You don’t need to be a scholar of Australian music nor a record nerd to enjoy Clinton Walker’s new book - in many ways it’s a detailed social history reflecting the times many of us grew up in. He’s not only identified a significant period in the development of Australian sounds that has otherwise been overlooked - as usual, he’s really nailed it - John Foy, Red Eye Records
The depth and scope is remarkable, [on] almost every page you're learning something new. And the breakout ‘Hits & Misses’ songlists are indispensable. It's like having an in-depth conversation with [CW] and maybe you don't always concur with his viewpoint but the narrative is spot-on - Ian McFarlane, Encyclopaedia of Australian Rock & Pop
Suburban Songbook is a different view of Australian music history. Rather than going in search of a Sound, it seeks out the Songs and their writers to find a fresh take on this old story – describing Australian pop’s most elusive leap, from the cover-version cargo cult of the 1950s to a true coming of age in the early 1970s. Drawing on deep research and personal experience and knowledge, the book plots a course through this crucial epoch that will please trainspotters, scholars and casual readers alike. Knitted into a background of tumultuous social change, Suburban Songbook gets inside the compositions that helped shape the sound, paying long overdue credit to the often-obscure pioneers who toiled to set the stage for the full maturation of Australian music that followed Countdown into the 1980s. The great writers of that later era are well-celebrated; now Suburban Songbook acknowledges their forebears, reconstructing the foundations without which the towering edifice of Australian pop would have been so much slower to rise, and much less rich.
To buy a copy of the book, go here.
To see a gallery of tribute artworks I have created in the form of an imaginary set of lobbycards to accompany the book, go here.
To read a nice review of the book in the Sydney City Hub, go here
An exhilarating read! Funny, sharp and a deadset Australian look at our own parochial selves, from the cultural cringe to Janie Conway! Fast-paced and heroic - Jason Walker
Absolutely LOVED it. The amount of information crammed in is phenomenal, and the analysis throughout strikes me as pretty-well spot-on - Chris Mikul, Bizarrism
Thank you Clinton Walker for this long overdue history of Australian song. It will remind you, the reader, why you love songs so much, and why they are so important to us all
- Broderick Smith