The Continental Blues Party
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The Continental Blues Party


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"Interview with Robert Susz from legendary Australian blues band The Mighty Reapers"

Legendary Oz blues outfit Mighty Reapers roll in this weekend for a one-off show at Tanks Arts Centre. Jesse Kuch catches up with frontman "Continental" Robert Susz to find out more about one of the country's most enduring exponents of rhythm and blues...

The Mighty Reapers have a long and hallowed existence. emerging from the dust of the Dynamic Hepnotics, you’ve been one of the country’s longest-standing and most respected blues outfits. tell us how it all began…

At first (early ’80s) I was in the Dynamic Hepnotics and Dave Brewer (guitarist, vocalist and other founding member) was in The Elks, who were a Perth-based touring blues, soul, rock band. We liked each other’s playing, so with other musician buddies got together to play some gigs when we were both free. This was the birth of The Mighty Reapers. It was unrehearsed with someone calling a tune and key and we’d take off. Later when both our other bands folded we decided to do it full time and even have the odd rehearsal! After a couple of months we settled on a line-up and next thing you know we’re touring and recording!

Blues has really come into its own again in Australia over recent years, greatly influenced by festival culture. as true veterans, how do you feel about the state of the scene in 2011?

I think festivals can only help by enabling musicians to showcase their stuff to a lot of people who may not normally get to hear their music. Then, hopefully they’ll be inspired to come and check them out at their usual gigs in bars, clubs etc. To me, blues music will always be here. It seems to go directly to the emotions and you can’t help being moved by it.

Along the way you guys have played alongside some of the biggest in the business, as well as at the country’s premiere events. Pick a moment from one of those gigs and tell us a story…

We have been lucky to be able to open the show for all-time greats like BB King, Albert King, Buddy Guy … also being able to back and even record with great blues and soul artists like Margie Evans, Big Jay McNeely, Hubert Sumlin, Lucky Peterson, Louisiana Red, Mojo Buford. One story is we managed to talk the great soul singer Margie Evans into recording three tunes with us on our Trouble People album. She doesn’t fool around. She arrived at the studio in a taxi and told the driver to wait. She came in and said "I only do one take". We recorded the three tunes and she exited, got back in the cab and left! Of course, she sounded great and later we got to record a whole album with her (that took her the whole afternoon). Another time we were booked to back Louisiana Red (powerful, emotional slide guitarist and singer). We met him at the club to rehearse for a couple of hours and went through about 12 or 15 tunes. Later that night at the gig we played for about an hour before we’d actually played a tune that we’d rehearsed. He just played what he felt – so that kept us on our toes! Anyway, it’s just great learning how these artists operate.

On the off chance there is a blues fan up here that hasn’t heard your music, how would you describe the sound of The Mighty Reapers to the uninitiated?

Muddy Waters and his band is shufflin’ down the street. James Brown and The Famous Flames are boogalooin’ down the other way. They bump into each other and a scuffle breaks out. Ray Charles shows up and breaks it up with his pure soul genius and all of a sudden everybody is partying! Hey, I’m not trying to compare myself with all these people (who are all-time champs) but that’s the kind of music that turns me on and The Mighty Reapers love to play.

Are you still working with Continental Blues Party as well? Any other projects you’d care to share with us?

The Continental Blues Party is my main thing at the moment. We have a CD On The Soul Side. I’m sure to have some with me if anybody wants to buy one. Also, I have The Continental Blue Trio for smaller, up close and personal, intimate gigs. The trio includes me, Antero "Skinny Jr" Ceschin on drums and Robert "The Hungry" Woolf at the organ – both of whom will be with me in Cairns as they’re also in The Mighty Reapers!

How long since you guys were up this way? Did you ever play at Johnno’s back in the day?

The last and only time I’ve been to Cairns was around the early ’90s with The Mighty Reapers at Johnno’s. It was an experience and a half! We did a week there and from memory the gig started nightly at 2am and finished at 5am! I hope Johnno’s still around?

He certainly is – you might bump into him on the Esplanade! Anything you’d like to say to the people of Cairns?

People of Cairns … The Mighty Reapers are coming – watch out! We play every show like it’s our last one, and who knows? It may well be! So we hope you can make it down. We’re gonna give it all we got! - The Cairns Post


"On The Soul Side" nationally distributed by Vitamin Records



"Continental" Robert Susz is a vocalist, harmonica player & songwriter, ex Dynamic Hepnotics & The Mighty Reapers, with the Robert Susz composition "Soul Kind Of Feeling" winning a Gold APRA award 1985. Including a series of critically acclaimed albums for the Rufus label in Australia & Terra Nova in the USA & included award winning Susz compositions such as "Bad Luck Attack", "Trouble People" & "Guess I'll Find Out Later On"

Wherever you catch Robert performing he'll be singing & blowing his harp with all his heart & soul!!