Song Of The Day 7/11/2015: Bob Hudson – “The Newcastle Song”

Australian Pop with Colin Donald: M7 Records would like to say that they are proud of this brilliant record. But that would be stretching credibility a bit too far.” 

And so Bob Hudson’s album, The Newscastle Song, was announced into the world of vinyl in 1975, with the titular track spending 4 weeks as the top-selling single of a nation. The album actually contains two versions: the 10-minute recording from a live gig, and the edited cut that inspires this post. [The full version is also included in this post, down at the bottom, because we’re resourceful. –P]

Shortly Hudson would co-write a follow-up single and the two songs should be considered as a pair to get full value. “Rak Off Normie” by Maureen Elkner was a top ten hit. The setting and language is so satirically sharp to us Aussies, but might be bamboozling to foreigners. I shall translate:
  • Newcastle: A coastal city 100 miles NNE of Sydney. Here it has the feel of a big country town. Silverchair and The Screaming Jets are proud music acts from Newcastle.

  • Parthenon Milk Bar: A mixed-goods store that really did exist in Hunter Street. It closed in the 90s.

  • FJ Holden: A symbol of our nationhood. Holden cars were/are a General Motors product for the masses, designed and built here. People even name themselves after Holdens, as popular rocker and actor, Frankie J. Holden will attest. For a young buck, nothing would be cooler than a modified Holden, although the alterations in the song are just comedic exaggerations.
You can work out the rest. Although he was doing nicely with performing, recording and writing, Bob maintained his job as producer at the ABC radio station 2JJ in Sydney, and eventually became a disc jockey in 1978. The station has since expanded into the nationwide Triple J and is a heavy hitter in the music landscape, especially for indie artists. Hudson is no longer part of the scene. He has a doctorate in archaeology and conducts research on ancient Myanmar (Burma). Perhaps he is digging up fossilized FJ Holdens.

Comedy records that hit the spot have always been big sellers in Australia. From 1957 to 1979 the biggest ever selling single across all genres was country star Slim Dusty’s “Pub With No Beer.” If you are inclined to find out what makes us laugh I suggest these make good starting points: Austen Tayshus’ “Australiana”, John Williamson songs relating to our native animals, Kevin Bloody Wilson, Joe Dolce’s “Shaddap You Face”, and anything by Aunty Jack or Norman Gunston (who was a nemesis of KISS at any Aussie press conference).

This marks my final assignment for Paul’s blog. Thanks my Seattle friend. I cannot overstate the pleasure it has given me to present the music, the musicians and parts of Australia to the world. I learnt a lot too. The response from friends, fans and the acts themselves has been wonderful. And now I go back to watching the cricket. -- Colin Donald

[Hey folks, Paul here. This has been one of my favorite weeks in Theme Week history. I want to thank the living daylights out of Colin for basically giving me my first week off from this blog in over three years, and raising the bar for content in the process. How'm I gonna phone it in from here on out? If I can help it we'll be hearing from you again soon, Colin. Hopefully I'll meet you by the Bon Scott statue in Melbourne one of these days. Thanks again, sir. --P] 

The long version:
Post a Comment

Popular Recent Posts