GRAHAM PAMPLING Down by the Riverside No label/No release #
Graham Pampling (as); Nev Ollis (tu/tbn); Steve Wood (bjo/tpt) – Brisbane, QLD: unk date.
Down by the Riverside/Sail Along Silvery Moon/Maggie Blues (sic) [When You and I were Young, Maggie]/Bill Bailey/I’m in the Mood for Love/My Blue Heaven/Down Yonder (in N.O.)/Elmer’s Tune/Bourbon Street Parade/Star Dust/Hello Dolly/Scatterbrain/Baby Face/Bye Bye Blackbird/Isle of Love/Somebody Stole my Girl/Sunny Side of the Street/Hindustan/Five Foot Two. TT 48:12.
This DIY release is subtitled “Busker since 1988”: Pampling, a 69-year-old blind gent from Sunnybank Hills, plays solo regularly on the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane, a few blocks from the Brisbane River (hence the title). He used to have a guide dog, Nick, but Graham’s injury a while back (he was struck by a car) resulted in the dog being “retired” due its age. The dog is present in the cover photo, though!
Pampling is not a wild and wooly improviser, by any means, but he has a beautiful tone and a great overall light sound, as well as a feel for melody: Another era would have had him working with a big band… maybe he has done so in his past. The repertoire consists of popular material in a quasi “Dixieland/Trad” vein, minus a drummer; Graham’s alto leads in all cases. All three musicians acquit themselves well, and Pampling shows a lot of verve in his melodic embellishments. I’ve caught his act over a number of years, and he’s always worth stopping by and listening to, dropping a gold coin or two into his hat. For those who cannot get to Brisbane, this will give you a sense of his ability. A representative sampling – nice.
Peter B. Lowry
published: IAJRC JOURNAL, v.71,#3 – Aug 2008, p.87.