Here It Is!
Doug Dawson, Canadian super collector, has done it again! He has discovered the Jazz Master Chromatic – it exists! There folks in all of its glory – in a lovely blue container. Where would you think Doug picked up this late 1930’s rare Aussie classic? You’d be wrong, ‘twas Sweden. For more information on this harmonica and it’s relatives head over to Masters of Jazz.
Over the Ditch – Advertising
Speaking of Doug, I stumbled across a tin sign and a 1925 newspaper advertisement by Lewis R Eady & Son Ltd of Auckland for the Kiwi harmonica.
Doug has a Kiwi harmonica and I was sure I had seen a similar designed model before. A search of the usual suspects and F A Rauner’s The Wild West and Victor were the culprits. Woohoo!
I’d suggest the Kiwi was only available over the ditch unlike The Moa and the Kia Ora, New Zealand brand models, made by Seydel for Albert’s. Head over to Moppetry Hogwash for more on these models.
Where do I start with this extraordinary trilogy of books designed to highlight the influences and thoughts of over one hundred talented Australian muso’s – most of the blues persuasion, but others not so much? I know where I’ll begin – with the cover of the third and latest book. I fired off an email to the author (and artist) Pauline Bailey about the ownership of the harmonica rig. “Hi Shep, the harp rig on volume three belongs to a good friend of mine, Barry Walker. He’s in volume one – he was the founder of the Bundy Hall venue here in Gippsland and he also plays harp in a few bands. There is also an old harp on top of the amp that belonged to my husband’s grandfather.” Then I had a brain wave, well at least I thought so. I’ll interview Pauline.
SD: Pauline these outstanding compendiums have gone straight to my Australian music reference section. In a follow up to my initial question regarding the harmonica rig on the cover of volume three, do you play the humble harp?
PB: No I don’t play unfortunately! Had some lessons a few years ago but didn’t get any further. I would love to be able to play an instrument! I’ve always had an interest in music – blues in particular, slide guitar and harp being my two favourite instruments.
SD: It’s obvious you’re a passionate blues person and the books are primarily blues artists, but the books are more than just about the blues.
PB: I realise now that all the stuff I loved when I was little was blues, but I didn’t know it then! I’ve always been passionate about Australian music, that’s why I’ve included a few non-blues people; I was interested to see their perspective and whether blues was an influence or not – it’s a mixed bag and there are a few surprise inclusions, but I reckon it makes it a bit more interesting! It certainly is much more than the blues – just people and stories, really. I think that’s the thing about music (and not necessarily blues music) – it’s a way of communicating. I tried to keep it all in their own words as much as possible so you get a sense of what they’re like as people, not just musicians. Pete Wells (Buffalo, Rose Tattoo) was my favourite slide guitarist which is why he’s on the cover of volume two – an old photo I took back in 2006. He was a lovely bloke and an incredible musician.
SD: There are some fantastic humorous and interesting anecdotes, Ian Collard’s where do you put the gravy, Peter Harper’s didgeridoo, Mick Elliot’s JJ Cale tale and Jim Conway’s harmonica lesson for Jon Bon Jovi, just to name a few.
PB: Yeah, you’re right Shep. Jim talking about teaching Jon Bon Jovi was hilarious, he had more about Jon’s lesson, but not all of it made it to print!
SD: I love a wee bit of controversy – Ben Wicks on the the blues moving on and Matt Taylor’s take on Countdown of which I fully agree.
PB: Yes Ben Wicks had lots to say and so did Bob Spencer!! Both great people as were all the people I interviewed. I can honestly say there wasn’t anyone difficult or hard to get along with.
SD: I believe that vibe is represented by your interviewee’s responses and there’s nothing wrong with telling it how it is from your perspective. I do want to mention a particular live venue from the seventies (which are a thread through your books) that was important in my formative late teenage (early drinking) years – the Bridge Hotel Mordialloc. Have you painted the Bridge?
PB: Yes, venues are SO important! I have painted so many of them but unfortunately not the Bridge. One of my old haunts was the Edgy (Edgewater) in Mentone, another one I haven’t painted! I was a bit of a late starter and didn’t start painting until sixteen years ago when I turned forty. It was interesting when I spoke to Margret RoadKnight to hear the history behind the current Cherry Bar in Little Collins Street. It used to be Little Reata which was where a lot of folkies got their start. Just read your piece about the Bridge, those were the days! The desert boots made me laugh, everyone had a pair of those. I can remember going to a nightclub many years ago (can’t remember where maybe ‘Chasers’) wearing white boots and they wouldn’t let me in….I was told that “prostitutes wear white boots” ??!! That was a new one.
SD: And what about your local the ‘Bundy’?
PB: The Bundy Hall is a great little venue in between Maffra and Sale not far from me in Victoria. My good friend Barry Walker started it a few years ago but he’s no longer running it. It’s in a community hall and has a fabulous sound system and is also BYO. The audience is made up of music fans who are really into the music and very appreciative. Barry was very passionate about bringing top class artists to the area and he succeeded; I have seen so many fantastic artists there; Backsliders, Nikki Brown from the US, Lachy Doley, LLoyd Spiegel, Jeff Lang, Old Gray Mule, James Southwell & Angry Anderson, Ross Wilson and many, many more. It’s great to have such a great venue only twenty minutes away.
SD: Pauline you’ve also put me on to a group with a decent harp player from the eighties called ‘Southern Lightening’.
PB: Glad I was able to turn you on to Dave Hogan. What a voice and what a harp player! Southern Lightning were a massive influence on me, it was raw and honest, and it just seemed like the real deal. I fell in love with Manny Seddon’s slide playing and Dave’s voice as soon as I heard them. I think it was on Triple R or PBS, not sure which. Their song ‘Muddy Waters Blues’ led me to search out Muddy Waters and set me on the blues path which of course led me down the rabbit hole and I’m still on a blues journey! There is still so much to discover and learn about. I realise now that all the stuff I liked when I was little was blues although I didn’t know it then. It really is music that hits you in the heart. I remember seeing Southern Lightning at the Tiger Lounge in Richmond. I went with a boyfriend at the time and his mate and girlfriend. The place was full of bikies and said boyfriend commented: “How dare you bring me and my friends to a place like this” I went up to the bar and got chatting to a lovely fellow – none other than Dave Hogan! To this day he’s one of the friendliest people I have ever met.
SD: Pauline there’s one question that has to be asked. How does an artist become an author and self publisher of a blues trilogy?
PB: Well I guess Shep one thing just led to another! The books are called Blues Portrait because I like to think of it as just another way to paint a picture – with words. The person that led me down that path was my good mate, Melbourne muso Kim Volkman. He was always telling me stories, so one day I said to him, “You should write an autobiography” not thinking that he would take it seriously. He said he would think about it and started writing straightaway and sending me chapters, so I set about the task of editing and putting it into some sort of order to see if we could make a book out of it. Neither of us had a clue what we were doing! I found a book publishing company in Melbourne who set me on the right track and showed me how to do a basic layout, and the rest is history.
We sold out the first run of books and I tossed around the idea of asking other musician friends if they were interested in telling their stories. Because of my interest in the blues genre I decided on that as a theme, firstly, because blues always seems to be overlooked, and secondly I couldn’t find any books on the subject. So many people responded and were positive about the project so, long story short, I ended up with forty six people. A mammoth task which included interviewing, transcribing, editing, sourcing photos, permissions, doing the book layout etc. but wow, what an enjoyable project! So enjoyable I went on to do two more books, Volume 2 and Volume 3 with forty two people in each! I knew there were many more people that I hadn’t interviewed after the first one, so I decided to keep going. Lockdowns helped with that – all of a sudden everybody had time on their hands! I guess it all stems back to my passion for not only blues, but Australian music.
When I was in art school I did a series of portraits, Bon Scott, Billy Thorpe, Ian Rilen, Pete Wells and Lobby Lloyde. There used to be a record store/live venue in St Kilda called Pure Pop which was owned by Dave Stevens (Bon Scott’s son, incidentally) and he very kindly hung some of the paintings hanging in his store. Dave ended up purchasing the Bon Scott painting and then Kim Volkman walked in one day and purchased the Ian Rilen painting. I introduced myself to Kim a few months later at one of his solo Pure Pop gigs and we’ve been friends ever since. Funny how things work out! That was a very sad period for Australian music with all of those amazing artists passing away and I thought it was such a shame that they didn’t get to tell their stories.
SD: Thanks for your efforts in the production of these amazing resources Pauline and for your detailed insights here. Where can the punters purchase your books and artwork?
PB: Thank you, Shep. Best place is from my website Pauline Bailey Art & Books http://www.paulinebaileyart.com.
Just in closing, Nick Charles succinctly puts in words how I muse the blues in Volume 3 and this sentiment can also be heard in his tune Three Lines Deep from his 2015 album, ‘The River Flows’. For you harp enthusiasts the following harpists have been covered by Pauline in each of the publications; Volume 1 – Ian Collard, Chris Wilson, Ross Wilson, Brad Shepherd, Dave Hogan, Shaun Kirk, Barry Walker and Jim Conway, Volume 2 – Ivan Zsar, Continental Robert Susz, 8 Ball Aitken, Eddy Boyle and Snooks La Vie. Volume 3 – Kaz Dalla Rosa, Ron King, Rod Paine, Mojo Webb and Dan Dinnen. Pauline is currently in the throes of researching and editing a fourth instalment.
Wesley Dean (formerly known as Wes Carr and Buffalo Tales) has lifted a fantabulous single off his latest album entitled Gaslighter. A tune about how blessings are found in some of our difficult times and sparked from the one we love. “But when I need the fire you’re the gaslighter.” All the ingredients are there – rhythmic harp, acoustic guitar, husky vocals and a melodic groove. Wesley recorded the album in Nashville where he now resides having left the ‘lucky country’ with his family.
Look what our newly elected Prime Minister has been gifted for his vinyl collection! Funny, a vinyl edition of Benoit’s Valley was never pressed. 😁 Heard a whisper that there’s more from Benoit not too far away – perhaps more harp from the Ol’ Dawg Hisself. Stay tuned.
A third Hohner Up To Date Chromatically Tuned (1898) has surfaced in the United Kingdom, with its box, and is in pretty good nick. And here I was thinking I had the only one in the world!
You Cannot Be Serious
Well this cannot be serious – a Special 20 for $260 plus postage on offer from Griffiths, New South Wales on a well known online auction site! I really am sitting on a fortune considering these are the harps I use. Just saying. Not even vintage, but it is an older model when Special 20’s were categorised under the Marine Band banner. There is another one in the auction (key of ‘C’ – not as rare as a ‘G’ perhaps!😂) for $47 plus postage, and I still have no interest. Just a quick update on the Special 20 in ‘G’. After no takers on the first cycle, the harmonica is now being offered for a quick fire sale heavily reduced to just $150 (second floor, harmonicas, mens and ladies underwear – going down!)
If you missed this month’s feature on Goon harpist Max Geldray here’s a direct link Leather Earache & Graphite Dogbeard.
Sadly Tommy ‘Hollywood’ Morgan has passed this mortal coil. I first came across his harp work on one of my favourite TV shows ‘The Rockford Files’ that starred James Garner. You name a film or a TV show and that harmonica you heard was probably Tommy’s. His Bass harp was heard on the Green Acres theme and was also used as the vocal of the pig, Arnold. He has recorded harp on The Beach Boys (Good Vibrations), The Carpenters (Rainy Days & Mondays), Bee Gees (South Dakota Morning), Neil Diamond (Beautiful Noise), The Hollies (He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother) and Linda Rondstadt (Skylark) to name just a few. He was even there with Elvis at his 1968 comeback special. Condolences to family and friends.
The featured header photo is of a Dwarf Bearded Iris from local hills plant merchants, Tesselaar and it’s named, Jazzamatazz.
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