Home General Melody Graves and The Hokum Redemption – Sunday September 6th, 2021

Melody Graves and The Hokum Redemption – Sunday September 6th, 2021

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.

Alan Smith

Brisbane Jazz Club