ABC Music 13942
A Panorama of Bush Songs is one of two companion CDs recently released featuring Warren Fahey and various musicians and singers who, for the most part, made up the well-known performing and recording group The Larrikins.
This CD is jam-packed with 27 songs from the bush about the vast open spaces, the tracks, the farms, the shearing sheds, the bushrangers, the drovers and even about love and the sea. The songs have been judiciously chosen by David Mulhallen, former ABC radio producer and presenter. Fahey has provided very informative and personal notes on all the songs. These are contained in a most attractive booklet, with various photographs as well.
None of the songs selected for this CD have come from vinyl recordings. Rather they have been chosen from Fahey's archive collection of live and studio performances.
These performances, which range from intimate venues and recording studios, to the large concert stage, have a definite live feel to them. Some of the songs afford the listener the impromptu improvisation which live performance often encourages. You are also treated to some rather abrupt endings. For the most part, these recordings effectively capture the variant ambience of each performance setting. This further highlights the resilience and strength of many of the songs chosen.
These are songs that were meant to be sung, even those with quite wordy phrasings, ready to trip up the casual singer (eg Colonial Experience). Some of the songs chosen, such as Jog Along Til Shearing, 10 000 Miles Away and Euabalong Ball, will be familiar to most listeners. However, also included are some curiosities like The Wonderful Crocodile, The Nugget Family and A Long Time Ago On The Logan.
The songs dig deep into Australia's history and contain a variety of fascinating subject matter. There are songs of pathos, humour and extreme exaggeration and the exuberant performances do more than justice to them. Warren Fahey has a genuine passion for the songs. This is evident in his clear, robust vocals and the capable, varied instrumental arrangements.
A Panorama of Bush Songs is a truly valuable collection of songs and a most enjoyable listening experience. It quickly gets you singing and tapping along. I am sure there will be many who won't be able to resist the temptation to get up on their feet. These are songs that are certainly not ready for the archive yet!