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Don Anderson

by Don Anderson last modified Sep 15, 2014 01:33 AM

Don Anderson

I found Traynor's at the end of '64, when I was still attending high school in the northern suburbs. I was listening to Bob Dylan's first LP and a mate told me of a Folk Club in Little Lonsdale Street. One Saturday afternoon I hitch hiked into Melbourne down Pascoe Vale Road, and was picked up in Ascot Vale by a bloke in an old F.C. (or F.E.) Holden who told me he was going into the city. He parked in Little Lonsdale Street, and I got out and made my way to the corner building. I was surprised to notice that the man who had given me a lift also went to Traynor's. As it turned out, it was Martyn Wyndham Read who had given me the lift. That night,  and on other weekend nights over the coming months, I heard David Lumsden, Martyn, Margaret Smith, Lyn St John, Ian Long, Susan Lee Archer and Brian Mooney and I knew I would be returning often. Listening to so many new songs, sung simply and sincerely in the main room downstairs and in the upstairs corner room became an important part of my awakening to 'folk' music. David, Lyn, Margaret and Martyn would explain how they had sourced the songs, and that led me to seek out recordings by Tom Paxton, Mark Spoelstra, Ewan McColl, Ian Campbell, et al. At that time there were a few city record shops like Clements (downstairs in Centreway Collins St), and of course Discurio (York House, Lt Collins Street). I remember a downstairs Cheshire's bookshop in Little Collins Street just west of Elizabeth St where I could get 'Sing Out' magazine. It was an exciting time, when myself, my brother and a couple of friends would spend each Friday and Saturday night at Traynor's, soaking up the music. I think it was sometime in '65 that Traynor's expanded, opening up another single fronted shop for the spillover crowd in Exhibition Street, about twenty metres north of the corner. Danny Spooner and Gordon McIntyre arrived and became regular performers. Sometimes Irene Petrie would come across from Adelaide, or Declan Affley would come down from Sydney. With the arrival of Gordon, I saw someone who could play his instrument well, and that was the spur I needed to buy a guitar and teach myself how to play it. Tony Standish opened a little record shop in the upstairs room of the corner building, and was a genial host on Saturday mornings.His shop became a terrific source of hard to get LP's: reissues of old '78's by obscure blues men, and of course the early Takoma LP's of John Fahey, who is still something of a god to me. 

Looking back on it after all these years, there are so many wonderful memories of Traynors. The halcyon years of the corner building, and later after Traynor's had relocated about fifty metres west along Lt Lonsdale Street, where the performers I remember well were John Crowle, Michael O'Rourke, Peter Parkhill and Julie Wong.



After telling John Beavis about this site, he sent me a note:

"I first went to Traynor's in 1969 when I was fifteen. Danny and Martyn sang traditional songs and spoke of the 'Folk Process' (how songs survive without publication). I found this very interesting. I am now 60. Martyn and Danny have both recorded my song (unpublished) 'The New Road'. That is the folk process (learned at Traynor's) and working"



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