MUSEUM VISITING CONTACT  NEWSLETTER JOINING ROLL OF RENOWN HANDS OF FAME

Ken KITCHING (1977)

Ken Kitching

1932 – Kenneth James Kitching was born August 4th at Auburn, Sydney.

Kenny came from a musical family background.  Uncle Mick Kitching noted guitar player and brother Stan played lap steel guitar (not Hawaiian style).

1942 – Age 10 – He had his first experience with electric music when close friend George Bowman was playing for Bill Kelly who owned one of Australia’s first electric guitars.

1940’s – 1950’s – Followed music of Jim Snelling and American Sol Houpu.  His lasting idols.

1948 – Age 16 - Made his first electric steel with the help of his uncle.

1949 – Had his first professional engagement at the Auburn RSL Club with his Uncle Mick and bass man Ron Martin.

1950’s – (Early) Joined the Maori Club.

1955 – Kenny was the first ever white musician to play for Queen Salote of Tonga at her palace. – Same year enticed into Country music by “Edward “Ned” Kelly and His Western Five”. His first recordings were with ‘Ned’.  Worked in hotels, showboats, radio etc.

Kenny built his first console 8 stringed electric guitar and began recording sessions with “Frank Ifield” and “Jimmy Little”.

1958 – Age 26 – Kenny made his first double neck steel guitar and then a triple neck.

1960 – 1964 – Played in Mulers chain of hotels with Rex Dallas and Bill Kelly.

1963 – Resident steel guitar player for the TV series “Country Style”.

1964 – Met American “Speedy West” who introduced him to pedal steel playing.  Ken bought a Fender 400.

1965 – Kenny was resident steel guitarist on LeGarde Twins TV series “Country Style”.  Musician Maurie Culluma had a strong influence on Ken’s musicianship with pedal steel.

1967 – Played at “The Texas Tavern” in Kings Cross.  Stayed for 4 years with “Nev Nicholls Band”.  Here he met American Jazz Steel Guitarist Buddy Emmons (travelling with Roger Miller).  Kenny bought from Buddy a double neck 10 “Emmons”.

1971 – Kenny played on over 250 recorded tracks.

1972 – Released his first single on Apogee Label “Here comes the Dobro”.

1974 – First recording on a single on Apogee Label “Here Comes the Dobro” and “Hands of Steel” both original compositions.

1977 – Met his major idol Jerry Byrd who flew out from Hawaii to be special guest at the Tamworth Steel Guitar Convention. Kenny was made a life member of the Steel Guitar Club of Australia.

1977 - Inducted into the Hands of Fame in Tamworth – Recorded LP in America “From Sydney to Nashville” and was chosen to represent Australia at the 6th International Steel Guitar Convention in St Louis, Missouri.

1982 – Met New Zealand John McCall joined a tour of Kiwiland and joined the group when they moved to Australia.

2004 – Elevated  onto The Roll of Renown in Tamworth.

Kenny is also noted exponent on Dobro and has loaned his expertise to almost 95% of recordings in Australia.  He has had a 19 year association with Slim Dusty.  He has played and recorded with – Johnny Ashcroft, Buddy Williams, Smoky Dawson, Judy Stone, Tex Morton, Jade Hurley, Barry Sisters, Rex Dallas, Singing Kettles, Rick and Thel, Webb Bros, Buddy Williams plus many more.