Skip's Review - 30 September 2022

by Skip Landy

This evening marked the first anniversary of the club’s Open Mic/Live Blues Nights. Time flies…

We had just the one new face, a few second timers, and a bunch of regulars, reprising songs from previous nights, and lots of new material as well.

First up we saw the return of journeyman solo bassist/singer/songwriter, Steve Gray (aka The Bass Show), accompanied with his digital backing tracks. His set comprised mainly of the material that he introduced back in July (e.g., Revenge, Bullshit Blues, Cairns City, et al).

I spoke to Steve about his background and found that he has been playing for over forty years since starting off in Albury, NSW playing heavy metal and reggae (not at the same time) before moving south to Benalla, Vic playing Country and Western (yup - both kinds of music), then off to Perth, Cairns, and then Melbourne (all blues). I suppose that it might be South Australia after Tassie to complete the set.

There were no takers for the second and third slots in the program, so the local favourites the SwampRatzzz were next up, and gave us an extra-large set to compensate for the shortage of acts. They also reacquainted us with highlights from previous nights, such as Buddy Guy’s Little by Little and I Won’t Cry by Janiva Magness. I loved the three-part harmonies on the chorus of that one guys. I also liked the twin guitars of Paul and James doing their swampy version of Dorothy La Bostrie’s Rich Woman. They also sailed through Finnish singer Ina Forsman’s Talk to Me

They introduced us to a song by a relatively obscure Austrian blues singer, Meena Cryle, (with the Chris Fillmore Band) - Put Your Hands out of my Pocket, a slow 32 bar blues. They also played Albert Collins’ If you Love me Like you Say.

Brendan Wakely returned to the club and played a fine solo set comprising some of the great blues classics (Statesboro Blues (Blind Willie McTell) and Dust my Broom (Elmore James)) as well as a Wakely original What You Got is Good.

He also played a song unfamiliar to me Floating Bridge by Sleepy John Estes. Google tells me it’s a song about drowning which is one of those themes that pops up from time to time in the blues.

Word has it that Brendan has been doing good things at the Kermandie pub down the road with their Sunday open mic sessions, and he tells me that Kermandie have got plans for bigger things down the track. More later…

Brendan then kickstarted the jamming for the night by inviting harmonicist John from Gardners Bay and myself on piano to work through the changes of T-Bone Walker’s Call It Stormy Monday.

This then segued into the next act which was an unnamed collective featuring familiar faces (Manny-bass, Andy-drums, Robert-sax, me-piano, and familiar face but first timer Rebecca on vocals). We retained Brendan on guitar and jammed through a set of Louisiana flavoured musical styles (the swampy cry-in-your-beer ballad by Bobby Charles I Don’t Want to Know, and rhythm and blues classics Down Home Girl, Come On (Let the Good Times Roll), Get out of my Life Woman, and It’s Your Voodoo Working). 

Apart from being given a very short timeframe to learn these songs (two weeks, one rehearsal) Rebecca admirably tackled the southern styles with aplomb. She also introduced to me a Depeche Mode song that Johnny Cash made his own before his departure – Personal Jesus. You just never know where you might find the blues next.

So even though the evening didn’t have its full quota of acts, the evening was full of music. 

Next month’s live blues night on Friday, 28th October will be the last for the year at the Geeveston Returned Services Club. But wait…

Only a fortnight later there will be one last hurrah at the Kermandie pub on Friday, 12th November. This will be in effect our Xmas Party extravaganza. Not to be missed. Check in with the Lightwood Bottom Blues facebook page to keep up to date with the information regarding this night.