Sunday, July 27, 2014

Melbourne song of the month: “You’re Good for Me”/The Pink Finks (May 1966)

Before there was Daddy Cool (and well before the 80s blandness of Mondo Rock), there was The Pink Finks, Ross Wilson’s first band. Formed in 1965 when Ross was a 16-year-old school boy and Ross Hannaford was about 14 (how cute is that? Two teenage Rosses!), The Pink Finks were inspired not only by American r’n’b and blues, but also by British bands such as The Yardbirds, Stones and Pretty Things who covered that kind of music.

Five Finks: L-R Ross Hannaford, Ross Wilson, Geoff Ratz, David Cameron, Richard Franklin
The Pink Finks didn’t have a long lifespan, lasting from late 1964 to late 1966, but they managed to release four singles during this time (on three different labels) and were a popular R’n’B act around the suburban Melbourne dance hall scene. However, due to their young age, their gigs tended to be limited to weekends only. Legend has it that Ross Hannaford’s parents turned up at one show and dragged their naughty (and very underage!) son home. That’d cramp your style a bit. 

Rocking out at Festival Hall in the 1965 Hoadley Battle of the Sounds final (they didn't win: The Crickets did). Photo: Everybody's
“You’re Good for Me” was The Pink Finks’ fourth and final single, released on W&G. This scorchin’ little number, clocking in at 1 minute, 35 seconds, was written and produced by 50s rocker Johnny Chester (who’d supported The Beatles on their Aussie tour just two years earlier) and is a bonafide gem.

Puzzlingly, it didn’t chart and didn’t even rate a review in Go-Set magazine. Weirder yet is the fact that it hasn’t cropped up on any Aussie 60s comps that I’m aware of. Fortunately, it lives on as part of the 1980 Raven EP, “Louie Louie” and — of course— on the fathomless rock’n’roll wormhole that is Youtube. (Somehow, I suspect the original 7” is about as elusive as Tony Abbott’s humanity, but that’s another story…)

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of a short song, and “You’re Good for Me” fits that bill to a small-but-perfectly-formed T. Rollicking along at a cracking pace (but not so fast it loses its groove), it’s distinguished by Hannaford’s fluid, rockin’ guitar licks (with more than a passing nod to Chuck Berry) and Wilson’s bratty, snarling vocals. Funny to think that he’d been a wedding singer before the Finks, because he’s a damn sight more Mick Jagger than Frank Sinatra, if you know what I mean…

For those of you who’d like to know more about this shortlived but important band, check out their chapter in the ace book Wild About You. Otherwise, turn up the volume and play it again…

Think Pink. Pic:

Related posts
Melbourne song of the month: The Loved One
Melbourne song of the month: 5:10 Man

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mystery girl: Jan Stewart

In this day and age of digital footprints and full-disclosure Facebooking, there’s little that a good Google search won’t reveal. However, as I discovered today, the worldwide web falls intriguingly short when it comes to 1960s fashion model Jan Stewart.

Jan glamming it up in some swinging ski gear. Photo: Janice Wakely
As far as I know, Jan was from Melbourne, and worked with local photographers such as Bruno Benini (profiled in an earlier blog post) and Maggie Diaz.
Reclining Jan. Photo: Maggie Diaz
With her Audrey Hepburnesque features and natural grace, she was every bit as divine as my favourite 60s model Jean Shrimpton — but clearly didn’t hit the same heights of fame, because I simply can’t find anything about her online except a few photos and an interview snippet where she recalls the staging of this fabulous shot in a Little Collins Street building site for Sportsgirl:

Frock with a view. Photo: Bruno Benini
So, unless anyone out there can tell me more about this beautiful mystery babe, we’ll just have to be content to swoon over her… Besides, as they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words.

Jan doing Jean! How Shrimpton is this? I have a postcard of this pic somewhere, from that 2011 Como House exhibition, Mannequin. Wish I could find it so I could give the photographer due credit...
Yogi Jan. Photographer also unknown.