2018 CD REVIEW
THE WESTERN DISTRIBUTORS
WESTERN DISTRIBUTORS RISE FROM HAPPENING THANG SADDLE
“Drop me off on an open road/ I'm where no car goes as the sun sets low/ I'll turn my back and I'll head due west/ where I'll find my rest and just fade away.” - Drop Me Off - Andrew Travers.
Sydney septet The Western Distributors prove their time in the beer and wine mines in bands diverse as Happening Thang and the Milky Bar Kids was fertile fodder for rebirth in sin city.
Co-founders Catherine Wearne and Andrew Travers dusted off their 1990 Tamworth Golden Guitar after raising a family and produced this 13 track CD with Tony Wall at two Sydney studios.
Travers career started as drummer for Adelaide group the Spitfires in 1983 before he switched to guitar in Sydney rockabilly group the Milky Bar Kids from 1984 to 1986.
Travers and fiddler-singer Wearne formed the Happening Thang in 1988 in Sydney with drummer Ricky Cole, Jeff Mercer on guitar, mandolin and dobro, bassist David Patterson and vocalist Rose Pearse.
Their debut self-titled 1989 album featured two singles I Don't Wanna Work and Drive Away.
I Don't Wanna Work won the 1990 best new talent Golden Guitar in Tamworth and was followed by second album Saddle Pop that they produced with Rod Coe - session and stage supremo for the late Slim Dusty and his daughter Anne Kirkpatrick.
OK that's a brief history of their embryonic band that played Melbourne venues including The Prince Patrick in Collingwood and The Esplanade in St Kilda.
The Western Distributors disc is dedicated to original drummer Robbie Souter who wrote Between The Suns with Travers.
Souter, also drummer for the Dynamic Hepnotics and Mental As Anything , died from liver failure at the age of 68 in May, 2017.
Travers wrote all 13 songs including the rollicking freedom entrée Drop Me Off with Happening Thang sidekick Patterson.
The song's characters head way out west to a retreat with their chosen point of no return.
Fuelled by vocals of Wearne and Travers it sets a joyous mood also captured in Between The Suns that is described as a day in a suburban life.
The song, with its meticulous attention to detail such as Huntsmen spiders and cockroaches, is much more than that.
It follows growth of babies to children and characters diverse as a busy billionaire, noisy neighbours, surfers, checkout girls and others whose lives evoke misery and fun between the “rising and the setting sun.”
The song segues into pathos primed homelessness and depression ditty No One Will Miss Me (When I'm Gone) that finds the victim fearing his body will be found when the lake is dragged before his ashes are scattered from a cliff at Coogee bay.
Not your generic heartache homily so it's followed by the Drifting instrumental that prompts mood swings in the upbeat love lament You Got Me.
THE MAN WHO STOLE THE BLUES
“He never picked cotton, he's never been poor/ never been inside a gaol, but he's sure broken the law/ he woke up this morning looked out the door/ where has his milk cow gone/ she ain't there no more.” - The Man Who Stole The Blues - Andrew Travers-Guy Donnellan.
Blue collar belter The Wrecker And His Missus - penned with Wearne and Donnellan - is a humorous homily about a tear-away truckie with a heart of gold and front yard full of treasures protected by two pit bull terriers.
The fitting finale is Walking Home - “by myself but not alone/ all my memories tag along/ so I'm slowly walking home.”
It's a loping lament and bucolic bookend to entree Drop Me Off.
Band members are Wearne, Travers, double bassist Jamie Sampson, Guy Donnellan on Fender and Gretsch guitars and vocals, Clare O'Meara fiddle, accordion, piano and vocals, John Kaldor pedal steel and dobro and drummer Oscar Henfrey.
Further info - http://www.thewesterndistributorsband.com/