Neil Murray had been labouring in the Indigenous community of Papunya – a bone-jarring four-hour ride north-west of Alice Springs – for about a week when he met Sammy Butcher in 1980. “He must have heard that I had a guitar, and he came around to have a look,” Murray says. “I showed him the guitar, and right away I could tell he could play – there was an energy there, he was gifted. You know those guitar players that never play the same solo twice, and they’ll tune up as they’re going? That kind of guy.”
Murray dragged out his amplifier, Sammy’s brother showed up with an upturned flour drum and a couple of sticks, and the trio began bashing out covers of rock & roll standards in the front yard. This was the birth of the Warumpi Band, who would be completed by the arrival of charismatic singer George Rrurrambu Burarrawanga.
It’s these rough beginnings that are captured in Warumpi Rock, a historic release of the earliest known recordings of the band in 1982, by which time Murray had become a bilingual teacher in the community. The recording, which contains covers of songs by Chuck Berry, the Beatles and Bob Dylan, was captured in the front room of his house, supplied to him by the Northern Territory education department.… Read more..