Doug Parkinson is the son of an artist. Doug matriculated from high school with honours in all subjects and was also a prefect at school. He excelled at school in every way including sport (Cricket , Rugby Union and Rugby League) and left school at 18 to become a cadet journalist at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, and had made it his creed right from the 1960s to always play with the best.
Doug Parkinson helped put together The Southern Star Band which was made up of some of the best musicians in Australia at the time, playing a fusion of rock, jazz and funk. Absolutely brilliant performance.
As the bands singer Doug Parkinson regarded them as being “a little ahead of their time. They were one of the best bands I’ve played with, and with a red-hot rhythm section.”
By the time of the Gobbles show, two of the members were poised for worldwide fame.
For Tommy Emmanuel, the Southern Star Band was the first time he’d step out of the country-rock of his band Goldrush, and his exuberant free-up creativity is evident on the live record.
Parkinson says of the guitarist’s contribution to the band: “He is a master of the instrument, and as we went along, his musical horizons expanded into jazz and rock, he had a very sophisticated and complicated technique.”
After stints with John Farnham and Dragon, Emmanuel moved to Nashville, USA, and became a multi-award winning global guitar hero and received the Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2010.
Frank Esler-Smith, who loved classical music and studied architecture in Melbourne, went on to join Air Supply in America, where he made a name for himself as a master strings arranger for their hits. He died of pneumonia in 1991.
Mark Kennedy, who as a teenage prodigy on drums emerged with prog-rock Spectrum and jazz-fusion Ayers Rock, went on to greater heights as a player and as a record producer.
Keith “Stretch” Kerwin who started in the Brisbane Avengers, later joined Jon English’s Foster Bros.
Mark Kennedy and Duncan McGuire, a foremost bassist who had also played in the Southern Star Band, together went on to form a production company and produced some fine songs.
Parkinson remembers the Gobbles show well. “It was a great night! All the hip people from Perth frequented the place and they liked our band.”
At that time the Southern Star Band were aligned with top promoter Kevin Jacobsen, and they were booked for many shows, including on tours by major international acts as Bob Marley, Genesis, the Four Tops and Randy Crawford.
Also at the same time, the band had just had a hit with ‘I’ll Be Around’, a cover of The Spinners’ 1972 one-million seller written by Thom Bell and Phil Hurtt.
The 16-song Live At Gobbles shows off some wonderful interplay between the musicians, especially on ‘Waiting For The Wiz’, ‘I Know A Little’ and ‘You Ain’t Going Nowhere’. It also showcases the astonishing array of songs the band played.
Find out more about the Desk Tape series HERE. Purchase or stream Doug Parkinson, Live at Gobbles, Perth, 1979 HERE