Formed in New Zealand in the late 60s, this blues rock band started out in a similar vein to that which Cream and the Doors mined so successfully. The band grew out of a mid-60s meeting in Auckland of like-minded musicians, including guitarist and vocalist Archie Bowie, guitarists Tony Rawnsley and Harvey Mann, bass player Neil Edwards and drummer Barry Winfield. Known casually as the Magee Street Underdogs, the group underwent personnel changes over the next couple of years during which time they made some singles for Zodiac Records and appeared fleetingly on television’s C’mon. By 1967 the personnel had become vocalist Murray Grindley, guitarists Mann and Lou Rawnsley (brother of Tony), bass player Edwards and drummer Tony Walton. Mann’s departure (he did not like the orthodoxy required by television producers) led to an adjustment of the remaining band members. They made some more recordings, including the popular Sitting In The Rain EP and the Blues Band album, and also toured in a road show version of C’mon.
Now based in Wellington, and with more personnel changes, Edwards was replaced by Dave Orams who was in turn succeeded by George Barris, the band lasted only a few more months. This was 1968 and when the band re-formed later that year it had Grindley, Mann, Lou Rawnsley, and drummer Doug Thomas. The following year, by which time Chaz Burke-Kennedy had replaced Rawnsley, this line-up, too, folded. Through the 70s various combinations of former members and newcomers regrouped, sometimes using the name Underdogs, sometimes not. Most members played with other groups and some also formed and briefly led their own bands. Grindley in particular did well with some solo hits in the early 70s and also 1982’s ‘Shoop Shoop Diddy Wop Cumma Cumma Wang Dang’, as Monte Video, which was placed number 2 in New Zealand and number 11 in Australia. Some of the Underdogs’ early material was released on vinyl under different titles on obscure labels, but most of their recordings were reissued on CD in 2000. (by allmusic.com)
Here´s their debut album from 1968.
Lovers of John Mayall and his Bluesbreakers (note the Eric Clapton tribute paid on the sleeve of this album) will love this album. The Underdogs formed in 1964 and shared the scene with other greats from the country like The La de Da’s, The Action (NZ band, not to be confused with the UK mod godfathers) and The Pleazers. They spread the rhythm and blues word from their native Auckland through several 45s on the Zodiac label and went through a series of line-up changes prior to the release of their fabulous first long player.
The Underdogs Blues Band LP shows the group’s appreciation for Mayall’s combo – just like The Bluesbreakers’ Crusade LP the Underdogs open their album with a cover of Albert King’s ‘Oh, Pretty Woman,’ one of three ‘Bluesbreakers’ songs covered on the LP. On this first long player the band storm into a world of guitar led rave-ups a la Yardbirds, organ blues grinders and even give a sight to what’s to come next with some incipient heavier sounds a la Cream. (Press release)
Indeed … one od finerst John Mayall cover bands in this time …anf these guys knows how to celebrate this very special British Blues style … listen to the guitar solo on “It´s Hurts Me Too” for example.
A great addition for collectors of the British Blues in the Sixites.
Neil Edwards (bass)
Murray Grindlay (vocals, harmonica)
Lou Rawnsley (guitar)
Tony Walton (drums)
unknown organ player
01. Oh, Pretty Woman (Williams/King) 3.27
02. Snowy Wood (Mayall/Taylor) 3.07
03. Main Line Driver (Grindlay/Rawnsley) 2.18
04. Mary Anne (Grindlay/Rawnsley) 2.00
05. Pauline (Grindlay/Rawnsley) 3.08
06. Pretty Girls (Church/Williams) 2.35
07. Yonder Wall (Traditional) 3.46
08. All Your Love (Rush/Dixon) 3.40
09. Hey Gyp (Leitch) 2.52
10. It Hurts Me Too (London) 3.15
11. Rubber Duck (Green/Dunbar) 2.24