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Daddy Cool - Teenage Heaven (LP)
 

Daddy Cool - Teenage Heaven (LP)

Price: $25.00 currently not available     
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Condition: Used
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Genre: pop
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title:  Teenage Heaven
Company: Rerprise
Catalog: MS-2088
Year: 1972
Country/State: Melbourne, Australia
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: white promo label; includes promo insert
Available: 1
Catalog ID: 6193
Price: $25.00


Yes, sob, sniff, choke, tears ... this is an album I purchased entirely for the cool Dave Willardson cover. What can I say.   

Originally known as The Sons of the Vegetal Mother (thankfully they opted for a name change), Daddy Cool showcased the talents of former Rondells bassist Wayne Duncan, lead guitarist Ross Hannaford, singer/ rhythm guitarist Ross Wilson, and drummer Gary Young (also a Rondells veteran). Formed in 1970, the band's oddball mixture of '50s American rock, doo-wop, and more contemporary moves, along with a truly quirky stage show, quickly one them a following on the Melbourne club circuit and caught the attention of producer Robie Porter who helped them sign to Ken Sparkes and John MacDonald's small Sparmac label (Porter had actually recently bought out Sparkes interest in the label).

Recorded on a shoestring budget reported over a two and a half day period, the band's debut album "Daddy Who? Daddy Cool" became an Australian mega hit with their debut single parking at the top of the charts for three months, with the follow-up going top-three:


- 1971's 'Eagle Rock' b/w 'Born Born' (Sparmac catalog number SPR 001)
- 1971's 'Come back Again/ b/w 'Just As Long As We're Together' (Sparmac catalog number SPR 010)

Thanks to YouTube you can see the band's original 'Eagle Rock' video clip and a goose bump inducing black and white television performances of the second single:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQfAZVsz6KM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIG9osPPILM&feature=related


Those Australian successes captured the attention of American labels with Reprise eventually signing them to a contract. where they hit the road on a series of American tours opening for the likes of Deep Purple and Fleetwood Mac.

Daddy Cool's second album was originally released in Australia under the title "Sex, Dope, Rock 'n' Roll - Teenage Heaven" . With Reprise Records marketing executives aware of the American audience's sensitivity ("holy crap Batman, we can't have an album title that includes the words 'sex' and 'dope'"), the collection was revamped with a revised track listing, new artwork and an abbreviated, less offensive' title - "Teenage Heaven". For anyone curious, dropped from the US pressing were a cover of Billy Ward's 'Sixty Minute Man' and the newly penned Wilson songs 'Make Your Stash' with 'I'll Never Smile Again' and 'Teenage Blues' being added to the album. Those decisions certainly made me feel safer knowing they were out there looking after my morals.


Sparmac catalog number SPL-003

As exemplified by the Porter produced 'Teenage Heaven" these guys were immensely talented, gifted with a knack for commercial melodies and clever lyrics, and were also funny as all, though not in a clumsy Sha-Na-Na retro-style. Unfortunately the combination of poor timing (within a couple of years Australian bands would be all over the US pop charts), and record company incompetence ensured these guys never had a chance to make it in the States. That probably goes a long way to explaining why I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this outfit. Back to Sha Na Na for a moment. Apparently unsure what to do with the band, Reprise decided to market them as a Sha Na Na-styled retro band. While Daddy Cool included some doo-wop and '50s styled material in their repertoire ('I'll Never Smile Again' and 'Baby Let Me Bang Your Box'), they were far more than a Sha Na Na-styled oldies band, with prime songwriter Wilson being more than capable of putting together a radio-friendly pop number of snarling rocker (check out 'Daddy Rocks Off' and 'Teenage Blues'). Sadly, in spite of considerable marketing publicity, few people ever got to hear how good they were.

- Opening up with a great Hannaford guitar riff, 'Hi Honey Ho' sounded like a combination of and INXS radio friendly melody coupled with Rolling Stone swagger, and a touch of Roy Wood quirkiness. Released as an Australian single, you were left to scratch your head and wonder how US radio stations managed to miss this wonderful rocker. YouTube has a nice promotion clip of the song at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WI4dWXuC6Ww rating: **** stars- With a 'nudge-nudge' lyric that would have sent radio stations into censorship spasms, 'Daddy Rocks Off' was another slinky rocker that combined a Stones-styled blues-rock base with more Wood-styled humor. Hannaford turned in a fantastic solo on this one. Wilson reportedly took his inspiration for the song from a John Lee Hooker track. rating: **** stars
- Sporting a beautiful mandolin powered country-rock melody, 'Please Please America (Hear My Plea)' gets my nod as standout performance. Simply one of the funniest autobiographical band songs you'll ever hear, Wilson and Hannaford didn't pull any punches on their overview of life as an Australian band in pursuit of the big time. ("I want a million bucks - it's not for me, it's for my country ...") rating: **** stars
- Tapped as the album's third single, 'I'll Never Smile Again' was a smooth, '50s-styled soul ballad. Quite pretty and more of a tribute to the genre than a stab at comedy. rating: *** stars
- Okay, the '50s-styled rocker 'Baby Let Me Bang Your Box' deserved comparison to Sha Na Na, though the risqué lyric was quite funny. rating: ** stars
- Apparently inspired in part by Frank Zappa, 'Teen Love', 'Drive In Movie', and 'Love In an F.J.' amounted to a mini-concept piece . The title track had a distinctive '50s influence, but also reflected a weird mix of 10 c.c., Roy Wood, and Canterbury jazz-rock influences (the latter coming via the great Jeremy Noone repetitive sax riff). 'Teen Love' was one of the album's weirdest efforts, but to my ears, one of the coolest performances. YouTube has a clip of this song with an introduction from Wilson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAc7L8Okos8 rating: **** stars
- 'Drive In Movie' found the band taking a stab at something perhaps best described a 'theatre rock'. Almost operatic, it wasn't a major stretch to imagine Freddie Mercury and Queen conjuring up something like this one. The latter sported another killer Hannaford solo. (Anyone know what an F.J. was ?). Here's a link to a black and white promo video the band made for the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YI4QaqdfOhM rating: *** stars- Exhibiting a 10 c.c. styled tongue-in-cheek feel, 'Donna Forgive Me' was a sweet '50s-styled ballad. Surprisingly impressive. rating: **** stars
- Penned by Wilson, 'Teenage Blues' served to underscore their rocker credentials. Kicked along by some sterling Hannaford guitar, The Stones would have approved of this one. One of the album highlights. rating: **** stars

As mentioned, the album spun off a series of Australian singles:


- 1971's 'Hi Honey Ho' b/w 'Don't Ever Leave Me' (Sparmac catalog number SPR 014)
- 1972's 'Teenage Blues' b/w 'At the Rockhouse' (Sparmac catalog number SPR 018)
- 1973's 'I'll Never Smile Again' b/w 'Daddy Rocks Off' (Sparmac catalog number SPR 019)

I've only seen promo copies, but Reprise also tapped the album for an instantly obscure US single:

- 1972's 'Hi Honey Ho' b/w 'Hi Honey Ho' (edited version) (Reprise catalog number REP 1064)
- 1973's 'I'll Never Smile Again' b/w 'I'll Never Smile Again' (edited version) (Reprise catalog number REP 1090)

In support of the album the band embarked on a third US tour, opening up for the likes of Captain Beefheart, Little Feat, and REO Speedwagon. You almost have to laugh picturing what a Beefheart crowd would have though if these guys. Needless to say anemic sales saw Reprise quickly lose interest in the band. hey returned to Australia and briefly soldier on before briefly calling it quits later in the year. Anyhow, don't let the oldies label throw you off.

"Teenage Head" track listing:
(side 1)
1.) Hi Honey Ho (Ross Wilson) - 3:29
2.) Daddy Rocks Off (Ross Wilson) - 4:34
3.) Please Please America (Hear My Plea) (Ross Wilson - Ross Hannaford) - 3:12
4.) I'll Never Smile Again (Lowe) - 4:17
5.) Baby Let Me Bang Your Box (McRae - Wyche) - 3:25

(side 2)
1.) Teen Love (Ross Wilson) - 3:03
2.) Drive In Movie (Ross Wilson) - 1:22
3.) Love In an F.J. (Ross Wilson) - 4:43
4.) Donna Forgive Me (Ross Wilson) - 4:36
5.) Teenage Blues (Ross Wilson) - 3:29


The band has a web presence at:
http://daddycool.com.au/
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