Penny Davies and Roger Ilott:
BIRCHGROVE QUAY (RM012)
FAIR WIND HOME (RM024)
reviewed by Jim Low
For many years Penny Davies and Roger Ilott, through their recordings and live performances, have established themselves as a very popular singing duo on the Australian folk scene. Restless Music, their independent folk music label which next year celebrates its thirtieth year, is symbolic of their enduring passion for and support of Australian music and performers. The label proudly boasts a catalogue of over 150 albums.
First released in 1986, Birchgrove Quay is a fine collection of eleven songs, an instrumental and a poem. The re-release includes a bonus three songs and an instrumental. As well as original material, there are accomplished versions of three Harry Robertson songs (Norfolk Whalers, Wee Pot Stove, Deep Sea Tug). Also included are their very popular cover of Bill Scott’s Hey Rain and a beautiful rendition of the Jim Jarvis/Ian Jane song Birchgrove Quay. There are songs which celebrate the wonders of the outdoors, songs inspired by childhood memories, songs from working experiences and those that reflect on change and its consequences.
Fair Wind Home was first released in limited number in 1990. Similar themes are celebrated in this generous offering of seventeen tracks, along with a new one, that of parenthood. It’s good to find Robertson and Scott songs included in this collection as well.
The varied topics and thoughtful arrangements of the songs make these CDs very satisfying listening experiences. Penny and Roger’s many admirers will welcome the re-release of Birchgrove Quay and Fair Wind Home on CD. The two albums are definitely worthy of their new CD life.