New Music October 30, 2020

Late bluesman Dutch Tilders’ recording to raise money for roadies

Late bluesman Dutch Tilders’ recording to raise money for roadies

A 47-year old recording by blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Dutch Tilders is the latest release to raise money for ’s fund, the ninth of ARCA’s Desk Tape Series.

It is organised by the Australian Association (ARCA), which drops Dutch Tilders – Live At The Commune 1973 on November 1 through its own Black Box Records/MGM label.

Tilders is surrounded by a crack band of Kerryn Tolhurst of The Dingoes, Jim Conway of Captain Matchbox and double bassist Peter Howell.

Howell made the recording on a two-track reel-to-reel player during a residency at North Melbourne The Commune.

“Folk clubs in those days were alcohol free and also PA free. You were really frowned upon if you had an electric instrument,” Howell said.

The tape sees them in top form in the lovely acoustic blues of ‘Willie Mae’, ‘Nobody Knows’ and ‘Going Down Slow’ and the joyous uptempo shuffle of ‘Stop And Fix It’ and ‘Simple Rag’.

The musicianship and instrumental interplay are superb, particularly on ‘Stoned Again’, ‘Two Bob Head’ and ‘Betty And Dupree’.

It displays Tilders’ surreal humour drawn from his love for comedy team The Goons, and how he used his voice in a way few blues singers do. That’s because when growing up in Holland, he was a member of the local church choir and could sing baritone and falsetto.

After his family moved to Melbourne, Tilders began devouring US blues records and taught himself guitar, harmonica, piano and stompbox.

In his teens he was making a name for himself along the East Coast – not just in the folk/blues clubs but rock venues, jazz festivals, bike clubs – and one memorable time at the Box Hill Town Hall, before skinheads and sharpies at a Lobby Lloyd and the Coloured Balls show.

He was diagnosed with terminal inoperative oesophageal cancer in May 2010.

While the music community gathered around doing benefits to raise money for medical costs, Dutch recorded his fifteenth and final album and kept performing despite the pain.

He cheerfully defied doctor’s orders by smoking and drinking until a few hours before his death. “He had no regrets, Dutch lived in the present, loving his life every day,” his long time manager Lynne Wright said.

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