Thursday, October 8, 2009

William Clauson "Click go the Shears" LP Mono c1960

I know some of you are going to shudder when you see this one on the blog.

William Clauson was born to Swedish parents in the USA an awfully long time ago and is known to have made his home in the USA, Sweden and currently Mexico. He has over 40 albums to his credit and has performed virtually everywhere and I notice that he had gigs in Sweden earlier this year.

He has always had a strong interest in folk songs as reflected in many of his albums but he is certainly not what many of us would term a "folk singer". His delivery is usually quite formal tending toward classical. I think the proper term is "Lieder voice". However, do not be put off too much by that as some of the songs on this album do benefit from this treatment, especially "Moreton Bay".

I believe this album was produced somewhere between 1958 and 1962 (perhaps someone know precisely when). Due to the style of singing, it was originally very popular with the Australian Broadcasting Commission (as it was then named) and also at schools. I understand that he followed in the footsteps of Burl Ives, and as the album notes strongly indicate, Dr. Percy Jones had a strong influence on Clauson as well.

I am aware that there are a couple of rips of this album doing the rounds but they are of low quality due to record damage. I have taken this rip from an LP I found at a garage sale a couple of weeks ago. At $1, I reckoned that I could afford to be disappointed with the quality. It turns out that this is a World Record Club re-issue which has probably had little, if any, play so it has ripped as well as could be expected for an LP of this vintage.

Incidentally, he also visited, and recorded songs of and in, New Zealand. Has anyone got the LP/s? I have desperately been seeking his version of Peter Cape's "Black Matai" aka "The Deer Culler's Lament" (gone to the station, gone to the town) or anyone else's version for that matter.

Track List
1. Click go the Shears
2. Waltzing Matilda (Cowan version)
3. The Overlander
4. On the Banks of the Condamine
5. The Old Bark Hut
6. Bold Jack Donahue
7. Botany Bay
8. The Lime Juice Tub
9. Moreton Bay
10. The Wild Colonial Boy
11. My old black Billy
12. Bold Tommy Payne
13. Wild Rover No More
14. The Dying Stockman

MP3 mono 192-224VBR with graphics
Download from MediaFire with both sets of covers

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  1. Phil Garland's 1975 album, Colonial Yesterdays, has a pleasing version of the Black Mattai song you mention.
    Are you intending to post any Peter Cape material? Maybe not within the remit of this blog, but good stuff nevertheless, and afaik, not commercially available.

  2. I have good rips of two of Garland's albums - "Swag of Dreams" and "Under the Southern Cross" - the latter has a lot of Aussie songs so I suppose I could post it under this blog although I'd be quite happy if someone wanted to take part in this blog to post NZ material.
    Yes, Peter Cape and Phil Garland are a good combination. He's an excellent singer. "Stable Lad" is a particular favourite of mine.

  3. Oh, a further comment - I am quite surprised by the amount of interest in this Clauson album.

  4. So why exactly are we going to "shudder"? Because Clauson had a beautiful voice, and his performances tend towards the (gasp) "classical"?

    Interesting to contemplate that a little skill and refinement in performance is something that will make people "shudder". Who?

    Clauson almost single-handedly gave the general community (as oposed to doctrinaire folk performers and a few academics) an awareness of australian folk songs. An entire generation of ordinary australians would never have heard of most of these songs but for Clauson.

    How about giving credit where it is due, and not assuming that we all have the narrow tastes that you do?

  5. Oh dear, Did I say that I shuddered? Did I say that you would shudder? No, I said SOME will shudder because I know that SOME "folkies" detest Clauson. I even pointed out that his treatment suited some of the songs so what's this remark about not giving credit where it is due? I even asked for others of his LPs.

    If I felt the way you suggest, I would hardly have spent the hours ripping this LP and using my limited broadband allowance uploading it.

  6. I want to buy a cd of William Clauson Click goes the Shears
    Can you help..

  7. Re last message -
    As far as I am aware this album has never been released on CD and my guess is that it never will be.
    Why not just make your own out of the downloads? You'll lose nothing of this simple music doing this from the MP3 tracks I have published.
    Incidentally, if it was available on CD, I certainly would not have ripped, edited and published these tracks.

  8. A couple times I visited William at his office in Tijuana. What a nice gentleman. And I had no idea he had such a following.

  9. I am looking for the following :

    Years ago a friend gave me a tape by Clauson which I loved and have not been able to trace another copy since. It has the song Eureka Lead on it + Bluey Brink, Dennis O'Reilly amongst others

    (Snippet from youtube): album by a Swedish/American folf singer. From a 10 box set called "Country Jamboree" from Reader's Digest. (Late 50s / Early 60s?)

    Can anyone help?


  10. My father used to have an LP in the 60's by William Clauson entitled 'All Among The Wool'I think. It had the songs listed above.'Eureka Lead, Bluey Brink. The album was accidently turfed when my father died. I've tried for years to find it. Had a picture of a stockman leading a team of bullocks and a dray.My father inherited this album from his father so God knows how old it was.

  11. I have a copy of his Click Go the Sheers album. My father used to love this album . His was worn out eventually, but I managed to buy the album in good condition in the UK.
    Best regards
    John Martin Bradley

  12. Thanks for this; I grew up listening to a Clauson record of English and American [Appalachian?] folk tunes my mother had and consequently appreciate only his versions of them as well as the 'classical' treatment (both vocally and guitar-wise). Enormously helpful to me now in teaching young kids to sing. Where else to find 'Turtle Dove,' "Sippin' Cider Through a Straw," and "The Bold Fisherman?" And his versions of "Three Jovial Huntsmen" and "John Henry" have no competition. Fantastic.

  13. I had a copy of William Clauson's 'Click go the Shears' which was given to me on my 21st birthday in 1958. The cover of this LP was made up by the Tom Roberts' painting of the Shearing Shed and it included all of the songs in the track list. I have searched everywhere but alas have lost it and most likely I lent it out but it was not returned to me. I will keep searching as it was one of my favourite LP's.
    Robert Vandestadt

  14. My Father bought this album while we were living in Australia. He loved it. I grew to love it too. The timbre of Clauson's voice, his impeccable phrasing and enthusiastic delivery make this album one for the ages. Thank you so much for making it available digitally. I really appreciate it.

  15. Thanks very much. As children at home we had the 1958 version with Tom Robert's Shearing of the Rams on the front. The back cover narration was identical. All the schools had it as well. It was all our favourite LP in a home with only a few. It disappeared and all I had left was a cassette copy I had converted to cd, long after the LP had picked up rubbish. This is far better. Thanks again. For our age group it is the definitive version of the songs.
    Richard Jacobs

  16. Grew up listening to this on a scratchy mono record player that my dad used to play over and over again. Loved it then. Love it now. Many thanks for this Paul. Many, many thanks!!!

  17. He dies in September lasy year (2017):
    Astonishing that this has passed without any notice in Australia. He and Percy Jones almost single-handedly rescued a large number of Australian folk-songs from complete obscurity.

  18. He died in September last year (2017):
    Sad that this has passed in Australia without any notice. He and Percy Jones almost single-handedly rescued a large number of Australian folk-songs from obscurity.