JOHN J FRANCIS
Play Mumma, Sing Me A Song
(John J. Francis)
Australia 1973
#20 Sydney #11 Brisbane

Original version

Track on the 1973 Warner album Breaks, Works and Thoughts.
Co-charted with cover version by The Rumour (NZ).

John J. Francis (b. 1945) is an American-born singer-songwriter and producer who lived in Newcastle, NSW from childhood.

In the 60s he was with Newcastle bands The Sorrows (1963-1965), The John Francis Collexion (c.1966-1967) and Magic (1969-1970), each of which released at least one single. The Sorrows single (Someday/I'm Lonely, 1964) was the only known release by Newcastle label Big Sound (see label shot at Milesago). Both sides of the John Francis Collexion single, You Tell Me and I Talk To Trees (RCA, 1967), were John J. Francis compositions.

After releasing four solo albums, some singles and an EP through Warner 1972-1974 John J. Francis apparently quit the music business permanently. He was heard for several years as a presenter on the midnight-to-dawn shift in the early days of 2JJ, ABC Radio's youth station launched in Sydney in 1975.

John J. Francis is also remembered for Simple Ben, another track on Breaks, Works and Thoughts that was heard on the soundtrack to Albie Falzon’s surf film Morning Of The Earth (1972).

Further reading:
1. Discography and photos at Newcastle Bands Database: see the John J. Francis and Sorrows pages.
2. The authorised John J. Francis website is a "cyber-busking site" with downloads of JJF music. (Appeared after I wrote this page.)

References
:
1. Reviews and discussion at Adrian's Album Reviews, 2006-2007 (includes Dec. 2007 update from the owner of Copperfield Studios where Francis recorded and worked).
2. Chris Spencer, Australian Rock Discography 1956-1969 and 1970-1979.
3. Double Jay: The First Year at Milesago.
4. Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia Of Australian Rock & Pop.
5. Chris Spencer et al, Who's Who In Australian Rock.
6. The Second Wave Australian Rock & Pop 1964-1969: National Screen & Sound Archive discography
7. Big Sound label at Milesago

See also: Maple Lace - Gimme Dat Ding (1970), co-produced by John Francis on Caesar's International.

Paul McHenry, in his booklet Cover Me, also lists versions of Play Mumma, Sing Me A Song from the 70s by Jeff Hilder (1976) and (The?) Family.

Later versions:

THE RUMOUR
Play Mama Play
(John J. Francis)
New Zealand 1973
Later version
#20 Sydney #11 Brisbane

Renamed version of Play Mumma, Sing Me A Song. Co-charted with John J. Francis.

New Zealand band from Huntly, formed in 1966 as The Surfires. Guitarist, pianist and songwriter Shade Smith also recorded as a solo artist and wrote Sunshine Through A Prism, a NZ #15 for Suzanne in 1972. See Bruce Sergent’s history of The Rumour at his NZ music site.

Not to be confused with Graham Parker’s band The Rumour (UK).
DIGBY RICHARDS
Play Momma Play
(John J. Francis)
Australia 1978
Later version

Single on Polydor, B-side of Don’t Jump Off The Boat.

Digby Richards (1941-1983), earlier known as Dig Richards, was a prolific and versatile Australian rock and pop star who was in the charts from 1959 and into the 70s when he favoured a country style. See Digby Richards page at Howlspace (archived).

Corrections or comments? Contact the writer.