Some Australian Folk Songs

These Australian folk songs were recorded on a warm evening in November 1986 while on holiday at the beach.  A German tourist, Bernhard, and I were singing our native folk songs to each other and discussing the songs of the Scottish-Australian Eric Bogle.  Bernhard set up the minute microphone of his walkman, we both picked up our guitars and away we went. Consequently, the quality of the recording is tolerable but not great. Given that it was totally unrehearsed and that Bernhard was playing most of the tunes for the first time, the result is surprisingly good.  (The simple picking and strumming is mine, the fancy Bluegrass guitar is Bernhard.)  

Botany Bay and Waltzing Matilda, are traditional while all the remaining songs are due to Eric Bogle.  His best known song is "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" about an Australian soldier in the First World War.

Below are some notes on the songs.

Botany Bay (traditional)
"Rum culls" = "drinking mates"
"Old Bailee" = "criminal court in London"
"Dookies and Duchesses" = "male and female friends"
"Cove" = "a person"
"Ticker" = "watch"

Now I'm Easy (Eric Bogle)
"Cocky" = "small-time farmer (definitely not a squatter)"
"Gin" = "aboriginal woman"

Waltzing Matilda (Banjo Paterson)
"Swag" = "Matilda" = "roll of blankets containing food, clothes etc carried by shearer over the shoulder while walking from sheep station to sheep station looking for work"
"Waltzing Matilda" = "carrying your swag"
"Billabong" = "a backwater"
"Billy" = "tin can with a wire handle used the boil water on a open fire"
"Jumbuck" = "sheep"
"Tucker" = "food"
"Squatter" = "first English land owners who simply 'squatted' on an area of land and declared (with the blessing of the Government) that it was now theirs and to hell with the aboriginies who were there before and anyone who might come along later"

The Aussie BBQ Song (Eric Bogle)
 "Barby" = "bar-b-que"
 "Snags" = "sausages"   (Has nothing to do with "solvability".)
 "Mossies" = "mosquitoes"
 "Aerogard" = "mossy repellent"
 "Dunny" = "toilet, usually of the outhouse variety"


Botany Bay MP3


Now I'm Easy MP3


The Band Played Waltzing Matilda MP3


Waltzing Matilda (Traditional Version) MP3


Aussie BBQ MP3