Raglan’s legendary Mudsharks rocked on until the midnight hour last Saturday night, raising more than $33,000 — and still counting — for the town’s five volunteer rescue services.
It was a “fantastic” night, said muso Dave Maybee who was largely responsible for organising the one-off fundraiser at Raglan Club. The gig was a sellout within days of tickets going on sale.

An elated but “a little bit croaky” Dave admitted last Sunday he’d privately hoped for some generous spending from Raglan community to make the gig — at which the six earliest Mudshark members played for free — worth all the effort. He was not disappointed.

People “well and truly opened their wallets”, he said, and got right into the spirit of the auctions and raffles that filled in the breaks between the sets of good old-fashioned rock n’ roll and blues.
Many of the 400 lucky enough to secure tickets — a real mix of young and old — were on the dance floor seemingly all night long. And they got their money’s worth, with the Mudsharks entertaining for a good three hours all up.

Local singers The Slipped Discs — more or less the choir which travels around Raglan singing carols in the streets at Christmastime — warmed up the evening with a couple of sets soon after the last curries and hot beef rolls left the club kitchen, which was voluntarily taken over for the night by gourmet foodie Colin Chung.

Celebrated Raglan bluesman Midge Marsden, who now lives in Auckland, and his fellow Mudsharks then launched into old crowd-pleasers like their hits ‘Burning Rain’ and ‘Travelling On’, ‘Route 66’ and ‘Midnight Special’.
The full lineup — Freddy Limbert (drums), his father Sid Limbert (bass guitar and vocals), Peter Skandera (harmonica), Gary Verberne (guitar), Dave Maybee (guitar and vocals) and Midge Marsden (harmonica, guitar and vocals) was unusual for a band in that it included two harp players, but that’s the way it’s typically been for the Mudsharks.

It was longtime local resident Dave and his mate Sid, who was running Bow Street’s fish n’ chip shop back in the day, who formed the Mudsharks 30-odd years ago. The band played regularly at the Harbour View Hotel, where Mudshark Mondays became something of a phenomenon.

This was their fourth reunion in recent years, at either the pub or the club, but the only gig at which the Mudsharks played for free — a generosity matched by Raglan Club, which provided the facilities at no cost, and volunteers across the community who made it all happen.

Dave assured the Chronicle the band would play again at such an event. “We should run it on an annual basis … as part of our normal community calendar,” he enthused.
Funds from the gig will be split locally between Westpac Air Ambulance, the Fire Brigade, Coastguard, Surf Life Saving and St John Ambulance. None of it, stressed Dave, would be absorbed into regional or national coffers.
Dave added that double the number of tickets could easily have been sold if Raglan had a bigger venue.

And he revealed that plans were afoot for a purpose-built entertainment/sports facility with the capacity to take a 1000-strong crowd.

Raglan Club was licensed for only 400 people and the town hall — once a great place for concerts — was now unsuitable, as the sound acoustic panelling which the town’s original arts council raised funds for had since been covered over with hardboard.

Edith Symes