Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Captain Crabbe and the Gnomes "All abound for Sydney Town!" LP 1976

This is another album provided by the Victorian Bush Folkie. Thanks again.

What a strange name for a folk group. It is also intriguing that the album graphics do not include any details of the individual performers. Surely some of our blog visitors will be able to provide some details on the who, what and why of this group.

February 2017 - Tony Suttor has come to our rescue with some details. These three were the original team of "minstrels"at "Old Sydney Town" but only the two "garden gnomes", Eric Thompson (pictured with guitar) and David Hodgson Hogston (see comments), were still there when Tony Suttor joined Old Sydney Town in 1976. The dog Patch belonged to Eric. "Captain Crabbe" and the horse remain unidentified. David composed the last three listed instrumentals. In the 1980s the duo perfromed at the Argyle Tavern in The Rocks, Sydney. Many thanks Tony.

April 2017 "Captain Crabbe" has been identified as Vernon McGrath (see comments)

This album was definitely recorded and produced in Australia but I notice that, with two exceptions, the tracks are as much at home in the British Isles as in Australia. The major exception, Little Fishy a.k.a. Little Fish, is strongly Australian but this is the first time that I have heard anyone sing it other than as a lullaby. The second exception is Sydney Town and I have no idea as to its origin.

Anyway, that is of little concern because the group performs very well both instrumentally and vocally. The vinyl was obviously in good condition and the tracks required very little editing. There is a good mix of songs and instrumentals.

Please note that the track Lusty Young Blacksmith has extensive sexual innuendo and the track Ho Boy Hey Boy is sexually explicit and very politically improper in respect of the female gender. You have been warned - in no way do I endorse the content..

1. Bonnie Dundee - instrumental
2. 10,000 miles
3. Sydney Town
4. Maggie May
5. Botany Bay
6. Drunken sailor
7. Little fishy
8. Molly Malone
9. Foggy foggy dew (English traditional - not Irish rebellion)
10. Molly McInstry – instrumental
11. Billy O'Donnell O'Day
12. The keel row – instrumental
13. Wild Rover
14. Lusty young blacksmith
15. Black velvet band
16. Four Mary's
17. Patsy Fagan
18. Ho boy hey boy
19. Flying pie man – instrumental
20. Sam Hall
21. Home boys home – instrumental
22. Thoughts by a stream – instrumental
23. Waterfall – instrumental
24. March of the gnomes – instrumental

Click here to begin downloading the MP3 version 59 MB 224 – 256 VBR

Click here is you prefer to download the FLAC version from MediaFire (206MB).

In all cases, you need to decompress the files in order to get the individual folders and tracks for playing.
Download fails? - contact and I will re-up the files.


  1. Thanks Paul & Tony for the additional Info

  2. Just a correction to Tony's response to this post. The banjo player's surname is, I believe, Hogston.

  3. Captain Crabbe is Vernon McGrath. The album took two days to record, and Sydney Town was written by Dave.

  4. Captain Crabbe is Vernon McGrath. The album was recorded in two days. Sydney town was written by Dave.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. hi there i'm the dave hogston as mentioned and whilst working at 'old sydney town' in the 70,s we three were approached by record producer 'steve penning' to see if we would like to try out a new studio in nth sydney called 'tin pan alley studios and of course we said yes
    my thanks and gratitude will always go to vernon for his musicianship and also to eric for his guitar work and friendship
    a great time of my life
    cheers dave

    1. Dave, Vernon, Eric - can any of you remember what year this was recorded/released? It's not listed here

    2. Hello Dave, remember me, also know as back then as
      Sarah Parry

  7. Vern McGrath also known as Captain Crabbe is my grandad and he has identified the horse with the name Bess

  8. I used to work with these chaps at Old Sydney Town on the NSW Central Coast at Somersby. Ther are David Hogston standin on the left, and Eric Thompson on the right. Maurice Batchelor on the horse. Oh by the way the Dog is Patch