Swanee (John Swan) Smithfield RSL – Australia Day -26th Jan 2013
I had seen John growing up a few times. I saw John was playing at Smithfield- I had always wanted to go and film/photograph there and also to film all the musicians I grew up seeing, including John Swan. I sent a friends request to John on face book and then asked could I film, telling him I don’t put footage up without permission. He said sure. When I arrived I went backstage looking for John. He was in the dressing room and told me to come in. We met, I took a few shots of the band and then went out to set up. There was a reasonable crowd and everyone knew his songs. John talks to the crowd between songs and is a very witty man, very funny. His band Mick O’Shea, Tony McDowell, & Mick Carter are seasoned musicians and a very tight band for John.
John introduced this song (Fooled Around and Fell in Love) as being from one of his all time favourite artists Elvin Bishop. The guitarist (Tony McDowell) plays great guitar on this song. Then John played a song from an Album of the same name, he recorded in Nashville, a while back, ‘Have A Little Faith’. Its a top song. Really has that Nashville feel to it too.
Followed up by a John Lennon’s song – ‘Jealous Guy’. John really has such a diverse interest in music. Being a singer songwriter it allows him to play just about any style of music, and he does it so well. Lady, What’s Your Name: from the 1982 Album, This Time It’s Different was next, where John goes into the audience, serenading his female fans then letting the audience sing a few verses. Followed by Sail Away from the 2009 Album: Days Gone By. Next was “Something in the Air” which was a number one hit for The Who’s Pete Townshend’s other band Thunderclap Newman. Again, the band excels on this cover. I really enjoy the lyrics for this song (Call out the instigators, Because there’s something in the air, We’ve got to get together sooner or later, Because the revolution’s here, and you know it’s right, And you know that it’s right, We have got to get it together, We have got to get it together now).
Johns Song List – First Set
- Fooled Around and Fell in Love (Elvin Bishop)
- Have A Little Faith
- Jealous Guy (John Lennon)
- Lady, What’s Your Name
- Something in the Air
- Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
- Itchycoo Park (Steve Marriott, Small Faces)
- All I Ever Wanted (Santana)
- Blood Is Thicker Than Water
The Lynyrd Skynyrd song, ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ is played really funky. I remember back then on a Saturday morning when we used to watch Sounds Unlimited from 9am till 12, with Donnie Sutherland when they announced three members from Lynyrd Skynyrd had died in a plane crash in 1977. Just awful. John then talks about Steve Marriott, Small Faces, – Itchycoo Park. A great rock song. Then John talks about A Santana Concert he was given tickets by a promoter, and said “Na, I don’t want to go to that”. Santana had Female Guitarist – Orianthi Panagaris playing Guitar, and John mentioned he found himself dancing, which he hadn’t danced like that since he was dismissed from the Australian Army in 1972. Such a funny bloke. Every song John and his band does just suits his voice. The end of the first set
- Blood Is Thicker Than Water
- O’ Rosie
- Waiting For the Bus (Z.Z.Top/Billy Gibbons)
- When the War is Over (Cold Chisel)
- Temporary Heartache
- Hold Your Head Up
- Friday On My Mind The Easybeats
- Evie (Stevie Wright)
- If I Were A Carpenter (Bobby Darin)
Blood Is Thicker Than Water started the second set. Then O’ Rosie, which was a song asked by someone in the audience after earlier John asked if there were any songs they would like the band to play, they would play them. John said he liked the the next songs film clip, because he’s a big Billy Gibbons fan. It was a big hit for Z.Z top too. John then mentioned that Steve Prestwich (Cold Chisel) Dad is just about to pass away. He said even if he does it bad, you know that I do if from LOVE.
When the War is Over, just a great Chisel song and John and the Band do it justice. When John tries to reach those notes that Jimmy Barnes reaches you know how good Jimmy really was and still is. Next song was, ‘Temporary Heartache’. ‘Hold your Head Up’-By British progressive rock band Argent, released as a single in 1972. I just admire the way John just goes from one style of song to another and makes it his own. The Bass and Drums are really tight in this song and the guitarist, well, he’s just a great player.
The Party Boys did this too. John, in the middle of this they do a medley of songs. Neil Young’s, Old man line, I’m a lot like you, then he mimes the intro to Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child, a surprise, then a great lead break by Tony McDowell, finishing with the crowd singing-Hold your head up with John. He then talks about how he has always been a fan of Australian Music. Growing up with The Easybeats, AC DC. How George Young was particular big Influence on his Life. They then do Friday On My Mind, just great. They follow that up with Evie (A solo hit for Stevie Wright in 1974-parts 1,2 & 3) Then his first commercial hit which was in 1981 with his version of “If I Were A Carpenter” off the album “This Time Is Different” which featured two other hits, “Temporary Heartache” and “Lady What’s Your Name”. Sung by Bobby Darin from the Album: If I Were a Carpenter Released in 1966.
This ends the set and the band walks off for a short break then back for an encore where he introduces his great band Mick O’Shea on Drums, Tony McDowell on Guitar and Mick Carter on Bass. Finishing with the Bon Scott era, AC/DC song, ‘High Voltage”. Johns bands is High Voltage too. John and the band thanked the audience and walked off. The first time I had filmed/photographed John. I stayed for a while and took photo for him as he was signing autographs and posing with the audience. Just a great night. I am so grateful John allowed me to do this. I then asked could I do the next show at Rooty Hill RSL, a few months later and that is the next installment.