" Hi Lynne, my name is Dave Miller. I came across your site on the net by accident and it blew me away as I instantly recognised nearly everyone in the photos including one of me playing in the Sons of Agamemnon at Whittys (partially obscured by Mort's Jug). I downloaded the Wally Mudd songs and it was great to hear his soulful voice again
Mort Fist was my best mate who I knew from the age of 5 till his death in 1998 and also the person who introduced me to his friend Jacquie at Whittys, the girl that I have now been married to for thirty nine years. Although he's been dead for over ten years now, I still think of him and other mates from the Whittys scene that have sadly passed away including Ross Darmody, Warwick Wyld (Wheezing Walter T. Mudd ) and his brother Paul Wyld (Starving Wild Dog).
My younger sister Judy and my wife Jacquie were also part of that scene. I remember your places at Berry Street North Sydney and Alison Road Randwick and spent a lot of time at 294 South Dowling Street with Swannee and the crowd. I went to UNSW with Mort, Errol, Phil, Merv etc. I was a foundation member of the 'Sons', a band we formed up at Ted Noff’s Wayside Chapel Kings Cross in late 1965. We moved to the Windsor Castle Hotel Paddington for a while, then to Whittys Wine Bar. I couldn't play fulltime with the band due to commitments, but the band welcomed me to sit in whenever I could make it and there was no shortage of good harp players frequenting Whittys including Derek Robertson, Wally Mudd, Terry Darmody etc. I have photos of that scene and have attached some of these and a letter written by the legendary Howlin Wolf thanking some of the gang from Whittys for wishing him happy birthday.
A survivor meeting sounds great. The last time I saw a group of these survivors was at my sisters 50th in 2001, a great Country and Western theme party at Balmain where I met up with Terry Darmody, Steve James, Peter Nehill, Gavick Nicholson to mention a few.
Its fine to use the photo of Jacquie, its one of my favourites. It was taken at Paradise Beach, Pittwater circa 1967. My cousin made the mistake of loaning us her beach house in her absence. It became very crowded with our friends (some of the crew from Whittys included) and the partying raged over the weekend. You've not seen panic like it when my parents arrived unexpectedly to check up on us.
The harp player in the shot is me. I think I had just turned 18 at the time so was legally allowed to be in the pub, unlike Mort who was only 17 and looked like 15. Those glasses I wore at the time were similar to the ones Terry Darmody wore and I later wore metal frame ones as seen in the photo of us at the Maccabean Hall. Mort grew rapidly and embraced the psychedelic era as is apparent in the transformation of his appearance in the latter shot.
The Windsor Castle was chosen only as a rehearsal venue because it was always empty mid week and we wouldn't disturb anyone. After only a few weeks the word got around about this fun band and the place was packed to the rafters. The publican only paid us in all the alcohol we could drink in the breaks. It became apparent to Swannee that this guy was raking in lots of money after several months but he still refused to pay us any cash. There was this wine bar in Oxford Street around the corner from Swannee's place where no one drank any day of the week. (People who drank wine were called winos and lived on park benches, it was not as fashionable as it is today.) Swannee invited Cec Whitty down to take a look at what had happened at the Castle and he didn't hesitate offering him a more lucretive deal to move to his Wine bar. The crowd followed and the rest is history
Great reading Dave Miller's story, his sister's partner Phil Colson is an old mate mate from bands from that era. Could you please pass to Dave, my email and burning mountain studio blog info so I maybe able to contact Phil to say hi. Dave Allen (Flake) xx
*I received Dave Allen's details and passed them on to Phil Colson. Phil is keen to check out Burning Mountain Studio and catch up with Dave Allen who he remembers well. Phil was a session muso on the 'Men at Work' albums and a guitarist in the 'Colin Hay Band' in his younger days, he remembers Clive Coulson and said he was a roadie with 'Led Zeppelin'... Lynne
Hi Lynne, Wow, thanks for the post from Dave Miller - fantastic - your site has been a portal to the past for all of
us. Thanks for sharing. I only saw the Sons a few times. Does anyone have any
photos of French's Wine Bar? Remember downstairs there when it opened? Love the
letter from Howlin Wolf (Chester Burnett) - what a gem.
That's fabuloso! So Swannee was responsible for Whitty's!! Wow! My introduction to the wonderful world of Sydney in July '68! Deidree McMaster.
Thanks Lynne!, eventually I will write some stuff about Jim Crowley Wally, Dog, Peter Knox etc. Can't believe they are all gone ('cept you, me, Peter and Red of course :o)), I played at Whittys and Frenches and the Ball Pants." .. Ralph Graham
Fantastic Lynnie, I've thought of Dave a number of times thinking about them times. I seem to remember he was living out round Dural - Glenorie at one time (as was G'avec (Neil Nicholson) and I think that may have been in the late 70's. Anyhoo, could I have his email address? Phil Wood