COUNTDOWN SPECIAL- PART 1

 

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Julia (T Mulry) 1970 and Falling in Love Again (H Vanda/G Young) – Ted Mulry 1971 and Jump in My Car (T Mulry/L Hall) and Dark Town Strutters Ball (S Brooks)– Ted Mulry Gang 1975

Born in Oldham England, Ted Mulry emigrated to Australia in 1969 and submitted several demos to Alberts Records for consideration. It was the era of the singer-songwriter and internationally such artist as James Taylor, Neil Diamond, Carole King, Jackson Browne, and others had started out as songwriters and been convinced to perform their own material, and this is also how Ted Mulry came to prominence.

Ted was operating a backhoe for the NSW Dept. of Main Roads when he demoed several of his own compositions to Alberts in Sydney, very soon after he was in the Armstrong Recording Studios in Melbourne with Ted Albert, cutting his first record.

His debut release was Julia in 1970, a well-crafted melodic pop song with a charming arrangement that combined acoustic guitar with Ted’s convincing vocals, it was a breakthrough hit for Mulry at #24 nationally. The promo clip was a monochrome low budget production filmed in Footscray Park (Maribyrnong), the loved up couple stroll through the Edwardian period gardens hand and in hand, Ted’s love interest was aspiring actress Julia Redmond, the flares, short skirts and hairstyles make it a time capsule of the 1970’s.

 

A year later a Vanda/Young composition, Falling in Love Again would continue the theme of melodic albeit sugary pop, it was well-produced, and charted at #7 for Mulry’s biggest hit to date and was on the charts for 32 weeks. Mulry had the opportunity to perform this song at the Tokyo Song Festival but on the night of his performance he had such a severe case of stage fright that he barely ventured beyond the shadowy recesses of the back of the stage and scurried back home soon after, without impressing the judges.

Two other singles followed in 1971, Marcia (#48) and Memories (#25) but by then Mulry had decided to return to the UK and try his luck there under the pseudonym Steve Ryder, but he would ultimately return to Australia in 1972, and begin the task of re-defining himself in a harder rock image, as front- man for TMG – The Ted Mulry Gang.

 

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Ted Mulry made the transition from successful balladeer to boogie rocker with the formation of the Ted Mulry Gang in 1972, recruiting members of the Sydney band the Velvet Underground, Malcolm Young’s former band, TMG became Les Hall (lead guitar), Ted Mulry (bass), Herman Kovac (drums), and Ronnie Clayton (rhythm guitar).

TMG embraced a simple, tried and proven boogie rock beat, favored by such bands as Status Quo, ZZ Top and their Alberts stablemates AC/DC, their choreographed guitar movements involved a thrusting motion in time to the beat, and it typified the band’s light-hearted, good-time, uncomplicated approach to music.

Mulry and guitarist Les Hall wrote this song which opens with a great guitar riff and chugs along in a repetitive driving rhythm and insistent back beat, the tongue-in-cheek lyrics humorously chart the course of negotiating a casual date and Mulry’s vocals and spoken entreaties to convince the lady in question that his intentions are honorable, are raffish, amusing, and effective.

The object of Ted’s entreaties was portrayed in the video clip by  Alberts Music staffer Julie Murphy, whose scenes are intercut with concert footage of the band performing near Sydney Harbour Bridge, Julie appears at the concert in the very last frame, with a conspiratorial wink to the camera. Trivia buffs may also note that at approx. 1.19 min into the clip  Vanda and Young can be seen watching the performance from a balcony over Ted Mulry’s right shoulder. The ebb and flow of the narrative is very entertaining, the young Lothario initially doing everything to convince the lady in question of his best intentions only to subsequently withdraw his offer of a ride home when he finds out  how far out of town – 84 miles or 135 klms –she lives.

This was the first hit for the band and shot to #1 in September and stayed there for six weeks, the promo video for Jump In My Car was gauche, but memorable, several girls who invaded the stage were thrown back into the water by security staff, now that’s rock and roll.

 

A cover version of this song by Knight Rider/Baywatch star David Hasselhoff was recorded and produced by Harry Vanda in Sydney, incredibly it hit #3 in the UK in 2006.

TISM sampled the song on their 1998 song “There’s Gonna Be Sex Tonite” and inferred that Jump in My Car was one of the more sensitive musical treatments of the issue of date rape.

TMG followed up the next year with Dark Town Strutters Ball, a boogie make-over of a 60 -year-old Dixieland jazz number written by Shelton Brooks, that Ted recalled had been revived by Joe Brown and the Bruvvers in the UK in the 60’s, to which they gave the rollicking good-time TMG riffing treatment which propelled it to #3 in January 1976. TMG followed up with more hits – Crazy (#11 in ‘76), Jamaica Rum (#10 in ‘76), and, My Little Girl (#8 in ‘77), and were popular on the heritage rock circuit for twenty years,Ted Mulry contracted brain cancer and sadly passed away in 2001, in the same week that we also farewelled Shirley Strachan of Skyhooks.

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