News from Western Victoria – “Songs with Legs”
Ee by gum. It's gradely to be back in Trad & Now with a few lines. This time about a couple of brave troupers: Fay White and Jane Thompson. They were encountered last Saturday night in the wheat-lands of Western Victoria at Rapunyup. An area that more frequently hears, clear my throat and expectorate, plagiarists of American country & western music and singers ashamed of their Australian accents.
Fay & Jane were performing as the duo "Songs with Legs". They sing songs that in the old troubadour idiom are going places. Going not only into your mind to stimulate your imagination but, swaggie-like, they are travelling around with Fay & Jane to bring the songs to the people in their village & church halls and homes. Many of these are also songs destined for the future to become tomorrow's folk songs from our today.
I have been aware of Fay White for getting on for twenty years through her performances at the National Folk festival. Aware as in attending one or two rare concerts with a lack of in depth understanding of what she was trying to achieve. Time and my ageing like smelly tasty Lancashire cheese has lifted my understanding. Alongside people like Margaret Bradford, John Dengate, Eric Bogle, John Warner, Ulick O'Boyle or Utah Phillips, Fay is a wizard at recording in song the life experiences, emotions and history of those who are most important to us individually. Not the kings and queens, the prime ministers, presidents or generals but the mums & dads. The every day people who ensure that the children safely cross the street to school each day. The firemen and SES workers. The farmer who produces milk for our breakfast porridge and a raft of other similar VIPs. In other words, those who are fundamentally responsible for much of our minute by minute existence, well being and experience.
Jane Thompson should be remembered from being an integral part of Blackwood with the Rigby brothers. They have quite a few CD's to their credit (see the Trad & Now 'shoppe') and have toured extensively in the past. Jane is also part of “The Rainmakers”. I will take great pleasure in airing on the Gypsy Jack Boggle Show “the Rainmaker's“ new CD “Yandoit, Songs of Hope & Peace” during the upcoming festive season. It will also enable me to rub some perspiring local C&W singers' ears in the sound of “The Rainmakers” singing abilities. “The Rainmakers” recently won the Liz Johnston Award at the National Festival. Jane has only recently joined with Fay to create this new duo “Songs with Legs”. Fay not only specially mentioned to me her thanks for being joined in the duo by Jane's vocal and playing contributions but also her song writing and awesome arranging skills.
I hope that the duo continues as they not only skilfully harmonise their beautiful voices and complimentary musical skills but also, at times, bounce their repartee like squash balls off the solid foundation and concrete walls of their respective life experiences. I suggest that the pairing of these two artistes can only substantially improve the “Collective of Australian folk song” and live performance for the betterment of fellow artiste and listener alike. I for one appreciated the fact that Jane, together with James Rigby have undoubtedly shared their skill & knowledge with the younger group members in “The Rainmakers”. A move that the future will hopefully fully appreciate and give appropriate thanks to them and all who have contributed to the continuance of the art. If not it will be another sad day for humanity and folk music.
Many thanks both Fay and Jane for your siren songs. You can listen to many of Fay White's on her current album “These people, this place: everyday grace” made with the help of a lot of friends. Siren songs that are only dangerous if you are a listener who habitually and exclusively listens to lyrics containing the guile and the short lived inconsequential pap that many favour. Fay & Jane's lyrics are about the real stories of humankind. The kings and queens and their kind frequently do not wish to hear or allow songs like these. Fay and Jane's songs contain too many inherent truths and lack the guile demanded by those wanting to control history. Learn more at www.makingmusic.com.au about “The Rainmakers” and simply contact Fay through firstname.lastname@example.org .
To you dear reader, thank you for joining me, and please do so in person when you are driving through Horsham in Western Victoria so that I can record a chat for the radio. The Gypsy Jack Boggle Show is themed each week of the month. The themes are Australian, Celtic, English and World: folk and traditional music. The weekly classical music show is taking a break at the moment. As I sometimes say to exit the programme “Drive carefully and don't drink & drive, 'cos we don't want more cripples like me in the world. And…........tune in next Sunday or chew your own ears off! Make yours an f.cubed (f.f.f.or f.3) f.f.f.folking good week.” Gypsy Jack