The Professor & Merrylands

Homage to the mouth-organ the “bushman’s orchestra” – was paid by a professor of music at the Merrylands and Cumberland District Eisteddfod on Saturday. He was Professor C. Sauer, who carries the degree of A.Mus., and holds diplomas of Art at London, Paris and Sydney. “I love the mouth-organ because it has such a soothing affect on the nerves,” Professor Sauer told a large audience at the official opening of the eisteddfod during the evening. Psychiatrists, declared Professor Sauer, had advised him, if ever in the bush, to try the mouth-organ as a nerve tonic. “When I went to-the bush.” he said, “I tried it. I found the mouth-organ very soothing, and I got great satisfaction out of playing it.”. The eisteddfod, which is in-aid of the trust fund of the Merrylands Methodist Church, proved highly successful. More than 600 entries were received.

Professor Carl Sauer was an eminent pianist, violinist, conductor, composer, researcher and author on the history and philosophy of music and he was a noted Hebrew Scholar to boot. If that wasn’t enough, he was head honcho for the NSW Junior Orchestra and Choir. At the age of sixteen Carl studied music at the Conservatorium in Paris for two years before venturing to Milan and then London. He packed his bags and headed to Australia for better health from our warmer climate. Praise the Lord for the mouth organ ‘nerve tonic’.

Two with. One without.

Firstly the one without. There doesn’t seem to be a month go by without a review for a new toon from Good Will Remedy. May Day is their second single from their upcoming sixth album and once again it doesn’t disappoint. Will’s bass line pervades this rockier, Smithereen influenced ripper ditty. From here I’ll let Will take over. “May Day is a song about making plans on your terms – a circle on the calendar and a reverse-engineered exit strategy. I was having a tough time, and felt a little trapped, I was an easy target – but I soon realised after chatting to a couple of wise heads, that I had the power to change that – so I did. I picked a date, got my head down and worked towards that change date”.

Sue Ray is some talent and her latest single is another fine example. Same Train had its genesis when Sue revisited her hometown after an absence of seventeen years. Reflecting on the changes and growth in the town to her own journey disclosed that no matter what side of the tracks you come from we can all hear the same train rolling on. Sue suggests it’s a metaphor for sometimes the very thing that divides us, is often the very thing we all have in common. Sue’s songwriting skills and vocals are of the highest calibre, but what lifts her music even higher is she blows the harp on many of her tunes. Head over to Bandcamp to buy your copy and do yourself a service and check out her back catalogue.

The dynamic duo of Allan Caswell and Lindsay Waddington, who perform under the guise of Lynchburg, have another fine single the talking tune Pretty Queen Of Hearts (one with). This is the first drop from their soon to be released third album. Allan outlines the song’s inspiration, “I’ve always loved those great “talking” songs from the 60s like Jimmy Dean’s “Big Bad John” or Lorne Greene’s “Ringo” … we wanted to do the Lynchburg take on it … I have no idea why, but the tune started me using poker imagery and the song grew from there” There’s nice moody harp in there too! Country session muso Lawrie Minson is the culprit.

Speaking of talking songs, Larry Lyrebird, popular radio presenter on Mountain District Radio, recently spun an interesting version of this genre. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, nevertheless my attention was held from go to whoa. You might want to check it out if you haven’t come across it before – C B Savage by Rod Hart (1976). How in the heck did he come up with this? Larry as well! 😂

Rory Phillips – Beneath Driver Lane 21st April

Yeah, the boy can play…turning all the night time into the day (Walk Of Life – Mark Knopfler)

Yeah, the boy from Tumut (NSW) can play alright and did he what, with an awesome set at Beneath Driver Lane Whiskey Bar. Having interviewed this guitar prodigy aged ten it would take six years before he appeared in our neck of the woods. So Pam and I scoot and booted down Welly Road on to the Monash and into the big city.

We left a little overdressed after what had been a coolish day in the hills to find a pleasantly mild evening when stepping out from the automobile by the banks of the Yarra. Before Rory’s gig a visit to Southbank was on the agenda for a nibble of Japanese Cuisine.

Rory opened his set with two tunes slidin’ on his cigar box guitar, firstly the Black Keys Howlin’ For You followed by one of my favourites Tom Waits 2:19. Then changing wardrobe into his trusty sunburst Gibson, he performed a most excellent array of material. There was his ripper original tune (co written with Alan Caswell and should be recorded) Half My Life then cracker covers, which included; Ain’t No Sunshine, Steamroller Blues and Crossroads. The closer was another personal fav Gimme Shelter with a touch of, what my son suggested, a ZZ Top feel. Hear here a wee snippet below off the eau de cologne.

His signature Fedora titfer has been exchanged for, in Rory’s words, “a slightly more mature Akubra”, which he had forgotten (thanks Mum for running back to the car). It came in handy providing a warning from whacking his head on the low stage overhang – a bit like the sailor’s pom pom on a beanie. Rory won over a few patrons early (those that took time to listen) in this amazing establishment that originally housed the General Post Office money orders vault, but not that ideal for a band with such a limited stage area. Another negative was the access for the disabled or in my case old age limitations (and not too sure how you get up the stairs if you’ve had a few too many single grain whiskeys either). After entering via the street entrance you descend a steep set of stairs until you front a wrought iron, framed glass door which automatically opens into a dimly illuminated, chasmal environment. It was not too dissimilar to the now defunct Basement Discs 😢 located in the Block Arcade.

(Gig pix Pam Sheppard)

Rory’s voice has matured like the whiskey I imbibed on the night and, this combined with his guitar expertise and confident stage persona, leaves little doubt that this kid’s going places. A thoroughly enjoyable evening. Wonderful to finally meet after all these years and what an impressive young man. Cheers Rorski and Sam.

An update on Benoit’s new album Mountain, it has been delayed with the launch now set for June 30 at the Selby Folk Club. The good news is he is thinking of dropping a single before hand and perhaps it may even be the melodic I’ve Been Stranded Out On My Own. This is one of several tracks on which I blow a wee bit of breath harp. Benoit kindly provided 3MDR listeners with a sneak preview of this track on Peej’s Brekky Show this month.

Look out for it soon over on Bandcamp. There might even be a hidden sneak preview over at the SFC link. I had hoped to appear at the release and maybe even play my single Locomotive Weave (for my sound check) before relocating Shep’s Shack to ‘Wonny’ (now known as Shep’s Shanty). Not sure if I can now as I was seeking hermit status at the new abode – The Hermit of Frog Hollow. Just letting you all know though I’m still available for session work (at a very reasonable rate) – just saying.

Cheers to all you wonderful people who have supported me by pur-chasing the single. It means heaps – even helps with the ever rising costs of keeping this Dawg Blawg chuggin’ along, and also the ever rising costs of buying my favourite Hohner harmonica.


Broderick Smith (17 February 1948 – 30 April 2023)

Brod’s headed upstairs to a blow some tasty notes with some mates he hasn’t seen for sometime. Thoughts and prayers to family and friends.

You can check out a wee snippet of Dingo Brod’s harp prowess hear at the Dawg Blawg’s ‘45 Revolutions’ – Way Out West and Boogie Pt.1. You may not be aware that Brod blew harp on Cat Stevens Sweet Jamaica from the 1977 album Isitzo. His vocals were underrated and who will ever forget his singing at Andy Durant’s Memorial Concert especially his rendition of Andy’s Ocean Deep. Andy penned this tune just before cancer took his life aged twenty five way back in 1980.

Eventually I managed an interview (of sorts) with one of my all time favourite Aussie country rock harpists. Check it out here – Man On The Run.

Say a prayer for every driftin’ kid.

Riff Raff

Next month’s feature is a bit of jailhouse rock – a journey into the humble instruments association with prison bars. No first hand experience to this point of time. Just saying. Catch last months feature here No Joe Blow.

Peace & Brown Rice.

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