|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
A collection of bush (and not so bush) poems put to music by David Johnson over more years than he cares to quantify; and finally brought together on this CD.
CD REVIEW – David Johnson – by Chris Spencer
As David acclaims on the cover, this CD is “a collection
of new songs in the Australian tradition”.
I was a bit mystified about the description and the definition of “new songs” on the album cover.
But a bit of research revealed David Johnson has written new tunes to a dozen bush poems, although he did write two new verses for “Black Billy Tea”.
Most of the arrangements consist of banjo, concertina, banjo mandolin and Johnson plays the lot!
And he also recorded the album and did the arrangements.
Just who is David Johnson?
He is a member of Paddy’s River Band based in the Southern Highlands of NSW, is a collector of Australian ‘bush’ folk songs and has published songbooks of Australian folk lore and songs.
David is a life member and keen supporter of the Sydney based Bush Music Club.
Readers may recognise many of the poems – “Biralla Station Ball”, “Speewa”, “The Press Gang”, and “The Ramble-eer”.
There are two poems from AB Patterson’s “Old Bush Songs” – “Bringing Home the Cows” and “Down by the Sydney Side”.
David also credits where he “found” the songs, such as the Bush Ballads book by Guy Eden and Folk Songs of Australia Vol. 1 (Lime Juice Tub).
Many of the new tunes sound a bit familiar to melodies I’ve heard before; “What a Life” is a bit difficult to digest, but the next track “The Press Gang” works well as it uses a bevy of “sailors” assisting the chorus.
The album is a laid back collection that had me tapping my foot gently most of the time.
It’s not a raucous affair, lacking drums and electric bass.
The title of the album refers to the low-fi nature of the recording process, avoiding the sterile nature of a full on recording studio.
A commendable collection.
10 in stock (can be backordered)