Recorded for Midnight Records with 3 original and 3 covers produced by Charlie Hull & Jon, the album is another one of those great Aussie LP's that has yet to be released in CD format.
Jon English (1968-Present)
English born singer Jon English cut his rock performance teeth in a number of bands during the late 60s and early 70s in his adopted country Australia, having moved here in 1961 at age 12. The most notable of these was the band Sebastian Hardie which English fronted until early 1972. Soon after Jon English won the role of Judas Iscariot in the Australian stage production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. Performing alongside another great singer in Marcia Hines, English showed his versatility as a stage performer and actor.
The production toured for the next five years, but along the way English found the time and energy to record his debut solo album ‘Wine Dark Sea’. The album was well received but didn’t yield any hit singles. English’s follow up ‘It’s All In A Game’ proved to be the breakthrough for ole ‘black eyes’ as he was affectionately dubbed, led by the hit ‘Turn The Page’ (#7) in early ‘75. The second half of the 70s would prove a prodigious period for English. His 1976 album ‘Hollywood Seven’ reached the OZ top 20. The title track reached #13 and proved the perfect vehicle to display English’s ability to belt out a classic dramatic rock ballad.
The hits continued through 1979 and 1980 with ‘Get Your Love Right’ (#27) and ‘Hot Town’ (#11). English toured extensively in the early 80s around Australia and overseas, but international success largely eluded him - like so many Australian artists of that era - however he did breakthrough to enjoy considerable commercial success in Scandinavia during that time. 1982 also saw English rekindle a great creative partnership with Marcia Hines on the single ‘Jokers And Queens’ (#62).
In 1983 English released the album ‘Some People’. The title track reached #50, whilst the follow up ‘Waterloo’ (not the ABBA song) lost the battle for chart success at #96. But I was among those to purchase ‘Waterloo’ on 45 and absolutely loved the song. It’s a brilliant rock-ballad that tells of the events at the historic Battle of Waterloo, from the perspective of a 15 year old drummer boy in Napoleon Bonaparte’s army. It’s one of those songs that can literally send shivers up the spine, very emotive and delivered with such fervour by English. I played my 45 copy until the grooves were well worn, not to mention it featuring one of the best B-sides I’ve ever heard with the song ‘Oh, Paris’ - a precursor toward English‘s future efforts in the stage musical and album ‘Paris‘. I was well pleased to finally obtain a CD copy of ‘Waterloo’ through its inclusion on Jon English’s second ‘best of’ compilation, ‘English History II’ released in 2001. [extract from Retro Universe]
Marcia Elaine Hines was born in Boston, Massachusetts and moved to Sydney in 1970 at age 16, after auditioning for the Australian production of ‘HAIR’. At the time she was unaware she was pregnant with her daughter Deni.
Following ‘HAIR’, she starred as Mary Magdalene in the production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’.
Marcia achieved great success as a recording artist in the 70’s with many hits and was voted ‘Queen of Pop’. During this period, her debut album was released, ‘Marcia Shines’, and it became the biggest selling album by an Australian female artist. Within one week it had sold 7,000 copies. Over the next eight months it topped the 50,000 sales mark.
In February 1976, she toured with Gene Pitney. Then, in May, came her third single, 'Don't Let The Grass Grow'/'You Gotta Let Go', which didn't make the charts. Hot on the heels of her first successful album, Marcia left for Los Angeles midway through 1976 to record her second at the Arbee Studios. The album was called 'Shining', and was released in October '76. Within one month it had gone gold. That same year she was crowned TV Week Queen of Pop for the first time. In September she released her biggest selling single to date, "I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself", which stayed in the charts for an amazing twenty one weeks.
Marcia's next national tour came early in 1977. It was promoted as her Shining Over Australia Tour. It was so successful that an 'encore' tour was scheduled for March '77, covering twenty eight additional venues. At this stage, her basic backing unit (which was supplemented by other musicians) consisted of fiance Mark Kennedy (drums); Jackie Orszackky (bass guitar, musical direction); Stephen Howsden (guitar); and Warren Ford (keyboards). In the meantime, sales of the 'Shining' album were still rising and by the end of March '77, they had topped the 150,000 mark (triple platinum status).
Then, in April, Marcia spent most of her time in the studios recording her third album. It was a slightly more mellow record although it did reflect her diversified vocal ability. The album was called 'Ladies And Gentlemen . . . Marcia Hines'. Amazingly it went gold only two hours after it was shipped to two states. By the end of 1977 it had sold over 50,000 copies. Pre-empting the album was a single from it entitled "What I Did For Love". The song was from the stage show, A Chorus Line, and entered the charts at the end of July. At the same time Marcia embarked on her biggest tour ever, which spanned one hundred and thirty days and included eighty six shows. It also covered both South East and Far East Asia.
With only three years' recording behind her, Marcia had become Australia's biggest selling, locally recorded female artist ever.
In 1982 Marcia toured with Jon English in "Jokers and Queens", releasing an album of the same name. Soon after Marcia put her solo career on hold to concentrate on being a mum.
Marcia released her biography in 2001 entitled "Diva", alongside a greatest hits album. Since 2003, Marcia has appeared as a permanent judge on ‘Australian Idol’.
She was inducted into the ‘ARIA Hall of Fame’, and in 2009 received an ‘AM’ in the Australia Day Honours for her services to the entertainment industry and the community, through a range of charitable organisations.
Marcia continues her hectic performance schedule, touring nationally with Simply Red, as well as hosting a series on Foxtel’s Lifestyle network entitled "Sweet Talk". [extracts from colemangreig.com and Noel McGrath's Australian Encyclopedia of Rock, Outback Press. 1978. p143-144]
This post consists of an MP3 rip (320kps) taken from my vinyl copy, which I only acquired recently. Full album artwork is included along with label scans. Not a well known release, this mini LP is a great snapshot of two of Australia's best loved and talented vocalists dueting alongside the cream of Australian musicians playing at that time.
01 - Jokers and Queens
02 - Ain't Gonna Run
03 - Heard it Through the Grapevine
04 - This Time
05 - You Were on My Mind
06 - Lovin' Feeling (Live)
Guitar - John Dallimore, Ross East, Keith Kerwin
Bass - John Coker, Bruno Distanislo
Keyboards - Charlie Hull, Peter Deacon, Steve Ball
Drums - Greg Henson, Hamish Stuart, Sunil De Silva.
Jokers and Queens MP3 Link (57Mb) New Link 17/10/2015
Jokers and Queens FLACs Link (160Mb)