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3904Re: [RedHotJazz] Dancing fools Down Under

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  • Bob Eagle
    Feb 26, 2007
      My experience was of similar vintage to Peter's - I was still in my teens when the trad craze hit Melbourne in about 1961, but all the clubs had bands for dancing. We were conscious of the Bells being active in Sydney but I suspect the scene was bigger in Melbourne - there were even venues in middle-outer suburbs like Glen Iris and Ormond (fine bands, too), and I heard of one in Ferntree Gully but never went there. But I was there the first night Judith Durham ever sang in public, and was also present for Judy Jacques' debut.

      The blokes certainly went to dance, but it was daunting trying to get those girls sitting around the perimeter of the hall to get up and join you. And of course having a conversation was nigh impossible. The repertoire varied - in some cases it was all the Kenny Ball favorites, but a number of bands had a good grasp of the New Orleans warhorses. Nick Polites seemed to be on clarinet wherever you went.

      I can't recall ever going to Traynor's but I certainly was a regular at Standish's record shop upstairs, where I was introduced not only to the Hot 5 and 7, but also the French Bluebird 10" LP series featuring Tommy McClennan, Jazz Gillum, Big Maceo and others. It was easy to acquire Swaggies - an EP by Dewey Jackson was an early - and continuing - favorite.

      But then, those were also the days when you could import the latest singles, hot off the press, by Wolf, Muddy, Lightnin' Slim and Lonesome Sundown, and buy local (!) issues by Jimmy Reed. Sweet memories, indeed.

      I was immune to the Beatles when they erupted - by that time I was trying to make out what Charlie Patton was singing, and my hero was Son House.


      "Peter L. Reid" <reid1947@...> wrote:
      At 11:52 PM 2/24/2007, you wrote:

      >In those early post-war years, just abut every gig played by Austalian jazz
      >bands involved dancing. Jazz was music for dancing. Always had been. Always
      >should be. The Len Barnard band played at the Mentone Life Saving Club, just
      >as Kid Thomas played at the Moulin Rouge; Frank Johnson's Fabulous
      >Dixielanders played at the Collingwood Town Hall, just as Billie and De De
      >played at Luthjen's. I have photos of a crowd going beserk, dancing to the
      >Ken Colyer's Jazzmen at the Lyceum Ballroom in London, just the same as did
      >the kids to Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers at the old St Silas Hall in

      A sweet memories. Bought my first Swaggie EP at St Silas's Must have
      been 1962/63. I had just been asked to leave the school I attended,
      so employment became a necessity, and my first pay went on a second
      hand Bessie Smith that had been owned by Frank Traynor's ex-wife. A
      group of us went every Friday night to here Frank Trayner's Jazz
      Preachers. Roger bell on trumpet, "Lazy: Ade on a variety of
      instruments, Frank on trombone, Neil Macbeth on drums, Ron Williamson
      on tuba I think. Who was on banjo and piano (Jimmy Smart?) please
      Tony?. Apart from myself who was raised on Traditional Jazz, the
      other members of the group all became interested in jazz thanks to
      Kenny Ball and His Jazzmen, and "Midnight in Moscow", a big hit here
      in Australia in the early 60's. Caused a huge resurge of interest in
      Traditional Jazz. It was where I first heard Judith Durham sing, well
      before her Seeker's days. Now she could sing. Her vocals on "Cake
      Walking Babies" and "Muddy Water" were magnificent

      >Those were the days, my friends...

      How very true. The 60's all over Australia, not just Melbourne where
      I was living, saw a plethora of bands from the sublime to the not so
      sublime. But no matter what standard, the urge to dance and
      "cake-walk" was always there.

      Peter L.

      "We've got to start thinking beyond our guns.
      Those days are closin' fast."

      The Wild Bunch - 1969

      Send instant messages to your online friends http://au.messenger.yahoo.com

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