This was the theme song to Bob Browne’s Country On radio show on 2GLF, Liverpool…..not the Beatles’ Liverpool, just a suburb of Sydney. Apparently, earlier on, it was a Col Finley song with a similar name. Bob loved both artists. In fact, if you were an Australian Indie Country Music Artist, you were pretty much guaranteed a ‘like’ from Bob.
Bobby was a musician in his own way, though he loved spinning the discs of all of the musicians. He was like a little kid at Christmas when he heard about a new artist. I remember that he nearly fell out of his chair when he heard Kora Naughton. Literally. We often fell out of our chairs. We danced stupid dances and we sang very badly when the mics were off, well I sang very badly and we talked about everything and anything off or on air. You see, I was lucky enough to at first guest on Bobby’s show and then then I was asked by the man himself, to join him permanently. This came about because the other show that I guested on was folding and he wanted to take on this crazy blonde cowgirl from Tamworth. I ended up programming most of the show and stood in for him a few times with somebody else doing the panel when Bob was sick. He took a chance on me and it worked.
We were the odd couple of country radio, total opposites in lots of ways, very much alike in others. We were both very passionate about Australian Country Music, though, surprisingly to some, he was country rock and I was a sad song gal. We were on total opposite sides in politics and he followed the Storm and I followed the Roosters. We had some fun stoushes. He would love to talk about something off air and promise that he would never bring it up on air, but he always did, and I always fell for it. With humour and spirit, we got through it. Some folks said that we acted like an old married couple, others thought we were more like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
We played pretty much 95 percent Aussie and Kiwi music, though occasionally we would throw in an American or Canadian. We did play some signed artists, but very few. It was Indies for us.
We did this thing where we would do the top 20, but we ended up just doing top 10 because I would add a story about the artist and he would make a joke. It took up most of the show, or at least a big chunk of it. He would do number 10, I would do 9 and so forth. Sometimes he planned it so that it was a song I didn’t like (rare) and he knew that I would go quickly over it. Once we talked about Taylor Swift off air and he knew how much I didn’t like her, so as soon as we came back on, he said: Taylor Swift has been in the news again, but I know how much she loves her, so I’ll let her talk about it……Yep it was a hoot.
We helped each other laugh through the tough times and there were a few of those on both sides. Bobby was a character. He loved his family and was always talking about his kids and grandkids. He had a lot of mates. He was a good and kind man whom I knew for too shorter time, but it was quality time.
We were each other’s teacher and each other’s student and it was only because I was moving to Victoria and he was close to hanging up his mic that the show stopped for us. On his last show, which was meant to be 2 hours, it went for about 7. So many people called in, including me from Moe to wish him well and to thank him for all that he did for us.
Already, many folks have written that Bob was the first to interview them or play their songs. He represented the ICMA strongly, and he really loved his Indies, even more than he loved Bundy…..and that’s a lot of love. When I had to leave to work in Victoria, he said that he would leave an empty chair opposite him in the studio and that would be me. I have an empty chair too, Bob and it is only for you.
We spoke a few times on the phone and we kept in touch for a long while by facebook. I left messages for him in recent times after a final phone call which was not a long phone call like our others, just a quick one, which said too much and not enough.
I will try and continue on in other ways to help the Indies that he loved so much, that we love so much, with him in that otherwise empty chair being my wingman.
Thank you Bobby for everything that you did for me and all of the artists that you loved so much.
Please someone out there find a cure for Cancer. It has taken too many of those who I have loved and admired.
So Bundy On, Country On and I know that you will live on Bobby in the lives of your family and friends and the Country Music Family that we are both lucky to be a part of, always.
I will be putting a playlist together later of a lot of Bobby’s favourites.