The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23513   Message #1842405
Posted By: GUEST,Rowan
24-Sep-06 - 07:02 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Give Me a Home among the Gum Trees
Subject: RE: Req/ADD: Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees
Greetings Andrez,
As one who was interested in who was doing what and with whom (mostly about dances and concertinas), and who had friends who did the catering for the Bushwackers gigs I am fairly certain that the Bushwackers ( or their other manifestation "The Sundowners") didn't do the song until well after Smith's Gully had been playing it widely. Being at Steiglitz (60 miles west of Melbourne) and then an inner-suburbs (Moreland/Brunswick/Carlton/Fitzroy/Northcote) person, my main contact with the Eltham/Christmas Hills/Warrandyte scene was via Disie and my brother.

I didn't meet Disie until 1981 and, from her, I gathered that the LP had had only a limited circulation and the the song wasn't sung. When Smith's Gully took on the song Marshall was quite keen on it for its 'newness' and lack of prior appearance in the repertoire.

You might be correct that Dave did it but I never heard him do it, not even at Nariel. Your description of Dave as an original member of the Bushwackers reminds me of two stories. I had been involved in the early Boree Log sessions that led to the later establishment (separately) of both the Melbourne Uni Folk Club and the Bushwackers in the mid 60s. About ten years ago Dobe Newton was being interviewed by the Tamworth ABC at the Country Music Festival and was asked whether he had been an original member of the Bushwackers. His answer was a perfect imitation of a politician and very similar in its effect to the one given by Bullamakanka when asked when they had written the song we're talking about. Dobe was a later addition.

The other story concerns the frequent progress of band membership. The Bushwackers went from strength to strength but took its toll on some. As I understand it, Dave was the first of the original members (those who'd stayed the distance to become professional, anyway) to tire of band requirements. When he left, all the others wanted to keep on performing, and do so as "The Bushwackers". Dave, prudent accountant that he was, had taken the trouble to register the band's name and they weren't going to be able to do so without a proper financial transaction transferring the name from Dave the rest of them. All done and dusted.

Dave did a few solo gigs but gradually, more and more Bushwackers left. After a while Dave seemed keen to be part of a band again and several of the ex Bushwackers coalesced around him to form a band called The Sundowners. They also were very successful, as you'd expect. So successful, in fact, that after some time (as I understand it) Dave again became tired of being part of a band, and decided to leave. Trouble was, the rest wanted to keep performing as The Sundowners. Guess what happened next!

Well, they did, and Dave (because he also owned the tapes of performances of both bands) made a handsome effort of doing solo gigs with a wonderful set of backing tapes. What you might call the best of both worlds. Wonderful!

Cheers, Rowan