Thursday, 10 August 2017

Wattle Recordings

Australian traditional singers &​ musicians. Sydney :  Wattle Recordings, 1963.
1 sound disc : analog, 33 1/​3 rpm, mono. ; 12 in. + record notes. Wattle archive series ; 2


Simon McDonald – Creswick Ballad Singer
The Old Man Kangaroo
Billy Brink
Jack's The Lad
Napoleon's March
Ginny On The Moor
The Lost Sailor
Father O'Flynn
Rakes Of Kildare
The Golden Vanity
The Banks Of Claudy
The Wild Rover
Gentle Annie
The Banks Of Riverine
The Dying Shearer
Farewell To Greta
This Female Rambling Sailor
Johhny Sands
The Spanish Merchant's Daughter
According To The Act
Leave Her, Jollies, Leave Her.

Transcribed from field recordings collected by the Folk Lore Society of Victoria, with commentaries by Edgar Waters

The earliest Wattle recordings were of the Bush Music Club band "The Bushwhackers"  who described themselves as below:


The Bushwhackers Band was formed - but that is the wrong word; the Bushwhackers Band was not formed really, it just grew.

First of all, there was John Meredith, who is one of our most successful collectors of folk music. He has recorded scores of songs and tunes from bush singers and players, and his pile of tape recordings grows bigger month by month. He plays the button accordion, a favourite bush instrument. In 1952, he spent a holiday with his familyin Holbrook, on the edge of the Riverina country. His friend Brian Loughlin went along with him. They found Meredith's brother playing the lagerphone, a home-made instrument that was popular with some of the small dance bands down that way. Brian Loughlin took to the lagerphone with enthusiasm.

Back in Sydney, they recruited a guitarist, Chris Kempster, and began playing for a few of their friends to dance to - the old bush dances - and began to sing some of the bush songs. People enjoyed it, and pretty soon they were performing in public. Other players and their instruments joined the group at intervals: Harry Kaye, mouth organ; Jack Barrie, bush bass; Alec Hood, bones; Alan Scott, tin whistle.

Australian folk music was new to most Sydney-siders, even the idea that there was such a thing was new to most of them. But once people heard it, they wanted more, and the Bushwhackers found themselves singing more and more: concerts in Sydney, invitations to visit Lithgow and Newcastle and Mudgee, broadcasting, making records.

Highbrows may say they are crude, and folklorists sniff and say that their style is quite untraditional; and the Bushwhackers themselves are the first to admit their limitations. But they have given a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, and they have done more than anybody to arouse interest in our folk songs.

They have been very successful pioneers in the revival of Australian folk music. Other performers coming along now may be more successful in artistry and technique, but they will owe much of their success to the interest created by these pioneers.

A band just exactly like the Bushwhackers never existed anywhere in the bush. And if it had, it would have played only dance music; Australian folk singers, like those of the British Isles, almost invariably sing without the accompaniment of any instrument. But, with one exception, the instruments used by the Bushwhackers were used in the bush to make folk music.

The exception is the guitar; it seems to have been almost completely unknown in the bush until the invasion of hill-billy music from America, But it was much too useful to leave out of the band. The button accordion, the mouth organ, and the tin whistle, are all more or less conventional instruments, which were much used for dancing to, and also just for playing tunes to while the time away.

The other instruments are all home-made. The bones are very simple. A couple of pieces of bullock rib, held between the fingers and clacked together in rhythm. Some people use spoons instead. Maybe the use of the bones in Australia has something to do with the popularity of the black-face minstrel shows last century.

No comments:

Post a Comment