classic and rare Australian popular music from the 1950's, 1960's. 1970's and beyond..including rock and roll, pop, beat, rock, surf and progressive, plus contemporary artists, new releases, reviews and other fun stuff



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ray Brown & The Whispers.. Sydney,1964-66 ...short lived but very successful beat band

Ray Brown and the Whispers were in the vanguard of the first wave of Australian beat pop, from 1964-67, and during their brief career they were one of the most successful and celebrated bands in the country. Aided by his boyish good looks and considerable charm, singer Ray Brown ranked alongside Stevie Wright, Billy Thorpe and Normie Rowe as one of the most popular stars of the period, and The Whispers are now widely recognised as being one of its most accomplished bands. Although they enjoyed unprecedented success at the time, the group was short-lived, and their contribution to Australian music, both during and after the beat boom, is still sadly under-appreciated.

From the outset, Ray and The Whispers distinguished themselves as a top-notch performing unit, both live and on record, and they thoroughly road-tested all their material. In retrospect their only real weakness, as far as a long-term career was concerned, was that there were no writers in the group (unlike The Easybeats, The Blue Jays and their label mates The Bee Gees). But like The Blue Jays, their choice of material showed off both their versatility and their wide-ranging tastes.

Probably the Whispers' greatest love, though, was American soul and R'n'B, and they were tireless champions of the style, covering many numbers by the top performers of that period.Their first major break in came late in the 1964 when they secured the gig as resident band at Sydney's Surf City and The Beach House, taking over from Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs. Within a short time the Whispers were regularly pulling in 2000 punters per night on Fridays and Saturdays, and by the new year they were rivalling The Easybeats for popularity in Sydney.

Their rise to national fame was meteoric -- in just six months they scored four Top 5 hits in a row in Sydney, including their record achievement -- still unbroken -- of three consecutive #1 hits from their first three releases! They were also among the most prolific recording outfits of the day, with a nine singles, ten EPs and five albums to their credit in in little more than two years.

This 2 for 1 album combines their first 2 albums and contains all their hits.

Ray Brown & The Whispers 
Lawrie Barclay (rhythm guitar) 
Ray Brown (vocals) 
Al Jackson (lead guitar) 
Pat Jeffrey (drums) 
John Manners (bass) 
Bobby Richardson (lead guitar) 1964

Ray Brown & The New Whispers (early 1967) 
Ray Brown (vocals) 
Dave Russell (guitar) 
Ronnie Peel (bass) 
Steve Hardy (drums)


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