Dutch Tilders – Master Bluesman
Dutch Tilders was worthy of his status as “Master Bluesman”. Soon after arriving in Australia from The Netherlands as a fourteen year old, he was performing. And for the next fifty-odd years he kept performing. It was only the pain from the cancer that eventually killed him that stopped him as his manager reported here back in February:
“Hello Fellow Fans of our Legendary Australian Bluesman,
Dutch Tilders has been forced to retire from his full-time career as an extraordinary gentleman entertainer, performing live Blues Music for fifty two years. Sadly our General Blues Master can no longer sing due to the pain it causes to his diaphragm.
Dutch is now homebound and in a happy place, walking very little and sleeping much more due his much needed dosage of medications.
Dutch Tilders is nearing the end of his journey battling incurable cancer and is accepting of life’s everything.
Thankyou on behalf of our friendly family man as the love continues to be there for him from so many and this definitely puts a grin within him.
I understand some may feel a special thought, story of a time with the Dutchman and if you wish please do not hesitate to write.
Peanuts Promotions 0419308781”
I had the pleasure of working with him a few time around 1986 when he did some shows with Bandanna. The night that sticks in my mind was at the Leumeah Hotel. He’d finished his set and had killed it as usual & we were having a talk side of stage. The DJ from the venue butted in with something about how him & Dutch were “really talented beacuse they were both in the music business” or words to that effect. Dutch just glared at the idiot and said “I’ve spent years learning my craft… you play fuckin’ records. Piss off!”
The guy smiled and backed away & I’ll bet he never compared himself to Dutch Tilders again.
Rest in Peace Dutch.
- Born Matthew Tilders November 1941 – The Netherlands.
- Died 23rd April 2011 – Australia.
Videos of Dutch Tilders
“Stoned Again – 1979”
“I’m a Blues Man”
“Baby Please Don’t Go”
It’s the mid 1980s and I’m out of partners, job, money, luck. So to Unity Hall, Balmain for a couple of beers. Dutch is playing solo, un-advertised in the Darling St bar to 5 punters. Around midnite only 3 of us left. Dutch has just sang and virtuoso finger-picked blues and ragtime in nearly every style I have ever heard non-stop for 2.5 hours. I’ve had 9 beers and sensing closing time approaching (frosty looks from the barmaid when I attempt to get a 10th) I yell out (entirely unnecesary seeing as the room is tiny and Dutch has perfect hearing) “Play Baby Please Don’t Go”. Dutch (after thoughtful scratch of chin): “Which version?”. Me: “Yours”. Dutch (another reflective scratch):”Good – it’s the only one I know”. A true bluesman and Australian legend – truly missed. Ben Rish (Australian correspondent Living Blues magazine 1985-1988).
Ben, are you the Guitarist from Foreign Lee and the Legionnaires (Broadway Hotel) late 80’s ? You are pretty dam good as well. Where are you guys playing now? Port Stevens was Lee’s last port of call from memory.
You guys ruled my musical world in the late 80’s – what a musical period that was, but the blues and jazz/rock you guys pumped out, pure magic. Crazy ’bout ya (Caledonia style)
Hi AussieBob, Yes that’s me. Thanks for the kind words. Certainly that was a great period for us and many other roots bands. Hope this isn’t too far off-topic from the Dutch tribute but I still occasionally play with Lee on the South Coast. We have a band called “The Stingers” and usually play Kiama Jazz & Blues fest in March. The Legionnaires last gigs were Thredbo and Canberra in mid-noughties. We also released a CD featuring 2MBS live-to-air stuff, live from Broadway & Pismo Bar + new recordings. This followed the passing of our mate & Legionnaires keyboard player extraordinaire Steve Blau. Get in touch via email (email@example.com) if you want a copy. Cheers, Ben
Iwas recovering from a heart attack and was regulary at the Inkerman Hotel , he found out i was a drummer and through his jams encouraged me to start playing again this i did sometimes with him and sometimes with Billy Kav . Thank you 4 your help and friendship , i will never forget your smile and fantastic laugh RIP
i am the australian blues man. i am looking for my “chris layton” and my “tommy shannon” give me a call on 0408036582. you know what i mean. and if you don’t, well………