My Mate Oakes

By Wayne Anthoney

My Mate Oakes
I met Oakes in 1997 when he started work for Nyangatjatjara Aboriginal Corporation. He walked into CEO Lawrie Gorman’s house with a carton of beer and we became instant friends and have been ever since.
I was the Project Manager and Oakes was the Job Network Manager. He was a bit new to it and had to learn to work a computer, which he took to with his trademark incredible enthusiasm.
In 1998 we started singing together, our first song being ‘The Red Headed Stranger’. I soon realised that Oakes’ first love was music. He had a huge repertoire and depth and breadth of musical knowledge. He also played really good guitar. He has a high voice, I have a low one, so when harmonising I would normally sing a third above him but an octave below, if that makes any sense. Anyway we sounded very fine.
Next I realised that Oakes was a bloody good songwriter, a balladeer. It’s his passion. He writes songs about his landscape, Aboriginal country, his mates. He hasn’t written a song about me yet though. His rhymes and rhythms are his own, as one realises when one listens to his CD.
Being a Liverpool Scouser Oakes has this natural sense of humour that no-one who is not a Scouser can imitate, although we all find it incredibly funny. And there is a lot of humour in many of his songs.
Finally I wish to point out that although he has only one offspring, his beautiful daughter Alice, he has FIVE grand-daughters and he is greatly devoted to them and is a fine grandfather and a gentleman of high degree. I am happy to call him my mate.