Deke Dickerson and Band
Wednesday 8th January 2004

The much anticipated show from Deke Dickerson began at the relatively early time of nine o'clock due to Cherry double booking the night with grunge rockers Queens of the Stone Age due to perform a "secret" gig in the wee hours of the morning. Those in the know were on time for the man wielding the double-necked guitar affectionately known as "the beast".

Hitting the stage without fanfare, which Deke later confessed to be due to logistics in the cramped confines of Cherry rather than modesty and humility, Deke unleased the beast and began a blistering two sets of rockabilly retro.

After the first number "Mean Little Woman" Deke, asked the audience how was the sound? Upon receiving a positive endorsement he then joked that he would turn then volume of his guitar up. This was the first of many jokes that deadpan Deke would foist on his audience during the night.

"Hot Rod Queen" one of the many car themed tunes was recognised by his fans. "Red Headed Woman" the third song was introduced with Deke telling the audience that later there would be a song for the blondes in the audience and that even later there would be a song for the baldheads. The self-deprecatory humour was to be in evidence all night although not always understood by those hungry for the music.

Deke Dickerson (photo by Linda Di Nola)

Dickerson introduced "Beating on The Bars" by saying that as Australians they would identify with the song due to the country's establishment as a penal colony. Dickerson stating that there is always a person at his gigs in America who identifys with the song hurriedly followed this comment. Ironically Dickerson will play Brisbane's notorious Boggo Road jail while in Australia

Another song that Dickerson said was reworked for his tour of Australia was "Boomerang" which is listed on the Number 1 Hit record as Poontang. Dickerson sang the vocal line at times in a baritone voice and elicited a call and response effect with the band.

"South of the Border" was the first instrumental of the night that allowed Dickerson to stretch out and show his guitar prowess by incorporating both guitars of the beast within the same song.

Dickerson introduced the band on the night as Peter Baylor on the guitar, Andrew Lindsey on the drums and on bass Michael St.Claire-Miller. The band sometimes performs as the Starliners and in fact had played with Dickerson on one of their visits to the USA. Peter Baylor was particularly devastating on the Fender telecaster and impressed those in the audience familiar with his dexterity and picking.

"We Might Not Come Home At All" and "Lovers Arms" (Said My Last Goodbye) were songs deep in the rock and roll tradition with a sound that reminded one of the Hop and with lyrics seeped in teenage angst.

A slight change of pace saw a slightly slower rockabilly song "All Dressed Up and No Place to Go" dedicated to guitarist Baylor who was resplendent on the night in pressed slacks, vintage checkered cowboy shirt and ribbon/string tie. This was followed by the western swing of "Tulsa Baby" which harked back to Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.

Deke and Pete
(photo by Linda Di Nola)

The variation in styles and genres continued with "Hello Blues" (Come in I've Been
Expecting You), Dickerson had changed guitar and now showed his skill with a Fender Telecaster and with Baylor and band on harmony vocals there were echoes of the Everly Brothers in the song.

A break saw Dickerson explain that he wanted to tell a few jokes so he could work on his stand up routine just in case the guitar thing doesn't work out. Topical topics included a Michael Jackson joke and a comparative joke being what's the difference between your girlfriend and KFC? The punch line delivered in a redneck/backwoods voice can't be repeated here but ask me next time you see me to repeat it.

"Can't See The Forest For The Trees" and Merle Travis song "Boom Boom" finished out the first set and left the audience anticipating more when Dickerson and the band returned for the 2nd set.

Deke and Band
(photo by Linda Di Nola)

"Pick Up My Love for You" and the hillbilly sounding "Don't Push Me Too Far" began the second set. A Johnny Horton number "Lets Take The Long Way Home" revealed Dickerson's' roots and influences in music.

A song for blondes was up next "Gentlemen prefer Blondes" which took the sound to the lounge area and featured St.Claire-Miller on the brushes and the skins. "Just Between Us" an instrumental was followed by some more stand up comedy that was basically a technique used by Dickerson to pace out the show.

"Hot Rodders Lament" saw Dickerson take a walk through the crowd while singing and serenading the girls in the crowd with the double entendre of the words to the song. Surf guitar number "Tonight I've Got Nothing to Lose" showed that being native of Missouri was no hindrance to mastering that particular genre. The Buddy Holly song "Tingaling" was replete with trademark Holly stutters and had the girls swooning and the boys envious.

"White Lightning" was introduced by Dickerson as a George Jones song and while he had the hit with it we all know, thanks to Nu Country archivist Barbara Dowling that the song was written by Texas DJ J. P. Richardson aka The Big Bopper.

Dickerson introduced "Bitter Tears" as the one slow song for the night and upon receiving jeers from the audience suggested that the Queens of the Stone Age would be performing about 14 of them during their gig. The slow song was juxtaposed with the speed of "Snatch It & Grab It" and the real life experience of "Nightmare of A Woman". A request for an Elvis song saw Dickerson comply with a brief moving version of "In The Ghetto" that featured the obligatory wiping of the sweat off the forehead by a female fan in the audience. The reprise in the song saw Dickerson dancing with mine host's mother.

Finishing up the show were songs from the album "More Million Sellers" "Mexicali Rose" and "Rocking Gypsy" (instrumental) the later number saw Baylor put down his guitar and the band switching instruments with two players taking it turns to take on "the beast" at the same time. At more point Dickerson was playing the bass and showing his talent with that instrument. On the latest album "Deke Dickerson in 3-Dimensions! he takes a turn on the baritone saxophone and piano.

Of course after two sets and forty songs the audience wanted to hear more. Saving the best for the encore Dickerson went for it with Baylor on duelling hillbilly electric guitars on the song "You've Been Honky Tonkin'" and a traditional song "Muleskinner Blues" which wrapped up the show.

After signings and purchasing of Dickerson's music and merchandise the audience filed out, sated and satisfied, past the kids lined up for the next act Queens of the Stone Age, knowing that they had seen the best show of the night from an act that respects the past, builds on the traditions and won't be remembered as just this year's model.


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