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Bluey FRANCIS (1999)

Bluey Francis

Born in Gol Gol New South Wales on 23rd June 1937

Started out working in a service station. Later, went droving which took him to many places, but the main droving jobs was taking sheep into the sale yards. After droving, he became a shearer.

He loved listening to country music on the radio to the likes of Buddy Williams, Tex Morton, Billy Blinkhorn, Hank Williams, Hank Snow, Marty Robins etc. At around fourteen years old he bought his first guitar. It was a second hand Del Rio that he purchased for ten pounds with money he had saved from trapping rabbits and selling them to my neighbours.

Bluey learned how to tune the guitar from a Gordon Parsons book. The same book told him how to play the chords. From there he learned to play along with the songs being played on the radio. That would have been in the early fifties.

Started to entertain friends and mates in the backyard at Mums as well as in the bedroom and became a sort of hero to his friends. From there he started singing and playing on 3MA in Mildura.

After leaving school he got to know Stan Gill from the Stan Gill Rodeo and started singing at the Rodeos. He would have to ride two Buckjumpers and sing three songs to earn something less than thirty bob a week. That would have been in the late sixties.

Met up with another chap who joined them by the name of Rocky Page who was a Cowboy Hypnotist. Jackie Crombie, another member of the show received a kick in the knee from a horse apparently leaving him unable to work. However, Rocky Page hypnotised him into believing there was nothing wrong with his knee. Jackie then proceeded to catch Kitty Gills horse that no one else seemed to be able to catch.

After that he went working on a station. The guitar was always with him and once again playing along with the radio as well as entertaining mates. It was about this time he met with Ian Bath from an adjoining station who taught him a fair bit on the guitar and they did a lot of jamming together.

In later years he met up with Buck Carson and they put a Country Music Show together called the Buck Carson Show. Not long after, they were joined by Gordon Parsons and Bill Jackson who was a comedian. They toured for a couple of years starting in Victoria and travelling up through New South Wales to Queensland and then back to Victoria.

After leaving the Stan Gill Rodeo he travelled to Dubbo to record four Albums with C & M Records with Lindsay Butler as the producer. For these Albums he never received any payment.

In 1980 he toured with Rick and Thel. hey did a few shows in Victoria, then moved on to South Australia, and then onto Western Australia.

He also did a few shows with Paul Lester.

A seventeen year break from recording was spent Opal mining at a place called Grawin near Lightning Ridge. After meeting Joe Daly of Trumby fame he was introduced to Nev Molloy and his Studio where he recorded another four Albums. One of the Albums made the finals in Bungendore.

From there he mainly sang in pubs and at parties. Wherever there was a song to be sung he was there with the guitar.

In late 1999 early 2000, he instigated the start of a club that played Australian Bush Ballads only, that organisation is now known as ABBA. (The Australian Bush Balladeers Association)

The Australian Pick Strum method of playing a guitar has been and always will be part of his life.

It has also been a pleasure to help a few of the younger on their career paths such as Nathan Charlton who has recorded a few of my songs as well as Anita Ree.

During those years he has made many good friends and mates. The list is too long to write. There has been many a campfire shared with them along the way, and nothing will replace the comradeship of the shared campfire.