Flying Circus

Band members                         Related acts

  line up 1 (1967-68)

- Greg Grace -- vocals, guitar

- Bob Hughes -- vocals, bass

- Doug Rowe -- vocals, guitar

- Colin Walker -- vocals, drums

- James Wynne -- guitar


  line up 2 (1968-69) 

- Greg Grace -- vocals, guitar

- Doug Rowe -- vocals, guitar

- Colin Walker -- vocals, drums

NEW - Warren Ward -- bass (replaced Bob Hughes)

- James Wynne -- guitar


  line up 3 (1969-70)

- Doug Rowe -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Red McKelvie -- keyboards, pedal steel guitar

- Colin Walker -- vocals, drums

- Warren Ward -- bass

- James Wynne -- guitar


  line up 4 (1970-71)

- Red McKelvie -- guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar

- Doug Rowe -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Sam See -- vocals, guitar, keyboards

- Colin Walker -- vocals, drums

- Terry Wilkins -- vocals, bass (replaced Warren Ward)

- James Wynne -- guitar


  line up 5 (1971-73)

NEW - Greg Grace -- vocals, guitar

- Doug Rowe -- vocals, guitar

- Red McKelvie -- keyboards, pedal steel guitar

- Colin Walker -- vocals, drums

- Terry Wilkins -- vocals, bass (replaced Warren Ward)


  supporting musicians:

- Dick Armin -- cello

- Paul Hoffert -- vibes, piano

- Rob Lehman -- pedal steel guitar

- Lenny Solomon -- violin


  line up 6 (1974-75)

- Greg Grace -- vocals, guitar

- Red McKelvie -- keyboards, pedal steel guitar

- Doug Rowe -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Sam See -- vocals, guitar, keyboards (replaced Greg Grace)

- Colin Walker -- vocals, drums




- Big Sugar

- Black Bolt and the Silver Ferns

- Blackfeather

- The Canadian Aces

- The CeeDees

- Cruise Lane

- Dark Ages

- Deja Vu

- Fraternity (Sam See)

- Frontier

- Lighthouse  (Sam See and Terry Wilkins)

- Red McKelvie (solo efforts)

- Greg Quill and the Southern Cross

- Sherbert

- Ray Woolf and the Avengers





Genre: country-rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Flying Circus

Company: Capitol

Catalog: ST-11147

Country/State: Sydney, Australia

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap (opened)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6187

Price: $25.00


In their native Australia, the third Flying Circus LP was entitled "Gypsy Road".  With Capitol having acquired US and Canadian distribution rights for a reported and then unheard of $1 million, ten album deal, the company decided to repackage the original Australian album giving it new, blander artwork and though the same ten songs were featured, they were given a different running order.  You were left to wonder what Capitol's marketing department was thinking ...



Warner Brothers catalog WS-20010


Recorded at Toronto's Thunder Sound Studios with Bruce Bell and Paul Hoffert producing, "Flying Circus" found the band continuing their efforts to explore a mixture of country-rock and pub rock genres.  With Grace, Rowe, and Wilkins responsible for the bulk of the ten songs, tracks like 'Old Enough (To Break My Heart)', 'Another Winter's Day' and 'Summer Sound' underscored the band's affection for American country-rock bands like mid-career Gram Parsons-era Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, and Poco.  To be honest, nothing here was particularly original, or  earth-shattering though if made for a fun game of 'spot-the-influences'.  Moreover, there was no questioning the group's considerable talents and enthusiasm.  Full of bouncy melodies and wonderful CN&N-styled harmonies, virtually every song on the album had commercial potential.  A nice aural example of the old adage, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ... 


"Flying Circus" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Old Enough (To Break My Heart)   (Doug Rowe) - 2:22

'Old Enough (To Break My Heart)' was a bouncy country-rock number that showcased the band's wonderful group harmonies.  Imagine Poco deciding they want to hit the pop charts, or Bread dipping their toes in country-rock and you'd have a feel for this one.  Easy to see why Capitol tapped it as a single.   rating: *** stars

2.) Another Winter's Day   (Doug Rowe) - 3:37

While the results were still quite commercial, the largely acoustic 'Another Winter's Day' featured a more country-tinged sound.  Great Terry Wilkins bass line ...    rating: *** stars

3.) Summer Song   (Doug Rowe) - 3:37

'Summer Song' sported a more pensive country-rock flavor that to my ears sounded a great deal like a Poco outtake.  I'm a big Poco fan so that was actually a good thing.    rating: *** stars

4.) Shake, Rattle & Roll   (Charlee Calhoun) - 3:49

As one of the few straight ahead rockers I'd love to say something nice about their cover of the rock chestnut 'Shake, Rattle & Roll'.  Well, it showed they could sound like a '50s retro-band ...   rating: ** stars

5.) Gypsy Road   (Terry Wilkins - Doug Rowe) - 

Opening up with some tasty jangle rock guitar licks and a mesmerizing melody, 'Gypsy Road' was side one's most commercial outing.  The sound remained firmly entrenched in country-rock, but this time out the emphasis was on the rock component, complete with a great fuzz guitar solo.    rating: **** stars  


(side 2)
1.) Thousand Years   (Greg Grace) - 3:13

Complete with jangle guitar lead guitars and mesmerizing group harmonies, the Grace-penned 'Thousand Years' found the band diving headlong into Byrds-styled psych-rock. If you were a big fan of "Fifth Dimension" era Byrds this was going to strike a chord with your taste buds.  Shame they didn't do more stuff in this vein as the results were simply fantastic.    rating: **** stars  

2.) Train Ride   (Terry Wilkins) - 2:43

Exemplified by the hoe down-ish Train Ride' I'm not sure why so many Australian bands are fascinated by traditional bluegrass and country ...  Hideous waste of time.    rating: * star

3.) Green Patch   (Greg Grace) - 4:18

With one of the album's most beguiling melodies, 'Green Patch' was a breezy, highly commercial slice of country-rock.    rating: **** stars

4.) Me and You   (Greg Grace) - 4:48

Ah, the bliss of domesticity ...  'Me and You' was a pretty, if rather anonymous Dan Fogelberg-styled acoustic ballad.  Producer Paul Hoffert provided the vibes.  rating: *** stars

5.) Maple Lady   (Doug Rowe - Greg Grace - Terry Wilkins) - 2:51

The album's second single, 'Maple Lady' was a good-timey, bar band rocker.  In normal circumstances the song probably wouldn't have made much of an impression, but because it was one of the few mainstream rockers on the collection it sort of stood out.  Nice change of pace.   rating: *** stars  


The album was tapped for a pair of singles in Australia, Canada, and the US:



  Australian pressings:

- 1972's 'Maple Lady' b/w 'Green Patch' (Warner Brothers catalog number WBA ????)

- 1972's 'Old Enough (To Break My Heart)' b/w 'Train Rider' (Warner Brothers catalog number WBA 4072)


  Canadian pressings:

- 1972's Maple Lady' b/w 'Green Patch' (Capitol catalog number 72676)

- 1972's 'Old Enough (To Break My Heart)' b/w 'Train Rider' (Capitol catalog number 72689)


  US pressings:

- 1972's 'Old Enough (To Break My Heart)' b/w 'Train Rider' (Capitol catalog number P-3521)

- 1972's Maple Lady' b/w 'Green Patch' (Capitol catalog number P-????)


All told, pleasant and worth hearing, though it won't change your life in any shape or form.


Naturally the marketing Gods were aligned against the band.  While Capitol had planned to aggressively push the band, a management shakeup at Capitol saw the plan fall by the wayside.  The album still did well in Canada, but did little in the States (or their native Australia).



Ironically, having begun to make inroads in the US and Canadian markets, the band underwent another personnel shake-up.  Singer/guitarist Greg Grace headed out the door for the second time with former member Sam See leaving the band Fraternity to rejoin Flying Circus for a second stint.