Rick & Thel Carey were both born in New South Wales, Australia, Rick a city boy from Sydney, and Thel a fair dinkum farm girl from Glossodia near Windsor.
Rick's love of country music grew from the hillbilly radio programmes that in the days of his childhood were firm favourites in the city as well as the country. Of course, Thel's rural upbringing ensured that she too came to love the earthy songs that reflected the daily way of life that she shared with millions of other Australians. Thel was a self taught guitarist, and her music eventually brought her to the "Bar-20 hillbilly Shows" at Eden Park and then appearances on the Reg Lindsay and Slim Dusty Shows.
It was at the Bar 20 shows that Rick & Thel met. Rick had acquired a good guitar from his prisoner of war father, and during his term with the Royal Australian Air Force Rick had been taught the instrument by a musical friend.
Armed thus with their respective musical talents and country and western backgrounds, Rick and Thel began a musical and family partnership from which evolved one of the top three Australian country music travelling shows of the 1960s through to the mid 1980s.
As with so many of this period's genuine country music performers, their first major success to spur them onwards to greater efforts was a win on the 1951 "Australia's Amateur Hour," that legendary cradle of Australian talent which was one of the crowning achievements of the golden days of Australian radio.
Known by this time as "The Slip rail Swingsters," Rick and Thel's first record followed in 1954 - a 78 rpm disc of "She Was Happy Till She Met You" and "I'll Never Be Fooled Again." It was released on the Regal Zonophone label, and began a happy association with the EMI organization - an association which continued until December 1978 - a very respectable 24 years recording with the one company.
As times changed, though, country and western style of music in the 70s and 80s steadily became the province of specialist labels. On 24th December, 1978, Rick & Thel signed with Hadley Records. Their three previous EMI albums had all been recorded at the Hadley Studios in Tamworth for EMI's Columbia label, so it was a somewhat natural progression for them to sign with Hadley for what was sadly to be the last few years of their career.
The act was forced to retire during the early 1980s when Thel developed cancer of the tongue. They lived in retirement in Denmark, Western Australia, until Thel died of her illness on the 2nd October, 1998. Rick still lives in Denmark.
20th October, 2001