Monday, October 28, 2019

Twilights - The Way They Played Best Of (1965-69 australia, fine beat folk baroque psych, 2013 remaster)

The migrant hostels of the major Australian cities were the fertile breeding grounds for some of the most vital and seminal rock bands in in the early sixties. At Villawood migrant hostel in suburban Sydney, some young and talented music enthusiasts had recently formed into a group called The Easybeats, and that band's story is among the most compelling as any in Aussie rock History. Meanwhile, over in Elizabeth, north of Adelaide in South Australia, another mob of young guys, like so many youths all over the world, were seduced by the magic of The Beatles' film "A Hard Days' Night". Drawn together by their British origins - similar to the impetus that sparked the Easys' genesis - Glenn Shorrock (hailing originally from Kent, UK), and his friends Mike Sykes and Clem "Paddy" McCartney (although born in Belfast, blessed with a classic albatross of a surname!), formed an a-cappella trio to try out their pop and folk wares, eventually gaining regular bookings around the relatively meagre Adelaide folk/coffee-house circuit.

Occasionally, and especially for more prestige engagements, the vocal three-piece teamed with local instrumental outfits, among them The Vector Men and The Hurricanes. Typical of the era, the latter band began as a Shadows-style instrumental act, but soon caught the Brit-invasion bug. The Twilights and The Hurricans developed a solid bond. It was inevitable that with such strong, enthusiastic, precocious and insistent talents as those of Britten, Shorrock and Brideoake rubbing against each other, the prospect of blending it all together would prove irresistible. Thus, the six-piece, fully electric-and-vocal group as we know and revere them, was born.

Still based in Adelaide, self-managed and produced, the newly-formed band released its debut single, "I'll Be Where You Are" on EMI's Columbia imprint in June 1964. A plaintive, Beatle-esque ballad written by Shorrock and Britten, the single got some airplay in Melbourne but failed to chart outside their hometown Subsequent releases made further inroads -- their second single, "Wanted To Sell", cracked the Melbourne charts and the third, the brisk, Brideoake-Britten original "If She Finds Out" gained them fans in Sydney and Brisbane. The Twilights began to cause a stir with their dynamic live shows in Adelaide, and a 'vibe' quickly built about the band who could knock out note-perfect renditions of the latest hits with ease and could also rock out with wild abandon.

Early in 1965, drummer Frank Barnard (who featured on the first two singles) was replaced by Laurie Pryor. Barnard's wife apparently objected to manager Gary Spry's strict "no girlfriends" touring regime, and so Frank quit. Laurie, a locally-known drumming prodigy who had played with Johnny Broome & the Handles in England, immediately jumped at the offer. The new line-up with Pryor remained in place for the rest of the band's career. After taking over the group's management, Spry's strategy was to establish the group in Australia's pop capital, Melbourne, so The Twilights moved there in late 1965, and rapidly became established as one of the top acts in a city that had no shortage of great bands on offers. 

It was with their classsic fifth single "Needle In A Haystack" that The Twilights achieved national success.Its refrain rang out relentlessly on our 2SM/UW; 3UZ/XY; 4BH/BC (etc) "good guy" radio stations during '66. This superb rendition of the Motown song (originally cut by Martha & The Vandellas) flagged them in no uncertain terms as group to watch The single was a Top 10 in most states and reached the coveted #1 spot on the new Go-Set national chart in October 1966. The Twilights had already made big inroads with their previous single, a rendition of Larry Williams' "Bad Boy" that comprehensively whipped The Beatles' better-known version into a cocked hat. And to consolidate, the funky follow-up single to "Haystack" -- a cover of the Sam Cook classic "You Got Soul", together with a strong first album, confirmed critics' and fans' faith in the band.

On their eponymous debut LP, The Twilights demonstrated their diversity as a recording unit. With a strong mix of self-penned tunes, songs specially written for them (by Barry Gibb of The Bee Gees and Hans Poulsen), and tour-de-force reproductions of their stage favourites, the group's dexterity with a variety of styles was proven. A blistering version of The Yardbirds' "I'm Not Talkin' " (consummately seeing off the original with a welter of Britten guitarobatics) contrasted with the mellow tones of The Who's "La La La Lies", The Moody Blues' "Let Me Go" and the thrilling harmonies of Paddy and Glenn on The Hollies' "Yes I Will". Then, just when you thought it safe, along came a white-hot reading of the Stones' "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" to close the program in a raspy-vocalled feedback freakout! The David MacKay-produced LP showcased the band's strengths, and presented a potent document to take the nascent group into its most exciting era.

The next milestone was a new established national pop competition, The Hoadley's Battle of the Sounds. Established a couple of years earlier by Everybody's magazine as a talent quest for new unsigned bands, the Battle gained greater credibility and attracted many of the nation's finer outfits when, in 1966, confectioner Hoadleys' (best known for their scrumptious Violet Crumble Bar) assumed sponsogsubip, and the recently-launched Go-Set magazine took over the co-ordination role. The stakes were higher too, with first prize being full return passage to England on the Sitmar cruise line, two definite gigs and $1,000 prize money. The subsequent competitions would see such acts as The Groop and The Masters Apprentices taking out the prize, and many other prominent outfits that would go on to greater success competed in the Battle until its conclusion in 1972. But, as in so many other instances, The Twilights were pioneers.

In July 1966, The Twilights took the stage at Festival Hall, Melbourne, before a full house of screaming, streamer-hurling fans, to win the competition ahead of over 500 other hopefuls. They were awarded bonus points for sound, originality, presentation and audience reaction -- qualities the band already had in abundance (they had already taken out the 1965 title in a local Adelaide competition the previous year). The competition's rules set a maximum group membegsubip of five, which meant that Paddy -- half of the band's twin lead vocal line-up -- had to sit out the winning performance. But he returned to the stage for the triumphant encore and was, luckily, included in the victors' spoils. Any listener will thrill to hear what the fuss was all about -- the full performance is contained on the Raven LP Twilight Time. With the prize in hand, for the world music mecca of London for their biggest adventure yet. 
1. If She Finds Out (Peter Brideoake, Terry Britten) - 2:20
2. It's Dark (Peter Brideoake) - 1:54
3. Bad Boy (Larry Williams) - 2:11
4. Baby Let Me Take You Home (Traditional) - 2:25
5. Sorry She's Mine (Kenny Lynch) - 2:34
6. John Hardy (Manfred Mann, Mike Hugg, Mike Vickers, Paul Jones, Tom McGuinness) - 2:03
7. I'm Not Talking (Mose Allison) - 2:24 
8. Needle In A Haystack (Norman Whitfield, William Stevenson) - 2:10   
9. I Won't Be The Same Without Her (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) - 2:44 
10.(I'll Be True To You) Yes I Will (Gerry Goffin, Russ Titelman) - 2:52 
11.You've Got Soul (Margaret Nash) - 2:23 
12.What's Wrong With The Way I Live? (Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks) - 1:58   
13.9.50 - 2:31 
14.Cathy Come Home - 2:01 
15.Young Girl (Laurie Pryor) - 2:26 
16.Time And Motion Study Man (Parsons, Terry Britten) - 2:13
17.The Way They Play - 2:14
18.Always - 2:37
19.Once Upon A Twilight - 2:25
20.What A Silly Thing To Do - 2:46
21.Paternosta Row - 3:19
22.Comin' On Down - 2:23
23.Lotus - 2:57
24.Bessemae - 3:07
25.Mr. Nice - 2:01
26.Tell Me Goodbye - 2:24
27.2000 Weeks - 2:10
28.Bargain Day - 3:01
All songs by Terry Britten except where stated

*Peter Brideoake - Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
*Terry Britten - Lead Guitar, Vocals
*John Bywaters - Bass
*Clem "Paddy" Mccartney - Lead Vocals
*Glenn Shorrock - Lead Vocals
*Frank Barnard - Drums (1964-65)
*Laurie Pryor - Drums (1965-69)

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