Thursday, June 21, 2007

Levi Smith's Clefs - Empty Monkey (1970)

Based around Barrie McAskill this was a continuation of The Clefs. The first three line-ups went to Sydney and had a residency at the Whiskey A Go-Go for eighteen months. The next one was formed in Sydney in 1968 after most members of the earlier line-up had left to form Tully and play in 'Hair' the musical. The next line-up toured frequently and recorded "Empty Monkey". The album captured the band moving towards progressivism on the title cut, the single "Lisa" and an 11½ minute rendition of Lennon-McCartney's "We Can Work It Out". Their soul and R'n'B influences were apparent still on covers of The Hunter and Junior Walker's "Shotgun". This line-up also backed Doug Ashdown on his double album "Age Of Mouse", but Jurd, Blisset, Howe and Buettell left then to form Fraternity. In late 1969/early 1970 the band returned to their residency at the Whisky A Go-Go. Later they moved on to a new residency at Chequers in Sydney. By 1971, they were playing Blood Sweat & Tears and Chicago material six nights a week at Chequers.

The line-up in 1972 was also known as McAskill's Bear Brigade. Later that year they moved to Melbourne with a new line-up. Most of the later line-up became Mighty Mouse. The 1973 line-up was based in Sydney, but in 1974 they returned to Melbourne.

You can also check out "Lisa" and "Road Runner" on "Festival 70". "Gonna Get A Seizure" has also resurfaced on "So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star" (3-CD), as has a version of "Take A Little Piece Of My Heart" credited to Linda Cable and Levi Smith's Clefs.

Taken from "Dreams, Fantasies and Nightmares" by Vernon Joynson, an extensive guide to Canadian / Australian / New Zealand and Latin American psych and garage music 1963 - 1976. Alex Gitlin

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Midnightsun said...

I love it ..perfect my style!

Anonymous said...

I'm very into early 70s Australian heavy and prog rock at the moment. Anyone who posts an album by Levi Smith's Clefs is presumably very knowledgeable, so Lisa I'd like to ask if you know anything about a band called Kelly, who had a great song called See My Way in about 1971.

I haven't been able to find out anything about them other than that they performed this song on a TV show called Hit Scene early that year. Can you help?