Don Walker "We’re All Gunna Die" - Review By Robert Dunstan

 

While it may be premature to propose that Don Walker’s (Gold Chisel’s chief songwriter and more recently of Tex, Don & Charlie) latest musical affair is possibly the best Australian album released in years, the first few listens suggest exactly that.

We’re All Gunna Die is often a deep, dark and gloomy work - reflected in the bleak title song - and it’s the high calibre of Walker’s vignettes and the tasty musicianship from the ensemble (which includes Garret Costigan on pedal steel, Paul Burton on double bass and Dave Blight on harmonica with guitarist Ian Moss guesting on one track) which makes it work so well.

The stark opener, (I Just Wanna Have A) Party, is an ode to a person on the brink of despair with the so-called called ‘party’ sounding much like it will be their final (and fatal) fling. The musical interplay between Walker’s sparse piano, Blight’s haunting harp and Costigan’s melancholy steel creates a mood bordering on suicidal while the album’s closing offering, Three Blackbirds, is an epic masterpiece spanning some twenty odd verses over almost twenty minutes. Between these, listeners are treated to a further 10 songs that evoke the postively maudlin (We’re All Gonna Die) to expressions of possible hope such as In The End and the almost throwaway ditty about My Girl.

Given its bleakly uncommercial nature (even Tex Don & Charlie fans are gunna find some of this a little heavy going),We’re All Gunna Die may win only a few admirers but those who find comfort in its lyrics and music will very likely rate it as the masterpiece it is.

1995 Rip It Up (Sept)

 

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