CD review by Tony Smith
A feature of the annual National Folk Festival in Canberra is the gathering of musicians to perform works by a specific songwriter.
The event always produces some highly unusual interpretations of classic songs.
Since 2010, the Troubadour Foundation has operated in parallel, with producer, Marina Hurley, musical director, Carl Pannuzzo, and executive producer, Andrew Pattison, bringing musicians together to record covers of these well known tunes.
Compilations have included the songs of Joni Mitchell, Eric Bogle, Bob Dylan, Judy Small and Gordon Lightfoot, all of which are available from Trad&Now.
The Foundation has used funds raised by sales of the CDs for folk projects including purchase of a community hall near Port Fairy, refurbishing a dance floor in Canberra, assisting production of CDs and helping musicians whose instruments have been stolen.
The 2017 project was a tribute to Pink Floyd and in particular their bestselling album, The Dark Side of the Moon.
The tracks covered include ‘Speak to me’, ‘Breathe’, ‘On the run’, ‘Time’, ‘The great big gig in the Sky’, ‘Money’, ‘Us and them’, Any colour you like’, ‘Brain damage’ and ‘Eclipse’, on which almost the whole ensemble performed.
Several musicians contributed to each track.
These were Alan Pickstock, Bohemian Nights (violin and accordion), Carl Pannuzzo (keyboards), Jacob McGuffie (guitar), Jodi Moore, Josh Bennett, Liz Frencham, Martin Pearson, Nicky Bomba, Parvyn Singh, Penny Larkins (all vocals and various instruments), Pete Fidler (dobro), Peter Vadiveloo (percussion), Robbie Melville (guitar), Vincent Bradley (trumpet), Roger Montgomery (narration) and Louis Richard Bradley (squawks, scream and gurgles).
Steve Vella recorded and mixed, while David Briggs did the mastering.
The album was released on LP in 1973 and has often been described as a pioneering work of British psychedelic rock.
Apparently, band members were concerned that one of their group had some mental health issues, and set out to explore some of the pressures causing him difficulties.
The album also used loops and synthetic music in original ways.
The artwork for the cover features a rainbow emerging from a prism.
The group donated some of the proceeds towards the making of the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
As well as comprehensive sleeve notes on this Troubadour Foundation CD, there is a slip-out booklet that gives brief biographies of each artist and contact details in case listeners want to hear and purchase more of their work.
With such a variety of musical styles on offer, you would have to be hard to please if you did not find at least one musician to like.
While there have been many spin-offs from The Dark Side of the Moon, this Australian folk version must be among the best covers available.
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