Blues Portrait Vol 4 – Pauline Bailey




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About The Books

Blues Portrait – A Profile of the Australian Blues Scene by Pauline Bailey Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4

“Blues Portrait” provides a snapshot of the contemporary Australian blues scene. 172 musicians across four volumes share their thoughts and insights about their musical journeys and describe, in their own words, how they discovered the blues and what it means to them. The books explore how they have each shaped the broad, rich and diverse blues scene we have in Australia.

About Blues Portrait

In November 2019 I self-published my first book, Blues Portrait. This was followed by Volumes 2 and 3 which were released simultaneously in November 2021. The most recent installment, Volume 4, was published in 2023. I have always had a passion for Australian music – blues music in particular, and I’ve always believed that Australian blues has been overlooked in the musical landscape. When I started looking for books on the subject, I was surprised to discover that no one had properly documented this genre, so in 2017 I decided to track down some of this country’s blues legends. I was curious about their experiences and stories, and I thought other people might be interested in hearing them as well. I began with some friends and artists that I knew, and started the process of interviewing, transcribing, writing and building a profile of each artist on my list. Once I started interviewing people it quickly became evident that the blues scene was far more diversified and expansive than I had anticipated. The initial interviews were only the tip of the iceberg – each person took me down a different road, and I discovered many more people keen to tell their stories.

The end result is a collection of 172 people spread across four books, illustrating this country’s broad and impressive blues culture. Because the books also discuss how blues has affected and influenced other musical styles, I’ve included people who aren’t technically “blues” – individuals with a variety of backgrounds, influences, and inspirations, but who all have one thing in common: the desire to make music. I’m extremely grateful to every one of these incredible musicians for generously sharing their time, stories, and perspectives on what it means to be a musician.

Vol 4 viii, 390pp soft cover, colour pics throughout


“Blues Portrait is an incredible book which documents the Australian blues music scene and it’s amazing musicians.” – Peter D. Harper

“Pauline Bailey’s “Blues Portrait” book series has every artist telling their story in their own words. The insights, philosophies, outlooks and tales make for a great read. Her choices for inclusion are interesting and diverse, the variety gives the book a wonderfully rich texture, and her interviewing style obviously made every one of them feel relaxed enough to open up.” – Craig B.

“If you collect music biographies (or just want a good read) you need this book. It fills a big void in any collection because there are so few books about blues musicians – especially Australian ones. Even if you’re not a blues fan (God forbid!), the book is full of great down-to-earth chats with the likes of Kevin Borich, Bob Spencer, Phil Para and Kerri Simpson, to name but a few.” – Sharon B.

“I learnt so much and filled in a lot of gaps that I didn’t even know were gaps in this wonderful music scene we have here. So grateful to have this book.” – Grant

“Can certainly recommend this book to any music enthusiast, no matter what their preferred genre is – the blues is where it all began for the music of today.” – Lee

“An unparalleled reference on blues music in Australia. Part 4 of this excellent series of books about the Australian blues scene does not disappoint and goes a huge way to furthering the knowledge base of this widely variable genre of music and those who keep it alive for now, and for future generations. Pauline Bailey has taken on this monumental task with gusto, and along the way has created an unparalleled reference of those who eat, breathe, live and play the blues.” – Andrew F


Pauline Bailey Blues Portrait: A profile of the Australian blues scene Volume 4.

Book review by Tony Smith

TN162 Mar 24


It is by no means certain that Volume 4 will be the final book in the Blues Portrait series.

Previously overlooked musicians keep on turning up and new devotees are finding a musical home in the blues.

Volume 4 has 389 pages, the longest of all, and has profiles of another 42 musicians.

It was published in 2023 and has dedications to departed musicians: ‘For all the musicians who have recently left us, thank you for the incredible gift of music’, says Pauline Bailey.

It is pleasing to see younger musicians taking up the blues and keeping the tradition going as well as developing new approaches.

Anyone under 50 is relatively young in blues terms.

There are a number in this volume including Alison Ferrier, Clayton Doley, Jules Boult and Jodie Digney (all born 1974), Grant Cummerford (1976), John McNamara (1979), Lisa Baird (1981), Pete Cornelius (1984), Aaron Gillett and Jesse Redwing (1988), Nathan Beretta (1989), Joe Glover (1992), Aaron Schembri (1993) and Bill Barber (1997).

Some well known artists in this volume include Buddy Knox, Mike Rudd, Carl Pannuzzo, Alison Penney and Brian Cadd.

It would be easy to say that internationally renowned Brian Cadd needs little introduction.

He confesses to having been playing keyboards for 55 years and still gets a buzz from live performance, especially of his own compositions.

Along the way, he has earned the respect of prominent performers in the USA, has been inducted to the ARIA Hall of Fame and collected an Order of Australia (AM).

Buddy Knox was mentored by his father Roger Knox and some other Indigenous artists, and now takes pride in encouraging other young players.

A Tamworth based Gomeroi man, Buddy Knox comes from a line of Indigenous country-rock singers.

He has played with some greats such as Bobby McLeod, Gordon Parsons, Vic Simms, Uncle Jimmy Little, Troy Cassar-Daley and the Warumpi Band.

He was Sydney Blues Society’s performer of the year 2011 which should have given him the opportunity to be the first Indigenous artist to compete in Memphis, but a delay in his visa application denied him that chance.

 Buddy admires musos like those blues artists of old who could make do with what they had.

Indeed, it is always interesting to see the early musical influences of people who settled into the blues.

Sally King (Sydney) remembers diverse influences including Irish music.

Peter Howell’s father in Melbourne was a jazz guitarist.

Barry Hills’ father led the Salvation Army band in Ulverstone, Tasmania and his mother sang alto in the church choir.

In this Volume there is an achievement of note.

In early 2023, Frank Sultana represented Australia at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

He won the solo/duo category, the third Australian to do this, following in the footsteps of Fiona Boyes (2003) and Jimi Hocking (2005).

At the end of this book are tributes to Greg ‘Sleepy’ Lawrie, Billy Cavanagh and Noel Goodwin, all of whom died in 2023.

Speaking of absent friends, quite a few musicians mention the ‘Godfather’ of Australian blues, Dutch Tilders.

Indeed, it would be interesting to know which musicians get the most cross references either as role models or mentors or because they are so active.

The other one probably mentioned more frequently is the late Chris Wilson.

It would be a great opportunity for a doctoral researcher to write an Index to these volumes, with individuals, groups, song titles and events included alphabetically.

Together, the volumes provide an encyclopaedia of Australian blues.

Perhaps Pauline Bailey has this in mind already and is merely waiting for the completion of the series and another Volume or two.

She probably has everything in a database and would have a head start on anyone else.

Another tempting thought is a double CD ‘sampler’ for each volume.

In the Foreword, Phil Manning of ‘Chain’ says that Pauline Bailey supplies a wonderful service to all those musicians whose names are included in these books.

He might have added to all fans of good music everywhere.

Additional information

Weight 1.25 kg
Dimensions 25.5 × 18 × 25 cm


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