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Where Are They Now? - Annette Steele, Paul Brand, Mandu

Updated: 3 days ago

Some people seem to vanish without a trace. Entertainers that you have loved and admired also go missing and you are left wondering what happened to them. Maybe some people choose to stay out of the public eye, but just as it is good to reconnect with an old school friend or a long lost relative it is also interesting to find out what happened to performers you have admired in the past.

 

Annette Steele released some great singles in the late ‘60s and was a regular on television pop shows. But then she vanished, and nobody seems to know what happened to her. Melbourne singer/songwriter Paul Brand released albums on two major labels during the ‘70s, then disappeared and has not been heard of since. Eccentric Queensland singer Mandu recorded a concept album in the early 70’s which has been described as “one of the best and most original albums ever made in this country.” He then sang on two albums with Lobby Loyde’s Southern Electric and has not been seen since the mid-‘80s.

 

There is not much known about these artists, but I have pieced together stories on each of these performers in the hope that it might uncover some more information about them.

 

ANNETTE STEELE



Melbourne girl Annette Steele had her sights set on pursuing a career in singing in 1963 when she was still a student at Loreto Ladies College in Blackburn where she was Head Prefect. The school’s 1963 Yearbook mention’s Annette’s career aspirations and wishes her every success. When Annette left school, she started appearing at dances around Melbourne and her popularity grew. The young singer then signed a three-record deal with W&G Records and her singles were released on the In Label (a W&G subsidiary) between late ’66 and early ’67.

 

Her first release was the Gospel-flavoured We’re Gonna Stand Upon The Mountain backed with the Cole Porter penned So In Love. Annette’s second 45 was a great cover of Wanda Jackson’s Whirlpool and her third single is a fine version of the American jazz/pop classic Lazy River which features an excellent brass arrangement. The songs Annette recorded were not the standard teenage love songs but are what has been termed “Sophisticated Pop” and aimed at a more adult audience. This may have been the reason why none of Annette’s singles were Top 40 hits.

 


Annette made a number of appearances on the popular teenage music program, ‘The Go!! Show’ and there is Youtube footage of her performing some of the hits of the day. These include Secret Love, Who Am I and I Couldn’t Live Without Your Love. Annette has a strong voice, and she delivers these songs with confidence. The young singer was also included on the W&G compilation album, “Our Favorite Kinda’ People Vol.2” alongside fellow W&G/In artists including The Loved Ones, Merv Benton and Margie Bayes. During 1968 and 1969 Annette also appeared on the popular variety TV show 'In Melbourne Tonight'.




 

There is nothing else known about Annette Steele from this point on which is a shame because she was such a talented performer who should have gone on to a long and successful career.

 

PAUL BRAND



Little-known singer-songwriter Paul Brand was born in Melbourne in 1940. At age 22 he was already a veteran of small clubs and coffee lounges in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, and a host of smaller towns. He was a true wandering minstrel.

 

Brand arrived in Adelaide with the Australian Jazz Convention at the end of 1961. He became a popular attraction at the Catacombs Coffee Lounge and the Tavern Jazz Cellar and also sang with Dick Frankel’s Jazz Disciples at this venue.



In late 1962 Brand recorded an album at Kenton Recording Studios in Norwood titled ‘Feeling The Blues’. The album contained covers of US traditional and political folk songs and Negro Blues and Spirituals.

 

“The album highlighted his moody singing voice and highly developed finger-picking style.” (Peter Millen).


Pauls’ next recording was the 1963 various EP ‘The Folk Attick Presents’ with Emma Hannah, O’Shane Duckham and Trevor



Lucas. All of these artists were regulars at the Folk Attick, a popular folk club in King’s Cross, Sydney. Paul appears on three of the four tracks. Trevor Lucas went on to a highly successful career as a singer/songwriter and record producer in the UK. He was a member of Fairport Convention where he met and married Sandy Denny. The liner notes describe Paul as ‘a fine blues guitarist who has been collecting Folk songs from an early age. Paul prefers the ‘grass roots’ folk music style.”


Brand left Adelaide at the end of 1963 and his exact movements following his departure from this city are not known. In the late ‘60s he travelled to the US and went to Los Angeles and played at local clubs including Artie Fatbuckle’s Cellar. In July 1972 the Australian Disc & Tape Review reported that Brand had recently returned to Australia after some time in the US and Pacific Islands especially Tahiti where he wrote songs and filmed documentaries.

 


In 1972 Paul signed to Festival Records and recorded his second album ‘The Ties That Bind’. The album was produced by Richard Batchens and contained self-penned country/folk songs (except for one Gordon Lightfoot cover). All the songs are similar in style to Australian singer-songwriter Kevin Johnson. It is interesting to note that Festival signed three acts, Glenn Cardier, Carll & Janie Myraid and Paul Brand in the early 70’s and their debut albums were released simultaneously. Glenn Cardier recalls,

 

“I don’t recall Paul gigging that much during that time. I do recall being interested in his acoustic guitar. He had it modified so that it had two G strings. One being an octave of the standard G, 12 string style”.

 

Following the release of the album Paul received a lot of press. There were articles in the Daily Planet and Disc magazines, and he was interviewed on GTK. A single, Moments That Remain/Blues For Judy was lifted from the album.

 

In 1976 Paul signed to CBS and recorded his third LP. The album titled ‘Moments’ contained 9 songs and is similar to the country/folk style of his previous album. Paul must have been short of original material because three of the songs also appear on his Festival LP.

 



Nothing else is known about Paul after 1976 and it is unusual that an artist who recorded albums on two major labels has not been written about.

 

MANDU



There is a lot of mystery surrounding Australian singer/songwriter Chris Moraitis who performed as Mandu. Ian McFarlane observed that he “was something of an enigma and a sadly overlooked talent. He had a distinctive and emotional voice but only issued one album and then to bemused indifference.”

 

Born in Brisbane in 1950, Mandu had been part of a series of unsuccessful bands before heading to Melbourne from Queensland in the early ‘70s with the hope of securing a record deal. Former Pop singer turned record label boss Jon Blanchfield was so impressed with Mandu’s original songs and voice that he signed him on the spot to Image Records and arranged for him to record at Armstrong’s Studios. An impressive group of musicians were assembled to play on the album. These included Phil Manning (guitar), Barry Sullivan (bass), Steve Cooney (guitar), Gary Young (drums), Jeff Hales (percussion), Graham Lyall (sax) and Jim Conway (flute). Ern Rose was the producer.

 

The resultant concept album ‘To The Shores Of His Heaven’ is considered, “One of the best and most original records ever made in this country and a must hear for fans of Tim Buckley, Van Morrison and Terry Reid – at times gentle and ethereal, spacious and mystical. (aztecrecords.com.au) .

Following the issue of the album Mandu toured to promote the record but the LP was a disappointing failure. A single was lifted from the album, We Ran Across The Sky/Traveller (Sept ’74) and this was followed-up by a highly original take of the Rolling Stones classic Gimme Shelter (June ’75). Both singles failed to make any impression on the charts.

 


In late 1975 Mandu joined Lobby Lloyd’s Southern Electric and sang on the ‘Obsecration’ album (May ’76) but left before the band’s move to the UK. The singer was on hand when Lloyd returned to Australia and reformed Southern Electric (renamed Sudden Electric) and sang on the ‘Live With Dubs’ album (1980).

 

Mandu was not seen following the release of the ‘Live With Dubs’ album but he re-emerged briefly in the mid-‘80s in a band called Mandu Bandu playing at various venues along the east coast and he sang on one track on the Monitors 1982 album 'Back From Their Recent Illness'. The Mandu album was re-issued as ‘We Ran Across The Sky’ on Image in 1980 and in 2008 Aztec Records issued a digitally remastered version on CD. The whereabouts of Mandu these days remains a mystery.




 

If you have any stories or you can cast some light regarding what happened to the artists, please contact this website.

 

 

Annette Steele Discography:

We’re Gonna Stand Up On The Mountain/So In Love         In       IN-S-8029             11/66

Whirlpool/You’ll Never Leave Her                                      In                IN-S-8057              12/66

Lazy River/Run For Shelter                                                      In            IN-S-8113           1967

2 tracks on Our Favorite Kinda People LP.                            W&G          WG-25-5072          1966

 

Paul Brand Discography:

Feeling Folk Blues LP.                                                   Kenton KLP 3398                10/62

Moments That Remain/Blues For Judy                                Festival       FK-4655                05/72

The Ties That Bind LP.                                                           Festival SFL-934539 1972

Leave Me/Natalie’s Rhyme              CBS        BA 222211             06/76

Moments LP                                                                           CBS SBP 234 794 1976

 

Mandu Discography:

We Ran Across The Sky/Traveller.                                         Image         IS-170 1974

To The Shores Of His Heaven  LP                                         Image ILP743 1974

Gimme Shelter/To The Shores Of His Heaven                Image       IS-170                1975

With Southern Electric - Obsecration LP Rainbird RBSA 05/76 With Sudden Electric - Live With Dubs LP Mushroom L 37399 1980

 

Annette Steele Sources:

History Of Australian Rock blog, Sept 10th, 2013

Paul McHenry – Information via phone, June 12th, 2024

 

Paul Brand Sources:

Glenn Cardier – Information via email, June 12th, 2024

Peter Millen – Rockin’ In The City Of Churches, Brolga Publishing 2020

Peter Millen – Information via email, May 29th, 2024

Paul McHenry – Information via phone, June 12th, 2024

 

Mandu Sources:

Ian McFarlane – Encyclopedia Of Australian Rock 2nd Edition, Third Stone Press, 2017

Paul McHenry – Information via phone, June 12th, 2024

 

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