THEY had the audience eating out of the palm of their hand, as the saying goes.
The Provost Brothers returned to Grafton for a special performance yesterday at the Grafton District Services Club - the first time in more than 50 years the talented duo have been back to their home town.
Hundreds of fans, friends and family turned out to watch as Bruce and Barry Provost, now 81 and 77 respectively, took to the stage, singing and playing the guitar and banjo.
Natural entertainers, the pair have made their mark on the Australian music scene, as well as Australian television, starting with a regular live spot on radio 2GF in the 1950s, performing live with requests for listeners.
And while many younger Australians may not immediately recognise them by name, The Provost Brothers will no doubt be remembered best for their now infamous jingle written and performed for The Leyland Brothers series, "Ask the Leyland Brothers".
The brothers relocated to Newcastle in 1958, where they raised their families and became regular faces on television, appearing alongside the legendary Johnny O'Keefe on 6 O'clock Rock, as well as performing regularly on Bandstand and many other TV shows in the 1960s.
"Every now and again we dust off the cobwebs and do it all again," said Barry.
"It's really nostalgic to be back here in Grafton after such a long time.
"Looking around the audi- ence we are happy to see so many familiar faces, although it's been a long time so they're a little hard to recognise."
Older brother Bruce agreed.
"It's terrific to be back and lovely to be entertaining here," Bruce said.
Looking back, Bruce reckons he wouldn't change a thing, despite turning down an offer in the early 60s to tour America alongside the Bee Gees, who were then young and relatively unknown.
"We've had a wonderful life; a great life in this entertainment business," he said.
"But old age is not for sissies. I still play every day - I pick up the guitar and keep moving and exercising the muscles."
The duo's return to Grafton coincides with a family reunion, with about 35 relatives travelling to Grafton from all around Australia.
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