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Mary Doumany and Jeremy Alsop invoke salon music par excellence
Alsop and Doumany shine on a bleak Sunday arvo
25.9.06 -
Outside Jeremy Alsop and Mary Doumany's Middle Park home the unwelcome Antarctic wind whistled and chopped the bay into a unbecoming British racing green and dirty white foam. With half-a-dozen other guests (including the ubiquitous Ed Nimmervoll) I settled down for an hour's set of delicate and, with the dynamic range set below normal talking level, genuinely acoustic music, drawn largely from the Lovers' first two CDs, plus a couple of new songs. Tonally speaking, Mary is blessed with a classic pop voice akin

to Sadé, but informed with an intelligent versatility that allows her to effortlessly cross the boundaries of folk and jazz and remain totally convincing; all the while expertly playing a chromatic harp - and I don't mean harmonica. Jeremy is a prodigious electric bass player, but reins in his usual ebullience on a pair of fretless and fretted acoustic bass guitars to adroitly complement Mary's singing and playing. At times the music was at whisper level, with both musicians brushing their hands reiki-like over their respective instrument's strings, allowing the occasional tram gliding past outside to become part of the musical soundscape.
I stayed on after the show and listened to some of Jeremy's new songs, and we both raved on about The Beatles and The Band and music in general, while Mary and her friend Deborah retired to consult the tarôt cards. Some hours later I emerged into the darkness and cold, and somehow managed to navigate my way home without being pestered by random breath testers. My only regret was that I never got to taste the Long Gully pinot I'd brought with me - maybe next time..

1) Nicolas Lyon draws a long bow 2) Jo Stephenson looks pretty happy about it all How to finish an album
24.9.06 -
I obviously don't have a clue, so on Friday I went down to Ken Stephenson's place and sat in on a session for Ken's daughter Jo's album, which is going to be mixed and ready to master this coming week. Nicolas Lyon was overdubbing some fiddle lines, and it was so beautiful I think I'll invite him over..

1) Bill with Cath, Ellie and Andrée 2) Miss Molly's seen it all
gig report
Another biggie at St Andrews
18.9.06 -
The St Andrews' pub is one of those gigs that never really lets you down, whether you're the band or in the audience, and yesterday (Sunday) arvo was no exception. Daryl felt relaxed enough to go for a couple of quite radical excursions when given the nod, and Miss Molly (pic 2 ) managed to look totally blasé even when I was singing to her on my knees, as though she had to put up with this sort of thing every day. Bill had invited three of his guitar students (pic 1) to the gig and got them to help load out his gear, after momentarily terrifying them by inviting them up on stage to perform!
Kahvas Jute on ABC TV on Thursday night
13.9.06 - I got this e-mail from Dennis Wilson yesterday..
I'd like to let you know that Kahvas Jute is appearing on the ABC Television Show Live At The Basement on Thursday night 14th September at 11.30p.m.
We did the Basement gig last year and it is being released this month
  on DVD through Warner Music, with a bonus CD of six studio recordings of new songs. The band is Bob Daisley (bass), Tim Gaze (guitar), Mark Marriott (drums) and myself (guitar). The new DVD/CD package is called Kahvas Jute - Then Again, Live at the Basement.
I hope you get a chance to watch it, and I hope you enjoy it.
  Spectrum at St Andrews this Sunday arvo
13.9.06 -
I've been a bit too prolific with mail-outs lately, so I'm not going to send a reminder for this one. Of course, this means I'm worried now that no-one will come. Oh well.. In the meantime, check out Alana Galea's site for a comprehensive review of the Lobby Benefit concert. more photos
Goin' up the country..

1) Darren from the Eastern Station Blues 2) Frances and Rob at the Old Bank B&B - centre of the universe!

3) The Farmer's Arms Retreat 4) The garden at the Arms 5) Breakfast #2 at the Old Bank B&B

6) The view of the Curly Flat dining room (see large pic) 7) This is one long table

8) Jeni cops a group hug
gig report
Eastern Station Blues, The Inaugural Gig and the Curly Flat Winery luncheon
11.9.06 - The cold snap on Friday punctured expectations of a linear glide into spring and ensured that the drive to the Eastern Station Blues was with the heater on all the way. We'd never played there before, but Daryl (Roberts) who had, assured me that the PA was adequate, so we didn't take ours, but I think we will next time - the room was one of those ones with very clattery acoustics, and I swear my ears are still ringing as a result. Anyway, the promoter Darren (pic 1) seemed to think the night went OK and I consoled myself with that thought as freezing needles of rain squeezed in through my barely-open driver's window on the way home and finally to bed at 3.30am..
The first of consecutive gigs in Lancefield, (slightly north of Sunbury if you've not heard of it before), was the prosaically named The Inaugural Gig at the local
Mechanics Institute Hall, which could've been a wine and cheese fair with music, or a good old-fashioned country piss up with optional dancing, depending on your perspective. Frances (who had organised the gig) and partner Rob very kindly invited us to their place to have a meal, before we went back to play in the enormously proportioned (apart from the stage) Mechanics Institute Hall. We managed to have a bit of fun along the way too, and the very forthcoming crowd had a whale of a night..
We stayed at Jueli Mackintosh's The Farmer's Arms Retreat overnight, which was very handsome accommodation indeed, (pics 3 & 4) and managed to score two breakfasts (pic 5) before Frances guided us out to the Curly Flat Winery, which I'd been looking forward to as it produces some world-renowned* pinots and chardonnays. The sun was out but there was a biting wind coming off fresh snow somewhere pretty handy, and even with a room full of expectant diners, two open fires and numerous heaters dotted about the room, none of the band could get blood flowing to their extremities. (The strings on my guitar were like ice - it reminded me of when we were in Winsen Aller back in '83 when we had some late falls of spring snow).
One of Curly Flat's owners, Jeni Moraghan, had been under a lot of pressure throughout the week, and when the oven went on a go-slow it all became too much, so Spectrum gave her a therapeutic group hug, (pic 8) and magically her tears evaporated and the rest of the afternoon took wings and flew. Mind you, it's slightly unnerving playing to a room where nearly half the people have their backs to you, but I got the impression that everybody thoroughly enjoyed the experience - and I certainly enjoyed the Curly Flat pinots. I'm hoping that we'll be able to go back to Lancefield for the Budburst Festival in November and renew the friendship.
I actually bought a 2000 Curly Flat pinot, and after we'd said our fond farewells to Frances, Rob and Jeni, aimed Mitzi at Warrandyte and sped off to watch the rugby at Richard's. By the time I got there I was so whacked that I started to fall asleep in the second half and had to beg off and go home to my own bed, tired but happy. We were made very welcome in Lancefield and treated royally, and it was lovely to have Lisa along to keep Robbo under control and manage the CD sales for us. Hooray!
* Check out Jancis Robinson's reviews
Ross Hannaford shares a chuckle with Mike Thirdperson Roger Treble Benefit
7.9.06 -
Last night I popped down to the Kew RSL to join a large-ish group of boomers who had gathered to pay their respects to Roger Treble, guitarist and all-round nice guy, who's suffering the dual indignities of extremely poor health and an even poorer prognosis. I arrived too late to see the Holdens, but caught the tail end of Blackfeather doing a measured version of Boppin' The Blues, before investing in a G&T and chatting to a few of the people in the room. The five-piece Fats Wah Wah impressed with a sort of Lousiana-funk set before Lindsay Fields sang a few beautiful songs very beautifully. It was at about this point I said hello to Roger and passed on Bill's love - Bill's done in his back chainsawing again and had to stay at home. Ross

Hannford had reminded me about an Epiphone I used to own which I'd forgotten about till then, and then got up on stage and played a few lazy tunes and songs as only he can, before being joined by Margot for a few more. It was then I decided I'd better go home and finish the mail-out, so here I am, at 12.40, with just a hundred or so to go..

Spectrum's big weekend on the wine trail
6.9.06 -
If you've been studying the Gigs page recently you'll know that we're not only heading back to Ballarat on Friday night after a considerable absence to play at a new gig called the Eastern Station Blues, but we're also heading into a delightful Victorian Wine region on Saturday and Sunday to play consecutive dates in Lancefield, and both very different and interesting gigs for the typical Spectrum music, wine and food connoisseur they promise to be! On Saturday night we have auspiciously named The Inaugural Gig at the Mechanics Institute Hall (cnr High St & The Crescent), where several Lancefield wineries will be showcasing their wines at cellar door prices and there'll be local cheeses to sample as well. Supper is provided and it's fully licensed. You should ring Frances on 0438 291 772 right away to find out more. On Sunday we're doing lunch between 12.30 - 3.00 at the Curly Flat Winery (263 Collivers Rd Lancefield), which produces some noted wines, including a fab pinot apparently (yum!)
Ring Jeni on 5429 1956 and don't delay - the whole shebang's only $45.00 and we're planning to be very relaxed while you enjoy a scrumptious three-course meal and sample gorgeous Curly Flat wines of every hue.
Alana's Lobby pics

1) Angry menaces the microphone with prejudice 2) Barnesy has a heart palpitation during Working Class Man

3) Les Stacpool 4) Danny Robinson does The Scream
Even more shots from the Lobby show
4.9.06 - Alana Galea gave me a disc at the Lomond and said she'd managed to take quite a few good shots from her prime position pressed against the stage, and tonight I discovered she'd taken an absolute shitload of great shots. (She won't appreciate that comment - she avoids profanities and gives me a hard time when I inevitably tease her). She filled in a few gaps in the lineup, including the two shots (left) of one of my fave guitarists, Les Stacpool, and Danny Robinson of the Wild Cherries. But wait - there's more! Russell Morris, Jim Keays, Red Symons, Madder Lake, Phil Manning and Matt Taylor and more
Jillian Rudd strokes my ego and my man boobs gig report
Prince Albert and Lomond Hotels double
3.9.06 -
Readers of this website will know I have a problem with really smokey gigs, and this double normally wins the band's iron lung award hands down, but for one reason or another supplementary oxygen was not de rigueur at either gig this weekend. The Prince Albert was uncharacteristically quiet on Friday night - whether punters were still recovering from the excesses of the Lobby Benefit was unclear, but the air was definitely clearer. As a result, I seemed to have a little more energy at the Lomond and had a whale of a night. Speaking of whales, Hugh Waylan tells me the Lomond compilation CD with Spectrum's Hot, Hot Day will be released in November.
Robbo's Lobby photo album

1) Billy Thorpe incites the Lobster (see large pic) 2) Robbo cheek to cheek with the wanly smiling man himself

3) Daz is out of step with the pneumatic Billy and Robbo 4) Ian Rilen made a huge effort just to be at the benefit

5) Jim Keays and Mike on a totally natural high
More Lobster pics from Robbo
3.9.06 -
If anything, Robbo is a more prolific photographer than I am, so it's not surprising he had a swag of shots from Lobby's Benefit at The Palace last Tuesday - and he stayed on for the after-show party. The large version of Billy and Lobby playing (pic 1) is worth checking out - I think it captures a genuine bit of magic, with Billy cajoling Lobby and the interaction with the audience willing the Lobster on. I was hesitant about the Ian Rilen pic - I don't think anybody realised just how ill he was and what an effort it was for him just to be there, let alone play. And what was it that inspired Brian Cadd to approach Jim Keays and me as we slumped comfortably on a Green Room couch, and stridently assert we were a couple of old stoners?
* see readers' correspondence about the show ** See report on the show and more shots from Aug. Stop Press
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