The two Catfish albums, Unlimited Address and Ruby, were the first albums by Don Walker after a long hiatus post the break-up of Cold Chisel. Catfish was a recording outfit centred around Don, guitar player/producer/engineer Peter Walker and harmonica virtuoso Dave Blight. With the release of Unlimited Address Walker toured with a live version of Catfish, also featuring Dave Blight on harmonica and Charlie Owen on guitar.
Unlimited Address, originally released in 1989, showed a different style of Walker’s song writing, reflecting his years travelling after Cold Chisel wrapped up in 1983. The record is a weird amalgam of torch songs, Eastern European cabaret and funk, with titles like “One Night In Soviet Russia”, “Subway” and “Pre-war Blues”.
The two singles, “When You Dance” and “In The Early Hours” were further produced and mixed by Chris Lord Alge in New York. For this re-release Phil Punch has remixed “One Night In Soviet Russia” and “Subway”, and the album has been re-mastered by Don Bartley.
21 years on, Unlimited Address remains a durable and timeless masterpiece. You hear not only Don Walker’s extraordinary songs, but you can’t help but be taken back to the times and places they captured.
Ruby, originally released in 1991, is an altogether Australian affair, with Walker returning to the sound and lyrical content he and his mates were working with in Cold Chisel. There’s no cabaret, nothing European. The landscapes and spaces of Walker’s later solo recordings were beginning to form.
>From the Kings Cross of the title track, “Too Long” and “El Alamein Blues” to the outback tales of “Johnny’s Gone”, “Jericho Road” and “Charleville”, this is Australia in the late eighties.
The Catfish trio of Walker, Walker and Blight was augmented for this album by Paul Robert Burton’s rockabilly bass, and James Brown’s rhythm section of Tony Cook on drums and Ron Laster on guitar.
The song ‘Charleville’ was later to receive country music awards when it was covered by Australian legend, Slim Dusty, who also invited Don Walker to sing and film a duet of the song that’s still played on country music channels today.
For the re-release of Ruby “Crooked Smile” was partly re-recorded, “Johnny’s Gone” and “See You Again” were remixed by Phil Punch, and the whole album has been remastered by Don Bartley. As with Unlimited Address, the cover artwork and booklet have been completely redesigned from Tim Baur’s original photo-reels.
Unlimited Address and Ruby are available through MGM Distribution
Sept 15th, 2010