Barry Saunders

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First solo album - Long Shadows - 1992



Barry Saunders - driving force behind The Warratahs

Barry was born and spent his early years growing up in Taranaki.  At age 10 his family moved south to Canterbury where his father ran the Lincoln College farm.  This was his introduction to life beyond the mountain's shadow.  There was more diversity, it seemed like "people from all parts of the world were there."  He left school, got a job at the railways and formed a new group: The Orange.   Mostly they played Rhythm and Blues dancefloor fillers such as Hoochie Coochie Man and Smoke Stack Lightning, plus songs by The Doors.  The Orange was offered a residency at The Scene, a club run by Trevor Spitz, "on the condition that we cleaned ourselves up a bit and played some more accessible material.  This was a different league - we were getting paid and playing to good crowds.  The fact that we had grown overnight from a blues band with wailing harmonica and endless guitar solos, into a pop band, didn't seem to be worrying anybody."  There were dances and clubs to play, and a living to be made from music, but at The Scene they were required to play two nights a week and on Sunday afternoons.  Pubs closed at 6:00pm, and liquor licensing was strict; the dance clubs and halls were all dry.  In this scene, the band thrived.  "There was a wild streak around Christchurch then," Saunders recalled to Trevor Reekie for NZ Musician.  We used to do a great version of Sly and the Family Stone's I Want To Take You Higher.  A bunch of heavies from Riccarton made us play it three times in a row, which we did: it was the only way we were going to escape with our lives.  That sort of thing happened a lot back then."  The Orange won a battle of the bands competition and played gigs in Dunedin and on the West Coast.  For Barry Saunders it was a realisation that "there was a bit more to it than the music and that the bigger picture was a sort of ticket to ride.  New Zealand wasn't connected the way it is now, so sometimes it was like travelling to another planet - I remember us driving over the Kilmog [hill] into Dunedin in our Morris rental van, into the beautiful grey city with smoke coming up from the chimneys!  Those sort of images stay with you forever."  The Orange ran for three years but never recorded.  At the time, Wellington was the home of recording in New Zealand and - unlike Chapta and Revival, who made the sea trip to the capital - The Orange never left the South Island.


Barry Saunders at Hillmorton High School

Barry Saunders in The Orange


At home in Greytown - 2020

Barry in the studio in 2018 - 30 years of The Warratahs

On tour with Delaney Davidson - 2021


In The Orange - 1969

Barry Saunders at Snobbz Nightclub, Hastings 1990

At Christchurch's Scene Niteclub


Additional Barry Saunders and The Warratahs information is available on the Audio Culture website .....


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