2. Steamboat Gwine 'Round The Bend - John Fahey

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Of Rivers and ReligionIf I said that a major influence on things I listened to in the late sixties and early seventies was an English DJ who I never heard over the airwaves, people who don’t know much about the era might be inclined to dismiss the concept as one of Hughesy’s more fanciful ideas.

However, if I mentioned that his name was John Peel the idea might not seem so strange to anyone who knows about British broadcasting from the pirate radio era onwards.

How did someone whose shows I never heard influence what I bought? 

It goes back to the stage when I started buying and reading music magazines. From Australia there was Go Set and from the U.K. there were a variety of titles - Disk & Music Echo, New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Sounds. They all had their charts, single, album and concert reviews and - most exotic for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old sitting down to read them in northern Queensland - the gig guide.

At the time, this part of the world was off the beaten track when it came to concert tours, even by Australian artists, unless you wanted to catch the occasional teenybopper package that passed through town and drove the girls at Pimlico High into hysterics. The blokes, of course, weren’t even slightly interested. 

It wasn’t much better in the south. There’d be the occasional Stones tour or a package with a couple of semi-cool names but Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne were so far out of our reach that they might as well have been on another planet.

In that situation, looking at gig guides in the English music press was like observing the features of another galaxy through a telescope. And apart from concerts and club dates there were radio programs listed, and the radio included performances by guests of unimaginable coolness.


B© Ian Hughes 2012