The Whitlams Black Stump Band - The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw. Released Friday 22 April 2022.
Video directed by Johnny Barker
Performed by The Whitlams, Black Stump Band - Tim Freedman, Rod McCormack, Ollie Thorpe, Matt Fell, Josh Shuberth
Written by Perry Keyes (Control)
Recorded May 2021 at Sony Studios, Sydney
Produced by Matt Fell
Mastered by William Bowden
Ⓟ & © 2022 E.G. Records. All rights reserved.
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"'The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’ is the best Australian song you’ve never heard. Until now. The Whitlams’ country version is a revelation.” – Jeff Jenkins, Rhythms magazine
In 2021, during the depths of Covid, Tim Freedman loaded his piano into the back of the car and headed out on a solo regional tour. While driving between Gunnedah and Mudgee, via Black Stump Way, he discovered that The Whitlams’ ‘Man About a Dog’ – a song about driving through the country after heavy rains have broken the drought – had been added to country radio.
“I must admit it was a surprise to be played on Kix Country and Murri Country 98.9fm, but it was very cool,” says Tim, who vowed: “I have to get out of the city more.”
In Mudgee, Tim hatched an idea. He called award-winning producer Matt Fell, who had worked on his solo album, Australian Idle. “Put together your dream band,” Tim said. “I think I want to make a country album.”
The result is The Whitlams, Black Stump Band, a surprising country detour for one of Australia’s most loved bands, featuring some of Australia’s finest musicians, including Rod McCormack (on banjo, papoose and acoustic guitar), Ollie Thorpe (pedal steel and electric guitar), and Matt Fell on bass.
After reworking The Whitlams’ ‘50 Again’, the next release from the Black Stump Sessions is ‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’, a song written by Sydney’s Perry Keyes, whose work has been praised by Peter Garrett, Missy Higgins and Tim Freedman.
The video was made by acclaimed Sydney photojournalist and director Johnny Barker. “It’s a really special clip, with Johnny incorporating footage from the time,” Tim says. It also features archival footage of Tim's father, Barrie Freedman, reading the Channel 7 News in July 1970 tipping Souths for the upcoming Grand Final.
‘The Day John Sattler Broke His Jaw’ celebrates one of the greatest stories in rugby league. When South Sydney’s captain John Sattler had his jaw broken in the third minute of the 1970 Grand Final, he famously told a teammate, “Hold me up, so they don’t know I’m hurt.” He played out the rest of the game, leading Souths to victory over Manly. If you are quick, you will see the actual moment John Sattler's jaw is broken at the Sydney Cricket Ground in the film clip, just as the guitar solo kicks in with Gough Whitlam, Frank Hyde and Brett Whitley.
Sunrise on the station breaks the morning’s spell
Red and green streamers flyin' outside the Railway View Hotel
Cleveland St shuffles shinin’ into the mighty roar
We were walkin’ through the twilight the day John Sattler broke his jaw
Livin’ eight to a house, post Menzies’ land of plenty
But there was nothin’ left for people like us in September 1970
Some worked the Eveleigh railway yards, some worked the tanneries on the Botany shore
We didn’t work the Saturday that John Sattler broke his jaw
If it’s high enough, if it’s long enough, if it’s straight between the posts
Drink your beer and shed no tears for these days you miss the most
Every step and sill sat shinin’ in Black-It from door to door
And the tears rolled down like Reschs the day John Sattler broke his jaw
Saturday morning on the Botany road was mean and it was lean
Rabbit killers in old Ford Falcons stallin’ through a richer man’s dream
By afternoon we were jammed tight inside the hotel doors
Even the T.A.B. was empty the day John Sattler broke his jaw
Now in the Ladies Lounge a young girl rocks a pram
An old guy downs a Flag Ale with the ghost of Dave Sands
Clothes lines are flyin' high, the sun is sinkin' behind the flats
As stoned girls walk in circles with their babies on their backs
As big trucks roll down wide streets with heroin filled storm drains
Suburban towns they turn blue and brown, use old wars for their street names
They took you down to Campbelltown to Mount Druitt and St Marys
As Young Labor sits stoned in a terraced house, the Sydney Swans on pay tv