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Come Back Again... with Chris Spencer

Friday on my mindEd Nimmervoll
Friday on my Mind

239p. ill,
Five Mile Press 2004



I've been a fan of Nimmervoll's writing for over 30 years, when he was writing for music magazines, such as Go Set and Juke magazines. He introduced me to many new albums particularly by obscure international artists - rather than the ones that made Australia's conservative radio play lists. Nimmervoll was also supportive of local bands, writing major articles and reviews about our own bands, providing them with as much priority and precedence as international bands. Nimmervoll also compiles a weekly column in some dailies around the country, What happened on this Day... a diary documenting the happenings of the music industry around the world. He's also been collecting and compiling top 40 charts of all eras.

This new book from Nimmervoll, follows on from his treatise of Aussie diva, Renee Geyer. I think the subject material that Ed tackles here is more liking to his own interests. The subtitle of the book, "A Year-by-Year account of popular music in the Australian Charts", provides a basic overview of this work, combining both his interest in music and charts. The layout of the book examines each of the 6 decades (including the 1950s and 2000's); There's a brief overview of the successful songs/singles which made the 'charts' prior to 1956; Ed lists famous musicians born each year, and documents entertainers who died the same year. From 1956 onwards, Nimmervoll, lists the top 5 singles and albums for each year and if an Australian artist was not on either list, he makes mention of the recording. Other facts are noted, such as which bands were formed in that year, or which artists appeared on the charts for the first time. Around these facts, Nimmervoll writes about the major artists for each year, weaving stories, anecdotes and incidental information making for an interesting read.

The reader is able to pick the book up from the coffee table and turn to any page and be immersed in a particular period of our pop history. For example in 1965, on pages 62 & 63, there are writings about Bob Dylan's foray into electric music, the Seekers, the Supremes and the importance of the production of Phil Spector, Billy Thorpe and Normie Rowe. There hasn't been another book similar to this one written about the music that appeared on our top 40 charts - Very few of our local artists appeared on overseas' charts, and sometimes our radio stations picked up on international artists that weren't popular overseas, for whatever reason. Unlike other books of a similar ilk, this book won't date because the past can't be repeated - it may be interpreted in different ways from different perspectives! Nimmervoll's writing is uncomplicated, and easy to read. His observations are acute and deft. He has a relaxed way of writing which helps impart the information and facts about the artists.

The book boasts many photos of the artists featured, and the layout is clear, although I wasn't fussed with some of the design, which seemed to clash in some instances.

While I was looking for an introduction to the book, I found Nimmervoll's end note of interest. He talks about writing about Australia's popular music experience, and concluded every nation's "cultural uniqueness" is under threat. He also talks about our cultural cringe, about the music for each generation, and the history of music. Finally he dedicates the book to the late Stan Rofe, who inspired Ed Nimmervoll to become focused on music. Currently you can read Ed's reviews in the magazine given away at JB hifi stores, so he's keeping up with the goings on within the music industry.

Ed's writings can also be seen on Howlspace, a website about Australian records and artists.

The publishers and the author were able to get Molly Meldrum to write the foreword, who relates how he first met Nimmervoll, and his role in setting up Australia's first top 40 charts. Since his early journalism days with Go Set, Meldrum rarely puts his thoughts down on paper, so this was certainly coup! Thoroughly recommended.

The Five Mile Press,
950 Stud Rd.,
Rowville 3178
Howlspace www.howlspace.com

Previous columns
Various Artists - Seasons of Change
Jimi Hocking - The Spectre 7 Years
The Axiom - Archive 1969-1971
The Handmedowns - Free Set of Steak Knives
Various Artists - South Central Indi Pop from the Mullet Era
Russell Morris - The Real Thing
The Du Monde Years - Various Artists
Jade Hurley - The Jade Hurley Story
Kevin Shegog: Ballad of a Hillbilly Singer
1958 Saturday Night Dance Party
Extradition: Hush
The Allusions: The Allusions' Anthology 1966-68
Johnny Chester: Rocker: The Rock and Roll Years 1961-1966
The Innocents - No Hit Wonders from Down Under
Vicious Sloth

Spinning Around Vol. 1 - Various Artists
Ross Wilson - The Best of Ross Wilson
A Magical Mystery Tour: 1967-1971 - The David Fraser Tapes: Volume One
The Models - Models Melbourne
Steve Tallis - The Sacred Path Of The Fried Egg - Anthology Volume One Maylands To The Gates Of Hell (1962-2001)
Broderick Smith - Too Easy
Three Aztecs and a Chain - Down The Beaten Track

Chris Spencer is author of the "Who's Who of Australian Rock'. He can be contacted through Moonlight Publishing.



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