Australia has just lost one of our best and legendary guitarists with the death on Tuesday morning of Ross Hannaford.
Ross (or Roscoe, or just Hanna), was the first banjo player the Hobart Blues Club Secretary, Conrad Joyce, met in the early 60s when Ross was just 13 and was wielding not only a banjo but a nylon-strung Spanish guitar, when he walked through the door of the bandleader, Chris Deutscher, with Allan Mitelman, artist and musician. Ross romped with ease through the tricky banjo and guitar parts of many Jelly Roll Morton tunes we were playing then.
Only a few months later, Ross was playing with Ross Wilson with the Pink Finks at a Haileybury College lunchtime concert. That was all before the two Rosses formed Daddy Cool with Wayne Duncan (bass) and Gary Young (drums). Then came “Eagle Rock” and “Come Back Again”, both classics in Australian rock music.
Conrad saw Ross’s band Diana Kiss a few times at the Espy in St Kilda, and bumped into him many times over the years, including a night at the Republic Bar in Hobart when Ross was backing Paul Madigan in 2009.
Ross was a fantastic and original player, as reference to many of the eulogies which have recently appeared will attest.
A great guy, sadly missed.