My interest in country music goes way back to when I was quite young. This would have been in the late 50’s and I had a small portable radio. At 5am every morning there was a radio programme of western music and one of the first songs I can remember listening to was Smoky Dawson singing “On Top of Old Smoky”
"On Top of Old Smoky" is a traditional folk song of the
“On top of Old Smoky, all covered with snow
I lost my true lover, for courting too slow...”
Another popular group who recorded the song was the Swedish group “Abba”.
Smoky’s radio show adventures were broadcast for a decade. Each week there was an exciting adventure involving Smoky, his companion Jingles, and Smoky’s wonder horse Flash. The stories all took place in the Australian outback. For nearly twenty years, Smoky and Flash were also an important part of
....................................Smoky and his horse Flash.
Smokey was born Herbert Henry Dawson in Collingwood, Victoria, a suburb of Melbourne and raised in the rural area of Warrnambool, his parents died at an early age, resulting in his living for several years in an orphanage.
At the age of thirteen Smokey met Ned Kelly's brother at a meeting of the Kelly clan. Smokey even witnessed the rounding up of the Kelly family by the authorities and told Peter he can't help but feel they were unfairly persecuted.
When Dot met Smoky he was in a band called the
His first bright and joyful recording, made in 1941 at Homebush, with the legendary producer Arch Kerr, “I’m a Happy Go Lucky Cowhand”, summed up his image perfectly. It was the first of a immense repertoire of original recordings.
After a stint in the army Smoky picked up where he left off and success swept the
When he returned from the war, he married
.......Smoky Dawson with his beloved wife, Dot.
As well as working as a singer and for the ABC, Smokey also spent a number of years in the
A long career of recording and performing followed his radio show, and till his death still enjoyed performing. He has frequently been recognized for his contributions to music and entertainment. In 1978 he was awarded an MBE for his services to country music. In 1983 he was named to the Australian Country Music Roll of Renown. In 1988 he appeared in two episodes of the Australian Drama serial A Country Practice as a drifter who passes through
His final album,
His latest DVD featuring new performances was completed just this month. Smoky was renowned for being a mentor to younger country singers, and some of the industry's stars have paid tribute to the performer.
Australian of the Year, singer Lee Kernaghan, called
Singer John Williamson agreed
"I reckon I could safely say he's the last of the singing cowboys that had the horse," he told