Arthur Slade ' The Singing Cowboy'

By Lesley Whitla


My great uncle 'Arthur Slade' was with Bob Dyer and his Hillbilly Band...



The photos ... are copies of originals that were given to me by my great aunt, Arthur Slade's wife...I only know and recognise my g.uncle Arthur. Other people in the photos are a mystery to me. I only remember Bob Dyer ... I think one of the names I remember my g. aunt telling me was the name Cantrell but which face or photo to put the name to I can't say



... another 2 pics. Arthur is the short one with the mo. Arthur was known as the 'Singing Cowboy' on early radio and the 'Mystery Crooner', (he)  was in the movie 'Let George Do It'.



... another old photo that I love. It would be interesting to know where all these kids are now.


Photos and text By Lesley Whitla (nee Lennon)


Pictures and text copyright Lesley Whitla 2004, used with permission.

 Below you will find a copy of Arthur's Obituary in the Lismore Northern Star. This was provided by Lesley.



July 1985


Author: Les Schreiber.

The death occurred in Ballina on July 3 of Arthur Oliver Slade, 73.

Arthur will be remembered as a fine musician and entertainer who had retired to Ballina with his pianist wife, Marelle, in 1975, to become resident entertainers in the dining room at Ballina RSL Club.

Arthur was one of the old timers in his profession.

He grew up in the world of music, as his father was a world-class violinist and professor of music at Sydney's Conservatorium.

Arthur learned at an early age the discipline of long hours of violin practice. He taught himself the saxophone, trumpet and clarinet, all of which he played professionally -- but he was a virtuoso of the violin which he loved to play.

Character acting, singing and tap dancing with JC Williamson for several years led to film making of early Australian "talkies" produced by Cinesound.

He played 500 episodes of the radio series, The Singing Cowboy, in the early 1940's. This was broadcast all around the world.

He played blue grass fiddle with Bob Dyer's quartet in the late 1930's and early 40's, sang in the quartet backing the Colgate Palmolive Radio Show with Jack Davey; he tap danced at the Tivoli; and was popular as a crooner and romantic tenor.

His vocal recording of The Old Spinning Wheel with Jimmy Davidson's ABC Dance Band sold the first million copies (for which he received the handsome sum of two pounds 15 shillings recording fee!).

When Arthur married his pianist, Marelle, they left Sydney on a world trip as husband and wife entertainers known as The Australians.

They played in clubs and music halls all over England for three years. They decided to sing and play their way back to Australia by Dormobile --- but they only got as far as Frankfurt, Germany, where they stayed for 12 months entertaining the American troops.

Back in Australia, Arthur played and sang with all the leading show bands in Sydney --- some of which were Dennis Collinson's show band; Jimmy Davidson's band at the Palais Royal; Abe Romaine's band at the Trocadero and Frank Coughlan's band at the Trocadero.

I was secretary/manager at the Ballina RSL Club when I holidayed at the Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow, Bath and recognized Arthur and Marelle playing dinner and ballroom music.

This led to the Slades being engaged in early 1975 to provide their popular dinner show at Ballina RSL Club.

He would play any request from the finest classics to Hot Canary but he flatly refused to play rock.

When everything was very serious, he would suddenly whip off his suit coat, tie it back-to-front around his waist, add a little broom 'sporran' and his violin would become the bagpipes, delighting his audience with a great selection of Scottish numbers.

Arthur Slade, was a supreme musician and entertainer who brought much joy to many people in this district.

Disappointed that the current trends in music and entertainment no longer encouraged the better class dinner show. Arthur in recent years confined his music to just a few clubs.



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