JAY TURNER

Jay’s current solo project is to delve into his earliest musical roots & explore the UK pop music of the late 1950’s & early 1960’s.

He is self-producing backing tracks as close to the originals as he can get in his studio, ready to sing & play guitar to at retro events, retirement villages & anywhere people might be interested in that very iconic & nostalgic period – the birth of Rock’nRoll!

Jay has two specific shows to offer – an hour-long concert-style presentation, with stories & songs, and up to 3×45-minute sets of songs & instrumentals for listening, dancing & singing along to! Call him on 0424 127 580, or email jay@mundyturner.com to discuss prices.

The roster of hit songs is rapidly growing, but so far includes:

Elvis: All Shook Up; Stuck On You; Teddy Bear; Don’t Be Cruel; Can’t Help Falling; Jailhouse Rock,

Roy Orbison: Pretty Woman; Only The Lonely,

The Everly Brothers: Bye Bye Love; Cathy’s Clown; Lucille; Wake Up Little Susie,

Cliff Richard: Livin’ Doll; Travellin’ Light; Lucky Lips; Do You Wanna Dance

The Shadows: 50 Hits including Apache; Man Of Mystery; Wonderful Land; Atlantis; Ghost Riders etc.

Buddy Holly: Every Day; Guess It Doesn’t Matter Anymore; That’ll Be The Day,

Del Shannon: Runaway

The Beatles: From Me To You; Eight Days A Week; Money; Twist & Shout,

Chuck Berry: Johnny B Goode; Memphis Tennessee
Plus tracks by Bobby Vee, Sam Cooke, The Searchers, The Hollies, Rolling Stones et al..

Jay Turner – A History:

Jay’s musical journey started at age 7, when his two cousins Peter & Jeannie Smith came to live with their grandparents (where Jay & his mother were already ensconced). Jeannie & Peter were both teenagers & brought with them their most treasured possessions – hit records by Buddy Holly & Fats Domino. Jeannie taught Jay how to Jive & pretty soon he was hooked on rock’n’roll! At age 11, Jay & his mother moved away from his grandparents & he began his own individual journey into pop music.

Cliff Richard & The Shadows & Elvis Presley dominated his musical life almost exclusively, until The Beatles burst upon everyone in 1963. Along the way, he brushed with Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochrane, Neil Sedaka, Carol King & all the other great pop writers of the day.

The finances in Jay’s single-parent household wouldn’t stretch to affording an electric guitar, but at age 14, he bought a battered acoustic guitar & a love affair with the instrument began & remains unabated today. Since he hadn’t the equipment to join a band, Jay concentrated on playing guitar & singing his favourite songs solo, which by this time included material by American folk legends Tom Paxton & Pete Seeger. He began playing at local folk clubs, singing political & working-class songs of social struggle. Local club organisers encouraged Jay to go to London to launch a musical career, so at barely 20, he moved to the Big Smoke’ to become an ‘overnight sensation’.

Jay began writing songs around this time & became a regular performer at famous London night-spots such as Bunjies, The Troubadour, The Hanging Lamp in Richmond & The Crypt at St. Martin’s in the Fields. Eventually, he met another singer/songwriter guitarist, John O’Pray & as the duo O’Pray & Petersen, they began touting their original songs around the London folk circuit, gradually gaining a following. A late-night live radio slot brought them to the attention of Lesley Duncan, who had recently been touring with Elton John & was about to give a concert at the prestigious Wyndham Theatre in Charing Cross Road. She thought O’Pray & Petersen a perfect opening act.

The duo played to rapturous responses from the audience (which reportedly boasted Elton John, Long John Baldry & Cat Stevens in its throng), but somehow missed the meet-the-stars after-show party. When they later approached Gaff Management (Lesley’s management, who also ran The Faces), the opportunity for connection had passed & the lads were faced with returning to gruelling floor-spots again. Around the same time, a publishing fiasco with Boosey & Hawkes cost the duo a production deal with Cat Steven’s producer Ian Samwell. O’Pray found this all too daunting to contemplate, the duo split & Jay was left to carry on as a solo artist.

Domestic & financial pressures gradually saw Jay’s folk-club appearances dwindle in deference to higher-paid covers gigs & by 1976, his folk-singing writing & playing career was all but spent. In 1977, he joined Country-Rock outfit ‘Cheyenne Country’ & the band went from strength to strength, playing country covers all over the UK, going in two years from playing a handful of gigs a month to sometimes six in a week!

Personality pressures surrounding the band caused  Jay to leave in early 1980.

Determined to put a touring band of his own on the road, Jay began working with various musicians & bought a truck & p.a., which he hired out between gigs to chart bands of the time, engineering the rig & trucking equipment UK-wide.

Jay engineered for a number of the chart bands of the time, including Soft Cell, Marc Almond solo, The JoBoxers, Roman Holiday, Bananarama, The Belle Stars etc. Some very successful connections with the New Romantic movement, lack of success with various band combinations & being excited by the electronic music he was immersed in engineering, set Jay an a solo path again. He put together a synthesizer-based show called ‘Jay Lazer & The Phantom Orchestra’ which toured College & University campuses countrywide for about 2 years. It featured a full lights & pyrotechnics show, complete with audio-visual projections & dry ice! It was a lot of fun, but a record deal still proved elusive.

Disillusioned with the music business, in 1983 Jay ‘retired’ from London to live in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border, ostensibly ‘giving up music forever’. However, whilst renovating an old stone cottage, he began playing solo pub gigs again, as ‘Jay Walker’.

Subsequently, with his partner of the time, Penny Storrar-Gough, he formed ‘Rio’, a duo aimed at the British Working-Men’s clubs circuit. Jay used midi & sequencing  to program backing-tracks, enhancing the duo’s sound. The pair worked the pubs, clubs, & airforce bases all over the UK & in Germany for 3 years.

At home, Jay was still writing & recording, utilising the new computer recording technology of the time. A chance meeting with some actor/musicians inspired Jay to complete a book he was writing & turn it into a musical. Jay took the story & songs  of ‘Billy Buckett’ to local playwright Peter Cann, who produced a hilarious first script.  In mid 1988, the show had its first run with Mad Dogs & Englishmen Youth Theatre at the New Hereford Theatre.  The season proved a huge success & the show was rebooked by the theatre for another season the following year, playing with an up-graded script, yet again to packed houses.  Jay played ‘Big Ted’!  Buoyed up by the show’s successes, he sent the script & music to a dozen publishers to, at best, lukewarm responses. Apparently it lacked the ‘gimmicks’ so popular with publishers of musicals at the time.

Meanwhile, having spent a year recording & programming the backing tracks for the show, Jay decided to record some new material with just vocals & acoustic guitar, at local Broad Oak Studios.  The result was an album’s worth of songs, which became ‘Passion Roulette’, released on cassette in 1989.  Engineer/Producer Dave Woods suggested that Jay try to sell the album by floor-spotting at some of the local folk clubs.  The steady trickle of resultant gigs demanded yet more material, so Jay kept on writing. ‘Movements In Architecture’, utilising some of the UK Folk Scene’s top players, followed in 1990, as did numerous festival bookings, including prestigious Mainstage 1 at Cambridge Folk Festival.

Folk club promoter Paul Richards introduced Jay to Fairport Convention the same year & Jay played solo support to the band’s 30-date ‘Four Seasons’ Winter Tour 1991. His two albums sold literally in thousands on the tour. Jay played Cropredy Festival that year, with an all-star band of Chris Leslie on fiddle, Bernard O’Neill on bass, Ian Blake on woodwind & Paul Richards on percussion. However, the UK Folk Scene remained unimpressed & Jay undertook a gruelling schedule of floor-spotting all over the UK & Scotland, gradually winning respect from organisers & support from grass-roots punters.

Offered management later that year, Jay recorded a new album & went off to tour eastern Canada.

Sadly, the UK management were unable to live up to their promises & Jay found himself with a new album, ‘Atmavictu’, but no tour on which to sell it. He promoted a tour of arts centres himself, forming a trio with Bernard O’Neill on Bass & the extraordinary Maart Allcock (Fairport Convention, Jethro Tull) on guitars & keyboards.

By 1993, Jay’s constant touring had taken its toll & he decided to take a much-needed break. He left the UK on a potential round-world trip, getting only as far as Austin, Texas before deciding that wherever he went, he’d still want to be a musician. He returned to the UK with a clutch of new songs & recorded ‘Sketchbook’ in late 1993.

Playing at Redcar Folk Festival, Jay was spotted by two Australian singer/songwriters, Jenny Simpson & Helen Wright. They persuaded Jay that they could promote a tour of Australia for him for early 1995 & were true to their word.  Jay arrived in Melbourne in January 1995 to play a packed 4-month tour of folk clubs & festivals, appearing at most of the major festival venues, including Port Fairy Folk Festival, The National Folk Festival, Fairbridge Folk Festival, gaining a large new following & making exceptional album sales along the way. The National were impressed enough to sponsor Jay to extend his Cultural Visa to stay in Australia to 13 months.

At Port Fairy & then again at the National, Jay met Cath Mundy, who was performing in the acappella trio ‘Sister Moon Ensemble’.  The pair admired each other’s performances & soon became fast friends.  Although Sister Moon were deservedly playing to standing-room-only houses & critical acclaim, unbeknown to Jay & the fans alike, the trio was winding down their operations.

Jay went off to tour New Zealand & the couple pursued a long-distance relationship. On his return to Australia, Jay discovered that Cath would soon become free of her Sister Moon professional obligations, so he offered her to form a duo with him when he returned to New Zealand again that October. (They went on to tour NZ a total of 7 times in the following years). By the end of 1995, the couple were married & the rest, as they say, is history!

First Publicity Photo, by Phil Ashton. At the Cockatoo Cafe, Dunnolly, in the old gold fields of Victoria, Australia (1995) “one of our first duo gigs”.

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