Ausrtralia has a history of quality funk, jazz and disco records and in this episode Jordie Kilby teams up with collector, DJ and record shop owner Chris Gill to spin a few of their favourites.
Hiroshi and Claudia - Beats In The Depth - 1979 - Atom Records.
Hiroshi Yasukawa was a top session musician in Japan during the 70’s and 80’s. He appeared on jazz/groove albums alongside Hiroshi Kubota, Toots Thielmans and Naoya Matsuoka. In 1979 he teamed up with the mysterious Claudia for this exploration of a day in the life of a hip young musician. The production on the album was split between Sydney and Tokyo and it was only ever released in Australia. Hiroshi’s 1984 album "Fission" was a similarly styled international production that was released in both Australia and Japan and produced by ex Roxy Music keyboard player David Skinner.
Donovan’s Druids - Love Potion No. 9 - 1971 - Earth Records.
Dave Donovan began his career in NZ playing alongside Mike Perjanik in several popular local acts before moving to Sydney in the late 60’s. As an in demand session guitarist during the 70’s he played with the cream of Australia’s entertainment world including John Farnham, Don Lane and Marty Rhone. He appeared on more than 200 albums and played on over 8000 commercial jingles. In 1971 he stepped out on his own cutting the album On The Country Line as Swamp Salad and this obscure cover of the well known Lieber and Stoller song originally made famous by the Clovers. The highly regarded drum break at the beginning of this record is played by George Adamson.
Alan Lee Jazz Quintet - Flying Saucer - 1974 - Jazznote Records.
Melbourne vibes player Alan Lee started playing jazz in the mid 50’s after hearing Lionel Hampton play with Benny Goodman. His influences range from trad jazz to be bop and he played with many of the great players kicking around Melbourne at the time including Bob Barnard, Ted Vining, Peter Martin and John Sangster. He recorded for a range of lables including Crest, Swaggie, Cumquat and Jazznote. His album "Smilor" saw his band take on a range of interesting material including the jazzy "Flying Saucer" and a cover of the War funk nugget "The World Is A Ghetto".
Chris Williams - Born To Get down - 1975 - Hammard Records.
Chris Williams was an American living in Sydney in the mid 1970’s. He was a DJ in Kings Cross spinning the latest dance records to revellers each weekend. In 1975 he decided to step out from behind the DJ booth and have a go at cutting his own disco material. He contacted Sydney party outfit the Hotrox Band who included Brooke Tabberer on vocals and Graeme Skelly on guitar. In one evening they put down an albums worth of memorable funk and disco material that was released as "Keep On Dancing". Williams also recorded a single the same year with another band known as the Austral Funk Machine for Wizard Records. It claims to be Australia’s first disco hit and while it was never a hit it is probably the first Aussie disco release.
For more info on great Australian funk, soul and jazz records including an interview with Alan Lee check out the Aussie Funk Blog; http://www.aussiefunk.blogspot.com/