NOT everyone outside of Melbourne (or even in Melbourne) would know where the upwardly mobile local band Skipping Girl Vinegar got its name. The five-piece outfit’s latest single
recorded in Nashville during a US tour last year, has been enjoying regular airplay in recent weeks and has come in conjunction with the band’s well-received performances on the main stage at this year’s bluesfest in Byron Bay. Next Saturday, May 11, the group, led by songwriter Mark Lang, will help promote their latest song and pay tribute to their name’s origins by playing on the roof of a building in the Melbourne suburb of Abbotsford. That’s adjacent to where Little Audrey, the skipping girl, is positioned. She’s Australia’s first animated neon sign and first advertised the Skipping Girl brand of vinegar in 1936. Although the sign has come and gone through the years it remains a cultural landmark and has stood tall and proud since being taken down for repairs and remounted in 2009. The band is paying tribute to its name with two performances on the nearby rooftop, with the sign and the Melbourne skyline as a backdrop. The shows will be recorded for release later this year. IT’S 10 years since iTunes changed the musicbuying landscape and there has been much debate about what direction the industry will take in the next few years as streaming and other digital media services scramble for a slice of the iTunes action. It is astonishing, however, to note that since launching in April 2003, iTunes has sold 25 billion songs and that it has 35 million songs in its catalogue, which are available in 119 countries. AS mentioned last week, the music industry has lost great talents Chrissy Amphlett and Richie Havens, but a few more tragic losses were made public after Spin Doctor went to press last week. One was country legend George Jones, whose catalogue as a songwriter and performer was unparalleled. Less well-known but an equally revered musician, however, was Bob Brozman. The 59-year-old American roots performer, who died on April 23, was a regular visitor to Australia, touring and appearing at festivals such as the bluesfest in Byron Bay and conducting workshops to explain and share his extraordinary guitar technique and his gifts as an interpreter of myriad musical styles. Our own roots music troubadours John Butler and Jeff Lang were among those to pay tribute to Brozman and his skills. ‘‘Bob was the perfect example of the consummate student,’’ said Butler; ‘‘avid adventurer and nutty professor with a PhD in ‘blow your mind’. He had an insatiable appetite for music and rhythms of all sorts and wove them into a unique voice that was all his own. He pushed the boundaries of guitar virtuosity and made us all laugh with his quirky view of life and the world. He was an amazing encyclopedia of world music knowledge and his passion, vitality, wisdom and spirit will be sorely missed.’’ Lang was equally complimentary. ‘‘To play alongside Bob was to learn new things every time,’’ he said, ‘‘because he was so curious, such a sonic innovator, so adventurous, so fearless and so plain interested in what music could convey, not to mention what a peerless master of his instrument he was. It was a privilege and my experiences making music with him are something I will always treasure.’’ BRITISH singing sensation Adele turns 25 tomorrow.