Tuesday, 10 March 2020
Blazing Diesels/Mack's Cafe/One Of Those/Rigs And Roads/C.B. Radio/The Men Who Dare To Drive The Interstate/My Travelling Stereo/Make A Mile/Silverwater Holiday/A Tiger In My Strides/Heaven/Footballin' Truck Drivin' Man/ I Wish I Could Sing Like Johnny Cash/My Truckin' Life
Despite a cover that screams that it wants to be added to the worst album covers ever this is a good example of the Truck Driving genre that was at it's peak in the Seventies.
Nev Nicholls was born on the 16th of September 1930 at Millthorpe, central west NSW. Spent his early childhood on a farm at Tallwood. In 1941 he started playing the guitar, learning mainly songs of Buddy Williams, and started writing songs of his own. In 1942 the family moved to a larger property near Blaney, but his father died shortly after leaving the family battling to make a living. As the age of 12 Nev had to work on the family farm with schooling a secondary consideration. When conditions on the farm permitted Nev worked on other properties to earn extra money. Nev started singing at church concerts and on 2GZ, the local radio station.
In 1957 went on his his first country tour with Reg Lindsay. Nev with Chad Morgan, Rick & Thel and Kevin King formed "The All Star Western Show" which also included fiddle player Peter Mollerson. This show lasted about a year. 1958 rejoined with Reg Lindsay to do tours through NSW and QLD. 1961 was a disastrous year for travelling shows as television had been introduced to country areas and the radio stations were not playing much country music. Nev saw that the conditions for touring were deteriorating so started working the Sydney pub circuit.
In 1968 he joined with Kevin King for a 10 year stint at the Texas Tavern in Kings Cross (Sydney). Members of Nev's band, "The Country Playboys" included: Guitar Players: Phil Emmanual, Dave Longmore, Gary Brown, Farmer John Hayton, Mick Hamilton, Kenny Kitching, Laurie Allen, Peter Bazley. Bass Players: Allan Tomkins, Les Young, John Dunn, Mike Fahy, Johnny Heap. Drummers: Steve Hopes, Laurie Webb, Paul Kniepp, Tony Stan and many more. Guests who dropped in and did a spot here and there included: Diana Trask, Charlie Pride, Tom T Halls Band "The Storytellers", Buddy Emmons the world’s best steel player who was touring with Roger Miller. Not forgetting the local guest artists who appeared on a weekly basis including: Jade Hurley, Roland Storm, Johnny Devlin, Laurel Lee, Carter Edwards, Terry Kaff and many others far too many to enumerate. Female singers were: Jan Kelly, Nikki Bradley and Lorraine Delaney.
1978 – 1988 - The “Nev Nicholls National Roadshow” went to air throughout Australia on more than 90 radio stations- a weekly 2 hour show. He also launched a travelling show under the same name and he toured that show all around Australia starring at various times, Gary Brown, Phil Emmanuel, Lisa White, Debbie Lee Rae (now known as Kaye Payne) and Cowboy Bob Purtell.
During the Nineties The “Nev Nicholls Roadshow” continued as a travelling show after the radio program ceased and was extensively backed by "The Silver Wings Band", he did tours with the Brisbane group "Buckskin" and "Fusion" out of Wollongong. In Northern Queensland the band to supply the music was "Paper Train", In Melbourne "Freight Train", Tasmania "The Good Old Boys" and in Western Australia "Hazzard County". In Queensland for shows Nev became friends with the President of the Townsville Country Music Club, Dick Nettlefield and together they hatched a plan for the "Champion of Champions" event that has now been running very successfully.
As a further string to his bow Nev launched his own record label "Nicholls'N’Dimes" where two winners from Townsville's big festival scored a record deal with the label, "Saddle Tramps" band and also the "Gottani Sisters". The sisters have since moved to America and have been working consistently touring as backup singers with some of the big names of country such as George Jones and Janie Frickie. Other people to cut records on the label were: Reg Lindsay, Cowboy Bob Purtell, D'Arcy Le Year, (now part of the Wolverines) Lisa White & Desree Crawford and many more. Including "Our Buddy" the Buddy Williams tribute album which had the biggest names in Australian Country dueting with Buddy. People like: Slim Dusty, Gordon Parsons, Smoky Dawson, Shirley Thoms, Alan Hawking, Kevin King, Reg Lindsay, Tex Morton with Sister Dorrie, Johnny Ashcroft & Gaye Kayler.
1992 saw him inducted into the "Australasian Country Music Roll Of Renown" at Tamworth, Fast forward to the late 90's and "Massive Records" have released a lot of Nev's LP's on CD that are enjoying a new lease on life.
Nev had always been a prolific writer and besides recording vast numbers of his own songs he had also had many covered by other artists among these are: Reg Lindsay, Chad Morgan, Frankie Davidson, Johnny Garfield, Terry Gordon, The Wayfarers, Truckin Stevens and by no means least his long time friend Lucky Grills. Lucky and Nev shared an album in 1998, a truckies album of course, titled "Ya Wanna Screw Driver".
Nev Officially retired from country music entertaining in 2002. He was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame that same year at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Tamworth.
Thanks to Mustang for this one.