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Encyclopedia entry for 'The Lighthouse Keepers' LETTER:

Formed in 1982
StyleCountry, folk
 Original line-up: Greg Appel (acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, vocals), Juliet Ward (vocals, bass, keyboards), Mike `Blue' Dalton (slide guitar, dobro, bass, harmonica), Stephen O'Neil (drums, bass, guitar, sax)
 Lighthouse Keepers albums: The Exploding Lighthouse Keepers (mini-album, Guthugga Pipeline, 1983), Tales of the Unexpected (Hot, 1984), Imploding (Waterfront, 1986), Lipsnipegroin (Phantom, 1993); Widdershins albums: Bottleman's Wife (mini-album, Waterfront, 1988), Ascension (Waterfront, 1989).

History
The Lighthouse Keepers' tasteful, jangly brand of country-tinged folk rock was at odds with prevailing trends on Sydney's early 1980s, Detroit-besotted independent scene. The band nevertheless issued a number of albums and singles, and always lived up to audience expectations.

In 1983, The Lighthouse Keepers issued their debut single, `Gargoyle'/`Demolition Man', `Quick Sticks', and the low-fi mini-album The Exploding Lighthouse Keepers on their own independent Guthugga Pipeline label. For the mini-album, the band added drummer Steven Williams (ex-Particles), allowing Stephen O'Neil to concentrate on bass, guitar and sax. O'Neil also moonlighted with his other band, The Particles. The Particles had been around in various incarnations since 1977, fronted at various times by singers Simon Bonney (pre-Crime and the City Solution), Astrid Spielman and Michael Wood. The band managed to sustain a cult following around the inner-city Sydney scene courtesy of its delightful, melodious pop sound. The Particles issued three independent EPs, Advanced Colouring (1979), Colour in (1980) and I Love Trumpet (1983).

Sydney independent label Hot reissued The Lighthouse Keepers' `Gargoyle' single (August 1984), as well as putting out the band's full-length debut album Tales of the Unexpected (November). `Ocean Liner'/`Sad Tale' was lifted as a single (November). Hot issued a third single, `Ode to Nothing'/`Seven Years', in August 1985, and the band flew to the UK for a series of shows (including supporting fellow Australians The Triffids in London). The Lighthouse Keepers broke up in early 1986. As a farewell gesture, the band compiled the `Gargoyle' and `Ode to Nothing' singles, the Exploding mini-album and two previously unissued tracks, `Mr Wicked' and `Lair', on the album Imploding (November 1986). Greg Appel and Juliet Ward went on to The Rainlovers, which became The Widdershins; Dalton joined The Honeys; O'Neil joined The Cannanes.

The Widdershins comprised Appel, Ward, James Cruickshank (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Barry Turnbull (bass; ex-John Kennedy's Love Gone Wrong) and Peter Timmerman (drums). The band issued the singles `Now You Know'/`Dishwashing Liquid' (September 1987) and `Return of the King' (March 1989), the mini-album Bottleman's Wife (June 1988) and the album Ascension (May 1989) on the Waterfront label. With the break-up of The Widdershins in 1989, Ward and Cruickshank formed Juliet Hammerhead and Friends. Cruickshank went on to work with Neil Murray and the Rainmakers and The Cruel Sea. The 35-track Lighthouse Keepers retrospective album Lipsnipegroin (1993) combined all the band's material plus three previously unissued tracks. At the same time, Appel's new band, One Head Jet, issued its debut CD EP, Snickedy Palace.



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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