This volume is offered by way of thanks to the wonderful musicians who have supported the regular "Bush Traditions" sessions held at the Old Goulburn Brewery since 2006. We have explored songs and poems on (or off ) a theme and played lots of local tunes with enthusiasm. Dance has been the social medium of earlier time providing a structure for meeting a partner as well as opportunity for interaction with neighbours otherwise busy on farms. Dancing required good music to inspire the dancers. In earlier times fiddles, concertinas, and tin whistles, then button accordions, piano, drums, filled country halls, memorial halls, mechanics institutes, woolsheds, fruit packing sheds and private homes with the rhythm for dances - from quadrilles, to country dances and couples dances. These echoes of the past live on in these tunes.
This music still exists because of the foresight of a band of dedicated collectors, who recognised both its value and its fragility. John Meredith, Rob Willis, Chris Sullivan and Alan Musgrove stand out for the music in this area. Exploring their collections has been the task of a band of enthusiasts who have listened to the recordings and evaluated the material and transcribed it to make it accessible. Having done some of this I can assure you it is a labour of love extracting a playable tune from a recording of a player past his or her musical prime using a not-quite in tune instrument attempting a tune he/she hasn't played for thirty years.
Players represented here include: Stan Treacy, John Warn, and Bill Painter (from the Crookwell area); Frank Collins, Pearly Watling (Goulburn area); Bert Jamieson (Adaminaby); Harry Cotter (Binalong); Eileen McCoy, Doris Merrill, Frank Forde, Ollie Watts (South Coast); Doug Daniels (Queanbeyan); and Jeff Conroy, Bob McInnes, Rita Garbutt, Jimmy Jefferys (Southern Highlands). By far the bulk has come from the repertoire's of Stan Treacy and Frank Collins. Stan was recorded by John Meredith, Dave de Hugard, Brad Tate, Julie Castles, Chris Sullivan and probably others. His repertoire was extensive and his generosity sharing it was heartwarming. Frank Collins had passed away before his reputation led John Meredith and Chris Sullivan to a series of acetate records produced in Goulburn over a number of years and distributed amongst relatives. These precious discs now reside in the National Library of Australia and Alan Musgrove and others have transcribed their treasures.
In recognition of an ongoing tradition this collection includes tunes written in recent times by Bill Mongomery, Ralph Pride and myself.
These tunes really come to life when they lift off the paper and become your own, with your own added flavour. Such flavour is dependent on your skill level and experience, and to some extent your instrument, so I advocate playing them to get a feel for them before adding calypso rhythms or syncopated bass riffs.
I trust you enjoy this collection.
David Johnson 2017
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