Wangaratta Wahine


Top selling album from Mic Conway and Captain Matchbox Woopee Band.

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Wangaratta Wahine

by Captain Matchbox Woopee Band

Wangaratta Wahine – Originally issued as Image ILP-744 (November 1974)
1. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me (Swanstone/McCarron/Morgan)
2. Lovesick Blues (Cliff Friend/Irving Mills)
3. Half A Moon (Is Better Than No Moon) (Reynolds/Dowling/Hanley)
4. Jug Band Music (Memphis Jug Band)
5. Wait for Me Juanita (Mic Conway/Dave Flett)
6. Top Hat (Irving Berlin)
7. If You’se a Viper (Stuff Smith)
8. That’s What the Bird Said to Me (Fats Waller)
9. Wangaratta Wahine (Mic Conway/Dave Flett)
10. Flaming May (Rose/Whiteman)
11. Your Feet’s Too Big (Fred Fisher/Ada Benson)
12. Hernando’s Hideaway (Richard Adler/Jerry Ross)
Bonus Tracks
13. Down Undergroundsville (Mic Conway/Dave Flett)
14. Out in the Suburbs (Mic Conway/Fred Olbrei)
15. Malcolm the Prefect (Mic Conway/Dave Flett)
16. Roll that Reefer (Mic Conway/Dave Flett)
17. Juggling Time (Eric McCusker/Mic Conway)
18. Dirty Money (Conway/McCusker/Mühleisen)

The Liner Notes (From the original album cover)

Recorded in Melbourne Australia in 1973, Smoke Dreams was the first 12″ long-playing record issued by the Captain Matchbox Whoopee Band, a homespun musical menagerie consisting of between seven and nine wild and wooly harmonica, washboard, jug, kazoo, and string players. Formed and led by brothers Mic and Jim Conway, this frowsy little group specialized in popular novelty, jazz and blues songs dating from the 1920s and ’30s, whipping themselves into a frenzy over vintage delights such as “Mobile Line,” “Nagasaki” and “I Can’t Dance (I Got Ants in My Pants).” Smoke Dreams would be the only one of five eventual Captain Matchbox albums to be released in the U.S., where it came out in a Quadraphonic ESP edition and was immediately seized upon and prized by young North Americans whose temperaments and personal habits were similar in part to those depicted in the music, the album photos, and the perceptive liner notes by David Bland, which are worth quoting at length: “Coming down in time the group have developed more into a mirror of a certain lifestyle rather than just musicians playing together for fun and profit. The lifestyle is one many people would vehemently disapprove of whereas others might find it both exhilarating and delightfully decadent.” The most obvious example of this brashly hedonistic approach is of course “That Cat Is High,” written by J. Mayo Williams of Ink Spots fame. “My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes” was first recorded in 1930 by British bandleader Debroy Somers and in 1931 by Al Bowlly, Sophie Tucker and a young Lawrence Welk. Although “Sophisticated Mama” begins with an amazing jug/harmonica duet, the song’s incipient misogyny detracts from the fun and might foster resentment among those who dislike the bossy sexist vulgarity of the lyrics. Beginning with “Hotsy Totsy” the progression of songs tell a tale of romance sullied by infidelity as “Who Walks in When I Walk Out?” opens with the sounds of a lusty twosome caught in flagrante delicto. The tunes then speak of loneliness and despair (“I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” and “After You’ve Gone”) the inevitable self-medication (“That Cat Is High”) and “Smoke Dreams,” once a sentimental reverie for Fats Waller at the theater organ, here transformed into a heartbroken (and somewhat self-pitying) lament laced with latter-day lyrics that refer to high potency hashish. David Bland again: “Looking at the songs on the album the message becomes apparent. It is that even when things are going bad and you are down and out there is still a good side to life — the best way to find it is to forget tomorrow or what happened today and live for the present by making ‘whoopee’.”


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