Pop Archives

The Allusions - Gypsy Woman (1966)

(Dorsey Burnette - Joe Osborn)
Australia Australia
#11 Sydney #18 Brisbane

Single on Parlophone by Mersybeat-influenced Sydney band with vocal harmonies. The Allusions were together from 1965 till 1969, managed throughout by Alistair McEwan, himself a musician.

Gypsy Woman was the exception among the twelve songs released by The Allusions on six singles 1966-1968. All the others were original songs, eight written by rhythm guitarist & vocalist Michael Morris and three by bassist Bruce Davis who joined in mid-1966. Morris and Davis had both been in Dennis Williams & The Delawares.

The band’s biggest hit was Morris’s The Dancer (1966, #7 Sydney, #13 Brisbane, #53 Perth).


The Allusions left behind a fine batch of records… If this band will be remembered… it would be for their extremely tight and inventive sound, those complex vocal harmonies, and their mastery of the three-minute beat-pop single idiom.
  Paul Culnane, Milesago.com

(The Allusions’ self-titled album, 1966) remains a versatile work crammed with intelligently crafted pop songs, most of which are adorned with nifty little guitar solos and carefully thought out, unobtrusive harmony.
  Garry Aurisch, The Allusions (Moonlight Publishing, 1994)

The Allusions were one of the most stylish and inventive of Sydney’s 1960s beat pop bands…. ‘Gypsy Woman’ and the Michael-Morris-penned ‘The Dancer’… are rightly regarded as Australian 1960s classics.
  Ian McFarlane, The Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999)

References, further reading: 1. The Allusions history at Milesago. 2. The Allusions, Garry Aurisch’s 28-page booklet on the band’s history, is available from Australian Music Books3. Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop, (1999), p.15. 

Thanks to Sheena.

Ricky Nelson - Gypsy Woman (1963)

(Dorsey Burnette - Joe Osborn)
#14 Melbourne

Single on Decca, B-side of String Along, also on 1963 LP For Your Sweet Love.. Double-sided hit in Melbourne with String Along. (In Brisbane and Adelaide String Along alone charted.)

Pop idol Ricky (later, Rick) Nelson (1940-1985) launched his career from his family’s TV sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet but increasingly won respect as an adult in the country-rock genre.

Co-writer Dorsey Burnette and his brother Johnny wrote several songs for Ricky Nelson including Waitin’ In School (1958, #18 USA, written by Dorsey & Johnny), Believe What You Say (1958, #8 USA, Dorsey & Johnny), It’s Late (1959, #9 USA, Dorsey), and Just A Little Too Much (1959, #9 USA, Johnny).

The story famously goes that the Burnette brothers met Ricky when Johnny waited for two hours outside the Nelson’s home after finding its address on a map of celebrity houses.

Joe Osborn, Dorsey’s co-writer on Gypsy Woman, was in Ricky Nelson’s band 1960-1964.

Essential reading: Official Dorsey Burnette webpage [archived].

Timmy Welch - Gypsy Woman (1962)

(Dorsey Burnette - Joe Osborn)
Original version

B-side on Reprise August 1962 by Wichita-born singer Timmy Welch (1941-1972), also recorded as Tim Welch.

The single was reviewed in the 11 August 1962 editions of Billboard and Cash Box.

Co-writer Dorsey Burnette had recently been signed to Reprise. His first two singles on the label (June and October 1962) were produced by Steve Venet, the producer of this Timmy Welch single.

The other writer, Joe Osborn (sometimes Osborne, 1937-2018), became a distinguished session bass player after being a member of Ricky Nelson’s band 1960-1964. His session credits are extensive, having been one of the “Wrecking Crew“, a nickname (possibly applied retrospectively) for an unofficial collection of first-call studio musicians in Los Angeles. See the Wikipedia entries on Joe Osborn and the Wrecking Crew.

Gypsy Woman is one of a number of Joe OsbornDorsey Burnette collaborations that included recordings by Brenda Lee and by Dorsey himself.

Dorsey Burnette (1932-1979) and brother Johnny (1934-1964) formed their influential Rock and Roll Trio with Paul Burlison before focusing on songwriting and solo careers.

Dorsey charted with (There Was A) Tall Oak Tree) (1960, #23 USA), and Johnny’s biggest hits were Dreamin’ (1960, #11 USA), You’re Sixteen (1960, #8 USA) and Little Boy Sad (1961 #17 USA). Little Boy Sad was remade in Australia by M.P.D. Limited (#5 Australia).

Thanks to Philippe for revised original.

The Saints - Gypsy Woman (1981)

(Dorsey Burnette - Joe Osborn)
Australia Australia
Later version

Single on Lost, B-side Let’s Pretend.

Listen at YouTube

By this time, following the departure of Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay at the end of the 70s, only Chris Bailey remained from the line-up that produced the Saints’ 1976 breakthrough single (I’m) Stranded.

References, further reading: 1. History and discography at Wikipedia. 2. Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (1999), pp. 546-548.

Thanks to Aaron Curran for clarification.

Muddy Water With Sunny Land Slim* - Gypsy Woman (1948)

(Muddy Waters [McKinley Morganfield])
Red herring

 Same title but not the same song as ‘Gypsy Woman’ by The Allusions

78 rpm disc on Aristocrat.

*Artist on label is Muddy Water With Sunny Land Slim.

Also known as Gypsy Women. From Muddy Waters’ first studio session, for the Aristocrat label in 1947, this became his first release, a 78 rpm single with Little Annie Mae. With Sunnyland Slim on piano.

The Impressions - Gypsy Woman (1961)

(Curtis Mayfield)
Red herring
#20 USA #17 Adelaide

 Same title but not the same song as ‘Gypsy Woman’ by The Allusions

Single on ABC-Paramount.

Also a 1970 hit for Brian Hyland (#3 USA, #45 UK, #35 Sydney, #4 Melbourne, #5 Brisbane, #11 Adelaide, #8 Perth).