And More...

The Bear turned out to be none other than Barrie McAskill, formerly of Levi Smith's Clefs and Topsy was his missus, Jan. They were in the process of doing the caravan around Australia thing, and were currently based in Airlie Beach. 

While my enthusiasm wasn't widely shared among my friends and acquaintances they picked up a fair bit of work in Bowen - enough to ensure I fronted for most gigs to take the opportunity to chat to someone who'd been in the middle of the action back in the heyday of the late sixties.

Levi Smith's Clefs changed line-ups about as often as some people change their minds, and there was a tendency for everyone else to head off on their own tangent leaving Barrie to recruit a new crew. Some of the more memorable offshoots included Tully, who I'd caught back in 1971, and Fraternity which was, of course, where Bon Scott of AccaDacca fame first rose to prominence.

Much of the volatility resulted from long term residencies at Whisky A Go Go and Chequers in Sydney. While there were aspects of the yearlong six nights a week party that would have appealed, at the same time it's hardly surprising to find that people felt the need, from time to time, to move on.

After Barrie and Jan moved on, an encounter with the Blottoid Lottoid. jugs of rum and coke and a request for a favourite Jimmy Buffet track gave me the chance to get to know Kieran McCarthy, another wanderer who'd ended up based at Airlie. 

Apart from liking a drink and a chat, Kieran had been active on the recording front. After I'd bashed his ear about various internet music related matters, including the legendary Delta Doc-o-phone, Kieran developed the habit of giving me the odd CD to pass on to some of my internet acquaintances, which seemed rather generous until I established exactly how much the things actually cost.

I'd arranged a trade with a guy in the States who had an independent music distribution agency in Connecticut, and slipped one of Kieran's albums into the package, which in turn led to a Stateside distribution deal. While it didn’t move vast quantities of product it was an interesting exercise, especially when I found out that the unit cost for a thousand disks in jewel cases was between two and three dollars.


B© Ian Hughes 2012