Update 2022: The history of the Dave Miller Set is complicated, and I got some of it wrong the first time. This is a rewrite.
Both sides of the single are covers of songs from Eire Apparent’s album Sunrise (UK & USA 1969). See also the B-side Someone Is Sure To, written by Eire Apparent guitarist and lead singer Ernie Graham.
Christchurch-born Dave Miller moved to Australia in April 1966 after the break-up of his successful New Zealand band Dave Miller And The Byrds. He worked as deejay and solo singer at Ivan Dayman’s Bowl Soundlounge in Sydney. A plan to create a house band for the Bowl was abandoned, but it led to the formation of the Dave Miller Set in late 1966.
The Set broke up for a while after a final April 1967 appearance, but was re-formed with original members Miller (vocals), Harry Brus (bass) and Ray Mullholland (drums, the only other New Zealander apart from Miller), along with John Robinson (lead guitar) who had replaced an original member at the end of the band’s first phase. Brus was soon replaced by Bob Thompson (bass) who would also leave in March 1969 to be replaced by Leith Corbett (bass, from Heart ‘n’ Soul: he is heard on Lazy Life).
At the time of Mr Guy Fawkes the line-up was:
• Dave Miller (v)
• Ray Mulholland (d)
• John Robinson (g)
• Leith Corbett (b).
Dave Miller, with input from Leith Corbett, shortened and rearranged the lengthy original of Mr Guy Fawkes by cutting and splicing a tape recording he had made from a pre-release copy of Eire Apparent’s album. (He tells the full story to Steve Kernohan: transcript here).
References, essential reading: These sources tell the full story and place it in the wider context of the New Zealand and
Australian music scenes of the day:
1. The detailed history of Dave Miller at Milesago.
2. Bruce Sergent’s histories of Dave Miller & The Byrds (NZ) and Dave Miller Set.
3. Transcript of Steve Kernohan’s radio interview with Dave Miller,
See Seasons Of Change by Blackfeather which originated in a Dave Miller Set live performance.
Mr Guy Fawkes ranks alongside Russell Morris’ The Real Thing as the highwater mark of Australian pop production in the late ’60s, a phenomenal single from a most memorable band.Glenn A. Baker, liner notes to So You Wanna Be A Rock’n’Roll Star?
From May 19691 album Sunrise, released in USA and UK on Buddha Records, produced by Jimi Hendrix with his participation on some tracks.
Eire Apparent was previously called People, a band of Irish musicians formed in Belfast in 1965 but based in Blackpool from 1966. There were some changes along the way, but when they became Eire Apparent the line-up was Ernie Graham (v, g), Henry McCullough (lg), Chris Stewart (b) and Dave Lutton (d).
All four had been in an earlier Belfast band The Telstars. The lineage is not direct, though, as The Telstars had already broken up when former members got together to form People.
There were two tracks by People on the LP Ireland’s Greatest Sounds: Five Top Groups From Belfast’s Maritime Club , recorded before the move to Blackpool and released in February 1966. People got around, and there are sightings in the archives of them in Belfast, Blackpool, Dublin, and even Liverpool.
After moving to London and being signed by Jimi Hendrix’s management in 1967, People’s name was changed to Eire Apparent (presumably more groovy, and the pun on ‘heir’ was pure Irish).
Eire Apparent toured Britain and North America with Hendrix. Guitarist Henry McCullough quit the band in Canada and was replaced by Mick Cox who was on board for the recording of Sunrise late 1968 but left early in 1969. The band broke up in 1970.
Henry McCullough is now better remembered for his membership of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band (he played on With A Little Help From My Friends) and the first line-up of Paul McCartney’s Wings.
The composer of ‘Mr Guy Fawkes‘:
Before Eire Apparent, Mick Cox (1943-2008) had been in Belfast band Alleykatz which he joined in 1964, and he had played in Van Morrison’s band on tour in Ireland in 1966.
After leaving Eire Apparent, Cox was in other bands including Magnet (see below), and his own Mick Cox Band for a US Capitol album produced by Shel Talmy (1973). A later solo album Compose Yourself (1995) featured Van Morrison on blues harp (harmonica).
He worked with Van Morrison on later occasions, on tour and on Morrison’s albums Common One (1980) and Poetic Champions Compose (1987). He is also heard on The Philosopher’s Stone (1998), a compilation of previously unreleased material.
Sources, further reading:
• The combined history of Eire Apparent, People and The Telstars is complicated, and the sources can be contradictory. A good starting point is IrishRock.org’s page on The People which has links to Eire Apparent and The Telstars.
• Notes to the South African release at Discogs.com include many essential details about the band.
• Bruce Eder’s detailed Eire Apparent article at AllMusic which also outlines the later careers of the band members.
• MickCox.net: defunct tribute site now archived.
1US and UK release was May 1969, but see the South African release dated 1968 [Discogs.com] which predates the official release. According to the detailed notes at Discogs.com, the status of this release is unclear, but probably it’s a pre-official release of a limited edition. It is also noted that recording was completed as late as Oct-Nov 1968.
B-side on CBS August 1969 by band formed by Mick Cox, composer of Mr Guy Fawkes, after he had left Eire Apparent early in the same year.
The A-side and the band’s other single in March 1970 are credited just to Magnet. All four tracks on the singles are composed by Cox.
Sue And Sunny were Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie, stage names of sisters Yvonne and Heather Wheatman.1 They were frequently-booked session singers and prolific recording artists under a variety of names including The Myrtelles, Sue and Sunshine, and The Stocking Tops.
They have a dizzying array of credits that include Sue’s work on Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends and their membership of chart-topping British group Brotherhood Of Man. Sunny had a hit in the UK with her original version of Doctor’s Orders (1974, #7 UK), covered in the US by Carol Douglas.
1. Many sources spell Wheatman as Weetman. I can’t find out which is correct.
Further reading: The Wikipedia article on Sue And Sunny is tagged for lacking verification but seems to be sound on the basics including their artist CVs. It links to a solid page on Sunny by Alwyn W. Turner and to biographical notes on Sue by Geoff Wills.