Monthly Archives: October 2013

Fem Belling in “Divas and Crooners” @ Glen Eira

DIVA is perhaps an overworked word in theatrical hype but in the case of jazz vocalist Fem Belling, she certainly meets two of the basic criteria to qualify for the title – a versatile and expressive voice, and a thoroughly captivating and commanding stage presence.

This is very late advice of a Fem Belling concert tomorrow (Saturday 26 October) at the Glen Eira Town Hall, Corner of Hawthorn and Glen Eira Roads, Caulfield at 7.30pm, but if you’re quick there may still be tickets available.

Fem will be backed by the Howard Belling Trio which includes father Howard on piano, and as the “Crooner” part of the program, you will be treated to the smooth, Nat King Cole-like voice of well known music theatre star, Bert Labonte.

The show starts at 7.s0pm. Tickets are $30 or $25 for concessions and students.

Book here or by phone at 0417 056 919.

For those who haven’t heard Fem in action before, here she sings (and plays violin) with her trio, Night and Day, an upbeat version of the Gershwin classic, “I Got Rhythm”. The other two arms of the trio are Pete Mitchell on saxophone and Bryan Karahasan on guitar.

Davey Rankin’s Melbourne Farewell Party

Dear Friends of Dear Departed Dave,
After a fabulous street party last Sunday in Lismore, the Rankin Family are now looking forward to holding Dave’s Melbourne Party on Sunday October 27th.

The Celebration will begin with a Street Band playing outside Luna Park at 10-00am. (This should leave time for those with Sunday gigs.)

A procession route will be decided before the day and you will be advised by email, Jane La Scala’s Jazz Ramble blog, the Australian Jazz Lovers Group on Facebook, and a Rankin File FaceBook page. This will enable those with limited walking situations to drive / be driven to the (yet to be chosen) beach spot. Once there we’ll share some magic moments from Dave’s adventures and there will be a couple of surprise guest artists. Pat Miller, as a friend and ex-Rank ‘n’ Banned’ member, has offered his services to organise the marching band. Contact Pat to join the list.

Finger food will be available. Not sure about flagons though… Hip flasks perchance!

Dave, David, Davey Rankin spent the last 30 years of his life up North, in Sydney, Brisbane and finally Lismore. Despite the years away his heart still remained in St Kilda and one of his final wishes was to have his ashes scattered on St Kilda Beach.

Please wear something appropriate for a Street Party, especially Coloured Umbrellas, suspenders if you dare and underwear as day wear perhaps. The Famous Gorilla Suit will be there amongst the black fishnet stockings and old bicycle seats.

Dave’s daughter Rachel is on her way to Melbourne with the Ashes and will later be joined on the day, by Merella, Boyd, Johnno, Allan, Tom, Helen and the family in St Kilda for this very special occasion.

If you know of anyone that doesn’t have email access please feel free to ring them and share these details.

Yours, for Dave’s daughter Merella Curtis and The Rankin Family.

Graeme Davies
34 Lyons Street Carnegie Vic. 3163
0418 587 687 – 10am to 8pm – 7 Days.
Merella’s email is

Wombats Cancelled!!!

MESSAGE today from Bill Kerr via Tony Orr advising that the Wombat Jazz Band gig which was to take place at the Gannawarra Centre, Essendon North on Sunday 20 October has been cancelled.

Tony writes: Unfortunately this gig has been cancelled for reasons best known to the organizers. Sorry but, these things happen.

In any case, your article was a good bit of publicity for the band. Our regular third Monday of the month at the Elsternwick Hotel, 59 Brighton Rd, Elwood, is still on (next 21st Oct) and we would love to see as many there as possible. We still have a consistent crowd of regulars and old friends attending and nowadays, we do a blend of American and Australian tunes. You know the old saying “bookings essential” and we welcome new faces. Bookings: 9531 3218

Still the same lineup of recent years:
Bill Kerr, reeds
Ken Collins, trumpet
Judy Taylor, piano
Ian Smith, bass
Jacqui O’Neill, washbord
Tony Orr, banjo

Best regards
Tony Orr

Wombats out West

CLASSIC Australian jazz band, The Wombat Jazz Band, will make a brief foray out west from their usual stomping ground – The Elsternwick Hotel in Brighton Road, Elwood where they have been playing on the third Monday of the month from 7.00pm – 9.30pm since 1997 – to the Gannawarra Centre attached to the Essendon North Uniting Church at 132 Keilor Road, North Essendon.

When? Sunday 20 October from 2.30pm – 4.30pm.

I understand that the band will comprise some of the usual suspects – Bill Kerr, reeds; Ken Collins, trumpet; Jacqui O’Neill, washbord – with a couple of guests in the shape of Kim Harris on piano and Simon Vancam on string bass and tuba.

As devotees will know, The Wombat Jazz Band’s reason for being is to help keep alive the best of Australian jazz compositions. Their repertoire contains over 200 classic Australian compositions from the period 1930 till 1980. It includes tunes by Bob Barnard, Geoff Kitchen, Tom Pickering, Neville Stribling, Frank Coughlan and John Sangster, as well as works of contemporary local musicians such as Dave Hetherington, John Scurry, Ian McNamara, Eric Holroyd, Graham Coyle, Bob Pattie and band members Ian Smith and Bill Kerr.

Inspired by the unique sound of early Australian groups such as Roger Bell’s Pagan Pipers and Lazy Ade’s Back Room Boys the band has sought to develop its own style, featuring a line-up of Trumpet, Clarinet, Alto Sax, Washboard, Piano, Bass Saxophone or Sousaphone.

This is a chance to share with The Wombats the joy of our Australian jazz heritage at a different location. The Gannawarra Centre has on-site parking, wheelchair access and excellent facilities.

For more information you may contact Bill Kerr by phone at 9596 1520 or byemail

Davey Rankin funeral/celebrations

Davey, with Matt Mason on guitar, playing at the Gollan Hotel, Lismore
February 2011

Thank you to Pietro Fine for the following funeral notice and additional information:

Outlandish, inspirational entertainer, Davey Rankin passed away early on Sunday the 6th of October. Much loved by family and many in the community he’ll be greatly missed. Share a celebration of his life this Sunday 13 October, meet at Davey’s, cnr of Keen and Park Street Lismore 12 midday, with a 2pm Street Parade to Lismore City Bowling Club. There will also be a wake at a later date in Melbourne at the Balaclava Hotel.

I would also like to make it clear that musicians should expect to play on Sunday. Davey didn’t want anything sad, he wanted a New Orleans style parade followed by a big jam and party at his church i.e. Lismore City Bowlo.
Anyone coming who would like to contribute to the food can bring a plate. Contact me with any other offers of help.

We are going to set up some sort of Davey Rankin page so messages and stories can be shared on Sunday & into the future. In the meantime you might enjoy this link to stories from Graeme Davies & John Roberts:

This is what I can tell you about Davey’s passing:

He died early Sunday morning while on the phone to his eldest daughter Merella. Davey’s been going downhill over a couple of years with emphysema, but lately had a few falls and about one month ago was admitted to hospital where his condition stabilised but he wasn’t well enough to go home despite Merella coming up from Melbourne to look after him. So he went into care in a hospice. He then had a bad attack of shingles. On Tuesday he tried unsuccessfully to play his trombone and ended up falling again too, which was very depressing for him. In the end he actually went fairly swiftly, which is always the best.

Pietro Fine

Dave Rankin, 1936-2013

JAZZ TROMBONIST, Dave Rankin died in Lismore on Sunday 6 October 2013 at the age of 77.

Long-time playing-mate and close friend, Graeme Davies has allowed me to publish the following tribute to Dave, much of which appeared in the Victorian Jazz Archive’s magazine, VJAZZ, No. 51 August 2011.

I’VE GOT ONE FOR YA’! was David Rankin’s opening line since he first learned to dial a phone. It was usually a limerick, (he being a master limericist), or a joke of dubious origin.

A measure of Rankin’s limerick skills was apparent when a limerick challenge between him and American trumpeter Clark Terry ended in a toe-to-toe draw in 1974 at the 29th Jazz Convention in Croydon, Victoria .

There was always an endless supply of laughing material from David Laurence Rankin born in 1936 near Moonee Ponds, Melbourne, Victoria.  His mother, singer Frances, didn’t survive the birthing and father, pianist Bruce, passed young David into the care of his married sister, Anne Rankin’s family.  Young Rankin’s attitude to life was formed early, pushing him towards a career that would make people laugh, be happy and also jolt them out of their everyday routines.  This he achieved!  The name “Rankin” became synonymous with, not only great entertainment, but also outrageous stunts, in restaurants, on stage and in the streets of Melbourne when conservatism ruled the day . His penchant and skill with twisted lyrics is ably demonstrated in “If you see Kay’.

Dave Rankin, Don Bentley and Ian Cuthbertson, 1958
(from Norm Linehan’s Australian Jazz Picture Book)

His foray into jazz was with drummer Spike Edwards Rhythm Ramblers circa 1956 followed by various bands including the famed Melbourne New Orleans Jazz Band and eventually the Alan ‘Sny’ Chambers’ Bands which played hard, drank hard, partied hard and made the hit parade in 1963 with their version of Steptoe and Son.

Rankin and Sny were the perfect combination, nice people as the music reminds us.  Sny, an excellent trumpeter and vocalist was ably supported by David Robinson, clarinet, John Cavanagh banjo/vocals, Tom Arrowsmith, piano, with John ‘Gypsy’ Bennett, sousaphone, taking over from the prematurely lost Brian Carter, plus Don Boardman, drums and our hero on trombone, gags and stunts.  The band kept Melbourne Town  dancing and laughing from around 1958 up to 1966 during which time Dave was privileged to work with comedians Maurie Fields and Sid Heylen during Sunday closed-door nights at Elizabeth Street’s Hollyford Hotel where he refined his timing and comedy talents while playing their ‘straight man’.

At Alan Watson’s farm near Tilden, Vic. 1963
Paul Martin, Maurie Garbutt, Keith Atkins, Alan Watson, Campbell Burnap, Cliff Tierney, Dave Rankin
(from Norm Linehan’s Australian Jazz Picture Book)

He then moved to Adelaide and played in several bands with Dick Frankel and other Adelaide luminaries including the very successful Abraham Lott Blues Band which featured regu­larly on Adelaide ‘s Channel 10 “Teen Time”.

Returning in the early 70s he formed the first Dave Rankin Band which played at Doug Mcintyre’s  (brother of pianist Willie)  Railway Hotel in Port Melbourne.  It included trumpeter Ian Orr, electric bassist/vocalist Tom Cowburn, with David Robinson clarinet, drummer Peter Clohesy and banjoist Pete McCormick, who were replaced, after the band moved to The Lemon Tree Hotel, by saxophonist Graeme Davies, pianist Ron Sedgeman and the remarkable drummer Glenn Bayliss to become the Rankin File.

The Lemon Tree Hotel, on the corner of Rathdowne and Grattan Streets, Carlton, was Melbourne’s first Saturday afternoon gig.  It was hugely popular leaving just enough room for number-one fans Harry and Susie to dance on the wine sodden carpet.  Rankin and Davies commenced most Rankin File gigs by giving a reading of the Women’s Weekly social pages, updating a captivated audience with the current antics of Toorak’s daughters , Prue, Tiffany, Jane and their beaux’ adventures in Portsea, South Yarra and Hayman Island. The dynamic duo also gave weekly translations of, as yet undiscovered, Lemon Tree chef lain ‘Huey’ Hewitson’s French menu, all resulting in tears, laughter and much muttering from the band waiting to play.  There was always a bit of interplay with Owen Yateman’s bands and Yatey’s drummer , lan Coots, who played the last eighteen months of the Lemon Tree and also Thursday nights at Bob Walton’s Dick Whittington Hotel. When Owen Yateman’s Big Fat Brarse took over the Lemon Tree gig in 1975 they seconded Graeme Davies and held the residency until 1980. When he left ‘The Tree’ Dave formed Rank ‘n’ Banned which featured Doug Dehn, trumpet , Pat Miller, tenor sax, Dick Cullen, banjo, plus bassist Derek Capewell and Alan Richards on drums.

Rank ‘N’ Banned at Australian Jazz Convention, Hobart 1977
Neil Lewis, Dick Cullen, Pat Miller, Alan Richards, Doug Dehn, Dave Rankin
(from Norm Linehan’s Australian Jazz Picture Book)

In 1983 our boy got the wanderlust again and moved to Sydney where he did quite well until tighter liquor laws decimated the Sydney gig scene  An offer to join a band near Lismore took him further northward to the little town of lluka. He then joined The Grafton City Jazz Band which had Colin Jones, trumpet, Dave Croft, electric bass, Kevin Maling, drums, Geoff Gissane, piano, and the now re-branded ‘Davey’ Rankin, trombone and vocals. Davey eventually settled in Lismore, attending Lismore University to complete an Arts/ Music Associate Music Diploma, buy a house and create a highly successful singing telegram service.

Dave at the Australian Jazz Convention, Lismore 2005
(photo: Jaz Stutley)

I managed to spend four days at Dave’s house in Lismore this Jul y (2013). He was always talking about his next gig, ‘as soon I feel better’ was often said in conversation. He wanted to go over the road to his beloved ‘Bowlo’, The Lismore Bowling Club,  yet even that wasn’t possible with his energy levels.  Ex-Melbourne banjoist Brendan ‘Mookx’ Hanley was recently staying in Dave’s house and provided great assistance when our man had trouble breathing through the effects of his emphysema.

While I was with Dave, we had pies, lasagne, beer and a home-made celery soup, the only vegetable in the house . Dave loved his microwave and considered vegetables a hindrance to his well-being. When we said our goodbyes I knew it would be for the last time.

So, no more phone messages:  ‘I’ve got one for ya’ or ‘it’s only boring old Rankin calling’.
Boring? I think not.

Graeme Davies

In 2011 a 2 CD set of Dave’s recordings was produced – I’ve Got One For Ya. There are 29 tracks from the bands The Rank ‘n’ File / The Sny Chambers Bands and Rank ‘n’ Banned. Contact Graeme by email for information.

Cheap Frills!!

YES, that’s Jaz Stutley of Frilly Knickers, but perhaps the boys in the band are not so readily recognised.

They are:
Brett Willis who plays reeds (flute included) – he is also the conductor for the Dandenong Ranges Hot Jazz Orchestra and played recently with Frilly Knickers and Friends (with Smithy and Alan Stott and Les Fithall) for the Darebin Music Feast. He also plays with several other jazz bands.

Rod Evans plays bass with the Dandenong Ranges Hot Jazz Orchestra and several other bands – both have played at Hall’s Gap and Merimbula Jazz Festivals.

Brian Paulusz plays in a trio with the other two, and is a great jazz guitarist.

Bill Thomson has been a drummer in different genres since he was 14. He also plays percussion with the Orkestra Glasso Bashalde, started by Pietro Fine, and has been playing in the Rascals of Rhythm, Dawn Houghton’s band, at Hall’s Gap & Merimbula for several years and at the Forbes Convention.

The band will be at this year’s Convention in Goulburn, adding David Lole on keyboard and with a different bass player to replace Rod who isn’t going to Goulburn.

Louisiana Shakers in Fed Square in Seniors Week

The Shakers uncharacteristically immobile.
Derek Reynolds, Doug Holbury, Nat Garbutt, Ashley Keating
Nick Polites, Kevin Bolton

ANOTHER band which will be taking to the streets in Seniors Week is (are?) The Louisiana Shakers. Abandoning their usual gig at the Clyde Hotel in Carlton, the Shakers will be heralding the Week at Fed Square from 12 noon to 1.30pm on Sunday 6 October. What a great audience that will be of all shapes, sizes, ages, races, creeds and musical tastes!


The Shakers will be back at their usual haunt – The Clyde Hotel – next Sunday 13 October.

Al Fresco Jazz this weekend

JAZZ musicians have a long history of taking to the streets, the markets, the parks and the great outdoors to bring their music to the people who may not take the trouble, or even know where to go, to hear this great music which has such a wide appeal.

Well, at least two groups of local musos are going al fresco on Sunday 6 October, so let’s hope for better weather than Victoria has had over the past week:

FIRST, John Cox plus friends (Bob Whetstone on trumpet and Mike Edwards on reeds) will be strolling through Caulfield Park and playing from 2.30pm to 4.30pm. The Park is bounded by Hawthorn, Inkerman and Balaclava Streets in Caulfield North. They are part of the City of Glen Eira’s Springtime in the Parks.

THEN Des Camm and his Jazz Band will play at the Steampacket Market on the Geelong waterfront – 1 Eastern Beach Road, next to The Carousel from 11.00am to 1.00pm.