Monday, December 4, 2023



Driving back from Canberra yesterday, Kate wanted to please me by puting on a CD of a collection of 1960’s music (it reminds me of something I read: How is it that I can recall the lyrics of all the sixties songs but can’t remember why I came into the kitchen?)

One of the songs on the CD was part of the protest song movement of the mid 60’s, by a group named The Uglys (seriously), the song being called Wake Up My Mind.

Surprisingly it was a hit only in Oz and in New Zealand.

I wrote about the Uglys and Wake Up My Mind on May 19, 2022, here is a re-post.


The song “Wake Up My Mind” by the Uglys dates from 1965 and remains, after 57 years, a great song with a great sound, great lyrics, great message and shite name for a group.



Wake Up My Mind

It’s Alright



I am a man in the prime of my life
I've got a house and a car and a beautiful wife
There's no chip on my shoulder, I've no axe to grind
And no possible reason to wake up my mind
And the days break,
And the nights fall and drift into time.

Somewhere there's hunger, somewhere there's a war
But I can do nothing so I'll just ignore
The cruelty around me, pretending I'm blind
In case I start thinking and wake up my mind
And the days break,
And the nights fall and drift into time.

I read in the papers a policeman shot down
Two Negroes in cold blood in some racial town
And I'm having a new car but don't know what kind
But one of these days I will wake up my mind
And the days break,
And the nights fall and drift into time.

Yes it seems as though fortune has smiled upon me
But now its too late, I’m beginning to see
I spent my life searching, but no peace I find
And it's left me with no time to wake up my mind
And the days break,
And the nights fall and drift into time.


The Uglys:

The Uglys started in Birmingham in 1957 as a band called the Dominettes. Over the next few years the composition changed and moved from rock & roll into a more R&B-based sound, which was enhanced further over the next couple of years with a wholly new lineup. By 1963 the group's sound had advanced considerably so that they were now reflecting the influence of the Liverpool sound to an extent. The name The Dominettes was replaced by The Uglys, the exact reason for the choice not being remembered but helping to get them more bookings than their old name.

Their 1965 debut single "Wake Up My Mind" was a British Invasion-style protest song that reflected other protest singers of the time such as Bob Dylan. The single didn't chart in England, but did do very well in Australia and New Zealand.

That second single, "It's Alright," got the band lots of exposure on the pirate stations Radio Caroline and Radio London. The radio play did not translate into actual sales. Their single, "A Good Idea" b/w "The Quiet Explosion" came out in early 1966 but flopped. Thereafter it was downhill and the group pretty much dissolved by the end of 1969.

Group members ended up in, or formed, other groups such as the Mindbenders, the Electric Light Orchestra, Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull.


The Oz Connection:


Elsewhere, by Graham Reid

They were also dogged with bad luck. Their tour to Finland was aborted when the ferry stopped in Denmark, their Uglymobile was impounded and they were deported back to England.

Yet they soldiered on, despite the conspicuous lack of chart success. Except in Australia and New Zealand with their single Wake Up My Mind which they had written under the influence of Dylan and Barry McGuire's social messages.

The reason for their Antipodean success was simple: the recording manager at their label Pye had a sister who worked at a radio station in Australia and she gave the song a shove along. It went into the top 10 and then New Zealand picked up on it.

Unfortunately the band failed to capitalise on the interest and tour to that far end of the world. And they lost yet another member . . . to be replaced by Jimmy O'Neill who had been briefly a member of the Walker Brothers' touring band.


Let me know what you think of the song.

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