The Reels

The Reels

Infobox musical artist
Name = The Reels

Img_capt = The Reels 1988
Background = group_or_band
Origin = Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia
Genre = Indie rock
Years_active = 1991
Label = Mercury Records RCA Records K-tel Regular Records
Current_members =

The Reels was an Australian rock music group which performed and recorded between 1978 and 1991.


Early Days

The Reels originated with the group Native Son (Mason, Hooper, Bliss and Newham), which was formed in the country town of Dubbo, New South Wales and played in the area for about three years, mainly playing cover versions of current and classic hits. After moving to Sydney in 1978 they added Abrahams and changed the band's name to The Brucelanders. They gradually developed an original repertoire of fast-paced, quirky pop and ska music, and their energetic performances gained them a strong following on the thriving east coast live music scene at that time. They were also given enormous support in Sydney by the ABC's rock radio station Double J (which moved to the FM band and became Triple J in 1980).

In 1979 they secured a recording contract with the Australian branch of the Mercury Records label, changed their name to The Reels and released their debut single, "Love Will Find A Way". This, and its follow-up "Prefab Heart", combined with the band's distinctive image, gained increasing attention with their music videos featured on the influential national TV pop show "Countdown". These were followed by their self-titled debut album with producer Mark Opitz (The Angels, Cold Chisel).

In 1980 the Reels added second keyboardist Karen Ansell and released their third single, 'After The News'. It marked an important transition in their music -- their songs began to take on a more serious lyrical tone, and they dispensed with guitars, began using synthesizers as their main instruments, and were one of the first groups to use wireless headsets instead of traditional microphones.

In mid-1980 the group undertook the innovative "Reels By Rail" tour, which saw them using rail transport to travel to all the destinations on their tour. At the end of the year, returning to their roots as a covers band, they released a five track Christmas EP, "Five Great Gift Ideas From The Reels", produced by Bruce Brown and Russell Dunlop, which included versions of Jim Reeves' "According To My Heart", and Freda Payne's "Band Of Gold". "According To My Heart" was very successful and featured a folksy music video filmed at the ranch of Australian country music star Smokey Dawson.

Quasimodo's Dream

In May 1981 they released the album considered by many to be their best work, "Quasimodo's Dream", which saw the band displaying an impressive maturity in songwriting, backed with strong performances, inventive arrangements and top-class production. The LP's classic title track was released as a single, and although widely considered to be among the best Australian singles and albums of that period, neither it nor the album was a major commercial or chart success, although it did succeed in reaching #27 in June that year. The band undertook the "Kitchen Man Tour", which saw the stage dressed as a fully-equipped Australian kitchen.

The Reels' lack of mainstream commercial success was at odds with their strong live following, but it was due in part to the restrictive programming on commercial radio at that time, which gave little exposure to local "new wave" acts. The group's deteriorating relationship with Mercury was also a factor, as evidenced by the LP's track listing -- it included the earlier hit "According To My Heart", but a disclaimer printed on the LP sleeve noted that the track had been included at the insistence of the record company (i.e against the band's wishes).

Bliss left just after the recording of the album, and Newham had also quit by the time the LP was released. The new five-piece lineup (with Fidock) cut a new single, "No.3", which was not successful; soon after this, both Abrahams and Ansell left. Now reduced to a trio (Mason, Hooper and Fidock) they continued performing by augmenting their live sound with taped backing tracks, and used the new Fairlight synthesizer for studio recordings.


In late 1982, having signed a new contract with the RCA Records label, The Reels scored an unexpected hit with a wry cover of the Burt Bacharach-Hal David classic "This Guy's In Love With You", which reached #7. They followed this with a highly unusual tactic -- they recorded a one-off album for the K-tel company, which was best known for its licenced pop hit compilations and budget 'golden oldie' LPs. Although the tracks on "Beautiful" walked a fine line between sincere tribute and gentle parody, it proved to be the biggest success of their career, selling in excess of 40,000 copies and reaching #32 in the album chart - this chart position would presumably have been much higher if the album had been sold through chart return shops. The album was later released through RCA.

In 1983 saw the band travel to the United States and Britain, released another five track EP, "Pitt Street Farmers" (the title is an old Australian satirical expression referring to wealthy rural landowners who never leave the city). This was followed by a new version of "Quasimodo's Dream" in December 1983, which demonstrated the band's faith in the song, although it failed to chart on its second release.

At this point Mason was forced to give up performing after contracting hepatitis, and this effectively ended the group. Hooper joined The Church as keyboard player, and then joined The Mullanes, which was the first incarnation of Crowded House.

By late 1985 Mason had recovered and The Reels was revived (with the original lineup of Mason, Hooper, Bliss and Newham) and completed their commitments to RCA with a single, an unsuccessful cover version of Etta James's "It Must Be Love".


They then signed with Regular Records and released a radically slowed-down, synthesiser-driven version of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising". It proved to be another surprise hit, reaching #11 (October 1986); the arrangement featuring prominent use of the Vocoder voice synthesiser, which the band also used extensively on stage to augment Mason's vocals. Bliss left the band again at the end of 1986.

Their next single (Jan. 1987) was a cover of the old Edison Lighthouse hit "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" . During the year they embarked on the popular "Reels By Request" tour, where the audience was allowed to call out for the songs they wanted to hear. This was followed by an 'all Australian songs' version of the same concept, and this in turn led to the Reels' next studio album, "Neighbors" - the name of which, for reasons best known to the band, excluded the 'u' which would normally be contained in the Australian English spelling. This LP contained their idiosyncratic versions of thirteen Australian rock classics, including the singles "Are You Old Enough" (originally a hit for Dragon) and "Forever Now" (by Cold Chisel). Steve Prestwich, who wrote "Forever Now", played on The Reels' version.

The End...

In 1989 Mason appeared in the acclaimed Australian feature film "Ghosts... of the Civil Dead", in which he co-starred with Nick Cave. In September 1991 the Reels issued their first original single in five years, "I Don't Love You Anymore", followed by what proved to be their last single, a remix by Filthy Lucre of "Bad Moon Rising" . The group officially disbanded to coincide with the release of the compilation CD "Requiem".

The Comeback...

In May ‘07, Dave Mason released his first album in more than 15 years, ‘Reelsville’, an acoustic celebration of The Reels hits re-recorded by the original artist. In August ‘07 ‘Reel To Reel’ was also released - a compilation of The Reels classic tracks with new liner notes as written by Dave.

Dave Mason, John Bliss and Colin ‘Polly’ Newham have resurrected themselves in their former guise ‘The Reels’ and plan to play shows in May 2008.

At a subsequent show (the Gaelic Club, Surry Hills; September 27 2008), Dave Mason announced that Polly Newham was retiring from the band. It wasn't obvious whether this was a serious or joke announcement, though.

Other info

David Mason is the son of mid-1970s NSW state Liberal Party leader John Mason. Hooper was also a member of The Church, The Mullanes (the original incarnation of Crowded House), and also recorded with The Rockmelons and Ross Wilson.

Karen Ansell (now Ansel), went on to become a noted film and TV computer graphics specialist in the United States [ (IMDb)] .

Nick Cave in 1994 and Dirty Three in 1998 as guest programmers selected Quasimodo's Dream for TV show Rage.

David Mason appeared in the Countdown Spectacular 2 concert series in Australia between late-August and early-September 2007 as a solo performer. He sang the song "Quasimodo's Dream" only.

In 2007, Dave Mason released a new album - "Reelsville" - on Liberation Blue. Dave performed one gig to launch the album at 'the Basement' in Sydney on May 16 2007. A further gig is booked for 'the Factory Enmore Theatre' in Sydney on May 24 2008. This show became a local cause celebre when police with sniffer dogs arrested two 60 year old punters for smoking illegals

"On his first album in more than 15 years, Dave Mason reinterprets the Reels’ catalogue with the maverick musical flair that characterised that band’s every step from ‘78 to ‘91. Reelsville is an album of extraordinary left turns down an intriguing track in Australian pop history.

The stately grand piano of Quasimodo’s Dream presages something very special. After covers by Kate Ceberano and Jimmy Little, Dave’s signature song stands in its definitive light, an aching piano/cello treatment that justifies its position among APRA’s Top 10 Australian Songs of All Time.

It’s a mark of Dave’s dogged pursuit of innovation that the old Creedence standard is again reborn. From his eccentric chamber orchestral take of World’s End to the playful dub undertow of After the News to the impossibly spare shuffle of Go Away, the strength of his tunes and the ache in his voice have never been more striking."


The major figures in the group were:
*David Mason (lead vocals, keyboards)
*Craig Hooper (guitars, keyboards, vocals)
*Colin 'Polly' Newham (keyboards)
*John Bliss (drums)
*Paul Abrahams (bass)
*Karen Ansell (keyboards, vocals)
*Stefan Fidock (drums, vocals)



* The Reels (1979) #81 AUS
* Quasimodo's Dream (May 1981) #27 AUS
* Beautiful (October, 1982) #32 AUS
* Neighbors (November, 1988) #81 AUS


* Unreel (October, 1983)
* Requiem, (Best of...) (1995)


* Five Great Gift Ideas From The Reels (November, 1980) #12 AUS
* Pitt Street Farmers (September, 1983)


* "Love Will Find a Way" / "Spot the Ridge" (1979) #39 AUS
* "According to My Heart" / "Love Will Find a Way" (1980)
* "Prefab Heart" / "Misused Abused" (1980) #52 AUS
* "After The News" (1980) #65 AUS
* "Shout and Deliver" / "Depression" (1981) #43 AUS
* "Quasimodo's Dream" / "(Love Is) Here Today" (1981)
* "No.3" / "1, 2, 3" / "Haunted" (1981)
* "This Guy's in Love With You" / "Cry" (1982) #7 AUS
* "Last Night (I Didn't Get to Sleep at All)" / "Silence Is Golden" (1983)
* "Happiness" / "Comedy" (1983)
* "It Must Be Love" / "My Family" (1985)
* "Bad Moon Rising" / "World's End " (1986) #11 AUS
* "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" / "Media Themes II" (1987) #70 AUS
* "Forever Now" (1988) #94 AUS
* "Are You Old Enough?" / "What's My Scene?" (1989)
* "I Don't Love You Anymore" (1991)


*The song Quasimodo's Dream is regarded as an Australian rock classic and has been covered by Kate Ceberano, Rob Snarski, Mick Harvey and Jimmy Little. In 2001 it was voted one of the Top 10 Australian songs of all time by APRA.
*Dave Mason's father, John, was leader of the NSW Liberal Party in the late 1970s, at the same time The Reels' career began.
*John Bliss has become an expert on lawn bowls.

External links

* [ Entry on HowlSpace]
* [ Entry] in the "Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop"
* [ 1982 Trade Union Club (Sydney) playlist] by "NoNightSweats"
* [ The Reels - Memorable TV]
* [ Nostalgia Central website - The Reels profile]
* [ Liberation Blue]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Price Is Right (U.S. game show) — The Price Is Right Format Game show Created by Mark Goodson Bill Todman Directed b …   Wikipedia

  • The Delltones — Current members of The Delltones Background information Genres Vocal Harmony, Rock and Roll, Doo wop …   Wikipedia

  • The Crystal Set — was a Sydney based Australian indie rock band formed in the early 1980s featuring Russell Kilbey (bass and lead vocals), Phillip Maher(guitar vocals), Davey Ray Moor (keyboards vocals) and Tim Seckhold (drums). The Crystal Set were influenced by… …   Wikipedia

  • between the jigs and the reels — adverb eventually, despite all the confusion …   Wiktionary

  • The Joker's Wild — infobox television show name = The Joker s Wild caption = Show logo, 1972 1975 format = Game show rating = TV G runtime = 30 minutes with commercials creator = Jack Barry starring = Jack Barry (host, 1972 84) Bill Cullen (host, 1984 86) Jim Peck… …   Wikipedia

  • The Church (band) — This article is about the Australian rock band. For other uses of the term church , see Church (disambiguation). The Church …   Wikipedia

  • The Exorcist (film) — Infobox Film name = The Exorcist caption = Theatrical release poster director = William Friedkin producer = William Peter Blatty Noel Marshall writer = William Peter Blatty starring = Ellen Burstyn Linda Blair Max von Sydow Jason Miller and… …   Wikipedia

  • The Triffids — Infobox musical artist Name = The Triffids Img capt = The Triffids (1985) Img size = Landscape = Background = group or band Alias = Origin = Perth, Western Australia, Australia Genre = Rock, alternative, Folk rock Years active = 1976 ndash;1989… …   Wikipedia

  • The Mullanes — Infobox musical artist 2 Name = The Mullanes Img capt = Landscape = Background = group or band Origin = flagicon|AUS Melbourne, Australia Genre = Rock, Pop Years active = 1985 Label = Associated acts = Crowded House Largest Living Things Split… …   Wikipedia

  • The Cameraman (1928 film) — Infobox Film name = The Cameraman image size = caption = Theatrical Poster director = Edward Sedgwick Buster Keaton producer = Buster Keaton Lawrence Weingarten writer = Story: Clyde Bruckman Lew Lipton Titles: Joseph Farnham narrator = starring …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”