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Buywell Just Classical


Sounds of Australia – The National Registry of Recorded Sound
Peter Dawson - Along the Road to Gundagai (1931) [4:48]
The Easybeats - Friday On My Mind (1966) [2:50]
Anonymous - The Landing of the Australian Troops in Egypt (1915) [3:10]
Gough Whitlam - 'Kerr's cur' speech (1975) [1:07]
Queens Hall Light Orchestra - The Majestic Fanfare (ABC radio news theme) 1945 [0:59]
Nellie Melba - Chant Vénitien (1904) [1:42]
Traditional Indigenous Musicians - Tribal Music of Australia (1953) [2:29]
Sydney Symphony Orchestra - Welcome Ceremony from John Antill's Corroboree (1950) [2:57]
Fanny Cochrane Smith - Tasmanian Aboriginal songs (1899) [2:25]
Harold Blair - Maranoa Lullaby (1950) [2:17]
The Warumpi Band - Jailanguru Pakarnu (1983) [2:52]
Sir Ernest Shackleton - My South Polar Expedition (1910) [2:46]
Jack Luscombe - Sam Griffiths (1953) [3:09]
Buddy Williams - Give a Little Credit to Your Dad (1939) [2:57]
Graeme Bell's Dixieland Band - Swanston St. Shamble (1944) [2:37]
J.J. Villiers - The Hen Convention (1896) [2:03]
Johnny O'Keefe - She's My Baby (1960) [2:11]
The Saints - (I'm) Stranded (1976) [3:29]
George Edwards And John Saul - Dad and Dave from Snake Gully - Episode 1 (1937) [12:13]
Men At Work - Down Under (1981) [3:45]
ABC CLASSICS 4766812 [62:43]


Experience Classicsonline

The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) has a remit to preserve, develop and promote the national AV collection. It’s recently gained statutory authority having been for over two decades a non-statutory agency. The National Registry of Recorded Sound was established in 2007; every year ten items are added to the Registry – and these can include spoken word, jingles and other media; things are certainly not confined to traditional forms. Democratically the public can nominate items for the Registry and a panel ultimately decides on inclusion (or not).

That explains the background to this disc. It’s a representative sampling of the Registry ranging pluralistically across media and time and place. We start with a great Australian baritone, Peter Dawson, singing in 1931 a famous song by Jack O’Hagan inspired by “Banjo” Patterson, another iconic figure. It’s followed immediately by Friday On My Mind by The Easybeats, a poptastic 1961 hit by the Anglo-Scottish-Dutch but Australian-based beat combo. Back we go to 1915 and a studio mock-up of The Landing of the Australian Troops in Egypt – with possibly the first appearance on record of Advance Australia Fair. War is followed by politics and Gough Whitlam’s “Kerr’s cur” speech, a highly quotable pun that still resonates today.

That brief snippet dates from 1975. Melba was recorded in 1904 and then we move forward nearly half a century to the Tribal Music of Australia the first LP devoted to traditional Aboriginal music. From 1899 comes the amazing Tasmanian Aboriginal Songs sung by Fanny Cochrane-Smith the so-called “Last Tasmanian.” Six vitally rare cylinders are extant. Talking of which – well, almost - the famous Goossens recording of John Antill’s Corroboree is here - three minutes of it anyway. The exploration of indigenous language and the use to which it has been put, or absorbed, is also traced – Harold Blair singing Maranoa Lullaby being one example; Blair was the first Aboriginal to achieve fame as a concert singer. The well-known Shackleton cylinder is included for obvious territorial or geographical reasons.

Country music Oz-style comes via Buddy Williams – I’m sure aficionados of Williams would dispute that and claim this as authentic outback absorption. Thankfully the selection panel knows its jazz onions; Graeme Bell is here with Swanston St. Shamble, an early 1944 side. The Great Man is still alive, as I write, in his mid nineties. From Bell back to what’s probably the earliest sound recording made in Australia; J.J. Villiers’ The Hen Convention – chook imitations. There’s a long example (over twelve minutes) from episode one of the long-running radio series Dad and Dave from Snake Gully. It ran from 1937 until 1953. Finally there’s Men At Work’s ubiquitous Down Under – you know, the one where “beer does flow and men chunder.” Been there, sport; done that. 

Kaleidoscopic, cornucopic – and a taster of the many fine things held by Australia’s national collection. And what’s more I’ve already consulted the catalogue and can encourage you to do the same. So now then fellers – what about sending me a copy of violinist Daisy Kennedy’s 1965 radio interview with Stephanie Deste [ref no. 572463] if I send you a copy of one of her unreleased 78s?

Jonathan Woolf




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