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Sunday, 6 April 2014

Post 497 - Francis Butler's Sixty Niners - Flash - Back Seat Drivin'

In April 1973 Brian Bethell, Peter Knox and Dave Ovendon sacked Francis Butler from the band and, added Tony Burkys on guitar, they renamed themselves as Peter Knox's New Improved 69'ers. Butler responded by forming Francis Butler's Original 69'ers, where he was joined by Ray Ferguson on guitar, vocals, flute and kazoo; Peter Jarman on drums and Terry Stacey on bass guitar. In November John 'Ernie' McInerney replaced Jarman on drums. The two bands had somewhat diversified styles. Both retained an image for crazy and often crude humour; however Butler's version was closer to their original jug-band style with country and rock influences. In 1974 the band issued its last single, "Flash" / "Back Seat Drivin'" (ESP-008) on the independent Earth label. The single was Engineered by Ross Kirkland and both sides penned by Butler. For this single the group were Butler, Ferguson, McInerney and Wharton. After its release they worked regularly around Sydney and rural New South Wales. Later in 1974, McInerney left to join Richard Clapton's backing band, he was replaced by Rob Harris who stayed for a few months to be replaced by Rob Cody. In August 1975 Ferguson, Wharton and Cody all left to form Flash Harry's Iceberg. The latter day line-up of The 69'ers was Butler, Ian Cameron on guitar, Tom Callaghan on drums and Lindsay Osborne on bass guitar. The group finally broke up in February 1976. In 1978 Francis Butler released a solo religious album, “There Is no Escape”, on independent label, Rhema, before travelling to the United States and becoming a religious minister.

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