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Maurice Frawley

Maurice Frawley

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Maurice Gerard Frawley was an Australian rock and country blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.


Maurice Gerard Frawley was born on 5 May 1954, the son of Gerard Patrick and Eileen Marie Frawley, he grew up with three siblings, Brendan, Mary and Leo on the family farm near Elmore
Elmore, Victoria
Elmore is a small town in Victoria north-east of Bendigo on the Campaspe River. Elmore is close to the Whipstick State Park.At the 2006 census, Elmore had a population of 694.-History:...

 in central Victoria. He attended Our Lady of the Sacred Heart School (a Catholic primary school) in Elmore, Rochester Lourdes High School in nearby Rochester
Rochester, Victoria
Rochester is a small town in country Victoria, Australia. It is located 180 km north of Melbourne with a mixture of rural and semi-rural communities on the northern Campaspe River, between Bendigo and the Murray River port of Echuca...

 and then Salesian College in Sunbury
Sunbury, Victoria
Sunbury is a regional city, located north-west of Melbourne's central business district, in the state of Victoria, Australia. Its Local Government Area is the City of Hume. At the 2006 Census, Sunbury had a population of 31,000...

 (an outer suburb of Melbourne), where he completed an agricultural studies course. After working in wool sheds in rural Victoria, he moved to Melbourne in the late 1970s to pursue a musical career.

Frawley formed power pop band Japanese Comix in 1979, with vocalist Shane Day (ex-Cruisers, High Rise Bombers), bass guitarist Chris Jobson, drummer Greg Simpkins and James Williams (High Rise Bombers). They played the Melbourne pub circuit and released a four-track extended play, Japanese Comix on the Mambo Records label in 1980. Simpkins was replaced by Michael Barclay but the group soon disbanded. As a melodic guitarist, Frawley developed a reputation as a down-to-earth, "musician's musician". Late in 1980 he had a brief stint in A Howling Life with Day, Williams and Bill Tulloch.

In late 1981, Frawley replaced Mick Holmes on guitar in Paul Kelly and the Dots
Paul Kelly (musician)
Paul Maurice Kelly is an Australian rock music singer-songwriter, guitarist, and harmonica player. He has performed solo, and has led numerous groups, including the Dots, the Coloured Girls, and the Messengers. He has worked with other artists and groups, including associated projects Professor...

 (Kelly was ex-High Rise Bombers) after that band had recorded their second album Manila
Manila (album)
-Chart positions and releases:-Track listing:All tracks written by Paul Kelly, except where noted.# "Forbidden Street"  – 7:30# "Clean this House" – 4:46# "Alive and Well" – 3:10# "Skidding Hearts" – 3:32...

. The album's release was delayed until August 1982 due to line-up changes and Kelly being side-lined with a broken jaw. While working with Kelly, Frawley co-wrote "Look So Fine, Feel So Low". The band recorded "Rocking Institution" for the soundtrack of pop musical film, Starstruck
Starstruck (1982 film)
Starstruck is a 1982 Australian comedy-drama musical film starring Jo Kennedy, Ross O'Donovan and Margo Lee about two teenagers trying to make their break into the music industry. The film was shot on location in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

. It was released as a shared single with Jo Kennedy's "Body and Soul", which peaked at No. 5 in May 1982 on the Australian Kent Music Report
Kent Music Report
The Kent Music Report was a weekly record chart of Australian music singles and albums which was compiled by music enthusiast David Kent from May 1974 through to 1998...

 Singles Chart. The Dots disbanded by August 1983 and Frawley briefly joined the Paul Kelly Band but left before year's end. Kelly relocated to Sydney in late 1984 and "Look So Fine, Feel So Low" appeared on his solo album Post
Post (Paul Kelly album)
Post is the first solo album by Australian singer-songwriter rock musician, Paul Kelly. Kelly had moved to Sydney by January 1985, after leaving his Melbourne-based Paul Kelly Band and the breakup of his marriage to Hilary Brown....

(1985), it was re-recorded by Paul Kelly & the Messengers for Gossip
Gossip (album)
Gossip is the double LP debut album by Australian rock group Paul Kelly and the Coloured Girls. Produced by Alan Thorne and Paul Kelly, it was released on Mushroom Records in September 1986, which peaked at No. 15 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart, and achieved gold record status...

(1986) and released as a single in July 1987, which did not reach the Top 50.

Frawley joined Olympic Sideburns late in 1983, an ever-evolving shockabilly
Shockabilly was a band which included Eugene Chadbourne on guitar/vocals, Mark Kramer on bass/organ, and David Licht on drums.Shockabilly released a number of albums during their brief existence , most were later re-released...

 outfit that had featured Spencer P. Jones
Spencer P. Jones
Spencer P. Jones is a Melbourne based guitar player from Te Awamutu, New Zealand. He has been a member of The Emotional Retreads, Country Killed the Cow Penalty, Escape Committee, Cuban Heels, Beats Working, North 2 Alaskans, The Johnnys, The Beasts of Bourbon, Olympic Sideburns, Paul Kelly and The...

 (later in The Johnnys, The Beasts of Bourbon) which formed in 1982. Rooted in classic 1960s garage rock, their 'Oz-indie' racket made them distinct from most groups in the suburban beer barns. The Olympic Sideburns was a collection of 1980s alternative artists. The band released two albums, The Olympic Sideburns in May 1985 and Dixie Truck Stop! in 1987. They disbanded by end of 1988. In 1989 he produced an EP for The Romeos.

In 1990, Frawley formed Big City Burnout with Jack Abeyratne on guitar, Nigel Hartford on bass guitar (ex-White Cross), David Sandford on saxophone, piano and vocals, and Paul Wall on drums. By 1993 he formed Maurice Frawley and Working Class Ringos, a rootsy country-blues band. The line-up was drummer Des Hefner (The Birthday Party
The Birthday Party (band)
The Birthday Party were an Australian rock band, active from 1973 to 1983.Despite being championed by John Peel, The Birthday Party found little commercial success during their career...

, The Slaughtermen
Slaughtermen (band)
The Slaughtermen are an Australian post-punk alternative southern gospel group, formed in Melbourne in 1984.-History:Founder members of The Slaughtermen were Rob Eastcott , Mark Ferrie , Jans Friedenfelds , Pierre Jaquinot , Peter Linden and Ian Stephen...

), guitarist Charlie Owen
Charlie Owen (musician)
Charlie Owen is an Australian guitar player who lives in St Kilda Melbourne Australia. He is a member of Tex, Don and Charlie, The Beasts of Bourbon, Tex Perkins and The Dark Horses, Large Number 12s, Maurice Frawley and The Working Class Ringos, Tendrils, the Divinyls and Tex Perkins and his...

 (The New Christs, The Divinyls), and bass player Shane Walsh. Cold Chisel
Cold Chisel
Cold Chisel is a rock band that originated in Adelaide, Australia. It is one of the most acclaimed Australian rock bands of all time, with a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s and huge sales that continue to this day, although its success and acclaim was almost completely restricted to...

's Don Walker
Don Walker (musician)
Don Walker is an Australian musician and songwriter known for writing many of the hits for Australian pub rock band Cold Chisel. He played piano and keyboard with the band from 1973 to 1983, when they disbanded. He has since continued to record and tour, both solo and with Tex, Don and Charlie,...

 described the group as "the best after-midnight band in the world". Owen called them "the bad boys of folk" who played "the most passionate, beautiful, rollicking, cheeky, heartfelt music you could ever hear".

Working Class Ringos released an extended play, Whoop Whoop, a raw, acoustic recording of soul and blues, in 1994. It was followed by their debut album Livin' Lazy (May 1995), a more electric album which featured Jones and was produced by Tony Cohen
Tony Cohen
Tony Cohen is an acclaimed Australian record producer and sound engineer based in Melbourne, best known for his work with The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in the 1980s...

. In 1998 Conway Savage
Conway Savage
Conway Savage is an Australian rock musician best known as pianist/organist/backing vocalist for Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds....

 (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are an Australian alternative rock band, formed in Melbourne in 1983. The band is fronted by Nick Cave and has featured international personnel throughout their career.-Formation and early releases :...

) joined on piano. Their second album Triple-Skin Marquee was released in 2000, again produced by Cohen. It features a duet, "Would You Be My Friend", between Frawley and Kelly. For thirteen years the band played the Melbourne pub circuit, establishing a base at The Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda
St Kilda, Victoria
St Kilda is an inner city suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 km south from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Port Phillip...

. In 2000 the band's track "Harness Down" was included on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation, commonly referred to as "the ABC" , is Australia's national public broadcaster...

's Airplay Vol. 3 compilation, which was featured on local radio. "Harness Down" became a favourite of its audience. The band made several tours through the east coast up to Far North Queensland. Frawley and his band performed live sessions in 2000 on the ABC TV's national music program 'Studio 22' and in 2001 on the cable channel Country Music Television. Frawley became a regular at the Tamworth Country Music Festival
Tamworth Country Music Festival
The Tamworth Country Music Festival is an annual music festival held in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia and is a celebration of Australian country music culture and heritage. The festival lasts for two weeks during late January and during this period the city of Tamworth comes alive, with...


In 2003, Frawley embarked on a family musical project, Frawleys and Friends, that culminated in the release Queen of Runnymede featuring the songs of a relative, Sarah Frawley, who had died (aged 19) from a brain aneurysm
An aneurysm or aneurism is a localized, blood-filled balloon-like bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can commonly occur in arteries at the base of the brain and an aortic aneurysm occurs in the main artery carrying blood from the left ventricle of the heart...


In 2006, Frawley reunited with former band mates Michael Barclay on drums and Alan Brooker on bass guitar, together with Garrett Costigan on pedal steel and Jimmy Williams on guitar to form Maurice Frawley and the Yard Hands. Their debut album Good Things was released on Frawley’s own Red Finn Records.

Frawley returned to rural Rochester to care for his ill mother, Eileen. His brother Leo recalled, "Maurice was a great support to mum during her last few years and mum's passing last year left a hole in Maurice's life". Frawley became a part-time music teacher at Rochester Secondary College. He provided inspiration to younger musicians, teaching and mentoring acts including Dan Brodie
Dan Brodie
Dan Brodie is an ARIA Award nominated singer/songwriter from Melbourne, Australia.His debut EP, I'm Floatin' Mama was independently released in 1998; followed by his debut album, Big Black Guitar. Backed by The Broken Arrows , Brodie signed to EMI who re-released his debut album...

, Tom Carlyon and Clinkerfield.

In January 2009, Frawley performed at 'Life’s What You Make It', a tribute to late Melbourne band manager Linda Gebar, alongside Not Drowning, Waving
Not Drowning, Waving
Not Drowning, Waving were a musical group formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1983 by David Bridie and John Phillips...

, The Killjoys
The Killjoys
The Killjoys was a band formed in Melbourne, Australia, in the late 1980s. The core of the band was Anna Burley and Craig Pilkington . The Killjoys attracted a wide following in the vibrant Melbourne pub scene at the time....

 and others. It was his last live performance. He died on 16 May, shortly after diagnosis with liver cancer, at Rochester Hospital. He is survived by former wife, Penny, and their son Martin (ex-You Will Die Alone) current member of the Twerps.

Owen, Kelly, Walker, Tex Perkins
Tex Perkins
Tex Perkins is an Australian singer-songwriter, who is widely known for fronting the popular Australian rock-band The Cruel Sea, but has also performed with the Beasts of Bourbon, Thug, James Baker Experience, The Butcher Shop, Salamander Jim, and Tex, Don and Charlie. He has also released many...

, Chrissie Amphlett, The Drones
The Drones
The Drones are an Australian rock group who rose to prominence during the early 2000s. They are influenced by a variety of bands and soloists including Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, Bad Brains, Suicide, Green on Red, The Birthday Party, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Nina Simone.- The Sound...

, The Kill Devil Hills
The Kill Devil Hills
The Kill Devil Hills were formed in 2003 in Fremantle, Western Australia as an acoustic, country-tinged 3-piece, which slowly swelled its ranks to become a rambling 6-piece outfit....

, Megan Washington
Megan Washington
-Studio albums:-Extended plays:-Singles:-External links:* *...

 and Dan Sultan
Dan Sultan
Dan Sultan is an Australian singer and songwriter. Sultan plays what he calls country soul rock ‘n’ roll.-Biography:Daniel Leo Sultan was born in 1983 and grew up in Williamstown, Melbourne. His father was Irish and his mother, Roslyn Sultan, was Aboriginal from the Arrernte and Gurindji people...

, combined to create a 3×CD tribute
Tribute album
A tribute album is a recorded collection of cover versions of songs or instrumental compositions. Its concept may be either various artists making a tribute to a single artist, a single artist making a tribute to various artists, or a single artist making a tribute to another single artist.There...

 album, Long Gone Whistle – The Songs of Maurice Frawley, which was released in August 2010. On 19 August 2010, artists who contributed to the CD, performed a fund raising show at the Esplanade Hotel to raise funds to continue the music program established by Frawley at Rochester Secondary College.

The Olympic Sideburns

  • Drunkyard (EP) - Strine (May 1984)
  • "13th Floor" - Strine (1984)
  • The Olympic Sideburns - Major (May 1985)
  • Dixie Truck Stop! - White Label (L38755) (September 1987)

Maurice Frawley and Working Class Ringos

  • Whoop Whoop - Blue Dog Music (WOOF4) (1993)
  • Livin' Lazy - Id/Mercury (ID00362) (1994)
  • Triple-Skin Marquee - Empire (2000)

Frawleys and Friends

  • Queen of Runnymede - Campaspe (CR/001) (1 April 2003)

Maurice Frawley and the Yard Hands

  • Good Things - Red Finn (REDFIN001) (April 2006)

External links

  • Memorial by Billy Miller (ex-The Ferrets
    The Ferrets (band)
    The Ferrets were an Australian pop / rock band from Melbourne and Sydney, which formed in 1975 and disbanded in 1979. Their second single, "Don’t Fall in Love", was released in 1977 and peaked at No. 2 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart...