Personal tools
You are here: Home Groups Gut Bucket Jug Band

Gut Bucket Jug Band

by Teana Amor last modified Apr 14, 2011 11:54 PM

Gut Bucket Jug Band

Gut Bucket Jug Band
Current image JPEG image — 78 KB


Performers above:  Brent Davey, Tony Dunn, Colin Stevens, Rick Ludbrook, Bruce McNicol, Ron Davis

The Gutbucket Jug Band was formed in about 1964 by Colin Stevens, Rick Ludbrook and Rick Amor, three teenagers with a shared passion.  Their love of roots music, especially of the Jug Band variety inspired them to emulate and invent their own takes on Jug classics, played by such bands as Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, Memphis Jug Band, Dixieland Jug Blowers and many others.  Arguably the first jug band in Australia (please correct me if I'm wrong), they hit the folk scene and jazz scene simultaneously as Jim Kweskin's music O/S was making the genre popular as well.  Colin played mandolin, harmonica, kazoo and vocals, Rick Ludbrook 12-string guitar and vocals and Rick Amor guitar.  The latter left the band when he won an art (travelling) scholarship from the Victorian National Gallery and put his musical career on hold to pursue his art.  Shortly after, Tony Dunn on jug joined and Brent Davey on banjo.

Ron Davis joined as a washboard player until the band realised he played fantastic guitar.  Bruce McNicol joined as well, violin, guitar, washboard and vocals.  The dates when members joined and the comings and goings of various band members are a bit hazy but the group played to loud acclaim during the 60's/70's, doing the pub, club, festival, uni, protest rally, folk and jazz circuit.  Marni Sheehan, guitar, mandolin, vocals and Teana (Tina) Schifferle, washboard, vocals, joined Col, Brent, Tony and Ron in 1968/9 and when Ron moved to Sydney with his work, Rick Amor rejoined as one of the new guitarists.  Romance blossomed and Rick and Teana married. 

A recording was made at East Studios during this time and this has now been converted to CD.  Bits and pieces of tapes have come to light over the years and have been saved to disc.  (If anyone has any audio/visuals or knows of any early recordings of Gutbucket the band would love to hear about them.)

Janie Conway took her two younger brothers, Mic and Jim along to a concert at the Kew Civic Centre in about 1965 and inspired by the raw, gutsy blues of Gutbucket and other roots music they heard, they formed the Jelly Bean Jug Band which later became Captain Matchbox.  Mic invited Gutbucket to join the Jug Band Orchestra at the T.F. Much Ballroom where jug bands from all over Australia took part.  It was an experience we will all fondly take with us to the Whispering Gums Retirement home for old musos!!  When the curtains parted the packed ballroom exploded with applause, cheers, whistles, stomping etc.  And as the After Dinner Moose, Peter Lillie, tapped his baton to bring the orchestra to order the crowd hushed.  With a classical Beethoven intro on piano, we erupted into 'Who Walks In' and the crowd went wild!!  Fantastic!

When the band split up in about '71, Col, Rick Amor and Ron were joined by guitarist extraordinaire, Jeff Burstin (his first band - later to play with Joe Camilleri, Vika and Linda, Sam See), Mark Keating, drums and John Child, vocals, percussion.  They played electric blues ie. 'Jumpin' Jack Flash is a Gas Gas Gas' and called themselves 'Gutbucket'.   Tony and  Brent joined (not 'formed' - see Bob Elliston's comment below) a band called the Panton Hill Umbrella Club, with 'Speedy' Hampson, Paul Tarrant and others. 

When Victoria celebrated its 50th Jazz Convention in 1995, Tony Dunn called Gutbucket members together again to reform for the occasion and the band slayed them in the aisles.  Gutbucket are still alive and well and playing/recording better than ever.  Col, Tony, Brent and Ron have been joined by Tim Shaw on reeds and Ken Farmer, washboard/percussion.  Though I don't personally play with the band any more, my feeling is that they should and will be recognized by the National Folk Festival and Port Fairy in a tribute concert as significant founding members/performers of such events.  If anyone would care to comment, please do so.

Photo Album Band Photo Album by Teana Amor — last modified Feb 10, 2009 09:46 PM
Document Actions

re Panton Hill Umbrella Club

Avatar Posted by Bob Elliston at Apr 20, 2009 02:03 AM
great to see the guys in Gutbucket still going strong...just to correct the article re Tony & Brent forming Panton hill UC..the band was my creation ...after I left a bush band in Panton Hill(about 1977)the owner of the pub asked me to form a new band so I asked Ron Davis,with Tony& Brent and together with Boomer Tarrant we formed and played regularly..Boomer left soon after & Speedy Hampson joined the band (he is/was my cousin)together with Rowan Flude on harmonica & of course Tim Shaw ..Ken Farmer also played washboard with us when he could (and on our record)..we had really all known each other since the early sixties & become Australia`s only (as far as we knew) country jazz band...6 vocalist and 13 instruments...we changed our style all over the place depending on the song..from Speedy`s beautiful country stuff into Jug/Jazz and things in between
they were great times with great guys and I`ll always remember some wonderful music..I`m now living in Brisbane and just getting back into playing solo again after long time out of the music scene..cheers Bob Elliston

Panton Hill Umbrella Club

Avatar Posted by Teana Amor at Apr 23, 2009 02:54 AM
Thanks for the info Bob and good to hear you're back into the music again.
Cheers, Teana

Sydney venue?

Avatar Posted by Steve Carter at Dec 20, 2009 08:09 PM

I used to to a place in Day Street Sydney called Josephs Coat in the early 70s, you guys used to play there and always enjoyed your sets. Do you have any recordings for sale?

Regards Steve