Danny Spooner was regarded as one of the foremost traditional singers in Australia.
An English-born Australian, he presented songs of work and life from both cultures.
As a working man and a historian, his chat between songs gave songs a context and life. Through years of festivals, concerts, house concerts and camps in Australia, Europe and North America, he was welcomed for his personal warmth, and loved to pass songs on.
2016 Recorded 2016 in the Blue Mountains by Andy Busitill, Blue Mountain Sound Danny’s final CD was intended to go with him for a final tour of north-east America.
It includes favourite songs, trad and contemporary.
When Danny drove back towards Daylesford from singing somewhere, he’d enter the Wombat Forest and say, ‘Now I’m home’. The cover has just that sense. The other many photos show the man in action.
Danny Spooner – Home
CD review by Chris Spencer
TN2434-88 – $25
TN156 July 23
I would hope that most readers are well aware of the recorded work of one of Australia’s most well known concertina players and folk singer, upholding the English tradition of a troubadour.
This is one of the last albums that Spooner recorded before his death in 2017.
On this richly designed album, Spooner has included a full colour 20 page booklet, that supplies all the lyrics of the songs therein, and more importantly, a short introduction explaining where he had sourced the song and providing some background.
I’m impressed with the covers of Australian songwriters he has chosen to include.
Two Eric Bogle songs,“Shelter” and “The Gift of Years”, the latter I heard described at the Newstead Live Festival in January, as perhaps the best song that Bogle ever wrote.
Spooner has also included his version of Hugh McDonald’s “Diamantina Drover”.
There’s also a cover of John Warner’s “The Miner’s Washing” and Anne Infante’s “Hangin’ on for the Rain”.
Despite the lack of extensive arrangements or instrumentation, Spooner keeps the listener’s attention with well annunciated lyrics and minimum distraction!
In several songs he is accompanied only his concertina (“Shelter”, “One of the Has-Beens”, “Thirty Shillings a Month”. “The Culler’s Lament”, “Hangin’ on for the Rain”, “Union Boy”, “The Wee One”).
Others he sings unaccompanied (“The Miner’s Washing”) or, as on “The Backblocks Shearer”, with percussion provided by spoons.
It’s not until track 8, “Diamantina Drover”, that another instrument is introduced, fiddle played by Bob McInnes.
Again, it’s just the one instrument in the background.
McInnes also plays on 2 other tracks.
Danny plays guitar on “On the Banks of the Reedy Lagoon”, an action I don’t ever recall Danny playing live.
An unknown/unnamed singer accompanies Spooner on the chorus of “Another Fall of Rain”.
There’s also a version of “Shearer’s Dream”, usually credited to Henry Lawson.
Spooner mentions in his notes that evidence exists that the song was known while Lawson was a teenager, so perhaps it should be credited to ‘Trad’!
The recording engineer, Andy Busuttil, adds Irish whistle on the final two tracks “Humpin’ Me Drum” and “The Gift of Years”.
If this album is not in your collection, I highly recommend you make amends and purchase a copy immediately.