Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bands of a FEATHER rock together

G'day...Methinks it is fair to suggest that a goodly percentage of all aussie's who were rocking out in the 70's have a liking for a certain tune by Blackfeather called "Boppin the Blues", I know I do, must do bought the album and the single for a very 70's price of 45c for the single and $3.99 (or thereabouts) for the album...

Now Blackfeather had been around for a age and had something like 40 members come and go...The "Boppin" line-up  did appear at Sunbury however and I have that live album also.

The I must admit to losing track of Blackfeather after I got into other bands, TMG, Tatts, Hush, etc etc...and I will state here and now that I'd never heard of an off shoot called Feather.

Thanks to old mate over at Rock On Vinyl blog , if you dig rock from the good old days with a defined Aussie tilt then check it out, its the grouse....and thanks to Rock on Vinyl, I have re-discovered Feather in all their's his blog link

BUT, before I expound enthusiastically on Feather, lets get some lineage out of the way

Blackfeather was an Australian band founded in 1970 and led for most of its ten-year existence by singer Neale Johns. It began as a progressive rock unit, which can be heard on Mountains of Madness (1971), but later moved toward a boogie-ish rock & roll style, resulting in the Australian #1 hit "Boppin’ the Blues" and the 1974 Live album. The group’s personnel was fluid in the second half of the ’70s, especially after Johns moved to the U.K. to form Fingerprint.

Although the record credited Carl Perkins as songwriter for "Boppin' the Blues", and is usually described as a reworking or a makeover of the Carl Perkins song, the two records, played back-to-back, reveal nothing in common but their title. Lyrically, melodically and structurally, they are different songs.

Jonathan Sturm, a friend of Blackfeather pianist Paul Wylde, writes at his website: Neither Paul nor the rest of the band could remember the lyric of the old Carl Perkins song, so they wrote their own....It seems to me that Blackfeather ended up writing a completely different song altogether, but generously kept the Carl Perkins songwriting credit.

John Robinson (lead guitar), Leith Corbett (bass) and Mike McCormack (drums), all from the Dave Miller Set, along with vocalist Neale Johns formed the original line-up of this progressive rock band, although Corbett and McCormack were soon replaced by Bob Fortesque and Al Kash.

and then came FEATHER.....

Feather kicked off in late 1976. Blackfeather front man, Neale Johns had bolted for old blighty,  leaving the other members of the band to scratch their heads as relating to the future of the band

By this time, however,  Blackfeather’s style had shifted to a more straight pop-rock focus, and the line-up had evolved to feature Ray Vanderby (keyboards), Lee Brossman (bass), Warwick Fraser (drums), and Warwick’s 14 year old brother Stuart on guitar. Vanderby split shortly after Johns’ went to England, so the rest of the band recruited ex-Fraternity singer John Swan (Barnesy brother) and ex-Bullett guitarist Wayne Smith, stripping down and taking on the new moniker Feather.

 May 1977 Feather released their debut single (and my personal favourite) ‘Girl Trouble’. The single received a big chunk amount of airplay, but couldn’t land a spot on the national charts, despite having one of the best guitar hooks I’ve heard on an aussie rock track.

Word was around that Feather had laid down enough tracks in the studio for an album, tentatively titled ‘Going Through Changes’, but no one has seen this album as yet

Feather continued to play throughout 1977, and for a few weeks, while Chisel were having a holiday, Jimmy Barnes shared the lead vocal duties....NOW.. that would have been a sight to see

 In November ‘77 Feather underwent a couple of key personnel changes, when bassist Lee Brossman and guitarist Wayne Smith left the group. Bassist Mark Mitchell and ex-Finch guitarist Chris Jones were brought into the flock.

In April 1978 Feather were scheduled to tour as the support act for the Ted Mulry Gang on their three month nationwide ‘Disturbing The Peace’ tour, but the band was thrown into chaos when singer John Swan also flew the coup.

Ex-Class vocalist Gary Conlan stepped into the fray for the tour and for Feather’s two track contribution to the various artists album ‘Canned Rock’, a live gig performed at Parramatta Gaol.

By 1980 Feather were performing under the moniker of Kid Colt, and by year’s end the Fraser Brothers, along with Mark Mitchell, had left to join singer Karen Smith in a new project called Smith, signalling the end of Feather’s flight......

arwick Fraser went on to play with a myriad of acts including The Screaming Tribesmen, Peter Wells Band and Died Pretty. Guitarist whiz-kid Stuart Fraser had no trouble landing a gig either, playing for a time with his brother Warwick in The Change, and playing with ex-Feather vocalist John Swan when Swan had taken on the name Swanee.

Stuart Fraser was later a founding member of Australian pop-rock band Noiseworks, who enjoyed a hugely successful run from the mid 80s through early 90s. Stuey also found time to be a key member of John Farnham’s band.....meanwhile ex-Feather bass player Lee Brossman kept busy forging out a career as a much sought after session player and touring bassist.

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