Most people that read my posts on Facebook and who read my reviews on here and my former blog A Country Hattitude (see side column) know that I have a lot of respect for Allan Caswell and all that he has done for Australian Country Music and in turn, all of the wonderful young and not so young artists that he has mentored. We have sparred a few times over certain musicians and more regularly over football (in all codes). With his dear wife as our referee, we have managed to go back to our corners and we have turned up as mates again. Basically, our connection is through our passion for music: Allan in his role as a mentor, musician and prolific songwriter, my role as a fan and someone who supports country music through all of its ups and downs.
Allan’s longevity in a sometimes tough, sometimes fickle business deserves to be applauded and celebrated. His courage to fight the good fight, saying what he wants to say and what we need to hear in his songs is something that makes the most genuine Aussies proud. He writes with conviction, never backing down and never giving up. As with most people who say what they think and feel, he will always have his knockers, but you have to have people in the world who are wrong to highlight the people who are just plain bloody right.
I have said this before, but truth needs repetition. It is rare to find a country music album in Australia that doesn’t have a song co-written by Allan Caswell or Mike Carr on it. These two guys have led the way for modern songwriters, encouraging them to be the future mentors to again pay it forward.
Allan has a vast collection of Golden Guitars and a thousand of other awards. He has released more albums than most and each one of them a guaranteed winner. The biggest gift that Allan has given us is the ability to bring out the best in all of the musicians that he has worked with and all of the songs that we can relate to, from beer songs to love songs, to the songs of the road and the land that we all love, whether we are born here or whether we come from another place.
His music is loved by many generations, whether it is one of his kids’ songs played on Play School, or that Television theme song that everyone in Australia knows and even overseas…..You don’t have to be a country music fan to love and know his music…..but it helps.
50 Years in Oz: Mr Corbett’s influence on the melody here, very Bushwackery. The words are all Allan, his story, his passions, his life. Says it all, really.
Back when we had nothing: The strongest ingredient to any Allan Caswell song is the lyrics. The way that he rhymes words, whether it be a simple rhyme or a complicated one is something that very few artists can do as well. The places that he takes you to, even if it is his story, are familiar and as plain as day. Wonderful song.
Golden Days (featuring The Weeping Willows): I am going to be extremely biased on this one. The Weeping Willows are probably my favourite Australian act at the moment and they are becoming good mates. The fact that they combine here with one of my favourite songwriters makes this song a bigger gem. Golden voices, golden strings and golden words.
Mercy of the Road: I don’t have the credits, given that Itunes don’t provide them but there is a touch of Luke O’Shea about this one. In any case, it is a great song. The road songs are a part of a country musician’s repertoire. If they aren’t, they should be.
Red Roo Roadhouse: Talking about road songs…..I have a funny feeling that this is a Slim Dusty song, I may be wrong. It has an Allan Caswell feel but it seems vaguely familiar. Either way, two great Aussie guys of song. Makes you crave for an all day breakfast.
Hero Just The Same: A song about an unsung hero. In this case, it is the rodeo clown that makes the rodeo rider look good, saves his life and makes sure that all goes smoothly. They get very little credit. Excellent song, my Dad is going to eat this one up.
A Truckie Up in Queensland: Could really be a Truckie anywhere in Australia, really. A truckie’s life is a tough one and they are unsung heroes too. An extremely Australian song.
Nothing Left for Them: The single recently released and a very relevant song. I have travelled a lot of this country by train and bus. It is happening everywhere and it is a very sad situation. It is something that we are all worried about, not just for us but for future generations. If you are not worried about it, if you don’t do something about it, then you should try.
Lefty O’Reilly: Sounds like Lefty came out on the right side. A fading race of species, I am afraid. Another one that my Dad will love, he is from that generation and he is a lefty.
Sweet By and By: Yee Haa! A bit of Green and Gold Bluegrass. Not the song that you may expect, but related. Catchy and sweet with a bit of a history lesson.
His Old Piano: This is my favourite on the album. Love it to bits. Bring out the tissue box. If the words don’t make you cry, the melody will.
I hope that there are many more years of Allan Caswell and Allan Caswell music. We still have a few fights to fight together and a few more sparring rounds to go between us. Cheers mate on a great career and a great life.
N.B. Just a footnote. Have found out since I published this that the credits were pretty close! I don’t know how I missed Lachlan Bryan as a co-writer on the first track! 2. with Max T Barnes (He wrote a lot of Randy Travis songs). 3. I kind of said it, the co writer was Andrew Wrigglesworth (The Black Wiggle) from The Weeping Willows. 4. Fred Koller who has written lots of songs in Nashville. 5. It was a Slim song, written by Allan! 6. Billy Bridge co wrote this awesome song. 7 and 9, Manfred Vijars, who has written some other Bush Ballads with Allan. 8. Marian Caswell (as I suspected!), 10, My dear pal, Nia Robertson co wrote this. The big surprise was 11. Allan wrote this with 7 others! K Thomsen, S. Ghee, P. Dawson, M Nolan, K Gall, W Nielsen and S Maddison.