Melbourne Rallies Around Blues Great Chris Wilson

Melbourne Rallies Around Blues Great Chris Wilson

chris wilson benefit gig
(Photo: Facebook)

Sad news this week that mighty Melbourne bluesman Chris Wilson – he of the big voice and big soul – is seriously ill with pancreatic cancer.  Wilson, who had chart success when he hooked up with Johnny Diesel for the much-loved Wilson Diesel project, has long been a mainstay of the Australian blues scene. Prior to forming and recording with his band the Crown of Thorns as a singer and songwriter in 1987, Wilson had made a name for himself as a harmonica player with pub R&B band the Sole Twisters, and then with lauded alternative blues/pub rockers Harem Scarem, who were considered at the time natural successors to Chris’ old favourites the Dingoes and Chain. He also worked live and in the studio with Steve Lucas & Ian Rilen’s band X. 

Wilson’s playing on albums by Hunters & Collectors and Paul Kelly & The Coloured Girls (that’s his harmonica on “Dumb Things”) put him in the orbit of Mushroom Records, to whom he signed for 1992’s Landlocked, which earned him ARIA nominations for Best Male Artist and Breakthrough Artist. More albums and more ARIA nominations followed, including the classic Live at the Continental, the sprawling The Long Weekend, and the aforementioned Wilson Diesel album Short Cool Ones, which peaked at #18 on the ARIA charts.

Wilson has continued to play and record and is a hugely influential and much-loved figure on the Melbourne scene. A benefit concert has been announced; it will take place at the Corner Hotel August 24, and feature the likes of Steve Lucas, Tim Rogers and Barb Waters. All proceeds from the concert will go to Wilson and his family. Those unable to attend can make a donation to help support them through this difficult time.  

We’ll celebrate the man and his music with a great ABC-TV live version of Albert King’s “Born Under A Bad Sign” and the hit Wilson Diesel cover of Ann Peebles’ “I Can’t Stand The Rain”.You can listen to Chris’ The Long Weekend here and Wilson Diesel’s Short Cool Ones here.  


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