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THE WHITLAMS, BLACK STUMP BAND RETURN WITH NEW SINGLE ‘BLOW UP THE POKIES (BLACK STUMP)’ + ANNOUNCE FORTHCOMING TOUR

NEW SINGLE “BLOW UP THE POKIES (BLACK STUMP)”

Single released Friday, 28 October 2022

The Whitlams’ classic protest song from 1999 – ‘Blow Up the Pokies’ – has been reworked by Tim Freedman with his new alt-country line-up.

This fresh version was born when the Wesley Mission contacted Freedman in May 2022 and asked for a reworking of the song that could be used as the soundtrack to their poignant Gutful of Gambling TV ad (view here). 

Re-jigged from the original’s waltz time signature to a propulsive 4/4, sung in a lower key, and driven now by banjo and pedal steel guitar, this reconstruction wrings new emotion out of the story of a musician playing a poker machine on the same spot in a pub where he used to play in his band. A new audience awaits the song, whose message is as relevant today as it was upon release 24 years ago. 

The theme is still potent, and just two months ago a community movement in Alice Springs used the track in their successful campaign to stall a proposal to add poker machines to four venues with indigenous and lower socio-economic clientele (see ABC story here).

  • “Blow Up the Pokies” was the second single from The Whitlams’ fourth album Love This City which was released in 1999 and sold double platinum
  • The album was recently placed No.101 in Rolling Stones’ Greatest 200 Australian Albums of all-time list. The band’s third album Eternal Nightcap was No.27
  • In 2000 the song was the No.1 researched song on the MMM Network and blared out over building sites across Australia

 

THE WHITLAMS BLACK STUMP BAND – 2022 TOUR DATES

Tue 15 Nov – Piano Bar, Ballarat

Wed 16 Nov – Piano Bar, Bendigo – SOLD OUT

Thu 17 Nov – Piano Bar, Geelong

Fri 18 Nov – Arts Centre, Warburton

Sat 19 Nov – The Memo, Healesville

Fri 25 Nov, Avalon Beach RSL, Sydney

Sat 26 Nov, Avoca Beach Theatre, Central Coast

Thur 1 Dec – Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston

Fri 2 Dec – LongHouse, Hobart

Sat 3 Dec – Palais Theatre, Franklin – SOLD OUT

Fri 20 Jan 2023 – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth

Tickets are on sale now BUY TICKETS 

BIG CITY DEBUT TOUR 2023 [on sale Wed 9 Nov 2022]

Fri 17 Mar – Lizotte’s, Newcastle – NSW

Sat 18 Mar – Adelaide Fringe, Spiegeltent – SA

Fri 24 Mar – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne – VIC

Sat 25 Mar – Memo Music Hall, Melbourne – VIC

Sun 26 Mar – Archies Creek Hotel, Victoria – VIC

Fri 31 Mar – Factory Theatre, Sydney – NSW

Sat 1 Apr – Princess Theatre, Brisbane – QLD

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“THE DAY JOHN SATTLER BROKE HIS JAW”

Single released Friday, 24 June 2022

‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’ is the best Australian song you’ve never heard. Until now. The Whitlams’ country version is a revelation.” – Jeff Jenkins, Rhythms Magazine

In 2021, during the depths of Covid, Tim Freedman loaded his piano into the back of the car and headed out on a solo regional tour. While driving between Gunnedah and Mudgee, via Black Stump Way, he discovered that The Whitlams‘Man About a Dog’ – a song about driving through the country after heavy rains have broken the drought – had been added to country radio.

I must admit it was a surprise to be played on Kix Country and Triple A Murri Country, but it was very cool,” says Tim, who vowed: “I have to get out of the city more.”

In Mudgee, Tim hatched an idea. He called award-winning producer Matt Fell, who had worked on his solo album, Australian Idle. “Put together your dream band,” Tim said. “I think I want to make a country album.”

The result is The Whitlams, Black Stump Band, a surprising country detour for one of Australia’s most loved bands, featuring some of Australia’s finest musicians, including Rod McCormack (on banjo, papoose and acoustic guitar), Ollie Thorpe (pedal steel and electric guitar), and Matt Fell on bass.

After reworking The Whitlams‘50 Again’, the next release from the Black Stump Band was ‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’, a song written by Sydney’s Perry Keyes, whose work has been praised by Peter Garrett, Missy Higgins and Tim Freedman.

Tim even wrote a piece about Perry“an authentic voice from the heart of a disappearing world” – for The Sydney Morning Herald (read here).  

The video for ‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’ was made by acclaimed Sydney photojournalist and director Johnny Barker. “It’s a really special clip, with Johnny incorporating footage from the time,” Tim says.  It also features archival footage of Tim’s father, Barrie Freedman, reading the Channel 7 News in July 1970 tipping Souths for the upcoming Grand Final. Barrie proved correct in his prediction, and Souths went on to win the premiership in September against Manly Warringah, the team that Barrie had been taking his son Tim, then six years old, to watch at Brookvale Oval over the course of the season.

‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’ celebrates one of the greatest stories in rugby league.  When South Sydney’s captain John Sattler had his jaw broken in the third minute of the 1970 Grand Final, he famously told a teammate, “Hold me up, so they don’t know I’m hurt.” He played out the rest of the game, leading Souths to victory over Manly.  If you are quick, you will see the actual moment John Sattler’s jaw is broken at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the film clip, just as the guitar solo kicks in with Gough Whitlam, Frank Hyde and Brett Whitley.

But even if you’ve never seen a game of rugby league, ‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’ is an unforgettable epic that is more a social history than a song about sport, evoking the working-class suburbs of inner Sydney as Grand Final day unfolds.

And the tears rolled down like Reschs the day John Sattler broke his jaw

The song references legendary commentator Frank Hyde’s iconic call when a player was kicking for goal:

If it’s high enough
If it’s long enough
If it’s straight between the posts

MUSIC

BLOW UP THE POKIES (BLACK STUMP)

Single released 28 Oct 2022

50 AGAIN (BLACK STUMP)

Single released 13 Aug 2021

THE DAY JOHN SATTLER BROKE HIS JAW

Single released 22 Jan 2022

LYRICS

STREAM / BUY There was the stage, two red lights and a dodgy P.A. You trod the planks way back then And it’s strange, you’re here again, here again And I wish I, wish I knew the right words To make you feel better, walk out of this place And defeat them in your secret battle Show them you can be your own man again Don’t, don’t explain Lots of little victories take on the pain It takes so long to earn You can double up or you can burn, you can burn And I wish I, wish I knew the right words To make you feel better, walk out of this place And defeat them in your secret battle Show them you can be your own man again And I wish I, wish I knew the right words To blow up the pokies and drag them away They’re taking the food off your table So they can say that the trains run on time Flashing lights, it’s a real show And your wife? I wouldn’t go home The little bundles need care And you can’t be a father there, father there And I wish I, wish I knew the right words To make you feel better, walk out of this place And defeat them in your secret battle Show them you can be your own man again And I wish I, wish I knew the right words To blow up the pokies and drag them away They’re taking the food off your table So they can say that the trains run on time Another man there was made the trains run on time Written by G.Gertler Gold, T. Freedman (Sony Music Publishing/Control) Performed by The Whitlams, Black Stump Band – Tim Freedman, Rod McCormack, Ollie Thorpe, Matt Fell, Josh Shuberth.

STREAM / BUY

Sunrise on the station breaks the morning’s spell
Red and green streamers flyin’ outside the Railway View Hotel
Cleveland St shuffles shinin’ into the mighty roar
We were walkin’ through the twilight the day John Sattler broke his jaw

Livin’ eight to a house, post Menzies’ land of plenty
But there was nothin’ left for people like us in September 1970
Some worked the Eveleigh railway yards, some worked the tanneries on the Botany shore
We didn’t work the Saturday that John Sattler broke his jaw

If it’s high enough, if it’s long enough, if it’s straight between the posts
Drink your beer and shed no tears for these days you miss the most
Every step and sill sat shinin’ in Black-It from door to door
And the tears rolled down like Reschs the day John Sattler broke his jaw

Saturday morning on the Botany road was mean and it was lean
Rabbit killers in old Ford Falcons stallin’ through a richer man’s dream
By afternoon we were jammed tight inside the hotel doors
Even the T.A.B. was empty the day John Sattler broke his jaw

Now in the Ladies Lounge a young girl rocks a pram
An old guy downs a Flag Ale with the ghost of Dave Sands
Clothes lines are flyin’ high, the sun is sinkin’ behind the flats
As stoned girls walk in circles with their babies on their backs

As big trucks roll down wide streets with heroin filled storm drains
Suburban towns they turn blue and brown, use old wars for their street names
They took you down to Campbelltown to Mount Druitt and St Marys
As Young Labor sits stoned in a terraced house, the Sydney Swans on pay tv

Written by Perry Keyes (Control)
Performed by The Whitlams, Black Stump Band – Tim Freedman, Rod McCormack, Ollie Thorpe, Matt Fell, Josh Shuberth

STREAM / BUY

We made love in the river
We made love in the South
We made love up in the mountains
We made love in the mouth

My spirit it is leaping
My body thinks it’s home
First I was afraid of your intentions
Now I’ve got my own

You’re making me feel 50 Again
Shaking like a leaf
You’re making me feel 50 Again
Sammy Davis Junior

Now I’m a little careful
I don’t drive real fast
When you know you’re lucky to be here at all sister
You want to make it last

ou’re my foolish adventure
Got nothing left to lose
The Lord he moves in a cotton ensemble
He’s moving in me too

You’re making me feel 50 Again
Shaking like a leaf
You’re making me feel 50 Again
Sammy Davis Junior
You’re making me feel 50 Again
Shaking like a leaf on Mount Olympus

You’re keeping me alive

I was betting with tomorrow’s paper
Mmmm, I really had it made
Now I hear you gotta win three times
Pick the horse, get on, and then get paid

You’re making me feel 50 Again
Shaking like a leaf
You’re making me feel 50 Again
As Sammy Davis Junior’s my witness
You’re making me feel 50 Again
Shaking like a leaf on Mount Olympus

You’re keeping me alive

Written by T. Freedman, J. Housden, D. Denholm (Sony Music Publishing/Control)
Performed by The Whitlams, Black Stump Band – Tim Freedman, Rod McCormack, Ollie Thorpe, Matt Fell, Josh Shuberth.

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