Friday, August 22, 2014

The Wild Colonials "Euabalong Ball" LP 1971 ("A selection of old time dance music")

This is a truly delightful album focusing on old time dance music. Many of these tunes originated outside Australia but they often became "naturalised" even "localised" and the The Wild Colonials have drawn upon local material for this production also including some local compositions notably a Varsovienna and Cosgrove's Schottische".

Incidentally "The Wild Colonials" are not the "Wild Colonial Boys" band. They were Jacko Kevans, Dave de Hugard, Brad Tate, Sandra Tate, Chris Duffy, and Tom Rummery. Lots of good fiddling and squeeze-box playing.

A side comment: The latter-day modern bush bands supposedly striving for authenticity rarely feature piano. My experience is that they were usually the primary instrument used by genuine old-time bands. The other basic instruments were button accordions  and fiddles. Why? Because bush dances were usually very noisy social affairs and these three instruments could be readily heard by the dancers. Sure, other instruments, guitars, mandolins etc, could join in but they definitely submerged into the background noise. Of course, modern sound equipment has changed all that. I'm not complaining as, in my opinion and probably that of the latter-day bush bands, it does sound more "folky" without piano - but do not think that was the way it really was. Anyway, enough nit-picking for now.

This is another offering by Tassie Ian. Thanks again Ian. Lovely album in great condition and beautifully sound engineered by one Ross Linton. This is definitely one for the toe-tappers and old time dancers but the music is also great otherwise. Jacko Kevans does vocals on "Euabalong Ball" amd Dave de Hugard on "The Drover's Dream". Liner notes are by Warren Fahey.

Tracklist
1. Cunnamulla Stocking Jig & The Flying Pieman
2. Davy Nick Knack & The Soldier's Joy
3. Euabalong Ball (Jacko Kevans - vocals)
4. Sailors' Hornpipe (Jack Tar)
5. Varsovienna
6, The High Level Hornpipe
7. The Manchester Gallop & Click Go the Shears
8. Durham Reel & Mason's Apron
9. Cosgrove's Schottische
10. The Drover's Dream (Dave de Hugard - vocals)
11. Mountain Road & Sally Gardens
12. The Blackthorn Stick, Father O'Flynn & Irish Washerwoman
13. Brown Jug Polka & Jenny Lind

Download from Here (51Mb - MP3 192-224 VBR ranging 190-207)
If download is no longer available please let me know by comment or email to mr.stockman@gmail.com

5 comments:

  1. Thanks Paul and Ian for making this album accessible once more.
    Might have to do a little pitch shifting though if any one wants to play along with the tunes! (Not a criticism, just an observation.) Audacity to the rescue....

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    1. Thanks for that information. Any chance you can let us know the pitch shift/s. I do not trust that I'll get it right on my own.

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    2. Hmmm. Everything just slightly flat of concert pitch, which could be a turntable, or just as likely, a pressing issue. However, raising the pitch slightly to compensate for this placed more than half of the tracks in keys which are other than that usually associated with the particular tune, and in many cases, "non-folky" keys which are most unlikely to have been used on the original recording session (B, C#, F#, Ab), knowing, as I do, most of the musicians involved and the instruments used.

      There is little consistency in the pitch increase/decrease required to put the tracks into what I suspect were the original keys as played. Some just a semitone; others two or three semitones. Some are in what I would suggest are the original keys.

      I strongly suspect that the artistic management at EMI were, at best, ignorant of the genre, wishing to produce an album for "listening pleasure" and doctoring it accordingly, or at worst, careless in the production process. But we must remember that it was nearly 45 years ago, and production facilities and equipment were not what they are today.

      Speed does not seem to be an issue though, most tracks being around the tempo I would have expected, allowing for a bit of license from the musicians involved.

      I'm not sure that you would want to publish a "re-pitched" version of the album, Paul. That could involve potential copyright issues, best avoided. I suspect that anyone wishing to play along with the music would be familiar enough with the (free) Audacity (or similar) program and could work it out for themselves. For everyone else, enjoy it as it stands in what is likely the state of its original release.

      Thanks again, Paul and Ian, for the post

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  2. This album has a history. When I produced it (I wasn't given credit because that's the way EMI worked) I had a battle to get the musicians to slow down and also for the engineer to listen properly. I knew what I wanted but I didn't get it. It was frustrating and, sadly, the performers thought a few 'smokes' might have improved the performance - it didn't. It was only available for eight months and I forced them to delete it. My last interpretation of Australian dance music (2013 Australian Bush Orchestra/ABC) was far superior and, sadly, only available on digital now that the CD has sold out.

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  3. slow it down for players - be my guest

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