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The Game is Getting Lively
Bill Browne (Kit Drums)
Roger Hargraves (Vocals, Fiddle, Bouzoukis, Dulcimer, Banjo, Whistle )
Jim McWhinnie (Bodhran)
Jason Neville (Bass, Acoustic Guitar on "Death of Ben Hall")
Chloe Roweth (Vocals, Mandolin)
Jason Roweth (Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitars, Rhythm Mandolin on “Bold Ben Hall”, Bass on “Death of Ben Hall”)
Tracey Neville (Piano on “John Gilbert, Bushranger”)
This CD was produced June-September 2010.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Chloë and Jason Roweth.
Cover design by Chloë Roweth.
Text by Jason Roweth, Roger Hargraves and Chloë Roweth.
The outbreak of bushranging in the early to mid 1860s in Central West NSW revolved around three figures - bushrangers Frank Gardiner - "The King of the Road", Johnny Gilbert - "The Flash Lad" and Ben Hall. These names are known around Australia and, to a lesser extent, around the world. The other names in these songs will be well known to many residents of The Central West, and scores of other names could easily have been included. Of course many descendants of these men remain in the region as well. Surprised at the seemingly endless list of names, I once asked an older resident of our district how many people were in the gang? She replied that it would be easier to tell me how many weren't in the gang! This sparked my interest in the subject, which was then fuelled by the wealth of sympathy inherent in the folklore of the area, and the depth of feeling that surrounds the stories.
With this CD and booklet our aim has been simply to present the songs of the bushranging days as clearly as we can, in arrangements suited to our empathy for the material as residents of the region. We have tried to include just enough historical information to illuminate the songs - any more and we'd be stepping out of our area substantially.
No-one would claim great accuracy or impartiality for these folk songs, any more than you would make the same claims for the written history that has largely been based on police and newspaper reporting. We have no ambitions in this project to get too involved in the "truth", or to attempt a history. Anyone who has an interest in the subject will find a deal of written material ranging from books barely removed from complete fiction, to very fine historical works. In my opinion many "history" books are marked by a distinct and disruptive bias. Peter Bradley's "The Judas Covenant" does what I consider to be a very good job of outlining and assessing some of the other historical books available - a great place to start if your curiosity has been aroused by these songs. I know there is hard work underway on a feature film on the life of Ben Hall. We can only hope this work is fruitful - it is a compelling story by any measure!
"Collector" plays the music with gusto and sings the songs with feeling and understanding. Songs of the Bushranging days of Ben Hall, Jack Donoghue and others who, whatever their reasons for becoming outlaws might have been, were held in awe and respect, their passing regretted and their deeds romantically recorded by the old ballad singers of NSW and Victoria.
Songs of mighty shearers who could knock off a century of sheep by 4:30, knock back a skinful of booze by midnight and have their 'cheques knocked down' by morning...! - Andy Irvine
Please note that while the Collector recordings are still available, the band is no longer available for live performances.