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    Laurie Allen - History

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  • Laurie Allen was a veteran of the earliest days of rock & roll in Melbourne.
    His professional career started as lead guitarist of
    Malcolm Arthur & The Knights , one of Melbourne's earliest rock & roll bands.

    [ The information about Laurie's early career is somewhat contradictory; rock historian Ian MacFarland lists Laurie's first band as The Knights, but Who's Who of Australian Rock also lists him as an original member of The Roulettes (see below) during 1958-59. ]

    After leaving the Knights in '62 he joined The Blue Jays as singer/organist. Laurie stayed with them until the end of 1963, when they became part of Ivan Dayman's Sunshine organisation. Shortly after that, in 1964, they became the "Fabulous Blue Jays", the backing band for singer Tony Worsley. Laurie then joined The Roulettes , a long-running Melbourne revue band whose roster had included brothers Ron Blackmore (vcls) and Phil Blackmore (kbds), Graham Trottman (dr) and Bob Arrowsmith (bs).

    By the time Laurie joined the Roulettes, Ron Blackmore had moved into management and had assembled a stable of singers and groups who worked the booming dance circuit in Melbourne. It was here that Laurie first teamed up with singer Bobby Bright. Bobby had made his start as a solo singer in Adelaide, working for Dayman, and then moved to Melbourne to do some shows for them there. He also released two singles on the W&G label in 1963. When Bobby and Laurie left The Roulettes in 1964, Blackmore became their manager. Each initially struck out on his own, performing separate solo spots in one show (complete with coffin!) backed by Melbourne instrumental band The Hearsemen , which included a young Mike Brady (MPD Ltd) in its first lineup. Gradually they merged their acts into one and "Bobby & Laurie" was born. Bobby & Laurie was one of the first Melbourne acts to adopt the new 'longhaired' image pioneered by The Beatles and the Stones, and they rapidly became a popular local attraction. Like several other important artists of the time, they became regular guests on the 0-10 Network's The Go!! Show , based in Melbourne, which led to a contract with the Go!! label. They released their first single, a Laurie Allen original called I Belong With You. The song's catchy, foot-stomping bridge (influenced by British Bands like The Kinks & The Pretty Things) helped propel it into the Top Ten in March 1965, and became one of the most successful singles of the year, charting for 19 weeks.

    I Belong With You a hit, Bobby & Laurie needed a backing band, so they turned to another Blackmore-managed group. The Lincolns had originated ca.1962 as the Shadows-style instrumental band, The Silhouettes [Ian B. Allen (bs), future Aztec Gil Matthews (gtr), Ed Nantes (gtr), Roger Treble (lead gtr) and Gary Young (dr)]. They changed their name to The Lincolns in 1963, by which time Matthews had left and bassist Wayne Duncan (ex-Ramrods) had replaced Allen. They added singer Bob Johnson when beat music broke through in 1964. Young later took over from Johnson, but tired of having to sing and play, so he quit in early 1965 to form the vocal duo Double Trouble with Issy Di and was replaced by drummer Barry Gough. Double Trouble split soon after, so Young rejoined Duncan, Treble and rhythm guitarist John Sullivan (later replaced by guitarist Barry Rogers) in a new touring version of The Lincolns. The group (billed as The Rondells after Bobby & Laurie's Original Backing Band consisting of Bernie O'Brien Legendary Melbourne Guitarist with Ron Gilby On Rhythm Guitar Dennis Tucker on Bass Guitar & Drummer Dennis Collins Who's Trademark Backbeat helped Propel "I Belong With You To The Top also backed other Blackmore artists such as Bobby Knight, and Ivan Dayman artists like Lyn Randell, Buddy England, Billy Adams and Bobby Shore. (Young and Duncan of course went on to great success in the '70s as half of Daddy Cool.)
    Bobby & Laurie rapidly became national stars, thanks to the top-notch backing of The Rondells and Bobby and Laurie's stage presence - according to Who's Who of Australian Rock, "their stage act consisted of zany routines and choreography, maintained by the duo's total enthusiasm" . The duo released three more successful singles on Go!! during 1965 - Someone , Judy Green (both of which were Top 10) and Crazy Country Hop (which reached No.25). Early in 1966 they left Go!! and signed with Albert Productions and Parlophone and had three more Top 20 hits during the year: Sweet and Tender Romance (# 20 in Jan. '66), their No.1 hit single, a version of Roger Miller's Hitchhiker (April), and a version of High Noon (#14 in September).
    In July they were given their own show on ABC TV called It's A Gas . The show originally had a teen-oriented format, but it was changed partway through the series to cater to a more sophisticated 'adult' market, and retitled Dig We Must . Apparently the change of format lost the duo a lot of their 'teen' appeal and led to more friction between the two singers. Their sometimes stormy relationship deteriorated during the later half of the year. They made their final TV performance together on New Years' Eve, and in February 1967 they officially split, after recording their last album Exposaic , which was almost exclusively country in style, except for the psychedelic nugget Every Second Day .

    After the split, Laurie put together a soul revue along the lines of the popular Stax and Motown acts; originally called Dice, it was later renamed The Laurie Allen Revue, and its members included ex-Rondells Barry Rogers, Gary Young, Wayne Duncan, guitarist Phil Manning and backing singers Glenys and Colleen Hewett . The Revue released three singles on Festival - Beautiful Brown Eyes (Aug. '67), Any Little Bit (Apr. '68) and As Long As I Got You (Jun. '68). Bobby meantime worked in cabaret, made forays into acting (including Homicide ), and in mid-68 became a DJ with Melbourne radio station 3XY.
    In early 1969 there was a reconciliation between the two singers, beginning with Laurie's appearance on Bobby's radio show in February. In September they announced that they would reunite, leaving their pop career behind them and performing straight country & western. They released several singles, including Carroll County Accident (RCA, December 1969) and Through The Eyes Of Love (Fable, Dec. 1970), but they split again in mid-1971.
    Bobby resumed acting and singed a solo contract with RCA; in 1973 he appeared in the famous Melbourne concert production of Tommy , and in July 1976 he released a self-titled album. He also wrote and recorded music for commercials. Laurie continued to write and release country music. Bobby & Laurie have reunited in the 90s and still work together playing rock dances and the rock & roll revival circuit.
    An Album Released In 1998 Entitled "TURNING POINT Showed The Years Had Not Changed The Magic Of This Teams Vocal Magnificence
    Showcasing the seldom heard but brilliant Laurie Allen Arrangement Of "Fields Of Athenry" This Album Was Sadly Under Promoted And Did Not Get Its Due Promotion & Distribution Thus Possibly Depriving The Duo Of Yet Another Hit Record

    In 2000 Laurie made yet another one of his many musical discoveries when he uncovered Melb guitarist producer Warren Keats Teaming Together With Rondells Guitarist Bernie O'Brien The Trio Known As L.B.W Recorded 6 Albums
    Including The 2001 Tiara Award Winning AUGUST MOOD for Melbourne Singer Ian Castles

    Sadly, Laurie Will Not See The Release Of 5 Of These Albums Including The Long Awaited Solo Album "ONE LAST ROUND Including what Laurie Described As His Best Solo Work

    Sadly, The story ended tragically on June 13, 2002 with Laurie Allen's untimely death from a heart attack.

    Australian Country Music Reels From This Great Loss

    Rock & Roll In Australia Just Wont Be The Same

    One Of Our Legends Has Passed

    Lawrence Frank Allen & His Groovy Guitar Are No More

    But His Music Lives Forever In Our Hearts

    Rock On Twoddle I Bet Yer In A Hell Of A Band!

  • Laurie Allen
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