Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by redfloatboat, Dec 1, 2017.
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GTK - an oasis in the desert
Ten minutes each night on ABC TV, Monday to Thursday just before Bellbird at 6.30pm, GTK was a platform for Australian music at a time when as Bill Putt says, 'most music on radio and TV was middle of the road at best'.
Music is everywhere now, and music video is a relentless stream, so its difficult to imagine a time when a ten minute TV show could be such a rare opportunity to find contemporary music.
GTK was directed by Ric Birch, the youngest Australian TV director at the time, and who would go on to be the executive producer of the opening and closing ceremonies of Sydney's 2000 Olympic Games.
GTK was recorded at 7am on a Monday morning, and Bill Putt tells a great story about that in the interview, which also features GTK footage of 'Launching Place'.
Yeah it surprises me too.
Yeah I'm thinking that the person that told me was confusing it with GTK or another post GTK show called Funky Road. The discussion was around Blues Tours of Australia and related to Hound Dog Taylor, who toured here in '75 with Freddie King and Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhie. The known GTK lists say that only an interview with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhie was aired, but no performance, and no mention of Hound Dog Taylor. GTK showed some performances from a Willie Dixon tour the year before (and Buddy Guy and Junior Wells the year before), so maybe he was getting confused with that. The guy that told me had a pretty good memory, so it's always nagged at me that there could be unknown footage in those ABC archives? The GTK lists I've seen of the shows aired and footage from back in the day are amazing!!!
At that point in time Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee were the bigger names out of that little group so any media focus was on them. I can'r remeber any vision or interview with Freddie King from the tour either.
Both Hound Dog Taylor & Freddie King were superb at the gig I saw as was Renee Geyer who was the support. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee were rather boring & Alexis Korner was terrible. Duster Bennett may also have played as a one man band but I can not recall his performance.
I'm sure that anyone who ever saw Hound Dog Taylor play holds it very high in their memories.
Oh wow!!! I would have loved to have seen that. ABC radio did a live recording of Hound Dog Taylor from the time, but when the guy I was talking too at the time said he saw film of Hound Dog on TV I've always had a hope that it exists somewhere? I once met someone whose father was either the road manager for that tour or hung with them on the tour, he told me some anecdotes about that, mostly just trying to convey how hard living, or the hard lives the Hound Dog band had experienced, and how that was reflected in their character and music.
In Melbourne they always had the blues guys play at the Dallas Brooks Hall. Mike Gudinski set up the Toadstool label (as a subsidiary of Mushroom) as a blues label but it only lasted a couple of releases.
Toadstool Label Discography - Australia - 45cat
Radio With Pictures was a NZ pop show i used to watch when i lived in Christchurch.
On the ABBA Bang A Boomerang doco that the ABC made a few years where they stated that even though Molly and Countdown broke ABBA in Australia, Reg Grundy brought them to Australia for a 1976 promo tour and signed them to an exclusive contract where they would only appear on Channel Nine, thus preventing them from appearing on Countdown.
I have a download of that ABC radio recording. I must dig it out for a listen.
There is some live footage available on YouTube Ana Arbor 1973 & 1974. I can't say that I have ever seen any footage of him in Australia.
Hound Dog Taylor was a heavy smoker (& drinker), he died later that year from lung cancer. Duster Bennett & Freddie King both died the following year. Freddie Kings death was a real tragedy as he was only 42 years old & I believe he was going to be a big star in the blues world.
I can say that both Hound Dog Taylor & Brewer Phillips where well lubricated before the gig that I saw.
Hound Dog Taylor would NEVER have got on Countdown.
All hail to the fabulous Divine and his legendary Countdown appearance....
I was fortunate to briefly visit Mark Mothersbaugh's Mutato Muzika studio in 1996 where I met Devo's Bob 1 (Mothersbaugh) and Bob 2 (Casale). Literally the first question Bob 2 asked me after I said I was from Melbourne was "What's Molly Meldrum up to these days?" This was more than 14 years since they'd last been to Australia at this point so obviously Molly made a big impression on them.
I think it sometimes gets forgotten just how influential Molly and Countdown became in breaking artists. All of ABBA, Blondie and Madonna had their first major global chart success in Australia following the push given to them by Countdown. With my favourite group, Devo, Molly championed them and continued to do so even after the two singles from Freedom of Choice released in Australia (Freedom of Choice and Whip It) pretty much bombed on the charts. The Dev-O Live EP saw them become huge in Australia. Similarly, (and I still have on an old VHS tape somewhere) he gave a HUGE push to the (import only) Here to Go remix EP from the disastrous Shout album sometime in mid-1985. I think by this time WB had already dropped the band but the EP was popular in Australian clubs and discos yet WEA would not release it locally. Eventually they relented and released it more than a year later (sans picture sleeve) and even without any radio airplay or video clip, it managed to hit 40 nationally (and as high as 10 in Melbourne). WEA pressed an Australia only 7" edit of the remix and cobbled together a compilation video for the remix pretty much after the event. All of this was solely down to Molly's promotion of the song.
That Devo found their greatest success in Australia can be pretty much put down solely to Molly's promotion of them. Many other bands would be in a similar boat.
I remember when the put Satisfaction by Devo on Countdown. They got so many complaints about the toaster scene that they edited it out in the Saturday repeat.
This link from Billboard says there were plans to film a concert and release a live album. The article is at the bottom of the page. Maybe it didn't happen. It looks like Michael Gudinski was the promoter. Maybe the Toadstool subsidiary label mylene linked too was set up for this. Anyone know Michael Gudinski to ask if anything was filmed
Sadly no Blues acts would have made it onto Countdown that I can remember, maybe George Thorogood. No Canned Heat who were always touring here.
It seems Molly was fairly loyal to some of the GTK era performers, especially if they were following a commercial path. He seems to have always provided a platform for Russell Morris, Broderick Smith, Mike Rudd and Bill Putt and some others I can't think of. Obviously Renee Geyer. Billy Thorpe was in the US and I don't remember him much if at all on Countdown. I don't remember anyone from that era who maintained the Aussie Blues ethos ever getting a guernsey. No Matt Taylor Chain/Western Flyer, Sid Rumpo.
I think I remember seeing Devo on Sounds or Nightmoves before Countdown maybe. Definitely the first clips I saw were Freedom Of Choice or maybe Secret Agent Man? Sounds used to have to fill 3 hours of content every Saturday morning so it seemed like they would play everything available at the moment.
Ahh that's right. That was a really good doco.
There it is in living colour
Wow this has thrown a spanner in the works of my memory. The guy that mentioned Radio With Pictures I knew very well and he had never lived or even been to New Zealand. If the show started in 76 it was the year after the Blues tour I was enquiring about. Maybe it was filmed in NZ and aired there? It's good to find out that Radio With Pictures actually existed.
Thank you for the info & billboard link.
Gudinski is of course Mushroom records & they were the Australian distributor for Alligator Records (Hound Dog Taylors label)
Any serious discussion about great important people within the Australian music industry has to include Michael Gudinski. Without him there would have virtually been no alternative to the AM radio crap that was being shoved down our throats day & night.
As I stated early in the thread Countdown was 99% aimed at commercial pop music. Unfortunately many people are only aware of that form of music.
He used to always tease me about being a Kiss fan and tried to sell me Scorpions records.
Satisfaction wasn't the only Devo video to be edited for Countdown. Beautiful World had the mid-song scene of the woman on fire edited out and Peek-A-Boo! had the same said toaster scene removed for the show. I'm pretty sure that Whip It had the mid-song scene with the Latino woman being whipped clinching her teeth as she pulls away from the whip crack removed for Countdown.
That was his thing. If you like Black Sabbath you'll like Scorpions, if you like Pink Floyd you'll like Tangerine Dream etc. When Metal Machine Music came out he said it was Lou Reed's first real album and put headphones on anyone who came into the shop.
They had those lights in the shop that beat in time to the music. You'd come out of there a shell of the person you were when you went in.
They were funny about censorship. Bands had to submit lyrics to the ABC for approval. By the 80s they couldn't care less and got some girl on work experience to write down what she thought the lyrics were.
I don't recall - didn't buy any Lou or Roxy there, and no Bowie LPs until Lodger; prior to that it was Climax (Stage) or Gaslight (Low, Station to Station) or Pipe Imported ("Heroes", Diamond Dogs, Pinups) or Penetration (MWSTW, Hunky Dory, Young Americans) or Pop-In (Aladdin Sane) or Archie & Jugheads (Space Oddity) for Bowie. From chart store Suttons, I bought Changesone and David Live both US imports via RCA Australia. I'm surprised I remember.
If you were really curious you could ask Alice - you'll find her at Readings sometimes in Malvern.
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