Australia's Rhythm and Blues Success Story
Music is a peculiar animal in that it takes so many ever-changing forms. Rhythm 'n' blues has a noble history born of blues and emerging rock 'n' roll somewhere in America during the war-torn nineteen forties. It is indeed a twisted path that also takes in Elvis-styled hillbilly music, big band beat, jazz, gospel and soul. Musical labels are always confusing however some sense can be made if one generalises as follows: Hillbilly is white country music; rock 'n' roll is latter day hillbilly plus rhythm 'n' blues, and rhythm 'n' blues is soulful blues with a big beat. To further complicate the puzzle there is such a thing as Australian rhythm 'n' blues and there is little doubt that the Bondi Cigars is its greatest success story.
Formed in 1989 the band has well and truly played itself into Australia's musical heart. After nearly a dozen years, a half a dozen albums and exhaustive touring schedules the band continues to attract new audiences for their music.
One of the keys to the continuing success of the Bondi Cigars is the highly original songs written and performed by frontman Shane Pacey. This is no here-we-go-again 'covers' band and that in itself is evidence of a genuine Australian R&B new tradition. Shane Paceys’ songs smack of the real R&B tradition and I when I listen to songs like 'Bad Weather Blues', 'Key to Your Heart' and 'Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds You' I still have to remind myself that these great songs were written right here in Australia by Shane Pacey.
When the band does perform covers they do so with real bite and I further recommend you to listen to their highly original version of Bob Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright'. I believe the Bondi Cigars contribute a major slice of originality and excitement to the Australian musical landscape. This album celebrates their 12th Anniversary long may their unique R&B rule this land!
The Bondi Cigars are:
Shane Pacey: guitar and vocals
Eben Hale: guitar and vocals
Alan Britton: bass guitar and vocals
Andrew Vainauskas: drums
The Bondi Cigars first came together as an informal 'jam band' while its component members, Shane Pacey and Alan Britton, stabilised early in 1990 with the band releasing its debut, self-titled, album on the ABC label released that same year. 'Bad Weather Blues' (Larrikin) followed in 1993 receiving widespread critical acclaim for its originality.
In 1994 the band underwent a line-up change and added some classic Hammond organ sounds and going by the name of Shane Pacey & The Cigars released 'Got The News' (Larrikin). By 1995 the band had returned to its original Bondi Cigars tag notching up a grueling national touring schedule and recording 'Closing Time' (Larrikin). The 1996 release of this album won 'Best Australian Blues Album' of the year and the band winning 'Best Australian Blues Band' at the annual Lithgow Blues Festival.
The band's record label, Larrikin, had been sold to Festival Records and this saw The Bondi Cigars being featured on the highly successful soundtrack for 'Seachange' (Festival Records) and, in 1998, releasing a new album 'Mercy' (Larrikin/Festival) featuring 13 original songs. When ex-Larrikin, ex-Festival, record producer, Warren Fahey, announced his new Rouseabout Records label one of the first bands to sign to the label were The Bondi Cigars. They maintain a schedule of around 150 live gigs every year so try and catch them live.
Tour details are available on their website: