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 -

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.

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.
Or click here for a FLAC (lossless) version 67MB
Download file will need to be decompressed with 7-Zip, WinRAR, WinZip or equivalent.
Download not available?: Email me -

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.

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.

To download the album and its graphics
Click here to download from MediaFire

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 or leave a comment on the blog entry.