Some very sad news received over the last few months ... Charlie is ailing with lung cancer. At the last Taylor Square Reunion in November, 2011 at the Merton Estate Hotel, Rozelle, John A informed me that he (Charlie), was not fairing well. Today Deidree McMaster aka Nita Mann, confirmed the worst, our old pal has very little time left with us. Deidree has put up some photos on her Facebook page and I was touched to see Charlie, Bronnie, Deicree, Wally, Sharon, Maree (Legs!) and Rachaell, I have requested permission to use these photos on this page and am awaiting a reply. I will ring Tracey (Charlie's partner).
I met Charlie through Wally Mudd, my cleares memory of him is on trip to Warrawee when Wally, Charlie and I travelled by train to Anne Kelso's family home. Charlie moved in with Anne, Errol and I at Alison Road, Randwick (temporarily).
I have only one photo of Charlie sent to me from Keltic Ken Adams, the snap was taken at the Nasho Party (see below)
I received these emails from Charlie a while back
From: Charles Watts Date: Nov 24, 2009 Subject: Greetings
"Hello Lynne, Do you remember me from Taylor Square ? a friend of Wally's and also in the Starving Wyld Dog Piano Band ( to use it's full name). I have just stumbled across your site, very interesting and very nostalgic. Could you please pass my email address on to Alan Johnson. Regards for now, Charlie Watts"
I live in Cornwall UK at the moment, been there 13 years. I work on ships now. I am in Chile at the moment, been here a month, I´m working on a ship from Falkland Islands.I was sad to read that Jim Crowley died. Is Paul Wyld also gone? I have Red´s CD "....Trains" on board, very good, also nostalgic. I got your Facebook message, unfortunately I can´t operate it because everything is in Spanish here and I can´t negotiate it. Must go, regards to those who remember, please keep in touch Charlie
Charlie far left courtesy Keltic Ken
The Birth of "The Starving Wild Dog Piano Band"
In 1967 Frank Povah ( 12 string guitar, autoharp, vocals and repertoirist extraordinaire ) wanted company for a journey to Tasmania. Wally Mudd, Paul “Dog” Wyld, myself (Charlie Watts) and two female companions (Rhonda and Pauline) agreed to join him. I was the drummer with the “Sons of Agamemnon” at the time and we had a residency at the Oxford. I passed the gig to Bill Lockrey and one Saturday night after my final gig we mustered outside the Court House Hotel and traipsed off to Liverpool and the long, dark Hume Highway. Yes, we had paired off and were hitching.
Somehow we managed to rendezvous at the ferry terminal in Melbourne and got the boat to Devonport and hitched the remaining 160 miles to Hobart. There was not a lot going on in Hobart, it was getting cold, we were crashing where we could and we were low on resources.
There was a venue called “El Pifcos” on the Domain that seemed to shine a brighter light than anywhere else and Frank got to the organisers looking for a gig. He told them that we were a blues band from Sydney although we had never played together except of course Wally and Dog had, being brothers, and Wally had done the odd harp spot with the “Sons of Agamemnon”. We told them we were called “The Starving Wild Dog Piano Band”. They believed that too!
The band of the day at the venue was called “Brotherhood of Myrtle” comprising Roger Pickering on drums (RIP Roger, a dear friend passed away last year), Bob McFie on bass, ”Wrinkle” Hickman on guitar and Paul Read on keyboard.
I remember we did a set of seven songs, totally unrehearsed; it was probably a bit of a miracle that we all got there together. I can only remember four of those songs now but all seven were very traditional jug numbers. The songs I recall were: I Whipped My Woman With a Shingle Tree; Who’s Diggin’ My Potatoes; What’s That That Smells Like Fish Mamma and San Francisco Bay Blues. We opened a few eyes that night I think. All of a sudden “Cream” weren’t the seminal blues band. Wally had located a jug for some bass lines and of course he had some of his own harps. Dog had the use of a basic keyboard, I used Rogers drums and can remember only just being able to depress the kick peddle, so tight was the spring and so little preparation did we have time for before we went on. Frank borrowed Wrinkle’s guitar. Wrinkle was setting up his own guitar making business and building a reputation at it but I think Frank caused some consternation bending notes (or chords??) by warping the neck around his chest.
That was it but even now in 2011 I know people in Hobart who remember it.
Frank stayed in Hobart a while and Wally, Dog and I returned to the relative warmth of Sydney and to the news that Derek Robinson was getting married and Ma Whitty was looking for a band for the reception - could we help, of course we could. I can’t remember the original line up that fateful day now except it was Wally , Dog and myself. We were asked to stay on as a regular band which we did. Terry Wilkins very soon appeared on rhythm guitar and the elusive Rod Clark was our bassist. We did six nights a week at Whitty’s until due to financial “restrictions” we moved across the square to the Oxford. I returned to Tasmania in late July, Daryl McKenzie took over the drums, Red McKelvie joined and someone else can take over the story from here.
We were called “The Starving Wild Dog Piano Band”.
John A Bird writes ... Oct 26, 2011
Frank first arrived in Hobart in 1965 with Frank Amendola on harp. They played at the Sullivan Cove's Jazz club and later that year at the Wild Goose in Battery Point. Sometime later that year the Gutbucket Five formed with both Franks, Chris Cruise, Rainer Gartz and myself. Our first gig was to be at the Sullivans Cove club as the Gut Bucket Five minus one as Chris had returned to Sydney but it didn't make it and I went on solo as the Gut Bucket five minus four. It's all a bit Hazy now but, Charlie I seem to remember that when you first joined the Sons you didn't have a drum kit and played washboard as I did later 'cause I didn't have a piano. Chris Cruise had introduced me to Whitties in january '66 and I'd returned in October that year. Sometime later you turned up as did Frank and Chris was around. Chris had introduced me to Swanee earlier. But, like I said ti's all a bit Hazy.....Guess there was a bit of Lunatic soup around in those days....Seem to recall Our wonderful mate one Julian Michael Sackville there as well.
Forth of Clyde: Cnr Mort Street, Balmain
Frank Povah writes ... Date: Oct 27, 2010 Subject: Recollections
Thanks, Charlie for bringing that back to life. That Hume Highway! I can remember one time sleeping in spoon drain just outside of Goulburn (on my way to Tassie) and waking up with frost on my clothes and guitar case. That was bending chords by the way. Very few guitars could stand it for long. Who remembers the Shark Island picnics organized by Cec and Joan Whitty? Jules Sackville - or I should say Julian Michael Sackville - was for years one of my best friends. After he moved to Gulgong - where he opened a book and memorabilia store - Jules ran "Jules' Curry in a Hurry" stall at the Sofala market every weekend. Someone re-christened it "Jules' Hari-Kari". Even when I gave up the booze in the 80s he remained steadfast and loyal. I sang (at his long-standing request) "Hoboe's Lullaby" at his funeral in Gulgong NSW.
Does anyone remember the Forth of Clyde in Balmain (later the container wharf)? John Scope and I served curry there on Fridays and Saturdays. Paddy, the licensee, had an amazing collection of art that she'd been given over the years in gratitude for her booze subsidies to starving artists. On her death some went to friend of mind - the late, beautiful Clara Foster, a long-time barmaid there who died of cancer in the 90s. That's around the time we had the "Teen Angels - acned music of the 50s" which made a full page in the paper "Go-Set" (though I'm, not sure about that name). Another member of the Teen Angels had an ancient James 125 cc motorbike fitted out with ape-hangers. We used to go to Paddy's Market to shop on Saturday mornings, me on the pillion dressed in full Bedouin regalia - which I also sometimes wore to work at my night shift job at Smith's typesetters in King St near the Town Hall. There was a Jewish linotype mechanic there who never spoke to me again after I wore it the first time.
What amazes me about those days is the fact that somehow we managed to support each other through all our wild and troubled times. It seemed at the time that we really cared for one another and reading these posts its pretty obvious that we still do. It probably didn't seem like it to outsiders - or to insiders sometimes - but we must have. Look at all this stuff. It's great to be back. I love youse hall.
Maree (Legs), Charlie, Bronnie, Deidree and Squirrel