Claude Papesch Profile

Keith Newman
1 Aug 2016

Multi-instrumentalist Claude Papesch defied the limitations of blindness to become an accomplished band leader, breaking new ground on both sides of the Tasman after forming The Devils in 1958 to back hip-swivelling New Zealand rock and roll pioneer Johnny Devlin.

New Plymouth born Papesch, an arranger, music tutor and session musician, played Hammond organ, electric and acoustic piano, synthesiser and saxophone, performing solo, in jazz combos and as part of top Australian blues combinations including Chain and Savage Rose.

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Claude Papesch in Auckland with English saxophonist Derek Neville and an unknown drummer
Photo credit: Simon Grigg collection
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Claude Papesch's 1975 Australian single, Not The Way To Move Me, was produced by fellow expat New Zealander Rod Coe
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The Claude Papesch soul band, which included Papesch (piano, vocals), Kim Paterson (trumpet), Stu Parsons (baritone saxophone), Bernie McGann (alto saxophone), Tony Hopkins (drums), Andy Brown (bass), with Joy Yates on lead vocals. Kim Paterson: "We covered Ray Charles music plus some originals ... we also did a quintet with rhythm section and Bernie and I out front. We did Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley and some originals."
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Claude Papesch - Trini Baby (from Hammond Electrique, 1974)
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The Devils - this was the band that toured NZ with Johnny in the late 1950s
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Claude Papesch's 1960 single, In Apple Blossom Time, was recorded with Peter Posa and his band
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Johnny Devlin's Devil's instrumental Red River Rock noted that Claude Papesch was featured on Penny Whistle. This was recorded in Australia where it was issued on the Teen label as the B-side of a Johnny Robson single, and issued in New Zealand as the B-side of a single by US band The Codas. 
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Claude Papesch, circa 1965
Photo credit: Chris Bourke collection
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Claude Papesch - Lucretia Macevil (Hammond Spectacular, 1973)
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Hammond Electrique, one of two instrumental albums recorded by Claude Papesch for EMI Australia in the early 1970s. This one was licensed for New Zealand release by Zodiac.
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Noel McKay's 1967 live collection, released by Phil Warren's James Productions through Festival Records. The band was the Claude Papesch Trio.
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Johnny Devlin and The Devils at Western Springs, Auckland, January 1959 - Devlin, Peter Bazley, Claude Papesch, Keith Graham, and (out of picture) Tony Hopkins
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An unpublished lyric written by Murray Grindlay for his much loved compatriot Claude Papesch
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Johnny Devlin and Claude Papesch, 1959
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Claude Papesch's 1964 single Yoshiko. Note the spelling of Claude.
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Claude Papesch 
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Claude Papesch's 1965 single for His Master's Voice, The Way You Look At Him
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