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Wha-Koo - 1978 Berkshire



ARTIST: Wha-Koo
ALBUM: Berkshire
LABEL: ABC
SERIAL: ABCL 5283
YEAR: 1978

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: David Palmer - vocals * Danny Douma - vocals, guitars * Nick Van Maarth - vocals, guitars * Richard Kosinski - keyboards * Peter Freiberger - bass * Don Francisco - percussion * Claude Pepper - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rig A Marole * 02 Fat Love * 03 Mother Of Pearl * 04 Midnight Kitchen * 05 You're Such A Fabulous Dancer * 06 Berkshire * 07 I'm Here * 08 Expire On Me * 09 Dreaming As One


Background
By my reckoning, this band should have been huge in the late 70's. A much loved band (well they were down under in Australia and New Zealand at the time, the band often heard on radio), they had an excellent line-up of players, some who came from noted acts, and some who went on to noted acts. Starting life off as The Big Wha Koo, their 1977 debut album was named as such. Signed to ABC Records, the band featured David Palmer, the lead singer who fronted on Steely Dan's debut LP 'Can't Buy A Thrill', Don Francisco who had previously played with the bands Atlee, Crowsfoot and Highway Robbery, former Crickets guitarist Nick Van Maarth, and future Silver Condor and Jack The Mack drummer Claude Pepper. Let's not forget the talent of guitarist Danny Douma, who wrote most of the material for the band. Wha Koo have that late 70's easy classic rock and ballads mix battened down tight, their songs going down like a smooth Jack Daniels on a summers day (he said headed for the fridge).


The Songs
The only personnel change on this album is the bass player Peter Freiberger, who took over from Andrew Silvester. A short album by today's standards (34 minutes), the obvious highlight here is the 70's hit 'You're Such A Fabulous Dancer', which made the charts all over the world. As mentioned, the band were particularly popular down-under, the song going to #10 in the Australian singles charts and spending 20 weeks in the top 100. The album itself apparently got as high as #51 in the Aussie album charts. 'Berkshire' might be perceived as a one hit wonder, but there are some other goodies onboard. The smooth ballad 'Mother Of Pearl' drips emotion out of a dry sponge, 'Dreaming As One' invokes a gospel like response, while the title track is an acoustic rocker. The band chuck in a couple of coarse 70's hard rockers such as 'Midnight Kitchen' and 'I'm Here', while 'Rig A Marole' identifies well with Little River Band (perhaps why they were so popular in Aussie in the first place?) plus 'Fat Love' is a bit of an 'all in chant' sing-a-long.


In Summary
The band returned in 1979 with a new album 'Fragile Line', but they had lost nearly all of the band members, with the exception of Palmer, who recruited three new members and secured a new deal with Epic Records. However, that was to be the end of the Wha Koo story. Long time fans will suggest that all three Wha Koo albums are worth obtaining, plus of course there's the 'fourth' de-facto Wha Koo album, that being Danny Douma's 1979 solo album 'Night Flight', which consisted of most of the WK personnel anyway. Never released on CD, 'Berkshire' would be a wonderful addition to the digital ranks. If anyone is thinking of it, perhaps a 2 fer 1 with 'The Big Wha Koo' from the ABC Records dungeon might be in order?


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Comments
#1 | Eric on January 06 2010 12:49:25
Agree, these guys should have been bigger. I remember thier debut getting a lot air play. They toured Australia with Thin Lizzy and the States with Angel, Rush, The Kinks and Be Bop Deluxe.
#2 | gdazegod on January 02 2017 02:03:08
Wha Koo - 1978 You're Such A Fabulous Dancer
YouTube Video:
 
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