Friday, January 23, 2009

The Settlers "Songs of the Snowy Mountains" 1999 CD re-release

CD MP3 Rip @160-224VBR

Track List
1. Blowering Dam
2. Jindabyne Farewell
3. Snow Kitten
4. Old Talbingo
5. The Thredbo Slop
6. The Ballad of Big Pedro
7. The Cooma Cavaliers
8. Jack Bridle's Farewell
9. Friday Night - Long Weekend
10. Winter Back in My Heart
11. Watson's Crag
12. Snowy Mountains Songs
13. The Biggest Trout in Eucumbene
14. 1949
15. The Dozer Driver Man
16. Young Jack Frost - Texan
17. Brandy Mary
18. Paddy Went Home in the Rain
19. Hard Rock Drilling - I've Done it
20. The Big Construction Game
21. Long Gone Pom
22. Dear Hoffman
23. A Bottle of Scotch and an Old Guitar
24. Song of the Mountains

In 1949, the Australian Government initiated the Snowy Mountains Scheme, a major engineering scheme involving diverting rivers from the Australian Alps into the far dryer inland combined with the generation of hydro-electricity. In those immediate post-war recovery years, Australia did not have sufficient manpower and other resources to construct the 225kms of tunnels, 16 dams, 7 power stations, pipelines and aqueducts involved. The greater majority of workers came from overseas and included many of the displaced persons from Europe. Of the 100,000 persons working on the project, 120 died in various mishaps.
Ulick O'Boyle (Irish), his wife Ann Rutherford (English), and a Peter Barry (also English) were three of those workers. They formed as a trio and developed an impressive repertoire of songs written by Ulick about the various aspects of the scheme. Initially, they performed just for their fellow workers at the various drinking holes at the scheme. In 1966, their body of work so impressed a record producer that they were immediately retained and their first LP "Sings Songs of the Snowy Mountains" was released in 1966. It was a big success so it was soon followed up with "Sings More songs of the Snowy Mountains".
In 1999, as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Scheme, those two LPs were released on the one CD featured here.
This really is a mixed bag. For example, there is the pathos involved in the submerging of two towns, the original Talbingo and Jindabyne; the grief at the deaths of Big Pedro and Olaf the Dozer Driver Man (both true events); the comedy of Snow Kitten vamp and the joy of the Cooma Cavaliers; the optimism of Dear Hoffman; the despair of the gambling addict in Blowering Dam and the homesick Jack Frost. They were songs which firstly resonated with their fellow workers and secondly with those of us looking in.
Peter Barry resides in Sydney and he did make a cameo appearance in 2008 at the National Folk Festival in Canberra where he performed with a Settlers tribute group. I understand that Ulick lives in the Canberra area.

This rip has previously been posted in Time Has Told Me in three parts.

DOWNLOAD OF THIS CD NO LONGER AVAILABLE - It has been re-pressed so please buy it by contacting Shannon O'Boyle (daughter of Ulick) from or at:-
Monaro Books & Music
49 Vale Street
PO Box 1234
Cooma NSW 2630

ph 02 6452 4225
fax 02 6452 2339

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Various Artists "Australian Folk Night" 1964

Mono LP MP3 Rip @ 192 VBR
Track List
1. Botany Bay (several performers)
2. Jim Jones at Botany Bay (Doug Owen)
3. Moreton Bay (Martyn Wyndham-Read)
4. Old Black Billy (Denis Gibbons)
5. Flash Jack from Gundigai (David Lumsden)
6. Stockman's Last Bed (Lenore Somerset)
7. Wild River No More (Bush Band)
8. The Overlander (several)
9. Old Bark Hut (Peter Laycock)
10. Flow on Sweet Mitta (Lenore Somerset)
11. Song of the Aboriginal Girl (Doug Owen)
12. Wild Colonial Boy (Brian Mooney)
13. Old Bullock Dray (Denis Gibbons)
14. Brisbane Ladies (several)
15. Waltzing Matilda (cast and audience)

I have noticed that a lot of people have been looking for a rip of this LP as it is regarded as a rare Australian Folk classic. The album features some of the performances by well-known folk singers at the Melbourne Town Hall in 1964.  This particular LP was released in 1969.  Two of the artists at that concert were contracted to another label and do not appear. Further, some of the numbers were not considered good enough for release on LP.
I actually attended this concert and it was brilliant. The Town Hall was completely packed with a very enthusiastic audience being entertained by very enthusiastic and competent performers including Martyn Wyndham-Read (since returned to England), Denis Gibbons (who produced the LP), Brian Mooney (who was, and still is, more Irish than the Irish), the lovely Lenore Somerset, Peter Laycock, David Lumsden and the Bush Band.
The recording of the performers was fairly "rough and ready" as indicated by the exclusion of some poorly recorded numbers . You will especially notice this in some of the group performances where some artists are obviously too far from a microphone for proper pick-up. I have managed to enhance some of these tracks for a more even sound but there really is a practical limit as to how far this can be taken.
But, please do not let this deter you from obtaining this music. The performances more than compensate for the recording defects. In this live setting, the artists give very natural and unstilted performances which you will most likely enjoy.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lionel Long "Amberwren and Other Folk Songs" 1966

LP Rip MP3 192VBR
Track List
1. Amberwren
2. I Dreaned of Two Ships
3. Two Doves
4. Farewell
5. Namatjira
6. Turn, Turn, Turn
7. Boll Weevil

Lionel Long has previously featured here mainly for traditional music of the British Isles, Australia and of the sea and ships. This album is markedly different. The only traditional song it features is the American "Boll Weevil" which he gives more of a rock than a folk treatment. "Amberwren" is the feature track of almost 17 minutes and took up all of side 1 of the LP. It was penned by American musician and songwriter Mason Williams in 1963 and takes the form of a minstrel lay of the medieval period which well suits Lionel's folky style and the backing he gives it on his "guitar-lute". (I don't know if any other musician ever recorded this song). "I Dreamed of Two Ships" and "Two Doves" were both composed by Lionel in the folk style demonstrating that his many talents also stretched to song writing. "Farewell" is the Bob Dylan composition. "Namatjira" is a protest/tribute song for the Aboriginal artist Albert Namatjira; the work of Gordon Tolman, and "Turn, Turn, Turn" is, of course, the well-known Pete Seeger composition made famous by "The Weavers".
It has been a long struggle ripping and editing this album as all three copies I hold have been damaged to some extent and you may well notice that there are still some residual problems but I am sure you will enjoy this album.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dave de Hugard "Magpie Morning" 1993

CD Rip MP3@192
Track List
1. The Spring Jaunt
2. Magpie Morning
Bunyip Polka, Dooley Chapman's, Such is Life without a Bob
4. The Rabbit Trapper
5. The Gum Tree Lullaby
Hath McCaughey's, Stan Treacy's, Little River Rose
7. The Man with the Concertina
8. Sweeney
Shaker's, Little Man with the Pointy Nose
10. Sign-On Day
11. The Hills of Vancouver
12. The Drover's Return
13. The Happy Swagman

14. Paddy Godden's, Ernie Wells'

This CD rip was by a "K2310" to whom I give thanks because, for some inexplicable reason, the CD has not been available for purchase for some years. Dave de Hugard does market his later CD and provides it at folk festivals for sale but this one makes no appearance anywhere as far as I can ascertain and it is obviously quite rare. Accordingly, I have no hesitation in making this one available for download. I am sure that many of you will agree with me that this CD should still be marketed.
Again, this album is a good mix of instrumentals and traditional songs. I understand that almost all the instrumentation on the album was played by Dave through multi-layering. "The Rabbit Trapper" makes a re-appearance here but with very different instrumental backing from the 1985 LP. The "Drover's Return" is another version of the song usually known as "Brisbane Ladies" or "Augathella Station". "Sweeney" is adapted from a late 19th century poem by Henry Lawson first made famous as a song by the late and great Australian country singer, Slim Dusty.

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Dave de Hugard "Magpie in the Wattle" 1985

LP Rip MP3 @ 192-224VBR
Track List
1. The Wallaby Track
2. Barn Dance Melody
3. The Rabbit Trapper
4. Mazurkas
5. The Drover's Dream
6. Polkas
7. Two Set Tunes
8. The New Chum's First Trip
9. The Cane Breaks, Clem O'Neal's
10. Three Kids on a Horse
11. Two waltzes
12. The Stringybark Cockatoo
13. Forth Figure of the Lancers
14. Hey Rain

This, Dave's second album, was released about 16 years after the 1969 "Freedom on the Wallaby" (already posted). Here we see a greater focus on old-time dance hall music to which he successfully brings the Australian bush flavour.
This is not one of my rips as I have never been able to obtain this LP nor have I found any graphics for it but Ian from Adelaide has generously supplied them and they can be downloaded (see below). The tags identify the person encoding as "RK2310" so many thanks for a job well done.
Stand-outs on this album include "The Rabbit Trapper", "The Stringybark Cockatoo", both traditionals and Bill Scott's "Hey Rain" where he describes what it's like in Far North Queensland where rain is often measured in metres. The introduction of rabbits into Australia in the early 1800s was, and continues to be, an environmental disaster despite strenuous efforts to eliminate them. Rabbit trappers were always welcome on the stations and they could trap hundreds each night usually going round their traps three or four times a night. In the early days, their fur was in demand for the manufacture of felt for hats. The last time I saw a rabbit trapper was in the early 1960s when the demand was for the rabbit meat.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Alex Hood "Songs While the Billy Boils" 1960s?

LP Rip MP3@160-192VBR Stereo
Track List
1. Botany Bay
2. Flash Jack from Gundagai
3. Springtime it brings on the Shearing
4. Drover's Dream
5. Dying Stockman
6. Queensland Drover
7. Click Go the Shears
8. Limejuice Tub
9. Old Bullock Dray
10. Waltzing Matilda
11. Eumerella Shore
12. Van Dieman's Land
13. Denis O'Reilly
14. Waltzing Matilda

Alex Hood was another of the early pioneers in the Australian folk music revival and has released several LPs and CDs the latter including some re-releases of LPs. Unfortunately, most of his LPs that I have are too badly worn for successfully ripping. Two LPs of note are "The First One Hundred Years" and the "Second One Hundred Years" neither of which have been re-issued on CD. Anyone out there got a decent copy?
Alex still performs at folk festivals but his main focus over the last three decades has been on performances for children. He is a competent entertainer but his best work has been as a member of bush bands, most notably, The Bushwackers, and subsequently The Rambleers.
Music for Pleasure (mfp), the producer of this LP was a UK record label also active in Australia and South Africa. They produced budget-priced LPs of various genres which were sold outside the usual record shops e.g. petrol stations and newsagents. They were very active in the late 1960s and 1970s and, thankfully, they picked up a lot of the work of folk singers. The flip-side is that the records wore out far faster than quality ones. This one has survived satisfactorily.

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