The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music - IAIN SHED­DEN

AUS­TRALIAN roots troubadours the Waifs did a charm­ingly ef­fec­tive im­per­son­ation of the An­drews Sis­ters when they per­formed a ver­sion of I Re­mem­ber You at the ARIA Hall of Fame cer­e­mony in Melbourne last week. Sis­ters Vicki and Donna Simp­son and Josh Cun­ning­ham ( the least con­vinc­ing An­drews) were pay­ing trib­ute to Aus­tralian pop and coun­try vet­eran Frank Ifield who, at 69, was the old­est of the in­ductees at Melbourne’s Re­gent Ho­tel. Ifield had a huge hit with I Re­mem­ber You in Bri­tain in the 1960s and re­mains a bit of a leg­end in that part of the world. Not many peo­ple can say they had the Bea­tles as their sup­port act, af­ter all. Ifield’s fame didn’t ex­tend to Aus­tralia in quite the same way, though, and cer­tainly not to the part of West­ern Aus­tralia where the Simp­son sis­ters grew up. ‘‘ I hadn’t re­ally heard of him,’’ Donna Simp­son told Spin Doc­tor . ‘‘ I won­dered when we were sent the song if we were the right peo­ple to do it.’’ Af­ter­wards Ifield de­scribed their per­for­mance of the song as ‘‘ won­der­ful’’. And he was right. SPEAK­ING of the Waifs, who have been largely ab­sent from our shores for a few years be­cause they nearly split up and were hav­ing ba­bies while they thought about it, the band recorded their new album, Sun Dirt Wa­ter ( which will be re­leased here in Septem­ber) in Nashville, Ten­nessee, the coun­try mu­sic cap­i­tal of the world. They were wel­comed with open arms by the coun­try mu­sic fra­ter­nity, ac­cord­ing to gui­tarist Cun­ning­ham, but it seems the city isn’t gen­er­ally in­dul­gent to­wards all things Aussie. A re­port in The Ten­nessean news­pa­per this week re­veals that the Aus­tralian Fes­ti­val, a fix­ture on Nashville’s ex­pat cal­en­dar for 10 years, is be­ing moved to Florida. The event, which fea­tures the usual Aussies­liv­ing- in- strange- lands carry on, will be held an­nu­ally in Fort Laud­erdale from now on, be­cause the Nashville parks de­part­ment was un­able to cope with an amuse­ment park el­e­ment to the ever- grow­ing fes­ti­val. It be­gan in 1997 with just 100 Aussies and fea­tured mu­sic and kan­ga­roos, ac­cord­ing to the pa­per, al­though it didn’t state if th­ese at­trac­tions were in any way re­lated. More than 7500 guests at­tended the fes­ti­val last Septem­ber. ‘‘ The kids just loved the kan­ga­roos that Ken­tucky Down Un­der brought,’’ said Aussie Ten­nessean Ruth Free­land. ‘‘ I think that was a re­ally im­por­tant thing — to get the kids in­volved — and that is some­thing that I will miss, too.’’ It’s never too late to come home, Ruth.

Il­lus­tra­tion: Tom Jel­lett

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