Sydney, early 1970s

Dave Allenby was a popular Sydney TV and club performer of the late '60s /early '70s who made several interesting crossovers into the pop arena. In April-May 1970 he supported The Beach Boys on their Australasian tour, performing on all the New Zealand and Australian shows except for the band's concluding 10-day residency at Sydney's Chevron Hotel.

Allenby also had a brief burst of pop success in 1971 when he released a single on the independent Chart label. Backed by popular Sydney band Autumn, he recorded the catchy single "She Works In A Woman's Way", backed by a raucous version of the Leadbelly standard "Midnight Special", arranged by Barrie McAskill, lead singer of Levi Smith's Clefs..

The A-side, originally recorded by Edison Lighthouse, was penned by UK songwriters Barry Mason and Tony Macaulay, who also wrote "Melanie Makes Me Smile" (recorded by The Strangers). The amazingly prolific Tony Macauley -- who was also a session singer and a member of several notable studio bands including Edison Lighthouse and First Class (of "Beach Baby" fame) -- had his songs recorded by many top international stars and wrote or co-wrote a swag of pop standards including "Build Me Up Buttercup", "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)", "Sorry Suzanne", "Gasoline Alley Bred" "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again", "(Last Night) I Didn't Get To Sleep At All" and David Soul's "Don't Give Up On Us".

The single was quite successful in Sydney, where Allenby and Autumn were both popular, and it also managed to briefly scrape into the bottom spot on the national Top 40 in February 1971. The two tracks were included on Autumn's debut album Song For Raymondo, and "Midnight Special" was also included on the Chart EP The Best of Whisky A-Go-Go, which comprised two tracks by Autumn ("Midnight Special" and "Day Tripper") and two tracks by Levi Smith's Clefs. This EP is highly sought after and now fetches around $200 on the collector's market.



Feb. 1971
"She Works In a Woman's Way" / "Midnight Special" (Chart)

References / Links

Ian McFarlane
Australian Encyclopedia of Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)

Noel McGrath
Encyclopedia of Australian Rock (Outback Press, 1978)

Spencer, Chris, Zbig Nowara and Paul McHenry
Who's Who of Australian Rock (Five Mile Press, 2002)