Don Walker "Were All Gunna Die" - Review By Robert Dunstan
While it may be premature to propose that Don Walkers (Gold Chisels 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.
Were All Gunna Die is often a deep, dark and gloomy work - reflected in the bleak title song - and its the high calibre of Walkers 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 Walkers sparse piano, Blights haunting harp and Costigans melancholy steel creates a mood bordering on suicidal while the albums 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 (Were 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),Were 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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