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Published: October 24th 2013
BLUES IN MY SYSTEM...FEELING GOOD...Great Southern Blues Festival 2013.
The M.C. bounded onto the stage...leant into the mike and said "How good was that? Amazing talent...and he's only 16."
The guitarist leant into the mike and said "Fifteen actually."
The crowd yelled "more...more".
Denise and I were staggered...have followed his career ever since...got all his CDs.
That gig was 14 years ago.
And he's returning to Narooma this year with that original band...Dad on drums, Uncle Phil on bass, Pete on guitar & vocals...Pete Cornelius & the Devilles
...one of our favourite bands...awesome talent.
We go to the Great Southern Blues Festival most years...October long weekend...about 30 bands each time...some travelling from across the globe...guess that means we've seen a few bands in our time...and some of them several times...Pete the most times of all...can't have too much though.
Years ago they'd hand out pieces of paper and ask what bands we wanted them to bring out.
I'd write "Popa Chubby" each time...and this year 2013...he's coming to Narooma...first visit to OZ...gigs Friday and Saturday nights...getting there early...no way we're missing out.
of New South Wales...6 hours plus drive south of Sydney...take the inland Hume Highway this year...the coastal Princes Highway getting more congested each year.
We used to tent it for years like most of the punters...some years pull a campervan...impossible to score rooms...got houseboats one year (which went to Queensland the following year-bummer)...but a few years ago our luck changed.
The year before, just after we headed off to the festival...a crazy 17 year old did a RHT across our bows on a hill and hit the gutter about a metre in front of us. I jammed on the brakes and went through his passenger side door. If I had not had the brakes replaced the week before he would have been killed. I was travelling downhill and he had been coming the other way!!!
Had to hire a car to get to the Festival...pretty pissed we missed the first night of bands...pretty pissed the 17 year old said he'd had several accidents...and somehow hadn't lost his licence.
I digress...the following year our luck changed for the better.
That year we faced torrential rain all down the coast...so heavy we couldn't
face setting up the tent and stopped at a motel about an hour before Narooma. Missed all the Friday night bands again that year.
Yet in the morning it cleared...entered Narooma early Saturday morning...got to the hill overlooking the bridge and channel...water glistening fresh and clean..."Vacancy" sign at the Eco-Lodge on top of the hill...hard on the brakes...LHT.
A group that come up from Melbourne each year had cancelled due to the rain...so we grabbed their giant room...pay a deposit each year for the next year...dry accommodation assurred...way to go...King bed beats wet or hard ground every time.
What about the music I hear you say...sorry can't really hear you...we like the music loud...what you saying?
This year kicked off with Claude Hay
from Katoomba (Blue Mtns)...awesome solo artist who uses overdubs and makes his own guitars including a double neck...last time we saw him was a dark dive in Sydney...nice to see him on the big stage.
Next was Chris Cain
...last time we saw him was about 15 years ago or more...from USA...big reputation but only remember the name.
Wow...now I rate him as a "white B.B
King"...his version of Sweet Sixteen took me into orbit and kept me there for the whole gig...wow many times.
Two other Tents were rocking...but I stayed in this one as in half an hour is the one I've come to see...Popa Chubby (USA)
...and I'm getting front row...Denise comfortably seated in the little stand down the back.
Saw my mate Murray Foote
...official photographer for the Festival...and his partner Jools. We've attended a birthday gig for Jools in their loungeroom in Canberra...one of the best gigs we've ever been to...the Canberra Blues Society rocked the house that night.
Murray's concert pics are the reason I decided I had to get a better camera for when Den & I attended the Festival in the Desert at Timbuktu in Mali, West Africa in 2011...yep...inspired by those award winning photos of yours Murray.
Well I had to pick his brains before the Popa Chubby gig didn't I?
Hope you see improvement in my concert pics...lots to learn...not technical...but getting there.
And how was Popa Chubby
Far out...he was beyond awesome...big big man...no breaks between tracks...incredible skill...Roy Daniels
on bass..joined by Sari Schorr
for the last half...also from New
York...staggeringly powerful voice...the tent was rocking hard...steam coming off his bald head...the Holmes Brothers (USA)
coming out for one track...me front row swooning with 3 guys from Coffs Harbour...couldn't have been a better gig to finish the night...couldn't have been better. Saturday
There were 3 guys outside our room next morning Bernie & Mike brothers from Melbourne and their mate Greg...great company. Hope to see them next year.
Mike interested in attending the Festival in the Desert so we gave him Guy Lankester's details.
He's the Lawrence of Arabia look-a-like that gave Denise away at Our Tuareg Wedding at Timbuktu...wouldn't travel there with anyone else.
Lot of bands Saturday...stellar cast. Pete Cornelius & the Devilles (Tas)...
second track "All My Heroes Are Dead"...wrote it his teens...won an Award...one of my favourite all time blues tracks...rest of the gig rocking the house...reliving past festivals. Watermelon Slim (USA) & Fiona Boyes
...Oz's rep in the World Music Awards for Best Female Artist...always love seeing Fiona...plays with Bobby Rush, Watermelon Slim & others when in USA. Wolf Mail (Canada)...
one of our favourites...flew in from Japan for this gig...blistering blues...see him each time he's in Sydney...still
remembers my name...asked me later "Did you see my gig Dave?"..."Of course I did...you know me" I said. The Holmes Brothers (USA)...
got their Speaking in Tongues CD years back...joyful spiritual harmonies. The Backsliders
...Dom Turner on steel & slide guitars, Rob Hirst (drummer for Midnight Oil) & Ian Collard on harmonica...iconic Oz sounds. Mal Eastick Big Band
...one of Oz's best guitarists...new line up...always see Big Mal.
Another dilemma who to choose to end the night...Chris Wilson
(Oz's best harp player) & Crown of Thorns...sorry Chris...saw you in April...gotta see Popa Chubby
Wow...they say Popa was jet-lagged last night...tonight he not only took me into orbit...but out of the solar system...one of the best gigs I've ever seen...even had me saying he was the best guitarist I've ever seen...that good!!! Sunday
Still buzzing from Popa the night before...had me recollecting I've seen some of the best guitarists ever...can I say Popa is the best when I've seen: Rory Gallagher (twice) Frank Zappa Roy Buchanan Keith Richards (the Rolling Stones) Phil Manzanera & Chris Spedding (Bryan Ferry) Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) Ike Turner (Ike & Tina) Thiejs van Leer (Focus) Jethro Tull 10CC Santana Bonny Raitt Chris Duate Eric Clapton B.B King Buddy Guy Shuggie Otis Billy Gibbins (Z Z Top) and that's for starters...
And what about the maestro Aussies like Jeff Achison, Tommy Emmanuel, Dave Hole
...no time to name them all...the GSBF showcases some every year
Can I rate Popa the best of all?
Well...He's certainly up there.
Weird as it may seem we just wandered from tent to tent today...spent a socable day just cruising...watched my Manly Sea Eagles in the Rugby League Grand Final on the big screen while Ezra Lee
then Ash Grunwald
in the Albert King tent drowned out commentary...unlucky not to win...that forward pass from the Roosters not seen by the Ref pivotal...no hard grapes from me...no sirree.
Taking photos of punters in T-shirts of Blues Festivals & artists from around the Globe...cool pics herein...spreading the TB message...chatting the blues.
Last gig was Chris Cain
...joined on stage by some of the favourites...Pete Cornelius, the Detonators, Alison Penny
...really love a jam to end the Festival.
LEGENDARY BLUES CRUISE
In the Caribbean...See Ya There
thank Neil Mumme
...a local from Narooma who started the festival in about 1997...sold out to the big promoter Michael Chugg a few years ago...who moved it to Bateman's Bay and nearly killed it.
Neil bought it back and returned it to its spiritual home this year...Narooma...could feel the energised vibe all weekend...thanks Neil.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR.
Met a guy in a "Legendary Blues Cruise" T-shirt...goes each year to Blues Heaven in the Caribbean...got the goss.
Paid our deposit...booked the Blues Cruise for January 2015...hope to tie in Christmas with our son Simon in Toronto, Canada...tour the USA.
And to top it off...a special TB couple are going to join us on the Blues cruise...a bingo bonus.
Hope they're good dancers.
Soon find out.
Ahhhh...Can hardly wait!!!
Relax & Enjoy,
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