June 2006


Musician mates from “Blues Had A Baby” (1980) meet again. So Glad!

Dutch Tilders, Kevin Borich & Peanuts after the gig at Rubys Tavern April 2006 & a must do again double show


Hello all,
It’s been some time since I last put pen to paper. Remiss of me. Mea Culpa, Mea culpa, me a Mexican cowboy.

I’d not seen Max Merritt for quite some years, so I was delighted to catch up with him on the 4th of February at St Andrews Pub. To say he hadn’t lost it would be wrong, ‘cos he found some more. It was great to hear him sing some new and old songs with, I thought, even more power than ever. Of course he had the packed house singing “Slipping Away”. It was magic. With Glen Suckling on bass, Jimmy Sloggett on sax, John Dallimore on guitar the ensemble cooked.

February saw me at the Williamstown RSL (Way Out West Blues Club). Always very pleasant. ( Announced at the gig was the news from Goulburn that Dutch just won two awards so the patrons shared his great news) Then the McNairs pub in Alexandra where I caught up with some old friends, including Ken “Moosh” Mc Colm and his lovely wife Jill. Then Kabah in Mornington. Fishys never fails to amaze me as it’s always packed with people from all ages, like eighteen to eighty and by their response, loving it. Then Way Out West Blues Club again. Great!

The Band ‘Blusicians’ and I went to Chris Franklins Photo Studio for a photo shoot on the 1st of March. Chris wants to document my up coming tour of the USA plus next year. I’m looking forward to that.


On the 5th of March we went to the “Tatura Annual Food & Wine Festival”. A very pleasant gig we did last year too. Bob Gammage, a friend of ours from Eumundi in Queensland, was also on tour and was staying at Peanuts place for a few days. You see, Bob is an extraordinary artist who paints events like festivals, concerts and any scenes where people gather. I call his paintings “Still Animations” because the people on canvas actually appear to be moving. Bob drove Peanuts and I to Tatura and of course painted the festival.

Limelight in Geelong and the Brewery Tap in Ballarat were next. My old friend Greg Dodd drove me to Mornington on the Sunday for the Fishys gig. On the way we stopped off at Daveys in Frankston to catch the afternoon band. To my surprise Jo Galea Band was playing. I was wrapt. Put me in such a good mood I didn’t even get mad when we got to Fishys that night to find I’d been double booked. Lloyd Spiegel was playing and I was not expected. That’s what can happen when more than one person does the booking and then don’t tell each other. I accepted Peter Overton’s apology and Greg and I sat down to a delicious meal compliments of the house. Peter is the owner of Fishys and a very good man. Greg then drove me to my sister’s house in Frankston. He went home and I stayed overnight.

Next I played at St Andrews with the Blusicians. Stayed up all night, when I got home to be sure to catch an early flight to Newcastle, NSW to play solo at the Premier Hotel in Broadmeadow. Had a great time and stayed a couple of days with my old sparring partner Alan Kemp and his beaut wife Barbara. I say ‘old sparring partner’ because Alan and I used to go to the same karate dojo. I’ve long ago given up such energetic activity but Alan, being a fair bit younger than me, is still practicing the marshall arts.

The Lomond Hotel was next with my Blusicians. There’s always a good vibe at the Lomond and the bar staff looks after the musos. Very pleasant. Tony always gives us good sound too.

The senseless murder of Darren Jones was for me the most tragic event in March and I could not help feeling for his young family. So, when I was invited to appear on the Benefit program at Healesville on the 26th I just had to go. I rang Billy Kavanagh and he came, too. We played together, Bill playing his incomparable slide guitar. All the other musos were fantastic. It was a bitter-sweet day.

April Fools Day found me in Cairns and I almost was the April Fool. You see, you can’t always rely on the mail system. It seems the posters Peanuts had sent never got to Johnos. The gig was booked on short notice and confirmation was sent by email. That too, seems to have had problems. Telephone conversations also got mixed up. So Johnos didn’t expect me. My brother Bart picked me up from the airport and remarked he hadn’t seen any ads re my gig at Johnos. That worried me. When I went to Johno’s Blues Bar I saw no posters and my name wasn’t even on the board. Well, I thought, lets Bart and I have a drink (Bart drinks water. I don’t) and worry about it later. When I got to Johno’s at about 8.00pm when it opened, the staff looked surprised.

They said they didn’t think I was coming. When I was spotted by Rick Montgomery he said, surprise, surprise. We talked about all the possibilities of how the mix up came about and then told me what time I was to do my stuff. Phew! The gig turned out to be great and spending time with my youngest brother was a bonus. Bart had just beaten throat cancer. We sat up till the early hour of the morning talking and drinking (water for him, not for me) and he told me he couldn’t produce any saliva, so all he could get down was bananas and custard. He couldn’t curse Larry (cyclone) enough for the rise in price of bananas.

Peanuts decided to do a door–deal show at the Corner Hotel in Richmond. I was dubious, you see, I can’t remember doing a profitable door-deal in forty five years. Enough said?


The next day, 7th of April, I flew to Adelaide to play solo at the Semaphore Workers Club. The members of this club are commos but the club building is posh. Funny that. I played there many years ago (8-10) and was always treated with generosity and respect. No different this time. House was packed, too. A bonus. Next night it was the Builders Labourers Club. Can you see a pattern here? Unlike the Semaphore Workers Club, which looked like a capitalist mansion, the BLF Club was a converted factory and resembled a bikers club inside. Bar, pool table and plenty of space. Where at the Semaphore hung pictures of Lennen and Marx, the BLF had pics of Norm Gallagher and BLF slogans. One of the members said to me that tho the place looked like a bikers club, it wasn’t, but that it might as well be because a good percentage of the members rode bikes. I made the joke that it couldn’t be a bikers club because there were no naked barmaids. He retorted ”Then you shoulda been here last night”. I did notice that most of the members had beards and tattoos and some wore Harley Davidson T Shirts. I had a ball. The next day was an arvo gig at the Joiners Arms. Now you say, I see the pattern, but no, it’s not a union pub. The Joiners is a small pub and very intimate. You can almost touch the audience physically. It was a beautiful afternoon to cap off my little SA Tour. My thanks to Brian Coff for driving and a huge thank you to Chris Finnen for letting me stay at his house. It’s always great to catch up with ‘Blind Willie Fishface’ (Chris) and I believe he’s a true genius when it comes to music. Oh, by the way, Sue Freeman nee Jarvis ex Tilders had promised to come and see me play at the Joiners but rang just before I started to say that she’d decided to open a bottle of wine and put on my latest CD. Old bluesman and good wine is not a bad combo I guess.

I’ve always maintained that a pub is as pleasant as the publican and his or her staff. This is especially true of the Mineral Springs Hotel at Spargo Creek. Bob, Mike and Sue make their pub most memorable because of their wonderful generous, helpful and friendly nature. I had the pleasure to play there for the second time on April 15th. If you’re ever in that area, do pop in and mention my name. You’ll not regret it or forget it!

After playing at Habra (New Name/Same Owners “Fishys”) on April 16th I had a lazy week. Back to work (Ha) and off to the ACT. I was invited to be part of the Canberra Blues Society Jam session and play at their new found home base, namely the Statesman Hotel, in Curtin. The CBS used to use the Spanish Club as home base. I stayed at Ruth Janzsen’s place and she drove me around. Canberra has some really fine musicians and I had a ball playing with them.

The Theatre Royal is one of the oldest theatres in Australia, Ghost and all. It’s in Castlemaine and I had the pleasure to play there on the 28th April with my Blusicians. Greg Dodd replaced Ken Hatton. Greg last played with me about eight years ago in the last version of ‘The Blues Club’. Sounded like he’d never been away. Also on the bill was Kevin Borich. John Annas and Glen Suckling made up the ‘Express’. Great! Three greats makes magnificent! As it was a good feel to get together with K.B. it was even better to jam with him. Two drummers and every time I looked to my left (bass side) there was a different base player. Glen, then Peter B, then Glen, then Peter again. Confusing but fun. The next night I played solo and opened for K.B. at Rubys in Belgrave. That was another hoot.

Well, as you can see, I’ve been pretty busy and not getting in too much trouble. Hope you all can do the same.
Keep the Faith,