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AMC's superb final showcase


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The Adelaide Music Collective has had an extraordinarily successful year, with six sell-outs, or close to it, at the Goodwood Institute, showcasing a wide variety of Adelaide acts, each with a strong national and/or international presence.

The format established from the very first show by Enrico Morena and his team and maintained throughout, has been a major success. Young up and coming artists have rubbed shoulders with legendary veterans of the Adelaide scene and major established artists in between, spanning 50 years of Adelaide music history.

The sixth and final showcase of the year equalled the standard set throughout.

First up was Laura Hill, not often seen in Adelaide these days, now being based in Sydney and the world. Her angelic, expressive vocals were supported by dexterous acoustic and electric guitar, while accompanying herself with percussion played with both feet. Original tunes of great quality, the stand-out being The Secret about the responsibility of knowing about an affair involving friends, and songs inspired by artists like Otis Redding and Bonnie Raitt were augmented by a fabulous rendition of Little Red Riding Hood a tribute to her dad who used to sing it to her when she was a little girl.

The Baker Suite scarcely needed an introduction and was at its usual classy, engaging high standard. Songwriter John Baker, the humble genius, who we learned used to regularly jam with George Harrison in England, possesses a wonderfully expressive voice and sublime guitar skills, supported as always by his partner Gayle Buckby on Piano accordion and vocals. Karen De Nardi added her classy viola on the night, working beautifully with Buckby’s accordion to provide a rich melodic texture. Many of John Baker’s songs draw on his rich Samoan ancestral heritage and are a joy to listen to. Tributes to the legendary Big Bill Broonzy and songs drawn from experiences in Poland rounded out one of the best sets seen at the AMC Showcases this year.

After a short intermission, radio veteran David Day, took over the stage with the latest group of inductees to the Hall of Fame, conducting the interviews with his usual skill.

Bev Harrell, well known to the older audience members as a national TV and recording star in the ’60s and ’70s was charming and looking barely any older than in her heyday. We were reminded of her key role in the legendary Bev, Barry and the Clefs which also featured earlier inductee Barry McCaskill.

Mick Worldey was next, producer/engineer to an enormous array of Australian artists at his Mixmasters Studio. Mick has worked with the absolute cream of Australian music including members of Cold Chisel, John Schuman’s Lawson album, guitar virtuoso Jeff Lang, The Atlantics and others for the Delightful Rain TV special – the list could go on. A nice feather in his cap was being the first to record international star Sia in her early days.

Children’s entertainer Peter Combe was a thoroughly deserved inductee for his contribution to music for children as the writer and performer of so many great songs for kids, that were well known to the majority of the audience, it has to be said. His songs have spanned many generations as his original audiences have grown to adulthood and enjoyed them again with their own children.

Idris and Evan Jones, The Jones Boys, famous for the international number one hit, The Pushbike Song and so much more, joined ‘Daisy’ Day for their induction. Originally working together as The Gingerbread Men, the boys became stalwarts of the Adelaide scene as writers and performers both in song and advertising jingles for Snappy Tom, Birdseye and Bob Moran (set to The Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann). Idris confessed that he told Evan that The Mixtures had called and wanted him as their singer. “But my voice is too deep to be a pop singer”, said Evan. “Yes, that’s what I told them”, replied Idris and took the job himself.

The show concluded with live performances from Combe and the Jones Boys, the former treating the audience to his famous Lullaby song and the big one – Newspaper Mama, with keyboard and harmony vocals supporting his own guitar work. Combe’s outstanding contribution was that he wrote songs specifically for his audience; a market segment he felt had been neglected. His songs were much more than mindless nonsense often associated with children’s music – his material was of the highest quality and tried to educate children, treat them with respect and give them songs that really meant something.

Then it was showtime as the Jones Boys took over with a great set of their own tunes and covers that marked their development as musicians from an early age – puberty to maturity as they put it, or was it poverty to maturity? Either way it worked out pretty well for them. Joe and Eddy, The Hollies and Chuck Berry were revealed as major influences.

The big one of course, was The Pushbike Song and we were treated to two versions of their biggest hit – firstly the original as Idris had overheard Evan playing in his bedroom when about 16 years old. “I don’t like it” he told Evan, who later came home to hear his brother playing it in his bedroom. This morphed into the more familiar Mixtures version supported by yet another Hall of Famer, Mark Meyer, on drums and Quinton Dunn on double bass.

The audience lapped it up gleefully. Throughout their performance, the humour of the boys was evident. At one stage Evan slipped away and returned dressed like some strangely demented Scotsman, complete with kilt that somehow managed to get caught up at the back in his frilly knickers, clearly evident to the hysterical audience as he turned around to acknowledge the band.

It was a great night to finish the AMC’s inaugural year, with even more superb shows already being organised for 2015, resuming in April with Archie Roach as the headliner.

The Adelaide Music Collective Session 6 was held on November 21 at the Goodwood Institute, as was the final showcase for the season.

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