Greg Hastings “Wandering Man” CD is a contemporary folk compilation with rich vocals, guitar and didgeridoo, comprising a collection of tracks from four of Greg’s earlier albums.
His music is diverse and his writing is his heartsong, which, through his travels around Australia and meeting the Aboriginal people is rich and varied.
From the dolphins of Monkey Mia to the rainforests of Queensland, he has captured both the magic and humour of Australia.
CD review by Tony Smith
This album is a compilation of 18 tracks from five of Greg Hastings’ cassette recordings over some 15 years.
We might soon be asking that about CDs!
Few musicians have as legitimate a claim to be known as a wanderer as West Australian Greg Hastings.
As the cover photograph shows, Hastings has taken guitar and didgeridoo on the road with him to reach not only the festivals of the east, but also the remote communities and Aboriginal settlements of this vast continent.
Although Hastings spent a deal of time travelling alone in his combi van, his many friends and supporters rally around when it comes to recording his songs.
Val Hastings (vocal harmony), James Blackwell (vocal harmony, acoustic guitar, lap steel, dobro), Phil Oddy (vocal harmony, keyboard), Graham Pippard (flute), Satch (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, sitar, bass, vocals), Dave Milroy (didgeridoo), Jean Guy Lemire (harmonica) and Emma Frichot (vocals) join Hastings on these tracks.
His own guitar is always strong and his style suits his voice well.
There is a consistently positive vibe around his lyrics and his performances.
His songs are free of cynicism but abound in encouragement and enthusiasm for this land and its peoples.
Even when condemning ‘Bulldozers’ on the beach or in Beijing, Hastings emphasises ‘love, joy, peace and harmony’ in his a capella arrangement.
Some songs are humorous: ‘Coca Cola Can’ and ‘Nullaboring Plain’.
Driving that great expanse, Hastings counted the ‘skeletons of burnt out cars and flattened kangaroos’, but did not feel lonely in the company of 60 million flies.
He was however threatened by the heavy transports sharing the road.
In ‘Testing’, Hastings involves the audience which completes ‘1,2,3’, while Hastings remarks that you do not need a microphone to sing a song.
An instrumental on didgeridoo, ‘Highway One’ shows how, in skilful hands, the hollowed out tree truck can tell stories and provoke amusement.
There are serious songs such as ‘Rainbows in the Wind’ and ‘Seasons’.
Hastings is philosophical about how changing seasons show us that the world goes on and that understanding is there for us to share.
But perhaps ‘Oyster Harbour’ is Hastings’ best.
This is a story of change, and not for the better, since 1791 and first white contact.
He ‘felt an old man’s spirit’ speak to him and began to feel a ‘sense of shame’ about the ruin of Indigenous lives.
A wanderer experiences the land uniquely.
Hastings shows a great appreciation of the country and the night sky.
He has developed a feel for the environment and its ecosystems, with ‘Treasures Aplenty’ to see, including waters ‘Where Dolphins Play’.
A wanderer depends on the hospitality of permanent dwellers and makes many friends.
In ‘Heading On Down the Line’, Hastings has some sage advice for us all.
If we fall, get up and try again.
If we are too timid, then we might wake up one day and find that life has passed us by.