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DON Walker claims there's not necessarily a thematic through-line in this masterful third solo album, but one begs to differ: the thing that links every moment in Hully Gully is the raised-eyebrows, slightly amused tone of each of its characters and the way each of them sits just outside the social order, askance yet roughly comfortable in their place.
From the opening title track -- named for an American dance long enshrined in popular song -- to the roadwise narrator of Young Girls ("We'll live on whisky / And midnight meals of all the steak and cigarettes that you can steal") or that of Pool ("There's a place I know you can only reach by sea / And with a rod and a line you can live there indefinitely") to select just three, Walker's stories are filled with people you easily recognise but could never quite put in a box.
His material has been sung by just about everyone who's anyone; these days his main band is the wonderful, laid-back the Suave F . . ks, and here the outfit reworks a version of Walker's magnificent Everybody, as previously heard on No Plans, the 2012 album of his other regular outfit, Cold Chisel.
It's given a cheekier, more swinging treatment than on the Chisel recording, the fearsomely aggressive vocals of Jimmy Barnes replaced by Walker's sly grin of a delivery.
You can practically see him chuckling to himself as he sings: "Everybody wants to be an individual / everybody else does too."
It's a delight, as are the deliberately wry Angry Women or the tender-hearted On the Beach and the outright broken-hearted The Long Way Home. But that's being picky. Everything here is a gem.
4.5 Stars
The Australian