“THE MAN IN THE HAT” – By Des Kelly


There is NO AUSTRALIAN who depicts this great big brown Island Continent better than him. Slim Dusty, born David Gordon Kirkpatrick in 1927 and sadly passing on, in 2003, at 76 years of age, Slim Dusty, fondly known as “The man in the hat”, was the very epitome of Australia, as I saw him. He married Joy McKean in 1951, and she bore him two children, Anne & David. 

          Like most Country Music Stars, Slim did not have an easy life, to begin with. The son of a Cattle Farmer, he had his work on the farm cut out for him, and in addition, being musically minded, perhaps because of his father who was an amateur musician nicknamed “Noisy Dan”, he started to learn to play an old acoustic guitar, and at about 10 years of age, David Gordon Kirkpatrick began dreaming of being an Australian Star of Country Music, a dream that came to pass quite naturally, as David (who had changed his name to Slim Dusty), now began to also write his own songs, accompanying himself on his guitar.  

In 1937, one year before he changed his name, he wrote his 1st Original , Composition “The way the Cowboy dies”, so now Slim Dusty was not just a Singer, he was a Songwriter/Guitarist as well, and he never looked back.

          When he was 24 he married the “Joy” of his life, in 1951, together they started the Slim Dusty Show on the road, in1954 with Joy now becoming his Personal Manager, in addition to sharing the stage with him, as Joy and both of his children also were Vocalists of no mean repute. Slim & Joy also celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary before he passed on after a long battle with cancer.

          I have heard many Australian Entertainers, having been in this Country now for 58 years, but to me, Slim Dusty is on the top rung of the Showbiz ladder. This Singer, Songwriter, guitarist and finally Producer, as well, gets my vote as the Ultimate Australian Showbiz Personality. You can HEAR every word he sings. He plays simple yet CORRECT chords on his guitar, does not try to show off in any way and soon has his audience in the palm of his hand. To me, Slim Dusty is the typical  Aussie bloke that I admire very much, so rest in peace now, Slim, YOU are a huge credit to this huge Country, and I feel certain that every Lankan/Aussie will totally agree with me.

Desmond Kelly

          Desmond Kelly.
(Editor-in -Chief)  eLanka.     

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