DON MORRISON’S RAGING THIRST
“Don Morrison’s Raging Thirst” by Phil Catley
Don Morrison is a legend of the Adelaide blues/folk music scene, known and loved for his work as the front man for The Bodgies, The Lonely Cosmonauts, Prawnhead and more. If you haven’t heard of him or you don’t have any of his records there is something wrong with you, but here’s your chance to rectify that by grabbing this latest release.
Although Don has quite a back catalogue of releases this CD is his first with the Raging Thirst band, which includes his sons Eddie and Jake, and long time comrade and drummer Andy Przygonski.
Don has recycled some of his older songs on this release, including The Bodgies 80’s classic ‘I Heard The Devil Call My Name’, which is a nice touch given the original recorded with his brothers and the re-issue with his sons. They both work. ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ is another re-release from Dons 90’s band ‘The Elmores’.
Of course there is plenty of new material here as well, including ‘In Australia’, which is based on a true story about an Afghan refugee and his journey to our land.
Don has been Adelaide’s musical voice for over three decades and his music is his vehicle for social observation and storytelling (although he also has a book).
There is no-one else like Don in this town!
This Could Be Big – Adelaide Fringe
Don Morrison is a larger than life character who is smaller than he should be in terms of fame and success. He could have been Paul Kelly, or John Mellencamp, or Bruce Springsteen, and to some loyal followers he is in the same category as these well known troubadours. Circumstances have prevented Don from achieving similar levels of fame, but he is a local treasure none the less.
His 2012 Fringe show “This could be Big!” is a spoken and musical performance around his book of the same name. Assisted by “Dingo” on acoustic guitar, Don charmed the Sunday afternoon Wheatsheaf Hotel crowd with witty anecdotes and readings from the book, interspersed with a variety of songs ranging from Elmore James “Dust my Broom” to a song he had only just written for this show. Don plays harmonica like he tells a story; with passion and with flawless delivery. He also plays a DonMo Ukele and Guitar, made by Don out of old corrugated iron fencing.
The journey from his first folk Band in the mid 70s through the punk Blues of The Bodgies, the adventures touring the country supporting some of the biggest Australian acts, life working in a foundry, the tax office, to later life musicianship is wry, humorous, and at one point terribly sad. Don never gave up hope and is now a living treasure in the Adelaide music scene.
If you missed the show, get the book, or one of Dons CDs. by Philip Catley
Album review “Don Morrison”
South Australian resonator specialist, guitar-maker and raconteur Don Morrison returns with a self-titled solo album of bluesy R&B rich with Morrison’s trademark colour and humour. The way Morrison enjoys mixing slapstick with social and political commentary, it wouldn’t be surprising to discover that Ry Cooder is high up his list of musical heroes. The Australian Ry Cooder? Who wouldn’t want that tag? Certainly Don has a deft touch on the slide guitar.
Unashamedly regional, Morrison sings about the places, people and plights of his immediate environment, talking about Adelaide and the Nullarbor and enjoying applying his wit to working man’s concerns like fishing (‘Fishing’) and the mining boom (‘Mining Boom’).
Most of this is clothed in gritty acoustic blues, but there are also injections of melodic imagination on songs like ‘The Leaving Song’, ‘Note To Hilary’s Kids’, and ‘I’m Waiting’.
By Martin Jones, Rhythms, 2013
This Could Be Big. : 30 Years at the Dag End of The Australian Music Industry by Don Morrison.
A rip roaring rort of a ride in bad Morris vans through the Aussie Pub rock boom.
The Morrison boys led by big brother Donald started as innocent young suburbanites in a blues band from Adelaide :The Bodgies. Not only will you roam the east coast venues & stages of the great Aussie Pub Rock era with them but Don takes you with him to the birth of Punk in London. An unknown AC DC playing in a London Pub to a crowd of 30!
‘National honours & huge crowds follow sensational rise of small town blues band’. Not really, but they came close. They could have been big & probably were; momentarily. This is a sardonic rites of passage autobiography about living the Aussie rock dream/nightmare over several decades.
No huge Greyhound buses for these boys, it’s the time of tired Morris Minor vans, having to swap spanners for petrol to make it home. This was a threatening lifestyle; overloaded & overnight road miles, near asphyxiation in pre smoking ban venues, vengeful rival roadies, shady promoters, obsessive fans, abortive recording sessions… it was the 70s & 80s after all..
Will nothing bring this true blues believer down. Every setback gets served up to the reader with wry
Stoicism & mordant humour. Don claims John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Children as “a high water mark of Western Civilisation” He still wears the check shirt style inspired by John Fogerty.
There’s wily insight into social history as Don plots the effect of legislative changes like the drinking age & late closing hours on the live music scene. Then there was the Diploma of Recreational Studies he dabbled in during the era we were told machines would do all the work & we would need help filling our leisure time.
A brief period of Employment in the tax office makes for some interesting insights into public service culture.
By the end of the book we find the same seemingly unquenchable drive to make music has spawned an empire of new ventures. It might be herding groups of 30 ukulele players around events , live community radio broadcasting , busking with his sons, marketing his own hand crafted resonator guitars world wide via the internet site listed above , writing & recording albums, live band performances. In a way it has led to something big in a ‘down home’ kind of way. Thirty years of ‘Dag End’ experience gave us some great music & a rollicking story.
~ Lone Tony Joe (3D Radio. 93.7. )
Fringe Show Review
Singer-songwriter Don Morrison’s show at the Wheatsheaf Hotel was quite an intimate one, though he wryly observed that the crowd was nonetheless bigger than at AC/DC’s initial London pub performance in the ’70s – and he should know, since he was there.
It’s this kind of tale that signalled how the night would proceed, interweaving music with engaging memoir.
In combination they highlighted Morrison’s new book, This Could Be Big (subtitled Thirty Years at the Dag End of the Australian Music Industry), and a compilation CD of the same name. The humorous autobiographical stories kept on coming, from his childhood initiation into music up to his current gigs and occupation as a luthier (that’s a maker of stringer instruments to you and me).
The whole was peppered with a choice selection of tunes from various incarnations of bands in which Morrison has played. For example, he was a key part of the great Bodgies group formed with his brothers in 1979, and his bands have maintained family connections. On this night he had sons Eddie (wonderful on upright bass) and Jake (guitars and keyboard) on board.
On all songs, Morrison played his own hand-made resonator guitars or ukulele. He can produce real attack when he wants it, and subtle inflections when those are called for, building moods precisely with a quick wash of sound or lingering slide note, for instance. Expectedly, slide guitar came to the fore on numerous tunes, notably Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom”. The full-on Boogie magic of “Whatcha Doin’?” was irresistible.
Morrison revealed that he is an accomplished blues harpist, too, adding beautiful passages to the lolloping “Casey Whistle” and a mournful air to the chugging foot-tapper “Pat Malone”. “Bob Dylan was Born in Adelaide” was a history-twisting giggle.
Between the anecdotes and tunes, it was a full and rewarding night out from a continuing talent in the Adelaide music scene.
Don Morrison’s This Could Be Big was a one-off Fringe gig at the Wheatsheaf Hotel. InDaily, March 2013