Damon played on all three sets of jazz from the 1920s and 1930s with two of Australia’s most experienced and accomplished swing musicians. Darcy has played in the touring bands of Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and more. Grahame has played in the touring bands of Ernestine Anderson, Ricky May, James Morrison and more
It was great to see the dance floor full and everyone having fun to our 1920s and 1930s jazz and swing
Guests even bought a few of the new Greg Poppleton and the Bakelite Broadcasters’ 1920s CD ‘Doin’ The Charleston‘
Here’s some pictures taken of the Broadcasters towards the end of the fun afternoon as the dance floor was packed. To have Greg Poppleton and the Bakelite Broadcasters at your event, wedding and party, email Greg
Another humdinger of a show for you this week. Vincent Price introduces calypso pioneers Lord Invader & Lord Beginner, Bob Hope introduces Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters. Plus more 1940s Australian swing by George Trevare, Billy Cotton from London & Angelini from Rome
An Olympic Video Of The Week: Bing Crosby, Bob Hope (who gets very angry at the beginning – look at his face when he hits Jerry Lewis), Dean Martin, the aforementioned Jerry Lewis & John Scott Trotter’s Orchestra raising money to send the US team to the 1952 Helsinki Games
Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream, Digital Radio
Greg Poppleton, Australia’s only authentic 1920s – 30s singer and his Jazz Deco trio had the honour of playing for dancers at Elizabeth Bay House for the exclusive 2012 VE Day GI Dance.
Greg sang the songs popular in the early 1940s in his naturally true-to-the-era dance band singer style.
Some say his voice reminds them of Al Bowlly. Others say Ray Eberle.
And his small band is definitely 1940s Sydney when the majority of bands playing for dancers through the suburbs were trios to sextets. (Check out Greg Poppleton’s ABC Radio National documentary about Sydney’s 1942-45 Booker T Washington Club for U.S African-American service personnel. The band that played there was mainly a quartet.)
This fantastic evening celebrated the GI Dances held across Sydney in grand houses like Elizabeth Bay House during the Second World War.
Over a hundred guests filled the historic mansion dressed in 1940s style, many in authentic 1940s uniforms.
They danced to Greg Poppleton playing A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square,White Cliffs Of Dover, I’ve Heard That Song Before and many other pop songs of the early 1940s.
At the end of the night, the band lead the guests in singing We’ll Meet Again, Vera Lynn’s post-WWII hit Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart.
Guests calling for an encore spontaneously sang out two choruses of Bless Them All as a gloriously emotional end to the dancing!
Guests were also treated at the dance to period 1940s cuisine, swing dance classes, 1940s makeovers, live drawing classes, the very funny ‘1940s paperboy’ MC with prizes for the best-dressed
All guests were gloriously dressed in vintage style, with many in authentic clothes and uniforms from the era, as you can see in the photos.
Greg Poppleton is Australia’s only 1920s – 1930s style singer with duo to 6-piece band. He can also offer a 1920s Great Gatsby Orchestra and 1930s-40s Swing Orchestra playing Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.
Caption: Exactly Like You. Guffaws and groove aside, this reviewer asks, if this is swing, where are the dancing girls?
PS: – The CD Greg is taking about in the video clip that will make a lovely coaster for your coffee table is the band’s Phantom Dancer CD: 14 songs from 1926 – 1939. Only 5 are left at CD Baby for only $US 12.97 + Postage. Get yours now while they’re still available
Band Review by Tony Deff, Jazz Critic, Penrith Bugle
“When the Bugle’s editor-in-chief told me to cover the action at Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band’s show in the Castle Lounge last Saturday afternoon, he added, “And use a lot of superlatives. These boys need a break. The bass player has played for Tony Bennett. For crying out loud, that’s a suit outlet!”
Well I thought at the time that superlatives meant extra strong laxatives. Turns out I didn’t need them…
On entering the Castle Lounge I was instantly struck by the show’s stage designer, the flamboyant Coco de Lamé
“Sorry,” she apologised afterwards. “From behind you look just like that bitch of an agent, Noah. He hasn’t paid me in months.”
Lamo, as she is affectionately known, went on to explain her stage concept to me for the band.
“It’s all about irony, darling.,” she purred. “The curtains along the back wall suggest inevitability. The plain wall down one side, domesticity. The toilet door in the background refers to the music.” (See video below)
At that I hastily excused myself
The bandleader gave the downbeat, 1,2,3,4,5 and the dance floor filled with dancers
As a learned music critic, I make the following notes about the band…
1. Grahame Conlon, guitar. The guitar Grahame plays has 6 strings. Each string makes a different sound. Played in combination, Grahame is able to create a palette of sounds that follow the melody. Sometimes in the middle of a tune he makes up his own melody. This is called improvisalisation
2. Darcy Wright, double bass. I don’t know how he does it. Playing the guitar must be hard enough. Granted, the bass has two fewer strings. But on the bass the strings go up and down instead of side by side. A totally new direction in jazz. Crazy, man.
3. Bob Gillespie, drums. Bob had a lot of drums in his kit. I noted that the bigger the drum, the deeper the boom. The cymbals (pronounced symbols, I’m reliably told) make a metallic ting. The only suggestion this set of ears has is that there should be a square drum placed slightly to the right of the drummer and up a bit. The square drum would fill the round hole I sensed percussionistically.
4. Greg Poppleton, singer. Do singers have to sing? This jazz critic for one says a big fat NO. What’s wrong with skiddily-diddily bed-ee bop? Now that’s jazz. As for presentation, his dress wasn’t short enough. In fact he was wearing a suit!
Band manager and agent Noah Problemo, whose roster of real stars include the Koala Suit Stompers, Hot Harmonica Hepcats and Vegemite on Toast – The Musical, (where I occasionally cameo as ‘Ol’ Crusty’), was surprisingly upbeat about the band, “Some laughs, some songs, (I winced). But too many people on the dance floor – not enough bums on seats.”
“Do you mean like in a soup kitchen,” this jazz reviewer parried wittily.
Noah stopped a passing drunk. “Go tell the band to stop that noise for a minute. I’m trying to talk to the man from the Bugle!”
“So how would you put Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band in a nutshell?” I grilled the legendary agent.
“I don’t like putting bands in nutshells,” Noah huffed. “Jazz critics are always asking me to put bands in nutshells. It’s impossible!” His eyes brightened. “Unless, of course, I get the set designer to build me a big nutshell on stage to put the band in for the 8 January show. But how do I get Lamo to do all that for nothing?” Noah laughed as the obvious came to him. “I’ll tell her it’ll be great for her portfolio.”
At that, the band stumbled back on stage for their seventh set and I had to race back to the toilets – to write this review, of course
So what do I think of the band? Well, in a nutshell, this inky-fingered hack gives Greg Poppleton and his Bakelite Dance Band two fingers”
Thank you to all the wonderful people who turned up at the Museum of Sydney on Sunday to see the truncated Greg Poppleton & his Bakelite Dance Band with Greg singing the songs of the 1920s & 30s (some of them through a megaphone), Grahame Conlon on guitar & Darcy Wright on double bass.
The band’s first set concentrated on some obscure songs from the Great Depression including ‘I’m in the Market for You”, the hillbilly, “I Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister” and a song most people think came from the 50s, “16 Tons”.
The second Bakelite set, which closed the day of festivities at the museum, was music for dancing, and the band and the Swingtime Dancers drew a large and enthusiastic crowd. Oh, and we sold so many copies of our CD, The Phantom Dancer, that there’s now only 32 left. 5 of them are for sale on-line at CD Baby: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/poppleton. So be quick if you want to grab one because I won’t be reprinting them
You’re invited to City of Canada Bay’s exciting new event, Bay Day.
Come and join in the fun on Sunday, 28 March from 12-4pm at McIlwaine Park, Rhodes.
A free festival for the whole family, Bay Day celebrates the wonderful world of tea and its popularity among many cultures.
Come along and enjoy a range of entertainment from Chinese lion dancing, gypsy and jazz music by GREG POPPLETON plus a performance from a very special guest the kids will love.
Relax in the tea tent and have your tea leaves read or take a stroll through the tea garden, experience a traditional Chinese tea ceremony and enjoy afternoon tea.
Browse the market stalls for all things tea and lots more! Indulge in delicious food and be entertained by roving performers while enjoying the beautiful surroundings of McIlwaine Park.
There will be plenty on offer for the kids too! They can join in the fun of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party where they can make their own hat and enter the world of Alice in Wonderland. There will also be rides, entertainment and activities especially for them.
Easily accessible from Concord Road, free parking is available however Council encourages you to walk, cycle or use public transport to travel to Bay Day.
Sip and celebrate at Canada Bay’s tea festival! See you there