The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #3254   Message #329065
Posted By: Bob Bolton
28-Oct-00 - 02:16 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Woolloomooloo Lair
Subject: RE: LYR REQ: Woolloomooloo Lair
G'day all,

Dani: What Alan alludes to is a modern change (or dichotomy, really) in the design and application of the lagerphone - basically between bands with a singing bent and dance music oriented bands. The original lagerphones and their descendants, such as I describe were found in bush bands of the song-oriented revival (1950s - '70s), beginning with the archetypal bush band The Bushwhackers (~1952 - 1957).

These lagerphones were designed to produce up to 4 different types of sound (from the bounce, the strike, the stroke with the notched striker and assorted jingles when the shaft was smartly turned, shaking the brass folly bells across the crosspiece. Singing could be effectively accompanied by a lagerphone working sensitively in concert with the melody and chord instruments

Over this period there was an increasing focus on dance music - often with an unhealthy concentration on Irish music from the modern hell-for-leather session school, rather than the dance oriented, more European-derived, traditional Australian repertoire. This needed a fast, basic beat - lifted from rock-influenced bands like the later (70s - '90s) "Bushwackers" - and a style of playing developed that bounced the lagerphone rapidly and loudly while keeping up a steady 'roll' with the side of the striker hitting the lower shaft and the bottom of the (now lower placed) crosspiece alternately.

The difference in sound, style and attitude is analogous to the difference between acoustic, nylon-strung guitar and solid-body electric. Alan's style is somewhat intermediate - with, for instance, no crosspiece at all. With the original pattern crosspiece, made of one horizontal and one vertical section of 25mm x 75mm dar hardwood on my lagerphone - and carrying many more bottletops, the overall weight is probably much the same as Alan's and a good volume is produced with relatively subtle striking techniques.

At the other end of the section, within Sydney bush bands, we have Wally Bolliger of Ryebuck who was the local instigator of the "heavy brigade" approach about 20 years back. His lagerphone is built around a heavy hoe handle and has a heavy hardwood crosspiece and a metal-sheafed striking area, necessitated by his metal-studded (vs traditional smoothly rippled hardwood) striker.

The volume is prodigious ... and he now needs to wear a wrist support brace to play it!

Callie: I am glad you enjoyed the song (the original collected version - an interesting contrast to the popular one). I sang it for Lena, before she moves out of Woolloomooloo.


Bob Bolton