Mike McClellan (Sunday Telegraph, Sydney) (8 Oct 89)
It is an album rich in imagery, from the wonderfully evocative Shopping On A Saturday which delicately sketches his boyhood, to the broad impressionistic canvas of Aussie Blue.
As primarily a lyricist, his is a vision of Australia unencumbered by
romantic sentimentality. It is a world all too real and yet infinitely
But this is an album you should not expect to
like immediately. Shearston's flat, nasal vocal style will take a
little getting used to, and his simple folk-derived melodies may at
first seem repetitive.
But within that repetition you will begin to understand the subtle power in Shearston's songs.
That power is nowhere better demonstrated than in The Dream Will Never Die.
Shearston builds the death of a swagman into an extended metaphor
lamenting the loss of innocence and the past that is no longer relevant
to a rapidly changing Australia.
Blue will stand comparison with the best work of any writer in the
traditional folk-country field. It should be required listening for
anyone who professes to understand what it means to be Australian.
Paul Watson (The Age, Melbourne) 25/10/89
Shearston's) attributes as a songwriter really came to light... in the songs from his new Aussie Blue album.
and his six-string guitar spoke eloquently enough of patriotic
concerns, without any of the mawkish sentimentality of (Peter Allen's) I Still Call Australia Home.
For me, the highlight... was Shopping On A Saturday,
a lively and apparently straightforward reminiscence from Shearston's
own childhood with an underlying romance that must rank with anything
written by an Australian since (Henry) Lawson or Banjo Paterson.
Paul Watson (The Age, Melbourne) 10/11/89
good Australian records are few and far between, especially once you
leave the pop music industry behind. But this release by Gary Shearston
must rank with the best records of the decade.
It is filled with
warmth, humour, and concern, but contains none of the schmaltz we have
come to expect from some home-grown songwriters.
Shearston's subjects range from country fun to city parody, taking in some of his overseas experiences along the way.
The title track, The Dream Will Never Die, and Shopping On A Saturday are great songs that would sit proudly with the best.
You might have trouble finding this record, but persevere, it will be worth it.
Bruce Elder (Rolling Stone) 12/89
There's a moving version of Henry Lawson's lament A Voice From The City. A marvellous evocation of country life circa 1945 on Shopping On A Saturday,
a couple of tantalisingly beautiful songs about the ties that bind
Australia and Ireland, and the definitive statement on the urban lunacy
which informs life for aging members of the Balmain intelligentsia...
is the album of a middle-aged radical who has mellowed . There is
little anger, a lot of reflectiveness, a certain element of regret for
things left undone and intentions unrealised, and a sense of
reconciliation and gentleness.