Kahvas Jute

Kahvas Jute was an Australian post-psychedelic hard-rock band from Sydney that released the 1971 album Wide Open on Infinity Records.

Members: Dennis D. Wilson (lead vocals, guitar, 1970-71, 1973-74), Bob Daisley (bass, harmony vocals, 1970-71), Tim Gaze (guitar, steel guitar, piano, vocals, 1970-71), Dannie Davidson (drums), Scott Maxey (bass, 1971, 1973-74), Peter Roberts (bass, 1974)


Background

Kahvas Jute formed in June 1970 when guitarist–singer Dennis Wilson and bassist Bob Daisley approached two members of Tamam Shud, Sydney’s biggest rock band.

Wilson’s career stretched back to the Aussie beat era with stints in The Riddles and Kevin Bible & The Book, which cut the 1966 single “Rockin’ Pneumonia,” a sinewy R&B-rocker (b/w the ballad “I Found a New Love”) on the Downunder label.

Dennis then joined Barrington Davis & the Power Pact, which featured Sydney-born journeyman Daisley, who first played bass in Dennis Williams & the Delawares, followed by stints in Gino Affair and Throb. Under Barrington’s name, they signed with the Bee Gees outlet Spin Records and cut the May 1967 single “Raining Teardrops,” a rupturing freakbeat rocker (b/w “As Fast as I Can”); both sides co-written by Maurice Gibb and Nat Kipner (father of Steve Kipner).

After Barrington’s 1968 departure, Power Pact reconstituted as Mecca, a Sydney powertrio. They briefly added Kiwi singer Clive Coulson and linked with Festival Records for the 1970 single “Black Sally,” a Wilson-penned heavy acoustic number backed with “Side Street Man,” a Coulson blues rocker. Soon after, Clive departed for Europe to work as a road manager for Led Zeppelin.

Wilson’s presence on Sydney’s live scene, combined with his select recorded portfolio, gave him leverage when he approached Tim Gaze, the teenage lead guitarist of Tamam Shud, a band named after the Somerton Man, a long-unidentified cadaver found in 1948 on an Adelaide beach.

Shud had its roots in the Four Strangers, an instrumental surf group with drummer Dannie Davidson. After one single, they moved from Newcastle to Sydney, where they appropriated the new British sound as The Strangers and cut five 1965–66 singles as The Sunsets. As blues rock and psychedelia took hold, they settled as Tamam Shud and cut the 1969 album Evolution on CBS. Late that year, Shud guitarist Alex Zytnik cleared out for sixteen-year-old former Stonehedge guitarist Gaze, who played on their 1970 release Goolutionites and the Real People.

Wilson and Daisley teamed with Gaze and Davidson in Kahvas Jute, which signed with Infinity Records, the newly launched progressive division of Festival Records.


Wide Open

Kahvas Jute released their singular album, Wide Open, in January 1971 on Infinity. It features five songs by Dennis Wilson, including “Free,” “Vikings,” and the climactic “Parade of Fools.” Side B contains one track each by Bob Daisley (“Ascend”), Tim Gaze (“Twenty Three”), and Dannie Davidson (“Steps of Time”).

Gaze plays steel guitar and shares vocals with Wilson, who plays bottleneck, acoustic, and wah-wah guitar.

A1. “Free” (5:13)
A2. “Odyssey” (3:59)
A3. “Up There” (2:49)
A4. “She’s So Hard to Shake” (4:17)
A5. “Vikings” (4:32)
B1. “Steps of Time” (3:22)
B2. “Twenty Three” (3:49)
B3. “Ascend” (3:11)
B4. “Parade of Fools” (9:09)

Sessions spanned three days at Festival Studios, where Irish-born soundman Pat Aulton produced Wide Open amid 1971 titles by Normie Rowe and Sherbet.

Wide Open appeared in a gatefold sleeve designed and illustrated by one Robby Harris. The cover depicts an open gate to a lakeside valley with Kahvas Jute (caricatured) at the fore. The inner-gates feature a monochrome collage of live and studio pics by photographer George Farrell.

Infinity lifted “Free” as a single, backed with “Ascend.” In 1972, “Free” reappeared on the label comp Group Therapy – The Stars of Infinity, which also features cuts by Blackfeather, Chain, Cleves, Tymepiece, and Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs.


Later Activity

Soon after the album’s completion, Gaze rejoined Tamam Shud. In June 1971, Bob Daisley cleared for bassist Scott Maxey, a former member of the Nutwood Rug Band, an unrecorded act of US draft dodgers who formed in LA and relocated to Sydney and established EMLE-Stonewall Productions, the company behind Australia’s first outdoor rock festival, the 1969 Pilgrimage For Pop.>

The Kahvas Jute lineup of Davidson, Wilson, and Maxey went to England, where they capitalized on Wide Open‘s popularity as an import and courted ex-Nice guitarist Davy O’List as a possible member.

In July 1971, Bob Daisley moved to the UK but didn’t rejoined his Kahvas bandmates. Instead, he joined Chicken Shack and played on their 1973 album Unlucky Boy. He then surfaced in Widowmaker, a hard-rock supergroup with alumni of Hawkwind, Spooky Tooth, and Mott the Hoople. They released two albums in 1976–77 on Jet Records, a label established by Electric Light Orchestra‘s management. Daisley followed with stints in Rainbow (1978), Ozzy Osbourne‘s band (1980–81), Uriah Heep (1982–83), and Gary Moore‘s band (1985–87).


Chariot

In May 1973, Kahvas Jute’s remaining core (Davidson, Wilson, Maxey) returned to Australia. Five months later, they supported Bo Diddley on his second tour of the country. The following March, Maxey cleared for bassist Peter Roberts of Band of Light, who in turn poached Davidson for their 1974 album The Archer. Meanwhile, Roberts took up guitar and Wilson hired bassist John Strangio. With Wilson as the only original Kahvas Jute member, they renamed the band Chariot and played 300 gigs over the next two and a half years.

In 1975, Chariot linked with Wizard Records, a three-year-old label with assorted pop and rock acts (Daddy Cool, Hush, Mighty Kong, Rick Springfield).> Chariot cut the January 1976 Wizard single “I’ll Keep On Loving You,” followed in December by “Set Me Free,” a driving harmony rocker in the vein of Tarney & Spencer. Roberts wrote bother songs, respectively backed with the Wilson numbers “On the Line” and “Take Me Home.”

After multiple lineup changes, Dennis D. Wilson folded Chariot in December 1977. He made his solo debut with the 1979 electro-pop single “Bobby & The Space Invaders,” followed by the 1980 RCA Victor album Walking On Thin Ice.


Discography:

  • Wide Open (1971)

Sources:

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