The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


1st November 2009

Don Walker is one of the great unknowns in Australia's rich music culture, yet over the years, nearly all Australians would have sung along to a plethora of his songs. He wrote 85% of Cold Chisel's music and continues to, or has written for Jimmy Barnes, Ian Moss, TOFOG, Jimmy Little, the late Slim Dusty, Kate Ceberano, Wendy Matthews, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Anne Kirkpatrick, Mick Harvey, Jeff Lang, and Adam Brand. Yet he can walk down the street completely unnoticed... Which is the way he likes it.

Don Walker played a riveting gig in The Fremantle Arts Centre gardens on Sunday the 1st of November. This venue is fast becoming the new hub of live music in Freo with three very interment venues within the one garden. The lush grass and giant overhanging trees create a wave of relaxation and calm... a magnificent venue to sit back and listen to a great story teller.

There was a larger crowd than I expected, especially considering that the event was not heavily advertised. The punters were a bit older and there were quite a lot of Perth muso's sitting in the grounds to watch the great man. These included members of the Kill Devil Hills, Angus Diggs and many other. This re-enforces that Don Walker is the musician's musician. The weather was perfect and the beer was cold. The sound quality was top notch for an outdoor concert and the scene was set for another memorable gig!

Don started with Khe Sahn and sung classics like Danielle, Angry Women, Everyone, Harry, Eternity, 454, and many others. He played for nearly 2 hrs often talking to the crowd between songs explaining how or why he wrote it. It's always interesting when any songwriter does this as the following song is more meaningful and personal... it's not just a tune that sticks in your head. Don started the gig solo on this piano and worked up to an electric guitarist and then up to a full band that included Lucky Oceans (two time Grammy award winner), Pete Stone (Abby May) on bass and a drummer. The set got heaver and bluesier as each track passed and it was great.

The crowd stayed to the end and you could almost hear a pin drop between songs. The crowd simply just listened... it was almost a hypnotising gig that had you dying to know what song was next. There were a lot of songs that Don often plays in his live sets that are yet to be recorded. It would be a crime not to get these down and released soon. It is no wonder that Don's name is always mentioned when punters argue over who is Australia's greatest song writer. This is an argument that can never be 100% agreed upon, but an argument none the less, where the name 'Don Walker" will always be voiced in high regard.

The same familiar faces were in the crowd which proves Don's loyal following. Myself, Deb, Sean and Greg sat up the front... Don hung around and said G'day and signed CD's to those who wanted them. He said that he was looking forward to the Chisel gig in Sydney. He was heading to Clancey's Fish Pub in Freo later that night to see Lucky's band, The Zydicats. Another stalwart of the vibrant local music scene here in Perth.

The write up of this gig may be seen as one sided, as I am often referred to as a big Barnes fan or an old Chisel fan... But its gigs like this that makes me realise that I am actually a Don Walker fan, first and foremost. For without Don, I don't think the former would have flourished. I believe if you want to be entertained, go and see Jimmy Barnes and you'll never ask for your money back. If you love your music, there are few bands with a back catalogue of quality songs the size of Chisel. But if you understand and love your music... you will always be entertained at a Don Walker gig.

Anyway, there you go... a great way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon in Fremantle. Full credit goes to Lucky as he organises these free events every Sunday in Freo during the summer... This is better than watching my football team loose every Sunday in Freo during the winter.