Friday, November 19, 2010

Seona McDowell "Australian Ballads - The Early Years" LP 1981

Seona McDowell was Irish born, New Zealand educated, took up Australian folk Music when residing in Australia, and now lives and works in the USA.
After winning the 1979 and 1980 Oz Music Awards, Folkways Records hired her to produce this album in the USA.
Seona has a great voice and does a very credible performance on this LP but the musical backing was obviously primarily provided by American performers based in the country and bluegrass genres and is, in my view, slightly discordant even though I am a big bluegrass fan.  Obviously this was a lot more palatable for an American audience even though I suspect that this was not really in strict accord with the Folkways philosophy.  Still, one must not quibble too much as these folk songs never had any real restrictions as to the type of musical backing and the very essence of folk music is its adaption to the instrumentation at hand and we've had enough Australian LPs with some quite off-putting musical backing at times.
"Lady Franklin's Lament" is somewhat of a questionable inclusion.  As far as I know, the only Australian connection is that the very famous Lord Franklin was Governor of Tasmania from about 1828 before perishing on the search for the North West Passage - still it's a great song.
I don't mean to put anyone off as this is well worth the download effort.  It's a good clean rip.  PDF graphics and lyrics from Folkways are part of the download.
Tracks are:- Black Velvet Band, Convict Maid, Botany Bay, Moreton Bay, Lady Franklin's Lament, With My Swag all on my Shoulder, Cross of the South, The Old Palmer Song, Wild Colonial Boy, Matt Brady, Click Go the Shears, Springtime it brings on the Shearing, Bold Tommy Payne, and, of course, Waltzing Matilda.

Download MP3 @192-224 VBR Mono  28Mb

Sorry folks, no more downloads following this courteous email from the Smithsonian Institute

Thanks for your interest and support of this Smithsonian Folkways recording. I came across your recent post regarding Seona McDowell’s “Australian Ballads”.

Smithsonian Folkways is the non-profit record label of the national museum of the United States. Our mission is to document the music of the world and distribute it while respecting the artists that make the music. As such, we collect revenue from music sales and distribute money back to artists as well as fund new recording projects. Please help our artists and help support our mission by removing the links to full-length downloads of this album and instead link to one of the many websites that distributes music legally. The Smithsonian Folkways website (,, eMusic, Rhapsody, Napster, iTunes, Pandora, and All Music are all good places to link.

You are welcome to post a link to the .PDF of the liner notes/lyrics.

Smithsonian Download Link US$9.99 for download album  (also link on that page to PDF Download)

No comments:

Post a Comment