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Encyclopedia entry for 'Catfish (Don Walker)' LETTER:

StyleBlues, rock
 Catfish albums: Unlimited Address (WEA, 1988), Ruby (EastWest/WEA, 1991); Don Walker solo albums: Freedom (film soundtrack; WEA, 1982; reissued 1996), We're All Gunna Die (Salt/Shock, 1995); Tex Don and Charlie albums: Sad But True (Red Eye/Polydor, 1993), Monday Morning Coming Down (Live) (Red Eye/Polydor, 1994).

History
Between early 1984 and 1987, former Cold Chisel pianist/songwriter Don Walker (b. 1951) stepped away from the Australian music industry. After ten years on the road with Cold Chisel, he deserved a break. He travelled extensively across Australia and overseas, and prepared the songs that would make up his next project.

Under the guise of Catfish, Walker signed to WEA and issued an album and three singles, `The Early Hours'/`Electric Man' (October 1988), `When You Dance'/`See You Again' (December) and `Hiwire Girl'/`My Backyard' (February 1989). In keeping with his preference, Catfish was a low-key affair. Even when Cold Chisel was at the height of its popularity, Walker was always content to stand in the shadows, half-obscured. Yet it was Walker's vibrant songs like `Khe Sanh', `Star Hotel', `Choir Girl' and `Cheap Wine' that helped make Cold Chisel so successful. Catfish was a more personal project for Walker, but a lot of the material on Unlimited Address (October 1988) had a similar late-night, smoky blues feel to Cold Chisel. Helping out on the record were Dave Blight (harmonica), Cold Chisel's Ian Moss (guitar), co-producer Peter Walker (guitar; ex-Bakery) and South African producer Ricky Fataar (drums; ex-Beach Boys, Rutles).

In 1989 Walker took Catfish on tour with a line-up that included Blight, Charlie Owen (guitar; ex-New Christs), Andrew Reid (guitar), Paul Burton (bass) and Buzz Bidstrup (drums; ex-Angels). That same year, Walker worked with Ian Moss on his solo debut album, Matchbook. Walker contributed keyboards and bass, and wrote or co-wrote with Moss nine of the album's ten tracks including the hit singles `Tucker's Daughter' and `Telephone Booth'.

In 1991, Walker issued a second Catfish album, Ruby (October), and the singles `Johnny's Gone' and `Crooked Smile'. The touring Catfish line-up at that stage comprised Blight, Owen, Burton and new member Paul DeMarco (drums; ex-Scattered Aces, Heart Attack). In 1993, Walker formed a partnership with Charlie Owen and Beasts of Bourbon/Cruel Sea frontman Tex Perkins as Tex Don and Charlie. The union produced the album Sad but True (November 1993), a rootsy collection of acoustic country-blues tunes full of steel guitar and sparse piano.

The standout tracks included Don's `Sitting in a Bar', Charlie's `Dead Dog Boogie' and Tex's `I Must be Getting Soft'. Produced by Tony Cohen, the album featured guest players like Kim Salmon (guitar; Surrealists, Beasts of Bourbon), steel guitar player Garrett Costigan, and Warren Ellis (violin) and Jim White (drums), both from Dirty Three. Tex Don and Charlie undertook an Australian tour which resulted in the Monday Morning Coming Down (Live) album, plus the CD single `What I Done to Her' (September 1994). Walker was on the promotional trail again with the release of the Cold Chisel rarities collection Teenage Love in November.

Walker issued his second solo album We're All Gunna Die in September 1995. In 1996, WEA re-issued on CD the Don Walker-penned soundtrack for the 1982 film Freedom (which had produced the single `Speed Kills'/`Fascist Sounds' featuring Michael Hutchence from INXS). The album had originally come out in March 1982.



Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop / Ian McFarlane 1999
under licence from Allen & Unwin Pty Ltd

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