Ray Beadle – Blues master coming to Cronulla
By ALEC SMART
Neighbourhood Media caught up with guitarist Ray Beadle, one of the foremost attractions at the 2021 Cronulla Jazz & Blues Festival in June.
Blues guitar virtuoso Ray Beadle is performing two consecutive shows at Brass Monkey in Cronulla on 5 June, with a talented combo featuring Jonathan Swartz, Andrew Dickeson, Clayton Doley and Jade MacRae.
Ray has enjoyed a varied career, with several collaborative recordings, six studio and three live albums to his name, including his latest, The 301 Live Session, released July 2020.
Ray credits his mum’s diverse music tastes, which included Robert Craig, AC/DC and Dolly Parton, as a primary influence on his music appreciation. ”That non-biased prejudice towards any style of music from my parents really opened me up to be able to play and listen to whatever I wanted, and that’s still with me today.” he told Guitar Heroes in 2011.
She is also a Maori - has this influenced your musical output?
“I feel like the Maori spirit of the joy of music is something that has stayed with me always.”
Ray was given his first instrument on his 9th birthday. What sort of guitar was it and could you already play before then?
“I came home from school and it was in my bedroom on a guitar stand. It was a Stratocaster copy, a Cort. I still have it actually! Yeah, I was already playing a bit just on my dad’s acoustic.”
Ray told Guitar Heroes in 2011, “I still remember it like it was yesterday, coming home from school and the guitar is sitting in my bedroom. I lost it completely! I loved it, took it to school with me every day. I was obsessed with it for about 6 years… All my friends at [Smithfield} school used to sit around at lunchtime and play guitar.. When I was about 16 my mum passed away and I moved to Marrickville from Fairfield and just started gigging straight away..”
How long did it take you to master the instrument whereby you could play chords and scales?
“Well, I am nowhere near mastering the guitar! I’m still learning and still have a lot to learn. I remember something clicking at around age 14 when It all began to make sense and I could genuinely express emotion.”
Ray first began playing live (to audiences other than jamming with school friends) after he moved to Marrickville, at the age of 16.
How did you start, was it street busking or jamming with other musicians in music venues?
“Jam nights were the places to go. I met so many like-minded people. It was great. Sydney Blues Society had the best jams.”
Foreday Riders with Ray Beadle (2nd right)
Soon Ray met Ron and Jeff King from the Foreday Riders, Australia’s longest-running Blues band (founded 1967 and still performing today) who have played with many Blues legends, including B.B. King and Hound Dog Taylor.
Influenced by big hitters Ray Charles, Lightning Hopkins, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Memphis Minnie, Willie Dixon and Manfred Mann, they have also been the backing band for touring musicians such as Bo Diddley and Junior Wells.
How did you come to the attention of the King brothers?
“A good friend of mine, Peter Ghossein, took me to one of their shows at The Royal Hotel in Ryde and asked them if I could sit in (I was too shy) and they said yes. That was the beginning of years of great memories!”
Ray revealed the King brothers, Ron on harmonica, Jeff on guitar, “really helped me out a lot in booking gigs and stuff… They taught me a lot. From when I was 16 to 22 I was playing with them. I got really inside the Blues with those guys – they’ve got years and years of experience over me!”
Was Foreday Riders your first professional band experience?
“No, I had a gig as a guitar player in a blues band of friends that I had met through the jam nights mentioned earlier.”
What other bands did you join as a regular member?
“The Hippos, Whose Muddy Shoes, George Washingmachine and the Deadwringers.”
Who have been some of your favourite artists to perform on stage with?
“Jeff Lang, Chris Finnen, Chris Cain, Little Jimmy King, James Muller, Diesel, Renee Geyer, Kevin Borich, Geoff Achison, John Morrison’s Swing City, and Jackie Orzascky.”
Ray’s latest album, The 301 Live Session, features a mix of his original songs and covers of Blues legends, including Robert Johnson, Louis Jordan and Muddy Waters.
Ray Beadle (with guest musicians) will be performing twice at Brass Monkey on Saturday 5 June 2021.
EARLY SHOW: doors open 5.30pm for a 6.15pm show
LATE SHOW: doors open 8.30pm for a 9.30pm show
Brass Monkey, 115a Cronulla St, Cronulla, ph. 9544 3844
Cronulla Jazz & Blues Festival, 4-6 June 2021