So there we were, Saturday night, having a family meal at Ayothaya (excellent Thai restaurant on the Pacific Highway opposite Berowra Station) when who should arrive but Geoff Mack, Tabby Francis and their niece and her husband. Geoff and Tabby (who live locally) looked well though understandably frail (Geoff is 92). For those who don’t know, Geoff, in the late 1950s, wrote the perennial hit “I’ve Been Everywhere” which has been covered more than 130 times by artists including Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and (after a fashion) Rhianna. I don’t know Geoff personally and recognised him only because I’d once seen him in the audience a couple of years ago at a Steve Passfield gig at the Berowra Tavern (Steve said hi to Geoff from the stage, then proceeded to do his own inimitable version of the song). Outside the restaurant, I struck up a conversation with Geoff’s nephew-in-law (if that’s the proper term). He mentioned that he and his wife had taken Geoff and Tabby to Tamworth in February (for non-Australians: that’s the nation’s biggest country music festival) and he described, touchingly, how Geoff and Tabby had “come alive” at the event, buoyed by the atmosphere, great memories and the recognition, affection and respect of everyone they met.
Two good lives, well lived.
Geoff Mac in his heyday (source: Geoff Mack website)