1996 On


A one-off performance for a private Christmas party in Sydney's northern suburbs at Epping on December 16th, 1995 provided the basis of what was to be the band for the next twelve months. On that occasion the bass slot was filled by Dean EDGECOMBE and this would be the only true difference in the band for some months to follow.

The Party Band
Rod ‘Beachhead’ JEFFERY – main vocals/leader
Will IRVING – electric lead & rhythm guitar
Michael 'Micky Magic' YOUNG - tenor saxophone.
Dean EDGECOMBE– electric bass guitar
Tim REEVES – drums

The first gig for the new 'regular' band in 1996 was a Sunday afternoon (January 14th) at the Jannali Inn in Sydney's southern suburbs, booked through Yvonne Boekel and featured 'new' regular bassist, Raoul HAWKINS. Also, that afternoon, Michael's twin sister, Maddy turned up at the gig and sat in on guitar for a number of tunes. Sadly, Maddy is no longer with us, having taken her own life in the latter part of 1998!
The band played quite a number of gigs throughout the first half of the year, including numerous at the Commercial Hotel in Lithgow, however, Michael was more and more frequently NOT turning up at gigs and sending in 'deps'. The final straws were one at the Commercial where he went A.W.O.L. in the middle of a solo to be sick and then sending in an unacceptable replacement for a job at the Gearin in Katoomba. So he was sacked him and Rod decided to just go with a four-piece comprising himself, guitar, bass and drums. Tim complained that Michael couldn't be let go as he was the best saxophonist around and was, in turn, sacked as well.

The Band
Rod ‘Beachhead’ JEFFERY – main vocals/leader
Will IRVING – electric lead & rhythm guitar
Michael 'Micky Magic' YOUNG - tenor saxophone.
Raoul HAWKINS – electric bass guitar
Tim REEVES – drums

Adam's first gig with the band was at the Coronation Hotel in Portland in July 1996 and he then stayed on for all gigs up until Will Irving Left the band in August 1999 and moved to Queensland.
Among the performances during this time were several more at the Jannali Inn, Kurrajong Heights Hotel-Motel, the 1997 Manly Jazz Festival, 1998 Dubbo Jazz Festival, 1999 Thredbo Blues, the Royal Hotel at Oberon, the 1999 Bathurst Jazz Festival and a final performance for the Orange Jazz Club at the Metropolitan Hotel in Orange in July 1999 as Willy's swansong with the band before leaving for Queensland. There had also been a one-off in June at the Empire Hotel in Annandale that Adam had been unable to make and was filled in for by Sydney session drummer, Bob DONALDSON.

Of great interest and enjoyment for the band members at this particular performance was the appearance, out of the blue, by old friend and world famous jazz saxophonist, Dale BARLOW on a borrowed alto saxophone and Leon DENNIS on trombone. Both of whom sat in with the band for the entire gig.

The Band
Rod ‘Beachhead’ JEFFERY – main vocals/leader
Will IRVING – electric lead & rhythm guitar
Raoul HAWKINS – electric bass guitar
Adam 'Trev' BARNARD – drums

Nothing much happened after Will moved north and Rod eventually got around to asking 'original' BEACHHEAD guitarist, Gary DRYDEN to join.
He did and the band did a weekend of gigs in May 2000 starting with the Coronation Hotel at Portland on the Friday night (May 19th) and then onto the Royal Hotel at Oberon on the Saturday night (May 20th). Rod & Adam had worked at the Royal in March 1999 with 'FOUR BROTHERS AHEAD' when Adam's brother, Tony was home from England for a visit and the band had absolutely packed the place to the rafters from start to finish. So they were now welcome there anytime! This round of gigs, however. would be it for nearly three years unfortunately!
The next, and last to date (mid-2004), time that the band would play together would be when they were asked to perform at the inaugural Canberra Blues'n'Rock Festival in March of 2003.
They were hopeful of performing there again in 2004 but, unfortunately the festival did not go ahead. They were also hopeful of spots at both the 2004 BRUTHEN BLUES BASH and 2004 Australian BLUES FESTIVAL in Goulburn. Though neither of these was forthcoming for assorted reasons.
In October 2005, the band were 'host band' at the regular monthly 'Jam Session' for the Sydney Blues Society at the Empire Hotel in Annandale and many old friends from past years turned up to, in the main, say hello - One having driven from Port Macquarie on the NSW North Coast and sleeping in his car overnight before returning home the following morning. They had also performed at a multiple 50th Birthday on the city's North Shore the night before.
In May 2006 they played, along with friends, at a 'Gemini Party' at the home of Rod & his wife Shirley in Portland and a friend videotaped part of the night. This was to have been a re-initiation of a tradition that Rod and Shirley had introduced when they lived in Sydney - a party to celebrate both their birthdays, hear some 'live' music and have friends around into the bargain. Sadly, it was to be the last such event.
In December 2006, after tests, it was discovered that Rod had Advanced Prostate Cancer and he was given between two and five years to live. As a consequence, he and Shirley had decided that they would venture to Sydney on June 1st, 2007 to catch some 'live' Jazz & Blues' and generally celebrate what may be their last birthdays together. Friends got wind of the occasion and organised a Birthday Party~Benefit Gig that was more like a mini-Festival for the pair.
On June 2nd, at the Cooks River Motor Boat Club in Sydney's Tempe, many friends and family attended a gig that included members of the Foreday Riders Blues, sisters Bridie & Sally King, Dr. Don's Double Dose (Don Hopkins & Rob Grosser), Graham Griffiths 'Out of Nowhere', Dave Wray, Brian 'Indiana Phoenix' Cain and The Layabouts. Also present were the entire BEACHHEAD'S BLUES line-up from 1993/1995 with guitarist Matt Dwyer flying in from New Zealand just to be there.
Time didn't allow for either Rob Luckey, or the current BEACHHEAD band to get on-stage but there were re-union performances from both the Layabouts and BEACHHEAD'S BLUES and much of the night was videotaped in one way or another.
This was to be the last time Shirley would see Rod and the band play as she, herself passed away in Nepean Hospital two months and nine days later on August 11, 2007 following a bout of pneumonia.
The band played again, with friends, at a wake for her at the Gladstone Park Bowling Club in Balmain on November 11 that year.
Strangely enough, after many years of Rod & Shirley trying to get the band in with no success, just following her death in the August Rod received an invite from the Goulburn City Council for the band to perform at 2008 Autsralian Blues Music Festival in Goulburn in February 2008 and the band decided to do it in memory of Shirley
They played the Railway Bowling Club Auditorium on the Friday night and the Saturday night at Tattersalls Hotel.
On the Friday were joined on-stage by bassist, Grant Watson who had driven down from Brisbane just to do it, plus old friend and legendary Brisbane Blues/Rockabilly guitarist 'Blind Dog Donnie' Burke and later Aussie Rock/Blues legend, Mal Eastick took over Donnie's guitar for the last two songs of the set. On the Saturday they were joined once again by Grant (allowing Raoul to take up alto saxophone for the remainder of the night), 'Harmonica Ron' Ind, vocalists Gail Page & Diana Wolfe and Mal again sat in for the last couple of songs.
On April 28th, 2008 the band, along with the addition of BEACHHEAD'S BLUES gutitarist, Matt Ross performed 'live-to-air' form Studio 2 at 2MBSFM in Sydney during the 'Stormy Monday Blues' program. This was the second time that both Rod and Matt had done so - their previous time had been on April 25th, 1994 (Anzac Day) with the BEACHHEAD'S BLUES that also included Matt Dwyer (guitar), Dean Edgecombe (bass) and Max Farrell-Whelan (drums) shortly after returning from an extended tour of the North Coast and Queensland and just prior to going away on their final Victorian tour.
On the strength of their Goulburn performances the band were asked to perform at the Gosford Blues Festival on the NSW Central Coast on June 8th, 2008. With Adam unable to make it, they called upon original BEACHHEAD drummer from 1980, Paul 'Swanny' Svenson to fill in - and he did, magnificently. The stage that day was also graced by Brian Cain on harmonica, the wonderful Gail Page, 'Muma Jane' Stewart-Kemble and Parris McLeod.
The festival was originally meant to be held in a park however, torrential rain during the previous week forced it indoors to Iguana Joe's Waterfront Restaurant and Bar.
The following weekend Gary and Rod were invited to Canberra to perform with a local rhythm section to celebrate Rod's 56th birthday.
This was great fun with the pair being joined by Dean Edgecombe on bass for both a performance at the Astor Hotel in Goulburn on the Friday night (June 13th) and the following night at the Statesman Inn in Curtin ACT for the Canberra Blues Society and the BEACHHEAD BIRTHDAY BASH.
Also for both nights they were accompanied by Christo Carlsen on guitar and 'DJ' Gosper on backing vocals and harmonica. The drummer for the Friday gig was John 'Murve' Cowell who did a great job and for the Saturday night they were joined by old friend and compatriot, Mitch 'Red Herring' Preston.
The Friday night was great with most of Rod's Goulburn-based family in attaendance and his niece who'd driven up from Melbourne for the occasion, plus many of the friends the band had made during the festival in February.
The Saturday night was less well attended for whatever reason, but a great time was had by all andthe expanded band also included friend of nearly thirty years Aria Stone on vocals and tenor saxophone, Leo Joseph on keyboards, Judi Pearce on vocals, James LeFevre on tenor saxophone, Shedea on keyboards for one song and Glen Terry on guitar. A lovely surprise was Shirley and Rod's dear friend, Ross Mortimer who'd flown in from Melbourne unannounced for the occasion and videotaped most of the night. The sound was also recorded - by Matt Jones and Rod has a CD of at least eight songs from the night.
The band last performed at the 2008 'Blues Across the Bay' Festival at Patonga on the Central Coast in November 2008 and were joined on-stage for the entire set by pianist, Alison Penney and later legendary CHAIN guitarist, Phil Manning. For the last song of the day Rod also invited Jill 'Buttercup' Tweedie, the festival Co-ordinator and former lead vocalist with the Foreday Riders, up to help out. This last song was recorded and can be seen on Rod's YouTube site along with the videos from many of the other gigs mentioned from May 2006 on.
The band has again been booked to play the festival in Gosford, this year to be called the Gosford City Blues Festival, on Saturday - June 6th, 2009 and held at the Gosford RSL Club. The full band line-up and playing times can be found on the Festival Website at http://gosfordcitywaterfrontblues.com/
It is, at this stage, uncertain how much longer the band will be performing, or how many more gigs they will do as it appears that Rod is now out of remission as his cancer gains immunity to the treatment he has been receiving but, it's been one hell of a ride and the only real sadness is that Shirley is no longer here to enjoy what is left of it!

The Band
Rod ‘Beachhead’ JEFFERY – main vocals/leader
Gary DRYDEN (a.k.a. Gary 'Guitar' DALE) – electric lead & rhythm guitar
Raoul HAWKINS – electric bass guitar
Adam 'Trev' BARNARD – drums

I truly wish to thank all of those dear friends who've played with me, sang with me and partied with Shirley and I over the years.

Were it not for my darling girl, I would have quit many years ago - it was only her wish to hear me sing that kept me at it for so long. I find I am getting tired now and missing her more than ever.

Much love to you all,


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