THE WHITLAMS BLACK STUMP

The Whitlams Black Stump formed in 2021 and sees Tim Freedman and long-time Whitlams drummer Terepai Richmond joined by an A Team of roots musicians, reconstructing the best of The Whitlams’ repertoire with an assortment of new songs and classic Americana.

The five-piece band features Rod McCormack and Matt Fell, two CMAA Producers of the Year, on banjo and bass, and young gun Ollie Thorpe on electric and pedal steel guitar.

The act debuted at the Tamworth Country Music Festival in 2022, and then wound its way down the East Coast in a three week tour that bonded their musical chemistry. The next step was selling out the capital cities on the Big City Debut tour, all the while chipping away at a debut album out February 2024.

The themes of the group’s repertoire are proudly parochial. Rarely have Australian stories sounded so good on American instruments as when The Whitlams Black Stump casts forth tales of John Sattler’s jaw, of Ned Kelly’s sister Kate, and of our national impulse to blow up the pokies.

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LATEST SINGLE – You Sound Like Louis Burdett – OUT NOW

“Rarely does an act manage to improve its own classic. The Whitlams Black Stump has done it here.” Jeff Jenkins (Rhythms Magazine)

The Whitlams Black Stump delivers a deliciously discordant Spaghetti Western version of Tim Freedman’s “You Sound Like Louis Burdett”. The boneyard Tex-Mex palette perfectly underpins the craziness of this tale of wide-eyed twenty-somethings in a sharehouse under the flight path in Sydney.

“All my friends are fuck ups, but they’re fun to have around” is a well-known lyric in Australian indie music, quoted in history books and novels (eg Melina Marchetta), and remembered by adults as the first time they as kids were allowed to swear in front of their parents, when the song played in the car on road trips in the late 90s.

On its first two national tours over the last 18 months, Tim Freedman’s alt-country line up started closing the show with this reboot of the song, and it never failed to get country halls and city theatres jumping. So the band decided to record it in the final sessions for the debut album “Kookaburra”, out March 8, 2024.

The song had been the first single off The Whitlams’ multi-platinum breakthrough album “Eternal Nightcap” in 1997, recently placed at no. 24 by Rolling Stone in the Top 100 Greatest Australian Albums of All Time. The song itself was in JJJ’s Top 100 in 1997.

 A line up as versatile as The Whitlams Black Stump, with Rod McCormack and Matt Fell, two Tamworth Producers of the Year in the ranks on banjo and bass, as well as restless young gun Ollie Thorpe on pedal steel and electric guitar, was never going to play straight country for too long. The band looks forward to revealing the mixture of smooth sounds and country rock, Tex-Mex and Latin that makes up the much anticipated debut album, two years in the making.

A live video of the song captured at the Princess Theatre in Brisbane at the end of their 2023 Big City Debut Tour in April, 2023 is now on YouTube, and shows why the band has become a live drawcard early in its journey, with main stage spots confirmed in 2024 at Bluesfest, Gympie Muster, and Savannah in the Round, as well a national tour going on sale Feb 8.

MUSIC

YOU SOUND LIKE LOUIS BURDETT

Single released 25 Jan 2024

NO APHRODISIAC (BLACK STUMP)

Single released 28 Jul 2023

KATE KELLY (FEAT. FELICITY URQUHART)

Single released 3 Mar 2023

BLOW UP THE POKIES (BLACK STUMP)

Single released 28 Oct 2022

THE DAY JOHN SATTLER BROKE HIS JAW

Single released 22 Jan 2022

50 AGAIN (BLACK STUMP)

Single released 13 Aug 2021

LYRICS

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Had a little bit to drink
There’s a little thing I want at a do out East
Nothing too emotional, my good miss, I couldn’t be serious in a room full of jack-knife eyes
Stop talking ’bout the years – you sound like Louis Burdett

And we roll on to my back shed, play some poker, scratch my head
Look at the sky and spot the planes, where would I go on holidays?
Roll with the punches, down the aisles, and down the street the weeks they roll by

I’m chewing ice and grinning, I’m spewing up and spinning, it’s biliousness as usual in my corner of the kitchen
Hey you, lose that friend before you go anywhere. What? Someone might see you alone?
Stop baggin’ out the band, ‘cause you sound like Louis Burdett

All my friends are fuck-ups but they’re fun to have around, banana chairs out on the concrete, telling stories to the stars, how Geminis love Wooden Dragons, yeah and how down the street the weeks roll by

The moment the night wears off, the bombsite reappears
They’re all asleep but the morning tastes like wine, it tastes like wine in Tempe
I feel so good I just might wake him up
Pat him on the bald head

I’m stoned in a bookshop, sober in a nightclub, sex is everywhere, but nowhere ’round me
By the time she gets to Marrickville we’ll be masturbating
It never rains in Tempe but the planes remind of family money and the lack down here
Stop talking frustrated, I’m startin’ to sound like Louis Burdett

 

Words Tim Freedman
Music Tim Freedman, Mark Wells
(Sony Music Publishing/Control)

A letter to you on a cassette
‘Cause we don’t write anymore
Gotta make it up quickly –There’s people asleep on the second floor

There’s no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Truth beauty and a picture of you 

You’ll be walking your dog in a few hours
I’ll be asleep in my brother’s house
You’re a thousand miles away
With food between your teeth

Come up for summer
I’ve got a place near the beach
There’s room for your dog

There’s no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Truth beauty and a picture of you 
There’s no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Truth youth beauty fame boredom and a bottle of pills

There’s no aphrodisiac like loneliness
You shouldn’t leave me alone
There’s no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Bare feet like a tom-boy and a crooked smile

Truth youth beauty fame boredom red hair no hair innocence Saturday and a picture of you 

There’s no aphrodisiac like loneliness
Bare feet like a tom-boy and a crooked smile

Forty shaved sexy wants to do it all day
With a gun-totin’ trigger-happy missy named Kinky Renée 
Truth youth beauty fame boredom red hair no hair awkwardness and a picture of you 

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You just keep on drinking and you try to forget
How they strung up Joe Byrne to the jailhouse door
He looked just like a marionette

He was dead for two days and I’ll tell you no lies
With the press all around him making their money
Shooting postcards of him through the flies

Close your eyes, Kate, I’ll sing you to sleep
Close your eyes, your dreams will be sweet
Kate Kelly, Kate Kelly, yeah I’m gonna sing you to sleep

Ned rose up through the mist, a man made of iron
Fighting his way to the smouldering inn
Where Joe and his brother were dying

They had to shoot out his legs, Kate, and if you could sleep
You could forget that they cut off his head
For the warden’s own paperweight

Close your eyes, Kate and I’ll sing you to sleep
Close your eyes, your dreams will be sweet

Don’t linger around here, may your soul rest in peace
Kate Kelly, Kate Kelly, yeah I’m gonna sing you to sleep

Now I do horse tricks in a wild west show
Sharp-shooting Kate, the last of the Kellys
Now the Queen of the rodeo

Was Joe your lover? did he send you some word?
A friend to your brothers all the way to the end
Where as brothers-in-arms they would fall

Close your eyes, Kate, I’ll sing you to sleep
Close your eyes, your dreams will be sweet

Kate Kelly, Kate Kelly, yeah I’m gonna sing you to sleep
Kate Kelly, Kate Kelly, yeah I’m gonna sing you to sleep

I just keep on drinking, and I try to forget
How they strung up Joe Byrne to the jailhouse door
He looked just like a marionette

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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.

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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

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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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