|MILESAGO: Australasian Music & Popular Culture 1964-1975||Groups & Solo Artists|
Graeham Goble (vocals, guitar)
Russ Johson (vocals, guitar)
John Mower (vocals, guitar)
Alison Gros formed in Adelaide in 1970. Their name was presumably taken from the famous English folk song of the same name (which was memorably covered by Steeleye Span, among others). The group's main claim to fame is of course its founding member, Graeham Goble.
Their first single, released in 1970, was the first recording issued on on the shortlived Adelaide label Gamba, which issued about a dozen Singles during 1970-71. The band relocated to Melbourne in 1971 and signed with Ron Tuudor's Fable Records. They released two Singles on Fable during the year, both of which scraped into the bottom of the Top 100
The trio's main claim to fame -- if that's the right word -- is the novelty pop recordings they made for Fable in the early '70s under the pseudonym Drummond. The first Drummond single was a version of George Harrison's "For You Blue" which came out in early 1971 but barely dented the charts, only reaching #94. I've not heard this recording, so I don't know whether it's a 'straight' version or not.
The next Drummond record ranks as one of the most bizarre Australian one-hit wonders of the decade. In mid-1971 Fable released Drummond's novelty version of the song "Daddy Cool". It was a blatant cash-in on the current popularity of Ross Wilson's Daddy Cool, who had taken their name from the song. At the time Drummond's version came out, Daddy Cool were dominating the singles charts with "Eagle Rock" and they had included a version of the old rock'n'roll standard (in a much more 'authentic' reading) on their hit debut LP.
Proving the old adage that no-one ever lost money by over-estimating the taste of the general public, Drummond's novelty 'chipmunk' rendition of "Daddy Cool" rocketed up the charts, toppling "Eagle Rock" from the #1 spot in August. In all it spent a staggering 34 weeks on the national chart in the second half of 1971 and became one of the biggest selling Australian singles of the year.
Fable issued three subsequent singles under the Drummond moniker, but the members of Alison Gros were not involved -- these were recorded by anonymous session players, (presumably members of the Bootleg Family Band). By the end of 1971 Alison Gros had 'morphed' into Mississippi, whose story you can read in our article on that band.
Founding member Russell Johnson died on 15 Septmeber 2007 after suffering a stroke.
"Naturally" / "Would You Really Have To Go" (Gamba GA1)
"If I Ask You" / "So Good" (Fable FB 054)
"All The Days" / "Weaver Of Life" (Fable FB 087)
References / Links
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock (Outback Press, 1978)
Dreams, Fantasies & Nightmares: Australia (Borderline Books, 1999)
Chris Spencer, Zbig Nowara & Paul McHenry
Who's Who of Australian Rock (Five Mile Press, 2002)