Ridgeview is very blessed to have new Volunteer (Bobby Kerr) coming in on a Saturday morning twice a month.
A bit about Bobby …
“I was born in 1944 in Whitletts, Ayrshire, Scotland. My grandfather, Robert Kerr, sang on the radio in Scotland. He was a silver tenor and sang mainly Scottish airs. I started singing at age five in school concerts and talent quests. The very first song I sang was a Bing Crosby song, Count Your Blessings in 1949. Getting up on stage never bothered me – the more I did it the more relaxed I became.
When I was 12 our family moved to Australia and lived in Berkeley. I recently visited Scotland for the first time in 58 years. I didn’t meet any musicians until I went to Berkeley High School.
When I was 14 I started listening to Cliff Richard, the Beatles, Elvis and did covers of their songs and started singing by myself. I sang at school dances and that’s when I met two of the guys from The Marksmen – Lyle Maclean (lead guitar) and Neil Porter (bass). In the early ‘60s they put an ad in the paper for a singer. So I auditioned and was told “you’ve got the job”. The other members were Danny Coutts (rhythm guitar) and David Kirkup (drummer). We got plenty of work and would have been the best band in Wollongong at the time.
We won the Country NSW final of Hoadleys Battle of the Sounds in Canberra. Then went to Melbourne for the national grand final where we came fourth. We played at Lysaghts Christmas party and our guest artists were the Bee Gees. They had just brought out Spicks and Specks, they were only kids. We played Zondraes, Pioneer Hall, Royal Hotel and Blue Haven Club. We brought out a record called But Why and Moonshine and it was said that Moonshine was the best garage record ever!
I stayed with The Marksmen for five years. I met Wendy at 17 and married at 22. We had three children and now have grandchildren and great grandchildren. As the band wanted to go professional and I was doing a boilermakers’ apprenticeship, I became lead singer of The Nightwalkers. We played at least four nights a week and the band lasted five years. In the ‘80s I got a group of guys together and adopted the name The Marksmen again. We were together for seven years. I also formed the Flashback Band, Cliff and the Shadows tribute band and duo Solid Gold.
When Wendy was diagnosed with lung cancer I stopped playing for the last six months to spend time with her. She always said “you’ve got to get back into it, people like listening to you, I’m not going to be here”. She said “promise me”, so I did. Wendy passed away in September 2008.
And so at 70 years of age I am still singing and performing and love seeing the enjoyment of people’s faces.