YEARS AGO

 

                                                                Russell Morris

 

Part 3 Into Paper Walls (J Young/R Morris) and The Girl That I Love (J Young) – Russell Morris 1969

 

Part 3 Into Paper Walls written by Johnny Young and Russell Morris and produced by Strangers lead guitarist John Farrer, it was the sequel to the Real Thing. The session musicians included some of the best in Melbourne and included the rhythm section from the Groop – Max Ross(bass), Richard Wright (drums) – Brian Cadd (keyboards), a horn section, and the Armstrong Studios in South Melbourne was again the recording venue.

Part 3 was longer than the Real Thing, and the opening chords, including the nuclear explosion, are a direct segue from the end of that original blockbuster hit, Morris’s vocals commence an examination of the power of bright colors delivered over a mix of lush strings and choral inserts with his vocals sounding distorted and spectral.

The record possessed the same beguiling and transfixing qualities of its predecessor, Doug Ford (ex-Missing Links) provided compelling lead guitar for both sides of this record, a brass section drenches the finale as a veritable wall of sound washes over the mix with the outro revisiting the original beginning of the Real Thing, including the distinctive acoustic guitar motif, so completing the surgery on the two songs necessary to create a follow-up hit.

 

It would remain at the #1 position for three weeks and occupy the charts for 21 weeks, but it would mark the end of Morris’s psychedelic period as he indicated with his choice of a B-side here, the tender romantic ballad The Girl That I Love.

The Girl That I Love was written by Johnny Young and producer Howard Gable’s had preferred it to the Real Thing for Morriss’s debut solo single, he and Meldrum had argued ferociously over the merits of these two songs at the time, and it was only intended to be the B-side to the psychedelia of Part 3 but Gable’s instincts were correct, it became a hit in its own right, the impressive B-side helped to push the record to #1 and it was the 6th biggest-selling record of 1969, and following the success of The Real Thing, gave Morris a double punch start to his solo career.

To date Morris had not recorded an album but he now turned his attention to forming a band that would deliver in the recording studio. Brian Cadd came on board and a talented ensemble of musicians contributed during the sessions that would produce one of the best albums of the 1970’s- Bloodstone – Chain’s Barry Harvey, Barry Sullivan, Matt Taylor and Phil Manning as well as drummer Mark Kennedy, bassist Duncan McGuire and guitarists Rick Springfield, Billy Green and Brian Holloway.

 

 

Bloodstone would follow a rather tortured path to ultimate fruition, the first version of the album with producer Howard Gable was not well-regarded by Morris who scrapped it and convinced EMI to re-record the whole album. After ensuring that Gable understood the interpretation that Morris wanted, he was engaged to produce Mark 2 of the album. At this time Morris and his former producer Ian Meldrum were estranged, due to differences of opinion about the appropriate career direction for Morris, who favored the UK whilst Meldrum was convinced that the success of the Real Thing in several major US cities pointed to a career path there. Engineers John Sayers and John French came on board, and the recording process got under way.

 

Russell Morris 2

The album was an unqualified success, it displayed mature and nuanced vocal qualities in Morris’s, tone, range, and timbre, it charted at #12 nationally and the first single lifted from the album, the plaintive and gentle Sweet, Sweet Love was a top ten hit, but attempts to translate his local success into international markets in the coming years would prove to be both frustrating and ultimately fruitless for Russell Morris. He did however sustain a credible career for the next thirty years on the heritage rock circuit until he returned to recording the blues and a new vibrant market emerged for him when he took four albums into the local charts between 2012-2019 – Sharkmouth (#6 in 2012), Van Dieman’s Land (#4 in 2014), Red Dirt, Red Heart (#21 in 2015) and Black and Blue Heart (#2 in 2019) .

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