The second half of 1967 was one of commercial disappointments for the Easybeats. Vanda and Young now turned their focus to their newly formed Staeb production company. The idea of Staeb was the extend the songwriter’s songs beyond The Easybeats and onto other pop artists. From late 1967 to throughout 1968, the song writing team used services of a small demo studio located at 9 Denmark Street called Central Sound Recording Studio.
Denmark Street was most notably known as “The British Tin Pan Alley” and before its decline in the 1960s, it housed numerous music publishers, recording studios and music stores. The work flow at Central Sound was extremely productive – they would record backing tracks in one afternoon then come back the following day to track vocals. The group appeared on most of the recording. At times, Harry or George would replace Stevie on vocals if the song was in too high of a register for his high baritone voice.
Some of these demo recordings even saw the light day on the band’s official releases (and sometimes without the bands consent). The songs considered not suitable for release with The Easybeats would be sold off to other artists. Some of these would include – “Bring A Little Lovin” by Los Bravos (‘Wait a Minute’ was offered but not used), “Look Out Out I’m On The Way Down” by Pepper and “Little Red Bucket” by The Bubble Gum (the original Easybeats demo lyrics say “Little Red Jug”). Back at home; Albert Productions would have local artist record these songs like Rev. Black and the Rocking Vicars (‘Down To The Last 500’, ‘Such a Lovely Day’ and ‘Walking and Talking’) and Mike Furber (‘I’m on Fire’ and ‘Watch Me Burn’).
It is unknown the exact number of songs recorded during this period. Years after the band discontinued, rock journalist Glenn A Baker approached the band’s record label Albert Productions with the idea of compiling an album of unreleased material from the group. The album was released in 1977 as The Shame Just Drained: The Vanda & Young Collection Volume 1 and featured 7 Central Sound demos. The following year, Baker and Ken Burnes would publish a list of unreleased Easybeats songs in the rock magazine BOMP. This list would include more of the fabled Central Sounds demos for Easybeats fans to speculate over. By 1979, Baker’s own Raven Records label had secured the rights to release some of these recordings via a set of three E.P’s. The second E.P. Son of Easyfever featured 2 more songs from the Central Sound sessions (‘I’m Just Trying’ and ‘Look Out, I’m On The Way Down’) while the follow up (the amusingly titled Son of Son of Easyfever) featured 2 more tracks listed as being from Central Sound (‘Watch Me Burn’ and ‘Little Red Bucket’).
Below is a list of the known Central Sound Studio demos – both released and unreleased.
Released during the band’s career
‘Bring A Little Lovin” – The Australian version of Vigil (1968)
‘Down To The Last 500’ – The Best of The Easybeats Volume 2 (1969)
‘H. P. Man’ – B-side to ‘Perculiar Hole in the Sky’ (1969)
‘Such A Lovely Day’- The Best of The Easybeats Volume 2 (1969)
‘Peculiar Hole Hole In The Sky’ – Single (1969) 1
Released posthumously (post 1970)
‘I’m On Fire’ – The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘Wait A Minute’ – The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘Peter’ – The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘Me And My Machine’ – The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘The Shame Just Drained’– The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘Kelly’ – The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘Johnny No-One’ – The Shame Just Drained (1977)
‘I’m Just Trying’ – Son of Easyfever E.P. (1980)
‘Look Out I’m On The Way Down’ – Son of Easyfever E.P. (1980)
‘Watch Me Burn’– Son of Son of Easyfever E.P. (1981)
‘Little Red Bucket’ – Son of Son of Easyfever E.P. (1981 with the original “Little Red Jug” lyrics) 1
Still Currently Officially Unreleased
‘Fly With Me’
‘Got Till the Morning’
‘I’m Gonna Be Somebody’
‘Monkey See Monkey Do’
‘Moonshine and Whiskey Galore’
‘Hey, St. Peter’ 2
‘Sweet Jelly Brown Is Swinging’ 3
‘Walking and Talking’
‘You Don’t Care No More’
‘You Don’t Know’
1. It is still unclear if these songs were initially recorded at Central Sound with horn and string overdubs at another studio (possibly Pye Studios) or completely tracked at Central Sounds (although a small demo studio, they did facilitate recording strings for other recordings – as exampled here and here). The liner notes for Son of Son of Easyfever, written by Glenn A. Baker, state that ‘Little Red Bucket’ was recorded at Central Sound Studios. In regards to ‘Peculiar Hole Hole In The Sky’ – an October 1969 interview with the group, broadcast on Australian music program GTK, said the song was already 18 months old (April 1968). This also places it around the time tracks for Vigil were being recorded at Pye Studios.
2. This song has been often claimed to be an unreleased Easybeats song from this period (other claims have said it is just an instrumental track). As of the time of writing – there has been no evidence to show that a demo of ‘St. Peter’ from Central Sound exists. The original log of titles at Albert Productions (which the BOMP article references), lists only ‘Peter’ (‘Peter’ was not listed in BOMP as it was released the previous year on The Shame Just Drained). Interviews with Harry and George have said the songs spoken word verses were written during the recording of the Flash and The Pan debut album (singing the verses was attempted, but they were dissatisfied with the results). However this does not rule out the possibility that there is still a 1968 demo of ‘Hey, St. Peter’ yet to surface.
3. This is the song’s copyrighted title. It was listed as ‘Sweet Jenny Brown Is Swinging’ in the 1978 BOMP magazine article.