Friday, May 22, 2015

Death of Marian Henderson 21 May 2015

What a sad time! According to reports, Marian Henderson passed away yesterday. She had been retired for many years living near Nyngan, NSW. She remained an active piano player for friends. She was a brilliant singer and it is a great pity that her musical output was so limited. Still, we can continue to cherish what is available and to remember her fondly.
Farewell Marian!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What are Child Ballads?

I referred to Child Ballads in a recent posting and now realise that I should provide an explanation for those who are wondering just what I am referring to.

Francis James Child, an American, in the 19th century, amongst other things, was a dedicated collector/collator of English language folk songs, mainly English and Scottish but also with some American variations. He published "The English and Scottish Popular Ballads" in 5 parts between 1882 and 1898. It featured 305 different folk songs and many of their variations, each was given a number.

These songs and their variants are popularly known as "Child Ballads" and individually as "Child Ballad (No.). For example Child Ballad 200 is entitled "The Gypsy Laddie" and is a story about a high born lady who is lured by one or more gypsies to leave her wedded lord to live with the gypsies. The lord takes after them and pleads for his lady to return. She refuses and he usually hanged the gypsies. Child provided 12 variants - mostly older ones.

Many people throughout the world collect performances of folk songs listed by Child - not just the ones he listed but also other variants ancient and modern. Child Ballad 200 is very popular and some of the other song titles are "Wraggle Taggle Gypsies", "Awa Johnny Faa" (Old Scots slang for Gypsy), "Seven Yellow Gypsies", "Gypsum Davy"  and "Black Jack Davy". Woody Guthrie copyrighted and sang "Gypsy Davy", an Americanised version. America also offers up "Clayton Boone" who is a rancher whose wife runs off with "handsome Davy".

There is also the much sanitised version/s popular during the folk revival - "Gypsy Rover" or "Whistling Gypsy" etc. In this case a Gypsy runs off with the Lord's daughter (no adultery here) and the Lord takes off after them and tracks them down to the River Glady where she tell the doting dad -
"He is no Gypsy, my father, She said. "But Lord of these lands all over.." Ah! Happy endings.

It is for the Child Ballad collectors that I put up a special download link in case that is all they are interested in. Incidentally many Australian folk singers perform Child Ballads.

There is lots about Francis James Child and Child Ballads on the web - Just Google. You can actually download the books as PDFs (copyright has long expired) and if you want to see what songs are included and even see the lyrics, click here to go to this Wikisource site. See comment below for a site listing known recordings of the Child ballads.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Various "West Australian Bush Bands" LP 1982

Another great offering from the Victorian Bush Folkie.
Topic records produced this LP and it was a pleasure to work on a rip from good quality vinyl. Glitches, and there were a few, were relatively minor and easy to correct although a critical listener may still pick out a few very minor problems. I know nothing about these six bands and there are no notes about them on the record slip. The band names look somewhat suspicious and one or more of the bands may have been one-offs. Information will be very welcome. Additional:- we now have confirmation that they were existing bands and Numguts is still active (see comments). For the main part, the performances are very good.

 The tracks are a mix of traditional and modern Australian folk songs with some instrumental jigs and reels.To my ear the jigs and reels are very uninteresting. Other opinions are welcome.

Tracklist
1. The old Bullock Dray by Beat 'n' Coppa (very good performance of this standard)
2. Bring the Beer to Broome by the Rakes (a new one to me - very enjoyable)
3. The Timbercutters Song by W.A. Bush Orchestra
4. Billy of Tea by Numguts. (Tom Blackman's Waltz in the middle is not acknowledged)
5. Jigs by Rabbits Ears
6. All for me grog by Flash Jack (Irish 'across the western ocean... and "nobbin nobbin boots' version)
7. Shearing Song by the Rakes
8. Sir Frederick Pottinger by W.A. Bush Orchestra (written by Kenneth Cook for Lionel Long "Bold Bushrangers" 2 LP set).
9. The Contract Mailman by Beat 'n' Coppa (honours a W.A. mail contractor from the Broome area)
10. Jigs by Flash Jack
11. Augathella Station by Numguts. (see comment below)
12. Cool Bush Nights by the Rakes
13. Johnny Stewart (drover) by W.A, Bush Orchestra (poor performance lacking musical coherence)
14. Reels by Rabbits Ears.

Re "Augathella Station".  It is now generally accepted that Saul Mendelsohn, stockman turned shop-keeper. originally penned "Brisbane Ladies" which then entered into the folk tradition but remaining close to the original version; the only significant variation being the name of the musician at Nanango and whether he played a concertina or a banjo. It tells the story of a group of stockmen who had driven a mob of cattle to Brisbane where the cattle were sold. They hit the good times in Brisbane and were then riding home to Augathella Station and the song focuses on the towns on the way home.
Unfortunately, in more modern times, someone (perhaps Bushwackers ;-), decided to rewrite part of the song and this is the version sung here. Despite the cattle already having been sold in the first verse, the drovers are now taking the herd back to Augathella (Coals to Newcastle anyone?). For a little more excitement the stockmen, on the way home, stop off at a "shanty town" and sample "the shanty town women" - pure American terminology. We had shanties (solitary roadside inns/taverns) but never shanty towns. Anyway, the Bushwackers put out this version and, thankfully, only a limited number of performers have subsequently picked it up. When city people decide to rewrite bush ballads things can really go really wrong when they, as "Banjo Paterson opined, "don't know a horse from a hoe".

Still, I recommend the album as overall it does contain some very good music and a few songs not previously covered on this blog.

Click here to download from Zippyshare. 66Mb. MP3 @224-256 VBR. The file will need to be decompressed.

Download no longer available? Tell me by comment on this post or email mr.stockman@gmail.com and I will put it up again.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Various Artists - Seventh Australian Folk Festival (1973) - LP

This is another album kindly provided by Victorian Bush Folkie. Thanks again.

The National Folk Festival (as it is now known)  commenced in 1966 originally in Victoria and, after about a decade, moved to Canberra. The 50th Festival will be held there in March next year (2016). Their website can be reached by clicking here. 

I believe that they usually put out an album of performers for most, if not all years and an occasional commemorative album. I suspect that there will be one of those for the 50th festival featuring selected artists from various years.

Of course, these festival albums can only feature artists who can, and do, give permission for their live festival performances to be used.

This album is a typical example of recorded live performances in the 1970s. The sound quality varies quite a lot and sound equipment and performances are far more sophisticated nowadays. Incidentally, the sound technicians at these festivals are mostly volunteers and they deaserve a lot of praise for their contributions over the years.

Tracklist
1. Rawhide by Country Express (bluegrass - not the series theme song)
2. Fiddlers Green by Declan Affley
3. Tell it to me by John, Juanita and Marnie Sheehan.
4. Robin Hood's Progress to Nottingham (Child 139) by Hugh Macewan
5. The Conservationist by The Ramblers (members listed on graphics)
6. EE, AYE AA CUD HEW and Find the Cost of Freedom by Danny, Gordon & Shayna
7. Address tae the Haggis Recitation by Richard Leitch (mostly incomprehensible to me)
8. Sean Ryan's Hornpipe and The Cuckoo's Nest" Instrumentals - Jacko Kevans on concertina and Bob MacInnes on fiddle.
9. Sugar Momma by John Crowle
10. Before I met You  by Country Express - bluegrass
11. Fair Flower o' Northumberland (Child 9) by Rhonda Mawer
12. Bright Morning Star An Appalachian Hymn sung by a Workshop Audience (presumably not a singing workshop - included to complete album - rapid deletion recommended)

Just want the Child Ballads - get them here. 10Mb

Click Here to go to the download host Zippyshare to get compressed file containing the album and the LP graphics. Needs to be decompressed. 56Mb MP3 224-256 VBR.

If download does not work - let me know by a comment on this entry or email mr.stockman@gmail.com.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Captain Moonlight - Untitled LP - 1982

Sorry that I have been missing for a while. I've had some problems - mainly with my computer needing two system re-installs and re-installing and setting up various applications.

This music is the first of several albums ripped by the Victorian Bush Folkie and to be cleaned by me.

I understand that this was a Melbourne based group and the rear of the slip advised the band members as being Martin Hanley, Anthony O'Neill, Noel Murphy, Joe Paolacci and Peter Dwyer. (Wonder why the front cover shows six musicians?)

They were obviously very competent musicians with a markedly eclectic output but with an emphasis on Celtic instrumentals. They also include Bernard Bolan's "Not many Fish in the Harbour Today"

Only moderate cleaning was required.

Tracklist

1. Bonny Ship the Diamond (English traditional)
2. McFarlane's Lament (air)/ Earl's Chair, Banshee, and Faral Gara (reels)
3. Mines of Australia
4. Hag's Reel and Longford Collector (reels)
5. Not Many Fish in the Harbour Today" (Bernard Bolan)
6. Humours of Ballyloughlin (jig) - Black Creek (reel by Anthony O'Neill)
7. Maryborough Miner
8. Ril Gan Ainm, Devil's Dream, and De'il among the Tailors (reels)
9. Green Groves of Erin and Granny's Gravel Walks (reels)

Click here to go to Zippyshare to download the compressed album file including the the album graphics. File is 50Mb. Tracks are MP3 at 224-256 VBR. The file needs to be decompressed.
Please let me know if the file becomes unavailable for download so I can re-upload.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Jolly Rumbylowe - Untitled album of English Traditionals 1976 LP

"Jolly Rumbylowe" was a Brisbane based group of five musicians, namely, Don Nichols, Marty Gallagher, Alan Forshaw, Liz Thompson, and June Nichols.
In this album they successfully emulate what I call the English local pub style - lots of participation and lots of enthusiasm and songs to match. They do it very well too.

It is quite a mixed bag of traditionals too -  including salt water songs, festival songs, fox hunting, and pleas for sustenance on celebration days and a couple of classics. The "A' Soalin'" song was so named when Peter, Paul and Mary put it out as a hit. It's better known historically as "The Soul Cake Song" which the poor would sing on certain saint's days, most notably All Hallows Day, pleading to be fed the traditional soul cakes. The relatively modern "trick and treat" is believed to have derived from this custom.

The Album is from Ian of Tasmania and the LP has been fairly-well preserved. There are some minor glitches and I did remove a few but editing was largely restricted to removing equipment and vinyl noise.

Tracklist
1. The Fox Hunt
2. I beg your leave
3. The apprentice song
4. The Hogseye Man (has politically incorrect content - you are warned)
5. The Boar's Head Carol
6, The country life
7, Bright morning star
8. Hal'n'Tow
9. A-Soalin'
10. Homefirth Anthem
11. Children's skipping songs
12. Admiral Benbow
13. Three  jolly sportsmen
14. The Maypole
15. The Cadgewith anthem.

Total compressed file size is 70Mb and contains all tracks and the graphics. You will need to decompress it.

Click here to download the album file.

Let me know if you have any problems - mr.stockman@gmail.com

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mulga Bill's Bicycle Band - In Concert Recording ~ Live in Queensland. LP 1973

At the time of recording for this LP, Mulga Bill's Bicycle Band consisted of:-
Tony Britz - banjo, acoustic guitar and vocals
Liz Eager - acoustic and electric flute
Barry Golding - lagerphone, acoustic guitar and vocals
Chris Bettle - acoustic and electric fiddle
Marsh Robinson - double and tea chest bass
Jo Beams - vocals and tambourine
Peter McDonald - electric and acoustic guitars. mouth organ and vocals.

At the time of recording, they were on tour with the Queensland Arts Council following performances in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.

They were a fine group of instrumentalists and their musical backing brings a new perspective to many of these tracks - very refreshing in that respect. I enjoyed the singing but it is noticeable that vocals and backing are sometimes out of sync. To all appearances this is deliberate and provides a rather pleasing contrast. I guess that there is a term for this but I do not know it. Anyway, it is pleasant to see a band not slavishly following the "bush band" stereotype,

I have only lightly edited the music which, incidentally was another rip from Ian of Tasmania - many thanks Ian. There are still some minor glitches which should not be much of a bother. The exception is track one which, every so often, has a very strange glitch which refuses to be eliminated. I am hopeful of obtaining a better copy of that track. On the plus side, it is another rendition of "Waltzing Matilda" so I'm sure we can all survive without another one.

The tracks are:-
1. Waltzing Matilda (Paterson type)
2. Gum Trees by the Roadway (the early Slim Dusty classic)
3. Streets of Forbes
4. Whistling Rufus (instrumental)
5. Maryborough Miner
6. Going Home (Kingston Trio and The Johnstons did great versions of this. This is more in the style of the latter complete with Irish accent - It has been adapted from USA to Tasmanian localities.)
7. Spider from the Gwyder (poem)
8. Overlanders
9. Pub with no Dyke (very funny parody of the Pub with no Beer)
10. Jim Jones (great backing)
11. Drover's Dream
12. Tom Blackman's Waltz (actually a medley of three old favourite dance tunes - see comment for details)

Click on here to go to the download page.

File is 54Mb. MP3 224-256 VBR
 The entire album and graphics are in one compressed file which you will need to decompress to the individual track and graphic files. You may need to obtain decompression software - if so install 7-Zip (free) or one of the commercial offerings e.g WinZip or WinRAR. Any problems - make a comment (anonymous or otherwise) or send me an email - mr.stockman@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Peter McLean "Fair Dinkum Folk" LP 1974 aka "Australian Heritage"


 Somebody suggested this artist and album many years ago and I have finally managed to get my hands on it. There were two issues of this album in 1974. I have the first issue (above). It really is an atrocious graphic reminiscent of the USA cover for Burl Ives' Australian Folk Songs album. What a wonderful menagerie of badly-stuffed Australian wildlife. Obviously the distributors had the same view because it was soon re-issued under the title "Australian Heritage" and with far more sophisticated graphics as also shown here. The album remained the same - just different presentation and labelling.

It is a good album. Peter Mclean has a good easy-going, laconic singing style occasionally ably backed by a very good chorus group. Instrumental backing is fairly sophisticated for these songs but is not intrusive (IMHO) - presumably by studio professionals but they are not acknowledged.

The vinyl, considering its age, plays really well and only minimal editing was required. Now, can someone tell us anything about this artist??

Eight of  the tracks are Australian traditionals - the four exceptions are The Road to Gundagai", "Botany Bay" (from a late-19th Century English play), Waltzing Matilda (it's the standard 1903 Marie Cowan version which, as far as I am aware, never entered the folk tradition - unlike Paterson's original 1895 version) and "Ben Boyd"which was penned by the singer. It's a good song and touches upon how Orcas helped Eden (Twofold Bay) whalers by herding humpback whales so as to share in the takings.

Tracklist:
1. Botany Bay
2. Ten thousand miles away
3. Ben Boyd
4. Tambaroora Gold (a rare but a good one)
5. Mustering Day (another rare one -  "Early in the Morning before the break of day" adaption)
6.  Along the Road to Gundagai
7. Waltzing Matilda
8. The Station Cook
9. Click go the Shears
10. Ladies of Brisbane (a traditional version of Mendelsohn's Brisbane Ladies")
11. Frank Gardiner
12. The Old Bullock Dray (it refers to finding a wife at the "factory" - see last post)

Click here to commence downloading the compressed album. 42Mb MP3 @ 224-256 VBR. Download file will need to be decompressed with 7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip or equivalent.
Any problems: Email me - mr.stockman@gmail.com or post a comment (anonymous or otherwise).

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Clair Hayes (Australian Maid) "Female Factory" Cassette 1990

I was given this cassette by a friend and I firstly put it to one side as an item of low priority. I now regret that I did so because this performer and this album certainly deserves far greater attention.

This album has much to commend it. It's a great collection of songs written by the songwriter, singer, instrumentalist, Clair Hayes. The content is both country and folk examining life in the bush often with a pioneer perspective.  The performances are highly competent with excellent instrumental  backing.

Clair is based in the Sydney area and is still a regular performer in both the country and folk arenas. You can visit her website by clicking here.

Clair has advised that "Esmerelda" was the emu that was a long-term resident at Timbertop to the delight of the many visitors.

The Female Factory referred to is the "Parramatta Female Factory" where many early female convicts were housed and employed. Many a pioneer, convict or otherwise, obtained a wife from the factory on mutual arrangement so long as both were approved as being suitable for marriage. It was an interesting arrangement and I recommend that you visit this website page for some very entertaining detail on the process. Many versions of the traditional "The Old Bullock Dray" refer to the possibility of obtaining a wife from the female factory.

Click here to download the album and its graphics. It is about 42Mb. Tracks are MP3 @224 VBR.
You will need to decompress the file to extract the tracks and the graphics using 7-Zip or commercial utilities such as Zip or WinRAR.
If the link does not work then please email mr.stockman@gmail.com or leave a comment on the blog entry.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cobbers "Bushdance Party" Cassette c1988

The Cobbers bush band was mainly active in the 1970s and 1980. They had a relatively high output of good quality music. They have a website at http://www.cobbersbushband.com/ from where you can order some of their albums (on CD-R) and also download the individual tracks of their first LP (MP3 @128bps). There have been no changes to this website for many years - the download bit works so I presume that ordering might still be possible. Perhaps query by email first. If you are a fan of this blog you would be sure to enjoy their music.

I found this cassette recently. This album has long been "out-of-print" and is not offered on the website. It was put out by Dino Records on both cassette and vinyl sometime about 1988. Being a Dino release, is is possibly a re-release possibly a condensed version of earlier tape releases of bush dance music. Any information would be very welcome. You will notice that one of the corners of the insert has been clipped indicating that the cassette was sold at a remainder bargain price.

This is a great toe-tapping album but also features lots of vocals. The Cobbers were excellent musicians and singers as this album demonstrates. Most of the tracks have both a traditional instrumental section coupled with a song in the appropriate dance time. The two exception, unsurprisingly, are the "Manchester Gallop" and the Russian "Troika".

Tracklist
1. Polka with "The Lachlan Tigers"
2. Stockyards Jig with Travelling down the Castlereagh
3. Heel and Toe Polka with "Lazy Harrys"
4. The Galopede - "10000 miles away"
5. The flying pieman with "The Old Bullock Dray"
6. Pride of Erin with "Springtime it brings on the Shearing"
7. Strip the Willow with "Stringbark and Greenhide" (a rarely featured song)
8. Barn Dance with "Click go the Shears"
9. Waves of Tory with "The Ryebuck Shearer"
10. Muffin Man Jig (eh!) with "The Drovers Dream"
11. Polka - "Maggie May"
12. Gay Gordons with "Sandy Maranoa"
13. The Oxo Reel (eh! eh!) with "Lime Juice Tub"
14. The Troika (all alone)
15. Waltz Country Dance - "The Reedy Lagoon"
16. The Manchester Gallop (all alone)

Click here to download the album. MP3 @ 224-256 VBR. All graphics included with dance instructions in very miniture printing.
Any problems, please let me know on mr.stockman@gmail.com.