Fascinating dive into Oz music's hit factories and backyards
Suburban Songbook. Writing Hits in Post-War Pre-Countdown Australia
By Clinton Walker
Only got this one recently, but I'm damned glad I did.
Once upon a Big Day Out, an event I only occasionally attended, I was mildly shocked by the text messages winding their way across a big screen (people paid a small fee to have their inane twatter up in on a big screen - you know, 'Best summer evah!' and 'Totally awesome!') which dissed 'old people' in favour of 'us hip cool young folk'...
Now, I won't say I wasn't like that to some degree when I was a teenager (and even in my twenties). But I don't recall being quite that dismissive of music simply because it was 'old'. I was brought up on my dad's music, as so many of us are: big band stuff, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw, as well as Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole... you get the idea. Proto-rock'n'roll, you could say.
So when I got interested in modern music at the age of 12 (courtesy my chum Paul'srecord collection) we both knew that it didn't matter how old something was... as long as it wasn't boring. We investigated everything we could lay our hands on... dismissed so much, revelled in long-lost jewels. It was our secret joy - no other bastard seemed interested.
Fast forward a few years and Clinton Walker's first book, “Inner City Sound' came out. (A revised edition has recently been published - get it here. Mick Middles wrote in “Record Collector'”: "A shockingly vast document... the most striking aspect is the prevailing musical sophistication". Well, yeah.