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Joe Webster and Sylvia Webster interviewed by Rob Willis in the Rob and Olya Willis folklore collection [sound recording]
Bib ID 938876
Format AudioAudio [sound recording]
Webster, Joe, 1938-, Interviewee
Access Conditions Access open for research and personal copies; written permission required for public use during the lifetime of the interviewee. 
Description 2001 Mar. 20 
2 digital audio tapes (ca. 63 min.) 

Rob and Olya Willis folklore collection.


Folkloric recording. Webster, motor mechanic, musician and touring busker, speaks of his mother who was not musical but liked to sing and his father in the RAAF who was musical, his schooling ending up apprenticing as a motor mechanic, his move to Grenfell, the automotive industry in the 1950s, music in his life learning the accordion although he did not learn how to read music, how he joined an early rock 'n roll band in the late 1950s the Sputniks which lasted 4-5 years, comparing his musical style and repertoire in the 1980s, learnt mainly from records, how the Sputniks consisted of 2 acoustic guitars, ukelele, and a tea chest bass all amplified, playing at dances, after he met Sylvia his wife he stopped playing, later joined the town band in Grenfell playing the trombone and performing mostly jazz, eventually moved to Queensland where he brought a pineapple farm for 3 years, the problems encountered in pineapple farming, moved back into the auto industry establishing a shop fixing auto brakes, later buys a trimaran and gradually sailing becomes part of his life.

Webster speaks of his economics means, how he formed a band in Queensland and their repertoire, his interest in bush music, playing and singing with the button accordion, how he began busking at the markets in Candelo, NSW in the 1990s, busking in Tasmania, how to get permission to busk, how to work out the best days for busking using the phases of the moon, how he attracts the children, his repertoire of Australian and American songs, money earned from busking, how his wife Sylvia also gets involved, travelling Australia to busk such as stations in Alice Springs, Darwin, Mt. Isa, regulations affecting busking, the instruments he plays, overseas trips to Tonga and other places on community aid, busking techniques. Sylvia speaks of her Scottish background, schooling and discipline, learnt and played classical music in the 1950s, her sheltered life, selling hair accessories at markets as well as wraparound sarong pants, thinking up new ideas for products to sell at markets.

Partial contents
  • Songs performed by Joe Webster: 1. Somebody's moggy
  • 2. Drover's dreams
  • 3. Conversation: how he plays the concertina and mouth organ simultaneously
  • 4. Old bark hut
  • 5. Twinkle twinkle little star (and other children's tunes)
  • 6. Music: Unidentified tune (on the ukelele and kazoo)
  • 7. Johnny B. Good (rock 'n roll song)
  • 8. Singing in the bathtub (own composition)
  • 9. Cane toad song (own composition)
  • 10. Grape picking song (own composition)

Recorded on Mar. 20, 2001 at Grenfell, N.S.W.

Digital master available National Library of Australia ;

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary available (4 p.) 
Subjects Webster, Joe, 1938- -- Interviews.  |  Webster, Sylvia, 1942- -- Interviews.  |  Folk musicians -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Popular culture -- Australia.  |  Street entertainers -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Automobile mechanics -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Folk singers -- Australia -- Interviews.
Other authors/contributors Willis, Rob, 1944-, Interviewer  |  Webster, Sylvia, 1942-, Interviewee


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    Details Collect From
    ORAL TRC 4778/2-3
    Copy: Recording
    Special Collections Reading Room
    ORAL TRC 4778/2-3 (summary)
    Copy: Summary
    Special Collections Reading Room

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