After my initial contact with Red, I recalled the time I spent in Taylor Square. I began a search for the Starving Wild Dogs. Sadly, Wally, Paul, Jim, Mort and Charlie have gone to the jugband in the sky. Mort wasn't officially a Dog, a Son, or a Hero, however he will always be the 5th Beatle. Herin is an account of my recollections and my journey to find old friends.
Wally Mudd and his brother Paul's arrival on the scene at Taylor Square is best summed up in RED McKELVIE "Wally's Song". Wally, aka Wheezin' Walter 'T' Mudd, was born Warwick Wyld and will be remembered for his contribution to the Sydney Underground music scene during the mid 60s to early 70s. "Wally, he held Taylor Square to ransom for 5 years .. " Terry Wilkins.
Wally, curly hair springing beneath a perched hat, first caught my eye at Rhubarbs, (a 'happening' cavern-like venue in Douglass Lane, off Liverpool Street in the city). I was attracted to his quirky movements and staccato singing, but the wail coming from his harp and the passionate rawness of the blues sound emanating from this bunch of wild looking guys was beyond compare. I had to meet them! Tony Fitzgerald aka Mort Fist often dragged me from pillar to post, and this particular Saturday afternoon was no exception. "Come on" he said. "Got a surprise for you." From North Sydney to Bondi Junction, my anticipation heightened. Entering a huge terrace house, 42 Denison Street, we were greeted by Wally Mudd, I was so nervous. Need not have been as Wal, it transpired, was extremely shy. His enthusiasm and love of music, matched only by Mort, particularly the blues and jug, endeared him to many.
Some time later he relocated to 290 South Dowling Street. Who lived there? was not always clear, the crew consisted of Steve James, Terry Wilkins, Stuart West, Paul Wyld, Jim Crowley, Larry Knight, Sonya Kereopa, Sue Challis and Allannah. Wally and I formed a friendship which endured the journey throughout the Taylor Square era and beyond, we shared our love of music and our ups and downs, spending many nights singing and playing guitar together. I was enamoured with the personae that was, 'Wally Mudd'. He was not one to talk at any length about himself, his personal feelings or views. I don't know if anyone ever really knew Warwick Wyld, but, one could always catch him blowing his harp with any band around the traps.
WHITTY'S WINE BAR, Oxford Street, Taylor Square After a day's work at the Sydney County Council, I traded my uniform for a faded pair of denims and a tee-shirt. Cutting across Hyde Park, I headed up Oxford Street towards the Court House. Whitty's was directly opposite this grand old building. Before entering Whitty's, my port of call was Cecil B Fardouli's, (the delicatessen next door) where I purchased a wizened stick of cabanossi that snap broke and oozed oil, a crusty bread roll and a lump of cheese. These items were promptly washed down with a large large mug of apple cider. Quite a few ciders were consumed before the Dogs began work and anticipation heightened. THE STARVING WILD DOGS The charismatic Warwick Wyld (Wheezin' Walter T Mudd, Wally, suffered from asthma, his trusty spray never far from reach) on vocals and harp. Paul 'Doggie' Wyldwas Wally Mudd's extremely talented brother. Paul was rather mild mannered and into Vogel bread. I first met Paul in '67 he was a Meher Baba devotee. I haven't seen Paul since he joined Blackfeather in 1970. Paul's theory on Meher Baba click here - article is on page 131131
Together they took 'Taylor Square by storm forming a jug cum blues band an aptly naming it The Starving Wild Dogs Piano Band. Terry Wilkins on bass. Ahh yes, Terry a Libran, with his clean jeans, clean shoes and a clean, neat moustache announcing he had changed his pickin' style from a standard plectrum stroke to an upward finger-picking fashion. Over the next five years many members came and went. Red Mc Kelvie and Chinese Chris on lead, drummers, Charlie Watts, Jim Crowley and Daryl McKenzie alternated.Mort sat in on occasions treating us to his soulful harp and tempting us with his jug.By nine they were ripping into a great repetoire of blues and jug: "What's that Smells like Fish Mama", "Mystery Train", "Messin' with the Kid", "Dust my Broom", "Stealin", "Walking Blues". I soon learnt their repertoire and jammed along with Wally after the gig. 290 South Dowling Street 1969 the Dogs lived in 290 South Dowling Street, that is Jim Crowley, Wally, Terry and Paul along with Sue Challis, Allannah, Stuart West and Steve James. I took up temporary residence on top of a sideboard under the stairs!! The house had an incredible buzz with a different vibe in each room. Terry had the downstairs front room and people gathered there listening to Terry's latest find (music wise) . 'twas there I met Anna, Red McKelvie, Bob McGowan, Cathy James, Swannee, Martin James, Lindsay Bourke, Hamburger Joe, John A Bird, Sandy, Phil Manning, Shane Duckham, Neil Bramley, Dave and Moya Sturdy (twins), Pip, Adrian Rawlins .. laughing, laughing, laughing (at the time I assumed that is what happened to one after a few years in this amazing environment).The house extended out the back onto a courtyard and then into another terrace (the number escapes me now) dwelt Sonya Kereopa, Larry Knight, Peter Gatehouse, Peter Gardiner, Alan Johnson, Dave Cook and Alan Johnson. Steven 'Sudsy' Sutcliff arrived one night, paranoid as hell after listening to The Rolling Stones 'Satanic Majesty', he was convinced that the Stones were sending him messages via the album, he placed a glass to the wall and 'listened' to voices in the wall being transmitted by the D's (detectives). Poor Sudsy, his life ended abruptly from an overdose, we had little knowledge of schizophrenia in those days.My time I spent sharing riffs, tunes and blues info good clean healthy fun. However, one rainy Sunday afternoon someone suggested we have a raffle. Names were placed into a hat, I drew Steve James. Steve and I had always been good mates so we were happy with this arrangement and spent the afternoon jamming. News got out around the scene regarding the 'raffle'. Friend, Errol Wood visited, he was not amused and moved me off my prime position on the sideboard and into his flat in Alison Road, Randwick.
ORIGINAL BATTERSEA HEROES My introduction to the Heroes was at The Last Straw in Mosman (Neutral Bay). My heart skipped a beat, all music to date faded from view. The young chap with the large horned rimmed glasses and the lopsided grin warbled 'vo doh de oh doh', accompanied by a clatter from of Dennis Burke on washboard, a tea chest served as a base. "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune" .. Terry sure played a mean kazoo.
The Battersea Heroes were 'the bees knees'.
I had cut my teeth a few years earlier on Dave Van Ronk, Bob Dylan and Donovan and was devouring the folk revival scene of the early sixties. (see Etta Bakers, The Lost Tapes). The Heroes introduced me to the talents of the US urban, noticeably jewish white boys and girls scene featuring, Jim Kweskin, Maria D'Amato, Geoff Muldaur, Fritz and John Sebastian, Dave Ray, Koerner, Glover, Eric Von Schmidt, Bet Jansch and Phil Ochs and many more who I will add as I recall. This led me on a journey back in time to roots music, Gus Cannon, Mississippi Sheiks, Memphis Jug band and Sleepy John Estes, Memphis jugbands, who roamed the country side playing at in-house parties and juke joints during the Depression.. (more on that later) One could catch the Heroes at the Trolley Car Bar near Sydney Uni, Frenchs in Oxford Street and The Arts Factory. ALISON ROAD The rent was seventeen dollars, my share was three.Alison Road soon became a 'place to be' inmates included, Anne Kelso, Wally Mudd, Keri Phillips, Steve James, Paul Wyld, Bob and Kathy McGowan, Bobbi, Brian Dewhurst, Crazy Wayne Barnes, Neil Bramley, Gary Ross, Virgo Doug, Ian McIlvray, Ross Darmody, Charlie Watts .. Before heading off to Taylor Square Errol loved listening to Beck's 'Truth' LP .. it was the flavour of the month. Primed, we did a quick crawl of Oxford Street checking out the scene. The Beauchamp, Oxford and Albany Hotels .. a look see into Whitty's to see if the boys (SWD) had set up, then down to French's, which usually featured The Foreday Riders or The Battersea Heroes. The Riders, were predominately blues roots band whilst the Heroes were the creme de la creme of jug band music .. Terry Darmody, Dennis 'Spiderman' Burke and Mark Butler. The Heroes were the real thing, kazoo, washboard and tea-chest bass! We spent most nights trundling back and forth from Whittys to Frenchs .. anyone remember the really smelly fish shop?After midnight we'd grab a Chico Roll from the Chew and Spew and hike on out to the Greenwood Tree Hotel in Paddington to catch Jeff St John (and hopefully an eyeful of Peter Anson). I recall the night my Graham's friendship ring flew off my finger across the crowded room never to be seen again.I took over Sue Challis's waitressing position at the Yellow Cab Restaurant (off Victoria Street), Wally was in the habit of dropping in for dinner 'on the house'. I made enough each night in tips to pay for my ciders and cigarettes. Around this time Wally moved into Alison Road and camped on the lounge-room floor. Charlie Watts reappeared around this time.
I have been in contact with Terry exchanging memories of those days. He was instrumental in putting me in contact with friends and associates from ‘them days’. I also have a copy of a CD Terry made with Steve Messenger. Terry inspired many a musician to dabble into the world of jugband music. I have received emails, photos, comments and recollections of this period and was able to reunite with old friends and acquaintances, including Errol and Phil Wood, Danny Groves, Sue Toohey, Terry Darmody, Neil Smith, Alan Johnson, Peter Nehill, Larry Knight, Red McKelvie, Peter Gatehouse, Allannah, Dave Miller, Judy Miller, Jacquie McGarry, Peter 'Izzy Foreal' Knox .(see Reunions) wo songs I recall Wally wrote "One Dollar, Two Dollar" and "Nithsdale". "Nithsdale" hand-written by Wal for me.t UPDATES 2009: Met up with Peter Gatehouse at the Piccolo 2010 (Aug): contacted by Sonya Kereopa and met up with her Nov.32010: contacted by Carol Rutley's daughter 2011 (Mar): Contacted by Peter GardinerChew and Spew always good for a yummy Chico Roll after Whittys Blow me down, a word from Alan Johnson, who I met in the late 60s at the Beauchamp Hotel. In 1976, Alan was MC at Nikala's Naming Party. He is in contact with Larry Knight, Dave Cook and Peter Gatehouse. Dave had his fifteen minutes of fame when he streaked across the field during a footy match. My last recollection of Peter is at my home in Waterloo with Christa (Cookson??)!Alan Johnson ... "Hi Lynne, I only just discovered your web page this morning. It is wonderful. It's been simply fantastic catching up on all those memories of Taylor Square in the 1960s and 1970s via your images and comment. I don't know if you'll recall me tht well, my name is Al Johnson and I lived with Lax and company for a while in South Dowling Street. I had the time of my life there. Dave Cook says hello. Peter Gatehouse and Larry will be thrilled to bits to learn that you have done all this. Al" Larry Knight ... "Hello Minerva, If you're who I think you are, I have a wonderful picture of you Wally, Jim, Paul, Sonya and me at a club in the Cross ... Larry Knight" Larry and SonyaPaul Wyld-keyboard/Chinese Chris-lead/Larry Knight-bass/Wally Mudd-vocalsJim Crowley-drums (not in view) 1969 The Matchbox at King's Cross BarbequeJim Crowley, Carol Rutley, Lynne, Wally, Larry, Sonya and Paul
Larry Knight sent me a photo 'Matchbox' at the King's Cross BBQJim Crowley-drums, Carol Rutley, Lynne Best, Wally Mudd-harp and vocals Larry Knight-bass, Sonya Kereopa, Paul Wyld-keyboardcourtesy Larry KnightI found 'Boppin' The Blues' LP in a pawn shop in Grafton See Paul in Blackfeather "Boppin' the Blues" on You TubeL to R: Russell J Walsh (Feeler) Paul Wyld 2nd from rightcourtesy Russell J WalshPaul Wyld (centre)c. 1981 David Pepperall's wedding courtesy David Pepperall aka Dr.Pepper (Go-Set) Paul in the vacant allotment next door to house in Cook Street, Paddington with Peter Knox. Fluke was named as a send up of Flake courtesy Peter Knox aka Izzy Foreal