Welcome to another cruisy Sunday afternoon, riverside at the Brisbane’s Home of Live Jazz.
Now step right up. Into our time machine.
Set the dial for the good ol’ US of A in the first few decades of the 20th Century.
Settle in for a fabulous History Lesson. And get ready to meet the pioneering musicians and the music of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s.
Melody Graves and The Hokum Redemption are here to take us waaaay back to those days, by presenting the great music that became the foundation of soooo much of what we love about Jazz to this day.
There’s the Creole/Dixieland/Traditional Jazz sound of early New Orleans. There’s a touch of Ragtime. Some Rockabilly. Lots of Swing. And plenty of those raunchy, tongue-in-cheek, big-grinnin’, Depression-era Hokum Blues.
This six-piece band of superbly talented musicians delivered it all in spades!! And they are:
Paula Hackney (aka Melody Graves) Lead vocals. Washboard.
Dennis Duigan Lead vocals. Guild acoustic guitar. Mandolin. Harmonica.
Bayden Mitchell Gretsch semi-acoustic guitar.
Richard Ferrari Trombone.
Toby Mellonie Upright bass.
Trevor Gollagher Drums.
And the name?
Paula explains that ‘….we wanted the band name to echo the type of music we play’.
‘‘Melody Graves’, an imagined character, was the starting point in coming up with a name that resonates with the Depression era, when music was an elixir for hard times – to dance your blues away. And it is just as relevant today!!’.
‘Hokum Redemption is about Hokum Blues and speaks to a lot of our songs and styles…the New Orleans street music vibe and themes of love, break-ups, revenge, murder, hard times, and looking for salvation.
And once they get their mouths around it – Melody Graves and the Hokum Redemption is a name that people remember!!’
Well, it is certainly a name that won’t be forgotten here at the Brisbane Jazz Club.
With their slick musicianship, they had us chair-dancing all the way through two sets of toe-tappin’, high-steppin’ songs, from a long list of revered and much-loved greats.
They moved and amused us with their ringing, heart-felt vocals. (Two great voices in this band; Paula/Melody and Dennis). And they blew us away with those skilled, driving solos.
And for just a taste of the History Lesson we received…
(Won’t You Come Home) Bill Bailey Hughie Cannon
Big Butter and Egg Man Louis Armstrong
Crow Jane Blues Julius Daniels
Jackson Stomp Charlie McCoy
St. James Infirmary Louis Armstrong
I’m Crazy About My Baby Fats Waller
I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues Cab Calloway
Krazy Kapers The Chocolate Dandies
Biscuit Roller Blues Kokomo Arnold
Truckin’ My Blues Away Blind Boy Fuller
He Ain’t Got Rhythm Billie Holiday
Jerry The Junker Clarence Williams
Benny’s Bugle Benny Goodman
Me And My Chauffeur Blues Memphis Minnie
Devil Ain’t Lazy Bob Wills
And for good measure, a couple of originals… Little Birdie and Carry Me Home…that could have been penned down by the bayou in 1930!!
And while these songs say ‘History’…in their style, there is no missing the influences of the contemporary artists that they are also inspired by, such as Tuba Skinny, Pokey Lafarge, C.W. Stoneking and Albanie Falletta.
Thank you. All of you.
Please come back to the BJC soon…so that you may continue our education…and give us a little more of that Hokum Redemption.
Brisbane Jazz Club