Paul Langford Lever

August 5th, 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.

 

 

 

Lip Protector-NFSCD #7

July 1st, 2019

Happy new month Riff Raffers,

Now for something completely different number seven. This was advertised mid to late 1930’s. Not much to add really, except,”Oh really!” Mick would’ve loved it well at least liked it, yes he would.

(Sydney Morning Herald, 9th July 1938)

Ch SD

PS: Just in case you were in early on the last post #28285 there were a couple of music reviews added. Also updates to ‘Cobber & Co’. A promo for this month’s feature article is uploaded on Soundcloud. ‘Kiss This’ will be out in the next few days. See you then.

Goanna Man Of Mystery

7th April, 2019

Hi Riff Raffers,

Within my substantial vinyl record collection there is a twelve inch extended play by ‘The Goanna Band’ titled, ‘Living On The Razor’s Edge’. Released in 1979 there was a limited print of 500 (maybe 1000?). It was produced by Broderick Smith on the Custom Press label a subsidiary of EMI. Two of the four tunes were reworked on Goanna’s (band name was shortened to Goanna) highly successful debut long play release of 1982, ‘Spirit Of Place’ and another appeared later on their follow up album of 1985, ‘Oceania’. The tune that has never seen light of day again is ‘Sometimes’ which has harmonica blown by first named band member, Ian Morrison. Ian also sings lead on this song. Who is this mystery Goanna man? His name pops up again on the liner notes as co-writing ‘Living On The Razor’s Edge’.

The Goanna Band evolved from humble beginnings back in ‘sleepy hollow’, the country town of Geelong in 1977. They had emerged from a folk trio named The Ecto-Plasmic Manifestation Concert Band whose three members were students of Deakin University and included Shane Howard from Dennington. The Goanna Band had an ongoing residency at the ‘Argyle’ hotel where they would play Shane’s originals, but also cover a couple of Dingoes classics, the Kerryn Tolhurst penned ‘Singing Your Song’ (a personal favourite) and ‘Goin Down Again’. Kerryn had a strong connection with the band over the journey. Playing the ‘band in the hand’ on the Dingoes tunes was Ian ‘Morrie’ Morrison perhaps emulating his idol Broderick Smith. Brod even provides backing vocals on the EP’s title track. The band was managed by Ian ‘King Of The Coast’ Lovell who owned the Eureka hotel in Geelong. Later, at the Eureka, a fledgling Goanna would support Cold Chisel who were on a National tour promoting the 1979 ‘Breakfast At Sweethearts’ album.

In May 1981, Shane on Doctors advice took time off and ventured to Uluru (Ayres Rock). Here, close to ancestral spirits, an awakening occurred which later would manifest itself into the writing of an Australian classic. A significant event occurred around this time which raised their stocks, they supported James Taylor on his national tour in 1981. From there they signed to the WEA (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) record label and an album was in the making. ‘Spirit Of Place’ was chock full of top tunes from the anthemic hit single ‘Solid Rock’ (which WEA were reluctant to release as the lead single), the melodic follow up single ‘Razors’s Edge’ right to the rocking finale ‘Children Of The Southern Land’. The reworked ‘Razor’s Edge’ (also with a shortened title) featured Ross Hannaford on lead guitar and Ross Wilson on backing vocals. Goanna reached the lofty heights within the fickle music industry quickly, maybe too quickly, however a band with a message about our nation and it’s heritage was just what the doctor ordered. I met Shane briefly in 1982 at ‘Goanna Manor’ a two story building in St. Kilda just opposite the ‘Junction’ oval-the home of the mighty lions (Fitzroy Football Club). He was shy, friendly, very humble and gracious. Recently I asked Shane about the writing of ‘Razor’s Edge’ and the mystery Goanna man Ian Morrison. Shane responded,“Living On The Razor’s Edge is an old song. I wrote it when I was hitchhiking up the East Coast of Australia back in 1975. Many years later, Ian Morrison, who was in Goanna, added the lyrics for the the third verse, Lulu’s too tired of living down beside Torquay. She’s getting herself together, financially. She says, One of these days I’m just goin’ to lie in the Sun, But right now I’m wondering if that day ever comes. Ian lives in Geelong and works in Melbourne.” In 1979 the last part of the third verse was sung as, ‘She’s gonna have a holiday and lie down in the sun. Well I don’t really know (yeah), but I’d say she’s on the run.’

It was interesting to look back at old footage for the mystery Goanna man. Couldn’t see him at ‘The Venue’ in September 1982 when Solid Rock was belted out, but hang on there he is singing, front and square on the Kerryn Tolhurst penned ‘Underfoot, Underground’ (features on the remastered deluxe version of ‘Spirit Of Place’). Viewing Countdown in 1983 there he is strumming an acoustic guitar (was it plugged in?) on ‘Razor’s Edge’. Was Ian at the Myer Music Bowl for the ‘Stop The Drop’ concert? Yep. There he was stage left dancing and providing backing vocals on ‘That Day Is Coming Sooner’ (sooner than you think). Hanna’s there too.

Shane and Ian must have been close buddies. In 1984 they travelled overseas together visiting Europe and the United States. The ‘Goanna’ boys searched LA for Billy Payne, former keyboard player for ‘Little Feat’ (in the early days they covered some of their tunes) to produce their follow up album. They had met Billy earlier on the James Taylor tour. Initially Mark Knopfler was tendered for the position, however he became unavailable due to commitments with his band ‘Dire Straits’. With Billy on board ‘Oceania’ was in the making. The album was considered by many as a failure. It never had a chance, it could never measure up to the debut album. Shane reflected later, we tried to change and stop being too commercial, but we changed too much and it failed.” (Canberra Times, 8th December, 1988). Not sure if Shane was referring to the first album being commercial (I wouldn’t have thought so) or the tunes that followed, but it was a shame that ‘That Day Is Coming Sooner’ a single they recorded in 1983 wasn’t represented on the new album. The band toured intensively promoting the album spending enormous energy and money. They would never recover. By 1985 Shane suffered a breakdown leaving his wife and four children and the band. He eventually would reside in a caravan at the Gulf Of Carpentaria sorting out his thoughts and place in the cosmos. His return to mainstream existence would not be for another three years.

Shane on his comeback trail released a warts and all solo album ‘Back To The Track’. The title track was a cracker, an up tempo tune featuring Steve Gilbert on the mouth harp. This would be the first tune since ‘Sometimes’ that we would see Shane combine again with the most owned instrument in the world. A few more solo albums would see Shane pair with some of Australia’s harmonica royalty. Jim Conway in his own inimitable style blows harp on ‘Without You’ from the 1990 ‘River’ album and Chris Wilson wails away on the cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘Silvio’ on the 1993 album ‘Time Will Tell’. Shane even has a crack in a rack, Bob Dylan style on tunes throughout his solo catalogue. Okay! I hear you ask what about ‘Morrie’. Not sure he was involved in any of Shane’s solo projects, however he returns on Goanna’s 1998 album, ‘Spirit Returns’ (Kerryn Tolhurst produced) singing backing vocals. ‘What Else Is A Life’ is a ripper tune from this hard to obtain release. The last we knew of Ian Morrison was as a ‘Lobby Ambassador’ for ‘The Westin’ Hotel (part of the ‘Marriot’ group) in Melbourne.

Ch SD

Postscript: You may notice the plane identification on the wing of the ‘Razors Edge’ single (seen above) is FRE-DDY. This relates to the unusual disappearance of twenty year old pilot Frederick Valentich in October of 1978 in the Bass Strait ‘Triangle’. Goanna believed he had been living on the razors edge. The story held some significance for me as the airport he flew from was only minutes from my family residence and Frederick was only a year older than myself. If it was a hoax, as many maintained at the time, it’s strange that to this day there is still no sight of the plane or Freddy. Funny sort of hoax!

Here’s the final part of Fred’s radio transcript with flight service.

9:11:52 DSJ FS Delta Sierra Juliet – The engine is, is rough idling. —I’ve got it set at twenty three—twenty four… and the thing is—coughing.

9:12:04 FS DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet—Roger. What are your intentions?

9:12:09 DSJ FS My intentions are—ah… to go to King Island—Ah, Melbourne, that strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again //open microphone for two seconds// it is hovering and it’s not an aircraft. 9:12:22 FS DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet.

9:12:28 DSJ FS Delta Sierra Juliet—Melbourne //open microphone for 17 seconds// [A very strange pulsed noise is also audible during this transmission.]

Over & Out!

NFSCD #3- Down Under

1st March, 2019

Hi there Riff Raffers,

Now for something completely different number three.

(The Sydney Sun, 25th September, 1947)

He Plays His Harmonica On The Harbour Bed

Maritime Services Board diver Bill Lamb plays a harmonica while standing on the bottom of Sydney Harbour. He developed this curious habit to amuse himself during idle moments and claims that he is the only man in the world who can do it. SWARTHY, thick set and 53-years-old, Lamb decided he would become a diver at the ripe old age of eight. At that time he was living at Jervis Bay and was inspired by a Navy diver doing a repair job on a warship. “I’ve achieved my ambition, and believe me there is no other job like it,” he said. A competent harmonica player on the shore. Lamb is out on his own when it comes to playing at depths up to 60ft. He often takes a harmonica below to entertain his mates above. Inside the spacious diving helmet are attached two clips which hold the harmonica in position near the mouth. It is as easy, Lamb says, to move the mouth across the harmonica, as to move the harmonica across the mouth. Near the harmonica is the microphone of the diver’s telephone. This transmits either orders from the diver or, in Bill’s case, the strains of “I’m Nobody’s Baby Now.”With the Maritime Services Board, .. he works a 40-hour week, spending at least 23 hours of that under water.

By Walter Brooks

A couple of other headlines that featured Bill down under.

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(Sydney Truth, 27th July 1947)

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(Sydney Daily Telegraph, 11th December 1948)

Ch SD

 

Aussie Models-Timeline

14th February, 2019

Hi there Riff Raffers,

A timeline of Australian models (an attempt), as promised a while back.

No no no, not that type of model, sorry! Australian brand harmonicas up to WWII. Like this.img_23341890’s-The Scorcher (F A Rauner/Feldheim, Gotthelf & Co)-up to 1920

1895/99-The Melba (?/H S Chipman-TM 1895), Crack A Jack (F A Rauner?/?)

1896Woolloomooloo Warbler-originally had a patent bone lip protector (Seydel/Alberts), Kangaroo Chalmer (Seydel/Alberts)-Later that year King Billy-two sided & another with bells maybe later at 3s 5d (Seydel/Alberts), Boomerang Large & Miniature-also three sided models in both (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1897), The Federal Harp-perhaps as early as 1880, three models sold in 1910 as the Midget Federal 20 reeds, Junior Federal 20 reeds & Senior Federal 40 reeds (Ernst Hess/J Hess & Co)

1896/98Native Waratah-with celluloid sliding cover (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1910), Wallaby and Possum (Seydel/Alberts-TM 1910)

1898Kookaburra & Cooee 2d (TM reg by M. Johs Richter)

1900The Bushman-originally 2 models 2/- 20 reeds & a 3/- then a 40 reeds at 4/6 (C H Meinel/ W H Paling), Larrikin ? (Carl Essbach) Century Advance Australia (Hohner TM)

1901Corroboree & Geebung (Hohner registered never sold), Federation SouvenirAdvance Australia (Hohner TM)

1902Boomerang Professional and a three sided model (Seydel/Alberts), Crackajack three models all with open back covers Professional, Senior & Junior 20 reeds-also sold by same brand Tommy Dodd and Little Gulliver, added later Boss Cracker, Cadet & Double (F A Rauner/Allans TM-1903), Kookaburra (Seydel/Alberts), The BuglerSmall 10 hole/20 reeds for 1/- and a Large 20 hole/40 reeds for 2/- (Seydel?/Deane and Sons), Wallaroo (C Essbach/Johnstone & Company) sold alongside the Humming Bird and maybe even earlier.

1903Lyre Bird-four models upgraded later to six (?/W F Coxon)

1904Bonzer & Boshter-sixpenny models (?/Allan & Co), Melba (F A Bohm/Flights-Bendigo)

1908Topnotcher-Ordinary & Professional, later the Nipper, Scout, Artists, Vamper, Standard & Concert Grand (C H Meinel?/W H Paling TM-1906), The Kangaroo (A Koch/-) different to Seydel’s later model of same name. Dickens’ Echophonean attachment for the mouth organ invented by Sydney Dickens and patented.

1909B.A.B (Boomerang Arch Bell) series: initially three models #1-4 professional organs 120 reeds with 2 sets of bells 17/6, #2-2 professional organs 80 reeds with 1 set of bells 10/- and the #3-1 professional organ 40 reeds with 1 set of bells. Later (1912?) a mini professional 20 reeds 1 set of bells and a mini professional double with 1 set of bells.

1910The Wallaroo-diatonic and a four sided model (Seydel/Alberts), Kookaburra (Seydel/Alberts TM)

1911-Boomerang Grands-Miniature Grand (nickel plated), Grand (nickel plated), Miniature Grand (black enamel), Grand (black enamel), Austral Harp, Black Gin, Wonga, Jabiru, Wombat, The Wallaroo, Golden Wattle, Budgeree & Lyre-Bird (Seydel/Alberts TM)

1912Cobber four models-20 reed Vamper, 20 reeds miniature professional, 40 reeds standard, 40 reeds professional (Bauer & Krause/Jackson & MacDonald), five Boomerang Professional Arch Bell models, Young Australia-two models (Hohner Special Edition-sold to 1920: TM 1912)

1913Rozella (Seydel?/A P Sykes)-3 models-Solo 20 reeds 1/-, with nickel mouthpiece 1/-3, with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 1/6, Concert 20 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 2/- and the Professional 40 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 3/-, Magpie four models-40 reeds, two large 28 reeds 5s & 3/6 and a small 20 reeds (?/Macrows) to 1920, Coo-ee (Seydel/Alberts), The Kangaroo & Wallaroo (Seydel/Alberts), Bess O’ Th’ Barn (F A Bohm?/A P Sykes)-3 models-Solo Artist 20 reeds 1/-(with nickel case 1/-6), Concert Artist 20 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case 2/- and the Professional Artist 40 reeds with nickel mouthpiece and metal case.

1920’s-Bonzer-four new models (F A Rauner?/Allans), The Kangaroo (A Koch/-)- Made in Switzerland, Rigi model

1923-Boomerang (TM USA)

1924-Boomerang De Luxe-‘Boomerang Shaped’ (Seydel/Alberts) with the slogan “Having Tried the Rest, Now Buy the Best TM 1925 also Boomerang Tiny-four hole, Tiny De Luxe-five hole, Pocket, Miniature & Miniature Professional (Seydel/Alberts)

1925-Baby Boomerang and Baby Boomerang De Luxe (Seydel/Alberts) for a very short time. Koala Harp (?/?). Monarcheight models Piccolo, Vamper, Junior- 20 reeds, Senior, Tremolo Harp, Professional, Artist- 40 reeds & a Grand Concert Harp- double sided 96 reeds at one stage there was a ‘Monarch King’ (E Deinst?/Musgroves)

1926Perla four models-Medium 20 reeds, Medium Professional 20 reeds, Large 40 reeds, Large Professional 40 reeds (F A Rauner/Mick Simmons Pty Ltd)

1926/27-Crackajack upgrade to ten models-Cadet, Junior, Miniature Professional, Professional, Senior, Artist, Miniature Concert, Concert, Concert Grand, Tremolo Concert another advertisement listed them from lowest to highest price as the Tivoli 1/6, Cadet Plain 2/-, Cadet Nickel 2/6, Boss Cracker 3/-, Double 3/6, Junior 4/6, Concert 5/-, Senior 5/6, Professional 7/6 and Artist 10/6

1930Auto-Valve Vamper (Hohner)-Marketed as ‘Australian’ Model and three other auto valve models-blue box with wide air slots, red box an octave lower, brown box two octaves lower

1936Chromorgan-Chromatic & Mezzo Boomerang-Diatonic, a lower music range model (Seydel/Alberts)

1937-Crackamonic-Chromatic (F A Rauner/Allans) also the Crackajack Regal a double sided, two different keys ‘C’ & ‘G’ with 48 reeds each side. Nickel plated and colourfully enameled. P C Spouse ‘Champion Series’-World’s Fame (F A Bohm/Mick Simmons)-3 models a small 20 reeds, medium 40 reeds and a large concert 40 reeds. The Federal Band-Chromatigrand (Johann Schunk/Mick Simmons)-2 models standard 40 reeds and a professional ‘Grand’ 48 reeds.

1939-Jazz Master (F A Rauner/Allans) replaced Crackajacks short lived due to war.

img_3035TM=Trademarked. First named=harmonica maker followed by music house. Unless otherwise stated.

Like ‘The Scorcher’, ‘The Federal Harp’ may not strictly be an Australian name brand, however the ‘Hess’ connection made it a viable inclusion, in my humble opinion. Ernst Hess of Klingenthal, Saxony, Germany made and registered the model (N.25116) and J. Hess & Co music wholesalers of Clarence street, Sydney sold the mouth organ. Ernst Hess had a display at the ‘World Fair’ held in Melbourne, Australia in 1880.img_1771

Please don’t take as gospel, however if you have any information it would be greatly appreciated. This is a fluid document that will be updated when new verifiable information comes to hand.

This research was a result of searching for the maker of Crackajack mouth organs (seeQuest For The Maker‘). Thanks to Ray Grieve & Pat Missin for all their assistance. Here is a collection of their endeavours.

Notes:

PM- I can’t find a “Kookaburra” trademark by Seydel, but there was a “Kookaburra” registered by M. Johs. Richter in 1898. Don’t know if that’s a trademark that Seydel later acquired, or if they are unconnected.

RG- The “Kookaburra” was on the market in 1902. His mention of the 1898 reference is interesting because a “Kookaburra” wasn’t in the original Albert’s range which came out in 1896. (Would be a rare one-off mouth organ if it was ever marketed by Richter.) Pat’s discovery would explain why Alberts had their unique and different “Kookaburra” on the market six years later, if Richter held a patent on it in 1898, which presumably must have lapsed by then?

img_1915-1PM- I’d already written a little about M. Johs. Richter on my website. On the same day that he trademarked “Kookaburra”, he also registered the same “Coo-Ee”. I doubt that these are connected with the later models of the same names, as his involvement with harmonica making seems to have been quite brief. He was mostly known for stringed instruments. Carl Essbach registered the name “The Larrikin” in 1900, for a variety of things including harmonicas. This was presumably for the Australian market, but I don’t recall any harmonicas with this name. Also that year, W.H. Paling of Sydney in conjunction with Glaser of Berlin registered the name “The Bushman” specifically for harmonicas. Again, don’t recall hearing of those.

img_1520-1Hohner registered a bunch of Australian-flavoured TMs, including “Century Advance Australia” (1900), ” Federation Souvenir, Advance Australia”, “Geebung” and “Corroboree” (1901) and ” Young Australia” (1912). The latter seems to have been their best seller Down Under.img_1195-1

Seydel’s earliest TM for “The Boomerang” was from 1897. They registered “The Moa” a couple of years later. They trademarked the name “Kookaburra” in 1910. I’m guessing the Richter TM was expired by then. The same year they also trademarked “Woolloomooloo”, “The Possum” and “Boomerang Miniature Grand”. The next year they registered “Austral Harp”, “Black Gin”, “Wonga”, “Haka”,”Jabiru”,”Wombat”,”The Wallaroo”,”Golden Wattle”, “Budgeree” and “Lyre-Bird”. In 1925 they trademarked a design for the Boomerang-shaped “Boomerang De Luxe” with the slogan “Having Tried the Rest, Now Buy the Best” and in 1926 they registered “Tapu” and “Kiaora”.

I also found a trademark for “Cobber” registered in 1911 by a Leipzig-based company called Bauer & Krause.

img_1552-1RG- Some notes on Pat’s brilliant research: There was a Bushman available in Australia in the 1920s and always sold alongside of the English Topnotcher. (see my “Boomerangs & Crackajacks” book P. 60). It was never advertised as an ‘Australian’ brand. Would seem that Hohner’s Geebung and Corroboree never went into production. I couldn’t find any mention in old Hohner catalogues. And if so Kurt would have definitely mentioned this to me. Very likely that Bauer and Krause made the Cobber. Couldn’t find any info on this at all from either Jackson or McDonald descendants. Would be interesting to know just how many of these actually went into production.

PM-https://www.trademarkia.com/au/crackamonic-71796.htm

img_1459-1It lists “Crackamonic”, but unfortunately has no other data on it. It gives the date Monday, January 1, 1900, but that seems to be the default for this site when they don’t know the filing date.

img_1591-1RG- Pat must be right regarding 1900 being the default date for the “Crackamonic”. It was marketed briefly from around 1938 – I had never seen one until the photo you sent. Most of the old Australian players were using diatonics and considered the Hohner as the superior chromatic anyway (Larry Adler had a lot to do with that).

img_1144-1Articles have already featured Crackajack & Cobber Mouth organs. Waiting in the wings W F Coxon’s Lyrebird, Hohner’s Auto Valve Vamper, Paling’s Topnotcher and Frank’s Boomerang.img_1754

Ch SD

PS: Just found (28/2/2019)! An application by Michel Francios Albert in 1927 for a Trademark. Mouth organ depicting picture of a Kookaburra and the words “The Kookaburra (Laughing Jackass)”. Application # 43906 April 23, 1927.

img_1803-15/3/2019- New addition ‘The Bugler’ sold by William John Deane and sons from 1902 to about 1909. Advertised as Deane’s patent and Sydney is stamped on the cover plate. Appears that it’s an Australian Mouth Organ although not an Aussie brand name, so to speak. Interesting to note that William Deane married Pauline Albert in 1896 (Jacques’ daughter and Frank’s sister). So maybe it’s a Seydel Mouth Organ because of the Albert’s/ Boomerang connection.

img_213523/3/2019- New addition the P C Spouse ‘Champion Series’ on a F A Bohm ‘World’s Fame’ mouth organ for Mick Simmons of George Street, Haymarket Sydney. More information in Ray Grieve’s upcoming third book on the history of mouth organs in Australia. P C (Percival) Spouse was Australian Mouth Organ champion in 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1935. Mick Simmons also had a chromatic brand ‘The Federal Band’ stamped on the cover plate of a Johann Schunk ‘Chromatigrand’.

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27/3/2019- A few more added. 1928 a ‘Baby Boomerang’ and ‘Baby Boomerang De Luxe’. Appears short lived for the same models branded ‘Tiny’. The ‘Koala Harp’ in the same year. Also in 1908 the Dickens’ ‘Echophone’ invented by Sydney Dickens of Carlton, Melbourne, Australia. A horn attachment for the mouth organ to increase volume. More to come in Ray Grieve’s third edition of the history of the harmonica in Australia.

2/4/2019- I’m throwing in Musgroves’ Monarch mouth organs from Western Australia from 1925 or thereabouts. Not an Australian sounding name, but being part of the Commonwealth  (Boomerang mouth organs were once advertised as the ‘Monarch Of Mouth Organs’) and also because Musgroves’ were sole distributors they’re in. More to follow.img_2176

23/5/2019-Recent discovery a ‘Tommy Dodd’ (the boy’s Crackajack) sold by Allan & Co in 1903 for sixpence and also the ‘Little Gulliver’ for 4/d made by F A Rauner. Story to follow!

Tommy Dodd

10/7/2019-Further updates on maker of Topnotcher’s-a Cadet model has appeared with the Balloon Brand and logo stamped on back cover plate which means C H Meinel made this one. In a 1899 trade page The Melba is pictured along with a Crack A Jack! Samuel Holmes Chipman of Margaret street Sydney trademarked the name Melba for musical instruments in 1895. In 1904 a new Melba model made by F A Bohm was sold in Australia. Have also placed Eduard Deinst tentatively as the manufacturer of the Monarch-research is pointing in his direction. Added the Wallaroo sold by Johnstone and Company of 27 The Strand and 672 George-street, Sydney, who were sole agents for Essbach’s celebrated improved Humming Bird and the Wallaroo mouth organs (TM must have lapsed and Albert’s swooped in). We also have two harps that may belong to the gift shops of prominent Australian Hotels. The Metropole (C A Herold) and The Grosvenor Harp (Seydel). Articles to follow.

18/9/2019-Latest updates to timeline. B.A.B Boomerang Arch Bell models advertised earlier than indicated. Preceded the Boomerang Grands and were sold as early as 1909. Rozella’s came in a few different formats and I’ve included the Bess O’ Th’ Barn models sold by A P Sykes as they appear to have only been sold in Australia. The other addition is The Kangaroo, made in Switzerland mouth organ-circa 1920. An article on this will be out before the end of the year.

Ah! Fosters-He’s Got The Flavour

6th February, 2019

Hi Riff Raffers,

Greg Foster is more than an accomplished harmonica exponent and yet for some reason he goes under the radar when we discuss the best Australian harp players.

His extensive body of work with Jazz super group ‘Galapagos Duck’ alone is testimony enough to his proficiency as a musician, songwriter, performer and particularly as a master harp man.

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Greg first came to the author’s attention with the eleven piece band, SCRA (Southern Contemporary Rock Assembly) and with their Sunbury Festival anthem, ‘Roly Poly’, which featured Greg on his other main instrument, the trombone (he also plays the didgeridoo and flute). A later single, ‘Sydney Born Man’ witnessed Greg blowin’ the mouth harp.

Greg’s fascination with the instrument that fits in your waistcoat pocket began as an eight year old lad listening to his older brother’s Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee records. His forlorn attempts at replicating Sonny’s riffs finally came to fruition with the knowledge that Sonny was playing in cross position (second position-where the key of the harmonica is a perfect fourth above the key of the tune). From that insight Greg went on and tutored himself on the most owned instrument in the world.

Greg for as long as he could remember wanted to play the trombone and to play jazz. An inheritance from his Dad spinning Fats Waller LP’s on the family’s gramophone. At high school Greg joined the cadet band and completed six years under the new Wyndham scheme in New South Wales. He studied music as his elective and successfully finished his sixth and seventh grade practicals from scratch. Greg graduated with a diploma of music at the esteemed Sydney Conservatorium and would perform in their orchestra (in 1993 Greg was a featured soloist with The Sydney Symphony Orchestra).

In the 1960’s he would sit in on Bob Barnard’s band in George street Sydney where he began developing his craft. Greg’s first tilt as a member of a band was with the ‘Harbour City Jazz Band’. His next jaunt was with rock’n’roll group, ‘Heart ‘n’ Soul’ another eleven piece outfit, who would try anything. They have the honour of being the first rock band with a brass section in Australia. In the 1980’s, ‘Hunters and Collectors’ kept this tradition in the forefront of popular music. ‘Heart ‘n’ Soul’ recorded an album in 1971 and their single, ‘Hot Boogie Band’ penned by Greg and featuring his harp work was promoted by their record label ‘Infinity’ alongside ‘Chain’s’, Black & Blue. Then, after his sojourn with ‘SCRA’, in 1976 Greg joined the prestigious, ‘Galapagos Duck’. The band had formed in 1969 and were loosely known as ‘Robbers Dog’ when performing at their residency at Charlottes Pass, a chalet in Kosciusko.img_1336

The derivation of the band’s name, ‘Galapagos Duck’ traces back to ‘Goon’, Spike Milligan. Spike, a trumpet player and lover of jazz became friends of the band when they played at ‘The Rocks Push’ in Sydney. The band would follow owner, Bruce Viles across the road to ‘The Basement’ as their resident band. Spike often sat in with the band when on one of his frequent trips to Australia. When asked by a punter the name of the band, he replied, sounds like a Galapagos Duck”. A quirky response, but that’s Spike being Spike and he had just written a script for the Goon Show that included an auction of a Giant Galapagos Turtle on wheels. It was around this time the last Giant turtle named ‘Lonely George’ had been discovered. It is also said that one of the many props at The Basement’ was a large chocolate wheel and when spun the clapper sounded like a duck quacking. Spike’s regard for the group is proclaimed in this quote, Galapagos Duck are the sort of group which play the sort of musicwhich if you haven’t heard them for four years, and hear them again, they’re still ahead. They play the music, man. And they play it great.”

Greg’s percussive technique on the ten hole tin can by using tongue articulation was a distinct feature of his and probably evolved from his trombone playing. When I enquired about the difference between blues and Jazz harp Greg stated, there is no distinct jazz harp, it’s blues harp played in a jazz setting”. He continued emphasising that, I wouldn’t use the harmonica unless the tune had a blues influencebut there would be an interpretive differenceI would use the whole harpblow bends at the top end and sucking draw notes at the other end.” Greg’s harmonica of choice was Hohner’s top of the diatonic range the ‘Meisterklasse’. I’ve posted a taste of Greg’s harp work here, ‘Fosters .

Greg’s harp featured on Digby Richards’ 1972 album, ‘Harlequin’ you can hear one of the tunes, here, ‘Ashton. He also blew three notes on Paul O’Gorman’s 1977 song of the year and best song at the Tokyo International Song Festival of the same year, ‘Ride Ride America’. When I asked why just three notes half way through the tune, Paul responded with,  I’m not really sure why harmonica was added. It just felt right at the point where it came in. It always felt a nice touch that briefly changed the colour of the track and was symbolic of the early days in the USA.” I’ll post a grab of this soon. Here tis ‘Ride

Ah Foster’s harmonica he’s got the flavour. That makes life worth living.

Ch SD

PS: International festivals the ‘Duck’ have performed in: Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Jazz Yatra Festival in Bombay (Mumbai), Musexpo in U.S.A, Manilla Jazz Festival in the Phillipines,Singapore International Jazz Festival, Queenstown Jazz Festival in New Zealand, Norfolk Island Jazz Festival, Lord Howe Island, Vanuatu Jazz Festival.

Albums: 1974-Ebony Quill, 1974-The Removalist, 1976-St. James, 1976-Moomba Jazz (Live recording of various artists), 1977-Magnum, 1978-Right On Cue, 1979-In Flight, 1981-This Time, 1983-Voyage of The Beagle, 1985-Endangered Species, 1989-Habitat, 1997-Lonely George, 2006-Out Of The Blue, 2015-The Other Side Of The Mirror

NFSCD #2-Horsin’ Around

February 1st, 2019

G’day Riff Raffers,

Here’s a story about how the humble harmonica improved a racehorses temperament and with it his performance, aided by a coffee or two.

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(Brisbane Telegraph, 21st January, 1950)

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(Brisbane Telegraph, Sunday 22nd January, 1950)

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(Brisbane Truth, 3rd December, 1950)

Piccolo Pete having admitted his guilt, of sorts, said his conscience was clear. He accepted the stewards findings and would not appeal, proclaiming he was a man of his word. Then there was a change of heart. Here’s what really happened and how the old chestnut, the war injury (a bit of shrapnel) played out.

(The Central Queensland Herald, 7th December, 1950)

I felt I needed to add a few of my research notes to this amazing tale. You just couldn’t make it up, or could you Pete?

Pete was a celebrated show ring identity and noted buck jumper. His real name was John Scott Petersen. This was his first attempt as a racehorse trainer. Pete was tired of breaking in and training horses for others. Hi Lista was said to be an out-and-out rogue and had been cast off by several trainers. Pete claimed music soothed the highly strung Hi Lista, who he had worked with in the past.

Every night he would play the mouth organ in the four year old geldings stable and often they would fall asleep. Even at the racecourse Hi Lista had a tune blown on the gob organ. Pete had told anyone who would listen that he would turn this outlaw into a proper racehorse.

Two months after Pete had acquired the horse he won a buck jumpin’ contest and would ride Hi Lista in a bulldoggin’ exhibition. I say acquired as he said he bought the horse for £300, although Queensland racing steward’s records suggested he leased the horse. A month out from racing this highly strung horse ventured to the ‘Centaura’ show in Ipswich and was hired out for ‘kiddies’ rides at 3d a mount. At one stage he raced six times in eight days and if he wasn’t racing everyday, training would consist of rounding up cattle each day and a track gallop once a week.

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Hi Lista returned a positive swab to caffeine after his short head city win in Doomben, where he ventured round at the juicy odds of twenty five to one. This was reported as a godsend for ‘bookies’ as the favourite, ‘Gallipoli’ had been heavily backed. On the first day of the inquiry Petersen admitted to providing the horse with nine APC tablets – a combination of Aspirin, Phenacitin and Caffeine. They were administered with warm water in three equal dosages. Stewards questioned Pete about the stimulatory effect of caffeine and how that could improve the horses stamina, speed and courage.

img_1185Pete responded that they weren’t given for that reason, but rather to settle Hi Lista who was a nervous horse and this was used in conjunction with playing tunes on the mouth organ. Stewards questioned when the horse was first administered with the concoction and why the horse was specifically given APC? To which Pete replied, “After every time he gallops.” He also added that he first used the powders after Hi Lista “was chewed by a cattle dog, prior to winning in Beaudesert in August.” He continued, “I use the powders myself for an old war injury.” (The Courier Mail 2nd December 1950). All the horse needed was a ‘cuppa’ tea and a good lie down.

When officials inquired about stable security, Pete explained that he didn’t have locks at his Hendra stable. He did have three booby traps set up as he was living near ‘ne’er-do-wells’ and some of them were jealous of him. The night before the race in question a booby trap was set off. Pete searched high and low with no luck. He blew Hi Lista a couple of tunes on the mouth organ and then went back to bed. Pete attempted to have two men provide evidence of his good character at the hearing, however he couldn’t convince them to attend. He told stewards he only wanted them to speak the truth. Pete offered a letter referencing his fine character to be read out. Stewards declined as it was unsigned.

At his appeal of his life ban Pete said he was in the clutches of a gang and he was just waiting to put his hands on some men. He thought he could clean up the gang like he had done in the Gulf country with some cattle rustlers.

As far as I can ascertain Pete’s ban remained. Hi Lista had his life ban reduced to twelve months. Not sure that he raced again. Perhaps he missed his mouth organ tunes and morning coffee.

Ch SD

PS: The timing of this article with breaking news in Victorian horse racing is purely coincidental. Horse racing from time to time becomes front page news for the wrong reasons. If trainers only additional aid to improving performance was just a bit of mouth harp boogie, then the welfare of horses would be somewhat enhanced.

 

By Dingoes

January 17, 2019

Hello there Riff Raffers,

 My mother said I was an animal for my wild and wicked ways. My father said I was an animal cos I would not wash for days. My girlfriend said I was a dog and I guess she oughta know. A man’s best friend in human form I’m a D-I-N-G-O.” (Ross Wilson)

If you were unsure of the spelling of Canis lupus dingo, Australia’s wild canine, Ross Wilson penned a tune for Aussie seminal band, ‘The Dingoes’ to help you. For the record Dingo is spelt D,I,N,G,O, Ross is correct. Nomenclature spelling can be difficult at the best of times, so Ross’ efforts are appreciated. Even the President of America has issues and also with the linguistic process of correct writing with the necessary letters and diacritics present in a comprehensible, standardised order. He spelt forest with two r’s not once, but twice in the same tweet a week or so ago. The etymology of the name Dingo emanates from the now extinct language of indigenous Australians located near Port Jackson and was recorded by Watkin Tench as the name for the wild Australian dog in his 1789 narrative. A dingo bitch was known by the locals as a Tingo. That’s spelt T,I,N,G,O.

Dingo band member, Kerryn Tolhurst, recently explained to me the origins of the tune: “I ran into Ross (Wilson) one day and he told me he had a song for us. So I went around to his house with my mandolin and we worked on it together, although it was his song. It was suggested we include it on the first album, but we thought it was a bit obvious. We did, however perform it live on stage.” Indeed they did! At the third Sunbury Rock Festival In 1974 Brod wentoff his chopsor as Kerryn proclaimed, “Brod really made a meal of the harp on the recording.” And we are all the better for it and so say all of us. Grab two bob out of the till and get yourself a cigar Brod.

A $3.99 album purchased from ‘Brashs’ entitled, ‘ Highlights Of Sunbury ’74 Part 1’ documents this energetic performance and is, as far as I can tell, the only recording of the song. Brod is blowing an ‘F’ tuned harp in cross position. I have posted the intro with a wee bonus on YouTube hear here, ‘Dingo’. The article pictured above (part thereof from the ‘Tharunka’ Tuesday 4th 0ctober, 1977) of the Dingo pack was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors (see how many you can find). Ross obviously didn’t edit the piece. We can be a little forgiving as it is a student publication of the University of New South Wales.

Ch SD

Postscript: Enjoy Geoff Pryor’s 1981 ‘Dingo’ cartoon below – they had a bad name there for a while. 

R.I.P Chris Wilson, Australia’s Blues Harmonica Legend. A tribute here CW.

A Man Called Uncle

9th January 2019

Hi Riff Raffers,

Legendary axeman Kevin Borich only knew him as Uncle. When the ‘Kevin Borich Express’ played gigs in Adelaide, Kev would invite Uncle on stage to jam, such were the skills of this long haired, bearded man with wild eyes, on the most owned instrument in the world. In 1977 the stars aligned when the ‘Express’ were recording their debut album, ‘Celebration’ in Melbourne, Uncle was also in town. Just over half way into the seven minute title track he blew a second position harp solo in the key of ‘A flat’. KB always has his guitar tuned down a half step. Kevin on re-listening to the tune some forty odd years later suggested, We could have had him a bit louder. He did some serious wailing up there in the high register where I hadn’t heard anyone go before.” Hear the harp solo here, ‘Celebration’. I’ve cranked it up a wee bit. Kevin went on to say that, “he was a loveable character pioneering the amp/harp equation.” Who was this man called Uncle and where was he from?

Lets travel back in time, to the year 1968 maybe before he was known as Uncle. The man in question resided in North Shore Sydney. He regularly frequented the Sydney night club scene and in particular the ‘Whisky a Go Go’ in the ‘Cross’. He would arrive with the a case full of harps ready for the opportunity of a late night jam with resident band the ‘Levi Smith Clefs’. He would simply introduce himself to the band as Uncle. Uncle eventually joined Sydney based blues band ‘Copperwine’, but after their jaunt in Adelaide he would abscond and remain behind seeking asylum in the city of churches.

It didn’t take long before an invitation arrived to blow with the band ‘Fraternity’, due to his connection with the ‘Levi Smith Clefs’ as former members had relocated to their home town. The band resided in the Adelaide hills at the prestigious Hemmings Farm owned by entrepreneurial millionaire and promoter, Hamish Henry. The band had already achieved a hit in Adelaide with their version of John Robinson’s (‘Blackfeather’s’ guitarist who had often jammed with the ‘Clefs’), ‘Seasons Of Change’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An iconic recording as it features singer Bon Scott (later to be ‘AC/DC’s’ vocalist), playing recorder. The single didn’t achieve the same lofty heights in the nation’s other states – ‘Blackfeather’s’ label (Infinity) reneged on their promise of not releasing the song after witnessing ‘Fraternity’s’ success. With Uncle now on board (how did he receive this moniker) they entered and won the Hoadley’s ‘Battle Of The Sounds’ and with it a trip to England. Bon and Uncle got on like a house on fire, partly because of their common desire to go ‘upstairs’ (‘Fraternity’ speak for being out of it, on acid and other hallucinatorys, to go ‘downstairs’ was to get pissed on cheap South Australian brandy). Uncle’s harmonica rig at this time consisted of a shell of an old radiogram with a ‘JBL’ inside. It had a dry sound with little bottom or reverb, but golly gee wowee did it look cool. Uncle would get close to the speaker and use the feedback to augment the tune (and in key).

With the release of their second LP entitled ‘Flaming Galah’, Uncles’ identity was revealed inside the gatefold cover with a mugshot as John Eyers (it’s often spelt as Ayers). ‘Fraternity’ recorded a three track single in Melbourne with the ‘A’ side, ‘If You Got It’ featuring a nice Uncle riff. Hear a quick riff lesson by yours truly here, ‘Uncle’ (Harp key ‘A’). The song had been penned under the influence by John Bisset (song however is credited to the band). Their first rehearsal and shaping of the tune was when they were all ‘upstairs’ on magic mushrooms. Uncle had modelled his harp style on Magic Dick from the ‘J Geils Band’, especially his jazz phrasing. Uncle also performed a live version of their 1971 tune ‘Whammer Jammer’ a harmonica instrumental credited to Juke Joint Jimmy. This was another pseudonym for Magic Dick whose real name happens to be Richard Salwitz. After two albums, three singles and an unsuccessful stint in the UK, which may have been detrimental to their longevity, ‘Fraternity’ was no longer.

Remnants of Fraternity re-emerged in 1980 as a blues/rock outfit named ‘Mickey Finn’ with Uncle leading on vocals and harp. It was here Uncle would pioneer the use of a ‘Delta Lab Effectron Unit’ with a twenty decibel gain and a doubling effect called ‘Slap’.

Mickey Finn recorded a self titled album and lifted two singles, however it was somewhat of a disappointment as it failed to capture their live brilliance. Uncle disappeared from the music scene, but at some point he returned recording live gigs for bands. Swanee (John Swan) recalled that at one time he was driving Taxis.

The man they called Uncle was one of the finest blues/rock harmonica players this country has ever produced. God bless you John Eyers wherever you are.

Ch SD

Now For Something Completely Different #1-Amplification

1st January, 2019

Happy New Year Riff Raffers and now for something completely different.

This year on the first of each month I will feature a short article(s) under the banner of, Now For Something Completely Different. It will be a little quirky while honouring the history of the mouth organ in Australia and beyond. Our first NFSCD’ (for abbreviation purposes) is a time honoured concern for mouth organ/harmonica players whether it be busking or blowing in a band, the need for more volume (without feedback!).

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(The Australasian’ 12 March, 1923)

What about this one? It even has a mini drum for percussion.

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(TheWorld’s News’ 24July, 1926)

How about making one yourself?

(The Age’ 11 June, 1937)

Ch SD