Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Marian Henderson "Australian Folk Songs" (PIX series) 1964 2 EPs

Marian Henderson had some background as a jazz singer and this was often reflected in her folk singing. By 1963, however, she was a major folk performer in Sydney. In 1964, the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) commenced a weekly television series Jazz meets Folk with Marian as a regular folk music performer. This brought her into contact with jazz musicians including two noted jazz performers, Don Burrows (wind instruments) and Lyn Christie, a double bassist. PIX, a weekly popular magazine (now long defunct) commissioned these three to produce four EPs for distribution as freebies with the magazine. Two of the EPs featured Australian folk songs (posted here) and the other two were international folk songs (not seen yet - anyone?). Marian was the vocalist and guitarist; Burrows played flutes and Christie was on Bass. It sometimes makes for a strange mixture and occasionally the music overpowers the vocals but Henderson readily displays her considerable talent. There were 8 tracks in all.
Australian Folk Songs volume I
A1 Botany Bay A2 Springtime, It Brings on the Shearing
B1 Old Bark Hut B2 Peter Clarke
Australian Folk Songs volume II
A1 Waltzing Matilda A2 Jim Jones of Botany Bay
B1 Euabalong Ball B2 Van Dieman's Land

As most Australians would be aware, Don Burrows has gone on to collect several honours and awards for his jazz and swing music and has twice been named as an "Australian Living Treasure". Lyn Christie (Dr Lyndon van Christie - a medical practitioner) moved to the USA not that long after these EPs were produced becoming a successful jazz performer and jazz teacher there. So, all in all, it was a very talented line-up but I do regret that the backing was not more traditional. There are no graphics with the EPs. Most likely, there would have been some accompanying pictures and blurb in the magazines but I am not hopeful of obtaining them.

Download MP3 192VBR 8 tracks
From MediaFire

Link failed? Then please leave a comment or contact


  1. Regarding the info from the magazine: mate, I'm really disappointed. You folks have an excellent library infrastructure:
    Not to mention you can find old records there, too... for example, a cassette released by an independent record label in 1985:

  2. Sorry Dougal but the first link produces the nla response:- "... is no longer relevant" and the second is way off-topic for this blog.

  3. hi folks

    some extra info and corrections for your write up re Marion henderson -Pix eps.

    the Pix eps were not freebies distributed with the magazine - you had to cut out a voucher from the magazine and mail it in with 10 shillings for one record or 15/- for 2 (ie half price compared to normal rock/pop eps).

    These eps were never issued in pic sleeves. You
    recieved them in an off white cardboard sleeve with a circular cutout so that you could read the label of the record.

    Without checking my old copies of Pix I would guess that the record offer went for well over a year. The Pix staff photographer must have shot of quite a few rolls of film, as each week the coupon was accompanied by a different photo of Marion.

    the 2 "great folk songs of the world" eps featured only Marion singing and playing guitar - no other backing musos.

    finally Marion's background prior to these recordings was not in jazz at all. In fact she was from Melbourne and played piano in the original line up of one of the very early rock'n'roll in melbourne, the Thunderbirds.

    regards ZN.

    1. I had the Pix records at one time, but regretfully, no more.
      I heard Marian Henderson live, at a venue in Sydney called "The Lime Juice Tub", which was essentially for folk musicians.
      She had a deep resonant voice , which to me seemed ideally suited to the more dramatic Australian folk music of the era, which revolved around stories from the bush/miners and convict settlement.

  4. Marion Henderson's EPs, Australian Folk Songs Vol 1& 2, (Pix 006 & 007), appeared in April 1964. Reviewed in Sydney's Sun Herald 26/4/64, p. 86

    Pix issued another 2 EPs, Great folk songs of the world Vol 1 & 2, (Pix 008 & 009), in September 1964. Reviewed in Sydney's Sun Herald 20/9/64, p. 84

    Pix was still selling all four EPs in 1966. The magazine claimed the Australian Folk Songs EPs had sold over 10,000 copies.

    Each EP set had its own accompanying note sheet.

    Marian had been the pianist in Melbourne's Thunderbirds but her first professional singing in Sydney was as a jazz vocalist. The National Library has a 2002 interview with Marian conducted by Alex and Annette Hood: Marian details her 'itinerant schooling' and her early career in Melbourne and Sydney.

  5. I first heard Marian Henderson singing at the Sydney Town Hall early in 1964, and then met her later that year. She was Australia's answer to Mary Travis and Joan Baez but never received the recognition she deserved. I wonder what happened to her? She was wonderful, and my idol as a 17 year-old wannabe folk singer.

  6. Hi Trish,
    An "answer" - no, I regard her as being uniquely herself but, yes, she did deserve far more recognition. Marian resides in rural New South Wales and I got a very nice Christmas card off her last year.

  7. robert of wollongong
    i have three of the pix eps :- for your interest , they are px-007
    australian folk songs (volume2)side 1
    marian henderson - vocal and guitar, don burrows - flutes, lyn chirstie - bass
    1. waltzing matilda (old version)
    2. jim jones of botany bay
    side2 same musicians as side 1
    1.euabalong ball
    2. van diemen's land
    px-008 great folk songs of the world (volume1)
    marian henderson - vocal and guitar plus arrangements
    1. down by the river side (3.19)
    2. lolly-too-dum (2.35)
    1. kisses sweeter than wine(3.36)
    2. this old town (3.59)
    px-009 great folk songs of the world (volume2)
    musicians same as volume1
    1. swing low, sweet chariot (3.06)
    2. kum-by-ya (3.42)
    side 2
    1. black is the colour of my true love's hair (4.30)
    2. i know where i'm going (1.55)

    1. I certainly knew of the two "world folk" EPs but this is the first I have heard of someone having them.