I first went to Traynor's sometime late in 1964.
Up until that time "folk music" was not a concept that I am aware of having. The only exposure to songs that I became to know as belonging to the "folk" genre were those that had somehow made it onto the popular hit parades on radio.
In this category was the Canadian singer/songwriter Ian Tyson's "Four Strong Winds", which I still enjoy to this day. In this I am in good company, as Neil Young credits Ian Tyson as one of his influences, and has recorded this song.
Over the next few years I went to Traynor's on a regular basis - at least once a week, and it became in a way the centre of my social activities. I met many people who became friends, and with whom I have somehow managed to stay in contact with all these years.
During this period I was competing most weekends in athletic events (I had set 4 Australian distance running records in 1964), and can remember occasions where I competed on very little sleep after late nights at Traynor's, or some of the other folk venues that sprung up in Melbourne at this time. I certainly remember the Outpost Inn, and two other venues in Kew, one upstairs, whose names escape me at the moment.
Many of the people I came to know were met during breaks at Traynor's when many people would head up to the bar of the International Hotel on the next corner, where Paul Silver worked part time as a barman. I don't remember which year it was, but I organised with Paul one one occasion a social event one weekend out on the Yarra River near Warrandyte which was attended by quite a few of the Traynor's crowd.
Paul organised a keg of beer, and transported it in somebody's ute, which became a problem when the keg was tapped as all we got out of it for some time was froth and bubbles.
One of the early performers at Traynor's was the potter, Peter Laycock, who was part of the Cottles Bridge artist community Dunmoochin, started by the artist Clifton Pugh, out past Hurstbridge, northeast of Melbourne. Through this and other connections with the wider arts community, many of the Traynor's crowd used to go out to Dunmoochin for the monthly pottery sale, where a keg of beer was part of the attraction until the authorities banned it on the basis that it was an inducement to purchase. After that, I seem to remember that home made, and alcoholic, ginger beer became the supplied beverage.
I remember driving out there in my old Rover 75 with Terry Coulthard and Lilla Nicholson, with them alternately singing and screaming in mock terror as I negotiated the bends of the dirt road..
Many years later I lived out at St. Andrews and came to know some of the artists as my neighbours. It was only then that I came to fully appreciate the deep connections between the folk, blues and Jazz musicians of the Traynor's era and the painters, writers and other artists of the Melbourne arts scene.
To be continued.
- Traynor's People — by Don Williams — last modified Jan 26, 2010 12:46 AM
- Photos I took of some of the people I knew at Traynor's.