Chad Morgan: I'm Not Dead Yet

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Janine Hosking
  • Cast:Chad Morgan, Tex Perkins
  • Release Date:December 01, 2011
  • Distributor:Umbrella
  • Running time:95 minutes
  • Film Worth:$17.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Entertaining, funny, occasionally poignant and always revealing, this is a warm and worthy celebration of a man often not given his due in country music.

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If Slim Dusty is Australian country music's undisputed king, then Chad Morgan is probably seen as its court jester. With his trademark Australian Army giggle hat, ungainly row of bizarrely outward-jutting teeth, and collection of bawdy, ribald songs, this veteran performer certainly appears to fit the bill. Scratch the surface, however, and Chad Morgan is far more complex; in Janine Hosking's wonderfully entertaining, occasionally sad, and always illuminating documentary, Chad Morgan: I'm Not Dead Yet, this cockeyed Aussie icon actually comes across more as an angry prince, always questioning why he never quite gets the respect that he deserves.

Narrated with punchy flair and sly humour by rocker Tex Perkins (who also drops in for a chat and a song with Chad), the film charts Morgan's rise from rural obscurity to nation-wide fame in the sixties on the back of hit songs like "The Sheikh Of Scrubby Creek", and also does a fair bit of soul searching, digging into the singer's alcoholism, his rarely discussed Aboriginal heritage, and his disgust with what he sees as the big, chugging, soulless machine that is Australian country music.

The film's most poignant moments, however, show the frail Morgan and his equally fragile but tough-as-nails wife, Joanie, trekking around the country to play shopping malls, community centres and rowdy RSLs. "The drunk women are the hardest to deal with," Morgan says. "At least with the blokes, you can just tell ‘em to piss off." The elderly Chad and Joanie look too vulnerable to be putting themselves through such physical hardship, but Morgan lives to play and perform, and his perseverance and commitment are quietly inspiring. Though seen by some as a country music footnote, I'm Not Dead Yet beautifully celebrates a man blessed with the rare gift to seamlessly mix music and humour - something a lot harder than it looks.

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