Mercury Newspaper - March 9, 1996

Veteran pianist John Sidney is embarking on a new musical career - cutting rolls for piano players.

The Hobart musician, who has been tickling the ivories for nearly 60 years, is well known to older television viewers as a ventriloquist and Uncle John of Charlie, an early 1960's children's show.

Mr Sidney was in Sydney late last year and visited the Master Touch piano roll factory.

“I was invited to cut a roll of As Time Goes By for my own use but they liked it so much they decided to invite me back to re-record the roll for their catalogue,” he said from his Berriedale home yesterday.

The 68-year old, who still plays a regular gig at the Boardwalk Bar at Wrest Point Casino on Thursday afternoon, has been invited to record Ain't Misbehaving. The latest part of his musical career is just another progression for a man who has entertained all his life.

He was playing six nights a week at the old Wrest Point Hotel before it became a casino in 1972.

“I've always been involved in the music business in some way and worked repairing and tuning pianos for many years,” Mr Sidney said.

Piano players Fats Waller, Winifred Atwell and Liberace remain his favourites.

“I've never bothered much with the vocals but I did a few songs recently and they went down well with the audience and I may do more,” he said.

Mr Sidney will play on for as long as he lives and continues to enjoy it, which could be a long time yet.