20 October 2020

The Promised Band – Mike and Peter Hayes

Pete Hayes

 From “Our Kinda Country Magazine” – June 1974

The following article from a magazine article “Our Kinda Country – June 1974, was provided by Doug Wallace of Melbourne.

The Promised Band is a group of four very talented musicians whom you will be seeing and hearing much more of during the coming months. The four members of the group are Peter Hayes, Harold Firth, Bernie O’Brien and Doug Wallace, all of whom have a vast amount of experience in Country Music as well as most other facets of music.

The leader of the group, Peter Hayes was born in England at Henley-on-Thames, and has crammed a wealth of experience into his 28 years. Peter, of an Irish father and French-Dutch-Ceylonese mother, arrived in Australia in his third birthday. Seven years later, whilst living in Bacchus Marsh, Peter’s mother gave him a button accordian. A couple of years later, Peter met Ricky Diamond, who taught him a couple of chords on the guitar. Peter then went on to the Victorian Banjo Club and studien guitar for a short while.

Following this, Peter and his brother Mike joined a Concert Party with John Johns known as “The Semi rocks” – after a while Peter and Mike worked as a duo.

They met Kevin Emmerson, who suggested they form a Bluegrass (band) as Peter had started teaching himself to play the five string banjo. The boys took the suggestion up and the Hayes Brothers & The BLuegrass Ramblers” emerged and their first big appearance was 3UZ’s Hootenany in 1963 with Johnny Chester, The Seekers and many others. This was (then) followed with regular appearances on the Adelaide television series “The Roger Cardwell Show”. which later became “The Reg Lindsay Show”. The group recorded two albums, an EP and a single with W & G Records, and backed folk singer Doug Owen on record.

During this time, Peter made numerous appearances on 3DB’s Country & Western Show and whilst in Adelaide met the DeKroo Brothers. When Leo (DeKroo) married Judy Stone, Peter teamed up with Doug (DeKroo) and for some time was a DeKroo Brother.

During the time of the Bluegrass Ramblers, when there wasn’t a great deal of work for this type of group, Peter took to wandering around the country. He spent several months in Brisbane, where he played a number of clubs and recorded for Ray Rumble’s Sunset Label. He later went to Sydney and looked up Reg Lindsey, whom he had known by working on his Adelaide TV series. At this stage, everyone in Sydney was preparing to record prior to setting out on the road and Peter did session work with Reg Lindsay, Shad Morgan Eddie Tapp, RIck and Thel and many others. This led Peter to touring with “The Rick and Thel Show”.  He left the show in Townsville where he stayed for a while doing gigs with Charlie Bellert’s brother, Fred.

In late 1969, The Bluegrass Ramblers disbanded and Mike went to Darwin where he joined the ABC. Peter didn’t do anything of much significance for quite a while until local Loinal Rose called him and asked him to go on tour as his bass player. The tour was with Ashton’s Circus and with

The Hayes Brothers

While many groups and individuals will feature in this site in years to come, we cannot go on without acknowledging the foundational contributions made by the Hayes Brothers in the early 1960′s.

There is little documented on the Hayes Brothers, but we have turned up the following information:

Mike and Pete Hayes were born in Henley-on-Thames in England in the early 1940′s. They moved to Australia in the late 40′s, and lived in Melbourne. By the 1960′s the brothers were performing together as The Bluegrass Ramblers.  Shortly after that the couple

Hayes Bros Album Cover

Hayes Bros Album Notes

expanded the band to become the Hayes Brothers, a bluegrass band which performed together for many years. They released 2 albums and are widely recognised as the first bluegrass band to perform in Australia.

Another family band at the time, The Hawking Brothers featured Russ and Alan Hawking. Pete Hayes also sang with the Hawking Brothers band for around two years, after the death of Russ Hawking in 1976.

Pete Hayes settled in Melbourne in 1978 and he and his brother were inducted into the Country Music Hands of Fame.

Pete Hayes continued to record with a range of local and international artists including, The Hawking Brothers, The Howie Brothers, Saltbush, Lee Conway, Lionel Rose, Johnny Chester and Charlie Pride. Mike Hayes was also an ABC journalist.

Mike Hayes passed away on the 10th of February 2003 and that same year his brother Pete passed away on the 1st of December.