The Slim Dusty Story starts back in the 1940s on a remote dairy farm in the hills behind Kempsey, NSW, when a 10-year-old boy dreamed of being a country music singer. His name was David Gordon Kirkpatrick... he called himself "Slim Dusty" and began to live that dream.
But even the most optimistic farm boy would never have imagined the life that was to unfold... a life that would establish Slim as the voice of the nation, the chronicler of Australian history in song.
As the world enters a new millennium, Slim is as strong as ever, still building, and living, the dream.
Slim has managed to hold on to those early visions of writing and singing about the bush because during his lengthy career, he has kept in touch with his audience. And he has done this in a very real and meaningful way, so much so that his fans would feel that Slim is one of their mates and his songs "just a good yarn you might hear from a mate at the pub, around a camp fire in the bush or at a back yard barbie".
He describes his music as "songs about real Australians. I have to be fair dinkum with my audience. I can't see any other way of doing it," he says. "You have to believe in what you are singing about."
To quote a London Country Music People magazine review: "Three things are certain in this life. Death, Taxes... and Slim Dusty. This man has been making music and epitomising the spirit of Australia for 50 years. Although he had a massive worldwide hit with A Pub With No Beer in the late '50s, few outside his home country are aware of the continuing popularity and reverence in which Dusty is held Down Under, not only by the public but by his fellow musicians and artists, including those who hang their hat under the New Country sign."
Slim Dusty was the first Australian to receive a Gold Record (still the only 78 rpm gold record in existence in this country), the first Australian to have an international record hit, and the first singer in the world to have his voice beamed to earth from space (in 1983, astronauts Bob Crippen and John Young played Slim singing Waltzing Matilda from the space shuttle "Columbia" as it passed over Australia).
His amazing career spans six decades, has him holding 35 Golden Guitars (an achievement as yet, and unlikely to be, unequalled), more Gold and Platinum Record Awards than any other Australian artist, ARIA Awards (Australian Recording Industry Awards) including induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame, video sales Platinum and Gold Awards, an MBE and Order of Australia for his services to entertainment, and he was one of the earliest inducted to the Country Music Roll of Renown.
Just recently (1999) Slim was named Father of the Year and Senior Australian of the Year... two more accolades added to numerous other awards and honours.
He is rightly known as the "Historian of the Bush" but his songs and his stage performances reflect the changing face of Australia in the country as well as in the city. RS