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LIVE at the Nth Melbourne Town Hall 1990 tape to be released on August 1st, 2023
The ZYDECO JUMP live recording is the 36th release of the Australian Road Crew Association’s (ARCA) Desk Tape Series.
Melbourne band Zydeco Jump are the 35th act to get behind Support Act’s Roadies Fund through the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA)’s Desk Tape Series.
The Series was created by ARCA to raise funds to provide financial, health, counselling and well-being services for roadies and crew in crisis.
The recordings are made by a crew member – in this case sound engineer for the night, Simon Glozier – and released on ARCA’s Black Box Records via MGM Distribution and major streaming services.
Thanx to D.Walsh and George Butrumlis for the photos, Nprint for the artwork, Phil Dracoulis for the mastering, and especially ZYDECO JUMP for their support of roadies and crew in crisis.
ZYDECO JUMP Live at the Nth Melbourne Town Hall 1990
- George Butrumlis – piano accordion
- Paul Neuendorf – guitar and vocals
- Gary Samolin – drums
- Alan Wright – bass
- Linda ‘Toots’ Wostry – sax
- Ben Taylor – washboard
- Simon Glozier (sound engineer at venue)
- Joe Pete Is In The Bed (wr: S.Semien)
- Walking Up The Creek (wr: A. Wright & George Butrumlis)
- That Was Your Mother (wr: Paul Simon)
- Alligator Waltz (wr: Rockin’ Sydney)
- Johnny Can’t Dance (He’s Got Ants In His Pants) (wr: Clifton Chenier)
- Let’s Talk It Over (wr: Chuck Berry & Tampa Red)
- Not Fade Away (wr: Buddy Holly & Norman Petty)
- You Win Again (wr: Hank Wiliams)
- All Night Long (wr: Clifton Chenier)
- What’d I Say (wr: Ray Charles)
The ZYDECO JUMP Live at the Nth Melbourne Town Hall 1990 live tape and all the ARCA Desk Tape Series recordings are available through Black Box Records – ARCA (australianroadcrew.com.au) and the following: https://ffm.to/zydecojumplive
- Apple Music / iTunes
- Black Box Records
- YouTube Music
Like other ARCA releases, Zydeco Jump LIVE At The North Melbourne Town Hall, 1990 also works as a historical document. It captures the move in the Melbourne scene from the late 1980s to fuse the traditional roots sound of zydeco with contemporary rock guitar, and to also make the accordion sound cool.
Until Zydeco Jump came along, rock audiences had never heard Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” and Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” played so naturally and with credibility on the squeeze box.
The North Melbourne Town Hall show was a benefit for Friends Of The Earth.
George Butrumlis, accordion player and band founder: “It was an early evening show, about 6 because we had a second gig, at the Prince Patrick, at 9.30.
“But we started an hour late, and I thought we were anxious as a result and played a bit rough. But when I heard Simon’s tape from 33 years back, I realised we had played really well!”
Simon Glozier: “I just remember bits and pieces of the show. In those days I was so busy – doing sound for everything from rock bands to nightclub cover types to mariachi bands with horns at folk festivals, to Celtic acts which sounded magical.
“I can’t remember if there were any other bands at the benefit or how big the audience was.
“But there would have been a lot of people, Zydeco Jump were a popular band.
“But I loved zydeco and all things Creole, and I liked them as a band.
“As soon as they went on, I had a spare cassette handy and I slipped it on.”
From The American South
Zydeco came from southwest Louisiana in the American Deep South which was played by French Creole speakers and Native Americans.
It is an upbeat syncopated rhythmic music which often incorporates elements of blues, ‘50s rock and roll, soul music, R&B, Afro-Caribbean, Cajun and early Creole music.
Its main instrument was the piano accordion. George Butrumlis had been playing accordion from a young age.
But the idea of playing zydeco came years later when he ran into Joe Camilleri at Armstrong Studios in 1983 and Joe introduced himself.
“I hear you’re a really good accordion player. I’m putting together a zydeco band, I’m calling it the Black Sorrows, are you interested?”
“Oh yeah, sure, sure,” George replied happily, waiting to rush home so he could ask someone what on earth “zydeco” was.
One thing stands out about LIVE At The North Melbourne Town Hall: it shows how Zydeco Jump not only brought Australianness into the zydeco sound but a variety of sounds.
George was as much obsessed over Jimi Hendrix as zydeco master Clifton Chenier.
The son of a Greek father and Aussie mother, he was six years old when they came home with a red accordion player. He was packed off to study at “Uncle” John Robinson’s Music Centre in Box Hill.
Forty or fifty students would crowd in a room that he built in the back of his house. Butrumlis learned all the academic, classical and European aspects of the accordion.
“It was a technically demanding instrument and you had to practice hard. I entered a lot of competitions and exams – not at the Conservatorium because the accordion was not recognised there. Accordion players were outsiders, we had to find our own audiences and chart our own course.”
But as the ‘60s moved on, the likes of Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, George Harrison and Brian Jones made the guitar the uber-sexy musical instrument…and the accordion started to look distinctly uncool.
At age 16, when Butrumlis discovered Jimi Hendrix, his life turned upside down. He dropped the accordion and picked up the guitar, playing the instrument in bands.
“I rate Hendrix as a true genius, which is not a term I use lightly. I still listen to him avidly.”
His break from the accordion didn’t last long. Guitarist Ed Bates (Pelaco Bros, Sports), a friend of a friend, rang to say he was starting a country and western band called Thunderbox with former members of Saltbush, and they needed an accordion player.
Many gigs with them, and some years later, came the Black Sorrows invitation.
George remembers looking around at their first rehearsal and seeing a crack group of musicians – all of whom his musical heroes as a teenager.
His approach to the accordion had “completely changed” when he returned to it.
“When I played with Thunderbox, Black Sorrows and Zydeco Jump, one of the driving things for me, the half Greek boy from the eastern suburbs, was to play it in a way that would somehow make the accordion cool. It would fit into more contemporary music, rather than just the stuff people expected from the accordion.”
Butrumlis’ first choice of name for the new band was Zydeco Bums. But the rest of the band wasn’t having that, and suggested something that indicated how they never stopped leaping about whether onstage or during rehearsals.
Zydeco Jump quickly built up an audience and residencies at venues like the Esplanade Hotel in St. Kilda turned into whirring dance parties.
George: “In those days, we were in our 30s and full of energy, and it used to astound me how fast we played.”
Simon: “Live, they were a genuine band, that’s what I liked about them. They were quite authentic.”
Zydeco Jump were low maintenance: they had no road crew because their gear was simple. They arrived early before a gig, and got focused enough so that when they hit the stage, it was with all barrels blazing.
As LIVE At The North Melbourne Town Hall 1990 shows, by drawing on many sources for their material, they captured more rhythms than zydeco’s like the Double Clutch.
Paul Simon’s “That Was Your Mother” was given a two-step, “Alligator Waltz” was obvious, Ray Charles’ What’d I Say” was transported to New Orleans, and the voodoo/ Stones rhythms of Buddy Holly’s elegant Texas pop “Not Fade Away” led them to stretch it out for 10 minutes.
“Walking Up The Creek” is a stand-out, one of their originals co-penned by George and bassist Alan Wright who died of lung cancer in 2015.
“Alan came from the country, and when his day job became stressful, he’d go for a walk in the bush.
“I love that track because it not only had a ‘straight 5 ahead’ tempo but lines like ‘goanna in the grass’ meant we were trying to create an Australian zydeco.”
The accordion still does have its detractors, he chuckles. He recalls the time City of Melbourne hired him to play a set in a laneway as part of its Lunchtime Serenades music program.
A man from a nearby office block came out, “How much are they paying you? I’ll pay you more if you stop.”
George snapped back, “Forget it, I’m here for another 45 minutes, so just suck it up!”
ARCA would like to thank the following sponsors of The Desk Tape Series:-
Sponsor Industry Roles
- Showtech Rigging
- CMI P.A and Production
- Clearlight Lighting
- DSE Trucks Transport
- Scully Outdoors Outdoor Production
- Gigpower Crewing and Staging
- Lock and Load Crewing
- Chameleon Touring Production and Lighting
- JPJ P.A and Lighting
- Novatech P.A and Lighting
- Phaseshift Lighting
- Show FX Australia Pyrotechnics
- Event Personnel Australia Crewing
- Norwest P.A and Lighting Production
- Nprint Artwork
Ian Peel and Adrian Anderson
ARCA Co-founders and Directors.
Note from founders:-
“ARCA and The Desk Tape Series is a small way we can help our mates get some self-worth and recognition for their contribution to the Aussie music industry and help if they are in crisis. It is a great honour for us to be able to present these memories to all.”
All Hail Roadies and Crew
“Looking after OUR OWN with FEELING and a WHOLE LOTTA LOVE”
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