1973 Wally and Lynne in Batman Lane, Surry Hills
My jug band days!
My pulse quickened as I recalled the time I spent around the Taylor Square area. I wondered where Wally and the boys were now? I did a quick search and located Red McKelvie on Myspace, Red had put up a tracks from his latest CD. One of the tunes he had named, "Wally's Song". Dare I play it? I did and I cried, it was a tribute to the days at Taylor Square, to Wally Mudd, his brother Paul and friends.
WHITTY'S WINE BAR '67, Oxford Street, Taylor Square
Proprietors Cec and Joan Whitty
After a day's slog at the Sydney County Council I cut across Hyde Park and made my way down Oxford Street towards Taylor Square. Looking quite the part with denims and tee shirt I anticipated a night of jug and blues with The Starving Wild Dogs.
First stop was Cecil B Fardouli's delicatessen, situated between Whittys and the Chew and Spew, corner of Flinders and Oxford, where I purchased a wizened stick of cabanossi, a crusty bread roll and a lump of cheese, these items, I complimented with a number of ciders as I awaited the band to make an appearance.
Up front was Wheezin' Walter T Mudd on vocals and harp, his brother Paul 'Doggie' Wyld on keyboards and the dapper Terry Wilkins on bass.Many band members came and went, Red McKelvie and Chinese Chris on lead, Charlie Watts, Jim Crowley and Daryl MacKenzie on drums. Mort sat in on occasions treating us to his soulful harp and tempting us with his jug.
I have a very clear memory of Terry announcing that he was changing his style of playing the bass guitar. He traded his use of the plectrum, for an upward finger stroke. (clarify with Terry). Terry a Libran had studied to be a teacher prior to joining the Dogs. He was ever so neat, neat moustache, neat jeans and neat shirt.
The place was packed, and patrons spilt onto Oxford Street. The guys ripped into their repertoire of blues and jug: 'What's that Smells like Fish Mama', 'Mystery Train', 'Messin' with the Kid', 'Dust my Broom', 'Stealin' and Willie Dixon's 'Walking Blues'.
Around '69, the 'Dogs' moved into 290 South Dowling Street, Paddington/Darlinghurst. Faces I remember are Jim Crowley, Wally Mudd, Sonya Kereopa, Terry Wilkins, Paul Wyld, Sue Challis, Allannah, Stuart West and Steve James. I took up temporary residence on top of a sideboard under the stairs!!
The terrace was electric! a different vibe in each room. Terry had the downstairs front room, people gathered there to share their latest musical discoveries. Anna, Red McKelvie, Bob McGowan, Kathy James, Swannee, Martin James, Lindsay Bourke, Hamburger Joe, John A Bird, Sandy, Phil Manning, Shane Duckham, Neil Bramley, Dave and Moya Sturdy (twins), Pip, Adrian Rawlins .. laughing, laughing, laughing...a revolving door so to speak.
The tenement extended out the back onto a courtyard and then into another terrace which housed the overflow from '290', Sonya Kereopa, Larry Knight, Peter Gatehouse, Peter Gardiner, Alan Johnson, Dave Cook and Alan Johnson are a few of the crew I recall.
Steven 'Sudsy' Sutcliff arrived at 290 one evening, paranoid as hell. He had been listening to The Rolling Stones 'Satanic Majesty', and was convinced that the Stones were sending him messages via the album, he placed a glass to the wall and listened to 'the voices' being transmitted by the D's (detectives). Poor Sudsy, his life ended abruptly from an overdose, we had little knowledge of schizophrenia in those days.
We often shared riffs and blues info., good clean healthy fun. However, one rainy Sunday afternoon someone suggested we have a raffle. Names were placed into a hat, I drew Steve James. Steve and I were mates and were happy to jam for an hour or so. The fact that we had conducted a raffle led to much speculation. My friend Errol Wood visited and moved me off my prime position on the sideboard and into his flat in Alison Road, Randwick. The rent was seventeen dollars, my share was three.