In this third installment of the Adelaide Music Collective Sessions incorporating SA Music Hall OF Fame inductions, there was an overwhelming air of dignity and respect for the late Jim Keays, former lead singer of iconic Australian group The Master’s Apprentices. Keays was to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame alongside fellow original band members Brian Vaughton, Mick Bower, Rick Morrison and Gavin Webb, but unfortunately passed away weeks ago after a long illness. Graciously accepting the award for him though were his wife Karin, and daughters Holly and Bonnie in what could only be described as an emotional and defining moment for all in attendance at the Goodwood Institute.
Commencing the showcase of talent on this evening hosted by Dave Flanagan was acoustic sensation Loren Kate, who gave an earthy, crisp sounding set of songs that soothed the appreciative crowd. Loren Kate, who has been spending time writing some new material since Womadelaide saw the AMC sessions as a wonderful concept to bring newer and older musicians together in a mentoring environment.
Vincent’s Chair performed some of their Folk/Jazz influenced tunes with singer Kathie Renner’s vocal depth not unlike Joni Mitchell’s (or Karen Carpenter’s, depending on who you ask). The group, who’ve been together since 2006, are headed to the UK and France in September and will no doubt wow audiences with their all-original, musical observations of life.
In similar format as previous sessions, there was a break from music to induct the Hall Of Famers which in this instance were:
John Swan (Swanee)
Johnny Mac OAM (50s/60s recording/TV)
Elaine Moore (50s/60s pop star)
The Master’s Apprentices (Jim Keays posthumously, Mick Bower, Brian Vaughton, Gavin Webb and Rick Morrison)
All inductees spoke with regular host David ‘Daisy’ Day and offered anecdotes of their careers in an interesting, informal sit down session where they each were presented with their Hall Of Fame medals. 50s/60s entertainer Elaine Moore, who toured with names such as Johnny O’Keefe and Chubby Checker, had some fascinating insights into live entertainment in that era.
Country singer Johnny Mac OAM credited his longevity as a performer to his lovely wife Barbara, who always supported him throughout his formative years. The SA legend who shared the stage with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins among many others is still as sharp as ever, and offered the quote of the night when discussing his large family including grandchildren, and how that as an octogenarian he still had plenty of showbiz left in him. In an unintentional double entendre which caught him off guard, he stated that he was ‘Still performing….erm… singing at my age..!” It wasn’t lost on the audience, whose laughter took a while to subside.
John ‘Swanee’ Swan told the story of how he and brother Jimmy Barnes were migrant kids growing up in the Northern suburbs and how music was their way out of a tough upbringing. The early and ongoing influence from Jim Keays was a large part of Swanee’s move into music and ultimately his success. After 50 years in showbiz, brother Jimmy Barnes offered congratulations in the way of a letter that was read out for all to appreciate.
Johnny Mac brought this 1st half to a close with one of his hits “Pink Champagne and a room full of Roses’ before the original Master’s Apprentices came on stage and talked fondly about their origins and history as well as recollections of their friend and band mate Jim Keays.
Accepting the award for Keays were his wife Karin and daughters Holly & Bonnie, who both spoke highly of their late father and were very excited to see the original members reunited for the first time in almost 50 years. Eldest daughter Holly said “It’s so lovely that all the guys are here again, they’ve been so supportive and we are (Bonnie & I) are so honoured that Dad touched so many people”. It was a beautiful moment as affirmed by the standing ovation as a mark of respect for one of Australia’s greatest entertainers.
Proving that having a good set of pipes runs richly in his lineage, Swanee gave a ballsy set of his hits including ‘If I were a Carpenter’, ‘Hold Your Head up’ and ‘He’s Gonna Step On You Again’, whilst other inductees were clearly enjoying the performance backstage. Keep a look out for Swanee’s new album ‘One day At A Time’- out now!
In a finale fit for a king, the original lineup of the Master’s Apprentices including both of Keays’ daughters joined the stage in what could best be described as a remarkable tribute to Keays. Hearing Mick Bower’s original riffs played in songs such as ‘Living in a Child’s Dream’ and of course the opening of ‘Just Because I Love You’ was truly awe-inspiring in its original glory. The iconic chorus of ‘Do what you wanna do, be what you wanna be’, which defined a generation of Australians, was sang enthusiastically by the adoring crowd in unison. It was truly magical and as Comedian host Dave Flanagan put it ever so perfectly in summing up the entire evening- ‘This is the soul of Adelaide’! Indeed it is!
All in all, these events are a valuable part of S.A’s rich music history and organizer Enrico ‘Mick’ Morena has done an impressive job of assembling some of S.A’s best from all eras and genres in a collaboration of talent that is unsurpassed.
The Adelaide Music Collective sessions run bi-monthly, with the next one scheduled for August 29, which will see Adelaide identities Bob Francis and Max Pepper inducted among others. But be quick as these shows sell out fast, and so they should! The only negative aspect I can point out regarding the AMC is that it needs a more permanent venue, so this is something Arts SA or the State Government would do well in funding as it is a very worthwhile undertaking.
Reviewed by Darren Hassan