The Local Rag

Feb/ Mar/Apr/May/June 1996


Back in Business!

G'day Folks!

It seems as if I have been on the road for months for the simple reason, I suppose, that I have been on the road for months. After a hectic Christmas of wrapping up presents; putting them under the tree; chasing Josephine (now 18 months old), retrieving and rewrapping the presents again; putting them back under the tree only to do it all again half an hour later.... I was thinking wistfully of a relaxed New Year. 75,000 'alternate lifestylers' dancing under the moon in a tropical setting with a 70 ft. wicker man burning wildly at midnight wasn't perhaps exactly what I had in mind but that was what I got!

The Maleny Folk Festival held in sweltering Queensland summer weather was a new experience, even for me. The combined sounds of Thousands of 'the natives are restless tonight' drums and clouds of marijuana smoke that would have alarmed any Country Bush Fire Brigade hung over the festival for the entire four days I was there. The fact that Maleny is so well run made it all bearable, but the highlight for me was the great debate on the proposition that "Political Correctness ( a sacred cow to many in culture of dissent) is always political and never correct." Since I have always had a passion for free speech it was a topic I took to with a vengeance, The night was a laugh a minute and top marks went to Martin Pearson for his hysterical Politically correct rewrite of the 'Twelve Days of Christmas'. It was difficult but I did manage to escape without donning a tie-dyed headband, wearing a woven Kaftan or buying a crystal for the entire event.

Driving home in a straight run, it was on to the bus the very next day for the Tasmanian Tour. Steve Dobbie's Tour had planned everything to the split second and might have stayed on track except for the presence of Josephine and the Drummonds (now nicknamed the Griswalds). Well, timetables were never my strongpoint!!! We got to know some of our followers a little better and that was a great privilege. Carol and I were a bit concerned that Josie might disrupt everyone's peace and harmony over such a long distance, but by the end of the tour she seemed to have inherited about 40 surrogate parents and we were both very grateful for the extra help. Mind you explaining her new vocabulary (words like 'Pub,' ' brewery,' 'cider' etc.) to our relies wasn't easy!

Straight off the bus in Sydney, it was onto a plane to Tamworth for The Tamworth CM Festival. Honourable number 2 son, Peter, and the Bushwackers were up for two Golden Guitars in this year's awards but missed out on both I'm afraid. Ah well, "glorious in defeat" was perhaps the appropriate expression. You couldn't buy a ticket for love nor money to get into their festival shows.


Despite a treasured invitation to perform with them on the the new Bushwackers 'Silver Jubilee' Album which was recorded on Australia Day for the ABC, I was committed to return to Sydney for three shows on that date. The upside was that each of these shows was very different and very memorable. Starting the morning with Don Burrows at Liverpool; continuing at Merrylands with my good mate Allan Caswell during the afternoon and concluding with a solo night show at North Ryde was pretty tiring; but I felt this year more people were honestly trying to use Australia day to consider where we might be going as a nation rather than just using it as another excuse for a long weekend and a party. I find that an encouraging development.

Two days after, I was off again for the loop through Glen Innes and Port Macquarie. Thanks again The Hamiltons who organised the Chapel Theatre show for the third year running. Community organisers are now the backbone of my performance work and Carol and I are very grateful for their input. We do need to locate some other organisers to expand the number of towns and communities we have reached; so if your group or school is planning a fundraiser please call us. It is not as difficult as you may think and it has been very rewarding for those who tried it.

NOW FINALLY FOR THE BIG NEWS! Our Graphics Arts firm, Electric Art has had very good return this last six months and the result is that we now have most of the finance to record the new album without having to wait for record company involvement. The Album will be recorded at The Beach House Studios in Gosford with Nash Chambers from The Dead Ringer Band engineering. Apart from the change of studio though, We are hoping to use exactly the same lineup as "LAUGHTER LIKE A SHIELD".

I am also looking forward to including 'The Ringers' on a few tracks. For the first time ever it now seems that we will have the luxury of not having to work for much of the time that the album is being recorded. This a major advantage and one I have not been able to even consider during the previous recording projects.

NB. There are also some SPECIAL NOT TO BE MISSED gigs this quarter including a DEAD RINGER BAND, PAT DRUMMOND AND BRENT PARLANE Combination at The Dural Country Club. NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE FROM FEBRUARY; a return to Blacktown Workers with the Bushwackers, and the 1st annual BLUE MOUNTAINS FOLK FESTIVAL! Finally one in my home town!!! See leaflet for details.

Feb 1996

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