BAY CITY UNION

Bay City Union formed in Brisbane in the mid-sixties, as a Rhythm & Blues outfit. They were joined by a young singer/harp player who gave the band a most distinctive style, and soon they were playing to packed houses at venues such as The Scene, which ran in a huge old basement at Petrie Bight.

Matt Taylor’s stage presence was so powerful that people stopped in their tracks to hear him. Most Australian singers, even today, affect an American accent, but Matt’s voice was the real thing. He was able to project his voice over the noise of the band and the crowd, here was a major performer in the making!

The Scene was one of the first places to be lit with UV lighting, which made the crowd look very strange. Geoff Dauth, the photographer I worked for, and I shot a series of rather crazy, hippie photographs and blew them up to mural size for the walls of the venue. We printed them on the newly-released fluorescent paper, in a variety of colours… red, green, yellow, pink and blue. The Scene also employed regular (and very sexy) go-go dancers, who added a lot of excitement to the stage.

Go-Set magazine needed a photograph of the group, so we met at the old crypt at Centennial Park late one afternoon during November, 1966. The band consisted of (clockwise from top left of picture) Tony Beautel, Trevor Bagnell, Matt, Jim Brelsford and Glen Wheatley.

Guitarist Glenn Wheatley left the band in early 1968 to join The Masters Apprentices, who became one of Australia’s all-time-great bands. Glenn went on to become a major business figure in music and sporting promotions, managing enormously successful performers such as The Little River Band and Johnny Farnham.

Singer/songwriter Matt would go on to join brilliant guitarist Phil Manning in the now legendary Chain, who still tour all over Australia to an adoring flock of fans. My Hammond-player friend, Mick “The Reverend” O’Connor, recently described Matt as “Australia’s greatest blues singer… the William Shakespeare of Australian music… he is a true proclaimer”.