STILL POPULAR: The late Slim Dusty pictured with his wife Joy McKean.
STILL POPULAR: The late Slim Dusty pictured with his wife Joy McKean. Universal Music Australia Publicity

Slim Dusty's music remains as popular as ever

SEPTEMBER 19, marked the anniversary of the passing of Australian country music star Slim Dusty and, although just about every aspect of his hardships in his early touring days have been "gone through with a fine tooth comb", so to speak, as have his incredible successes in his beloved country music, it leaves anyone writing about him with a strong desire to uncover some unknown fact about him, so I won't even try.

Sufficient to say that, despite his passing some 12 years ago, his music still remains as popular as when he was performing it on stage.

A look back through the years reveals how the three-month period from the start of July to the end of September must surely been, throughout the years, the blackest period for country music, both in Australia and America.

July has seen the loss to our world of Jim Reeves on July 31 in 1964, while July 1993 saw the demise of the "Grandfather" of Australian country, Tex Morton, (So he was born a Kiwi, but let's not hold that against him).

Then in 1988 the same month saw one of Uncle Sam's great singing cowboys with the white hat, riding the white horse, Roy Rogers, who also rode into the sunset with the heroine at the end of the film.

Bundaberg had reason to cry on the first day of July 1999 when we lost Shirley Thoms.

Shirley was a real trailblazer, who as a solo artist paved the way for the entry of women into country music, which until her entry had been dominated by males.

July also saw the end of Barry Thornton's career in 2002.

Barry started as a yodeller with Slim Dusty's show in the early days.

One night the lead guitarist decided he could find better things to do, and left them high and dry, so, Barry must have drawn the short straw, because overnight he found himself nominated as the new lead guitarist.

The rest is history. He went on to make a heap of solo guitar albums, featuring his own style which became the sound that so many others based themselves on.

August saw the demise of one of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.

A man who started off as country, at the same time as the birth of rock and roll.

His impact on the music industry is unsurpassed, and of course, the man we are talking about is Elvis Aaron Presley, who went to his maker on August 16, 1977.

Loved by teenagers the world over and condemned by many oldies and men of the cloth, Elvis gyrated his way into so many hearts.

The irony here is that so many of his songs classed as rock and roll way back then would now be classified as country..

I find that I have got carried away with my memories here, and have more than reached my word total for the week, so we'll continue next time.

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