McPHEE 'McPHEE' In the pantheon of Australian early 70's progressive rockdom, McPhee must rank as one of its most obscure outfits. McPhee's solitary album appeared to little fanfare in early 1972 and simply sank without trace. Its likely that only 500 copies were ever pressed so it rates as a significant rarity. More importantly, 'Mc Phee' stands as one of the great lost treasures of Australias progressive rock era, a truly fascinating artefact of tremendous scope. The tapes have been dusted off so that you can hear this hard-hitting underground masterpiece in all its glory. McPhee came together in Sydney during 1970 with the line-up of Faye Lewis (vocals), Tony Joyce (lead guitar), Jim Deverell (Hammond Organ), Benny Kaika (bass) and Terry Popple (drums). Deverell and Kaika were originally from New Zealand, while Englishman Popple had been a member of late 60's UK blues-boom band Tramline, who issued a couple of albums on the Island label. McPhee played the local club and bar cicuit around Sydney and in 1971 entered producer Martin Erdman's World Of Sound studio in order to record an album. The sessions yielded material culled from the bands live repertoire including five cover versions. McPhee's influences extended from the prevailing Acid-rock trends of the day, to the emergent sounds of progressive rock with a smattering of contemporary rock hits. From the outset it is clear that McPhee is imbued with a crucial kick and gritty sense of purpose. It is brimming with acidy, wah-wah fuelled lead breaks and some of the most awesomely heavy and stunning Hammond organ playing to be heard anywhere on an Australian album. The opening cut, a groaning version of Spooky Tooth's 'The Wrong Time' (from 'The Last Puff'), sets the scene. Joyce peels off a series of clattering guitar riffs while Deverell holds the whole thing together with his growling organ bubbling away underneath. McPhee also tackle Spooky Tooths brooding arrangement of Lennon and McCartney's 'I Am The Walrus' (again from 'The Last Puff') which is pretty freaky stuff! The surging seven minute version of Richie Havens' 'Indian Rope Man' (as covered by Julie Driscoll & Brian Augers Trinity) remains the albums piece de resistance. The album ends with a Tony Joyce original titled 'Out To Lunch'. This jazz flavoured instrumental starts out innocuously enough, but the 10 minute, open-ended arrangement allows the band to stretch out in fine style. Joyce takes the spotlight with a lengthy guitar solo which eventually concedes to more organ pyrotechnics. Not long after the album appeared, the members of McPhee went their seperate ways. Popple returned to the U.K. where he joined old cohort Mick Moody in SNAFU. Deverell the keyboard wizard apparentlysuccumbed to cancer and Joyce relocated to Darwin where he played with a number of Aboriginal bands, and for several years ran the Northern Territory office of the AusMusic organisation. The chances of unearthing an original vinyl pressing of McPhee are now pretty slim. So take advantage of this reissue to savour the delights of a magnificent lost gem.