Singer/songwriter Brian Cadd originally assembled The Bootleg Family Band as the house band for the Australian independent label Bootleg, which he had helped establish in 1972.
The band members were all seasoned veterans of the Melbourne scene, and drummer Geoff Cox was one of Melbourne’s most in-demand studio players, with a huge string of sessions to his credit.
Besides backing Cadd and other Bootleg artists The Bootleg Family Band recorded four singles and scored two hits under their own name.
Their 1973 debut was a cover of Loggins and Messina’s Your Mama Don’t Dance. It became a Top 5 hit in Australia.
The second single Wake Up Australia (1973) failed to chart, but the third single, a cover of Betty Everett‘s Shoop Shoop Song (1974) delivered another Top 10 hit.
The band toured the USA with Brian Cadd in 1974, performing at Expo ’74 in Spokane, Washington and at the famous Roxy Club in Los Angeles. While in the USA they became the first Australians to perform on the American rock shows Midnight Special and Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.
The four single A-sides were combined for the four-track Bootleg Family Band EP alongside their fourth and last single, Green Door (1975), which scraped into the Top 100.
It became increasingly difficult to keep such a large band on the road and in May 1975 the line-up was cut back to a four-piece comprising Naylor and Cox with new members Ian Mason replacing Fitzgerald (who moved to America) and Clive Harrison replacing Fenwick.
Renamed simply The Bootleg Band, this lineup issued a final single, How Do I Try?, in October 1975. It just scraped into the lower half of the Top 100.
When Brian Cadd relocated to the States at the end of 1975, Mason left the group (he subsequently joined Ariel) and the remaining members renamed themselves Avalanche.