REG LINDSAY DVD 'COUNTRY ALL THE WAY
The Reg Lindsay DVD 'Country All The Way' was released in January 2019 - and is available at the following website www.reglindsay.com.au. It is not available in stores.
The DVD follows various parts of Reg's career - from his first TV show 'Country & Western Hour' to his equally popular 'Country Homestead'. Many of the well known artists of today, have Reg to thank, for allowing them to be seen and heard on his shows, including Keith Urban who made it huge in America.
The DVD will be officially launched during the 2019 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
The first talent quest was held in March 2017, with the overall winner being Finnian Johnson, who went on claiming other awards and which attracted many gigs. The second talent quest in March 2018 saw Newcastle lad Louis Burt take out the main prize - which was a recording deal of 2 tracks which he is in the process of recording. This year (2019) will be a little different, however there's a call out for the talented to have a go. It will be held at East Cessnock Bowling Club on Saturday March 9th - 10am. For entry forms, please contact the club.
The 2019 Remembering Reg Lindsay showcase, is in its 4th year running - and will be held at The Family Hotel Tamworth. This year's concert, will show some regulars, with a few new faces - they include:- Donnie Soper, Trinity Woodhouse, The Banjo Girl and the overall winner of the Reg Lindsay Memorial Talent Quest 2018 - Louis Burt.
BERT NEWTON AM, MBE (An Australian TV & Radio icon)
Back in October 2018, I had the honour of catching up with the one and only Bert Newton. The meeting was in regards to a new DVD on the career of the late Country Music Superstar Reg Lindsay. Bert told me his memories of Reg Lindsay and praised Reg's widowed-wife for keeping his legacy alive.
Bert Newton was born in 1938. The Logie Hall of Fame inductee started his career in TV in 1956 after a stint in radio. He has appeared in many stage shows including: The Wizard of Oz, Beauty & The Beast and the Sound of Music. In 1979, Bert was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his service in the Performing Arts. In 2006, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his continuous service in entertainment industry.
Bert and his wife Patti (also an entertainer) have two children:- Matthew and Lauren. Hopefully sometime in 2019, will see me catch up with Bert again for a video interview about his career in the Entertainment Industry. It certainly was an honour to meet him, and many thanks to his wife Patti for making it possible. Also hoping one day, to catch up with their son Matthew Newton who has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry in Australia and America, as an actor, writer and director.
Thanks for the memories Bert . . . and hope to catch up again soon.
Born on July 7th 1929 - A champion swimmer to Country Music fame.
Reg made his start on the Tim McNamara Talent Quest (Sydney), which skyrocketed him into Country Music. He had radio shows, TV shows, Traveling Shows - and also opened the door to the US market. On his first visit to the US in 1968 - the Americans called him 'King of Australian Country Music'. . . He was the first Australian to step foot on the famous Grand Ole Opry and had been invited back on a number occasions including appearing on the 65th Anniversary concert of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992.
Reg's biggest hit was the song 'Armstrong', and the hits kept coming. In 1984, he was elevated to the Roll of Renown (Tamworth). In 1988 he married his 2nd wife Roslyn - and was happier than he had been in years. The following year he was honoured to receive an OAM for his service to Country Music/Entertainment Industry. Reg Lindsay passed on August 5th 2008.
To honour the Great Reg Lindsay . . . during the Tamworth Festival Roslyn started the 'Remembering Reg Concert, which was launched in 2015. Artists who have appeared on the show include: Chad Morgan, Allan Caswell, Justin Standley, Eddie Fisher, Bruce McCumstie, Ross McGregor, Danita Dey, Wanita, Mark Shay and Mason Hope. In 2018, some of these artists will return along with Col Finely and James Blundell.
At East Cessnock Bowling Club (ECBC) - there is a life-size statue of Reg, unveiled in March 2015. In March 2017 Roslyn launch the first Reg Lindsay Memorial Talent Quest at ECBC - overall winner of that year was teenager contestant Finnian Johnson.
CALLING FOR AMATEUR COUNTRY SINGERS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE NEXT QUEST. - GRAND-PRIZE A RECORDING PACKAGE. The 2018 Talent Quest will be held on March 10th & 11th 2018 at East Cessnock Bowling Club NSW. - Entry forms can be obtained by contacting ECBC or Roslyn Lindsay at firstname.lastname@example.org
Both of these event are proudly sponsored by ECBC.
Mason, a fine young entertainer from Queensland's Sunshine Coast, is a talent to be reckoned with.
Besides being a versatile entertainer, and multi-instrumentalist, it has been stated that he's an National Ambassador for Headspace joining the committee at age 11.
In 2015 he released a self titled 'demo' - tracks: You Are My Home, Cool, Liar's Game, Bad Things. This was followed up by his second EP 'Get Me to Memphis'. If his previous EPs/songs are any indication - his album which he is currently working on will certainly be a must for Country/Blues fans.
In 2016 he made his mark on the music industry with talent quests, TV shows, Festivals and appearing with some of the industry's great artists. At the Coca Cola 'Young Rising Star Quest' in Tamworth (2016) Mason made the Top 4. He went on to win the Gympie Music Talent Search and 'Voice of Urban' at the Urban CM Festival, Caboolture.
In January 2017, he was invited to join the cast on the 'Remembering Reg Lindsay Showcase in Tamworth and it will be great to see him back on the show in 2018. It was here I got to meet the young entertainer and his wonderful grandmother. During the festival Mason was thrilled to be in the cavalcade as part of 'Team Reg'. Roslyn Lindsay is doing a great Job with putting together the showcase - now in its fourth year.
In May 2017, Mason was honoured to represent Australia at the Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year Awards (Norfolk Island) - and also had taken out the Trans Tasman Entertainer of the Year. This all happened before he turned 18 late 2017.
The future is looking brighter for the young entertainer, so bring on 2018. Keep kicking those goals mate.
The whole world over, there seems to be some great entertainers – comedians, singers, actors, etc. In regards to music, there’s Justin Bieber, One Direction, Katy Perry, Pink, Adam Lambert, Cody Prevost . . . not to mention some of our Aussie grown entertainers:- Delta Goodrem, Keith Urban, Tina Arena, Justin Standley and so the list goes on.
I have written a number articles on Chicago’s young blood of Rap Music, Novi Novak who is still ‘pick of the crop’. Novak is still performing and releasing songs for his followers.
It would be approximately 16 miles north of Chicago there lays the village ‘Winnetka’ which is where singer / songwriter Todd Carey first saw the light of day.
Todd began his career in a school band ‘Heart of Gold Band’ and while studying in University he formed another band ‘Telepathy’.
The group produced three live albums and an EP via a local Indie label. After graduating, they parted company, and Todd went on with
a solo career. In 2003, Todd released his first solo album ‘Elevate’ through Kufala Records. In my opinion his album ‘Watching, Waiting’
which was released in 2007 would be his best offering, in my opinion.
However, it was early 2014, he released the single ‘NINTENDO’. This song would have to be a favourite – to date on youtube, the total views for the video clip had generated more than eight-hundred-thousand views. On the website 'Spotify' more than one million plays of the song. This song needs to be request on Australian radio, it has been played several times already as a request. So if you like song, contact your local station and request the song. This was followed with another popular song OMG. Todd is currently touring, mainly in the US, and working on new songs.
His new single - 'Ready' will be available from May 31st 2016.
BEHIND THE SONGS
There are many great songs written during the 1800's, that are still being performed today. However, the story behind the songs are rarely known. One song is 'JOHN BROWN'S BODY' which was written in 1861 - about John Brown who was an American abolitionist who tried to overthrow the institution of slavery in the US. Brown was hanged on December 2, 1859 and was buried at Lake Placid, New York.
John Brown's body lies a moulding in the grave
Another well known song - which still gets much airplay today, is 'JEANIE WITH THE LIGHT BROWN HAIR' which was written in 1854 by Stephen C. Foster. Four years earlier, Foster had married Jane D. McDowell, whose nickname was 'Jeannie'. Their union was short and in bid to win her back, he composed the song. It became extremely popular with other big names recording it including: Al Jolson, Glenn Miller and Charlie Rich.
I dream of Jeanie with the light brown hair
The third song for this article is 'WHEN YOU AND I WERE YOUNG, MAGGIE' . . was first published in 1865. The song tells of the tragic love story of Maggie Clarke and George W. Johnson. They married in 1864, though due to bad health Maggie died within several months. Apparently the old school house where the lovers first met, still stands and a plaque had been erected outside the building bearing the name of the song. The song was first performed in public in 1870 and first recorded in 1905.
I wandered today to the hill, Maggie,
THE REG LINDSAY MEMORIAL TALENT QUEST - March 2017
The Country Music Talent Quest will be held on the first weekend of March 2017 - at East Cessnock Bowling Club. The grand prize is two songs fully recorded and 500 CDs pressed through a selected recording studio. All are welcome - for further information contact East Cessnock Bowling Club, or Roslyn Lindsay on 0412-967-863.
Reg. Lindsay had given many people within the Australian Country Music scene - their start, or a boost in their careers. These include Little Patty, Chad Morgan, Slim Dusty, Johnny Farnham and many others. Reg paved the way in Country Music with his own Radio and TV shows. In 1968, he made his first trip to the US, and succeeded. They loved his songs, as he broke away from traditional ballads where others didn't want to. The Americans crowned Reg 'King of Australian Country Music' that same year, although he was not recognised as the King of Country Music of Australia in his own country.
He became the first Australian to appear on the Grand Ole Opry and has his own plaque on Nashville's Walkway of Stars. He has 3 Golden Guitar Awards, and was elevated to the Roll of Renown in 1984.
On March 8th 2015 a statue of Reg. was unveiled at East Cessnock Bowling Club - to honour the Country Music Legend. Australia's pioneer of Country Music died on August 5th 2008 - age 79.
If you would like more information regarding the Country Music Talent Quest / entry forms: contact - East Cessnock Bowling Club 024-9901-444 or Roslyn Lindsay on 0412-967-863.
On August 30th 2016 – will mark the 100th birth centenary of a legend who became the founding ‘Father’ of Australian Country Music.
Robert ‘Tex Morton’ Lane was born in Nelson, New Zealand in 1916. After recorded several tracks in New Zealand, he migrated to Australia in 1932 with not a penny to his name. In Australia he started busking and singing in pubs around Sydney.
In 1949 headed for the US, where in Los Angeles Morton obtained plenty of work as a singer, film actor and on radio. In 1951 he crossed the border to Canada with a one man show which included demonstrations of hypnotism and telepathy with members of the audiences. He became ‘The Great Morton’ – the World’s Greatest Hypnotist and sharp-shooter.
He did thousands of shows in the US, Canada, Philippines, Hong Kong, the UK and New Zealand. Tex returned to Australia in 1965. He toured Australia with a small rodeo troupe but times have changed – the draw of the travelling show was almost dead and with the advent of TV, people stayed home Morton had an excellent memory:- In one of his many acts he’s asked someone in the audience to give him 100 words. He would recount them back in order, deliberately forgetting one word halfway through, and suddenly to remember the word before he finished the act.
Tex about in four Aussie films: Stir (1980), We of The Never Never (1982), Waterloo Station (1983) and Goodbye Paradise (1983). He also appeared in TV series: Glenview Highway, Matlock Police, Homicide and The Graham Kennedy Show. He was the first inductee into the Country Music Roll of Renown in 1977.
Tex Morton died in Sydney on July 23rd 1983.
It certainly was a touching tribute to one of the few gentlemen of Australian Country Music – the late Jimmy Little. January 2016, saw the unveiling of a bronze bust in Tamworth – taking up position with other greats including Shirley Thoms, Buddy Williams, Gordon Parsons, Barry Thornton and Tex Morton.
I caught up with Jimmy on a few occasions, one time was on train from Sydney to Tamworth – when he was invited to appear on the ‘Hats Off’ showcase. Unfortunately I never got around to interview the man about his career in the music industry.
Jimmy was born in 1937 on mission settlement on the Murray River. At the age of twelve he learnt to play the guitar and by the age of 14, he was entertaining people at small gatherings. Jimmy headed for Sydney in 1953 and in 1956 (age 19), he recorded four sides for Regal Zonophone.
The first disc ‘Mysteries of Life’ backed with ‘The Heartbreak Waltz’ sold more than 2,000 copies within thirteen weeks. It wasn’t until 1964 he recorded his known recording of ‘Royal Telephone’ it was one of few religious songs that topped the charts. In a career spanning six decades, Jimmy released not quite forty albums.
In January 2004, he was presented was made Office of the Order of Australia ‘"For service to the entertainment industry as a singer, recording artist and songwriter and to the community through reconciliation and as an ambassador for Indigenous culture". In 2006, Jimmy started the ‘Jimmy Little Foundation’ to aid the help of Indigenous Australians who are succumbing to kidney disease. Attached is a link for more information regarding Jimmy Little and the foundation.
On April 2nd 2012, Jimmy died at the age of 75. www.jlf.org.au
GLOUCESTER COUNTRY MUSIC CLUB
At the annual Gloucester Country Music Club Talent Quest - it was sure swinging with some great talent young and old. It kicked off with the juniors who are all encouraged, and it's a great sign when you see kids participate at these contest, which gives it some life. It was great that some of the regulars of the Maitland Country Music Club, had taken out a few awards.
Bradley (age 7) took out 1st place in his section, and yours truly took out 2nd place in the Comedy, with an American number 'It Maybe Silly, But Ain't It Fun'.
It was great to meet some new people, and have a few laughs, cannot wait 'till next year.
BELLBIRD COUNTRY MUSIC QUEST - August 2015
At the annual Talent Quest - it was full of great entertainment. Young Bradley took out 1st place in the under 10's section.
He had words of encouragement from various people in the music industry, including radio personalities. During next years Tamworth Country Music Festival he will be included in a showcase with established entertainers including: Allan Caswell, Adam Harvey, Justin Standley and a few others. Also in Tamworth Bradley will be busking, and appearing at various other venues where possible.
It will be the first time he'll be appearing on the same poster of a professional show. Yours truly, wearing a bright yellow jacket, also entered in the Talent Quest in the Comedy section and took out 3rd place, after last year taking out 1st place. A local talent J. Carruthers took out 1st, and another local talent B. Forbes took out 2nd place - with 'I Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore .
NOVI NOVAK – June 2015
The official Novi Novak album ‘One Size Fits All’ was released for downloads in November 2014, although hard copies of the album wasn’t available until May 2015. Titles: Bad Man, Movin’ On From You, I’m On My Way, I Keep On, Don’t Knock My Hustle, One Size Fits All, God Fearing, Before It’s Light, Bottle It Up and By Now.
One my favourites on this album was ‘Movin’ On From You’, although all tracks are excellent. The third track, ‘I’m On My Way’ is dedicated to those who never took him seriously enough to think he would make it in the industry, and he wants everyone to know that, ‘he’s on his way’. His songs are focussed mostly on life’s experiences, lows and highs.
The music clip for ‘God Fearing’ certainly is different, with Novi hanging from a tree (as if being lynched) and having a tarantula crawling on him. His fan base continues to grow rapidly, world-wide – and there are many in the US proudly walking around with Caps and t-shirts etc. with ‘VS’ on them, showing their support of the artist/entertainer.
Cannot wait for the next release – wishing him all the best. Oh, and a shout out to his uncle Rick, who I’ve come to know over the past four years.
REG. LINDSAY OAM
Reg. Lindsay was one of the pioneers of Australian Country Music who began his career in 1951 after winning a talent quest in Sydney.
His career he seen him release 250 singles and 70 albums world-wide. In Australia Reg. had his own radio and TV shows, and invited established and upcoming artists onto the shows, and many have thanked him for their start.
Reg. paved the way to Nashville and opened the door for other Australian artists, and became the first Australian to appear on the Grand Ole Opry to a standing ovation and encore. Reg. was also granted Honorary Citizenship of Tennessee and Texas, USA.
On March 8th 2015 at statue if Reg. was unveiled at East Cessnock Bowling Club, by Chad Morgan and Adam Harvey, with Roslyn (Reg.’s widow) looking on. It was a great gathering with guests like: Geoff and Tabbie Mack, Lucky Starr, Allan Caswell, Auriel Andrews, Carter Edwards and the Summerland Kings.
An aspiring young Country singer 'Bradley Pullen' was invited up on stand by Adam Harvey
to perform a song with him - 'She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain' - which can be viewed on you-tube.
Roslyn had done an excellent job, also Jill Adam – in organizing this historic event. It is great to be part of ‘Team Reg.’, helping Roslyn whenever I am able to. I first met Reg. and Roslyn at show on the south coast in 1994, and then again in Cessnock in 1996. I interviewed Roslyn in Tamworth in 2013, and also did an interview with Jill Adam, about Reg. and her book/s that are due to be released.
In Tamworth the legacy has been kept alive with the Reg Lindsay float in the cavalcade – next year (2016) it’s going to be even better. Roslyn is organizing a Reg. Lindsay tribute show, with some amazing talent showing their support.
It will be a ‘must’ see show of the 2016 Tamworth Country Music Festival.
FESTIVAL TIME - January 2015
January 2015, at the Country Music Festival – I caught up with Country/Rock singer ‘CODIE PREVOST’ who hails from Saskatchewan, Canada. His songs include ‘Rolling Back to You, Someday and All Kind of Crazy, which I must say are favourites.
It was on the last day of the Festival, and with my 10 days planned since December, I never knew he was in town, until it was too late to see a stage performance. Luckily enough, he did perform a few songs at the shopping centre where I was situated. Looking forward to catching up with Codie again, maybe a drink (maybe not) – and hopefully do an interview with him about his career to date.
His first visit to Australia, will be one he’ll remember. Apart from claiming the kindness that was shown towards him, etc. his best friend during the festival was in-fact an air-cooler.
Codie’s debut album ‘Road Ahead’ was recorded in Nashville and released in 2005, his second album ‘Get Loud’ released in 2010. Codie’s latest offering was released in 2014 ‘All Kinds of Crazy’, all released on his own label ‘Good Spirit Records’.
While at the festival, I also caught up ‘JUSTIN STANDLEY’ (former X-Factor contestant) who I interviewed, regarding his career in music. He certainly is a character. Congratulations to Justin on his take of the old Stan Coster song ‘Return of the Stockman’ which radio station across Australia are playing continuously.
I thoroughly enjoyed his Comical album as well, which he sells on the shows, looking forward to the next comedy release.
Earlier this year Justin released his ‘Red Light’ EP, and is currently working on his next album ‘Hold Onto Me’. Justin’s interview is on my interview page on this website. It was also great to catch up with so many friends at the Festival, and a few new ones.
Over the years I have caught up with many people in the music/entertainment industry and have interview a few of them. Many thanks to those who have given their valuable time, and those yet to come.
They include: Frankie Davidson (early Australian Rock artist/Comedian), Col Hardy (Country), Greg Anderson (Australia’s Electric Horseman), Cowboy Bob Purtell (Country), Jade Hurley (Country-Rock), Olive Bice (Country), Ann Conway (Country), Floreena Forbes (Country), Colin James (Country), Peter Sheahan (Country), Pixie Jenkins (Country), Dwayne Elix (Country/Blue Grass) and Bruce Forbes (Balladeer), Tommy Contor (Country), Wayne Horsburgh (Country) and Errol Grey (Comedy). Including an interview with a mate in the 'Acting' sector of entertainment - Tony Rahme.
Their stories are told in their own words, and available freely to view on youtube. I will continue interviewing selected entertainers when time allows. Other’s whom I’ve interviewed that are not on video/audio, are: Ryan Stout (US Comedian), Jimbo (Comedian) and The Searchers (England’s Pop Group).
CHICAGO'S FAVOURITE SON
Come March 2015 - the one and only, Novi Novak will celebrate 5 years of great music. Has it really been that long? . . . It was March 2010 I first heard of the Chicago Rapper, and enjoyed his music ever since.
Although, like every artist in show biz, it hasn't always been smooth sailing. In my opinion, Novak should have skyrocketed to fame within the first 12 months with such lyrics that continue to flow from a brilliant mind. In the earlier part of his career I believe it was the case of bad management who couldn't take him beyond what he had already achieved.
Whatever the reason, Novi Novak stayed with it, writing and recording songs for his countless loyal fans who have stood-by him, and his fan-base keeps growing at a rapid speed.
In his own words to
his many fans the world over "I wouldn't be me without you"
On October 14th (2014), Novi dropped his Mixtape 'Hibernations Over II' which his fans are stating, that its his best work so far, and I must agree, buts is there still room for an old favourite his version of 'Black & Yellow'?.
Judging by snippets from his debut album fans are just going to love it even more. His debut album 'One Size Fits All' is due to be release late November 2014. While all is pipin' hot, there are pre-orders for the debut album left, right and center, and downloads of his Mixtape from the internet, which I guess has gone into overdrive by now. Dragon Sneeze would be is most popular song to date.
A hard copy of his Mixtape and his Debut Album will soon be available via his website along with other merchandise: http://www.novinovak.com
Drongo with Beau
WHERE YOU FROM? – (released 19th September 2014)
In August 2014 – I was on set for the filming of Bea Ryan’s music clip for his debut sing ‘WHERE YOU FROM?’ which featured Justice Crew. It certainly was a fun day and night. When I introduced myself to Beau (while on set), his first words were ‘Where You From?’ he was certainly surprised to learn that I was virtually from the same neighbourhood as him.
Once the music clip ‘WHERE YOU FROM?’ was aired on the ‘Footy Show’ on Thursday 18th September 2014, it certainly took off like a jet. The single was selling as if it was going out of fashion, with pre-orders prior to its official release.
The icing on the cake was when Beau appeared in several cities to promote his debut single, he certainly has a huge following of teenagers. I caught up with Beau in Newcastle and congratulated him on his new found success.
Beau Ryan (age 29) is a retired professional Rugby League football player, who played for the Cronulla Sharks from 2013. He announced his retirement in June 2014, due to neck injury. In 2009, he make regular comedic appearances on the Footy Show – the following year saw his own comedic segment ‘Beau Knows’ which at this time of his career he was playing for West Tigers.
Looking forward to his next single or may I dare say, album. All the best Beau
ANOTHER SCRATCH ALONG THE SHELF
Over the past several years I have been performing comedy songs and making many friends within the Music Industry. On August 10th 2014, I entered a Talent Quest in Bellbird NSW – and came 1st place in the Comedy section. This is the first time I entered a talent quest – as it never really interested me.
I initially entered the Quest as a duet to sing the comedy song ‘You’re A Real Good Friend’ . . . . however the bloke I was to do the duet with had phoned in that he was ill, so I went on and won it myself strumming my old banjo-uke.
On the same day my 6yr old nephew also took out 1st place in the Juniors. it certainly was proud day for him.
Every now and then – I’m on stage at a Country Club in the Hunter Valley performing comical songs as a walk up artist and I do enjoy it. No one hardly ever sing good clean comedy songs today. Although I didn’t always sing clean comedy songs either – as I did and still do enjoy the bawdy songs, that have been around for decades or some that I have written myself.
Bradley with his awards
This album is the first Col Hardy recorded for over 20 years.
It includes some of his many favourite songs, along with songs that have special meaning to him.
The title song ‘I Am Me’ was written by Eddie Lowe, is for Col's grandson Jayden, who is autistic.
The song is about understanding how important it is for people with special needs to be understood, to help them lead a normal life as possible
The song ‘We Are Australian’ is a song that brings all Australian’s together.
‘The Royal Telephone and Australia Downunder is Col's tribute to the late Jimmy Little.
There are 11 tracks on the magnificent album.
OLD TIME MUSIC
I have always been interested in old time music - as in sheet music / books. I've heard and learnt many early last century song from my grandmother. She would sing many of the old time classics 'When The Harvest Days Are Over Jessie Dear, Cruising Down The River, The Fatal Wedding Night, The Old Bark Hut, Just Plain Folks, Eighteen Pence, Old Black Joe, and many more.
However, I have in possession sheet music titled 'OUR BOYS WALTZ' dedicated to the Balmain Junior Football Club. It was composed by Thomas A. Ricketts and seem to have been published in 1920's. No one seems to know anything about the song, if it was ever recorded or not. Another piece of old music is 'HEROES OF GALLIPOLI' by E. H. Tyrrell, I was always interested in War songs they seem to have meaning to them, like many of the songs of days gone by.
There are many songs during the earlier days about a broken hearted mother at home, longing to see her son or daughter again, Rocking Alone In An Old Rocking Chair is a classic, same as 'You're Going To Leave The Old Home Jim' and another was The Little House Upon The Hill.
Then there are the half forgotten songs - where people can only recall the chorus:
The above as only the chorus, yet there are at least 3 verses, however the verses are forgotten. It is very much the same of song of our own era . . . . people will always remember the chorus, if it's a catchy tune.
He was born on January 20th 1902 in Dublin, Ireland.
He was educated in the Belvedere College and was young medical student. It was in 1918 he joined the Irish Volunteers, and was promising officer. On September 20th 1920, he was captured, handcuffed and thrown into prison for attempting to disarm a number of British soldiers with 12 companions.
During the raid, an English soldier was killed, and Kevin Barry was unjustly accused of the crime. It had been stated that he was brutally treated just because he would not tell the names and addresses for his companions. He was threatened with a bayonet, and failing to cower him, his left arm was twisted from the elbow joint. While in prison the torture continued, but he faced it bravely, with a smiling face and a cheerful disposition. Every effort was made by his friends to save his life; but it was of no use. Kevin Barry had to suffer the last penalty.
The day before his death, Kevin had many visitors, among them whom were:- his sister and brother and a Priest of Church Street. Everyone was surprised to see him so cheerful and he appeared so calm. He had told his sister and brother that he was prepared to die and he considered it a gtreat honour to die for his country. Next morning (November 1st 1920) crowds of people assembled outside the gaol gate. At 8am the prison bell began to toll and the crowd fell to their knees, as a priest began to recite the prayers for the dying.
The prison gate clanged as Canon Waters returned from administering the last Sacraments of the Church. His face told the sorrowful tale that the boy had been hanged, for the tears were streaming down his face. A notice was fixed on the prison door, that the sentence had been carried out.
The authorities refused to give his lifeless body to his family, instead burying him in the yard of the Mountjoy Prison, Dublin. However in October 2001, the remains of Kevin Barry and 9 other men were given a state funeral and moved from Mountjoy Prison to be re-interred at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin.
It was shortly after his death, the ballad of ‘Kevin Barry’ was penned by an author whose identity is unknown. The ballad had been recorded by many artists including: Lonnie Donegan and Tex Morton. . . . (*taken from various sources)
Rocky Ned - 'The Outlaw' (13th March 2014)
The famous rodeo horse they called ‘Rocky Ned’ was well known within Australia’s rodeo shows in the early part of the 20th Century.
In 1940, Tex Morton, Father of Australian Country Music, had written and recorded Rocky Ned (The Outlaw) which became very popular. Tex had also had his own Rodeo/Circus with outlaws such as: Mandrake, Aristocrat, The Snake and The Villain.
It had been recorded, that Rocky Ned was bred on the Horton, near Bingara NSW in 1906, after 1909 it was sold as an ‘outlaw’ to Lennon Bros. Circus for few shillings. The horse had toured most of Australia without being broken in, and within 2 years Rocky Ned had thrown over 2,000 riders. It was only a couple years later the great Queensland showman ‘Tom Handley’ came in possession of the famous outlaw for his own rodeo shows. It was on many occasion that a thousand pounds was on offer for anyone who could ride the outlaw, but no one ever claimed the money.
Certainly, word got around, that no one could stay on his back long enough to claim the prize money. Cowboys from the US had also tried their luck, although using their own large saddles, the longest ride being 11 seconds. Thorpe McConville, who had his own rodeos as early as 1911 offered big money for the outlaw. He had other famous outlaws in the show including Warrigul, Rise-Up and Swannee.
It was at the age of 35 (1941), the original Rocky Ned retired. On his final show in Naranderra he was cheered by all, still unbeaten, and unridden – ending his days as the greatest buckjumper the world has ever known on a property belonging to Thorpe McConville, along with Swannee.
First Man To Find Gold In Australia
It has been document that the first man to find gold in the new Colony of New South Wales – was a convict who was transported to Botany Bay. Apparently when he learnt of the great secret of this new land they called ‘New Holland’ (later called Australia in 1804) he told the Governor. This certainly was his biggest mistake, as he was believed to have been promptly hanged by Governor Philip for attempted escape and to keep the demoralising discovery unknown. Philip became governor of the New Colony in 1788 until 1792, his successor being John Hunter.
Not so long after, in 1814 whilst the road was being built across the Blue Mountains, the road-gang of thirty convicts was believed to have found large quantities of gold. This was reported to those in charged, who ordered them to keep it a secret on pain of being flogged. They were promised a free pardon after the road is built, if it remained a secret and it did. There had been many a gold rush during the mid to late 1800’s in all states of Australia – with many immigrants trying their luck to find the precious metal, some even meeting their fate.
One of greatest and famous finds came about at Hill End, NSW in the year 1872. It was discovered by Bernard Otto Holterman and company – weighing 630lbs, 4 feet 9 inches in height, 2 feet in width, to the value of twelve thousand pounds. The photo shows Holterman and others gathered around the nugget. Holterman died in April 1885.
There is still gold to be found throughout Australia.
AUSTRALIA’S FIRST MOTOR CAR
Australian inventions are slowing disappearing. It is surprising to know that the first Australian car was built before 1900, although it was only one of a kind.
It was just 10 years before Henry Ford’s first model, that a Mr David Shearer (pictured with family members in his car) who was well known in South Australia for his manufacture of farming implements claimed to be the inventor of the first Australian motor car.
In the early 1890’s he designed and built a power propel vehicle. It was with the permission from the Mayor (which had to be obtained before it could be driven through the streets) the car made its historic drive around the town of Adelaide in 1897.
The car, which was driven by a steam engine, with a horizontal boiler (designed by Mr Shearer himself) travelled a speed of 15 miles an hour. To the dismays of farmers and others Mr Shearer never pursued in manufacturing motor cars, however he did continue to manufacture harvesters, ploughs and other farming equipment.
At the 1900 Adelaide Manufactures Exhibition, as a novelty, this first Australian motor car was put on display.
It was also recorded in April 1900 another car had been built, this time was built by a Victorian man. The car was built high off the ground, the wheel that were big as buggies of the day, and shod with solid rubber tyres. The power was supplied by a steam generator which was heated by a kerosene fire with speed still only 15 miles an hour.
It’s believed that the first car to reach Australia was the De Dion in 1900.
It’s believed that the ukulele first arrived in Hawaii as early as 1878.
By the end of August 1915 – the United States were making ukulele manufactures in Hawaii rich, turning out almost 600 a month. Twelve months later it jumped to 1600 a month with demands form American music dealers which could not be met. The craze had already reached Australia by this time.
There were many famous people who played the instrument the two who stuck in mind were England’s comedian/actor George Formby and America’s Tiny Tim. Both were distinctive in their looks as they were in their playing. Another entertainer was from the vaudeville era, ‘Ukulele Ike’ real name Cliff Edwards who has strummed his ukulele through 127 motion pictures.
Basically there are four sizes – Soprano (which was the standard in Hawaii), Concert, Tenor and the Baritone. Within the last 20 years or so – the Ukulele has become extremely popular in choice of stringed instruments once again. Ukulele groups are popping up all over the world, and particularly here in Australia and outlets have truly stocked up on them.
I first bought a ukulele in 2007 as a prop, however it wasn’t until 2013 that I began to learn the chords etc. Late that same year I started playing a homemade banjo-uke and have performed on stage as a walk-up artist.
The internet is full of ukulele lessons for those who wish to learn the instrument or to progress to the next level. One such instructor is US based musician, Brett McQueen of ‘ukulele tricks’ who has been playing the ukulele since he was a young kid. To those who are interested in learning the ukulele, I do recommend checking out Brett McQueen’s videos/website.
Brett McQueen’s website: http://www.ukuleletricks.com
PARODIES OF POPULAR SONGS
Although at times, looked down upon, there are many parodies to popular and classis songs of the 19th and 20th Centuries. They include: Side By Side, Tennessee Waltz, Along The Road To Gundagai, A Pub With No Beer, It's A Long Way To Tipperary, My Grandfather's Clock, A Bicycle Built For Two, Bye Bye Black Bird, Darling Clementine, Battle Hymn Of The Republic, Blue-Tail Fly, Home On The Range . . . . and many many more. One that I learnt some 30 years ago, was the parody of After The Ball, which in part goes like . . . .
After the ball was over, Mary took out her glass eye,
The parody selected below was believe to have been written by a shearer, from Gundagai, NSW, Australia prior to 1903. The original song was titled 'Ring The Bell Watchman' (1865) composed by Henry C. Work, which of course was an American Civil War song. The famous Australian song 'Click Goes The Sheers' had also used the tune from 'Ring The Bell Watchman'. Funnily enough, I also write a parody a few years ago to the same time with the title 'The Sheep Dog's Revenge', which perhaps one day will be recorded.
RING THE BELL, DOCTOR
Inside the hut door a dirty doctor stands
Ring the bell Doctor, ring, ring, ring
Baring his long arms, first from the grease
All around the table, pleasant murmurs run
The meal being over and jokes run apace
COL HARDY - (Kamilaroi man)
Congratulations to Country Music singer - Col Hardy on being awarded the 'Living Legends Award' - at the Kempsey Country Music Festival, October 2013. Previous recipients of the award include: Lindsay Butler, Chad Morgan, Dusty Rankin, Barry Thornton, Slim Newton, Trevor Day, Slim Dusty, McKean Sisters and Les Partell. The Award is designed and created by Pauline Fisher.
Col was born into a large family of 11 children in 1941 - raised in North-West, New South Wales. He grew up with music around him. After winning a talent quest in Walgett NSW, and did a short tour with the Willie Fennell Travelling Show. A NAIDOC (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) organizer recorded Col singing in his hometown and prompted him to travel to Sydney to further his music career.
Moving to Sydney In 1962, to pursue a career in music - was a huge step for someone who lived in the outback. During the 1960's he was part of the 'Opals' a little country outfit, which at times became house-band for Jimmy Little's travelling All Coloured Revue. In Sydney, he worked for the Waterboard, while still performing at parties, dances and charity shows. In 1963, he was the first Aboriginal to appear on Bandstand.
Col recorded his first EP in 1972 on Opal Records titled 'Black Gold' , however in 1973 during the first year of the Australasian Country Music Awards in Tamworth, he was the first Aboriginal singer to be awarded with a Golden Guitar. It was the Radio Listener Award he won - the award his since been scrapped from the CM Awards. The song 'Black Tracker' from the album 'Black Gold' tells its own story of the days when black trackers were called upon by the police to track bushrangers, convicts - and even today’s they are still called upon as no one knows the land better than they do. Other singers have wrote songs about black trackers as well Brian Young and also Chad Morgan recorded 'Black Man Jacky Jacky'.
He was dubbed 'The Gentle Giant of Country Soul' his deep rich voice have helped pave the way for future generations of Indigenous singers not only in the Country field.
Col Hardy pushed throw the barriers of an era when black people weren't allowed to entertain on stage, TV and radio, sand was one of the first of the Aboriginal artists to be heard on Radio.
As the 1970's rolled on, in Tamworth he was winning over all white audiences, and had often perform at clubs with fellow artist Auriel Andrews. Touring Australia wide, he performed with some of the bigger acts in Country Music.
To date, Col Hardy has released 5 albums and is due to releases another album in 2014. Currently, he works for Tarongo Zoo Education Department - taking a mobile show out to schools of New South Wales teaching children about native animals and the environment. The show includes dream-time stories, music and artefacts. He is a highly respected Aboriginal elder.
I caught up with Col more than 18 months ago, where I did an interview with him - which was aired several times over Bendigo's radio station which had a lot of positive feedback about the entertainer. Cannot wait for his new album to be released.
Awards / Achievements
1979 - Inducted into the Hands of Fame, Tamworth
Black Tracker Youtube song - http://youtu.be/wrsLxfrl_JY
CHICAGO'S FAVOURITE SON - (September 2013)
Deservedly earning the reputation as a fine young entertainer, Chicago's favourite son is on top of the world in his chosen profession. It's with his trademark wearing base-ball cap, an unmistakable style in Hip-Hop, Novi Novak is definitely different. There will never be another. Who would dare challenge that?
What also sets Novi Novak apart from others, is his continuous interaction with his fans/supporters even while on tour. There's been time, that he's been flat out like a lizard drinking (to use an Aussie expression), yet he still finds the time to correspond with his loyal fans. Since discovering his music on 'myspace' back in March 2010, I am still amazed of the artistic flare he has brought to the fore.
Novi is the founder of 'Swag City Records' and to have his own studio, gives him the ultimate passion to write and record songs around the clock. The entertainer, who began as a battle rapper has since gained a huge fan base known to the world as the Villain Squad.
His fans cannot get enough of him, and Novak is constantly recording new songs to keep up with the ongoing demand.
He released his first mix-tape titled 'Hibernations Over' in March 2011. Again, making an incredible-indelible impression, Novak has rocked the music industry with his new mix-tape 'Villainism'. He has released a custom made CD, which were snapped up very quickly by his loyal supporters, containing 20 tracks including Thrift Shop remix and Dragon Sneeze. The latter - maybe a little controversial, then again, in reality the world we live in is just that.
If he really wanted to, he could easily turn his hand to comedy, for he has the skills to take the piss out of anyone, maybe this could happen just for a laugh - how about it Novi? In Novi's own words "Thanking God, My Fans, Friends for helping me get this far! I wouldn't be me, without you".
So in good ol' Aussie fashion, crack open a tinny, draw back on that cigarette, sit back and relax, click on the link and listen to the 'Novak Experience'
|Olive Bice with Jack||
Country Music, Bendigo, Victoria
On my second visit to Bendigo - I caught up with five Country Music Greats in the form of Olive Bice, Anne Conway, Colin James, Peter Sheehan, and Bendigo's Yodeling Sweetheart Floreena Forbes.
Olive Bice began her career in the 1950's, after an appearance on a Hillbilly radio show. He first recording was in 1976 'Gentle On My Mind' (with Colin James). The following year she took out best Yodeller at the Portland Festival singing 'She Taught Me To Yodel'. In 1990, she was inducted into the Tamworth Country Music Hand of Fame. Today, Olive still performs in Bendigo and at various festivals. Her fans have crowned her as 'Bendigo's Queen of Country Music, she is well loved and respected by her fans. It certainly was a great pleasure finally meeting her.
Anne Conway (who I've met previously) at young age learnt classical piano, later learning to play the guitar. Her first band was formed soon as she moved to Bendigo called 'High Noon' this was shortly followed by another band 'Tandara'. Anne did cabaret type shows, supporting the likes of The Drifters, Frankie Davidson, Dennis Walter and Col Elliott. She learnt the stage-craft from these entertainers. In 1990, she began the Grace Brother's showcase during Tamworth's Country Music Festival which lasted 15 years. She has recorded a number of albums on her 'Birubi label'.
She was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 1997. In 1983, she became involved in Radio, and became a foundation committee member of Bendigo's Phoenix FM in 2007.
Colin James confined to a wheel-chair since the age of 4, he started writing songs in 1953 (age 15), and began performing in public five years later, being part of the group 'Country Club' which also featured Olive Bice. During the 1960's he released his first single 'Sleepless Nights' on Crest Label. He was inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame in 1984. He has more than 50 years experience as an accomplished entertainer. He has released his auto-biography titled 'If I Can Do It' which is available from Colin himself.
Peter Sheehan began his career in 1982 at the Bendigo Country Music Club. In the beginning he would busk in Peel Street Tamworth during the festival, later having his own show which included upto 13 performers, a very young Adam Brand was believed to be one of these performers. In 1999 he was awarded 1st place in Children's song of the Year and Gospel song of the Year 'Where's My Teddy' and Hold The Ladder Lord'. Peter has recorded 10 albums which are all available, and he is also at Phoenix FM radio presenting 2 shows a week.
Floreena Forbes career in Country Music began in the 1960's. Her first band 'Tumbleweed' came about in 1977 and became quite popular in Victoria and New South Wales. Floreena released her first album 'Floreena' in 1987, her latest being 'For The Good Times' (2012). More about Floreena can be read on an earlier post on this website. (also on her website at floreena.com)
Australia's First Horse Race
On April 30th 1810, the first horse race in Australia had ran. The course was at Parramatta, although according to official records, only 2 horses were actually in the race. They were named 'Parramatta' and 'Belfast'. These early records indicate, the race was won by 'Parramatta'. Other entertainment of the day include - cock-fighting, wheelbarrow races and jumping in sacks.
It was because of the success of the first races, on October 14th 1810 - Hyde Park Sydney held its first races where a section of the ground was cleared for the purpose. The Officers of the 73rd Regiment have matched their horses in what was the start of regular race. Hyde Park was known as Sydney's common where sport events were regularly held. The subscribers Plate was won by a horse called 'Chase'. It's believed that the Australian Jockey Club was established in Sydney in 1828.
It would be 51 years late, On November 7th 1861 - the first Melbourne Cup had ran. The winner of the 1st and 2nd Melbourne Cup was the horse 'Archer' owned by De Mestre. There have been a number of famous horses that ran/won the Melbourne Cup over the years. One such horse was 'Zulu' owned by Charles McDonald and trained by Thomas Lamond who also trained the first Melbourne Cup winner 'Archer'. Zulu ran many races in Parramatta Park, where a portion of the park was used as a racecourse. Zulu won the 1881 Melbourne Cup and had died eight years later.
Another famous horse of the twentieth century was Phar Lap. Phar Lap was born in New Zealand on October 4th 1926 and was reportedly deemed a loser in the early years, however it was not the case. Out of 51 races, Phar Lap won 31 with 5 placings with the grand total earnings 66,738 pounds. Phar Lap was one of the 3 greatest race horses in the world - alongside Secretariat and Seabicuit.
Phar Lap died in California on April 5th 1932, Australia lost another great sporting hero to the US. The first great sporting hero, was Maitland's famous son, boxer Les Darcy who died in Memphis Tennessee in 1918 (which I metioned in an earlier article), age 21. In memory of a great race horse, Pha Lap's large heart has been on display in an Australian museum, also a likeness of the famous horse itself.
While on my recent trip to Bendigo (Victoria), I caught up with County Radio DJ and Country Music singer Floreena Forbes. It certainly was an experience - with me fooling around as usual, Floreena didn't know what to expect at first. The moment I stepped off at the station wearing my drongo-cap - one would think a circus had arrived in town. A photo of yours-truly taken with Floreena also made it into the local newspaper.
Floreena Forbes, started her career in Country Music way back in 1977 when she and her husband (Wal) formed the ‘Tumbleweed’ band. They became a well know identity in Bendigo, central Victoria, although they did traveled wherever their music took them.
In 1980 Floreena appeared in a Dolly Parton look-a-like – and being a successful act, her Dolly routine was included in the ‘Tumbleweed’ band which added humour to the outfit.
Two years later, she was at it again – this time a Dolly Parton contest which was held at the Wandong Country Music Festival (Vic), all eyes were virtually on Floreena, in her Dolly Parton get-up-and-go – as she was given a police escort through the large crowd. Cameras were flashing everywhere with photographs published in the Weeky Times Newspaper.
After the loss of her husband Wal Forbes in 1984, Floreena continued with her music with the suport from many friends.
She released her first album in Wangaratta (Vic) titled ‘Floreena’ containing 11 popular country tracks selected by her fans, which is readily available today. When the bootscootin’ craze hit these shores in the early 1990’s, Floreena and her partner Robert took lessons and learnt the many steps – eventually teaching as they went along with their own line dancing team ‘Tumbleweed Country Line Dancers’
It was due to ill health in 2000, Floreena had a break from her music which led to the disbanding of Tumbleweed band. Two years later Floreena made a comeback performing as a guest artist, also as a solo artist with midi files for backing.
In 2006, she formed a Bluegrass Band called ‘BBB’ (Bendigo Bluegrass Band) which became most successful. That same year Floreena joined Phoenix 106.7 Bendigo becoming one of the founding committee members and today she is still volunteering her time as popular DJ for the community station.
In 2012 Floreena released her 3rd CD Album ‘For The Good Times’ which contains many country favourites – You’re Cheating Heart, Harper Valley PTA, Lace Covered Windows, If Those Lips Could Only Speak and many more. The album is a favourite to many of her fans.
To read more about Floreena and where to purchase her CD’s you can visit her website at the following link: www.floreena.com
The origional Maitland lock-up was made of weatherboard with 6 adjoining cells which was used in 1835, it would eventually became inadequate.
The opening of the new Gaol was on December 26th 1848, it became the longest operating Gaol in Australia until it's closure on January 31st 1998. It was designed by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis in 1844 which was modelled on London's Pentville Prison. It housed many violent criminals, in its 150 years of service, including some of our bushrangers. Only 16 men were excuted either for murder or rape, and were buried beneath the court-yard within the prison walls.
When the Gaol was first opened, December 1848 - forty prisoners were exported from Newcastle Gaol to the newly built Gaol at East Maitland. The keeper of the Gaol, Mr Tristrem and what was know as the 'turnkeys' assisted the prisoners. At this time, only one wing within the Gaol was complete, about 180 feet long and 40 feet wide. The wing contained 28 cells, 26 of them measured 12 feet by 8, the remaining two cells measure 5 feet by 8, all being 10 feet high.
One of our famous bushragers to have served time in Maitland Gaol was Frederick Ward, otherwise known as 'Captain Thunderbolt'. According to the Gaol's entrance book - it was 1856 he was sentenced to 10 years hard labour for receiving horses, stolen from Tocal. Ward had previously eployeded at Tocal-homestead (near Paterson) as a horse breaker as did his brother George, who drowned in the Hunter River in 1854 when taking Tocal cattle to market.
In 1923, Minister for Justice was hoping to close Maitland Gaol as soon a Parramatta Gaol was in proper working order. He was concerned that the condition at Maitland Gaol were unsatisfactory. However the Gaol continued its service for another seventy seven years.
Now heritage listed, Maitland Gaol is a museum and offers tours, taking tourist on a 150 year history lesson behind the historic walls. Also tourists are able to book a sleep over in the cells, which includes a torch-light tour - great for those who would like to witness themselves what it was like for prisoners to be locked away in a small confined room. It's also been stated that the C Block at the Gaol is haunted.
Many Australian movies / TV shows have filmed behind the walls:- including feature & short films - Australian Enemy (2010), The Justice Maze (2009), Devil's Gateway (2006) and The Big House (2000) - and many TV shows inclusing:- Home And Away, Deadly Women and True Stories.
Funnily enough - I myself appeared as an 'extra' in the feature film 'Australian Enemy' as an inmate. It certainly was an interesting place to visit. The film was by Joshua Finch, starring Finch and Marius Di Poala. As you walk withink the walls of the old Gaol, you mind starts wanders - as you think of how prisoners were treated and how they lived there.
The old Maitland Gaol is must for anyone interested in early Australian history. A number of souvenirs are available for purchase while on your visit. Information regarding the old Maitland Gaol can be obtain by googling the subject.
ARNOTTS FAMOUS BISCUITS - (Part of Australia's History)
William Arnott was born in Fifeshire, Scotland in 1827. He worked in his homeland as an apprentice baker on half a crown a week.
He migrated to Australia with his brother David via the ship 'Sir William Perry' in 1847. He would set up a small business in the then thriving township of Morpeth (Swan Street). However the gold fever was too strong to resist and it's was believed that William took off to the gold fields, however he made more money selling his bread to the miners than panning for gold.
Around 1853, he returned to West Maitland where he would established himself a business as a baker and confectioner. Maitland is renowned for its devestating floods throughout the towns history - and while his business was blooming, 3 floods over the following 12 years ruined his business.
Late 1865 and with only fourteen pounds to his name, he went to Newcastle where he leased a small shop in Hunter Street and built a small oven at the back. By night he would make the bread and during the day biscuits, pies and cakes. Soon the little shop was over crowded with customers and the family worked long hours keeping up with demand. The firm dates it's anniversary from 1865 as it was then Willaim Arnott began to specialise in making biscuits.
In 1877, William was in the position to expand his business and Arnott's Steam Biscuit Factory was established at Cooks Hill, Newcastle. It became a familiar sight for Newcastle, especially for the children who would buy a pillow-cases of broken biscuits for a penny.
In 1883, William carried out a promise to himself to repay his creditors in full, a debt of 20 years. Legally he was not required to do so, although he felt it was his duty.
On the 6th September, a number of Maitland business men met with Arnott at Cohen's Hotel where they presented him with an address and a gold very heavy around 5 ounces in weight. On the back of the medal the following inscription:- Presented to Mr William Arnott, by his creditors of 1862, as a mark of their esteem of his honuorable and praiseworthy conduct on the occasion on receiving their claim in full - Maitland 1883.
This honourable action, became one of the most treasured documents regarding Arnott's history. Around 1885 Arnotts expended in dairying to supply milk for the 'Milk Arrowroot' which became the best selling biscuit of the time. At this time near 300 employees were producing 80 varieties of biscuits and 2200 cakes a day.
A Sydney depot was established in 1889, when the Hawkesbury River bridge was linked Newcastle and Sydney by the rail line. In 1894 William brought his four sons into partnership and then retired in 1899. He died on July 22nd 1901. William had a vision of a factory in Sydney, this vision became reality through his sons. People, who grew up in early 20th Century, claim that Arnott's biscuits and fruit cake were the best of quality, a product they could always rely on, and today remains so. One my favorites as a child, besides Milk Arrowroot were the Golliwog biscuits which was later changed to Scalliwag during the 1990's.
In 1908 a large factory was built at Homebush (previously known as Concord) and it grew into the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Arnott's biscuits became well known Australia wide and overseas.
Note: The above dates of events were taken from a Hunter Valley newspaper 1883, 1965 and 1987. Picture courtesy of Newcastle's Cultural Collections.
Reg Poole & Jack
Terry Gordon & Jack
*Photos credited: 'Robmac'
TAMWORTH CELEBRATES 40 YEARS OF COUNTRY MUSIC
Australia's Country Music Capital, Tamworth - celebrated 40 years since the first Awards were staged in January 1973. It was a couple years in the making, however the first winners were
APRA Song of the Year
Top Selling Record
Album of the Year
Best EP or Single
Instrumental Track of the Year
Ever since the Awards started 40 years ago, there have been a lot of crawling going on. Artists who deserve recognition never seem to get it, those who do, well for most, it just another scratch along the shelf. Going to Tamworth gives me less pleasure each visit - Country Music is not the same anymore, yes we have to modernize but it's gotten out of hand. The organizers cannot even honour our Pioneering Artists who help shaped Australian Country Music. It certainly is a disgrace, many die-hard fans are turning away from Country Music - as it is more like Country Rock. However there are a few who have kept the formula of writing ballads about Australia and it's people.
I was in Tamworth this year for 40 Anniversary where I caught up with a few friends of mine in the Country Music. Terry Gordon, who has been around since the 1960's was honored when elevated this year (2012) to the Roll of Renown. I first met Terry in 1987, and have kept in touch through the years. This year, Terry released his 25th album titled 'Australia's Not Australia Anymore' - which is true, when we look at the way this country is going. Besides Country Music, Terry also released a rather bawdy album titled 'Randy Roots on the Road' - with songs, Has Anybody Seen My Cock?, Truckies Wetdream, I've Seen Pubic Hair just name a few.
Another character I caught up with while in Tamworth was the Gentle Giant of Country Music, Reg Poole. Reg's famous song was 'The Australian Country Music Hall of Fame' which he released in 1973, in 1974 he won Golden Guitar for New Talent of the Year. Hi second Golden Guitar was for Warrumbungle Mare in 1981, and third in 1985 for 'When The Big Mobs Come To Bourke'.
In 2006 Reg was elevated to the Roll of Renown and was awarded the Order of Australia Medal. Both Terry and Reg were part of the Gun-Barrel Highwaymen along with Owen Blundell.
Regarding the Roll of Renown - the first to be honoured was Tex Morton in 1976. Originally from New Zealand, Tex came to Australia in 1932 (age 16) and started the Australian Country Music scene here with his first recording in February 1936. Tex (Robert Lane) is regarding 'Father of Australian Country Music. Other notable artist who did their share were Buddy Williams, Smoky Dawson, Chad Morgan, Slim Dusty and the list goes on. One thing can be said of our Pioneers of Country Music, is that their music will always be around for us to enjoy.
Paterson’s First Fire Truck
The historic town of Paterson, New South Wales, Australia (in the Hunter Valley) is situated 175ks north of Sydney, and according to the census of 2006 a population of 345 people.
The Paterson Fire Brigade was originally formed in 1944 however it was a newcomer to the district that really put the Brigade on its feet. There was no official Fire Truck, farmers used their tractors (a immobile water tank attached) a long with assorted collection of garden rakes, spades as fire fighting equipment.
The man responsible for the push that would lead to Paterson’s first Fire-Truck, was Constable Len Paten (former WII Solider), who was transferred to man the Paterson Police Station in the January of 1956. He had seen at first hand the ravages fire caused to landholders. Paten was previously stationed in the tiny settlement of Ellenborough (nestled in the State Forrest) where he was posted for seven years.
The Patens quickly settled
into Paterson and had got on well with the locals and became well respected within the community.
This was at a time when the historical Paterson Courthouse was still active until 1967. It was erected in 1857 replacing a much earlier wooden building however it’s believed that the Magistrate sat at the Bench of the new Courthouse for the first time on September 8th 1863. Prior to this date, the Police (Mounted Troopers, as they were called) conducted their official business in a temporary room of a Mr Broadrick’s Hotel. They too would be stationed at the new Courthouse and lived in a barracks upstairs. Since 1974, the Courthouse operates as the village’s historical Museum.
Towards the end of 1958, Constable Len Paten called a meeting, an action that would eventually give the people of Paterson the protection they needed against (at times) the uncontrollable bush and domestic fires. The town was just too remote to be covered by the city Fire-Brigades. It was with Paten’s enthusiasm and grim determination that inspired others to support the historic move.
It could never have happened, without the help of the insurance company grants and the strong backing from the Paterson representative on the Dungog Shire Council, Cr. L. Clements – the Brigade expanded.\
It was with Constable Paten’s connections with the Australian Armed Forces, he was able to purchase an ex-army ‘Chev Blitz’. Paterson’s local mechanic offered to go to Holsworthy barracks, Sydney to buy the ex-army four-wheel drive Blitz, with the monies raised by the community and companies. On returning to Paterson, the truck was painted bright red and had paraded around the town showing the locals their first fire-truck that will go anywhere a tractor would. In the local showground, there was a big BBQ to celebrate the historical event.
Unofficially, the Fire-Truck also had other uses. During the drought, it was used to convey water to local properties – and in winter time delivered wood – these services were merely to pay for the maintenance of the truck. It’s also been recalled that at Christmas, the truck would be decorated and would make its way through the main street of Paterson with Santa on the back, throwing lollies to children and bringing Christmas cheer.
Constable Len Paten became Fire Captain for the area – he was working in close co-operation with Deputy Captains spread throughout the district. They were Keith Jordon (Paterson), Eric Clements (Webbers Creek), Ted Priestly (Martins Creek), Mick White (Hill Dale) and Jim Banister (Vacy). Each of the Deputy Captains had a group of farmers ready to fight a blaze within minutes.
Enthusiasm, progress and hope mounted then the residents of Paterson learnt that Paten was to be transferred.
In 1960, Len Paten was promoted to 3rd Class Sergeant and transferred to the Maitland Police Station which them days, was situated at the Maitland Courthouse. His Paterson successor, Sr. Constable Mark Hickson, cautiously took control of the well establish Brigade. Around 1965 more equipment was added to the Brigade, including a new pressure generated trailer tanker and pump. In 1966, Hickson pushed for the much needed walkie-talkie equipment which made communication a lot easier during bushfires.
When the Paterson Brigade upgraded to a much newer truck under the watchful eye of Mark Hickson, the original truck that once served the area, was then passed onto Vacy. Today, the old truck could be somewhere out on a country property rusting away.
Sgt. Leonard Henry Paten (b.1919 – d.1988) will always be remembered as the man who pushed the buttons that gave the Paterson community its first Fire-Truck.
(Photos & information re: Paterson’s First Fire Truck – Courtesy of Mr V. Paten – eldest son of Len Paten – January 2012)
POLITCALLY CORRECTNESS, BULLSHIT OR WHAT?
What the hell is the world coming to?
It saddens me to think, we are almost forced to be totally politically correct by do-gooders around the world. Who wants to be politically correct anyway?
It annoys me to live in a world, when at times we are unable to say certain words, sing certain songs, tell certain jokes, without someone making a big deal out of it. What happened to ‘FREE SPEECH’? does it still exist? . . . Hell yeah, while I draw breath I will not be dictated on what to say or not to say.
Earlier this year (2011) a nursery rhyme ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ which was first printed around 1744 has been a children’s favourite for 268 years in some places some words have been changed. The words Black Sheep was changed recently to Rainbow Sheep – it seems that someone has been smoking dope as I’ve never seen a Rainbow Sheep – although we have many white and we have black sheep, that is reality. Leave children nursery rhymes alone and concentrate on things that are important.
Another was the changing of the word ‘gay’ (which in the contexts meant happy) to the word ‘fun’ in an Aussie favourite ‘Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree’ written in 1932 by the late Marion Sinclair. It was ridiculous, although the Australian teacher who banned the word tried to clarify his position, by stating if the song was sung with the line ‘how gay your life must be’ the school kids would start to laugh. This was just a cop-out. It seems a pattern is forming, it is the adults who are poisoning the minds of children – hence the changing of popular lyrical works.
I grew up in an era when they were selling gollywog dolls, and I would dare say many Aussies had at least one in their home. Here in Australia it is possible to still by them. We even had the gollywog biscuits which were a favourite, also no longer available to buy, it was the same with the small candy sticks called ‘Fags’ (which were candy like cigarettes) they changed the name to ‘Fads’. We are living in a society where people are afraid of offending certain groups, definitely Australia is not Australia anymore, or at least it’s not the country I knew as a child growing up.
Realistically, we (Australians) are getting more like the Yanks every day (not that there is anything wrong with our American friends)– Australian singers (mainly Australian Country Music artists) sing with an American twang. Are they offended by their own Aussie accent? We got to stop copying the Americans and be ourselves, the Aussie accent and our ways of living will one day disappear.
Christmas time is another headache.
Santa Clauses ‘Down Under’ have been told to drop the ‘Ho Ho Ho’ cry, for it’s similar to the American slang for prostitute – and it’s believed to be offensive to women. This was happening in Adelaide, South Australia – where the Santas were told to cry out HA HA HA instead of the traditional Santa cry of HO HO HO. Politically correctness gone mad.
Finally the greeting of ‘Merry Christmas’ may also soon be a thing of the past, which is bullshit. Wanting to change it to ‘Happy Holidays’ is just ludicrous. If people want to say ‘Happy Holidays’ than that’s alright with me, but don’t shove it down other peoples necks. Why should people be careful when expressing a seasonal greeting like ‘Merry Christmas’? Maybe we shouldn’t express greetings if people are likely to be offended. There are heaps of things in this old world that I don’t believe in, but I still have to put up with it.
So wether it’s Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays – life is for the living and it’s meant to be enjoyed.
WHAT A YEAR IT’S BEEN
As we begin to bid-farewell to 2011, and welcome in the New Year of 2012 – briefly we have a look of what unfolded in the last twelve months. While watching Carols in the Domain from the comfort of my lounge-room I couldn’t help but sing along with a glass of Jack Daniels in my hand and the bottle nearby. Although, I threw in my own version of the Christmas Carols much to the amusement of a few mates. However, it was great to see and hear many of talented artists including a gem of the Music Industry Judith Durham of the ‘Seekers’ singing the 1957 classic titled ‘Morning Town Ride’.
Moving on, it seems that ‘Louie The Fly’s (a great Australian icon) future maybe coming to a sad end. Louie came to life on Australian television in 1957 – with a devil may care attitude and generations of Aussie loved him.
We’ve watched Louie spreading his unwelcome germs for 54 years, and we’ve also watched him being killed in each commercial, by a spray from a can of the dreaded Mortein. However, he always came back to life just in time for a new Mortein commercial.
Almost every Aussies recognizes the little terror, and know the catchy ‘Louie the Fly’ jingle. Early 2011, it has been stated that Louie the Fly, has outstayed his welcome, and that he will be killed off for good. Although this statement was given by the Mortein Company, they are leaving the decision up to all Australians – to vote whether they still want Louie to be the face of Mortein.
I myself would hate to see Louie discontinued – so the call is now out to all Australians to vote.
We have seen some great Aussie talent in 2011, 14yr old Jack Vidgen who won Australia’s Got Talent with runner up being Cosentino.
These talent quests shows find the hidden talents in various people across the nation. New breed of artists include Shannon Noll, Anthony Callea, Guy Sebastian, Casey Donavan and many others. It would be great to see the return of ‘Young Talent Time’, originally hosted by Johnny Young between 1971 – 1988. It gave many of our top Australian entertainers their start, namely: Debra Byrne, Tina Arena, Joey Perrone, Jamie Redfern, Danni Minogue and more. The new Talent Time will be hosted by Rob Mills and will go to air in 2012.
While on the subject of music – American Rap artist ‘Novi Novak had certainly made 2011 his year and I’ve heard, that it will get even better in 2012. Novak’s quick witted and bright mind, composed many original songs, and he performs them in a way that nobody else can. There is star quality in the Rap Music Industry and Novak is one of the chosen few. Australian fans of Rap Music had recently witnessed the return of Eminem with his energetic performances, it’s only a matter of time before we see Novi Novak gracing the Australian stage. His final appearance for 2011 is in his hometown of Chicago on December 30th and 31st at The Funky Buddah Lounge. These two big concerts are bound to be a success when you have Novi Novak on the bill.
No doubt he will start tour all over the US and maybe Australia within a couple years time.
Finally, I have made my debut TV appearance on the ABC documentary ‘The Open Road’ where I played a mobster in one scene and businessman in other scene listening to former Prime Minister Robert Menzies on radio. The Doco was also released on DVD. In December I appeared in another 2 commercials due to be aired on TV. The first being the Sydney’s famous Luna Park for the summer holidays and the other ‘Charlie’s Angels’ an all new sexy cleaning service, where you can hire hot models to clean your home or office.
I have also appeared in various other projects: a commercial for JALC (Japanese Australia Language Centre) – also appeared in an 8 minute short film ‘The Future’. The Future will be screened in January 2012 at the 'Flickerfest' - in the Australian Session 1.
Also in 2012, I will be appearing in various other commercials and short films, while completing my own short film ‘Just A Good Bloke with Bad Habits’ which we started filming in November.
Have a beaut festive season and all the best for 2012 – and remember if you see someone without a smile, give ‘em one of yours.
Novi Novak - by Many, Equalled by None
If you have not yet heard of the one they call Novi Novak, you are missing out on a talented individual. In a cruel industry that chews people up and spits them out again – Novi Novak has proved to be a stayer. One can see that the future of Rap Music is truly in safe hands.
His debut E.P. ‘Aura of a Super Villain’ (released: June 2011) sets a new page for the young entertainer, with 3 new songs for his fans. However, there is only one song that didn’t quiet grab me, that being the singing in ‘Web of Lies’, although the lyrical work never cease to amaze.
What set’s Novi apart from other’s is that, he writes in a creative fashion, which transports fans right where he wants them – feeling exactly what he feels. In a sense, every song he composes, his intentions, to be true comes loudly across. This young man has the vision, creativity and determination to make anything possible. A real Aristocrat in the Rap Music Industry.
Looking back, Novi started Rapping around the age of 15, an art-form that he would eventually master to perfection. His then, continuous battle rapping earned him respect and recognition among his peers. His love for creative writing was always there even as young as nine. Being in trouble with the law became second nature – although his experiences are the essence of what we hear in his music today.
His songs appeal to people of all walks of life, and his newly released EP will not disappoint. Paradoxically, we all at times, can find a little of ourselves in what he writes. Here, I would like to mention another character named Corbin Cox, the lad behind the filming of Novi’s video clips. So often directors and cameramen are lost behind the scenes – hardly mentioned, except for credits.
Corbin Cox who had always fancied of having a career in filming – never thought he would have the chance to prove himself. In 2010, he heard Novi’s youtube release ‘Ransom Free Style’ which sparked an interest. It was through a mutual friend that Corbin met Novi and as they say in show-business, the rest is now history.
I have been following Novi Novak’s music since the release of Hot Boy in March 2010, after hearing his latest offering, I recommend it – so if you enjoy the music of Novi Novak – help support this independent artist. You can purchase his EP at the following link. His Previous songs can also be heard on youtube.
LES DARCY ‘Maitland’s Wonder Boy’
Born in Woodville (Stradbroke) NSW on October 31st 1895, the son of Irish settlers was born to fight. Les started amateur boxing at age 15, while working for a local blacksmith in East Maitland. He became one of Australia’s greatest fighters of last century.
In 1916, Les knew he would be conscripted of War service and there was no way out. Irish families refused to send their sons to fight a war for an English King. All Les wanted was to fight to support his family. It was under the cover of darkness, Les stowed away on a boat bound for America.
The Australian authorities made sure that he would never be able to fight in the US because of his actions, and they were true to their word, making an example of him. Although to beat this, Les Darcy took out US citizenship papers in New York and enlisted in the US Army to prove he was not running from War.
His one wish was to have 5 fights before joining the US Aviation Corps to send money back to Australia for his parents. A boxing match was arranged in Milwaukee, however Darcy fell ill and was hospitalised in Memphis, Tennessee where he died at the age of 21 on May 24th 1917.
Meanwhile, back in Australia, anger was heating up – the word had spread throughout the country that Les Darcy was poisoned by the Yanks, even in a poem by ‘Percy the Poet’ wrote the line ‘He lost all hope, when they gave him the dope, way down in Tennessee’. Australia was sore on the Americans for the loss of their Golden Boy. In fact it seemed to be an infected tooth which poisoned his blood stream.
It was the same with Phar-Lap some years later – when they shipped Australia’s greatest race horse to the US to race, and in April 1932, someone a fed the famous thoroughbred arsenic. Phar-Lap was near twice successful as America’s horse racing legend ‘Seabiscuit’ which is only a comparison.
Darcy’s body was brought back to Australia where in Sydney, it was estimated that quarter of million people lined the route of the funeral possession. When his body finally arrived in East Maitland more then six thousand people filed through the church. He was laid to rest at East Maitland Catholic Cemetery.
Les Darcy won 46 of his 50 fights, 29 of those were by K.O.
In 1987 ‘The Les Darcy Story’ was filmed to the tune of $6million, directed by Kevin Dobson, starring Peter Phelps who played young Les. The story follows the famous boxer until his tragic end.
I met Les's brother ‘Jack Darcy’ twice. The last time I met old Jack, was in 1995, Maitland NSW at a gathering to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of his famous brother – where I recited a Les Darcy poem (now a ballad) which I’d written three years earlier. Jack died at the age of 93 in 1996.
Teething for TV Work
Since my appearance in the low budget feature film titled Charity Hurts (2010), I have been invited to be part of various other short films and documentaries, these include the following.
* Get Sacked (2010)
* Australian Enemy (2010)
* Hollywood Ending (2010)
* Members & Guests (2010)
* Seven Deadly Sin (2011)
* The Open Road – ABC TV Documentary – (2011)
There will be a string of other roles I will be landing over the next few months, hopefully something much bigger.
As I stumbled on the set of ‘Members & Guests’ – I met Akmal who was a funny character indeed. He tours Australia and parts of the World with his brand of stand-up comedy.
Also on the same set another comic Joel Ozborn – it’s funny how comics always attract other comics.
Although the very first short film I was thrown into (as an extra) was ‘Bleeders’ back in 2008. It was here I met former boxer Joe Bugner who fought Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and who in later years, earned the nickname ‘Aussie Joe’. A great story teller if you are able to get him started.
I enjoy acting where comedy is concerned and having a yarn with those in the Entertainment Industry.
If you are after a comedy act for your next short or feature film, contact me with details, I just might be interested. Maybe after we can wander over to a Hotel and have a drink or three.
GEOFF ‘TANGLE-TONGUE’ MACK
Albert Geoffrey McElhnney was born on December 20, 1922.
Geoff started entertaining around boy scouts campfires and his first musical parody was written in Sunday School.
He started performing professionally in 1945 while serving in the RAAF. Around this time, Geoff went to Japan and from there went onto Europe entertaining. Geoff worked on radio and touring shows in London and north of England and performed in Germany for 3 years for the Occupation Forces.
He met his wife Tabbie Frances (a choreographer and comedienne) in Germany. They got around Germany and across Europe on their motorbike. In 1953,Geoff and Tabby rode their motorbike 13,000 miles back home to Australia, where they worked on the Gold Coast for 3 years.
It was in 1959 Geoff wrote ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ (originally penned as ‘The Swagman Rock’) which was famously recorded by Lucky Star. He wrote the songs in Japanese, German, and of course English. This is when he earned the nick name Tangle-Tongue Mack.
Other artist who recorded the song were:- America’s Hank Snow, Lynn Anderson and Johnny Cash, there was also a bawdy parody ‘I’ve Seen Pubic Hair. There are more than 130 cover versions have been recorded and still a hit today. In later years he wrote a spin-off of his hit song and called it ‘I’ve Had Everything’ a look at the many diseases in this world.
Australia’s Loony Lady, the late ‘Rita Schneider’ did a cover of ‘I’ve Had Everything’ which was followed up with ‘I’m Cured of Everything’ and later she wrote ‘I Eat Everything’.
I first met Geoff and his most energetic wife, Tabbie near 15 years ago, and still catch up whenever time allows. Geoff, now 88 has retired from entertaining, although still travels around.
They are the true Aussie entertainers of a bygone era, and I feel privileged to know some of these pioneers of the Entertainment Industry on personal level.
Geoff Mack was inducted into the Hands of Fame in 1978 and the highest accolade to an Australian Country Artist when elevated to the Roll of Renown in 2009.
WHO’LL TAKE A GLOVE?
A familiar catch-cry, from one of Australia’s greatest Showman, Jimmy Sharman (Snr).
Travelling shows of the early part of last century are now a thing of the past, ‘Sideshow Alleys’, ‘Freak Shows’, ‘Country & Western Shows’– who dominated the showgrounds. They are lost in a cloud of memory of those who are old enough to recall. Circuses are also not like they use to be – it is rare to see animals in Circuses today, thanks to the so called do-gooders out there who f—ked it up for all.
However, this story’s about Jimmy Sharman and his legendary boxing troupe.
Jimmy was born in 1887 in Narellan NSW (Australia) where at an early age he laboured on a dairy farm and would soon train to be a fighter in boxing tents. It was 1906 when he won £11.16s. in a tent fight – he would soon run away from him making a reputation as a great fighter. It was claimed that he had won all but 1 of his 78 bouts between 1908 – 1912.
It was around 1911 he took his own show ‘The Sharman Troupe’ out on the road, travelling by train to country town along the eastern seaboard, however by the 1930’s trucks were used. His Troupes were mainly Aboriginal men who were taught to fight at a young age. Many tried their luck against these tough black fighters but were near impossible to go a full round.
One of the most notable was Dave Sands he was one of the famous ‘Sand Brothers’. He joined the Sharman Troup in 1940’s a proved to be a fine young fighter. At the age of 26, he was killed in road accident – At the time of his death, it was believed that Sands record stood at 97 wins 62 by KO, and only lost 10 fights in his short career.
Sharman’s son also known as Jimmy, worked for his father at the show’s selling tickets until it was time for young Jimmy to pursue a career in Rugby League, and it’s believed he played several seasons for the Magpies 1934 – 1940. An illness lead him back to his father’s boxing troupe in 1945.
Young Jimmy Sharman would inherit his father’s troupe in 1955, although his father was still active at the time, father and son would call out just outside the tent ‘Who’ll Take A Glove’. Jimmy (Snr) died on November 18th 1965.
Jimmy Sharman (Jnr) continued presenting a first class show until new laws prevented such entertainment in 1971. It was the end of an era, closing one of the greatest shows Australia had ever witnessed.
Jimmy died on April 24th 2006, age 94.
He’s the impressible young blood of today’s Rap Music who everybody is talking about in America. Like him or hate him, we’ll be hearing a lot of the white Rapper they call ‘Novi Novak’ as time goes on. He has already been dubbed as the next Eminem with a unique style of his own.
Hailing from Chicago, USA, Novi Novak has had his fair share of bad luck including a run-in with the long arm of the law. However, it is purely the essence of this talented lad’s success to fame. What shines through his original material is integrity and his many fans expect nothing less.
This highly determined young Rapper is exactly where he wants to be and knows where he’s headed. He is also in good company with fellow artist Malik Rain who also is no stranger to the Music Industry. Sometime in the near future, Novi and his entourage will be travelling parts of the world, and Australia will be one of their many stopovers.
His personality is so much a part of the lyrics he writes and performs that it is truly inconceivable that anyone else could perform them. In his own words Novi had this to say “I don’t plan on stopping, I can’t wait to be, just in a studio 24/7 and worry about nothing but music”
I first noticed his music in March this year, although Novi has been in the Music game a lot longer. Over the past few months I have corresponded with Novi via the internet and I found him to be a down-to-earth kinda guy, with a lot of talent to share with the world.
If you have not yet heard of the one they call Novi Novak – go grab a coldie, saddle up to the computer, click the link and have a listen. Once you have listened you’re sure to join the almighty throng of converts – in a simple word you’ll become a NOVIATIC – and the condition my friend, is permanently enjoyable and it’s incurable.
Jack with Andrew Thatcher
THEY’VE GOT ME IN THE MOVIES
Well folks, it’s finally happened – I got that call that I’ve been waiting for!!!. Well, maybe not, but just the same I have made my debut in an Aussie film. Can you believe that? Me in a film! It’s gotta be the biggest joke of the year.
There maybe other films coming my way with my name all over it – but let’s not get too carried away. I’m grateful that someone has found me, although I can’t recall ever being lost!!!
The night before the shoot I stayed with friends in western Sydney who I’ve not seen for over eighteen months or so, slobbering the night away on scotch till early hours of the morning and still managed to arrive early for the shoot. My part in the film was shot on location on Saturday March 27.
When Andrew Thatcher saw my twisted dial, he knew he had a good part for me in his short feature length film ‘Charity Hurts’. This low budget, independent film is the latest of a few short films creatively directed and starring Andrew Thatcher. Other feature films created by Andrew include: A Fistful of Bullets (2007) and Two’s Company Thieves a Crowd (2009).
However getting back to ‘Charity Hurts’, I played the homeless drunk ‘Derek’ who finds himself on the streets due to the charities taken all his hard earned money. After viewing the edited preview, I must admit, I look quite OK with all this acting, with some little coaching from Andrew of course. My approximate 4 minute scene was completed – a little over an hour.
Charity Hurts – by: Andrew Thatcher
When the pushy, corporate run charities go too far in their attempts to get money off everyday man, Jason Jones he uncovers the secret truth that the charities are all linked and being controlled by one organization. . . THE MOB!!! Does this regular ‘joe’ stand a chance against the high powered corporations spreading fear and financial hardship amongst his town? Charity Hurst is filled with martial arts, guns, explosions and a dose of tongue-in-cheek humour.
You can view updates on ‘Charity Hurts’ at the following link – where you will be able to see various stills from the film and other information.
LUCKY GRILLS ‘Australia’s Larrikin of Laughter’
Leo Denis Grills was born in Hobart on May 26th 1928. In 1944 he was given the name ‘Lucky’ after appearing on Dick Fairs Amateur Hour where his duo act (Bryan Ryan) gained 2889 votes.
They would entertain at various venues as Tex & Lucky ‘the Hilarious Hillbillies’.
Lucky Grills was extremely versatile in his act. In 1951 he met Geoff ‘Tangletongue’ Mack who is very much respected entertainer and composer of the comical song ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’. Lucky, Geoff and his lovely wife Tabby had often performed together, at various venues throughout their careers they became very close friends.
In 1976 Lucky was cast by Crawford Studios to play ‘Detective Sergeant Bluey Hills in the hit series ‘Bluey’ which ran a period of 39 weeks.
A much funnier version came out early 1990’s when certain parts of the ‘Bluey’ series were overdubbed by a new mob of comedians known as the ‘D’ Generation.
They renamed the film as ‘Bargearse’ which was quite amusing and had great following.
He has appeared on many television shows – Celebrity Squares, Melbourne Tonight, Don Lane Show, Mike Walsh Show, Rafferty’s Rules, Special Squad, Matlock Police, Hey Hey It’s Saturday and Flipper in 1999. . . . also appeared in various TV Commercials.
On June 11th 2001, Lucky Grills was ordered the OAM for his service within the entertainment industry and in recognition of his charity work, 2 years later he was awarded the Australian Centenary medal for his Contribution to the Arts.
In 2003 – Lucky released his autobiography ‘Just Call Me Lucky’ a fitting title for the larrikin of Laughter. The 207 paged book along with his recordings over the years are still readily available.
I have met Lucky Grill on many occasions and he truly was a funny man.
At one time I had been searching for materials for an ‘R’ rated comedy album – mentioning this to Lucky, he supplied me with a song he wrote and I never got around to recording the album.
This was about 18 months before he died. Recently I looked at the lyrics once again and thought it’s gotta be done as my tribute to this great Australian entertainer.
Leo ‘Lucky’ Grills died on July 27th 2007 in his sleep – he was 79.
RITA SCHNIEDER – 'Australia’s Loony Lady'
I had the honour of knowing one of Australia’s greatest female comedy entertainers – the late ‘Rita Schneider’.
She had also given me a few pointers in song writing – when she viewed a few samples of my own work. In Tamworth she introduced me to Mary (her sister) and her niece Melinda who are also great entertainers.
Rita was billed as ‘Australia’s Loony Lady’ and made many people laugh at the songs she would sing and jokes she’s told. She once said to me “there’s not enough comedy, people don’t want to do clean fun comedy anymore”, and I guess she was right.
Rita was born in Rockhampton Queensland in 1928, she was the eldest of the famous ‘Schneider Sisters’ act.
Rita and her sister Mary started out as a duo act in 1945 appearing on ever-so popular Australia’s Amateur Hour and started their recording in 1950.
Rita joined an Army Entertainment Unit which took ‘The Schneider Sisters on tour of the British Armed Forces overseas bases in Japan and Korea.
The Schneider Sisters showcased their show constantly throughout Sydney. They became one of this country’s greatest duo-act.
Around 1971 they decided to go their separate ways. Apart from her comedy act, Rita did some straight acting appearing in various TV series including ‘People In Conflict’, ‘Divorce Court’ and ‘A Current Affair’. She joined the channel 7 network as a talent and copyright supervisor and stayed for 17 years retiring only to return to song-writing.
It was her love to write comedy songs and sing them in away no one else could. She received 29 song writing awards.
It was in 1999 she released her first CD of comedy songs ‘Rita Raves On’ 16 tracks including – I Live In The Lucky Country, Line Dancing Man, The thing, Woodstock Queen, Never Trust A Man and I’m Politically Correct.
Other albums which followed were: ‘Nutty As A Fruit Cake’, ‘Dingbats’, ‘Keep On Larfin’, ‘Birdbrain Ballads’ and her very last release ‘Big Belly Laughs’.
The latter was released in 2007 and had received the 2008 Children Song of the Year (TSA Award) with the song ‘Why Do Cows Go Moo?’ and Comedy/Novelty Song Award for ‘The Boobs Song’. All CDs are still readily available.
In 2002, Rita and Mary thrilled a Tamworth audience when they appeared on the same stage with their comedy act. It was certainly their year having their bronze plaque elevated to the Roll of Renown.
Both Rita & her sister ‘Mary’ were honoured when they received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ celebrating 60 years in show-business.
Rita died in a Sydney hospital at the age of 89 on March 28th 2009
THE BOXING KANGAROO
This story of the ‘Boxing Kangaroo’ can be a touchy subject to some and a hilarious act for others. I personally couldn't see anything wrong with having a kangaroo in a circus act with gloves on, providing it is well looked after. Diverting here, Circus animals have always been a draw card for kids and adults alike – there are a certain group who cry cruelty too often. If I ever I do go back to see a circus, I would like to see elephants and tigers etc – but circuses with animals today are a dying race which is a-shame.
Now getting back to the article, I am referring to ‘The Rocky Show Circus’ in the US which had hit the headlines quiet recently. The show stars two kangaroos and their owner “Martinez’ who dons a clown suit in the act. The kangaroo does wear a harness in case the animal gets too carried away which is understandable. They say that the kangaroo looked distressed, this maybe so, however anyone would be if they were held back from what they wanted to do.
This is not the first time kangaroos have been use for our amusements. It first happened in Australia in the late 1800’s. In the year 1891a cartoon article appeared in a Sydney newspaper “Jack the fighting Kangaroo with Professor Lendermann” This was inspired by the 19 century outback travelling shows featuring kangaroos wearing boxing gloves fighting men. There were also silent films produced in Germany and England of a kangaroos boxing against men. It was called ‘entertainment’. In the days of long ago, the human race would pay big monies to see an act which involves a kangaroo thumbing the living shit out of a man – particularly if the man was a well known boxer.
Boxing legend ‘John L. Sullivan’ in 1892 was beaten by ‘Lester the boxing Kangaroo’. No one would fight Sullivan despite offering $73 to anyone who could beat him (which was a small fortune in them days). An Australian man arrived in the New York, USA with his champion kangaroo ‘Lester’, claiming that he could out-box anyone in the ring and challenged Sullivan for his belt. John Sullivan agreed, and the boxing match was moved to France where such event was legal.
The Folies Bergere was packed with punters wanting to see the fight between man and animal. The match was broadcasted all over the world via closed circuit telegraph. Sullivan didn’t have a chance – Lester the Kangaroo landed a fierce right jab that knocked Sullivan to the canvas. After the fight ‘Lester’ the kangaroo returned home with his owner.
Yes the Kangaroo is an Australian symbol of which we Aussies are proud of and with television series like ‘Skippy’ it sure made world viewing. Having said this, it is also a great meal to get ya teeth into. I have a great recipe for anyone who loves the taste of this beautiful animal.
KANGAROO SPEEDBALLS – (Supplied by C.W.M.)
500 grams Roo meat
Mince Roo meat with bacon, garlic and onion. Add beaten eggs, chives (or parsley), pepper and salt to taste. Mix well and make into patties. Roll in flour and fry. Save pan juices and make nice brown gravy. Serve with mashed potatoes, pumpkin and green bean.
Invite animal libbers over, and after they enjoy their dinner tell them what they have just eaten.
One of my favourite British Comedian of last century was the late ‘Benny Hill’. He certainly was one of the greatest ever lived. I’m sure that nearly every male would have watched ‘The Benny Hill Show’ if not for Benny, but for the gorgeous girls who he had on every show. Some of the antics he got up to were hilarious.
Alfred Hill was born in South Hampton, England. In his earlier years before breaking into the entertainment business – Hill had various jobs – milkman, bridge operator and a driver among other occupations. He was inspired by various established comedians of British Music Hall Shows and he knew only too well he was born to entertain people.
It was for stage Alfred changed his name to ‘Benny’ in honour of his favourite comedian Jack Benny and began appearing at various clubs.
Benny Hill worked as a radio performer after WWII and made his first TV appearance in 1949 on a show called “Hi There”. Mid 1955 his career took off with The Benny Hill Show on BBC Television where he remained with the station until 1968.
His health declined in the 1980’s. He had suffered heart problem early 1992 and was recommended a heart bypass in which he refused. Benny Hill died on April 19th 1992, age 68 – cause of death was recorded as natural causes.
He was buried at Hollybrook Cemetery near his birthplace on April 28th 1992. He left his estimated 10 million pounds to his late parents who had already died and the only Will made was in 1961. Next in line were his brother and sister who also were deceased. Benny Hill’s estate was divided among his 7 nieces and nephews.
MAX MILLER –‘ The Cheeky Chappie’
He was born Thomas Henry Sargent in Brighton, England on November 21st 1894. At a young age he loved to show off and wore clothes that were too big for him which earned him the nickname ‘Swanky Sargent’. During the Great War, he enlisted in the Royal Sussex Regiment and served in France. In 1921 he married Kathleen Marsh, it was Kathleen who suggested he use the stage name ‘Max Miller’. He was billed as ‘The Cheeky Chappie’ which stuck with him throughout his career.
In 1932 he made his first recording, ‘Confessions of a Cheeky Chappie’ It was a success for Max and later recorded several releases for HMV.
Max never swore on stage and disapproved of those who did – although his jokes were somewhat risqué. He was great at using double-entendre and when telling a story he would leave out last word, of which audience quickly laughed. Some of his materials were banned from radio deemed too rude for the time.
“When roses are red, they’re ready for plucking “When a girl is sixteen, she’s ready for . . . . . ere”
The laws on censorship were rather strict in those days and Max often found himself in trouble. The BBC banned him twice, one lasted 5 years. Although Max would often tell his audience he didn’t care.
His television appearances were never a success – as he relied on the feedback that only a theatre audience could give him and the freedom to use his naughty material.
When you hear a live recording of his shows the reception given to Max Miller it cannot be equalled by any of our slick and more modern comedians. His performances were never the same; and he could adapt himself in a split second to suit the mood of his audience and his timing was brilliant. Max would appear regularly on all the major music-hall shows in and around London.
In 1958, Max suffered a heart attack, and was told to take it easy. He continued performing his one man shows and making more records. His final recording was with Lonnie Donegan in January 1963. Max Miller died on May 7th 1963 at his home, and was cremated in Brighton. He was often quoted saying “when I’m dead and gone, the game’s finished’ and also one of his many catchphrases ‘there’ll never be another’.
GEORGE FORMBY Jnr.
I first heard the recordings of George Formby during the late 1980’s.
George Hoy Booth was born in Lancashire, England on May 26th 1904. He was the eldest of seven children. His father James Booth – an established comedian of Music Hall had changed his own name to George Formby, was equal to his son’s later success. He had chosen the name ‘Formby’ after the Formby township of Liverpool.
After his father’s un-timely death in 1921, young George started his own musical hall career using his father’s much loved materials. He originally billed himself as ‘George Hoy’ before changing his stage name to George Formby junior. He became a favourite with his cheeky Lancashire humour, and his ability to perform comical songs with his banjolele. His well known songs included ‘Leaning on a Lamp Post’ and ‘When I’m Cleaning Windows’ and some of his songs were considered too rude of that era for broadcasting.
In 1924 George married Beryl Ingham in his hometown of Wigan, Lancashire. They worked together as a variety act and later she became his manager. It was Beryl’s successful management that Formby became UK’s highest paid entertainer where he was paying at a high of taxation at least 95.5% of his earnings as revenue.
He had been releasing recordings through Gramophone since 1926, although it wasn’t until 1932 his most successful hit came with ‘Jack Hylton Band, and with his first sound film in 1934. Apparently he had been doing silent films since 1918. Formby had appeared in various Films and TV appearances and had entertained troops in Europe and North Africa during World War II.
In 1952 he suffered his first heart attack. His wife Beryl died of cancer in 1960, and Formby planned to marry Pat Howson late 1961, however he suffered his second heart attack and died in hospital on March 6th 1961. His funeral was held in Liverpool where more than 100,000 mourners attended. He was buried in the Booth family grave at Warrington cemetery.
Pat Howsen was believed to be well-provided for in Formby’s will, although she died not long after. It was stated among the believers that the Formby fortune was jinxed. In 2007 a bronze statue of George was unveiled in his hometown of Wigan, Lancashire in the Grand Arcade shopping centre – the second of it’s kind, the first was a bronze statue of George leaning on a lamp-post in Douglas, Isle of Man.
ST PATRICK’S DAY - 2010
Top of the morning to you. . . . . ah, there’s nothing like a little bit of Irish, and I would’ve got a bit too if she let me.
You know, when the Irish tell the tale of old St Patrick chasing all the snakes out of Ireland, what the Irish don't tell you is that he was the only one who saw the snakes!!!
There are thousand of jokes about the Irish, and I’m sure you’ve heard them all. My favourites are set out below.
Ha ha ha, ya gotta love ‘em. . . . .
Thirst is the end of drinking and sorrow is the end of drunkenness – Happy St Patrick’s Day!
A FORGOTTEN AFRICAN AMERICAN HERO – JOCKO
I must say, I love receiving gifts and recently I was given this midget size monumental statue of a ‘lawn-jockey’ which represents AMERICA’S FIRST CHILD HERO, and yes he was coloured. Legend has it, that a 12 year old African American boy played a role in the American Revolution of 1776.
The boy’s name was Jocko – he volunteered to hold the horses for General George Washington (who of course later became America’s First President) but he had frozen to death on December 25th 1776 while still holding onto the reigns of the horses. Washington was so moved about the boy’s dedication to his duty he commissioned a statue to be erected in his honour and placed it on his lawn at Mt Vernon.
If you get the time read the story about this remarkable young Negro boy, he is one of the forgotten pieces of African American history.
In the historical town Maitland, New South Wales (Hunter Valley Region) they have little Jocko still standing along the main street (famously known as Maitland’s Blackboy) – waiting to be called upon to hold a horse’s reign.
It has been standing there in Maitland for the past 140 years – and the town folk are proud of this little hitching post statue. It was brought out from America by ironmongers. There are many statues like this one throughout America, or at least there use to be, mainly in the south.
It use to be a cash-cow (pardon the expression) the local council and some business’s sure made a lot of money out of the Jocko statue over the past 40 years or so. The statue became a tourist attraction. Today, of course he stands very quietly hoping one day he’ll be called upon. He no longer is Maitland’s tourist attraction yet he is one of the town’s famous landmarks.
November 2009, Waymon LeFall of Balitimore USA flew out to Australia to see Maitland’s famous blackboy and to tell the story of Jocko. He was interviewed by the local New ‘NBN’ who were interested in the story behind the blackboy statue.
Waymon has been keeping the story alive in America about this much forgotten hero – a missing piece of African American history. It was December 2003, Waymon published a children’s book titled “The Legend of Jocko” and it is still readily available.
I had the privilege of meeting with Waymon LeFall on his ‘Down Under’ visit – and learnt a great deal about this remarkable child hero they call ‘Jocko’. It was on this trip that Waymon presented me with the miniature Jocko lawn statue.
You can visit Waymon’s website www.jockobook.com to learn more about this remarkable young boy they call ‘Jocko’.
CRAIG STEWART – Australian Country Music Singer
Craig Stewart who hails from Northern New South Wales, is no stranger to Country Music. He has been performing in the Country and City for near on 15 years. I met up with Craig at various times during the Tamworth Country Music Festival. He has his own style and is a down-to-earth country boy, always ready for a joke or three.
This here is his second album ‘Bellbirds & Blackboys’ containing 10 original songs with an extra track his tribute to John Williamson with ‘Raining On The Rocks’.
One of my favourites on this album has to be ‘Streets and Headstones’. Its Craig’s salute to the pioneers of early Australia, particularly homing in on the parish of St Chad’s in Quirindi NSW.
According to Craig, the cemetery behind the old Church was in a state of disuse with headstones dating back to when the town was first settled in the 1830’s. He soon realised the street around the little town were also named after the pioneers – hence the title.
Another songs ‘We’re Real Aussie’s’ about down to earth Aussie men and the shortage of women in the outback. It’s not the first time Craig had dabbled into comical writing, though this song should be up there with ‘The Pub With No Beer’ and ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
Where time permits, Craig performs at most major Country Music festivals including the notorious Country Capital, Tamworth. If you are after some great songs from a talented singer/songwriter then you won’t have to look far – Craig Stewart is one of Australia’s finest entertainers. You can purchase this CD and his previous at his website or if you would like to hire him for your next showdown I’m sure he would be available.
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