from issue #3: ‘Songwomen’ by Clinton Walker

Editor’s note: Clinton Walker is a Sydney writer, an art school drop-out and recovering rock critic, who John Clare has called “our best chronicler of Australian grass-roots culture.” Since his 1981 debut Inner City Sound, he has published another eight books on Australian music and popular culture. His now-out-of-print book Buried Country (2000), the secret history of Aboriginal hillbilly music, was widely hailed and made into a documentary film with accompanying soundtrack CD. Now, with Buried Country due to come out again in a new edition through US publisher Verse Chorus Press in 2014, Walker is also completing the book that was always meant to be not so much a sequel or prequel or even companion piece to Buried Country as its sister volume, about black women in Australian music. This book marks Walker’s return to the art he gave up over thirty years ago to concentrate on writing.

Contrappasso #3 features a number of raw illustrations from this new work in progress. They make up just a small proportion of the gallery of further-artworked portraits that will make up the book, which is also due to be published by Verse Chorus in 2014. Here are a few examples (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers should be aware that some images here represent people who have passed away) :

“Sarah”, stringband musician, Wynnum near Brisbane, c. 1900

“Sarah”, stringband musician, Wynnum near Brisbane, c. 1900

Heathermae Reading, club singer, Sydney, 1970s—2000s

Heathermae Reading, club singer, Sydney, 1970s—2000s

Kylie Auldist, soul singer, the Bamboos, Melbourne, 2000s

Kylie Auldist, soul singer, the Bamboos, Melbourne, 2000s

Fannie Numbulwar, Borroloola Songwoman, NT, 2012

Fannie Numbulwar, Borroloola Songwoman, NT, 2012

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