November 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Dutchman

It’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper but, here goes. I’m not going to bore you by running through every gig and place I’ve done and been to. I’ll stick with the more memorable ones. Geoff “The Chef” Achison, Lloyd Spiegel and I did a show at the Baraki Bar in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, which was billed as “Three Generations of Blues”. This was a huge success and I was proud to play with these two young geniuses. I declare those two are GUITARISTS!!! Geoff’s gone to the U.S. and we miss him.

Did a great gig at the Oak Tree Tavern in Forest Road, The Basin. By the way, I’ll be playing there with my “Blusicians’ (Band) on New Year’s Eve. Essential to Book table now if you want to party. $39.00 two course meal (Quality meals) or $10.00 standing. Bookings – Jane on (03) 9761 0944 or 0409 690 955. She needs to know numbers ASAP as this is a small cosy venue.

The 5th Annual Newcastle Blues Festival was a bit of a disappointment because of the heavy rain but I still had a good time, which is what matters, right? Dean Dee began an Awards Theme and has since presented two awards to me. Thank you to judges and good luck with weather for 2008 as much work goes into preparation for such festivals and with a rainy record so far the best is yet to come. ‘Warners At The Bay’ in Belmont, a Newcastle suburb, was the best.

“Sturt Street Blues” closed down unfortunately but the “Eastern Station Hotel” took over the cause. A very cosy pub. It’s the home of the Ballarat Blues Club. My Blusicians and I had a good time there on two occasions. Forget your swanky wine and jazz fests, the Beer and Blues Festival at Mildura is the real thing. Many variations of blues and of course beer!!! My old friend Barry Hills, from the Blues Club days played bass with us as Peter Beulke was otherwise engaged. Barry hadn’t played for a while, though he didn’t sound like it, and wound up with a blister on his little finger at the end of the weekend. Poor diddems.

‘Sunday Blues at The Bay’ in Mordialloc has proved to be a very good venue. I’ve soloed there a couple of times and am booked to do more. Also, had a ball with Lloyd Spiegel as a guest at the Rainbow Hotel. I turned 66 since then but I can’t remember much about it. Just another birthday, yes? Lynne reminds me we shared the night with a few friends and ‘Crosscut’ at the Barbukka Bar and now I have to recall the laser lights! Very different for this bluesman!

Canadian Cath called me up to Mackay to play at The Austral Hotel, The Kooyong Hotel (Katz Jam) and the “River to Reef Festival”. The air schedules were in absolute chaos causing two flight delays between Melbourne and Mackay and therefore I missed the Austral gig. A shame, cos’ it’s normally a very good gig. The other two went without any glitches and Cath and her husband Joe treated me like a king. Chaucers Cellars in Burke Road, Glen Iris is also quite memorable, especially my second gig there. I’d just flown back from N.S.W. and went straight there from the airport, with my guitar and suitcase, which contained my guitar stand, microphone and leads but, of course, no mike stand. Oops! Chaucers only had a short stand but no mike clip. No gaff tape, so Lynne grabbed some sticky tape from the take away next door that could hold my mike to the stand. Don’t look good but …..hey! But, guess who was there? Simon Tregear, who used to come to my jams at the Windsor Castle was there and the time before. I had run into him at different places over the years. But the guitarist, who was replaced by Geoff Achison in the Blues Club days, Martin Cooper, was a surprise. I hadn’t seen him in years. It was a real pleasure. Blast from the past!

Pub in the scrub! Dergholm Pub. It’s in Victoria near the S.A. border. This little trip was (dis) organized by my old friend David Coggin who was a drinking buddy at the Windsor Castle and a one time celebrity chef. He’s getting on a bit and, therefore, can be forgiven for forgetting to organize a PA system. So I arrive at the Pub in the Scrub that has no PA. Luckily the room only holds about 25 and every seat was taken. I played acoustically and all had a ball. Next I played at the Mt Gambier R.S.L. I could’ve done without it. What with kids screaming, mums and dads shouting at the kids and everybody just ignoring me. I was underwelmed, too say the least. I was to play a couple of hours at Dave’s new restaurant, Redfingers Café Bar, Coonawarra for the Coonawarra Cabernet Festival Event, while wine tasting was going on. I started around 2.00pm and managed to put my axe away about 11.30pm. Had a great time, tho.

Good friend and music lover Kim Neate organized a little trip to N.S.W for me beginning at the Carlingford Bowling Club. Apparently it was a new idea but it was most successful. The Foreday Riders/King Bros came as guests with two of their drummers which was a great warm up for the Patonga Festival. Then Kim drove me to Lake George where the Lerida Estate Winery is situated. Lovely place, lovely people. The P.A. supplier, who I found out later, overcharged the owners and forgot to supply a mic stand! Improvise again. An easel used for holding the wine list and some gaffer tape to hold my mic turned out just the ticket. Looked interesting too. We then drove to Goulburn to play at Tattersalls Hotel that evening. Not many there but everyone enjoyed the show. Next day we drove to Canberra where we were to stay overnight at Geoff Cook and Gaye Reid’s house before catching an early morning flight back to Melbourne. Phil Manning was there, too. Went to the Southern Cross Yacht Club to see Tony Jaggers. Phil and I wound up having a sit-in. Had a ball. That evening off to the Polish Club to hear Phil play. He was at his best. Then back to Geoff and Gaye’s place and party. Didn’t wake up to catch my plane. Got one the next day. Two days holiday, I didn’t mind.

The Foreday Riders celebrated their (40) forty year anniversary at “Blues Across The Bay” in Patonga, N.S.W. This was organized by Jill Tweedie, the original vocalist with that band. Flew to Sydney and took the train to Woy Woy (the last residence of Spike Milligan’s mum). Patonga is paradise! Had a great time catching up with the King Bros and ex-foreday riders Ros Clark and Rick Lock. Rick was on my first Eureka recorded album ‘Break’. I was to play at the new pub but it was still being built. The Patonga General Store sells booze and everybody drinks on its verandah. Played there! What a hoot! It wasn’t long before I was back in NSW again. This time with Hatfitz and James T (Uncanny X-Men). James T would open the show and part of his set he was joined by Fitz. Then Fitz would do his thing and James would join him. The finale was yours truly with both Fitz and James joining me for the last (3) three songs. It was great! Gary ‘Sinkerz’ Sinclair looked after us real good. Well, that’s about it.

Keep the Faith,


P.S. It is really appreciated when Lynne shows or tells of kind messages coming through websites or direct emails and I am sorry for not replying but I know my ego pumps up with so many good wishes and news of family, friends and followers of my journey.