The Muddy Waters Sessions

by Paul Cumming's Tri-Tones

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about

In the mid-90s the Try-Tones had a residency at the Muddy Waters in Prahran. The Try-Tones was Paul’s semi-acoustic blues 3-piece, which came on the heels of the electric Chicago outfit, the Nine Slab Riders, which in turn followed the soul-blues thing that was the Bootless and Unhorsed. It was a prolific period of gigging, and Paul was in fine form throughout – raconteur, writer, performer, slide maestro, singer, drinker.

The TTs were Paul, Doug Kelly and myself. I’d been playing my Precision bass in Paul’s earlier bands, but he insisted on upright for the Try-Tones. For someone who’d only ever played electric bass it was a high wire act: Paul was a demanding band leader (ask Stephen McEwan) and Doug Kelly swung like a gate and wasn’t going to wait for no man. I had to race to keep up, but geez it was fun.

At some point during the residency Paul and Rooster (Muddy’s owner) hatched a plot to record the set live. So on 21 November 1996, with recording gear stashed surreptitiously in the tiny band room we set about making a live recording. The gig was always fairly unpredictable as Paul would call out tunes rather than write a set list. So it was often a matter of setting a feel and a key, and then seeing what eventuated after his preferred count in: “1, 2, You know what to do”.

This November night we played each song a number of times. Paul reckoned he’d “pick the best version later”. In true Cumming style the recording never saw the light of day, that is until very recently. I’m mighty pleased it has, though.

The audio quality is surprisingly good, but the true value is hearing Paul’s voice – his phrasing on vocals and guitar was always a treat – and Doug’s drums. Doug has also left us, but here you can still enjoy the way he could hit a sweet New Orleans groove. They’re reunited somewhere now, and I reckon Stewie Speed is probably nailing the bass lines with them. Vale.

Hugh Martin

credits

released November 21, 1996

Paul Cumming - slide guitar; Doug Kelly - drums; Hugh Martin - bass.

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about

Elroy Flicker Melbourne, Australia

Elroy Flicker (Paul Cumming) was a British born musician who appeared in, or played with, any number of bands in Perth and Melbourne between 1981 and 1998. Although he never made a lot of money, he had a lot of fun and you can hear that in many of the rough old cassette recordings here. Paul sadly died on 8 August 2017. ... more

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