Friday, October 16, 2015

Various Artists "Folk Concert on Campus" Sydney University 1964 LP

Quite an impressive lineup here. This folk concert was held by the Sydney University Folk Music Society over three days in December 1964 at the University's Union Hall. RCA attended and recorded sessions. I am guessing that the contents of this album represent the best of the performers and the tracks are said to be in performance order. I presume the album was released in 1965.

The first of the artists was Beth Schurr who is mentioned by Warren Fahey as being an early folk participant especially in respect of live TV performances.

Declan Affley, despite passing away far too early in 1985 is very well known in Australian folk circles. Born in Wales to parents of Irish heritage, he became a merchant seaman but jumped ship in Australia in 1959 and became fully immersed in the Australian folk scene. There is some distortion in some of his tracks and I suspect that he was then a sound recordists's nightmare.

Roy Waterson (aka Watterson) was, like Affley, a young migrant to Australia. He was born a Liverpudlian in 1935 but was reared in Wales whose culture he readily adopted. He sings beautifully on his two tracks accompanied by Irish harpist Astrid Frost, an immigrant from Dublin. Roy was a persistent performer including opera, concerts and clubs but always at the edges of true success. Eventually, he developed and ran the very successful "Good Old Days Concerts" aimed at senior audiences and received both Australian and Welsh awards. He died in Sydeny in 2013.

Jean Lewis was almost 20 when she performed at the Concert. At the time she was a student at the University and a activist supporting the National Aborigines Day and the Freedom Ride on 1964. As "Jeannie" Lewis, she went on to a very successful musical and stage career. She featured on the Come Listen to Australia album featured on this blog for "Red Dust".

Paul Marks was an occasional folk singer but was more into jazz, skiffle, blues and spirituals. He migrated from the UK in 1956. He abandoned music probably not that long after his performance at the concert.

Last but definitely not least is the late Marian Henderson performing four numbers. Look elsewhere on this blog and the web for more details about her.

I received this album in MP3 at 320 CBR in the rough. I have managed to get some of the glitches out but the recordings had some of the typical problems of live performances and there is variation specific to each artist. I eliminated the introductions and the massive amounts of applause as most, if not all, of it was "canned" applause with absolutely no vocal noise at all - just clapping.  I guess that RCA thought that was much neater.

It is not all that surprising that in 1964, the students involved in the Society were far more interested in performances of non-Australian folk songs. Only two of the 18 tracks are Australian. "Emu Plains" by Lewis and "Bluey Brink the Shearer" by Henderson. Speaking of "Emu Plains" - can someone please tell me what instrument is providing the backing?

Tracklist
By Beth Schurr
1. The Keys of Canterbury
2. The Next Market Day

By Declan Affley
3. Cruiskeen Lan
4. The Moonshiner
5. Brian O'Lynn
6. God Bless England

By Roy Waterson with Astrid Frost on Irish Harp
7. Counting the Goats
8. Fair Liza

By Jean Lewis
9. The Lag's Song
10. Roberta
11. Emu Plains

By Paul Marks
12. Tom Pierce
13. Sipping Cider through a Straw
14. The Frog and the Mouse

By Marian Henderson
15. Old Joe Clark
16. The Cat and the Mouse
17. The Devil and the Farmer's Wife (Child 278)
18. Bluey Brink the Shearer.

Click here for Download Link of the album which is a compressed file needing to be decompressed into its folder and tracks. (I get asked often why the download file does not play)
Tracks are Mono MP3 224-256 VBR Mono 34Mb

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Bush Music Club "Songs from the Shearing Sheds" Mono LP 1966 Re-issue

Another welcome offering from the Victorian Bush Folkie.

The Bush Music Club was inaugurated in Sydney in 1954 and is still very active today. The renowned collector, John Meredith, was one of the founders and is also featured is a lead singer on this album.

This album was originally released in about 1959 under the title "Songs of the Swaggies" and then released in about 1966 as "Songs from the Shearing Sheds". Both titles are equally misleading.

The LP itself has cleaned up fairly well. The recording and editing was of a reasonable standard for 1959 especially considering that it was almost certainly a budget production leading to some distortion.

But we do need to recognise that the context is that the performers were a group of ardent enthusiasts seeking to generate greater interest in Australia's folk music legacy (these were very early days in the folk music revival period and Australian folk music was being swamped by American influences in the popular music scene).

Frankly, the performances are, IMHO, pretty ordinary especially in respect to instrumental backing  The percussion is often overdone and discordant and the tin whistle is quite shrill at times. For me, it is a pretty disappointing album but that should not distract from the significant contribution that these people made to the early popularising of Australian folk music.

The download file is small because it is mono.

Tracklist
1. Charlie Mopps (First time I have heard that one for many years - great song)
2. The Ballad of Catalpa
3. To the Shores of Botany Bay.
4. Dennis O'Reilly
5. Paddy Fagan
6. 16000 miles from Home
7. Nine miles from Gundagai
8. The Ryebuck Shearer
9. The Drover's Dream
10. The Ram of Dalby
11. The Flash Stockman
12. Jog along till Shearing

Click here to download album as MP3 224-256 VBR mono. 23MB
Click here to download album as FLAC version mono.  74MB
You will need to decompress the downloaded file. Let me know if the link fails at mr.stockman@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A.L. Lloyd "Across the Western Plains" Wattle LP 1958

Picture: Drovers on the stock route on the Old Man Plain near Hay
My mate Gonzo rescued and ripped this 1958 Wattle label LP after locating it in very poor condition in a shed. His notes about the recovery and the extent to which he went to make the LP playable are included in the downloadable album. H has gone to considerable effort for which I, and probably many of the blog readers, offer our thanks. This is truly a historical album.

"Bert" Lloyd was an Englishman who spent some years in Australia mainly working in the Lachlan area where he collected several Australian folk songs. He was also a prolific performer of  British Isles folk songs.

Wattle was an Australian record producer with a strong focus on Australian folk music (refer to the recent posting of  the 1957 "The Bushwhackers" Wattle LP or do a web search for more details if required). This was release D1. There are extensive notes on each track on the rear of the album cover.

This is by no means a "clean" rip but Gonzo has brought up the tracks to a very listenable standard and it is easy to overlook the occasional glitches.

The vocals are all by Lloyd but he is very ably backed by Peggy Seeger on banjo and guitar; Ralph Rinzler on mandolin; and John Cole on mouth organ. The rear of the cover advises "Words and a map of place names included" but that is missing. Additional:- Paul Edmund Zajaczkowski has a prime example of the LP which has the notation neatly crossed out and a stamped message added - "Words and Notes available from Wattle Recordings ...". He is also offering the LP or copying.

Tracklist
Side 1   
1. The Flash Stockman
2. Click Go the Shears
3. One of the Has-Beens
4. The Road to Gundagai (really Lazy Harry's - not to be confused with O'Hagan's "Along the Road to Gundagai)
5. The Maryborough Miner
6. South Australia
Side 2
7. Lachlan Tigers
8. The Shearer's Dream
9. Wallaby Stew
10. The Wild Rover
11. Bluey Brink
12. Across the Western Plains

Click here to download compressed album with cover graphics and notes 97Mb 320CBR
File will need to be decompressed. Send an email or make a comment if download link fails and I will re-up the file.


Ball & Chain "Autumn Days in Clare Valley" LP 1976

This is another offering from the Victorian Bush Folkie cleaned by me.

This in quite a surprising album considering its origins - four part-time local musicians from the Clare Valley getting together on a hot summer Saturday afternoon in 1976 in a Clare menswear shop to record the tracks for this album. The album is dedicated to the 1976 Clare Valley Wine Festival but all proceeds were to go to "aid the Clare Swimming Pool".

For those not in the know, Clare is a town in the Clare Valley in South Australia and produces some excellent wines. Well worth a visit if you are every near there.

Despite its origin, the album is of a good quality and many of the tracks are well worth a listen even though some tracks have suffered from scratching over the years - most notably the "Waltzing Matilda" track but then I think we have already published more than enough versions of that song to last us forever.

Those four performers were school teacher Jim Stokes (who also composed the first track), arts and crafts dealer Tony Wells, Quelltaler Wines vineyard manager Chris Smith, and electrical goods store manager, David Lawler. Side 1 of the LP was Australian themed (tracks 1-7) and side 2 consists of international favourite from the folk revival period.

Tracklist
1. Clare Valley (Jim Stokes)
2. Ryebuck Shearer
3. Waltzing Matilda (a little patcht)
4. Lime Juice Tub
5. Botany Bay
6. Moreton Bay
7. Ram from Clare (same one as from Dalby, Albury and many, many other localities - originally migrated from England)
8. This Little Light of Mine
9. Copper Kettle
10 Nancy Whisky (Calton Weaver)
11. Tribute to Newfoundland
12. Lonesome Traveller
13. Fair and Tender Lady
14. All for m' Grog (Western Ocean version)

New Link 30 Mar 2017 Click here to download compressed album with graphics - 224-256 VBR - 48Mb
The file will need to be decompressed into its two folders and 14 tracks.
Let me know if the link does not work and I will re-up the file