Almanac Music: Andy’s Wake

I didn’t know Andy Pattison. I only made his acquaintance a few weeks ago, after he had died. But his name will stay with me for a long time.


Bendigo is a fascinating city with a vibrant community of gifted musicians. Until his sudden death, Andy was part of that community.


As the shock of his passing began to subside, Andy’s family decided that a wake should be held in his honour, coinciding with the regular monthly Bendigo Blues Club jam session at the Goldfields Hotel. A couple of hundred people turned up, determined that above all, this was to be a celebration. He would have loved it, they said. We’re here to dance and sing in his memory.



Paul Kelly talks of feeling like a surfer during certain special nights on stage, when everything clicks with the band and an emotional wave lifts the performance to new heights. They’re rare occasions of course, and not easily forgotten.


For me, that is what happened on that afternoon, when a good man was farewelled with love and gratitude. We stepped up determined and we nailed it, as music yet again demonstrated its power to heal, and to inspire.


Warren saw his beloved Navy Blues for the first time in a match against Melbourne at Princes Park in the late fifties. In 1965 he was at Festival Hall trying in vain to see and hear the Beatles, as his inauspicious football career began on a half-forward flank for St Stephens in the Eastern Suburbs Protestant Churches League. Conscription into the army in 1969 ended his dreams of becoming either a league footballer or a professional musician, but military service did at least teach him how to handle firearms, and to work behind a bar.

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