Ray Cane (vocals, bass, keyboards), Colin Hare (rhythm guitar, vocals), and Pete Kircher (drums, vocals), with Dello and Cane writing most of their songs.
Out of this came Honeybus, with Noon stepping aside to manage the group and being replaced by Mike Kircher. The group was one of the best studio bands of the period, reveling in the perfection that could be achieved through multi-tracking and overdubbing, and an approach that also mimicked the Beatles' breadth, playing with either admirable taste or reckless abandon, depending on the song. They were duly signed to England's Decca Records and assigned to the company's newly organized Deram label, which was intended to represent their new generation of pop/rock acts, oriented toward sunshine pop, psychedelic, and what was later designated "freakbeat" sounds. Their debut single, "Delighted to See You," which was cut with the help of Roulettes members Bob Henrit and Russ Ballard, sounded more like the Beatles than anything heard in British pop/rock since the Searchers had faded from view in early 1966. The B-side, "The Breaking Up Scene," could have been the work of the Jimi Hendrix Experience or the Creation. Actually, if anything, they sounded a great deal like the Bee Gees, who had just begun establishing themselves as something more than Beatles sound-alikes -- the difference was that the Bee Gees were a performing band as well as a top-notch studio outfit, fully capable of doing (and willing to do) most of their output on-stage.
The critics were quick to praise the band and the record, but it never charted, and their second single was also unsuccessful. Then Honeybus hit with their third release, "I Can't Let Maggie Go," in March of 1968, which rode the British Top 50 for three months and peaked at number eight. One of the most fondly remembered examples of psychedelic pop/rock to come out of England in 1967, with a richly textured, reed-dominated arrangement (with a bassoon very prominent and a break played on oboes and clarinets) and a pleasant McCartney-esque lead vocal surrounded by gentle high harmonies, all wrapped up in a melody that wore well on repeated listening. The record should have made the group, but instead it shattered them.
Pete Dello resigned during the single's chart run. He had been willing to play live on radio appearances and the occasional television or special concert showcase -- during which the group used a Mellotron to replace the overdubbed strings and other backing instruments on their songs -- but he couldn't accept the physical or emotional stresses of performing live on a regular basis, or the idea of touring America, which would have been the inevitable result of a British hit of that size. Perhaps a Brian Wilson/Beach Boys-type solution, with an on-stage replacement, might have worked, but instead Dello left, and with him went his songs.(excerpt by allmusic.com)
This is a very fine album full of songs with a light psych touch, great melodies and good songs.
Give it a try if you don't know the album. With 11 bonus tracks.
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Very good Folk PopSunshine Pop with catchy melodies. It is a really good album and the compositions are maybe not standout but pretty good. I recommend it if you are in sunshine pop/british psychedelia.
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The album peaked at 39 and eventually going platinum.
Okay, tomorrow the next albums will follow. There are five more to come.
Hope you enjoy the Epic album line
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I think with this album the band tried to jump in the next decade with their sound. It don't worked always well.
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Formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1976, the Sports featured Steve Cummings (lead vocals) Martin Armiger (guitar), Andrew Pendlebury (guitar), Jim Niven (keyboards/vocals), Robert Glover (bass) and Paul Hutchins (drums). Influenced by rock, rockabilly, country and new wave, the band recorded several exquisite pop songs in the new wave style which charted well, particularly in Melbourne. National success followed but as the original members left the band had less impact. After supporting Graham Parker on his tour of Australia during 1978, the Sports were invited to tour with him in Europe and England. Records were released but did not make a big impact in either Europe or the States. They undertook several large tours around Australia, released several more singles and the fourth album, but were no longer progressing. Personnel upheavals during the early 80s, saw Hutchins replaced in turn by Ian McLennan then Freddie Strauks (ex-Skyhooks). The Sports eventually broke-up at the end of 1981. After they disbanded Cummings ventured into a solo career, occasionally collaborating with Pendlebury who has also recorded three instrumental guitar albums. Armiger moved into production in television and stage as well as rock music.
The U.S. version of an Australian hit, Don't Throw Stones took its impetus from the four-song EP released in the U.K. earlier in 1979, a veritable "best-of" digest that opened with what remains the Sports' finest hour, "Who Listens to the Radio?." Two further songs from the EP ("Suspicious Minds" and "So Obvious") reappear on the album, while Arista also chose to cull three songs from the Aussie release, and replace them with numbers from the band's debut, Reckless. The substitutions don't show. The Sports boasted a remarkably consistent sound throughout their career, with their earliest albums in particular snapping seamlessly into the box marked "new wave pop." It is unfair, however, to see them compared to Joe Jackson, when the Sports were sounding like this some time before Jackson really got going. Rather, they draw from the same wellspring of inspiration as he did: a little bit Costello, a little bit Graham Parker, a little bit Tom Petty (from the days when his Heartbreakers were still being marketed as a new wave act in their own right), and so on. But "Who Listens to the Radio" marks out the band's own strengths, with "Wedding Ring" and "Mailed It to Your Sister" both bringing up the rear in fine style. A word, too, for "Big Sleep," the album's closer and positively the most unexpectedly downbeat finale that any so-called pop album has ever employed. [An Australian version of the album was also released.
With ''Don't Throw Stones the australian band caught attention in the US and in the UK. But also other european countries were interested in the band. If you don't know the band and/or the album give it a try, you won't not regret it. This is the expanded edition from 2014 with 37 songs.
I want to say Thanks to Javier, a reader of this blog who contributed the album.
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Here is the album that came in 1979 after the worldwide success of the Budokan live album. With Dream Police they tightened their reputation as one of the most successful pop bands in the world back then.
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Frank Disc 4 Disc 4-2 You need both links! Disc 4-1
Disc 5 Disc 5-1 You need both links! Disc 5-2