| Sweet Consolation 1966-73
Following on from the Missing Links, Purple Hearts and the Wild Cherries, the latest ‘classic reissue’ from Half A Cow Records is from one of the most popular live Sydney bands of the 60s beat era - Python Lee Jackson.
24 songs, including the three CBS 1966 singles featuring Mal McGee on lead vocals, a fantastic lead singer who should really be a household name, and some of the finest Australian musicians. None were hits...until NOW! The band re-grouped in London in 1968 and went on to have Rod Stewart sing on the song ‘In A Broken Dream’ which became a worldwide hit in the early 70s. The cd continues with the 1969-1973 London recordings and we finish the compilation off with two songs recorded in 1966 for the Be Our Guest TV program plus a song by DJ Ward ‘Pally’ Austin backed by Python Lee Jackson.
And now there is a new version of ‘In A Broken Dream’, recorded in Mullumbimby in 2008.
Despite our best efforts, the three tracks from the original In A Broken Dream LP with Rod Stewart on vocals could not be secured for this compilation. We think they belong here with the rest of the songs produced by Miki Dallon. But Miki sold them on, and the current copyright holder, a former accountant for the Bay City Rollers, does not share this view. “Believe me, we tried!” says a spoke from Half A Cow. “The amount of emails and one very unresponsive phone call to some guy who couldn’t see the point of these Python Lee Jackson songs sitting alongside the rest of their recorded output. A Rod Stewart ‘best of’ or a film soundtrack but not a small independent label from Australia.”
As a (sweet) consolation, we thought it would be fitting to then have the songwriter’s version of the famous track. To our delight, David Bentley has recorded a new version especially for this cd, complete with the full never-before-heard lyrics. In the original version, because the lights had been doused, Rod missed the last verse, repeating the first one instead, filling in at one point with a hummed mmm mmm mmm which subsequent cover versions have faithfully covered. The musicians on this 2008 version are Greg Lyon on the bass, Scott Hills on the drums, David’s daughter Danielle Bentley on the cello with David on the piano and vocals. Interestingly, Rod Stewart has just released his own version of the song, recorded in 1992 with Dave Gilmour from Pink Floyd, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin, Nick Lowe and Pete Thomas, drummer from the Attractions. So the song lives on in more ways than one!
Originally produced in April 1969 by legendary English DJ John Peel with Rod Stewart on lead vocals (paid for the sessions with some new car seat covers!) ‘In A Broken Dream’ was later sold onto producer Miki Dallon, who re-recorded parts and re-released the song until it finally became a hit in late 1972. Credited to the mysterious Python Lee Jackson with no mention of the instantly recognizable vocals of Rod Stewart, who had recently found stardom with ‘Maggie May’ and ‘You Wear It Well’. And while the song was charting in the US, UK and Europe, Bentley was with his wife and newly born son, away from the music scene, in a small village in Marjorca.
Bentley never did meet Rod again but came close on one occasion in Bentley’s hometown of Brisbane. One night while on tour, Stewart was dining in the city’s premier restaurant Scaramouche where Bentley was playing with his jazz trio. As Bentley observes, the singer never cottoned on that the piano player was the author of 'In A Broken Dream'. “I thought of calling by Rod’s table but it was busy in the restaurant and I never got around to it,” reflects the pianist. “In any event, I was enjoying my current world too much to squander time revisiting the fractured days of Python Lee Jackson and ‘In A Broken Dream’. I felt a bit weird about being the restaurant piano player and him the big star, so I didn't say anything."
The Sweet Consolation compilation includes the now-expected 36 page booklet with a story by Nick Warburton and photos by Australian photographer, Jim Colbert, who was right in there at the time, and photos from Miki Dallon who captured the London years. 11 unreleased tracks all up plus the In A Broken Dream album (except the three Rod Stewart-sung tunes!) on cd for the first time. Sweet indeed.