Thursday, September 10, 2009

Folk Songs from Queensland - 10" LP 1959

The year 1959 was the first Centenary of self-government for the colony and State of Queensland. The recording label, Wattle, issued this LP featuring traditional Australian songs collected in Queensland. Two groups contributing to the LP, namely, The Moreton Bay Bushwhackers and The Bandicoots, featured some of the early stalwarts of the Australian folk music scene particularly in Queensland. John Streeter Manifold, the prominent poet and writer with a deep interest in folk music was a member of The Bandicoots and leads on two songs. Bill Scott, who was later to become famous for his songs, poetry and folklore writing, leads on three songs. (incidentally, Penny Davies and Roger Ilott, do great justice to many of Bill Scott's songs).
Also featured are Doug Eaton and Stan Arthur among others.

Don't expect any flash, popular-style singing or great musical performances on this album. What you will get is solid traditional Australian folk singing very much in the style of the old-timers from whom these songs were collected. There are a few songs that have not been posted here before - The Freehold on the Plain, The Sheepwasher, The Old Palmer Song, Billy Shean, and a version of a personal favourite of mine, The Canecutter's Lament (anyone got other versions please). Additionally there are two instrumental numbers; Charley Sailor's Woman Song and the Cunnamulla Stocking Jig. The other usual standards are The Queensland Drover, Banks of the Condamine, The Ram of Dalby (originally of Derby, England), Bullocky-o, Brisbane Ladies, and Wallaby Stew.

Two LPs of this album were very kindly lent to me by one of our visitors who has also provided one other much-sought-after album to come. Many thanks, Dave - having two was very advantageous even though they were in relatively good condition considering their age.

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  1. An excellent addition. Thank you! It's good to see the liner notes and to hear such a clear reproduction. (Also pleased to see Gary Tooth get a mention on the sleeve, although he doesn't sing. What a great voice he has!)

  2. It was good to read the review of Folk Songs from Queensland. My old mate Norm and I used to listen to the record whenever we got together for a couple of tinnies back in Melbourne well over 40 years ago. Some of the songs brought tears to our eyes then and I’m sure will do so again when we have a long overdue reunion a week from now.
    Over the years I’ve noticed that some people immediately like the music, while others cringe. My impression is that men respond more positively than women, perhaps reflecting the lyrics of some of the songs. I do admit that the music has a couple of rough edges but overall I think the record is a classic.
    My brother and I are planning to drive from Brisbane to Port Douglas in May and I am looking forward to visiting such places as Kilcoy, Caboolture, Dalby, Augathella, Nanango and, of course, the Banks of the Condamine. Thanks for making the MP3s available—I already have them on my phone.