The Master’s Apprentices

The Master's Apprentices-1From: Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

In late 1965, The Mustangs renamed themselves as The Masters Apprentices (deliberately omitting the apostrophe).  Rhythm guitarist Mick Bower supplied the name because “we are apprentices to the masters of the blues—Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James and Robert Johnson”. By early 1966 they were one of the most popular beat bands in Adelaide, regularly selling out concerts in the city, as well as making visits to outlying towns of Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and Whyalla.  Their first TV appearance, on Good Friday, was on a Channel 7 telethon hosted by Adelaide TV celebrity Ernie Sigley. They entered the South Australian heat of Hoadley’s Battle of the Sounds and finished third behind The Twilights (eventual national winners).

Later in 1966, The Masters Apprentices shared a gig with pop star Bobby Bright of Melbourne duo Bobby & Laurie, who was impressed and recommended them to his label, Astor Records. A few weeks later, they were contacted by Astor, which requested a four-track demo.  The band went to a local two-track studio to record it, but realised that they had only three suitable songs to record. Needing a fourth track, guitarists Bower and Morrison wrote a new song, “Undecided”,in about 15 minutes; the backing track was cut in about the same time. The title came from the fact that they were undecided about a name for the song when quizzed by the studio owner, Max Pepper. The biting fuzz-tone of Bower’s guitar on the track was a fortunate accident; it was caused by a malfunctioning valve in his amplifier, but the group liked the sound and kept the faulty valve in until after the session.

In August, the band made their first visit to Melbourne, which was at the time the centre of the burgeoning Australian pop scene. They made a strong impression with showcase performances at the city’s leading discotheques, The Thumpin’ Tum and The Biting Eye. Their debut single “Undecided” / “Wars or Hands Of Time” was released in October and gradually climbed the Adelaide charts, thanks to strong support from local DJs.

“Wars or Hands of Time”, written by Bower, is the first Australian pop song to directly address the issue of the Vietnam War, which was now affecting the lives of many young Australians because of the controversial introduction of conscription in 1965. 20-year-old lead singer Jim Keays was one of hundreds of potential conscripts whose birthday (9 September) was picked in a 1966 ballot. He was able to legally avoid the draft by signing with the Citizens Military Force (CMF, later renamed the Army Reserve) and eluded a “short back and sides” haircut with the aid of his girlfriend, who pinned his long hair up under his slouch hat whenever he attended CMF sessions.

The Masters Apprentices continued under various line-ups from 1965 until 1972, reforming briefly in 1987 and on several subsequent occasions. ~ Wikipedia (much more detailed information available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Masters_Apprentices.)  

Tracks played on Psychedelicized…

From the 1968 single Astor A-7087

  • Elevator Driver

From the 1967 album The Masters Apprentices
Master's Apprentice, The

  •  War Or Hands Of Time

From the 1970 album Masterpiece
Masterpiece

  • Barefoot When I Saw Her

From the 1971 album Choice Cuts
Choice Cuts

  • Michael
  • Our Friend Owsley Stanley III
  • Rio De Camero