Tamam Shud

Tamam Shud was an Australian psych-rock band from Sydney that released the album Evolution on CBS in 1969, followed by Goolutionites and the Real People on Warner Bros. in 1970.

Members: Bjerre (guitar, vocals), Peter Barron (bass), Dannie Davidson (drums, 1967-70), Tim Gaze (guitar, vocals, 1970-72, 1994-95), Bobby Gebert (keyboards, 1971), Richard Lockwood (saxophone, flute, clarinet, 1972), Nigel Macara (drums, 1970-72, 1994-95), Kevin Sinott (drums, 1970), Kevin Stevenson (reeds, 1970), Alex “Zac” Zytnic (guitar, 1967-70), Larry Duryea [aka Larry Taylor] (percussion, 1970-72)


The 4 Strangers

Tamam Shud originated as The 4 Strangers, a surf-rock band formed in 1964 in Newcastle, a habour city in New South Wales. Their original lineup featured drummer Dannie Davidson, lead guitarist Alex “Zac” Zytnic, bassist Eric Connell, and rhythm guitarist Gary Johns, who soon cleared for Lindsay Bjerre, a performer since age fifteen.

The 4 Strangers cut one Astor Records single>: “The Rip,” a twangy gallop backed with the sunset ballad “Pearl Diver,” both instrumentals co-written by Zytnik and Bjerre.

A. “The Rip”
B. “Pearl Diver”

In early 1965, The 4 Strangers linked with Festival Records and appropriated Merseysound on the single “You’ll Be Mine,” a Hollies cover backed with “Sad and Lonely,” an R&B-tinged Bjerre original.

A. “You’ll Be Mine”
B. “Sad and Lonely”


The Sunsets

In mid-1965, The 4 Strangers transformed into The Sunsets, a beat-style act with Bjerre on guitar and vocals. They moved to Sydney and signed with Leedon Records, a label co-owned by Australian rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Johnny O’Keefe.

October 1965
A. “Bye Bye, Goodbye”
B. “It’s The End”

The Sunsets spent 1966 on the Greater Sydney live circuit as clients of the Harrigan Agency, which booked them in the area’s hotspots (Surf City, The Star Club) and secured them opening slots with some of the nation’s leading acts, including Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Max Merritt & The Meteors, and Ray Brown & The Whispers.

March 1966
A. “When I Found You”
B. “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”

In late 1966, Festival Records purchased Leedon and inherited its acts. The Sunsets issued three 1967 Festival singles, all Bjerre originals.

January 1967
A. “Windansea” is a Bjerre–Zytink number.
B. “Theme From a Life In the Sun”

Featival combined “Windansea” and “Theme” with the second Leedon single on A Life In The Sun, a four-track EP in an orange-tinted picture sleeve. The music appeared in a title-sake surf flick by Australian filmmaker Paul Witzig.

July 27, 1967
A. “Love’s Face”
B. “I Want Love”

August 1967
A. “The Hot Generation” is the title-theme to a 1967 Witzig surf film.
B. “This Is What It’s All About”

In 1984, LA female garage rockers The Pandoras covered “The Hot Generation” as a non-album a-side.


New Identity

By late 1967, The Sunsets immersed in Sydney’s psychedelic underground. This alienated the straight-laced Eric Connell, who cleared for bassist Peter Barron, a local youth who Bjerre picked because he had the right attitude. 

To shake of the surf-rock image, they renamed the band after tamám shud, a Persian phrase (meaning “ended” or “finished”) that Bjerre found at the end of The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, an 1859 book by Edward FitzGerald with English translations of quatrains attributed to Persian polymath Omar Khayyam (1048–1131).

In the latter 20th century, the phrase became synonymous with the Somerton Man, a long-unidentified cadaver found in December 1948 on the beach of Somerton Park near Adelaide. The man’s pocket contained a tear-out of the tamám shud sequence in FitzGerald’s book. (In 2023, DNA identified the Somerton Man as Carl “Charles” Webb, a 43-year-old electrical engineer from Melbourne.)

Tamam Shud embraced UK blues rock and psychedelia (Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience, Pink Floyd) and US West Coast acid rock (Jefferson Airplane, Love, Spirit). Their set-list comprised Bjerre originals and the odd cover, including The Turtles‘ “Happy Together.” They cultivated a hippie audience at underground “head music” venues like the Mandala Theatre (Darlinghurst) and the Beacon Theatre (Newtown). Shud shows often featured the film and lighting of UBU, a Sydney psychedelic lightshow collective.

Paul Witzig commissioned the group for a third film. In the process, he bankrolled their first album.


Evolution

Tamam Shud released their first album, Evolution, in 1969 on CBS. It features eleven Lindsay Bjerre originals, including four tracks — “Mr. Strange,” “Evolution,” “I’m No-One,” and “Mr Strange” — used in the namesake movie: a surf–travel film starring worldclass surfers Reno Abellira, Ben Apia, and Joey Cabell.

A1. “Music Train” (6:38)
A2. “I’m No One” (2:07)
A3. “Mr Strange” (2:32)
A4. “Lady Sunshine” (4:37)
A5. “Falling Up” (2:46)
A6. “Feel Free” (3:09)
B1. “It’s a Beautiful Day” (2:51)
B2. “Jesus Guide Me” (3:52)
B3. “Rock On Top” (2:47)
B4. “Slow One and the Fast One” (6:56)
B5. “Too Many Life” (2:59)

Tamam Shud recorded Evolution in late 1968 in a 150-minute session. Witzig financed the album on limited funds, which restricted the band to first takes without overdubs. The final mix-down took 90 minutes.

The four soundtrack songs play across surf scenes in the film, which consists of music–aquasport sequences without narration. Tamam Shud attended screenings of the Evolution, a box office hit on Australias East Coast.

CBS, which leased the soundtrack, lifted “Lady Sunshine” as a single (b/w “Evolution”). Based on the sales success of Evolution, Warner Bros. signed Tamam Shud.


Lineup Changes

After Evolution, Alex Zytnic cleared for Tim Gaze, the fifteen-year-old guitar prodigy of local blues-rockers Stonehenge. Zytnic went onto brief stints in Bootleg and Blackfeather.

In early 1970, Tamam Shud played Pilgrimage For Pop, a two-day festival (January 25–26) at Ourimbah in New South Wales. More than 10,000 music-goers attended the eleven-act event, which also featured Tully, Jeff St John & Copperwine, Wendy Saddington, the new-look Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, and Ex-Easybeats frontman Steve Wright (with Rachette).> 

Tamam Shud cut their second album. Between its completion and release, Davidson and Gaze left for a new band, Kahvas Jute. In July 1970, Warner issued a taster from the upcoming album: “Stand In the Sunlight” (b/w “I Love You All”).

Meanwhile, Bjerre formed a short-lived, unrecorded jazz-based Shud with drummer Kevin Sinott and reedist Kevin Stephenson.


Goolutionites and the Real People

Tamam Shud released their second album, Goolutionites and the Real People, in October 1970 on Warner Bros. Lindsay Bjerre composed the album’s eight tracks, which include the nine-minute “Heaven Is Closed” and the two-part “Goolutionites Theme.” Side B contains the pre-released single “Stand In the Sunlight” with lyrics by one Kevin Platt.

Bjerre handles rhythm guitar and vocals on Goolutionites, which features the longtime rhythm section of drummer Dannie Davidson and bassist Peter Barron, who plays fuzz bass on select passages. Tim Gaze, in his brief initial stint, plays lead guitar and piano.

A1. “The Goolutionites (and the Real People)” (1:04)
A2. “They’ll Take You Down on the Lot” (3:37)
A3. “I Love You All” (3:43)
A4. “Heaven Is Closed” (9:07)
B1. “A Plague” (5:11)
B2. “Stand In the Sunlight” (2:41)
B3. “Take a Walk on a Foggy Morn” (2:18)
B4a. “Goolutionites Theme Part 1” (3:19)
B4b. “Goolutionites Theme Part 2” (3:54)

Sessions took place at United Sound Studios in Sydney with ex-Gibsons drummer John Bromell, who produced Goolutionites in the company of engineer Maurice Wilmore. The album appeared in a dim blue textured gatefold with Victorian Renaissance Fair illustrations and sepia inner-gate group photos by Francis Pithers.


Expanded Lineup

In late 1970, Gaze returned to Tamam Shud after sessions wrapped on Kahvas Jute’s singular album, Wide Open (released in 1971). Sinott and Stephenson both left, the latter replaced by drummer Nigel Macara, a member of Gaze’s earlier band Stonehenge.

In 1971, Tamam Shud grew to a septet with jazz pianist Bobby Gebert, percussionist Larry Duryea, and recent Tully reedist Richard Lockwood. The expanded Shud gigged up and down the East Coast through the final third of 1971 and performed multiple times on GTK (“Get to Know”), a music show on the Australian ABC network.


Final Work

In January 1972, Tamam Shud released a standalone single: “Got a Feeling” backed with “My Father Told Me,” both Bjerre originals produced by G. Wayne Thomas, a Kiwi musician, producer, and songwriter.

A. “My Father Told Me”
B. “Got a Feeling”

Tamam Shud followed this release with another big outdoor concert: the Mulwala Festival, a three-day event (March 31–April 2) with sets by Carson, Chain, Company Caine, Highway, The La De Das, Lobby Loyde & Coloured Balls, Russell Morris & Cycle, and Pirana.>

Filmmaker Alby Falzon tapped Tamam Shud as the soundtrack source for his 1972 surf documentary Morning of the Earth. However, their involvement dwindled at the hands of G. Wayne Thomas, who produced the soundtrack for Warner Bros.

Morning of the Earth (OST) contains songs by Brian Cadd, John J. Francis, Terry Hannagan, Peter Howe, and Thomas himself. Tamam Shud submitted two Bjerre originals (“Bali Waters,” “Sea the Swells”) and Gaze’s “First Things First.”

A3. “First Things First” (4:09)
B1. “Bali Waters” (6:13)
B4. “Sea the Swells” (6:13)

Tamam Shud cut the three songs at Channel 9 Studios in Melbourne. Tim (a capable singer) recorded a lead vocal for “First Things First” but Thomas (without the band’s knowledge) wiped his vocals and had Carson frontman Broderick Smith sing the released version. The soundtrack went Gold despite a lack of airplay. “Bali Waters” also appeared on a Warner EP with both sides of the January single.

Despite constant live work, Bjerre folded Tamam Shud in September 1972 after a final round of Melbourne shows with MacKenzie Theory (9/1: Sebastians disco), Madder Lake (9/2: Garrison), and a triple-bill with Blackfeather and Carson (9/3: Sebastians).


Post-Tamam Shud

Lindsay Bjerre retained Richard Lockwood for Albatross, a rock combo that cut the 1973 Reprise album A Breath of Fresh Air. In 1977, he surfaced as a solo artist with the Philips release Stealing The Hours, which spawned the hit “She Taught Me How To Love Again.” He released four singles through 1979 and a second album, Hard Times.

Peter Baron gigged with the Bilgola Bop Band, a precursor to Moving Pictures.

Tim Gaze played in offshoots of Daddy Cool (Mighty Kong) and Spectrum (Ariel).


Discography:

  • Evolution (1969)
  • Goolutionites and the Real People (1970)
  • Bali Waters (EP, 1972)

Sources:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *