|Dimensions||21 × 15 × 1 cm|
CD review by Bob Wilson
Prolific Queensland folksingers Penny Davies and Roger Ilott once again embrace folk-rock elements in their latest CD, Moon Caller.
The signature sound on this CD is the Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar, masterfully played by Roger, a life-long fan of seminal folk-rock band The Byrds.
Big Water, released in 2006, also had a folk-rock feel, but Moon Caller goes further by employing the skills of Sydney session musician Jed Hudson.
Roger played with Jed in Sydney band the Rusty Dusty Bros in the 1970s.
On this album, Jed plays bass, mandolin and adds backing vocals to some tracks.
Other guests include Joe Cannon, who plays electric guitar on his own song, Must Have Been The Moon.
Other backing vocals are provided by six of Roger & Penny’s Granite Belt musician friends.
Penny and Roger’s teenage son Jordan plays drums and Dobro on the 15-track album which includes eight originals, a couple of traditional tunes and one of the few unpublished compositions by Roger and the late Bill Scott (The Gold Field).
Roger and Penny are well known for their collaboration with Bill, introducing the latter’s poems and songs (most famously Hey Rain) to an Australia-wide audience.
Penny’s lyrical skills are much in evidence, including her poem (Waiting For the Moon Caller) in the CD booklet.
Penny also wrote the pensive She’s Like a Tree and co-wrote five tunes with Roger, including her story of migrating to Australia on the good ship Aurelia.
Those who like traditional Australian songs will surely love Roger’s arrangement of Song of the Artesian Water (A.B.Paterson/C.O’Sullivan), about tapping artesian water in one of the world’s most arid countries.
It is a sharp counterpoint to Crazy Weather, a swipe at the wasteful use of energy and rampant consumerism − “A world we thought would last forever, torn apart by crazy weather”.
Roger Ilott produced, recorded and mixed Moon Caller as well as singing and playing guitar, pedal steel, banjo, ukulele and keyboards.
This time, though, he left the electric and acoustic bass licks to Jed Hudson.
Roger tells me he spent more than 100 hours mixing Moon Caller.
Time well spent!
CD review by Eric Ford, “The Folk Show”, Radio Adelaide 101.5FM
Penny and Roger have been making music together for over 30 years. They moved from Sydney to Queensland in 1987. In fact, I was at the farewell BBQ held for them in the Royal National Park in about March of that year.
They have previously released some 16 albums/CD’s and have been on numerous compilations and are regularly heard on “Australia all over”.
Mooncaller, their latest CD, demonstrates why this is so. It is a very good example of what they do, which is Folk /Country, or should that be Country/Folk? The usual suspects/subjects are there, Bushrangers, Gold, Anzacs, Beer and a Pub. Drought and Rain are there also, as is a song relating to Penny’s migration (she like me was a 10 pound tourist!!).
There’s also room for a Joni Mitchell song and a cover of Reg Lindsay’s “Armstrong”. Most of the songs are Penny and or Roger originals. All are arranged by them. Whether it is Penny on lead with Roger on harmony or vice versa, the musicianship shines through, as it does for them individually. Penny’s light vocals and Roger’s huskier voice complement the songs.
Roger, among other instruments, plays pedal steel and a Fender Stratocaster .
Should we have mentioned Country Rock?
Penny plays an acoustic 12 string guitar. I particularly liked Banjo’s “Song of the Artesian Water”. Penny’s “Aurelia” had me reminiscing of my own sea trip to Australia. Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” has added piquancy for Penny and Roger as their son Jordan (who is on the CD) has grown to adulthood. “Must have been the Moon” is revived from Rogers’ days with Rusty Dusty Brothers, a Sydney based country rock/folk band. Joe Cannon, who wrote it, is also featured on this version. They stay with the moon theme on a freshly touched “Armstrong”.
There’s more, much more, to like on the album including “Four Horsemen” and “Pte.Herbert Thomas Scard”, the latter being the “story’ of Roger’s great uncle in the Great War. As I said initially, Mooncaller demonstrates just why Penny and Roger have enjoyed such longevity and success. It is 56 minutes of Folk/Country enjoyment and as you would expect, very professionally packaged.
9 in stock (can be backordered)