Far From Folsom featuring Tex Perkins and the Tennessee Four with Rachael Tidd – RESCHEDULED:
Sunday 28 February
with special guest
Vic Simms: 7:00pm-7:40pm
Tex Perkins: 8:00pm-9:30pm
Playing times are approximate, venue closes at 10:00pm
We are very pleased to advise that we have been able to reschedule ‘Far From Folsom’ featuring Tex Perkins Twilight at Taronga performance to: Sunday 28th February 2016. All existing tickets (for entry to the event and hampers) will be valid – simply bring your current tickets and hamper voucher to the rescheduled show. For more information (including refunds for those who cannot make the new date) please visit: http://smarturl.it/r34j6l
Tex Perkins returns with a new concert about the man, the music and the legend that is Johnny Cash. Tex’s affinity with the original rock ‘n roll outlaw goes back to his teens, and his earliest band, when he first started channelling Johnny’s songs.
Far From Folsom is a fresh incarnation of Johnny’s famous performances recorded live at Folsom and San Quentin prisons in the late 1960’s. First presented early in 2015 at The Old Parramatta Gaol, organisers scrambled to expand the roster to two, then three sold-out shows, as over 7000 tickets were snapped up in hours.
Featuring the same crack group of musicians enlisted by Tex for the Helpmann award-winning show The Man In Black, and featuring Rachael Tidd, this new concert takes us on a fast-paced, rollicking rock ͚n roll journey to the heart of the music and the scene of Johnny’s career salvation. With some of his best-loved songs and music from all the prison performances, Far From Folsom is set to satisfy Johnny Cash fans, all over again.
Johnny’s concerts at Folsom and San Quentin Prisons yielded albums that became instant classics, and brought his distinctive sound to millions of listeners. His humour, humanity and grit built a bridge between music genres, between prisoners, preachers and presidents alike, and earned him the love and loyalty of generations of fans.
William Victor ‘Bunna’ Simms was born in La Perouse in 1946. “I started in 1957,” he says “I went to a football social one night, we were regulars, my mum and dad and all of us went, and Col Joye was there. They were taking a break and they said, Does anybody want to sing a song? And so of course all my mates start nudging me because we used to sit around the campfire at La Perouse and just sing songs. They said, He can sing. So I got up, I sang ‘Tutti Frutti’ Col said, Look, we’re only starting out, but if anything comes up, you’re with us!”
Vicki Simms cut two singles for Festival in the 1961/’62, when he was 15. By the time he was 18, his career may as well have been over. In 1967, he was sent down into prison, and by the time he was released in 1977, at the age of 30, he had already won and lost yet another extraordinary achievement. While he was at Bathurst Jail in the early seventies, on the eve of the riots that razed the place, he recorded the album The Loner, live at the jail, for RCA Records.
For a long time The Loner was one of the great lost treasures of Australian music, but now it’s happily no longer so lost, with the Sandman Records reissue of the album in 2014, and also the release last year by Plus One Records of The Painted Ladies play Selections from The Loner.
“I was lucky,” says Vic. “Jimmy [Little] was lucky. In those days it was the movie star syndrome. They’d come into the milkbar and say to a pretty girl, we can make you a star. That doesn’t happen anymore. When I was around there was a lot: Little Pattie, the Bee Gees, Billy Thorpe…”
Vic had never played guitar before going inside, just sang. But after he started to write some words in a workbook he still has, he bought an acoustic guitar for a couple of packets of tobacco (“the currency was just tobacco, you could buy anything”), thus the (country-rock protest) songs that would make up The Loner were born..”
“The ten tracks I recorded for RCA were all self-written, but were more politically inspired, and autobiographical. More up-tempo. I just wrote what I thought at the time, what was happening around me, politically, and I just put a tune to it. I didn’t think it would go anywhere or anything would come of it, but it just happened it was heard by certain people, and they said it should be recorded…”
Of course the album went nowhere in an Australia smitten by the apparent (or exclusively white) Australian-ness of Skyhooks, and when Vic got out of jail a few years later, he had to re-start his career all over again. In the 80s, he became one of the staples of the Koori Country scene coming out of Tamworth, and with his brothers in arms Roger Knox and the late great Bobby McLeod, the trio formed a sort of Aboriginal Highwaymen who played so far and wide as prisons in Australia and reservations in Canada and the US. But just as Roger Knox has recently been rediscovered by a whole new generation of roots music fans around the world, Vic Simms is now too enjoying a great if belated late-career revival.
In 2014, Luke Peacock a Queensland song writer, discovered and re-recorded The Loner under the name The Painted Ladies.
“The thing about Vic Simm’ songs is that they work on so many levels,” explained Luke Peacock. “To me as a First Nations man, they give me an instant sense of identity. The characters are people I know, or have known. The stories and the observations seem so familiar to me. They probably would to most people in one way or another. This is not a man who is marching in the streets and preaching politics—he just speaks the truth about his feelings and his life and does it to a groove and a great melody. That’ll move people more than a history book ever could.”
Luke Peacock asked his mates from Cairns, the Medics, to try out on some of the material, and after just a couple of rehearsals the basic house-band was born. Luke asked You Am I drummer Rusty Hopkinson, a long-time fan and friend of Vic’s, to get involved, and he became producer. Other guests were invited to participate, black and white alike –Ed Kuepper, Paul Kelly, Sue Ray, Roger Knox and more.
Vic Simms performed the songs from The Loner for the first time in 42 years in WomAdelaide in March 2015 with The Painted Ladies project.
2015 also saw Vic inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame. Vic is finally having another moment in the sun.