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Barrie McAskill and the Fabulous Drifters

Doug: Barrie: Russell: Alan: Peter:

Collective Members
Barrie McAskill (lead vocalist), Bobby Hunter (vocals & piano),
Russell “Walker” Job (lead guitar, vocals & electronic engineer)
Alan “Walker” Fehlberg (rhythm guitar, vocals & electronic engineer)
Peter “Mason” Mazurek (bass & vocals)
Drummers: Rod Wicker, Vinnie Jones, Doug Johnston & Tony Roberts.

These cover notes were written for the C.D. by Russell Job and amended by Barrie McAskill.

The Palais Performance

Barrie McAskill and the Fabulous Drifters
And the Wild Rocking Bobby Hunter
Compilation Album 1962 -1966

The Saturday night Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance came to suburban South Australia in the late 1956/1957. Brian Penglaze and the “Penny Rockets” and Sydney itinerants Ray Hoff and the “Offbeats” developed pop and rock music which helped encourage the musical transition from 60/40 to Rock & Roll.

Terry Walker from the Offbeats used a Gretsch guitar to demonstrate the real possibilities of Rhythm n' Blues for the dancing audiences. Jazz and Country music bands condescended to play a few rock songs later in the night and the electric guitar, very rare in those days, emerged as a driving force as rock and roll began its rise in popularity.

As the 60s began in South Australia, a lot of rock bands became the Saturday night suburban phenomenon. Bob Hunter, Clark Laidlaw and the "Rockassins", Barrie McAskill, Dave Everson and the "Rockalongs", Trev Pridham, Rick Detker and the "Mocassins", Johnny Mac and the "Mac Men", “The Hurricanes”, Pat Aulton, Glenis Shearman, the Viscounts with the "Clefs", Graham Bartlet and the "Keytones". Bobby Bright, Hayden Burford, Doug Ashdown and the "Beaumen", The “Tornados”, the "Taymen", the "Hurricanes", the "DelAirs", the "Twilights", the “Vibrants”, the "Vectormen", John E Broom & the Handles all played dance tunes that were less oriented to jazz and 60/40 music. But wild rock music was considered to be illegitimate by the snobs and taboo to the fascists.

The Palais Royal was presenting Ball Room dancing; promoted by Hughie Carmichael, due to a lack of people the old style dance could not make a profit any more and eventually closed. Special functions only were held on some Saturday nights. The “Palais’ lease was taken up by Aubrey Hall a well known Ballroom Champion, dance teacher and promoter of The Sea Breeze Ballroom (Glenelg Town Hall), the Kings Ballroom and the Windsor Ballroom.

The grand opening of the Teensville Casual Club at the Palais Royal brought big time Saturday night and Thursday night Rock & Roll to Adelaide on July 14th 1962.

Barrie McAskill, Bob Hunter and the Drifters
Alex Kris and the Hi Fis with Rick (Detker) Adams
Bobby James and the Esquires
Trev Warner, Carole Sturtzel and the Strangers

These groups provided nonstop Rock n' Roll to huge crowds, 2000 people on Saturdays, 1000 on Thursdays, jiving on a spring-loaded tropical hardwood floor which would bounce up and down, portraying an unforgettable vision to the performing musicians. "The message was to make it dance". There were always two bands a night and when the bands changed, two bands would join together playing a change over song: hence non stop music which would allay the more boisterous patrons who enjoyed fisticuffs.

We didn't know it at the time but this era became the golden age of avant garde dancing.


During this period we became the head-line band and our stage introduction developed into: “Adelaide’s King of Rock and Roll, Barrie McAskill and the Fabulous Drifters”:

We also became the backing band for all of our guest artists who came from all over Australia, the likes of:

Lana Cantrell, the Bradley Sisters, Patti Monroe, Robby Royal, Dig Richards, Lee Sellers, Wayne Cornell, Jerry J Wilder, Johnny Chester, Teddy Bennett, Judy Cannon, Barry Stanton, Carolyn Young, Paul Wayne, Noelene Batley, Del Juliana, The Bee Gee’s, (the twins were eleven and Barry was fourteen, their first tour), Sandy Scott, Judy Stone, Digger Revel, Roland Storm, Booker Hyland, Lonnie Lee, Ian Turpie, Malcolm Arthur, Betty McQuade, The Deltones, The Allan Brothers. (Yep, Peter Allan): “Fanbloodytastic”. Marlene Atchison, George Karon, Mary-Jane Boyd, Jimmy Little, Vicky Simms, Lucky Star, Frankie Davidson, Rob E G, Little Patti, Jay Justin, The Same Day Twins, Ricky and Tammy. These artists were being presented to us on TV, “Johnny O’Keefe’s: “Six O’clock Rock”, “Sing Sing Sing” and Brian Henderson’s, “Bandstand”.

The Palais was so big that amplification was a problem. Two of the Drifters (Russell and Alan) custom engineered their self-designed amplifying equipment to interconnect with each other and also serve as a vocal P.A. system. This technique involved a preset mixer. The Drifters designed and built 100-watt (RMS) amplifiers way before they became available in the commercial arena. A tape recorder was added by direct wiring. Some of the following tracks were taken from this 'live' diagnostic recording process and were not intended for release. But they do represent the only live sound recordings made in the Palais Royal when Rock became King in Adelaide. The amplifiers were directly coupled to the tape recorders in the studio sessions also.

These studio tracks are the first recorded by Max Pepper in his hot-wired studio in Moger Lane; They were presented on "Action" and "Seventeeners", Adelaide television shows screened in 1964-1965.

The Palais Performance: CD.

Barrie McAskill vocal, unless otherwise stated.

1/. Could Be As Two:
This was Russell Walker's Rock Blues arrangement of a song by "Them".

2/. Gloria:
Also by "Them" recorded by the Drifters when it was rising up the charts.

3/. She's a Better Mover.
First heard of by, the Sir Douglas Quintet: (Russell featured organ on this track).

4/. A Medley of songs from the current hit charts, both Rock & Blues.
Louie Louie (Richard Berry)
My Generation (Townsend)
Smokestack Lightning (Chester Burnet)
King Pin (Fanes)

5/. Hoochie Koochie Man
(Willy Dixon Blues classic)

6/. My Baby Left Me,
(Arthur Crudup): vocal by guitarist Russell Walker.

7/. Don't Ask Me What I Say
(Manfred Mann): vocal by guitarist Alan (Stretch) Walker.
The stretch between his thumb and little fingertip on his left hand that was truly awesome.

8/. Loves Gonna Live Here
(Buck Owens). An instrumental recorded in radio station 5KA, engineered by David Flatman and Dean Reynolds, in 1963. This recording used an inline compressor on the main amplifier. This consisted of a resistor limited thin filament globe across the speaker line: The globe lit a light dependant resistor in the feedback loop to reduce the gain. This allowed Stretch such sustain on the acoustic guitar sound that it had to be recorded. John Crossing played the organ.

9/. Temptation
(Brown and Freed): an original version of the song from the same session as the previous track. Although deeply influenced by the "Shadows" sound, sustain was produced in a little light-tight box called the 'Disney' developed by the Stretch & Russell, it gave the power amplifiers the ability to be incapable of overloading. The amplifiers from overseas did not have the same clarity and control. A field effect compressor was also added to the lead guitar amplifier in 1964. This gave more dynamic control to the envelope of the note.

10/. Don't Need You No More
An original song written by Barrie McAskill and Alan Walker recorded by Max Pepper. Sound production engineering was by Russell Walker.

11/. Little Girl Of Mine.
Another song written by Barrie and Alan recorded at home on a (seven and a half inches per second tape speed), quarter-track machine.

12/. Lucille
(Collins and Pennyman). This track which features Bob Hunter was recorded (three and three quarter’s inches per second), live at the Palais in 1962 and was carefully mastered by an EMI Sound engineer: Paul Bryant. Bob Hunter plays great piano.

13/. Jezebel
(Shanklin), an instrumental celebrating the purchase of a Fender Stratocaster guitar: This model was the first 'Strat' with tremolo arm. Its wiring was crude and unshielded; therefore we lined the electronics with cigarette packet metal foil. The tone controls were replaced with switches to give combinations and Phase changes. To add an edge to the increased harmonic content, four stages of treble equalization were used. The crossover frequency of the amplifiers ranged from 500 Hz for the bass amplifier to 800 Hz for lead guitar. The boost was so much (45 db) on the treble end of the bass amp that it was not suitable for guitar. They called it the "click bass”. Peter Mason played bass for all of these recordings.

14/. Peter Gunn
(Mancini): recorded on stage at Miami Club, a first-generation fuzz box sound from 1963.

I5/. Baby Please Don't Go
(Them): recorded at Milton Ingerson's Studio in 1964 by Max Pepper for "Seventeeners" TV: Program.

I6/. Some Kinda Earthquake
(Duane Eddy).
This song was used as a 'chaser' to play on and off artists at the Boomerang Club and the Palais Royal. Recorded live in 1962 was kept for sentimental reasons by Russell, who first heard it played live by the "Off beats" guitarist Terry Walker. It demonstrated the harmonic content of super-thin string technology. These harmonics were emphasized before the echo-send, a 300-foot endless cassette of graphite-backed tape fed a six-head full track tape echo machine. (Built & Designed by Russell & Alan).

17/. Lovin’ Up A Storm
(Jerry Lee Lewis).
This track features a good tom-tom rhythm for our drummer, Doug Johnston. This drum provided a contrasting counterpoint to the sound of the sharpest rhythm amp made. Stretch not only built this equipment, he also customized equipment for other bands. A fundamental innovation was the 75-ohm coax cable patch cord.

18/. High School Confidential
(Jerry Lee Lewis). Both raw and live, was recorded at the end of the first marathon 'Rockathon' during the first New Year celebration of Rock and Roll at the Palais Royal. The show ran from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. Despite breaking a string near the end, Russell kept the tape for its raw value. It is hoped that some of the thousands of people that jammed the dance floor of the Palais will purchase a copy of this commemorative C.D. It will take them back, guaranteed. As the band gradually played quieter everyone slowly sank down to the floor clapping their hands in time with the music. This also included John Dungey the rotund manager of the Teensville Casual Club. Russell can be heard telling him to also get down as well. The audience participation was tremendous. Then everybody would leap up shouting.

19/. Oop Oop A Doop
(Jessie Hill). Here, Adelaide's King of Rock does the crowd response favourite that was also popularised by Johnny O'Keefe. (J.O’K.). also starred at the Palais along with many of the great Eastern States artists, including those lovely little lads in short pants that came from their temporary home in Brisbane, the Bee Gees on their first tour. Big brother Barry Gibb had a stage stance just like Ray Hoff. This version was recorded live at the Miami Club just before Barrie McAskill left to join The Clefs at the Princeton Club. The Benediction on the end was from 5KA compere Stuart Jay. It is intended to release this C.D. at a Palais Commemoration with a lot of artists and band members to give continuous-impact music. The Palais management liked all the bands to play together at once regardless of the consequences. This spawned a huge range of ad-lib musical comedy. The Hi Fis' guitarist, the late Jeff Hudson, played the most hilarious style possible, especially for Bobby James and Pat Aulton. Rick Adams and the Hi Fis were based at the 60/40 dance, Sea Breeze in the Glenelg Town Hall. They would rush up to Adelaide and play while a support band from the Palais played Glenelg. The comedy was also a good antidote for the cultural cringe that was attacking the Rockers who were pioneering the music of the new era. From an arcane obscurity, electronics had brought the guitar to an unexpected prominence. The Beatles made it ubiquitous. The blues had now become a universal currency brought out of its ethnic roots through the medium of Rock n Roll.

Members of the band:
BOB HUNTER - Vocals & Piano
RUSSELL WALKER - Guitar, Organ and Vocal
ALAN WALKER - Guitar, and Voca
PETER MASON - Bass, Backing Vocal

This Compilation C.D. was collated and produced by Montemazula Records

Barrie has been presented in two Palais Reunions in 2002 with Barrie McAskill and the Fabulous Drifters:

Russell Job, (guitar): Allan Fehlberg, (guitar): Wayne Cheary), (bass): Doug Johnston, (drums): The Girls: Carole Sturtzel; Elaine Moore: Jan McAskill

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