Paul Langford Lever

5th August, 2019

Hey there Riff Raffers,

Floating on a cloud with a cosmic shroud. Play your music loud Chetarca.

“He was one of the pioneers.” (Matt Taylor)

“Paul was the best harmonica player I had heard and a lovely man with a beautiful soulful voice and a great sense of humour.” (Andy Vance)

“Paul Lever was a great blues harp player.” (Kerryn Tolhurst)

“He was a good harp player, actually a very good harp player for the time.” (Brod Smith)

“I knew Paul Lever well and considered him to be an outstanding blues/rock harmonica player.” (Billy Pinnell)

“He was a great guy, funny, engaging and a great storyteller.” (Bruce Bryan)

(Is there another band member in the flying saucer. Perhaps it’s a light fitting for you sceptics)

Paul had his own band performing around the Melbourne nightclubs under the name Langford Lever (Langford was Paul’s middle name) and would later be named the Langford Lever Blues Band. When Kerryn Tolhurst returned from National Service duties in 1969 he recruited Paul for the reformation of the Adderley Smith Blues Band. All was not rosy and Paul would leave the band due to personal issues and would be replaced by Joe Camilleri. Paul, who had developed quite a sizeable fan base was involved in an unfortunate incident which occurred at the Dallas Brooks Hall on May 14, 1970 during a blues show with Dutch Tilders. With Joe as their new frontman he strutted the stage like Mick Jagger wearing a garish outfit consisting of a green shirt and pink strides, much to the band’s dismay and Adderley’s fans. Paul was in the audience and on the fans insistence Paul mounted the stage grabbing the microphone and professed “this is not the blues” and then took over the show. That was Joe’s last stand and Kerryn’s last encounter with Paul. Kerryn reflecting on this, commented, “He was a troubled and beautiful soul and certainly needed support, but I loved his passion and it’s so sad that he couldn’t get help.”

Briefly in 1970 Paul joined the Carson County Band formed by Greg ‘Sleepy’ Lawrie. Bass player and vocalist Ian ‘Fingers’ Ferguson for the band said that, Paul was a nice guy, but was nervous and unsure of himself constantly asking is that okay, when it was fine. It just got too much for Greg.”

In 1971 Paul had Langford Lever gigging again. They competed in Hoadley’s Battle Of The Sounds of that year finishing unplaced behind Fraternity. They appeared on GTK and Sunbury ’72 and ’73. Langford Lever would morph into Chetarca a progressive rock band that were way ahead of their time. Chetarca was a phonetic word first put forward by band member Ian Miller believing it reflected the band’s sound. It did, however cop some flack as a Shitaki mushroom. Paul, along with drummer Geoff Gallent and the amazing guitarist Ian Miller (who would later be with John Paul Young’s All Stars) were joined in Chetarca by keyboardist Andy Vance, his friend bass guitarist John Rees (who was a key member of Men At Work) and Bruce Bryan on synthesisers (and album producer). They released a seminal self titled album in 1975 along with the single ‘Another Day’. The album is highly sought after today by avid vinyl collectors paying between $200 and $300 and their music is extremely popular today in Eastern Bloc countries including Russia. The single peaked at number 75 on the hit parade.

On the album’s liner notes Billy Pinnell is credited for his help. Andy Vance explains, “Billy managed us for awhile to get us going and he encouraged us incredibly, but he was really like a wonderful mentor and friend to us all who introduced us to all sorts of nice people in the music industry.”

Billy was glowing of Paul’s involvement in Chetarca, “While out of his comfort zone in ‘Chetarca’, whose influences included classical music, ‘Emerson Lake and Palmer’ and ‘Frank Zappa’ he adapted extremely well to a band with no other soloists (apart from Andrew Vance’s keyboards) offering subtle harmonica solos on quieter songs, exciting flurries on other. Paul was also a versatile singer and a great front man.” Andy Vance reflected, “We were a progressive rock band and Paul’s vocals and versatility on the harmonica gave the band a style of music that was very appealing to a wider audience. I still get enquiries about the music and particularly Paul’s contribution.” Bruce Bryan has fond memories of his time with the band and Paul. He remembered Daryl Braithwaite being asked in an interview who he thought was Australia’s best singer and replying with Paul Lever. Bruce agreed, “He was right. Paul had great range and could put so much emotion into each song.”

Chetarca would go on to support international acts Electric Light Orchestra and Frank Zappa. They were on stage at Sunbury ’75 and were the backing band for Gerry Humphries. The band’s breakup was a bit of a mystery to some of the band members as Bruce Bryan suggests, “Okay, yeah the breakup was kind of a coup, most of us did not see it coming, but Ian Miller did not want to continue and had some artistic differences with some of us. Also he was in Sydney most of the time. Andy also had some marital and health issues, as did Paul, which probably influenced the whole scenario. It wasn’t exactly unfriendly, but a couple of us did feel like we were kept out of the loop and were quite dismayed at the outcome.”

It appears the musical talents of Paul were lost then and there. Paul had issues that were compounded when medicating with alcohol. Bruce felt Paul may have been dyslexic as he had learning difficulties which resulted in a troubled childhood. Bruce stated that, He struggled to express himself in general conversation, but could write lyrics or sing a song that could be almost erudite.” Paul was a printer by trade and moved to Western Australia where he spent three years primarily sober.

Paul returned to Melbourne and in the late nighties was tragically killed crossing the road from a Collingwood Hotel where he had just bought some takeaways. The driver failed to stop.

In finishing I would like to relate this anecdote and insight on Paul provided by Kerryn Tolhurst.

“I remember he was in tears after seeing the movie ‘Midnight Cowboy’. He really related to the Dustin Hoffman character, Ratso Ricco.”

Hear some of Paul’s harp work with Chetarca‘.

Ch SD

PS: Thanks to everyone who went back in time to recall and contribute to Paul’s story.

 

 

 

Shack Up Inn

17th May, 2019

G’Day Raffers,

Music review time. Hot off the press!

I’m pleased to offer you access to a mighty fine blues tune written by Gary Young of Daddy Cool fame on one of his experiences in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Gary recorded this with good mate Steve Williams (ex Rock Doctors, John Farnham band), who provides the Blues Burger. I’ll let Steve explain the song’s origins, “Shack Up Inn is a 12 bar in A…. it really is in Clarksdale Mississippi and they had a piano in the corner….it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon and there was no one there so they let him have a plonk….Gary can play a convincing Jerry Lee in G and C and he knows hundreds of country and rock n roll songs….before long the ‘Just left work crowd’ wandered in and he had dozens of people buying him drinks for hours…”. Hear hereShack.

Brisbane Country Rock outfit, Good Will Remedy have just released their seven track EP ‘Witness Mark’. Living up to their name, this album like those before them doesn’t have a bad tune. Recorded live in the studio the vocals were over dubbed later which makes them really pop! AC/DC meets country on ‘Rock n Roll King’. No harp on the extended play, however Will Lebihan, vocalist and bass player told HRR that all the band play the Gob Iron-to some level of expertise. Hear/view their second singleJuanita.

Sydney bluesman Simon Kinny-Lewis has a live album ‘A Day In San Jose’ out now in all good and bad music stores. Several tracks feature the high gain-amped up harp of Andy Just. You may remember Andy from his association with Mark and Robben Ford from the Ford Blues Band. Nice to hear ‘Crossroads’ with harp.

img_2996King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard have another album out in the market place, ‘Fishing For Fishies’. More harp than usual and boogie to boot. Ambrose Kenny-Smith channels his old man (Brod Smith) on the stand out tune This Thing.

In late breaking news I have obtained another Australian vintage (maybe antique) mouth organ for my ever expanding collection, ‘The Kangaroo’. An article is in the making. Further research has found support for F A Rauner as the manufacturer of the ‘Crackajack’ models and a newly discovered ‘Boy’s Crackajack’ mouth organ sold by ‘Allan’s’. Stay tuned.

A new NFSCD is not far away and a feature article on a Chicago family living in South Australia in the 1930’s.

All for now. Happy Riffin’.

Ch SD

 

 

Brod’s Time

5th October, 2018

Hello Riff Raffers,

Broderick Smith’s first album in ten years has hit the streets. Titled ‘Man Out Of Time’ the album is nice enough but doesn’t reach any great heights musically. Brod’s voice stands the test of time as does his lyrical storytelling. It is both thought provoking and insightful. There is nothing from his harp work of any great significance either. ‘Singer In Chains’, the pre released single is a standout as is the reworked acoustic version of Dom Turner’s, ‘Prayer Flags’. This tune appeared on the Backsliders 2014 album, ‘Dark Side’. ‘The Desert Blooms Again’ has some appeal.

Hear Brod’s version here https://youtu.be/Ujkdn8zMDsw. Nice that he has recorded a Tom ‘Tabasco’ Rogerson tune on the album, ‘She Is Still Beautiful’. Sadly we lost Tom during the year so this is a fine tribute.

This is still a worthwhile album to have in any collection and particularly if you have it stocked with Dingoes and Brod’s other solo work .

Seasick Steve’s album, ‘Can U Cook’ has been out in the market place for a little while and blow me down there’s more tunes with Mickey Raphael mouth harp. I really like ‘Last Rodeo’ give it a listen here https://youtu.be/-80pm3IVWpY.

A quick lesson for you riff raffers here of Matt Taylor’s Proof’.

Ch SD

Man On The Run

17th September, 2018

Hi Riff Raffers,

At last, an interview of sorts with one of my all time harmonica favourites, ‘Dingo’, Broderick Smith.

As a twelve year old, Brod along with Matt Taylor (Chain), Mike Rudd (Spectrum), Ross Wilson (Daddy Cool) and Chris Blanchflower (Country Radio) piqued this young Australian boy’s interest in the instrument that fits in your pocket. Along with Chris, Brod was adept at playing these sweet, melodic, country lines.

Over the course of my radio show Brod was the only interview I couldn’t get to first base with, not even with contacts through Brod’s acquaintances or direct emails.

Having recently retired the radio show, Brod makes a comeback with a book, ’Man Out Of Time’, and a CD of the same title with original material. Hoping that this may be the catalyst for a written interview for the ‘Shep Dawg Blawg’, I emailed Brod. I suggested general harmonica ramblings, which included his introduction to the instrument, blues/country nuances and his influences, rather than trying to tie him down to a specific interview. We’ll blow me down, Brod responded swiftly and positively, however with the provision of giving him a few days.

A week later, in an attempt to keep the offer in the forefront of Brod’s commitment and as a real interest in to why The Dingoes classic, ‘Boy On The Run’ had been reworked on the ‘Five Times The Sun’ album, I offered this to the list of ramblings. His answer was somewhat surprising, Oh, I have no idea. It’s too long ago. Dingo years are slowly fading from my memory.” Having just written his autobiography this was a wee bit mystifying. It does appear that the Dingoes story isn’t a major feature in his recent memoirs. I wonder why?

Another week goes by and I try again. His reply was a little deflating, but understandable.  I’m sorry, I haven’t started this. I’m snowed under with other stuff, but will attempt this again in maybe the next few monthsBrod did leave the door ajar with his postscript. Maybe give me some questions that I will answer?” I promptly acknowledged his suggestion with what had been my main focus in my initial contact. “How about just this? Your transition from blowing blues licks to country licks (Brod had played in a blues boogie band, Carson before the country rock of The Dingoes). How this came about, your influences and the nuances of both styles?”

Within ten minutes Brod had delivered. Yay! I give you his exact words here. Thanks Brod.

Broderick Smith

Harmonica Ramblings

I started out playing melody stuff I guess, not Blues. Originally I wanted to play the organ but financial restraints stopped that. I also liked guitar so I was influenced a lot by those instruments rather than the sax. So, I went from folk and country in a way to Blues.

Influences would range from Charlie McCoy and other unnamed guys. I liked Sonny Terry and Hammie Nixon in the Blues initially. The UK players were not up there with the Yanks but they were a big help in what tunes they covered which allowed you to find the source if you were so inclined.

Both styles involve some bending but country is a faster playing style than Blues. Folks that play fast in Blues generally miss out on the emotion required and just happily skim along on the surface. The great players weren’t that dedicated to being fast. they were dedicated to playing what the song needed. There is a reason why BB King played sparsely, because it had more impact.

In Blues you can bend notes into pitch to some degree if the harp is a bit out whereas in Country folk it will sound out of tune. In Jazz you’re normally talking chromatic but folks like Blues Birdhead and Howard Levy the modern master of over-blow/draw technique both played/play diatonic. Toots Thielemans was the guy for jazz. Quincey Jones used him as much as possible.

Kind regards

Brod

I offer my vocal/harmonica recording of ‘Boy On The Run’. By the way, it is the authors personal view that the re-recording on the album, ‘Five Times The Sun’ falls well short of the original, as does my version. You can hear Brod’s first release off the album, ‘Singer In Chains’ here https://youtu.be/4PdAQZX6ZNw. ‘Man Out Of Time’, book and album, will be released through Bloodlines on the 5th October 2018.

Ch SD

Man Out Of Time

 

15th August, 2018

Hello Riff Raffers,

7CAC0A17-E9B9-473D-9EE3-B8AC3933D466

Two new books that might interest you riff raffers. Firstly from Starman Books is a biography on Dingoes singer and harp man, Broderick Smith. Titled, ‘Man Out Of Time’. Only 300 copies printed, each are individually numbered and include a signed, ‘Boy On The Run’ lyrics sheet. Price ain’t cheap folks at $99, but it is 396 pages with 600 photos. A new CD by the same title is due for release soon and gigs as well.

 

 

2DD9049A-2C8B-4DCB-9684-233CAF90351B

 

Also out now at all good and bad book shops is ‘Daddy Who’ on the 1971 band phenomenon, ‘Daddy Cool’. The book is written by ‘The Hornets’ singer songwriter and author, Craig Horne. Published by Melbourne books it has 288 pages of which 40 include photos and is titled, ‘Daddy Who’. It will retail at around $40.

 

 

8598FEB0-A6E8-4B26-B624-DAE20D5727D7

Expat, Mitch Grainger now based in LA is set to release an amazing harmonica microphone, Dyna-mic. Easy to hold, no feedback, great tone and all with a flick of a switch. An early bird special is available for the first hundred buyers at $229.

Matt Taylor has his website back up and running and will follow up his 2017 album, ‘The Puzzle’, with another ‘Ozindigo Catalyst’. Chain will also have a couple of Melbourne gigs in October at the ‘Memo’ and the ‘Caravan’.

Two new CD’s to check out are John Schumann & The Vagabond Crew with ‘Ghosts & Memories’. A great tune with vagabond Shane Howard is ‘Times Like These’ and ‘FIFO Road’ with Mike Rudd supplying some Mouth Harp is a beauty. The other CD is by Boz Scaggs’, ‘Out Of The Blues’. Opening track, ‘Rock & Stick’ is a ripper with some nice harp by co-writer, Jack Walroth

Ch SD