|Dimensions||14 × 12.5 × 1 cm|
CD Reviews by Ian Dearden
The Troubador Foundation, named for Andrew Pattison’s legendary Melbourne folk club and folk festival venue (sadly missing from both Woodford and National Folk Festivals in recent times, but that’s another story), has as its mission to “provide assistance and encouragement for the sustainability of Australian folk culture.”
The Foundation started with a bequest from a small group of people, and continues to rely on fundraising to carry out its mission, which has (among other projects) assisted in travelling costs for musicians, provided assistance with recording CDs, enabled the purchase of an old church near Port Fairy to retain as a community venue, and funded a new dance floor for the National Folk Festival in Canberra. The primary source of funding for this extraordinarily important organization is the sale of a series of CDs titled “Festival Folk Sing ..” of which these two CDs are the second and third, the first being “Festival Folk Sing Joni Mitchell”.
Under the stewardship of the indefatigable Marina Hurley, combined with the engineering expertise of Steve Vella and the mastering talents of David Briggs, this ongoing project has been not only financially worthwhile, but artistically brilliant. The Eric Bogle album is a single CD, the Bob Dylan album a double CD. Between them, they showcase the cream of Australian folk music talent, with a few (foreign) ring-ins for good measure! The Eric Bogle album features Eric himself on his previously unrecorded track The Promise. No such coup with the Bob Dylan CD, but that album has two extraordinary posthumous contributions, from each of Alistair Hulett (Just Like A Woman) and Trevor Lucas (Forever Young).
Each of these gems on their own is worth the price of admission, but there is so much more spread over these three CDs.
Speaking of foreign ring-ins, on the Eric Bogle album you’ll fi nd Canadian James Keelaghan covering Eric’s tribute to the late Stan Rogers, Safe In The Harbour, that consummate English folksinger Martyn Wyndham-Read covering Shelter, Irish singer Mary Black with an exquisite reading of All The Fine Young Men and the irrepressible Vin Garbutt with an aching No Man’s Land.
On the Bob Dylan album, Gilly Darbey sings Just Like A Woman (couldn’t resist that), and Roy Bailey connects the sixties with the present day in his version of With God On Our Side. It’s difficult to single out individual performances – every one of more than forty performers on these two albums brings something special and moving to their readings of these songs, be they familiar favourites or obscure nuggets. Special mentions include The Poachers singing Dylan’s Tomorrow Is A Long Time, The Scarecrows with Bogle’s Singing The Spirit Home and Russell Morris tackling Dylan’s classic Mr Tambourine Man. There’s also a delicious pleasure in hearing John Munro step out from his usual role as sideman for Eric Bogle to sing And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda.
I’m sure he had no problem remembering the words, and shines a new light on this classic from the Bogle canon. It remains to say – these two albums represent great (musical) value, their proceeds will assist Australian folk music and musicians in many different ways, and there will no doubt be more in the series (word is that the next album features covers of the songs of the legendary Judy Small).
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