The Gypsy Clovers – Friday December 20 2019

Ah, bejaysus and begorrah!!

Irish eyes or not, if you were at the Brisbane Jazz Club tonight, you were certainly smiling…as we temporarily relocated from the Brisbane River to the banks of the Liffey, the river that runs through the heart of Dublin.

Up from northern New South Wales, the five-piece Gypsy Clovers were in town to give us a ceilidh.

What a band. And what a night it was!!

Riverdancing, foot-tapping, Celtic Rock.

Defining and driving the Gypsy Clovers’ sound and style, are lead vocalist Tanya Powell with her powerful, heart-touching Celtic soul voice…and wild-eyed, wild-haired, four-time Tamworth Golden Fiddle Award-winner, Paul ‘Rabbit’ Robinson, with his long jet-black hair and matching fiddle.

Completing the line-up, is the talented Rhythm Section of Paul Carrigg on guitar and occasional lead vocal, Geoff Jones, who was introduced as the big, the bald and the beautiful, on electric bass, and Peter Read on drums.

And it was Peter’s loud, snappy drums that set the night up from the opening number, as the band announced their arrival on our stage for the first time, with U2’s ‘Where The Streets Have No Name’.

From there, they took us on a journey that included traditional songs such as ‘The Irish Rover’, ‘The Wild Rover’ and ‘Whisky In The Jar’, sprinkled among an inspired selection of the songs of contemporary Irish artists such as U2, Van Morrison, Christie Moore, Maura O’Connell and The Cranberries.

They also gave a nod to their Celtic neighbours with ‘500 Miles’, the irresistibly singalong song from Scotland’s The Proclaimers.

And this crowd was in the mood for dancing, so a couple of jig and reel medleys from Rabbit and his fiddle, got everyone on their feet. And the band’s rollicking performance of ‘Those Were The Days’, created what was surely the biggest dance explosion that the Brisbane Jazz Club has ever seen!! They were dancing everywhere!!

At the head of those enthusiastic dancers was our President, Paul Day, whose mother was Irish, and for whom, tonight, the Jazz Club was even more of a home away from home than usual.

But the night wasn’t all Riverdance, as they occasionally sombred the mood with songs such as Christie Moore’s ‘Ride On’ and Pete St. John’s ‘The Fields of Athenry’; the latter, a song about a young man who stole food for his starving family and was sentenced to transportation to the Australian penal colony at Botany Bay.

And then, when it came to say Good Night, they did so with an encore of another of their driving jig/reel medleys, and finally sent us home with Rabbit’s screaming fiddle, on Charlie Daniels’ ‘The Devil Went Down To Georgia’.

No. It’s not Jazz. But hey, it was great crack!!

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club


Galapagos Duck – Saturday January 19 2019

The Duck is back in town. And at their brilliant best.

Tonight, it would have been handy for the Brisbane Jazz Club to have been twice our size. We could have comfortably accommodated everyone that wanted to catch them.

For the capacity-plus crowd that were able to get in, it was an absolute blast. A night to remember.

Galapagos Duck started life at a New South Wales ski resort in 1969. In 1973, they became the house band at Sydney’s ‘The Basement’.

In various combinations, over the years, they have always been at the top of their game. In their current incarnation, they are dynamite;

  • Willy Qua, alto sax – drums/percussion.
  • John Conley, Double Bass.
  • Richelle Booth, tenor sax, clarinet, flute, steel drum.
  • Rodney Ford, drums, vocals.
  • Wil Sargisson, keys.

So, what can be said about a night with one of Australia’s best known Jazz bands, that hasn’t already been said…a squillion times?

Perhaps I’ll just summarise my personal experience and observations, and the key elements that stood out for me…

  • Sublime talent as individual musicians.
  • The magic in their combination, as the power of five soared, roared and lifted the roof.
  • The subtlety and sweetness of their solos.
  • The obvious joy they shared on stage. It glowed, radiated and illuminated the band’s performance.
  • Their humour and never-flagging engagement with a wildly appreciative audience.

After a memorable night, for an enthusiastically demanded encore, Willy and Richelle started by playing their saxes off-stage, each tucked away in a corner of the Club. As they walked slowly to join their fellow band members, the audience’s appreciation built to a huge and thunderous applause; a roaring ‘Thank you and good night’.

The Duck is a class act!! Quack.

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club