Dusty Rankin

A Portrait of Dusty Rankin
Now available online

The years immediately following World War 2 were a fertile period for Australian Country Music. With the foundations well and truly set by Tex Morton and Buddy Williams, this new Australian music known as Hillbilly, or later as Country and Western, attracted some very fine voices and talents.

One of these was Roger Hogan, a sincere and deep thinking young man, born on 8th February, 1924, a few miles out of Birchip, Victoria.

Like many other hopefuls, he turned his eyes towards the Sydney recording studios of Regal Zonophone, a label that had long discovered that these local guitar strumming hillbilly troubadours were able to generate record sales which often surpassed those of big named overseas artists who made up the greater part of their catalogue.   On one occasion in Melbourne, Dame Nellie Melba heard Roger Hogan sing, and praised the quality of his voice.  In 1948, Regal Zonophone recognised the potential of this enthusiastic young man, and using the now famous name of "Dusty Rankin," Roger Hogan's recording career began and prospered through the era of 78 rpm records.

During the next few years, he travelled the road show circuit, but eventually, in 1961, whilst touring with the Athol McCoy Show, decided to return to his farming property in Birchip, Victoria having made the difficult decision to set aside a full time musical career in favour of a close and happy family life which he has always felt should be a man's number one enterprise.

However, in June 1965, Dusty was persuaded to step in front of the Hadley Records microphones (Hadley was then based in Launceston, Tasmania) to record twelve songs that were to make up his first three extended play 45 vinyl records and subsequently a long play vinyl album.   Added to Dusty's, the talents of The Singing Kettles and Jean Stafford with bandsmen Max Garwood, Kerry Shepherd and Max Stewart produced some of the finest examples of the 1960s style of "Hadley Sound" country music that you can find.

In 1970, Hadley was very keen to release more Dusty Rankin material, so portable recording equipment was taken to Dusty's home in Victoria, and there he recorded 24 songs with just his own dobro guitar accompaniment.   The recordings were returned to Tamworth, where backing was added in 1971 & 1973 by Tamworth Sound musicians Norm Bodkin - pedal steel; Bob Clark - guitar and dobro; John Minson - harmonica; Bill Woolard - fiddle; Tom Roach and Geoff Cuneo - drums; and Alan Lisle, Gary Brown and Frank Jones - bass guitar.   These recordings were released on Hadley albums in 1971 and 1974.

Dusty Rankin was honoured by Tamworth by induction into the "Hands of Fame" in 1980 and elevation to the "Roll of Renown" in January 1996, the same year that the citizens of Birchip recognised Dusty's musical contribution to the town by erecting a plaque in Birchip's main street, Cumming Avenue.   In 1988 Dusty was presented with an "Australiana Golden Acoustic Guitar Bi-Centenary Award" acknowledging his contribution to Country Music, and he also appears in the "Avenue of Honour" in Berri, South Australia. 

16th December, 1999