Live Review: Far From Folsom: Tex Perkins, Vic Simms

29 February 2016 | 1:05 pm | Ross Clelland

"Cash standards like Ring Of Fire and Boy Named Sue provide handy fodder for relaxedly drunken Sunday night singalong."

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"Hello, I'm Johnny Cash." Well no — you're Tex Perkins, but you're providing a fair facsimile. Although recreating one of the Man In Black's famous prison shows to an audience sipping sauv blanc and grazing from designer hampers on the Taronga lawn ain't exactly a recreation yard surrounded by barbed wire.

Vic Simms adds some verisimilitude to the conceit. Discovered by rocker Col Joye in the late '50s, Simms ended up doing time behind real walls and bars as many an Indigenous kid regrettably still does. Now, with an occasionally troweled-on sincere old school showbiz gratitude, he mixes songs of a sometimes grim Aboriginal experience with chestnuts from Buddy Holly or Don Williams catalogues like Lonesome Number One. A bit North Coast RSL Club, but honest.

Our man Tex Perkins didn't even get on stage when the heavens stormed down on this show's original date. But tonight it's his voice booming Cash's classics rather than nature's thundering. With a steaming band including Matt Walker and Steve Hadley chugging behind him, Perkins runs through all you'd expect — Walk The Line, a heart-burning Long Black Veil, and suitable for a convict audience tunes like cheery "hangin' song", 25 Minutes To Go

Rachael Tidd plays the counterpoint June Carter duet voice. It's hard not be overwhelmed by Tex/Johnny in full flight, but the purity in her vocals lets her hold her own most of the way, even as the upraised middle fingers of Jackson are exchanged.

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Cash standards like Ring Of Fire and Boy Named Sue provide handy fodder for relaxedly drunken Sunday night singalong. Which is exactly what most came for, and Tex happily provides without shame. Waiter, I'll take that cheese platter now. Fine family entertainment, even allowing for shooting "...a man in Reno, just to watch him die".