My tribute to Slim Dusty. Written after watching a moonrise over Mount Tamborine In Queensland, while drinking a few beers and listening to some Slim songs.
In 1975 I visited some WW1 military graveyards in northern France, and wrote a song "No Man's Land" after the visit. I've been back quite a few times since then. This song is about my last visit there. The final visit I think, no more, no more …
Shortly after our then brand new billion dollar Parliament House was opened in Canberra, I was invited to sing at a concert there in honour of the visit of the Prime Minister of Eire, Charles Haughey. It was, in many, many ways, an extremely interesting night. A bunch of us musicians eventually ended up in some senator's office with Bob Hawke, who you may remember was our Prime Minister at the time, his then wife Hazel, and a few assorted pollies and journalists, all (with the exception of Bob and Hazel) intent on sculling back the free alcohol while it lasted, and having a rare old singsong. Of course, at one stage we all bellowed out 'The Internationale' and as I was singing along with Bob, Hazel et all, I thought to myself "What a great country this is. Could this happen at No.10 or the White House? 'Knoath, no! Australia, you bloody beauty!" The future, although admittedly coloured somewhat by copious amounts of alcohol, seemed oh so bright and oh so achievable … I'm still trying to work out what went wrong …
The Last of The Old Timers
Most Australians like to think that they possess some of what we generally assume to be our national characteristics, humour, toughness, self-reliance, loyalty to mates, generosity to others in hard times, etc., etc. Most of the Australians I've met who generally exhibited those admirable traits all tended to be over 75, a lot of them have gone, and those that are left won't be with us all that much longer. So it's debatable whether we, clutching desperately at our multiple security blankets of mobile phones, computers, pharmacies, shopping malls, and government hand-outs, will have the necessary emotional and physical toughness to tackle the enormous challenges that this country will face in the future. I certainly hope so. Anyway, this song is about one of the older, tougher Aussies ??.
About saying the final goodbye to someone you love. Written for Kate Delaney and Gordon McIntyre. I was going to sing it myself on this CD, but after hearing Kat Kraus sing it for a demo recording I made for someone else, I knew it was no contest. Female singers generally have an emotional honesty that many of their male counterparts lack, and this, to me, is proved in spades by Kat's rendition of this song.
The title says it all really. I'm certainly tired of many aspects of this life, but not of life itself I hasten to add. I'm determined to outlive Tom Jones, Elton John, and Queen Elizabeth the Second of England, (the First of Scotland).
Other People's Children
Thanks mainly to the magic of television, for most of my adult life I've been able to view the killing and maiming of defenceless, helpless civilians, mostly women and children, in the myriad of nasty little wars that have plagued this planet since the last big one, i.e. WWII. This song is about images from some of these wars, from Korea to Iraq, that have remained with me over the years.
A Good Man
A great reason to buy this CD as a present for someone you don't like! Just tell them there's a song on the CD that reminded you of them. I wrote it originally about a well-known Australian politician, who, because of the libel laws, shall have to remain nameless. However, as all politicians are cut from much the same cloth, just think of your least favourite one as this song is played.
It used to be called manic depression, now it's known as bipolar disorder, but what's in a name? The end result is still much the same for the person afflicted with it. I have a few friends who suffer from this debilitating illness, and I wrote this song for them. It's a physical illness, not a mental one, so it's no good offering the "all he/she needs is a swift kick up the backside" sort of advice, you will not be helping.
The Last Rodeo
I've only ever been to one rodeo, and that was in Queensland a few years ago now. Being an animal lover, I tended to take the side of the broncos and the bulls, who certainly seemed to come out on top in most of the contests. However, the cowboys (and cowgirls) and rodeo clowns seemed to be utterly fearless, and judging by the way most of them bounced up after being thrown, made mostly of a combination of muscle and rubber. But I guess there comes a time when you stop bouncing, as this song relates.
Thou Shalt Not
One of the prime objectives of terrorists is to foster fear, hate and division amongst those whom they are attacking. Once they succeed in doing that, they're halfway to victory. Given the horrific nature of some of their attacks, and the bloody carnage they cause, it's hard not to feel hate for them and fear of them. I wrote this song after the tragic events in Besian.
To An Athlete Dying Young.
This poem by A.E.Houseman has been one of my favourite poems for many years, and carries a special resonance in this day and age where athletes are regarded as sort of demi-gods. But, as the poem illustrates, it seems that it was always thus. I've been itching for years to set the poem to music, and now I've finally scratched that itch. I doubt if any melody that I coulkd come up with could match the beauty of Houseman's words, but I did my best, and anyway, a cat can look at a King.
While I am Here
This song was written by John Munro, who over the last ten years or so, has written some mighty songs. I liked this song when John first played it to me, and I asked him if I could include it on my CD, and once a small financial transaction had taken place, he agreed. It's a "I'll try to be the best I can be" type of song, and as such is a good positive way to finish off the CD.