The Whitlams’ 7th album, their first since 2006


Tim Freedman writes:

I started writing the songs for “Sancho” when Sancho died. It was May 2019 and I got the call that a minute down the road at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital our tour manager of twenty years had left us after a massive heart attack.

My nickname for Greg Weaver was Sancho because he was always there for me, the steadfast offsider to the impractical, impetuous, disorderly Don Quixote, who most lead singers impersonate from time to time.

In 1987 he recorded a surprisingly good “desk tape” on cassette of my band while mixing a show in Bondi, and I thought “If I ever get serious I’ll get this guy, he’ll make us sound good”. So in August 1997, a month before we released “Eternal Nightcap”, I hired him, and we got to work.

I’ve written some sad songs about blokes in my time, but I wanted to make the title track “Sancho” different, and write a joyous song about the good times on the road. The pain of returning to those memories when we realise how much we miss him makes it a very important song for the whole band. We’ll know it’s sounding good if there is a ghost of the big guy air-drumming behind the sound desk. He would have loved mixing this song with the stacked harmonies and the art rock ending because first and foremost he was a music lover who enjoyed a challenge.

The other song about Greg is “Sancho In Love”. I wanted to capture his charming quirks, so with the help of his family I started by listing some of his favourite things like sleeping on tour buses, and his otherworldly contentment with the sound of laundromats. Then I moved onto some of his habits and catchphrases. As his reputation grew, Greg worked with a lot of big bands: Boy and Bear thought I should mention Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream in the song, and Ballpark Music loved his portable tour iron with which he would press his Bisley shorts before setting out on the workday.

So the album is called “Sancho” and it is dedicated to the memory of Greg Weaver.


The only cover version on the album is a Megan Washington song done with a Philip Glass style arrangement. I had been fossicking through Glass’s career and noticing how it influenced my old friend Peter Sculthorpe’s own take on minimalism. The album’s producer Daniel Denholm recorded a nine piece string section for this track and the next. The strings were arranged by Jonathan Zwartz.


Kiss me like a Catherine Wheel,
One of us is out of touch
And one of us is out of time
I’ve got to tell you how I feel

There’s something ‘bout the way
You spin around and say

Kiss me like a Catherine Wheel
You tropical electric storm
Oh I can never keep you warm
And I can never keep it real

I didn’t think at all
I didn’t feel the fall

Kiss me like a Catherine Wheel
Love me like a roman candle
And all the seconds that we steal
Or am I much too much to handle?

I can really feel the flood
Champagne tastes a lot like blood
I can not know how I’m going to heal

Oh I know how fire works but I still let you kiss me like a Catherine Wheel

Kiss me like a Catherine Wheel
Kiss me like we’re going to die
Oh kiss me as we kiss goodbye
I’ve got to tell you how I feel

Like everything is sugar baby, everything is doomed
And everything was simple when I had you in my room
I thought it was going to burn, I feel it every time you turn
And I do not know how l’m going to heal

Oh I know how fire works but I still let you kiss me like a Catherine Wheel

Written by M. Washington (BMG / Origin Music)

This was a piece of piano music for 18 months, looking for a lyric, and while Jak and I were hiding out in the Northern Rivers in August while the “Gaffage and Clink 2021” tour was falling apart, I wrote the words quickly about an old affair. We then had a fruitful week at the Music Farm Byron Bay with Wayne Connolly engineering, where we recorded tracks 2, 4, 5 and 7. The band was really having fun in the outro, so the intended fade out was not implemented, not with Terepai being so playful. Daniel Denholm arranged the strings.


Thank you for having me, thank you for being had
Nobody knows I love you, nobody knows how bad
Thank you for meeting me, thank you for getting around
After all these years
Nobody knows I love you, nobody knows you’re here

I was a reprobate, I let you disappear
Nobody knows I found you, nobody knows you’re here
Thank you for seeing me, thank you for being seen
After all this time
Nobody knows I love you, nobody knows that you’re mine

There’s a slither of ocean if you slide over there
Uncommon devotion, yeah and it’s quite an affair
Wouldn’t change your kiss if you wanted to, wouldn’t change your kiss

Devil in silhouette, a long-forgotten duet, fugitive years
An old dog and a fox, I’ll have mine on the rocks, a sweet souvenir

Written by T. Freedman (Sony Music Publishing)

There is lots of backstage lingo in this.

“Clink” is leftover hospitality rider, derived from the sound it makes as it is secreted from the venue. “Colonel Clink” is the band member who smuggles the booze out.

“Glue” is the talk between songs. When the sound guy has heard the songs a thousand times he appreciates new glue to get him through the night.

Yes, I was the only one of five in the tour vehicle who wasn’t a Steely Dan nut.

Greg and I loved a “six by six” – the tour develops its own rhythm and the real world disappears – like working on an oil rig. However, the lead singer often becomes more and more erratic as the weeks roll by.


I’m not up for it tonight Sancho, but you know that the show will go on
So we ride tonight Sancho to another glorious victory of song
It’s a confidence game you know, they’ll come along to see a man who believes in himself
So bring the rubber walls won’t you, we might not be back this way and no-one should miss out

We’ll slay all the heathens and first you’ll blind them with the perfect delay
Then the hits and the memories from the 90’s and the noughties and today

I need smoke and mirrors, Gaffage and Clink, Opera House Al on the lights
And when the Big Man starts dancing out in the front then you know it’s going alright

When their flags are lowered, a five minute call for the knights to depart
Leave those two mooks behind won’t you? They’re social, excitable, and they’re always the last
Sing Steely Dan with the boys in the back row, I don’t get it myself but y’all have a ball
The Colonel has Clinkage, a bag of fine bounty for winos, just one hundred clicks, may’s well get out and

Love, it’s cruel on the ladies, you’ve seen the looks in their eyes
Is that Dulcinea there the loading dock dancer?
And implacable you in the driver’s seat raising your brow

You’ll get three hours tonight Sancho before you might need to be assisting the Artist to pack
Pour him in the carriage, we need six weeks by six shows a week with all members intact

We’ll save all the heathens and first you’ll blind them with the perfect EQ
Then you’ll pass me your implement because you
Hope for the sake of the show that I got some glue for you

Written by T. Freedman (Sony Music Publishing)

Picture a backyard strewn with broken kids’ toys, old milk crates and an overflowing ashtray. A bloke, the sort of bloke who is always doing his best, is in trouble again, but at least his partner loves him. Alex Lloyd heard us play this live for the first time in Brisbane and volunteered to record the backing vocals.


Sitting in the backyard on a milk crate, yeah I’m home but not ready to come up yet
Going over all the trouble I’m in, how it’s just written in the script
I was going down the moment the phone rang, the minute they called

Why do I talk to every idiot, with an idiot idea?
It’s always Race 8, the Get Out Stakes, chasing through the smell of the sweat and the fear
You shake your head and say “You do you babe”, so I do me
For a while I was betting for Two Flies and I thought we were home scot-free
It’s time to climb the stair, you’ll be sleeping and not keeping the score

You lift me up, you brush me down, you lift me up, turn me around
I must have been alright In the Last Life to be lying here with you, here with you

When I slip away into my glass canoe, and I’m slicing my way to the falls
You pull me over, say even a fool should know they’re all sharks and leeches and lawyers
And it was you said “Say sorry to Honest Don, this little bugger’s in a little bit of strife”
He might listen to me ‘cause I look like his son who wasn’t quite made out for the criminal life

Written by T. Freedman / W. Connolly (Sony Music Publishing / Control)
Backing vocals – Alex Lloyd

Jak Housden’s music to which I added the narrator Anthony Blunt, notorious Soviet spy and Keeper of the Queen’s Pictures in Buckingham Palace. “Eddie” is the Duke of Windsor, formerly Edward VIII – the present Queen’s uncle – whose letters to his German cousins, (replete with Nazi sympathy) it is reputed Blunt retrieved for his employers at the end of World War II.


I can spot the next contestant, another fellow born to be clandestine
We rag tag we will survive, not the pudgy boys in the Windsor ties

Have we got a problem? Cambridge Three
Have we got a problem? It’s up to me
If London burns again, if London burns again

The great leap from ennui to action, an historical expectation
In the shade of the illuminati, Eddie’s not a bad chap for The Party

A simple case of act or perish, when it’s whiskey and boys I relish
Now two queens are in the Palace, a worm is in the Rose

The Iron Lady stands and tells the secret, and if the revolution had been somewhere decent
I would have disappeared one day, but I’ll stay and sip my tea

Written by J. Housden / T. Freedman (Control / Sony Music Publishing)

Originally, our protagonist was an 80 year old former professional gambler who is in palliative care and has fallen in love with his nurse. I played it solo for a while before recording it, and no-one understood the horse racing references, so I took most of them out. The film clip has the perfect stars, the Mermaids – Byron Bay’s Over-50s Ladies Ocean Swimming Club.


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

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

You’re my foolish adventure, I got nothing left to lose
The Lord he moves in a light cotton ensemble, he’s moving in me too

You’re keeping me alive

I was betting with tomorrow’s paper, I really had it made
But now I hear you gotta win three times – pick the horse, get on and then get paid

Written by T. Freedman / J. Housden / D. Denholm (Sony Music Publishing / Control)

A vitriolic number, full of insults and distemper. Ian Peres, formerly of Wolfmother, filled in on bass for quite a few sessions due to border closures, and he also played organ on this track. The last lines “Give them kindness they will love you / Give them love and they will kill” was given to me by Kerry Gibson, the world’s only professional one-armed Rugby League player, who drinks at my local pub. Sometimes life really is a Tom Waits song.


Before the bags are ready, before you disappear
Just know I tried so hard, I throw my hands into the air

The flapping of the failed, the furious – fat rooster, hyperthyroid eyes
Give it the fight it wants it would be wanton boys to flies

Get a Hotel Room, you and your bat faced Romeo
Get a Hotel Room, you’ll be wide awake at dawn

I’ll see you in a year or two, who’ll be looking out for you?
It’s all aboard the Magic Bus I’m leaving

Together you birds of feather, not half as clever as you might think
You’re going ‘round and ‘round your little circles in the sink

Taking something for the pain? Lovers fighting in the lane
The nights are long, the days are disappointing

Get a Hotel Room, you’ll be lying awake at dawn
Show them kindness they will love you
Show them love they will kill

Written by T. Freedman / J. Housden (Sony Music Publishing / Control)
Organ – Ian Peres

The first line of the chorus “Took the Hunter Line down to the rock and roll, standing in the middle of the crowd” is about Greg as a teenager catching the train down from Scone (the Hunter Line) on a Saturday night to watch bands in The Rocks, which is where he got bitten by the rock and roll bug. We are the same age so I like to think we crossed paths at Wynyard Station as I got on the bus after sneaking into The Governor’s Pleasure Hotel in 1982.

He seemed to know everything about technology, so I dropped in the names of his two favourite tech bloggers. Not one for small talk, he would often answer the phone with “State your issue for resolution”, or “No problems, only solutions”. Greg would have loved the rocking outro where Jak Housden lets loose.


CB radio rigged up on the bike, out on the airwaves – Scone tonight
We move around for the love of Jesus, my floor is all transmitters and receivers
State your issue for resolution, there are no problems just solutions
I like to pull things apart, then put them all back together

Took the Hunter Line down to the rock and roll, standing in the middle of the crowd
Think I might have found what I want to do, join the circus folk and turn it up loud

Thump in my chest it’s the sound of Sancho in Love

Melody meets electronics, I’m a gear queer – they’re alcoholics
Laundromats, asleep on buses, the soft hum as the prairie rushes by
John C. Dvorak, Leo Laporte, yeah that’s how I know what know
I like to pull things apart, then put them all back together

Your credit card is exploding, we won’t see you in the bar
With a handful of tokens on the way to your own high score
There’s a nice type of romance waiting in the wings for you
With a blanket on your head don’t want the band to know just who

Written by T. Freedman / J. Housden / W. Hornby (Sony Music Publishing / Control)

This is an example of the new genre, the “lockdown song”. I was a little optimistic though when I wrote “Naught ‘til ‘21’s not a pity” considering we’re still looking forward to the band’s ”Gaffage and Clink Tour” starting February ‘22. This was a single in April ‘21 and got some airplay on Country radio, so I started a Country band – but that is another story.

It’s about the imaginative ways we can dissipate ourselves, given the opportunity, including driving through the hills listening to Neil Young and Greek Philosophy.


I had to go into the hills to see a Man About a Dog
He said “Get here before the sun goes down”
So I get into the truck and turn a right at Friday Hut
I’ll come home around the town
The rain it slapped the land from sleep, it was green within a week
Two birds escort me in, the world turning on the flash of a wing

And the worse that it was the better it will be
You held onto the tail and that’s a victory

All this talk of how to be happy, and I’m off to see a Man About a Dog

And when I get up to the shack first night I hear the Big Old Cat
Rumbling out at sea
Yeah “come on take the turn to land, not just a light show and a band
It’s the soaking we need”
The farmer dreams of cattle fed, tonight he’s working from his bed
On the roof the heavy drops
That’ll break the Silence of the Frogs

And the worse that it was the better it will be,
You held onto the tail and that’s a victory

All this talk of how to be happy, but not a little content
Naught ’til ’21’s not a pity when I’m off to see a Man About a Dog

Old farmer limping down the lane, his medal-winner’s out again
And he waves at me
And through the wonder of it all, put on Neil Young at Massey Hall ’72 or 3
Yeah and it’s dark when I get home, and I feel something coming on
Blindfold, Arvo Pärt, I’m taking everyone on that drive I swear

All this talk of how to be happy but not a little content
I used to love the Greek women, now I love Greek men
I’m a Stoic in the morning, out the city gate before long
I want no part of the new age that’s dawning
‘Cause I’m off to see a man, off to see a man, I’m off to see a Man About a Dog

I’m taking everyone on that drive I swear

Written by T. Freedman (Sony Music Publishing)

I’m cornered by a Rabbitohs fan at the pub who tells a tale of a heist so deliciously ill-fated

that it could only have been dreamt up by the patron saint of hapless criminals. It’s Gosford, 1988, and our protagonist is pressured into a break and enter crew by the notorious Bertie Kidd, who orders his boys to put their balaclavas on a little too early.

I had dinner with Bert in Launceston during my solo tour in November, 2020, and I can tell you all about it after he dies. In the meantime, Bert is addressing the incident described in the song in the first chapter of Volume 3 of his autobiography due out next year. He wants to correct a couple of small details.


“They don’t write songs about guys like me, here, I got one you can have for free”
He was with his old Mum, he’d brought her up the pub to watch the Rabbits run around
She liked to see him swear at televisions
Sledging men on football fields and lashing out on counter meals
Reminds her of the old man, how Souths and life will set you up to fall

I was at home with Mum in ’88, Friday night I wish I’d had a date
The phone rings at nine, it’s Bert the Baby Blue-Eyed Killer on the line
He says, “meet us out the back in 10”
Mum says “put a jumper on although you won’t be gone for long
Not when it goes to plan, and Bert will have a plan he does alright”

With my balaclava curled up like a turban on my head, “Get in”, he said
“All we need is a fourth to be a cockatoo if you don’t come I’m beltin’ you
I’m Australia’s Greatest Robber, it’s an honour for ya son, now come along”

A stolen Sigma in the lane, Bert says, “get in the back and I’ll explain
It’s an easy grab, but there’s two hours ’til the coast is clear, we’ll get a slab
And then we’ll get an art collection
My man has left the key outside, we’ll cut the canvas with these knives
Be in and out in twenty, Pro Hart and Norman Lindsay and Ken Done

With my balaclava curled up like a kitten on my head, “Get in”, he said
Some men when they’re drinking, mistake their thoughts for thinking
Australia’s Greatest Robber with somehow 30 years inside, and he says
“Now we’re four blocks away boys, pull your headgear down”
I wish it had been me deciding, you’d be mad to put a bet behind him
Bert, the blue eyes hurt

Four sittin’ ducks in a stolen car, we all need the Brassco but we’ve come too far
And if we get done, I hope that I get Malabar, the old girl would come
Three buses, stay with Aunty Val
Norman Lindsay and Pro Hart, I’m about to give my youth to art
These blocks are really long, and there’s not much going on behind those eyes

With my balaclava rolled down really tight below my chin, they let me in
Some men when they’re drinking, mistake their thoughts for thinking
Here we are two blocks away, fully hooded, on our way and
Sure enough some cops are passing, scratch their chinny chins
They see eight wide eyes, with cans of Reschs
Call it in, and then they met us there, foot of the stair

Bert looks the judge right in the eye, says “it was unseasonably cold that night”
They read mine out, but I don’t hear the verdict, mum was crying out
At least I got the ocean view
Australia’s Greatest Robber got me 13 months of bother
Ah, it’s who you hang around boy, who says, “you come along now for a ride”

Written by T. Freedman / A Farrow-Pryke / C. Waterstreet (Sony Music Publishing / Control)
Backing vocals – Dustyesky


The Whitlams are
Tim Freedman – piano, vocals
Jak Housden – guitar,
Warwick Hornby – bass
Terepai Richmond – drums

Due to border closures Ian Peres played bass on tracks 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.

Produced by Daniel Denholm and Tim Freedman

Mixed by Daniel Denholm at Point Blank, Sydney except for “Get a Hotel Room” mixed by Matt Fell at Love Hz, Leichhardt, and “(You’re Making Me Feel Like I’m) 50 Again” mixed by Tim Palmer in Austin, Texas.

Band tracks for songs 3, 6, 8, 9, 10 recorded by Nicholas Wilson at Rockinghorse Studios, Byron Bay, April to November 2020.

Band tracks for songs 2, 4, 5, 7 recorded by Wayne Connolly at Music Farm, Byron Bay August 2021.

Strings recorded by Brent Clark and Daniel Denholm at Rancom St Studios, Botany

Strings on “Catherine Wheel” arranged by Jonathan Zwartz, for “Nobody Knows I Love You” by Daniel Denholm

Additional recording by Daniel Denholm at Point Blank, Sydney and Nigel Pegrum at Pegasus Studios, Cairns. 

Mastered by Steve Smart at Studios 301

Ⓟ & © 2022 E.G. Records. All rights reserved.