And Yet More...

By the end of 1971 I’d managed to sneak through Teachers’ College (to this day I’m not sure quite how, but I did) and along the way I’d managed to pass a couple of University subjects which meant that I probably got off on the wrong foot when I arrived at Heatley Primary announcing that I needed the paperwork to upgrade from two-year to three-year trained status. How was I to know that the principal, after at least nine years of part time and external study had finally finished his degree?

As far as music was concerned I spent most of 1972 filling in gaps in the album collection, and catching live music at the Inside Out, but there was one strange highlight. For some reason the Australian Union of Students had sponsored an Australian tour by American protest singer Phil Ochs, and the tour included a gig on the lawns outside the Refectory at James Cook, which drew a substantial crowd, though I suspect most of those present had no idea who Phil Ochs actually was.

The memories of the night are, unsurprisingly, somewhat dim, but I remember being struck by the clarity of Ochs’ voice - you can hear what I meant on Phil Ochs In Concert - and the quality of the writing. I was expecting something along the lines of a lesser Dylan, yet here was this guy with a great voice and songs that had character rather than protest-by-numbers clichés.

The issues with the boss meant that the end of 1972 saw me transferred to Palm Island, which wasn’t going to help much when it came to concerts, though one of the sets of school holidays happened to coincide with a Sonny Terry & Brownie McGee concert at Brisbane City Hall.

Back on the mainland in 1974 to finish off my degree I managed to add a few names to the seen in concert listing, which might, at a glance, seem like a fairly eclectic selection but was influenced by the vagaries of who was actually passing through Townsville rather than personal taste.

There was a concert in the University Refectory featuring Margaret Roadknight, Graham Lowndes and the pre-Newcastle Song Bob Hudson. While Roadknight and Lowndes were the main attraction with pretty amazing voices to me the highlight of the night was Hudson, who opened with Loudon Wainwright’s little trilogy that culminates with Suicide Song


B© Ian Hughes 2012