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Little River Band Is “Reminiscing” With New Reissues Of Four Classic Albums

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Little River Band - After Hours

Friday night I was late, I was walking you home, we got down to the gate, and I was dreaming of the night…would it turn out right?

With those conversational lyrics to the song “Reminiscing,” The Little River Band finally saw their commercial breakthrough in 1978. The catchy, soft-rock track came from the Australian group’s fourth album, Sleeper Catcher; largely on the strength of the single, it also became the LRB’s first U.S. platinum selling LP. Cherry Red’s recent Lemon label is hoping that you, too, are ready to start reminiscing about the Little River Band. Lemon has just reissued four early albums on two new 2-CD sets.

After Hours/Diamantina Cocktail brings together two 1976 albums from the LRB. The first featured Beebe Birtles (lead vocals/guitar), Ric Formosa (guitar), Graeham Goble (lead vocals/guitar), Roger McLachlan (bass), Derek Pellicci (drums/percussion) and Glenn Shorrock (lead vocals/guitar). The band’s sound amalgamated numerous influences; Shorrock came from country rockers Axiom, Goble from folk-rockers Allison Gros and Mississippi, the latter of which also featured Birtles and Pellicci. When they formed the Little River Band, it was expressly with the goal of cracking the lucrative American market. Hence, the sound was somewhat reminiscent of The Eagles or Lowell George’s Little Feat, though frequently with more orchestration (brass and strings). You’ll even hear a touch of Eagle Joe Walsh’s delivery in the LRB’s vocals. Back home, The Little River Band also was seen as an antidote to the glam-rock prevailing at the time on the Australian charts.

After Hours followed the 1975 debut Little River Band. The debut had earned the LRB a minor U.S. hit (No. 28) with “It’s a Long Way There” from Little River Band, and a couple more songs charted at home in Australia, but the group clearly had a long way to go. For the band-produced After Hours, songwriting duties were again split among its members. Birtles’ “Every Day of My Life” became an Australian hit, but the album initially wasn’t even released in America. Following the release down under, Formosa and McLachlan departed the band, with David John Briggs (guitar) and George McArdle (bass) replacing them for Diamantina Cocktail. (For those wondering, the album was named after a drink consisting of rum, condensed milk, and the egg of an emu!) Linda Ronstadt’s producer John Boylan joined the team, and the changes apparently paid off. Shorrock’s “Help is on the Way” and Briggs’ “Happy Anniversary” both made an impression in the U.S., going Top 20 and establishing the Little River Band.

Here’s where the story gets complicated: Capitol in the U.S. initially passed on After Hours, and found Diamantina not strong enough. The label’s solution was to take five tracks from the former and four from the latter, and release them under the Diamantina Cocktail name. Of the After Hours tracks, the new band line-up re-recorded “Days on the Road” (in part) and “Take Me Home” (in full) and the other songs were remixed. It wasn’t until 1980, following the success of “Reminiscing,” that the two albums’ remaining tracks were compiled by Capitol under the name…After Hours! Lemon’s new reissue preserves the original Australian versions of these two albums.

After the jump: a look at Sleeper Catcher/First Under the Wire!

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Written by Joe Marchese

July 24, 2013 at 08:19