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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Little River Band (LRB) - 1978 Sleepercatcher
Little River Band (LRB) - 1978 Sleepercatcher

ARTIST: Little River Band (LRB)
ALBUM: Sleepercatcher
LABEL: EMI Australia, Harvest
SERIAL: EMC2660, SW-117883
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1996, One Way Records, 72438 * 2002, Collectables (USA), CCL2837


LINEUP: Glenn Shorrock - lead vocals * Beeb Birtles - acoustic & electric guitar, vocals * David Briggs - lead guitar, guitar synthesizer * Graham Goble - acoustic & electric guitar, vocals * George McArdle - bass * Derek Pellicci - drums, syn drums, percussion

Additional Musicians: Peter Jones - electric piano * Mal Logan - hammond organ * Peter Sullivan - acoustic & electric piano * Bob Venier - fleugel horn * Vernon Hill - flute * Pam Raines - harp

TRACK LISTING: 01 Shut Down Turn Off * 02 Reminiscing * 03 Red Headed Wild Flower * 04 Light Of Day * 05 Fall From Paradise * 06 Lady * 07 Sanitys Side * 08 So Many Paths * 09 One For The Road * 10 Take Me Home * 11 Changed And Different


1977 was a busy year for Australia's Little River Band. 'Diamantina Cocktail' became the group's first bonafide hit album going gold in the U.S. and bolstered by two top twenty hits 'Help Is On It's Way' and 'Happy Anniversary'. Extensive touring as an opening act for Little Feat, Supertramp, Foreigner, Jean-Luc Ponty and Jimmy Buffet as well as dates in Europe filled the band's calendar well into early 1978, priming the pump for the LRB's fourth and first to go platinum album - 'Sleeper Catcher'. What does sleeper catcher mean? Apparently when playing the then illegal Australian gambling game 'Two-Up' as depicted on the cover, a sleeper catcher is a player who picks up bets lying on the floor after an extended period. Currently Two-Up can be played in casinos and on special holidays which is odd since it seems like harmless fun from what I've read. Is Australia that conservative?

The Songs
Back to the album at hand; 'Sleeper Catcher' in my opinion was LRB's strongest release since their 1975 debut. 'Shut Down Turn Off' starts the proceedings with an opening that sounds very much like Starcastle believe it or not, although it morphs into a nice mid-tempo rocker and was even released as a single in Australia. From here it's on to the massive-selling single 'Reminiscing'. Despite its Paul McCartney 'When I'm 64' shtick, it's a delightful track and although at the time I remember growing tired of it on the radio, it's aged well. Supposedly Shorrock recorded a French and Spanish vocal for the European market which I've never heard but sounds interesting. 'Red-Headed Wildflower' is another tasty rocker, dedicated to Sherbet's secretary who had passed away the previous year. This is the type of thing Little River Band did so well early on and while so often they are remembered as a MOR act, the truth was they could rock with the best of 'em. The side closes out with the woozy 'Light Of Day', one of my favourite LRB cuts with terrific vocal harmonies and lush orchestration. 'Fall from Paradise' on side two has a bit of a Player feel to it, but of course 'Lady' is the stand-out track here. I've always been of two minds on this one - catchy as all get out, but lyrically leaving a lot to be desired as it's just a little too cute for my tastes. Of the final three tracks 'One For The Road' is the best of the lot and as the final notes fades away, I'm ready to give 'Sleeper Catcher' another go. It's that good.

In Summary
This would be bassist George McArdle's final album and I've heard two stories as to why he left, one, he found God and two, he didn't much care to tour outside Australia. Since LRB had become a headliner in the States with 'Sleeper Catcher'; the latter issue was probably his biggest motivator. 1979's 'First Under The Wire' provided the band with two more hits 'Lonesome Loser' and 'Cool Change' followed by the obligatory live album 'Backstage Pass' in 1980. Wayne Nelson would take over on bass in 1981 and share lead vocal chores with Shorrock for 1981's 'Time Exposure'. Shorrock would leave the band after this album and from here my interest in Little River Band began to wane. While John Farnham and albums like 'The Net' and 'Playing to Win' are rated highly by our readers, I feel they lost a lot of their character during the '80s - getting lost in the oversaturated AOR market and these days are sadly nothing more than a casino and county fair attraction sharing space in melodic rock purgatory with REO Speedwagon and Styx.

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#1 | gdazegod on August 10 2014 04:18:20
Melodic rock purgatory is right Eric. Though I love this band, they are kinda faceless now, the musicians within (apart from Wayne Nelson) are a bunch of 'who are theys'!
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