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1) Boys will be boys! Their parents got their revenge with the hose later 2) Paul De Lange and sockless Mike

3) Bill shows the lads a couple of things 4) The party boys
gig report
Combined 50th party goes off!
30.3.09 -
We've probably been past the Glen Forbes Rd turn off dozens of times over the years on the way to San Remo and Wonthaggi's Caledonian (as The Heaters) - which is precisely where quite a number of the party goers remember seeing us. Anyway, Paul (Duck) De Lange (pic 2) had worked out a very sensible arrangement where Spectrum appeared early for the crew who actually were old enough to remember who we were, followed by the Medleys, who undoubtedly had a solid repertoire of party faves to satisfy the dancers - but we were well on the way home by then
Montsalvat rocks

1) The gorgeous Montsalvat setting 2) Rob Harwood sets up the sound

3) Leslie Avril settles in for the night 4) Janet and Lil Fi strike the pose

5) Heidi and Ian McKimmie, Judy Jacques and Sandro 6) The Teskey Bros from the warmth of the Great Hall

7) Ian McKimmie reads his bushfire ode 8) The crowd assesses the Art before the silent auction

9) Some salon music while you make up your mind 10) Lil Fi and Bobby Bright got the crowd on its feet

11) Sandro's dream band evokes some infectious regional Italian dance music
gig report
Montsalvat 'reflection'
27.3.09 -
I was preoccupied in my studio when I noticed the time, so I hurriedly put my guitar and amp (just in case) into the van and rushed off to Montsalvat without bothering to change into something more respectable - or warm, for that matter, a decision I was later to regret. Another error was parking in the lower carpark, which is at the bottom of a fairly steep gradient serviced by a shingle driveway. The
van is unable to muster any traction when it's unladen, so I foresaw some embarrassment on the way out, not to mention that I would be unable to escape before the end of the concert.
I don't know why I was surprised to see that we were set up outside, (pic 1) which, of course, looked fabulous, but left us rather exposed to the chill of the evening. Sandro Donati (pic 5) rustled up an old gardening jumper for me to drape about my shoulders, which did help somewhat.
I was due on after Judy Jacques, but first came some interesting musical items by the Flight of the Favillas (Sebastian Jorgensen, Stuart Favilla, Joanne Cameron & Habibi Favilla), which took inspiration from a myriad of cultures, including the only recorded transcription of the local indigenous people's songline.
Judy's suffering from some longterm throat problem, so restricted herself to a reading at this point, and then I was on. I'm still fumbling around with the solo thing, and I felt only slightly more relaxed than the previous couple of outings. I was determined to do both the kids' songs, but I now realise I should've saved My Dad Said for the last song - And I'm Blue proved somewhat of an anticlimax.
So, there I was. Stuck there. As it turned out, that was a very good thing. As Bobby Bright said, (as we were bouncing up and down to the Andy Baylor band), 'I don't get out much these days, and you forget how good things can be - and just how inspirational it can be!' You said a mouthful Bobby.
My top moment was the guitar interplay between Sam LeMann and Andy Baylor backing up Leslie Avril (pic 3) in Love Letters, but there were plenty of other highlights, most of them involving Sam LeMann it has to be said.
It was Sandro Donati who approached me when we last played at St Andrews and asked if I'd be interested in playing on the 'reflection day' bill, and it was an opportunity for him to pull his 'dream band' together (La bande di Sandro) and explore his penchant for early 20th century Italian dance songs, amongst other things. The beautiful textures and timbres on hand (acoustic bass and guitar, saxes, accordian, trumpet) made up for the initial hesitancy with the tunes, but when the band became familiar with the song constructs they started to really let rip - Stephen Grant the accordionist really shone here. Judy even joined the fray, and sang pretty lustily too, to everyone's delight.
I went up to the top of the hill and checked out the art on display (pics 8 & 9) and got warm, and when I came back, Ian McKimmie was reading some of his poetry about the fires. (pic 7) Then the indefatigable Richard Piper introduced Lil Fi and Bobby Bright, (accompanited by Big Boy Lemonade), who soon had the dancers up on their feet. (pic 10)
Rod Mullinar made a worthy attempt to cultivate any Kiwis lurking in the audience with a reading of some C J Dennis, and I really tried to stay focused, but managed to drift off and miss the denouement.
No matter, Leslie Avril was on next, and she and the band took the evening to another place, another dancing place, much to the dancers' delight. But wait, there was more! Andy and Sam somehow opened a door that I didn't even know was there and I found myself unable to stop from dancing, most probably with a stupid grin all over my face.
Then it was the predicted embarrassment of trying to exit - thank you to the bloke whom I persuaded to stand on the tailgate while I graunched up the hill, spitting gravel every which way.
I was so excited I couldn't go to bed when I got home and now I'm a bit tetchy, but I'm really quite glad circumstances prevented my early departure. An evening to remember.

1) Dean Jones' shot of solo Mike 2) Another Dean Jones' pic of Mike at the mic
Montsalvat postscript
30.3.09 -
I received an e-mail from the non-cricketing version of Dean Jones today, who asked if I'd like some shots he took at the Montsalvat night. I replied as long as they were of me - and then I'd mention 'Artists of Montsalvat' exhibition due next month in the Long Gallery...

Mike's happy to get a copy of the new Nightmovevs DVD
Nightmoves DVD hits the shelves
24.3.09 -
Going to the Post Office is my version of gambling. Sometimes I just know that something annoying is lurking in my rented metal cubicle - not advertising in my case, because you can stipulate that you don't receive it - but maybe a bill or a redundant message from VCAT. Sometimes though, something unexpected and interesting, like a CD or, as in this case, a DVD arrives out of the blue.
I don't know if it could be honestly claimed that this is the DVD we've all been waiting for - a lot of potential buyers have dropped by the wayside in the meantime if that were the case - but if you have fond memories of the ground-breaking '70s Nightmoves TV show and the artists of the time (incl. Ariel, Men at Work, Mondo Rock, Graham
Parker, Blondie, Stars, INXS, Renée Geyer et al) you should make sure to add it to your must buy list. You can purchase it from
The cast of Whim Creek reassembles for..

1) Stu Wood plays air guitar 2) Mark Greig plays a bluesy set with Newcastle Eric

3) Bill pops up behind Robbo and Matt Taylor 4) Bill towers over Angry Anderson and his partner Michelle

5) The somewhat desolate scene as Lowrider pumps the volume
gig report
The Hands Across the Water bushfire benefit - and the Croydon Hotel
23.3.09 - Bill and I left for Tassie on Friday evening - Robbo wasn't able to leave till the next morning - and we rolled up to the Tassie Devils restaurant on the outskirts of Launceston just after 8.00. There we met up with Stuart Wood (pic 1) and Mark Greig (pic 2) and had a hearty meal before retiring to our hotel in town.
I was struggling to shake off the effects of some sort of virus and wasn't feeling the best, but the next day after Robbo got into town we had some yummy seafood chowder for lunch and I felt a bit
better. We were due to play at 3.00 and we'd had bets about the size of the crowd on the way to the venue, and we were pretty disappointed to find our estimates pretty close to the mark. (pic 5) The stage and PA were pretty impressive though, and SA's Lowrider, who were playing when we arrived, sounded very impressive, if overly-loud back stage.
Angry Anderson was the MC and gave us a fulsome introduction, and we proceeded to play a pretty standard blues set, which I have to say was well received - we even played an encore - and then we were collapsing gratefully in the shade of the tents backstage.
That evening we returned to the Tassie Devils restaurant to socialise with the cast and crew over nibbles, (and a couple of glasses of bubbly in my case), and I even managed a bit of a chat with Lowrider's bassist, Scotty.
Matt Taylor came and watched some telly with us back at the hotel, and then we were up again at 7.00 the next morning to catch the flight back to Melbourne to honour our commitment at the Croydon that same afternoon..

6) A former harp student (left) and friends at the Croydon
We picked up some copies of The Sunday Examiner from the Qantas lounge, and found Angry's pic on the front page with the headline Crowd down but Angry's happy, and Bill got his pic on page 5 - hooray!*
When we arrived at the Croydon it was a warm, cloudless day, with the apparent prospect of remaining so - and there were even less umbrellas than last time! The duty manager insisted they'd bought extras and that they'd been stolen the same weekend, but whatever the circumstances we had to make a decision, so we elected to set up indoors in the dining room. (pic 6)
As it happened the skies clouded over during the afternoon, but it was more comfortable indoors anyway, and we had a very pleasant afternoon with a nice crowd.
* I received a text from Stuart Wood yesterday saying that, despite appearances, they raised a hugely creditable $10,000 on the day!
Of I'll Be Gone and other things..
19.3.09 - Before I get onto that, Geoff Achison insinuates himself onto these pages again, here pictured gaily signing Alana Galea's Squier guitar before it's finally submitted for auction on eBay - all proceeds going to the bushfire relef fund.
The I'll Be Gone reference? Well, occasionally I get requested for the IBG harmonica tab, which I'm more than happy to provide on request by the way. (And while I'm on the subject, I'm still teaching blues harp - and guitar - from here in Camberwell, so if you've got a mind to learn blues harmonica, please get in touch).
Recently I got the tip from Brad Capper in WA to check out the video of their version of I'll Be Gone on YouTube. I checked it out - and it's very good. Why not have a geek at it yourself? check it out
A lazy Sunday afternoon..

1) Celia 2) Bill and Rosemary, Ian McKimmie, Jeanette, Duncan, Danny Spooner and Robbo

3) Duncan gives Rosemary a lift, much to Danny's amusement 4) Danny and Duncan sing a working-man's song

5) Duncan and Jeanette (using Mike's Morris) get jiggy with it 6) Jodie and guitarist play a neat set of her songs

7) Daniel flexes his vocal muscle 8) Tony Nirta, Mudman, with Mike the Ruddman
gig report
The trio at Diamond Creek

16.3.09 - Bill invited Robbo and I up to the Sacred Heart Hall in Diamond Creek to help celebrate the life of Rosemary's sister, Marilyn. With most of the people in the room drifting in and out of the performers' ambit as they felt like it, a snappily presented show wasn't required, so the disparate selection of performers just inserted themselves where and when they felt like it. For the record, Spectrum opened the afternoon's proceedings with some instrumentals, then Danny Spooner did a delightful solo spot, to be joined later by Duncan, (pic 4) who in turn teamed up with Jeanette (pic 5) to provide the folk-oriented content of the day. It quite took me back to Sunday nights at the Stagedoor folk club in 1965 - thankfully folk music continues to defy fashion.
A thoroughly under-prepared trio bumbled their way through some covers, then Jodie (pic 6) lifted the standard with some of her own well-arranged songs, followed by Daniel, (pic 7) who I would've thought to be a shoe-in for Australian idol, although he later confided that he might be a little too old at thirty plus.
We were getting a little toey by this stage and feeling under-utilised, so we finished off the arvo with a hot selection of blues tunes, which were just the thing to let loose on and actually seemed to engage the crowd - we even got a request for Rock & Roll Scars!

9) Tony Nirta sent me this pic of Bill, Robbo and Mike rockin' the joint at Diamond Creek on Sunday arvo

1) Mike and Geoff ignore the tuning disparity (Harwood) 2) Mike, Geoff Achison and sound engineer, Rob Harwood
gig report
Mike at the St Andrews pub - on a Saturday night!
14.3.09 -
I headed up to St Andrews tonight for an appearance with Geoff Achison at the St Andrews pub bushfire benefit. Stan said that the meals and drinks were on him, so I ordered a pie of the day, (and a lemon squash), which turned out to be a good choice. Geoff said we should probably alternate songs for our 45 minute set, so I tuned up, even though my Martin sounded good with itself. Geoff did too, but it seemed his tuner was about half a tone sharper than mine, which made for a slightly edgier set than necessary. I think we carried it off OK, and I got to play My Dad Said for the first time and played world's fastest harp with Geoff - nearly broke my bloody jaw!
Solo Rudd part one..

1) John Wells (Roy Orbison), Gavin Nolan and Pip Joyce 2) Wilbur poses with Brett and Brayden Marriott

3) Marian does Connie Francis 4) Darryl Cotton shows Gavin his favourite chord

5) Wilbur blows and blows

gig report
Crudd goes hardcore
at the Springy RSL
14.3.09 - I haven't done a bunch of solo gigs for over a year, so this cluster of bushfire benefits has provided the incentive to revisit the discipline. Last night I popped down to the Springvale RSL at the behest of Gavin Nolan (pic 1) as a special guest for another bushfire benefit. I was originally slotted for 8.00, but that moved back to sometime after 8.30 in the 'Acoustic Room' which adjoined the main room, where Pip Joyce's band was playing with John Wells, (doing Roy Orbison to a tee), and Marian (doing cleavage and Connie Francis).(pics 1 & 3)
I wasn't exactly helped by the icy air-conditioning, but managed to blurt out a selection of Ruddsongs augmented by a version of She's A Woman to restrained acclaim. I hung around through Darryl Cotton's set (pic 4) and The Night of a Thousand Raffles to join Wilbur and the band (who'd done their homework) for a rousing version of I'll Be Gone before finally buggering off home.

Disco Dilemma clip on Videos page
10.3.09 - I think it was Daz that first alerted me to the Disco Dilemma clip being on YouTube. I've been toying with the notion that we should re-incorporate the song into our live set, but then discovered I didn't have a copy of the single - the only version I could find was from the Ariel Aloha album. So, courtesy of RetroDood, I've embedded the clip onto the Videos page. While you're there you might like to check out the rest of the videos, which include the absolutely definitive version of the I'll Be Gone clip, as well as the GTK version of Launching Place Part ll, with the original Spectrum lineup.
12.3.09 - As you can see, (pic) I now have a copy of the Disco Dilemma single, courtesy of Peter Carolan, who very generously dropped it off just a few minutes ago
Franger RSL sizzles..

1) The Frankston RSL beer garden after the second set - the wind picked up a bit, but the crowd came back for more

2) The band manages to fit the quirky Franger stage (Peter Koryn) 3) Daz considers his options (Peter Koryn)

4) Kenny Leroy and Daz - you know you're having a good day when your agent turns up 5) Robbo rules! (Peter Koryn)
gig report
From cheese cake to butterfish medallions

The Soundgarden Sat. 7.3.09 and the Frankston RSL Sun. 8.3.09
9.3.09 - Saturday night, and Bill and I got to The Soundgarden in Laverton North well early. I had to set up and test an enormous graphic equaliser - twice the size of the new, compact mixing desk - and leave enough time for a civilised meal, as supplied by The Soundgarden's perennially cheerful Dave and Maree, before the first set. .
I accomplished both, but whereas the chili prawn salad was delicious, the equaliser proved to be too time consuming to set up and was discarded - the desk worked well enough without it anyway as it turned out.
With it being a long weekend, Dave and Maree weren't expecting a large crowd, so it was just the trio on the night, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the decent-sized crowd responded generously, and bought quite a few CDs as well.
After the show, Robbo and I stayed on for a hot chocolate and some cheesecake with Dave and Maree - Dave is utterly unique in the world of venue owners, and actually helps the band with the load out!
We'd been warned not to bring our PA to the Frankston RSL the next day, as they'd invested in an in-house system that they wanted to see being used, but the duty manager told us when we arrived that they'd had some problems with it the previous night and so we eventually decided to use our own. It's one of the more arduous load-ins, and our lunches (the butterfish medallions) arrived at the precise moment we were due to start, so I had to explain to the considerable crowd that had built up that we'd be beginning a few minutes late.
Unlike our other regular Sunday arvo gig at the Croydon, the Franger has put quite some effort into refurbishing the beer garden, (pic 1) and, despite the stage having one of the more quirky layouts, (pic 2) I think that it worked better than the first time we played there.
It's been so long I didn't recognise him at first, but Westside's Kenny Leroy put in an appearance, (pic 4) which, in reality, means he lives just down the road, but it was good to see our agent at a gig nonetheless.
There were quite a number of people there who were familiar with the Spectrum heritage, and they sang and danced along to the retro set in particular, even as the cool southerly wind picked up, hinting that perhaps that Melbourne's long, hot and testing summer is finally over.

A sketch in oils of Bill, Miss Vicky and Rod Claringbould
gig report
Crudd & Pump at the Clifton Hill
5.3.09 -
Having learnt from our last outing, I'd prepared a list of prospective tunes for Bill and I to choose from for one of out rare duo nights at the Clifton Hill pub. Rod Claringbould (pic) has been sponsoring these nights for decades now, and he must get a lot of personal enjoyment from them because there are never too many punters in the room - not when we're on anyway. Miss Vicky (pic) usually does the sound, but is touring with a theatre production company and so wasn't on duty. However, she happened to be in town for the day and paid a surprise visit to the Clifton Hill anyway, so it was nice to catch up.
I felt pretty relaxed, despite the inordinate amount of
distortion from Bill's air guitar in the foldback, (although Alana told me on the way home that both guitars were distorting out front), and the crowd, such as it was, seemed to enjoy the music. That almost qualifies as perfection as far as these nights go.
The Love Bucket Blues benefit wash-up
4.3.09 - I got this info recently from the tireless Michelle Achison (pic) re' the final wash-up for the very successful night at The Corner just over as week ago.
The final tally from The Corner Hotel takings alone came to $15,200. Of this, $500 came from staff tips, $800 donated bar profits, $525 of staff wages.
We expect between another $2000-$3000 after LOVE BUCKET and raffles takings are tallied.
The money will be placed in a secure trust fund set up by Rob Rowe of The Bendigo Bank Williamstown, and will be presented to the Red Cross as one lump sum from this event.
In a more recent e-mail from Michelle, with all the other earnings taken into consideration, the final tally for the night had exceeded $18.000. A fantastic result for Team Achison, and of course, everybody involved in the night.

1) Radio Ga Ga's Neil Butler with Sam and Lucy 2) Bill gives Sam a couple of pointers
gig report
St Andrews is alive and well
2.3.09 -
Almost as worrying as Bill's recent skirmish with the bushfires was the possibility of losing the St Andrews pub, so it was even more of a homecoming than usual when we played our traditional slot there yesterday arvo. The edge (there's always an edge!) was that I'd bought a new mixer and speaker stands for the PA, and in the excitement had managed to leave my Morris nylon-string guitar at home! As it turned out, the absence of the Morris didn't present too much of a problem, but the new speaker stands were way too big, and I discovered that the new, more compact mixer didn't have a graphic equaliser. There are lessons here, but I'm too old to take heed, so I'll just be annoyed with myself and try to salvage something out of the situation with my long-suffering friends at Music Junction.
There were plenty of musical moments to savour during the afternoon, and we ended up with a bunch of dancers happily dancing away in the last set, which is just the way it should be.
Neil Butler and kids turned up (pics 1 & 2) and Neil brought Bill along a Radio Ga Ga T-shirt to match the one he gave me when I visited Radio Ga Ga. Now the year has truly started..
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