Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Roger Thwaites "200 Years" LP 1970

Track List
1. Two Hundred Years
2. The Colonial
3. The Dingo Fence
4. Ballad of Frank Gardiner
5. To Wander the Wallaby Track
6. Cobb & Co
7. The Blue, Red and Grey
8. Quong Tart
9. Araluen
10. Ticket of Leaver
11. The Clarkes
12. Ironbark

The album was issued to mark the 200th anniversary of the discovery of the east coast of Australia and the claiming of Australia as a British possession by Captain James Cook in 1770 (settlement would occur 18 years later).
In 1970, Roger Thwaites was a young man residing in Araluen, previously the site of New South Wales' second largest gold mining operations. I understand that he may still be living there. He and his father were involved in recording and publishing the history of Araluen and many of the songs on this LP seem to have sprung from that activity. There are some very good songs here mixed in with some that tend to make me cringe but overall it is a very acceptable offering. It is distinctly folky except for the musical backing which, although well performed, has a distinct rock and roll feel to it - very reminiscent of Presley's earliest backing group, The Jordanaires but, of course, it is vocally much different.
Definitely not one for the folk purists but then it doesn't try to be. It was an LP meant for general consumption aimed at a 1970 audience. The graphics give the background for each song.

Download with graphics MP3 rip @ 192-224 VBR 
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Monday, March 30, 2009

The Bushwackers Band "Murrumbidgee" LP 1977

Another great rip from Ian of Adelaide
MP3 @ 192 CBR

Track List

1. Augathella Station
2. Lachlan Tigers
3. Billy of Tea
4. Cold Feet
5. Rain Tumbles Down
6. Streets of Forbes
7. The Cameo (instrumental)
8. Tomahawkin' Fred (The Ladies Man)
9. Murrumbidgee River (instrumental)
10. Flash Jack from Gundagai

Ian has graciously provided another rip of a Bushwackers LP together with its cover graphics. I suggest that the music already posted speaks for the fine talent of this band.

I do have one reservation. "Augathella Station" is more usually known as "Brisbane Ladies" or similar. It was penned by one Saul Mendelsohn, a stockman, in the 1880s but minor variations have been collected. It is firmly based on the British sea song "Spanish Ladies" about British sailors returning to England from Spain.

Numerous artists performed versions of this song before the Bushwackers, for example, A.L. (Bert) Lloyd, The Rambleers, Denis Gibbons, John Greenway and others. The lyrics at the Contemplator are a fair representation of their versions (and they make sense).

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, someone with little or no idea decided the song could benefit from some tinkering. Now I'm not opposed to a bit of sensible tinkering - it is a folk song after all. I could live with the elimination of most of the place names although I can't see the point of it. The really absurd bit though is that this version has the drovers still in possession of the herd of cattle on the trip back to Augathella Station (Ranch) after having sold them in Brisbane?? No, they would not have driven any stock back home! Further, this version also has the drovers spending all their "money on the shanty town women" in some country town on the way home. This raises two points - firstly, it was very unlikely that any drovers that way inclined would have any money left after the "Brisbane Ladies" and the "girls of Toowong" (Toowong is an inner suburb of Brisbane) but more tellingly, Australia may have had "shantys" (inns), but not "shanty towns" in that sense and "shanty town women" appears to someone's crude attempt at evoking the concept of USA wild west saloon girls. Altogether, it is very disappointing that the Bushwackers had anything to do with such unauthentic garbage. "Quintessence" has also performed this version.

"Rain Tumbles Down" was one of the legendary Slim Dusty's earliest songs; the classic "When the Rain Tumbles down in July". He wrote it in 1945 and it was first released in 1947 on the old Regal Zonophone label as a 78rpm. The initial release was definitely of the Australian "hillbilly" style but Slim thankfully released continuously improved performances of the song over the years and they appeared on several of his 103 albums. The Bushwackers remain fairly true to the song and it retains a country and western feel.

Great versions of "The Lachlan Tigers" and "Flash Jack from Gundagai".

For those who may be wondering, the LP cover is of a "lagerphone" in frantic motion. A very popular instrument in any respectable "Bush Band". It's often thought to be purely an Australian invention but it's an import from England but given the now very common name "lagerphone" in Australia (because of all the crown beer bottletops used in its construction).

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Johnny Ashcroft "They All Died Game" 1971 LP

Track List
1. Moondyne Joe
2. Ballad of Mat Brady
3. And He used to be a Preacher Man
4. Sixteen Summers
5. Thunderbolt's Lament
6. Twilight Bar in 'Frisco
7. Run Caesar Run
8. Who'll Light a Candle in the Morning
9. Bailing Up the Mail
10. Donahoe's Lullaby
11. On the Fifth of May
12. We'll All Die Game

Johnny Ashcroft began his singing career during the Second World War as a "hillbilly" singer (early Australian "country music" often with lots of yodelling). He cut a few 78s and ended up recording Australia's first C&W LP "Songs of the Western Trails". There is quite a lengthy entry for him on Wikipedia for those interested. He is best remembered for his 1960 hit song "Little Boy Lost" about a toddler lost in the bush and found alive after a massive search lasting four days.
This album was released in 1971. Each song relates to a bushranger and was written by Joe Halford and Johnny Ashcroft based upon extensive research on bushrangers. I find it a hard album to categorise but I tend to think of it as country and western but the overall ballad approach makes one think of "folk". Then again, the musical backing owes much to jazz. I would love to hear other's thoughts on this album.
Lyrically and musically, it is a great album with some very well-written songs giving us different insights into both some of the Australian bushrangers. For those who love irony, one of the songs looks at the fate of Frank "the Darkie" Gardiner (subject of other folk songs also), an Australian-born bushranger, who, as a condition for his release from a lengthy prison sentence, was exiled to the USA - most of the others were born elsewhere and then transported here as convicts!

Download with graphics (LP MP3 rip @192-224 VBR)
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The Wild Colonial Boys "Glenrowan to the Gulf" CD release of 1970 LP

Track List
1. All for Me Grog
2. Lime Juice Tub
3. The Ryebuck Shearer
4. The Wild Colonial Boy
5. Shores of Botany Bay
6. Poor Ned Kelly
7. Soldiers Joy - Mason's Apron
8. South Australia
9. Nine Miles from Gundagai
10. Ballad of the Kelly Gang
11. Flash Stockman
12. The Death of Ben Hall
13. The Cuckoo's Nest
14. The Canine Catastrophe
15. A Thousand Miles Away

This album was originally released as an LP in 1970, re-released on Larrikin (or so I think) in the 1980s and then in 1996 on CD. This rip and the provided covers come from that CD. MP3 ripped at 196-224 VBR.
Although performing some of the usual Australian traditional songs, they too have usually opted for lesser-known versions in both lyrical and instrumental terms. Like many bands, they tend to substitute as to what that "bloody dog" did in the tuckerbox (food container) five or nine miles from Gundagai. Some may be wondering as to why "sitting" in the tuckerbox was such a bad thing. It makes more sense if you put the 'h' back into "sat". "Poor Ned Kelly" is not traditional - it started as a tongue-in-cheek Australian "hillbilly" song in the 1930s giving an outline of Ned Kelly's criminal activity and execution but also deriving the moral that modern day "bushrangers" use taxes and high prices to rob everyone with impunity - a great song picked up by many Australian folk singers. A very enjoyable album.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Bushwackers Band "Bushfire" 1979 LP

Track List
Stringybark Creek (a Ballad of Ned Kelly)
Van Dieman's Land
Lime Juice Tub
The Flying Pieman
Past Carin'
Hard Luck Stories
Wild Horses
Fannie Bay

This album is one of my favourites - a lovely mix of traditional and more contemporary Australian folk songs performed by a very talented band with a keen feel for Australian bush music.
"The Flying Pieman" and "Bushfire" are both instrumentals. "Past Carin' " is from the poet Henry Lawson detailing the despair suffered by many of the pioneer women of Australian. "Fannie Bay" (a reference to Darwin's main jail) is in the vein of "Take a Message to Mary" (but don't tell her what I've done) and don't miss "Hard Luck Stories".
Again, Ian of Adelaide provided this great rip for all our enjoyment. Graphics include artist information and the lyrics for all songs. Ripped at 192 CBR.
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The Bushwackers "Down There For Dancing" 1982 LP

Track List
The Willow Tree (set)
1234 (song)
King Gus (set)
No. 96 (set)
Hanging Rock (set)
Coney Island (set)
Smith Street Shuffle (set)
Over the Top (set)
Swedish Masquerade (set)
Under the Bridge(set)
Buffalo Bill (set)
White Dress (song)

This 1982 album from the Bushwackers is mainly dance instrumental featuring old time tunes both European and Australian but there are a couple of exceptions that may surprise. There are also two songs supporting the dancing theme. The album is more "old-timey" than folky but nevertheless very enjoyable.
This is another great rip from Ian of Adelaide but we would all love to hear from others wishing to share their Aussie folk holdings (email mr.stockman@gmail.com for any queries, advice, offerings etc)

Download with graphics MP3 256CBR
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Monday, March 23, 2009

Speewah "Banjo Paterson's Old Bush Songs" 1983 LP

Track List
1. On the Road to Gundagai
2. With My Swag all on My Shoulder
3. The Broken Down Squatter
4. The Overlander
5. Jolly Jolly Grog and Tobacco
6. The Maranoa Drover
7. The Dying Stockman
8. The Old Bullock Dray
9. The Eumerella Shore
10. Flash Jack from Gundagai
11. Another Fall of Rain
12. The Wild Colonial Boy~Dangle 'n Doolin'

These songs are a sampling of those collected and published by the distinguished Australian bush poet and song writer "Banjo" Paterson in 1905 under the title "Old Bush Songs". Only one, "The Broken Down Squatter" is of known authorship - Charles Flower in the depression of the 1890s. Of course, this track list is another one featuring songs from the top twenty or so most commonly performed old Australian bush ballads but they do bring a freshness to them through using less common, but still authentic, musical arrangements and lesser-known lyrics for some of the songs. Definitely a group of fine musicians and singers with some great fiddle and "squeeze box" backing. Band member detail is included in the LP graphics.

This is another MP3 rip by Ian of Adelaide at 256 CBR so thanks again Ian.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mike and Michelle Jackson "Patchwork" 1980 LP

Track List
1. Dirranbandi~Bunyip in the Watertank~Frozen Feet (Polkas)
2. Merrigan's Jig~Herb's Jig
3. Peeler Creek (Waltz)
4. To the Mountain Farms & The Joy of Summer (Walking Tune)
5. Sir John Fenwick's The Flower among them all~Bach's Minuet in G
6. Free Selector's Daughter (song)
7. Charlie over the Water (Jig)
8. Primrose Polka
9. Jamie Allen~Duke of Perth~Jamie Allen (Polkas)
10. Sir David Davidson of Cantry (Hornpipe)
11. A Leitrim Polka~Dalaigh's Polka~Bill O'Sullivan's Polka
12. Girls of Ivory~Manchester Gallop (Polka/Mazurkas)
13. Bluebells (Song Tune)
14. A Fine Toast to Hewlett (Tune)
15. Early in the Morning~Turkey in the Straw~Redwings (Polkas)
16. Waltzing Matilda (Tune - whimsical).

Here is the other adult folk album from Mike and Michelle Jackson released in 1980. Most tracks are purely instrumental which gives them and their fellow backing musicians ample opportunity to demonstrate their superior talents. It's a brilliant album; certainly one of the best instrumental folk music albums to come out of Australia. This is one that really should be re-issued on CD - I'd certainly buy one in a flash.

Paul from Brisbane has provided this excellent rip and the artwork which gives great detail on all the tracks, the performers and their instruments.

Download with graphics - MP3 @ 192-224 VBR
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Denis Gibbons "Trads and Anons" LP 1960

1. Blue Tail Fly
2. Jan Hinnerk
3. The Old Bark Hut
4. Skye Boat Song
5. Dying Stockman
6. Bold Tommy Payne
7. The Drover's Dream
8. The Riddle Song
9. The Spinning Wheel
10. Early One Morning
11. Foggy Foggy Dew
12. Wild Colonial Boy

We've met Denis before on this blog. Here is some of his earlier work on a 1960 LP; a mix of Australian and international folk songs. He was one of Australia's earliest "successful" folk singers combining a singing and a broadcasting career. He was viewed somewhat askance by some of his contemporaries because of his success and his apolitical approach to his music. He was never the greatest of singers but he always treated folksongs with the respect and simplicity which they rightly deserved and the general public appreciated that even when the purists didn't. Perhaps the latter believed that folk songs should not be popularised?
The rear of the cover contains a lot of information including a long passage by Gibbons detailing his introduction to folk singing. A lovely LP where the lyrics take centre stage sedately backed by beautiful instrumentation. The Clarinet backing is very effective. Ripped at 192-224 VBR but the tracks are short and in mono so the total download file is only about 24Mb.

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Mike and Michelle Jackson "The Roaring Days of Henry Lawson" LP 1982

1. The Teams
2. Jackson Stomp
3. I'm a Prouder Man than You
4. Andy's Gone with Cattle
5. The Ballad of the Drover (recitation)
6. The Waterfall Waltz
7. Sycamore Cottage
8. The Song of the Bullock Driver
9. When the Children come Home
10. The Free Selector's Daughter
11. The Hastings Waltz
12. The Fire at Ross's Farm (recitation)
13. The Belltrees Polka
14. Australian Bards & Bush Reviewers

Mike and Michelle Jackson were together from 1979 to 1986. My kids adored them because they featured in the ABC TV Playmates; a young children's show. They were a very talented couple and each could play a large range of musical instruments as evidenced by the excellent instrumental tracks on this LP. Most of their output was aimed at children but they produced two folk albums. This LP, as the name indicates, also features the poetry of the noted Australian poet and short story writer, Henry Lawson, put to music other than the two recited poems noted above.

This is another great rip from Ian of Adelaide of a great LP. All graphics included.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mucky Duck "From the Bush" 1984 LP

Track List
1. The Swagless Swaggie
2. The Chant of Jimmy Governor
3. Whiskey is the Life of Man
4. Limejuice Tub
5. The Wreck of the Dandenong
6. The Musical Priest
7. When I'm Sixty-Four
8. The Four Horsemen (The Bushrangers)
9. Three Reels (Miss McLeod, Drowsy Maggie, Sleepy Maggie)
10. Jim Jones
11. The Shearer's Dream
12. From the Bush

You might reckon that the inclusion of the Beetles song "When I'm 64" is a bit of a clue that this "bush band" is not strictly traditional and you'd be mostly right. They bring some new perspectives to the performances of some of these songs, sometimes a touch of country, a touch of folk rock and occasionally a sense of barbershop quartet occasionally heavily backed by electrics and then they confuse you by being largely traditional. It all makes for a refreshing change.
This is a Western Australian band composed of Roy Abbott, Davy Browne, Andy Copeman, and Erik Kowarski.
Ian of Adelaide has generously provided this rip and the cover graphics for our enjoyment. Many thanks again Ian.

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cobbers Website

As at 15 April 2013 - The intermittent Cobbers website has again apparently disappeared. The band has a facebook identity but with no data or entries but 10 likes - go figure!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Warren Fahey and others "Man of the Earth ~ Songs and Ballads of the Australian Mining Industry" 1974 LP

1. Navvy on the Line (all male singers)
2. Castles in the Air (Phyl Lobl)
3. Pint Pot and Billy (Dave de Hugard)
4. Mines of Australia (Andy Saunders)
5. Sixteen Thousand Miles from Home (Warren Fahey)
6. Song of the Thrush (de Hugard)
7. Man of the Earth (Lobl, Tony Suttor)
8. Norman Brown (Suttor, Saunders)
9. When We get our Twopence back (Fahey, Suttor)
10. The Eldorado Mining Disaster (Lobl, Suttor, Saunders)
11. The Miner (Fahey, Suttor)
12. The Diamond Drill (Saunders)

This is first of Warren Fahey's Larrikin Label LPs. I understand that it was actually recorded in 1973, pressed in 1974 and released in 1975. It was also the first of a number of theme LPs; this one to do with mining. As usual, the LP cover artwork includes details of each of the songs (included in the download). This LP has seen some hard times but, overall, it has cleaned up fairly well.

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Danny Spooner Discography

One of our visitors, Garry Gillard is constructing an on-line discography for Danny Spooner with Danny's blessing. You can check out his site at Danny Spooner.
He is looking for further information. If you are able to contribute, Garry can be contacted garrygillard[at]gmail.com (substitute "@" for "[at]"). Sorry, Garry, but I don't have any more rips of his LPs but perhaps someone out there can help.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Original Bushwhackers and Bullockies Band -"The Shearer's Dream" LP 1980

Track List
South Australia
Red hot woodstove
Maranoa drovers
Ned Kelly was born in a ramshackle hut
Swagless swaggie
Drops of brandy
Rye buck shearer
Woolloomooloo lair
Holy Dan
Bullocky, oh
Jim Jones at Botany Bay
Bush girl
Denis O'Reilly
Shearers dream.

There is a lot of confusion about the various "Bushwhacker" and "Bushwacker" configurations so perhaps a little explanation is needed.
In 1952, John Meredith, the renowned Australian folksong collector, formed the "Heathcote Bushwhackers" shortly after becoming just "The Bushwhackers". This band was really the first to bring genuine bush music, backed by the common instruments of the bush, to the general public. They had a few changes of members and broke up in 1957 with some members going on to "The Rambleers". They recorded one very successful LP "The Drover's Dream" (anyone got a good copy?).

The idea of being a "Bushwhacker" caught on and there were other bands using "bushwhacker" in their names to signify that they were "bush bands". This caused a lot of humour in the real bush where the term was usually deliberately spelt as "bushwacker" (meaning the "common" people living and working in the bush - not towns or cities) and they reserved the American based spelling "bushwhacker" for "ambushers", that is, a bushwacker might be bushwhacked by a bushranger.

We move on a few years to 1971 to the formation of a new band entitled "The Bushwhackers and Bullockies Band". As I understand it, in 1974, under that name they released their first LP "The Shearer's Dream" on the Picture Records label; the members of the band then being Dave Isom, Mick Slocum, Tony Hunt, Jan Wositzky and Dobe Newton. In 1980, the LP was re-released on Larrikin Records (LRF019) with the word "Original" inserted as a description, as by then, the band had more appropriately become "The Bushwackers" and its membership had changed but "The Original Bushwackers and Bullockies Band" is now almost universally used as the performers of the LP. The band later became just "The Bushwackers". A 3CD compilation of some of their earlier albums was put out in the '90s under the name "The Great Bushwackers". That compilation is shared on this blog.

Here is their website. The band is still active at music festivals as far as I know.

However, there is no confusion as to the quality of this band in its various configurations - consistently great performances both vocally and instrumentally with an excellent Australian "bushwacker" flavour as even this first of their albums readily demonstrates. Ian from Adelaide has provided this excellent rip of the LP so give him some encouragement and I'm sure he will offer more. So, thanks from me Ian.

Jan Wositzky, an ex-Bushwacker, has now obtained the rights to this album and intends to bring it out on CD in the near future and there may even be a bit of a reunion of some of the past members.  Accordingly, downloads of this album are no longer being offered.  Hopefully, we will be posting details when the CD is out.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Canterbury Fair - "Canterbury Fair" - 1978 LP

Track List
1. Bartholomew Fair
2. Fhir a' Bhata
3. Hey, John Barleycorn
4. The Weary Whaling Ground
5. The Bell Ringing
6. Jolly Old Hawk
7. The Bells of Rhymney
8. The Tunnel Tigers
9. The Eynsham Poaching Song
10.The Lancashire Lads
11. The Agincourt Carol
12. Jolly Good Ale and Old
13. False Young Man
14. The Trooper and the Maid
15. Dona Nobis Pacem

Canterbury Fair, an Australian group which specialised in British Isles folksongs, is another line-up of great singers including DannySpooner. In reality, it is effectively the first of two LPs and the follow up LP was the previously posted "Danny Spooner and Friends" LP which has been very popular with visitors to here and Time has Told Me. This one is even better relying more on vocal technique and harmony to produce beautiful songs mostly in a capella style. They do use some very subdued musical backing occasionally.
This is another rip kindly provided by Paul from Brisbane. The download package includes the album artwork giving details of all the songs and the performers.

Download LP Rip MP3 @192-224 VBR 
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Burl Ives "Australian Folk Songs" 1958 LP

LP MP3 Rip 192-224VBR
Track List
1. Wild Rover No More
2. Click Go the Shears
3. The Wild Colonial Boy
4. A Nautical Yarn
5. Across the Western Plains I Must Wander
6. Waltzing Matilda
7. Oh! The Springtime, It Brings on the Shearing
8. The Station Cook
9. The Dying Stockman
10. Botany Bay
11. The Old Bullock Dray
12. The Stockman's Last Bed

Burl Ives (1909-1995) was brought up in America in a family with strong British Isles and US folk traditions. He was a professional performer by the mid 1930s and had his own radio show by 1940. Although he was also a good actor even achieving an Oscar as Best Supporting Male Actor (1958), folk music appears to have been his primary passion. His visits to England and Australia in the 1950s were very influential to the local folk movements.
He visited Australia in 1952 following an invitation from the Australian Broadcasting Commission where, with music professor Dr Percy Jones, he compiled a book of Australian Folk Songs, some of which he recorded and which were released on a Decca LP entitled "Australian Folk Songs" in the USA in 1958. His earlier performances of Australian folk songs in Australia combined with the release of the LP made it clear that Australian folk songs were something that all Australians could generally be proud of.
His basic style of performance was also highly refreshing with the accompaniment for most songs being just Ives on his guitar and even one without any accompaniment. The glaring exception is that revamped "semi-official" Waltzing Matilda version (which I so heartily despise - give me the original any day!) and it is given a full "anthem" treatment.
There has been a rip of the original album floating around for several years but it has been of a fairly poor quality. Incidentally, the cover of the original LP is hilarious. In a desperate hunt to get an Australian looking cover, Ives is pictured against the background of an Australian tourism poster communing with a toy koala bear stuck in an American birch tree whilst looking ever so elegant with some sort of stick - perhaps a vague reference to Denis O'Reilly's blackthorne stick? I've included a copy of the original LP graphics along with the Australian ones. This rip was taken from a "cheapie' Australian re-release of the original LP under licence and, very sensibly, with a generic type cover (Australian artwork also included). The LP ripped nicely considering the age of the original material.
It is greatly to Burl Ives credit that not once does he attempt any form of accent other than his own. His American accent can be a little disconcerting with these Australian songs but this is far preferable to faking it. It's also much better than born and bred Australians trying to sing some Australian songs with Irish accents (a variation of Bogle's 'plastic Paddy' syndrome). Get this one even if you only do so out of a sense of folk history.

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