Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Music Break -- Australia!

In 2004 we went on "holiday" (i.e., vacation) to Australia. It's someplace I'd always wanted to go, and we had the time and the money, so why not?

For nearly a month we roamed by rented camper-van the great Australian nation, from Sydney up to Brisbane out through the Outback to Broken Hill and then down to Port Fairy and along the spectacular Great Ocean Road to Melbourne (including, of course, a side trip to Phillip Island and its famous Penguin Parade and the Australian National Vietnam Veterans Museum, where I "bought a brick" by donation to support the endeavor and made a friend of a fellow Vietnam vet -- a tip of the ol' pint to Ziggy), and then we reluctantly circled back to Sydney for our flight home.

We did a lot, we saw a lot, we met a bunch of terrific people -- everyone went out of their way it seemed to welcome us -- and I felt we had driven millions of miles kilometers and had a "been-there-done-that" experience of Australia. But when I look at a map of Australia, it's a humbling experience -- we had actually covered only a small part of it, in the far southeast. That place is HUGE.

One thing I am glad that we discovered was Australian "country music". I grew up in Oklahoma and thought I'd had my full lifetime dose of country music by the time I was ten. I had no idea that Australia produced its own country music, that Banjo Paterson ("Waltzing Matilda") was not just a one-off, and I especially had no idea about a guy named Slim Dusty.

Here he is singing "Indian Pacific", about the famous railway line across Australia:

(Note: If you look carefully starting at about 0:58 you will see the same pointy peaks that appear in the classic dystopian sci-fi movie Road Warrior, still the best-ever Mel Gibson movie, which was filmed in the area around Broken Hill NSW. The Indian Pacific passes through Broken Hill on its long haul from coast to coast.)

Slim Dusty recorded an incredible 106 albums, and he had total sales in Australia of seven million -- in a nation of only 20 million people! It's kind of a shame that he is not more well-known in the United States.