The rain had begun by the time we pulled out of Coober Pedy, but we continued north. As the rain came down harder and harder, our guide, Carl, turned on some music. He chose a song about a truck driver trapped in the mud because of an outback downpour. The song was titled “Send ‘er Down, Hughie,” and we all appreciated the sentiment, as the rain seemed to be gaining force.
But this wasn’t just an appropriate song, this was my introduction to a man I would come to really love, Slim Dusty, the iconic Australian country singer. He’s gone now, but he was a true mega-star and was still alive when I made that first trip to Australia. Now Country and Western music is not a genre I pursue in the U.S.—too many “he done me wrong” lyrics. But here was a man who was singing, usually with great good humor, about the realities of life in a country that is magnificent but not often easy. As the songs continued to play, I knew I’d have to buy recordings before going home, because this man’s music so perfectly captured both the history of Australia and what I had experienced of this land.
The album cover below, one of five albums I picked up on that first trip, pretty well sums it up: Australia is his Name.
And here, should you be interested, is Slim Dusty singing “Send ‘er Down, Hughie,” the song that introduced me to the man, even as we sped northward in our own torrential downpour. **Send ‘er Down, Hughie**