Rex Dallas

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Popular and versatile Australian artist who has performed everything from country to rock and even light operetta.
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b. 6 November 1938, Wallerawang, New South Wales, Australia. Dallas inherited a love of bush poetry through a close friendship with his grandfather, who regularly read poems to him. He first appeared on local radio, on 2LT Lithgow, at the age of 15 but a year later, he relocated to Sydney. His appearance on Australia’s Amateur Hour led to him becoming a regular on 2SM’s On The Trail And Hall Shows for the next three years. He later toured with Lee Gordon and made his first recordings for EMI Records in the early 60s, his first single being ‘Bicycle Wreck’.

His versatility has seen him perform material varying from country to rock ‘n’ roll and even light operetta. Like many Australian artists, he is a very fine yodeller, being so especially devoted to Harry Torrani that in 1975, he recorded an album of Torrani songs. Its immediate success led to a second album and 20 of the tracks found subsequent release in the UK (Yodelling Songs Of Harry Torrani - Westwood 1978). Although an excellent yodeller, he does not use the art on all his recordings, in fact, he is perhaps best known to many of his Australasian fans for his ability to follow in the footsteps of Buddy Williams and Slim Dusty as a leading performer of bush ballads. He has, in fact, even won awards for his self-penned bush ballads. One of these, ‘Old Wallerawang’, a tribute to his grandfather, won him a Gold Guitar at the Tamworth awards, as did ‘His Spurs Are Rusty Now’, which he co-wrote with his son Colin in 1982 (‘Old Wallerawang’ was also recorded by several other artists, including Rolf Harris). His albums also include selections of horse songs, war songs, mother songs and even one on the theme of coalmining.

From the early 70s, he toured extensively, accompanied by his band, the Dallas Cowboys, which included his two sons, Brett (b. 16 January 1963, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; lead guitarist) and Colin (b. 8 November 1965, Cooma, New South Wales, Australia; drums). During the 80s, his two younger sons, Jeffrey (b. 27 August 1970, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; bass, mandolin) and Shannan, began to make appearances on his show, Shannan being only three when he made his debut.

In 1981, Dallas featured in a television documentary about his touring show. He holds the distinction of being the first artist ever to take the title from constant winners Slim Dusty or Reg Lindsay, when he was voted Best Male Vocalist at Tamworth in 1976. He has his own venue, Gully Park, in Moonbi, New South Wales, where he regularly entertains, when not touring with his country show. He was inducted into the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown in 2000.