The Lowdown Hokum Orchestra started life in 2014 as a vehicle to present “That’s Showbiz” a musical play written by Melbourne bluesman Doc White. The show had runs in the Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne Fringe festivals in 2015, clocking up 50 performances. Reviewing the Adelaide Fringe season, Clothesline Magazine gave the performance 4 and ½ stars and called it “A brilliant way to spend an hour”.
The band consists of some of the finest jazz, blues and folk musicians in Australia - Doc White, Nichaud Fitzgibbon, Paul Williamson (Dire Straits, Renee Geyer, Black Sorrows), Howard Cairns (Allan Browne, Red Onions, Dancehall Racketeers, John Butler), Andy Baylor (Dancehall Racketeers, Honeydrippers); Tony Martin (Hey Gringo, Sammy Owen Band) and has the musical chops and flexibility to handle a range of styles including early jazz, delta blues, calypso, gospel, R&B (the proper stuff), funk and some iconic Australian music. Sometimes these can appear in the one song as in the ode to vinyl recordings, My Favourite Record, which is mostly a New Orleans jazz tune interspersed with snippets of band members’ favourite songs.
A unique feature of the act is the duet singing of Doc and Nichaud Fitzgibbon whether it be on the old Tampa Red / Tom Dorsey hokum tune If You Want Me To Love You, the western swing classic You’re My Sugar by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Kay Starr or songs written by Doc.
The Lowdown Hokum Orchestra is hard to categorize because the band doesn’t play favourites with any particular style. A good song is a good song and each member of the band brings their own particular skill, expertise and musical ear to each tune which results in a unique experience for the audience – some fun, some drama and some fine playing.