19 August 2020

Schadel - Stop Where You Are/ One Touch Of Your Hand

Aussie ex-pat throws out a thundering debut

Label: Parlophone
Year of Release: 1966

Robert Schadel - known simply as Schadel in the music business for some reason - was yet another Australian who relocated to the UK in the mid-sixties. Nobody could ever blame the Aussies for abandoning their home market and making the long journey to the UK to try their fortune, given the lay of the land; not only was it easier to make a living out of music in the UK than in their big and broad but thinly populated home country, but Britain was "happening" in a way almost no other country could rival. 

Sadly, and this is a sentence I feel I've probably typed on this blog before (there are only so many ways to present harsh facts in a fresh light, you know) the UK market was also overcrowded with home-grown talent, and while The Easybeats got "in" with the in-crowd, it could be argued that even they didn't achieve the Pommie success they deserved. Home-grown groups who had spent years schlepping around the national gig circuit learning the tricks of the trade, building an audience and identifying the pitfalls had clear advantages over fresh incomers.

Schadel's debut British single "Stop Where You Are" is a powerful, quivering beat ballad, which bears a strong resemblance to the melodrama of American stars such as Roy Orbison and Gene Pitney. It's good, but you had to be a damn sight better than good in 1966 to cut through the noise and into people's lives. 

The self-penned B-side is really more of the same, and actually a bit more interesting with a sweet melody pushing and pulling against Schadel's yearning. "If you only KNEW the misery I've been through!" he declares against the trilling female backing vocalists and orchestral strings. You'll believe him - I wondered about a woman he'd left behind in Australia as soon as I heard it.

While this wasn't a hit, Schadel continued making records until 1970, jumping from Parlophone to Pye in 1968, then ultimately to United Artists in 1970, where he released a self-penned LP "Schadel Number 1" which featured Mick Taylor on guitar. He later re-emerged under the name Robert MacLeod on Charisma Records in 1976, producing yet another LP entitled "Between The Poppy and the Snow". When that also failed to sell well, he moved back home to Australia and began work as a homeopathic therapist and teacher.


Michael Alden said...

Love it. Very much in the Pitney mode. Any idea if his other recordings are as good?

23 Daves said...

The one that gets collectors most hot under the collar are "Goodbye Thimble Mill Lane":

And this one is pretty nice too:

23 Daves said...

(Is "Goodbye Thimble Mill Lane", I should say!)