Monday, June 23, 2014

RIP - JIM KEAY'S, - Always the Master, Never the Apprentice

I can categorically state , without fear nor favor that Jim Keays was one of Aussie rocks greatest frontmen...and its only fair that he get a Reck'nRoll send off

I was well into the Masters Apprentices...they were one of my first aussie faves...they were loud, hairy, soulful and they could write a tune  and they recorded at Abbey Road, good enough for me then.,...anyway to Keaysie... Ive had the great , good fortune to see Jim a couple of times..The Concert of the Decade, The Countdown Reunion and Ted Mulrys Benefit Gig ( with a reformed Masters, which was very fkn cool INDEED....

Jim helped kick off garage rock in Australia,  and then helped transform the Masters Apprentices into one of the best pop and rock bands of the 1960s and ‘70s, has joined Rock'n'Rolls Helluva Band

Keays, who was 67, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma seven years ago but released an album of modern garage rock in 2012, recently recorded another album and continued touring with two of his '60s contemporaries, Darryl Cotton and Russell Morris as Cotton Keays and Morris.

He died at 10.30 in the morning from pneumonia related to the multiple myeloma ( a type of blood cancer). He had been admitted to intensive care of The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne a FEW of weeks ago when the illness got serious but it was thought that he was on "the road to recovery".

The singer with the shock of long hair and the nasally voice that was all vim and vinegar became the frontman of Adelaide instrumental band the Mustangs in early 1965 and they transformed themselves into the raw, rhythm-and-blues outfit the Masters Apprentices.

Taking their cues from the likes of the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones and the Pretty Things, the Masters Apprentices took American blues, added snotty attitude and within a year went from placing third in the Adelaide heat of Hoadley’s National Battle Of The Sounds to releasing one of the classic underground Australian singles, Undecided/War or Hands Of Time.

Although they’d started as a R&B combo in 1965 along the lines of other seminal Australian bands such as the Loved Ones, the Missing Links and the Purple Hearts, by the end of the decade, the Masters had travelled from punkish rock to pop to psychedelia and then onto a kind of compressed progressive rock on their landmark 1971 album Choice Cuts.

That album, which was recorded in the Abbey Road studios, just missed the top 10 in Australia and earned excellent reviews in the UK, now is recognised as the equal of anything released around the world that year.

Keays was one of the mainstays of the band as it went through several traumatic line-up changes, including gaining future manager and impresario Glenn Wheatley on bass and losing original writer Mick Bower. Wheatley, who was to be the power behind the rise of John Farnham a decade later, described Keays as "the consummate showman".

"Jim had an aura about him: you always knew when he was in the room," said Wheatley. “Always the Master, never the Apprentice.”

As a sign of Keays' importance and influence, rather than end the band, the loss of Bower gave Keays an opportunity to step up as a writer in the Master’s Apprentices with new guitarist Doug Ford. It was this pairing which was responsible for hits such as 5-10 Man, Turn Up Your Radio and the quintessential Australian rock ballad, Because I Love You.

While the band split in 1972 as their advanced but ignored album A Toast To Panama Red failed to chart, Keays never stopped performing or being excited by music. His vitality and passion for music saw him rock to the very end

He leaves behind his partner, Karin and three children, Holly, Bonnie and James.

Much love and respect brother...have a beer with Doc for us will ya ;)

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