Roadrunner magazine, July 1980
The Sensational Bodgies
Punker than punk, bluer than a baby in a plastic bag.
You probably know the kind of pub. Carpet up the wall, hollywood style lights, puke vynyl tables and chairs, and lots of people dancing to a great band in the corner. It’s a great institution and The Bodgies, Adelaide’s premiere rhythm’n blues band are doing their damnedest to prove it. A three piece outfit that’s been playing around Adelaide for about a year now, the Bodgies possess a characteristic sound that shocks many rock’n’roll (and blues) puristsjust by it’s rawness and guts.
The immediate impression walking in on the band is that these young fellows aren’t just politely doing white boy covers off BB King records; it’s played with great enthusiasm and something that must be an Australian feeling of what blues is about. Whatever this nebulous quality is. People recognise it and respond to it. There is a blues tradition in Australia. even if it is a short lived one. Who can forget Chain, Matt Taylor, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs? There was atime not very long ago when Australian blues oriented was top of the pile.
As Don Morrison with the Bodgies pointed out, the fact that Creedence Clearwater Revival went No.1 recently in Adelaide , proves that people still want to hear good time R’n’B. Don, the blues harp player, singer and slide guitarist witrh the band, generally fronts the band, giving it a destinctive style (somewhere between Paul Madigan and John Fogarty). Playing and ancient and decayed Maton semi acoustic, Don borrows liberally from such blues greats as Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor. His harp playing is modelled on the Chicago blues styles of Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson. Not that it’s the technique conscious pedantics that so many other bands get into; there’s a healthy lack of synthetic gagetry and bullshit.
Geoff Morrison is the rythmn guitarist, probably the highest paid musician anywhere playing a K Mart guitar. He usually blays bass lines and John Lee Hooker riffs, bulking out the sound with a geriatric Playmaster amp. Brian Morrison is the drummer, playing a small battered kit that’s probably older than he is, and helping with backing vocals.
With this small mass of equipment going full blast it teeters on the edge of self distruction, the PA distorting to just the pleasant side of pain but providing what the people want to hear. It’s good to see that people enjoy a band that isn’t necessarily churning out megawatts with 50 coloured lights shining on them. The band likes to put shit on the sort of bands that have 15 piece drum kits and, as Don says, “guitarists with $1000 guitars with 6 funny pedals that sound like a DC10 coming in to land.”
The future looks quite good for the band with a Melbourne tour in the second week of July and a record in the works from Adelaide’s Radio Records.
Financially, three piece bands do very well compared to the usual five or six piece bands and the Bodgies especially so with their low overheads. It’s a healthy method of survival in these tough times and things can only get better, given the bands reputation for being able to make any crowd dance. “ We want to entertain people, for them to have a good time and us enjoy ourselves” With this basically sound philosophy, the Bodgies can’t go wrong.
Empire Times June 1980
The Sensational Bodgies
On a Friday night at the Angas Hotel you can’t find a seat to sit on because people are dancing on them. You can’t find a table because people are dancing on top of them and you can’t lean against a wall because people are dancing up them! Yes, I’m a self –confessed Bodgies groupie. I suppose I could rave on into a type of verbal diahorrea about how the Bodgies are a peoples band, that they don’t cater for the esoteric tastes of trendy, elitist, egg-head cliques, or that their grassroots, gutsy panache has been rarely paralleled by egalitarian, pseudo-intellectual, musically self-emolating genre buffs, but I won’t, since such a self indulgent discussion would diverge from the very essence of what the Bodgies are trying to do. What I am willing to say is that the Bodgies are the best fucking rock’n’roll band this country has ever known (well maybe!)
The Bodgies play R’n’b- that’s Rhythm and Blues – and it’s raw, fast,exiting, even dangerous if your prone to over exaggeration. They’re rockier than rock, punker than punk and new wave sucks anyway! If names such as Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters or B.B. King make you want to get and boogie about, then the Bodgies are indeed sensational.
Devoid of such superfulous crap as an incredibly expensive drum kit (Brian admits that he paid $65 for what he uses. He seems almost embarrassed because he thinks he got ripped off) or a bass player to pound rhythm into and audience with an amplified VC10, the brothers Morrison would rather play amazingly tight and gutsy bebop music, interspersed with appreciably fantastic slide guitar solos with an incredibly solid rhythm section (Geoff and Brian). Biggest brother Don Morrison tells everyone that his favourite number is Sonny Boy Williamson’s Help Me, because it’s the best song ever written (for a harmonica player, anyway). Always one for verbal grossness, he’ll tell you that Sonny Boy died an excrutiatingly painfull and violent death by being severely beaten and battered about the head with an ice pick, and it seems that painfull and violent deaths are a common occurrence amongs brilliant harp players so he (Don) is trying hard to become a bad one. Tongue in cheek or not. What he delivers developes into an astoundingly impressive tour de force. I shall not drivel on further about how movingly emotive Don’s vocals are; his feeling for the blues is more than admirable. Their rendition of Daddy Cools’ Eagle Rock is brilliant, their version of the ‘Stones’ You Gotta Move beyond superlatives and the Bodgies own Jungle Beat drives me to states of exhaustive delerium bought about by just too much bopping. Indeed, the numbers that these guys have “invented” ( the Bodgies confess that you can’t actually write a Blues number) are inspirational.
Even I can noe sense the rediculous about this article sinc it sank into completely biased non-objectivity. That is, all I have to say is follow the Bodgies wherever they go, it’ll be worth the total satisfaction of being completely entertained by sincere R&B.
J Drew (absolutely no relation)
Eds. Note: The Bodgies are playing in the Tavern on July 19
The News, Upbeat, July 1982
Bodgies are set to split
Adedlaide’s premier fun band, The Bodgies, is about to split.
Thebands front man, Don Morrison, confirmed break up plans to Upbeat by phone from Melbourne last week.
The move is sure to shock the legion of Bodgies fans both here and interstate.
Currently based in Melbourne, the band is enjoying consideable acceptance, evidenced by no less than 11 gigs in the past fortnight. According to Don, The Bodgies are “calling” it a day to persue different paths. He’s not too sure what bass player, Nigel Sweeting, plans to do but Don hopes to put together another band in Melbourne while brother Geoff will forsake rock ‘n’ roll to persue a commercial art career in Sydney.
And little brother Brian?
“Hang on”, says Don.
“Hey Brian, what are you going to do?
“Brians going to open a boutique.
“No, he’s not, he’s considering offers from other bands.”
If you’ve got brothers, says Don, you’ll understand the problems involved in working together.
“Part of the reason is that we were dissatisfied with the music,” he said. “I wanted to play more blues and the others wanted to play more pop.”
Don will be aiming at something “a bit different.”
“Hopefully it will be a bit more entertaining,” he said
“I’m older now – maybe it won’t be quite so loud.”
The Bodgies still have a couple of weeks work in Melbourne and hope to return to Adelaide for a couple of final shows, possibly at their old stamping ground, the Angas.
No official announcement about the split was made to the rock media because, as Don puts it, “we were’t too sure what to do , never having split up before. “
“I suppose there is a lot of dissapointment” he said.
The Advertiser, 16.11.89
The Sensational Bodgies – Band Who Cannot Die
The inimitable sound of Adelaide’s Bodgies is what can only be described as the earthy soul of Australian blues. If the Rolling Stones typified the English interpretation of American blues records, then The Bodgies successfully bought the rawest, rowdiest strain of real blues to local audiences.
In celebration of their 10th anniversary , this 60 minute potted history of Bodgies recordings catalogues the lot: crude early performances on shoddy equipment, blazing highlights at gigs in the Angas Hotel, the amusing patter of singer Don Morrison, and the transition from Elmore James songs to John Fogarty – influenced originals.
Throughout the tape, the spirit of passionate performances and Don Morrisons under-rated talent shines through, from his screaming slide guitar on You Got to Move to bellowing harmonica on Help Me and roaring vocals on I Heard the Devill Call (my Name). Even the primitive 1979 taping of their war-cry Jungle Beat has an irresistable energetic charm.
This cassette package, accompanied by a smart booklet detailing the band’s history in Don Morrison’s words, is only available fron B Sharp Records, Rundle sr, but it is a rare slab of Adelaide noise to cherish.