Mott the Hoople’s Verden Allen new album, Bubblegum forerunner Frank Jeckell – 1910 Fruitgum Company and Aussie icon John Williamson on enduring passion

Mott The Hoople's Verden Allen with new music

English band Mott The Hoople was initially a bluesy hard-rock band but Ian Hunters’ vocals made it different from the average. Having played in a number of different rock bands during the late 60’s, the founding members christened the band Mott The Hoople after a novel by author Willard Manus. Their self-titled album revealed a very strong Bob Dylan influence, most notably in Hunter’s nasal vocal inflections and visual image. With his corkscrew hair and permanent shades, Hunter bore a strong resemblance to vintage 1966 Dylan and  retained that style for his entire career.  

Their first album, with its MC Escher cover illustration included pleasing interpretations of the Kinks ‘You Really Got Me’ (above). Their next three albums didn’t elicit any major breakthrough and when Verden Allen left the band in 1972, they quit in disillusionment. Along came David Bowie though and convinced them to keep going. He offered his assistance, giving them one of his tunes (All The Young Dudes) and producing song for them. I catch up with Verden Allen this week to chat about the band, their legacy and what it was like working with David Bowie. Verden also gives us a preview of his brand new solo album, ‘No-One Knows’.  Below is one of his self-composed tunes from the album called ‘Hold on To This’

Catch Verden Allen chatting with me here

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Meet Aussie Icon John Williamson

John WiIliamson is one of Australia’s most renowned country music singer-songwriters. He has released over thirty-two albums, ten music videos, 5 DVD’s and two lyric books. John has received more than twenty-three Golden Guitar Awards at the Country Music Awards. Many of his albums have gone Gold and Platinum and he has sold more than two million albums in Australia alone.  

Born and raised in the Mallee district of northwestern Victoria, his parents were both performing artists. His influence on country music came from his ‘farmland’, not city bitumen lifestyle and he’s often referred to by his nickname ‘The Mallee Boy’. When John released his first song ‘Old Man Emu’ in 1970 it instantly hit No 1 on the charts. His success continued with each release. 

It’s hard to sum up John Williamson and his music. He has captured a country in song and after some 52 years, he’s still making music and still as passionate about his music and his country as he ever was. Make sure you check out my interview with John in this week’s show. He’s a terrific character, one that Australia owes so much to.

The 1910 Fruitgum Company still playing bubblegum for nostalgia fans

Do you remember the 1910 Fruitgum Company? The were THE bubblegum pop band of the 1960’s and laid the foundations for the craze to develop. The band began as Jeckell and The Hydes in New Jersey in 1966. The following year they released five LP’s under their own name and a variety of singles. The first hit single was ‘Simon Says’ (below). As a result of the success of that single, the band began touring, opening for major acts like The Beach Boys. They scored several other hits but the original group disbanded in 1970.

In 1999, original members Frank Jeckell and Mick Mansueto put the band back together and as today the band can be found touring and performing their own hits, in addition to other songs from the 1960’s. I spoke to Frank Jeckell recently and asked him to explain all the talk around the group having been a group of studio musicians, put together by record company producers to emulate a standard formula. 

And here, as promised, is that picture of the original slot machine that the group got its name from 

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