The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23513   Message #1842643
Posted By: GUEST,Rowan
25-Sep-06 - 03:41 AM
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 Bob,
I don't think anyone would put Dave and myself as "mates"; 'habitues of the folk scene over a long time' might be more accurate. I last saw him more than two decades ago and we were quite friendly as old acquantances are. Whenever I told the story about the ownership of the names it was more to demonstrate the difficulty some of have at learning lessons.

Other aspects of the (Melbourne) Bushwackers that got up a few people's noses were numerous and varied. I shared Shirley Andrews' irritation with what they did to perfectly good names for dances (such as "Waves of Tory" becoming "Waves of Bondi" and "Ninepins Quadrille" becoming "The Drongo") but put it down to their need for flaunting egotism as a marketing tool.

More problematic (for me) was their reputation for forbidding members of their band from participating in sessions in the folk scene. Given that every man jack of them had learned by participating in sessions led by others I regarded such an attitude as deplorable. It certainly didn't endear many of us to them when they tried that out on one particularly lovely fiddler. Later on the costs of such an attitude were displayed when one of them visited Canberra and came to the monthly dance at the Yarralumla Woolshed while Higgins (Higgins Municipal Bush Band) was playing. It was our habit to welcome any layers onto the stage to join us in playing, as most of our dance tunes were well known. We gave this character a mic but he was so arhythmic and out of synch that we ultimately (without drawing attention to it) turned his mic off for the evening. Their habit died abruptly when Louis McManus joined them; he was much too bright a star to be dimmed by such nonsense.

Many who attended the 1979 National in Melbourne will remember the discord when the (Melbourne) Bushwackers played their (extremely loud and electric) bracket in the concert at the Melbourne Town Hall; it got up a lot of people's noses, especially since they were quite deliberately aiming at such an effect. Some may remember that the sound system was abruptly turned off in the middle of the bracket. Apparently someone had stormed into the biobox where the mixing desk was and pulled out several power leads; they may also have made it very time consuming to restore power. I gather punches were thrown, in one case more for dramatic effect than for any damage.

Ultimately the Bushwackers stormed out and the rest of us resumed a great concert. I'm told that the Bushwackers were looking for the person who stormed the biobox with the intention of initiating a criminal prosecution. They never found out who did it and I'm not telling; it certainly wasn't me although I had enormous sympathy for the depth of thei feeling. But then, I've always had a soft spot for concertinas and sweet pipes.

And it was a couple of years after this that I first heard Give Me a Home Among the Gum Trees at Disie Bragg's place.

Cheers, Rowan