Special for TAGG and Toorak Times readers!
An extraordinary CD is now available on the Australian market and Toorak Times and TAGG readers can now purchase this unique CD. See distributors write up below for full description of product.
“The album The Loner by Vic Simms was recorded in one hour at Bathurst Gaol in a mobile studio provided by RCA music. Originally made as a public relations exercise for the state prisons, the album has stood up over time to become a classic album of Aboriginal protest songs. Our reissue of this classic album is annotated by Brenda Gifford. Brenda is an archivist in the indigenous section of the National Film and Sound Archive. An Aboriginal woman from NSW, Brenda holds a Bachelor of Education, has worked with remote Indigenous broadcasters and taught music to Indigenous students in the TAFE system and is uniquely qualified to tell the fascinating story of Vic’s life.
The exceptional thing about TheLoner was that ithappened at all. It was recorded in Bathurst Gaol at a time when prisoners were protesting living conditions in the prison system, having rioted in October 1970. A black man in goal in that period faced a double danger of lack of basichuman rights plus institutionalised racism. Vic Simms was midway into aseven-year sentence in Bathurst for robbery. He had traded two packets of cigarettes for an acoustic guitar, learned to play guitar chords and started to write songs about his life and the injustices he saw around him as a young Aboriginal man.
The Robin Hood Foundation, a charity group,heard Simms singing in the prison yard and took a cassette of his songs to RCA record company. The company took in a mobile studio and session musicians andrecorded ten of Simms’s original songs in a single one-hour session. It wasproduced by Rocky Thomas, who gave it a rich, full sound to complement Simm’svoice, and the result was ‘The Loner’.
Vic remembers, ‘We had an exact hour to record, because that was all the time allotted by the prison. I had to hope and pray that I’d do okay on each of the ten tracks because there’d be no second bidding. And I did. I felt that if I didn’t record that album, it would just prove that we were out of sight and out of mind. I wanted to show that musical talent could exist no matter where it was, out in the bush or behind walls.”
The CD is $14.90 RRP and as a special to TAGG and Toorak Times readers we are offering FREE postage and payments can be made through Paypal. Note you can pay by credit card on Paypal without having a Paypal account.
More information about Vic Sims
Aborigine William Victor Simms, known as Vic Simms, is an Australian singer and song writer. He is from La Perouse, New South Wales and is a Bidjigalman.
His singing career began at age 12 at the Manly Jazzorama Music Festival in 1957, soon after Col Joye heard him as an 11 year old singing at a football social. He released his first single (as “Vicki Simms”), “Yo-Yo Heart” at age 15.
His singing career began at age 12 at the Manly Jazzorama Music Festival in 1957, soon after Col Joye heard him as an 11 year old singing at a football social. He released his first single as “Vicki Simms”, “Yo-Yo Heart” at age 15.
After getting into alcohol and committing a robbery he was sent to prison. Whilst incarcerated in the notorious Bathurst Gaol he learnt how to play guitar and started writing songs. In 1973 his music was heard by a Robin Hood Foundation and they sent a tape to RCA who organised to have him record an album. This album was recorded in one hour with a mobile studio in the prison dining room and was released as The Loner.
It has been described as “Australia’s great lost classic album of black protest music”. After the release of the album he was sent on tours of other prisons, shopping malls and the Sydney Opera House as an example of a model prisoner. After he was convinced he was being used he refused to continue the shows.
After his release from prison he has re-entered the entertainment industry. He has toured Australian prisons and in 1990 he toured Canada with Roger Knox andBobby McLeod where they played in prisons and on reservations. In 1996 he released a covers album “From The Heart”.
Simms was given a “Deadly” in 2001 for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal Music.
In 2009 his album, The Loner, was added to the National Film and Sound Archive‘s Sounds of Australia registry.
Simms sang “Stranger in My Country”, in both the SBS documentary and accompanying cd, Buried Country: The Story of Aboriginal Country Music.