A piece of Australian vinyl that dates from 1980 or thereabouts. Represents the apex of the traditional dance revival in Australia. The elements of ITM are there, with a dash of Scots, English and northern Europe. Probably representative of the Australian immigrant experience of the previous century. At least one of the performers, Louis McManus, came from a strong irish background as I understand it. But the interpretation was quite ‘modern’. I remember with amusement quite a few traditionalists doing a Pete Seeger impersonation about the electrification, and the on-stage shenanigans. Obviously they knew nothing of the great Scott Skinner whose music they admired. But the crowds loved it. For a few years the Festival Hall in Melbourne was packed out with young people dancing simple line dances, quadrilles and the like. Of course the names of the dances were suitably updated. Pick of the bunch.. Nine Pin Quadrille became the Drongo. The other major innovation was starting the night with the hard dances and getting progressively easier as the crowd became progressively intoxicated. Of course, the popularity didn’t last, and bush dancing followed the same trajectory as square dancing before it, and thankfully, break dancing afterward. Nothing lasts, everything changes in the pit of modern musical fashion. And then the die-hards retreat to sites like the Session, But many of those diehards of my vintage are there because of the popularisation of this group.
And I have to quote a line of the instrumental lineup…
Bill Smith Harmonica, Bones, Spoons, Bodhran, Axes, Cross-cut saw
The name was a lie.. Jan Wozitsky, now a local exponent of frailing style banjo. But the instrument lineup was ‘fair dinkum’.
Forgot to add. I thought this an appropriate submission on 26th Jan.. Australia Day. Sort of Australia’s St Pats Day on valium.
Well done Neil
It’s available on CD as a google will quickly show
Possibly the best “electric ceilidh band” recording I’ve heard and the record hasn’t aged in the 25 years or so that I’ve had a copy. Louis McManus playing on mandolin, banjo, acoustic and electric guitar can be heard in the mix throughout.
A lot of beginners in Australia learned their sets offf that record
Still available! I hadn’t even bothered to look. Just assumed my collection of vinyl was long of th elist.
And I didn’t mention that other cracker instrument… the LAGERPHONE! All these ITM types complaining about the bodhran. Try a 1.5 metre pole with a hundred lager bottle tops attached, played with a serrated wooden stick to simulate a side drum. Is it just an Australian problemn. Still, whenever a new band formed there was always a great lagerphone party to collect the tops. Only the non-traditionalist went to a home bre shop to buy news unused caps!