LAST Sunday we wandered up to the venerable Clyde Hotel, corner of Elgin and Cardigan Streets in Carlton (and traditional drinking pub of mathematicians from Melbourne University so I’m told) to hear one of our favourite bands, the legendary Louisiana Shakers.
Since they were formed in 1994 the Shakers have toured the world, played all over Australia, produced numerous CDs and endeared themselves to lovers of New Orleans style jazz for their authentic sound, relaxed presentation and empathy with the audience.
On our visit the band comprised the usual suspects: Ashley Keating, leader on banjo, Nick Polites on clarinet, Derek Reynolds on trumpet, Charlie Powell on trombone, and helping Ashley keep the rhythm section on beat, Nat Garbutt on bass and Kevin Bolton on drums.
The opening number was “Black Cat on the Fence”, a 1940s tune which has become a favourite with the New Orleans revivalists.
This was followed by “Breeze” with Charlie Powell “singing” as only Charlie can.
Here’s a standard of the George Lewis band,”Redwing”, played by the Shakers with high hilarity!!
During the afternoon, Frank Stewart and Kay Younger dropped in after Frank’s street walking gig with Simon Vancam in Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds. When offered a sit-in, Frank said “Yes please”. Here’s a clip with a double clarinet frontline playing “Somebody Stole My Gal”.
The Shakers play at the Clyde every Sunday afternoon from 2pm to 5pm. You might want to be there when the doors open at 1pm to get a front-row seat, or to eat before the music starts. Meals are GENEROUS, and the crowd of regulars and drop-in musicians is appreciative. The atmosphere is informal and welcoming.
Speaking of “regulars”, I was reading a back issue from 1996 of Jazzline, the magazine of The Victorian Jazz Club, when the Shakers were playing at another Carlton pub, The Prince Alfred, and who should be in the audience then but Mick Potter, Eddie Brown and Irene who always managed to find a spot to dance. And guess who were in the audience last Sunday still enjoying the Shakers’ music!
Next Sunday, 18 December, is the Shakers’ last gig at the Clyde for 2011, but they’ll be back after the break on 5 February 2012.
In the meantime, here’s a film and interviews of the Shakers taken earlier this year by the John D. Elliott film crew (yes the Carlton John Elliott)