Review of "Mountain Breakfast" album by Toby Cresswell in
Rolling Stone magazine.
"Paul Wookey's mixture of country, blues and bluegrass spun around
the turntable like a breath of deliciously fresh air. The lack of pretense
and economy in the playing made it a pleasure from start to finish.
There's nothing worse than an ersatz Woody Guthrie singing of the wide
open Australian plains, trying to import a mythical American West to this
country (a style that reached its apotheosis with Stars), and so it's
refreshing to hear a song like Wookey's "Roll Along" which
ironically acknowledges the writer's distance from the source of the
Review of "Mountain Breakfast" album by Mike Daly in
"Paul Wookey is an excellent singer/guitarist who covers folk,
blues and country music. His repertoire is familiar to habitues of
Melbourne's acoustic venues like The Troubadour, but for others his
debut is a pleasant surprise.
Mountain Breakfast should put Wookey firmly on the musical map.
Produced by by Steve Groves, who doubles on electric/acoustic guitars, the
album includes Bushwacker Louis McManus in a key role on mandolin. Other
backing musicians include fiddle, banjo, keyboards, bass, drums and
That old favourite Ghost Riders in the Sky is spurred on as the
opening track with Groves leading on electric guitar and backing on
vocals. Hank Williams I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry is a convincing
rendition, accompanied by guitar and keyboard. Roll Along is a
Wookey original taking a nostalgic look at the passing of the country
The title track is an instrumental medley that includes The Eighth
of January (known to some in a pop version called The Battle of New
Orleans) with Wookey showing a fast pair of hands on lead guitar as
Groves' provides the rhythm. The White Rose is Trevor Lucas's
lilting country ballad, embellished here by McManus's mandolin.
Side two opens with the album's best two tracks: Eric Clapton's simple,
moving spiritual Give Me Strength (Wookey is superb on acoustic
slide), and the blues ballad Corinna, with Wookey's strong vocal
and McManus again showing his lyrical skill on mandolin.
Till the End of the World Rolls Round is a rollicking country
song; He Could Never Love You is, as Wookey explains on the cover,
a Hank Williams-style ballad written with Greg Hildebrand; Alicia
is a "jazzgrass" instrumental by Wookey, inspired by guitarist
Tony Rice (who played on Emmylou Harris's version of How High the Moon
and was on David Grisman's delightful Hot Dawg album); finally Stealin'
features Wookey solo on vocal and guitar in a brief light hearted
Review of "Mountain Breakfast" album in Jamm Magazine.
Paul Wookey is "a fine performer who has honed and refined his
"Fist's Facts" section from
the Tamworth newspaper "The Northern Daily Leader". The article,
written by the late but beloved Mort
Fist, describes Paul's proposed move to Sydney and the failure of his cricket
team "The Marauders". The accompanying photo is in fact
from 1981 when Tim McNamara presented Paul with his Golden Guitar award.
Second single release announcement in
"Entertainers here on Friday"
from Wonthaggi "South Gippsland Sentinel Times".
April 25, 1990
"Paul Wookey is seeking new musical
fields in Tamworth" front page article from the "Tamworth
City Free Press" newspaper.
"Country blues great here"
from the "Echuca Riverine Herald" newspaper with "Sold
April 18, 1990
"The end of an era for wine, women
and song" from Melbourne's "The Age" newspaper. This
article discusses the rise and fall of The Troubadour and recalls
the important artists who performed there. Paul is featured along with Joe
Dolce, Jesse Winchester, Mickey Newbury and Judy Small.
Review of "One Way Ticket by Glenn A. Baker in the
One Way Ticket contains "powerful and important Australian songs".
September 7, 2002
Review of "One Way Ticket" by Mike Daly in Melbourne's
"The Age" newspaper.
“…his music remains resolutely mainstream country-folk, locally
flavoured and enhanced by warm acoustic picking and bowing... This is what
folk music is supposed to be about: entertainment with a message.”
May 9, 2003
Melbourne University Article
March 11, 2005
Article titled "Maintaining his solid ground" about Shane
Howard in the Metro section of Melbourne's Age newspaper:
"I started out going to Frank Traynor's Folk Club and One-C-One
and The Commune in North Fitzroy and Marijuana House," Howard says,
"watching people like Danny
Spooner and Jeannie Lewis,
Paul Wookey...a lot of those great folk guitarists. You feel a bit like
you're entering into that company." He adds that he is "honoured
Review of "I Wish it Would Rain" by Keith Glass in
"Country Music Capital News" titled "A Musical Haven":
"What he hasn't done is release enough recordings. I remember one
in the early 180's called Mountain Breakfast and he won a New Talent
Golden Guitar award in 1982 with Roll Along
from that album. The song about trains still sticks in my mind as a good'n.
Paul moved to Tamworth subsequent to that flush of success. Talking to
him many years later he still wasn't sure whether that move was a good
idea, cutting him off in effect from the wider musical world and being
unsuited really for the more defined path a country music star needed (and
maybe still needs) to tread.
The release of his new album I
Wish it Would Rain may temper that thought, because I can hear the
influence of his Tamworth tenure in many of the songs, notably the imagery
of the title track (although when it rains in Tamworth it really rains
until you wish it would stop) and obviously the final song Peel
The juxtaposition of ingredients in the latter really struck me as
accurate having done my time along the main street at festival time. Once
I marvelled at going from watching guitarist Ian Date, violinist George
Washington and a Django Reinhardt type band in a trendy cafe only to walk
out and see a Scottish kilted country band playing on the back of a truck
and a bloke riding a huge bull coming down the middle of the road. I
thought I was going crazy but now I think Paul must have been in the same
spot given the lines "I'm struttin' down Peel Street like a king,
stop at the cafe for some expresso where the band is playin' nineteen
thirties swing, well they sound just like the hot club, but it's ninety
nine degrees, and every cowboy on the pickup is out lookin' for a
Another song of his that resonates was one about Bridget
Bardot - which is not on here though but an earlier album. The point
is with Wookey I can make a special song, time and place connection,
whereas with other supposed singer/songwriters, quite frankly, I can't for
the life of me bring to mind one tune that sticks in the memory bank.
The problem for him being so talented is that here he has such an
overabundance of ideas and different influences as to being all over the
For instance I detected a huge Jesse Winchester depth to the song Almurta
but realised with lines about cockatoos and wattle it was from his own
pen. His voice is a fluid instrument that can growl and soar just as
effectively as Jesse (and that is no small thing).
Then The Green Hills of
Winter and Too Many Tears
address the issue of the futility of war and do so with absolute eloquence
and conviction. The flip side to this is the hilarious self deprecation of
'Teardrops All Over My Saddle' - you'll just have to listen to that one to
see what I mean.
Wookey spreads himself wide but not thin, there is a high degree of
quality here and he is obviously a man who has some pent up thoughts to
get out, probably enough for a two or three CD set twice a year.
That is the problem for an Aussie troubadour with too much to say and
only a limited place to express it. However as the old saying has it, it
never rains but it pours so just maybe Paul Wookey will find the
wherewithal to make more regular visits to the recording studio (the
players he uses here are excellent by the way)."