Vic Simms helps us celebrate four years of great music

BY AMANDA DIAZ

Our free monthly event The Vinyl Lounge celebrated its 4th birthday on 6 October, with a memorable evening that included great music, delicious cake and a very special guest.

Since its very first meeting on a quiet Sunday afternoon in 2013, The Vinyl Lounge has become a popular gathering amongst a community of dedicated record aficionados. On the first Friday of every month, Canberra music lovers come together at the NFSA to play songs from their favourite records on our pure analogue sound system.

At The Vinyl Lounge’s 4th birthday celebration we were thrilled to have legendary singer-songwriter Vic Simms in attendance. His record The Loner was on the NFSA’s ‘Most Wanted’ list for many years before it was generously donated to our collection by Vinyl Lounge regular Tim Kilby a few months ago.  

Having purchased the LP in Orange in 1974, Tim brought the record to The Vinyl Lounge to acknowledge NAIDOC week in July. 'It was greeted with noticeable glee and when I was asked whether I was willing to donate it to the NFSA, I had no hesitation in saying yes', he said.

Often described as Australia’s first Indigenous protest album, The Loner was recorded in a prison dining room before being released in 1973. Vic told the Vinyl Lounge crowd that he wrote the record while imprisoned in Bathurst gaol.

'I wrote it with the view of holding onto sanity, because it was a dreadful gaol', he said. The guitar you can hear on the album is one that Vic acquired by trading two packets of tobacco.

'There was a regime change in the prison system', he recalled. 'You could grow your sideburns an extra inch and they allowed musical instruments in the gaol.'

Although Vic was only given an hour to record the album from start to finish, The Loner has gone on to have a long and illustrious life. 'The journey that it’s travelled since I was released in 1976 has taken me to the biggest concert venues in the land both here and overseas', he said. 

In 2009, the record was added to the NFSA’s Sounds of Australia (SoA) registry. 'I view it as a hall of fame', Vic said of his SoA induction. 'I’m very honoured.'

Thanks for being part of The Vinyl Lounge community. And if you haven’t visited The Vinyl Lounge yet, what are you waiting for? Our turntables will be spinning the first Friday of every month. We’re also launching a new Cassette Lounge on Thursday 19 October, so if tapes are your thing, don’t miss it!