This review was originally posted on the first Toorak Times web site where publications ceased on that site in March 2017. The old site will be permanently closed in 2020 and these reviews are being re-published in order to preserve them on the current Toorak Times/Tagg site.
This is number forty in the series of albums I’m featuring as part of an on-going retrospective of vinyl albums in my personal collection.
The series is called, “Cream of The Crate”, and they represent vinyl albums that I believe are of significant musical value, either because of their rarity, because they represent the best of a style or styles of music or because their is something unique about the group or the music.
The album is “The Wild Side Of Life” by MPD LTD.
This album was released by Raven Records in 1982 (RVLP-07) and was part of a series of albums released on Raven Records to document or provide a recording of material likely to be lost.
The Album was compiled by Glenn A. Baker, Kevin Mueller and Pete Shillito, remastered from original tapes, and issued by arrangement with Astor Records.
The collection was dedicated to the memory of the late Pete Watson.
MPD LTD was only in existence for a mere 18 months and only released one album prior to the album under review and that was their only official release – the 1966 The Best of MPD LTD (Go!! GLP 3006). Unfortunately that record is not in my collection.
In fact Julius Caesars reputed famous phrase of “Veni, vidi, vici” – or, I came, I saw and I conquered, could easily apply to MPD LTD.
The group initially consisted of Mike Brady [Guitar] and Pete Watson [Bass], who had had previously been in the Melbourne group the Phantoms (in fact Mike Brady was only with them for a couple of months).
They both realised the ‘writing was on the wall’ for instrumental groups (which the Phantoms basically were), and they made contact with the drummer from the Melbourne group, the Saxons – Danny Finley, and easily convinced him that the future was in the direction their favourite groups (The Beatles and Stones) were going.
So in 1965 MPD LTD was born – (Mike, Pete, Danny), and success followed as fast as the formation of the group!
Within 3 weeks of formation they were booked as the opening group for the Dave Clarke 5 Australian tour.
Actually they had no prior history in Australia, no real shows, no recordings, and with the help of the English accent of Mike Brady, the Australian audiences, the media and public in general assumed they were English.
The track which really generated a lot of interest about them, was their cover of the 1961 hit by Johnny Burnett – “Little Boy Sad“.
This went to #1 in Melbourne and in Sydney, and established them as one of the ‘hip’ groups in town. What assisted them was that they actually had musical ability, a good vocalist with Mike, and Danny’s drum stick twirling, in this musical period, was a hit with the crowds.
Between 1965 and March 1967 they released six singles, 2 EP’s and one LP.
“What people seemed to notice most now though, apart from the taken-for-granted solid MPD sound, was the emerging songwriting prowess of Danny and Peter. And soon after, Mike Brady presented the supreme and sparkling pop of the bands swansong single, Paper Doll.” (Milesago).
In terms of this album, the selection of tracks is excellent and includes the A-side of all six singles, those being:
“Little Boy Sad” / “Wendy Don’t Go” (Go!! 5010)
“Lonely Boy” / “Wild Side Of Life” (Go!! 5014)
“(Remember) Walkin’ In The Sand” / “If You Were Mine” (Go!! 5020)
“No Regrets” / I Won’t Be Back” (Go!! 5027)
“Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder” / “I Am What I Am” (Go!! 5031)
“Paper Doll / You Might As Well Forget Him (Go!! 5049)
“Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder” (Danny Finley – Pete Watson)
“Her Favourite Song” (Mike Brady)
“I Am What I Am ” (Danny Finley – Pete Watson)
“I Won’t Be Back ” (Mike Brady – Danny Finley – Pete Watson)
“If You Were Mine” (Bernie O’Brien)
“It’s Been A Long Time Coming” (Pete Watson – Danny Finley)
“Little Boy Sad” (Wayne Walker)
“Lonely Boy ” (Paul Anka)
“No Regrets ” (Mike Brady – Danny Finley – Pete Watson)
“Paper Doll ” (Mike Brady)
“(Remember) Walking In The Sand”(George ‘Shadow’ Morton)
“Wendy Don’t Go “(Mike Brady – Danny Finley – Pete Watson)
“Wild Side Of Life “(Warren – Carter)
“You Might As Well Forget Him” (Tommy Roe)
When I considered which tracks to feature in this review, it was impossible to ignore those A-side singles.
“Little Boy Sad” was in fact a fantastically successful track for them, as it captures the “Aussie beat” sound that was well developed and utilised by groups such as Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Ray Brown & The Whispers, Ray Hoff and the Offbeats, to name a few.
Little Boy Sad
“Lonely Boy” followed the track “Little Boy Sad” and was definitely more of a tear jerker. The scene had been set by Paul Anker, who previously recorded and released it, with it reaching #7.
By now the MPD fan base had exploded! The majority of those fans being hormone rich, emotionally open teen girls and the track hit them right in their little hearts!
Mind you, I can very well remember being down the beach at Queenscliffe in what must have been December 1965/January 1966, and MPD were playing in the car park adjacent to the main beach.
They were very impressive, and to this day I remember how much I enjoyed this track, so maybe it reached more than the hormone filled teen girls.
Then hot on the tail of this track came their next top 20 hit, a cover of the Shangri-Las, “Walking in the Sand“.
Recorded without the Shnagri-Las finger clicks in the background, it was in fact the third and last of the ‘cover’ hits by the group.
Incidentally while on the topic of covers, the track has been covered by so many, many groups, from Ray Columbus, through to Aerosmith, Amy Winehouse to Jeff Beck.
None of my research found a citation mentioning MPD LTD as covering the track yet it was and still is, a damn good cover.
(Remember) Walking in the Sand
Although choosing covers to establish themselves on the charts was a necessary process, they had been gradually introducing their own material into their performances and onto the B-sides of their singles.
Singles #4 & 5 were A-sides with their material, but they were largely ignored by the radio stations, much to Mike’s frustration.
This gave rise to latter singles “No Regrets” and then,”Paper Doll” which appear on this album.
“Paper Doll” was at the time labelled a ‘sparkling pop song and suitable swansong’ for the group.
I don’t know! I listen today No Regrets now and I have to say it just didn’t grab me then, and doesn’t today. You may very well listen with a ‘different pair of ears’.
In regard to Paper Doll, I wasn’t crazy over it when it was released but listening now I find a different appreciation for it. I just wish the engineering/production of this track as it is on the album was better.
It just sounds tinny and I can’t believe that this is how it was recorded.
Like many other great Aussie groups, MPD eventually took the trail to London and like all the many other Aussie groups who made the journey they found they were small fish in a large pond.
Despite the quality of their music and the development of their songwriting, the experience was most unpleasant and the band returned home after only four months.
So even while they were at their zenith, the writing was on the wall and with disharmony on stage and they folded in 1967.
They went their own ways with varying degrees of success.
Sadly at a young age in 1972 Pete fell ill and passed away.
Danny joined a few other groups, the most notable being “Johnny Young and Company“, but heading into the 1970’s he could see that the musical career was over. He then took up a job as a Senior Executive in Johnny Young’s company, and packages family variety programming for Foxtels TV1.
The best known of the group remains Mike Brady, who has continued to write and record and is probably going to be eternally famous (and rich???), for his footy song, “Up There Cazaly“.
MPD LTD were never going to be considered as ‘heavy weights’ of our musical scene, but, they are a very important element of it.
So, either a copy of the original 1966 album or this latter release is a must for serious record collectors and anyone who loves that early Australian music.
Copies pop up from time to time and when this review was written in 2013 there were two copies of this album on Ebay, one for $43.00 *(inc postage), and another exactly double that price at $86.00.MPD LTD –
Sadly there appears to be no know clips of the original line up of MPD LTD playing. There are more recent clips of the reformed MPD without Pete – but it’s just not the same.
Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:
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