The Dingoes

The Dingoes are one of the greatest bands Australia has ever produced.

Here’s the proof.

Greatness is an easy accolade to throw around but it’s more difficult to lay claim to true greatness.

The Dingoes were only relatively successful when they released their self-titled debut album in June 1974, one of the first signings to Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Records label. The lead single ‘Way Out West’ made an impression as did the second single ‘Boy On The Run’ released to coincide with the release of the album, but they weren’t runaway hits – and yet, you will know both those songs, as all through the years that have passed since they’ve never been far away from radio playlists. That in itself is a not sign of greatness but certainly of longevity.

The Dingoes were intended to be special. Guitarist and songwriter Kerryn Tolhurst had already enjoyed success on record and on stage with Greg Quill’s Country Radio, a ground-breaking adventure for Australian music into country rock. Kerryn wanted his new group to expand on that adventure. He called on others who had already established their talents on the Australian music landscape to assist in the realization of his dream – singer/harmonica player extraordinaire Broderick Smith, noted guitarist Chris Stockley and John Du Bois on bass. Original drummer Ray Arnott was replaced by John Lee before that first album was recorded.

A year before the album, in May 1973, The Dingoes played their first gig and immediately attracted a wildly enthusiastic following. Yes, they were experienced musicians with strong musical direction, but there was also a unique chemistry between the band members and in the music which audiences couldn’t help but respond to – perhaps another sign of greatness?

There were reasons The Dingoes maybe weren’t as successful as they might have been back then, reasons that belong in history. However their potential was recognised by some leading international contacts and eventually they found their way to America where the next two Dingoes albums ‘Five Times The Sun’ and ‘Orphans In The Storm’ were recorded. The band were joined in the studio by some of the top session musicians, which saw The Dingoes shoulder to shoulder with America’s finest players, which is exactly how Kerryn Tolhurst has spent the intervening years. His CV is a who’s who of American musicianship.

True greatest is hard to forget, can’t be forgotten. In 2009, thirty years after the release of The Dingoes supposed final album, the members of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall Of Fame committee hadn’t forgotten, and inducted The Dingoes. Music fans hadn’t forgotten either. They’d done more than hear those famous two singles on the radio. Clearly they were still playing and enjoying those Dingoes albums and remembering the Dingoes’ memorable if not legendary performances.

The Dingoes themselves couldn’t shrug off those events lightly either. Following their induction, they resolved to gather in Kerryn’s studio in Arizona in December 2009 to record a fourth studio album, the second only by the original band. Not content with repeating history the band resolved to record an album which would represent how The Dingoes should sound now, not back then, as if those 30 years of silence never happened. The result was the July 2010 Liberation release ‘Tracks’.

So in late 2010 with a new album under their belt, The Dingoes announced a little more than a handful of concerts and were greeted with full houses almost everywhere.

Maintaining the faith and loyalty of your audience for over thirty years is surely another sign of a band’s greatness?

At the start of the tour Kerryn wrote out a potential set list of old songs and new, a set list which never had to change, and this is exactly what you will hear on the new CD ‘The Dingoes Live At Last’.

Brod Smith, Kerryn Tolhurst, Chris Stockley and John Bois, ably supported by an embellished line-up that included Ashley Davies, Chris Copping and Kevin Bennett, were recorded live at The Norwood Hotel and Northcote Social Club in August of 2010.

Now the proof is in the pudding – the specially priced double CD set features pretty much every classic Dingoes track you could think of alongside a healthy list of songs from the Tracks album

And if this isn’t final proof of The Dingoes’ greatness, then what is?

It’s right there for you to witness, marvel at, and enjoy now and for always.

The Dingoes are embarking on another national tour to celebrate this live release, and that will be the end. They have agreed that after this there will be no more Dingoes. They’ll have nothing more to prove.

The Dingoes are great. End of story!