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Various Artists | Balmain to Storm King (35 Years of Folk from the Restless Archives)

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Folk: Urban Folk World: Australian Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Balmain to Storm King (35 Years of Folk from the Restless Archives)

by Various Artists

Australian Folk Music Label Restless Music was established in Balmain, New South Wales, in 1982.. Between then and now the label produced around 100 folk music, spoken word and audio documentary albums. This is a historic sampler of artists they recorded.
Genre: Folk: Urban Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Something Melodramatic
Kerry Lee Olditch
1:44 album only
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2. Here's to You, Franklin
Dave De Hugard
3:48 album only
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3. Ky Chororo
Amaranta
4:46 album only
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4. Black Is
Peter Kearney
2:40 album only
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5. Rainbow Warrior
Karen Ottley
3:33 album only
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6. Closing the Mines
John Broomhall
3:04 album only
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7. Fancie (Excerpt)
Gill Rees
2:16 album only
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8. Rum Rebellion (feat. Dave Kennedy & Peter Malone)
Skewiff
4:01 album only
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9. Mother Mesa
Jill Stevens
3:03 album only
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10. The Darling Bunyip
Bill Scott
4:45 album only
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11. Mudgee Schottische / Harvest Home
Alan Scott
2:29 album only
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12. A Tolerant Man (feat. Kate Delaney)
Gordon McIntyre
1:37 album only
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13. Where the Dead Men Lie
Margaret Bradford
3:18 album only
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14. Hi Hi the Little Boat Rides
Vincent P. Brophy
3:35 album only
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15. Hard Timber
Harry Robertson
3:11 album only
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16. Turn Around (feat. Brenda Liddiard)
Spangled Drongoes
3:42 album only
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17. Prayer
Gordon Bok
3:55 album only
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18. Hey Rain! (feat. Roger Ilott)
Penny Davies
3:19 album only
clip
19. Woodchip Man
John Dengate
2:37 album only
clip
20. Love Call Me Home
Carol Rohl
3:46 album only
clip
21. Why Don't You Come on Down?
Gary Shearston
3:18 album only
clip
22. D'oro Waltz
Sharon Doro
3:32 album only
clip
23. Cockney Cowboy
Lee Williams
4:16 album only
clip
24. Here's to America (feat. Jim Lindsay)
Murrumbidgee Whalers
4:27 album only
clip
25. Carlton Weaver (feat. Margaret Fagan)
Bob Fagan
2:04 album only
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26. Wintermusic
Julie McGonigal
2:31 album only
clip
27. Making Hay
Jim Gregory
3:17 album only
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28. Past Caring
Phyl Lobl
3:26 album only
clip
29. 200 Years
Craig Edmondson
3:07 album only
clip
30. Girls of Ivory
Dick Halligan
1:17 album only
clip
31. Stillwater Boys
Mark Davidson
4:36 album only
clip
32. Counting Quarters (feat. Gordon Bok)
Penny Davies
2:50 album only
clip
33. Love Is a Lifeline
Paul Best
3:11 album only
clip
34. Bushland Lullaby (feat. Kate Fagan, James Fagan & Amanda Lopes)
Maria Lopes
1:24 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
TRACK INFORMATION
Balmain to Storm King
35 Years of Folk from the Restless Music Archives

SOMETHING MELODRAMATIC! (K.L.Olditch) KERRY LEE OLDITCH
KERRY LEE OLDITCH violin
Recorded on location at The Farm, Kingfisher Lodge,Byfield, Queensland, July, 2000 for the compilation Music from Kingfisher Farm (RM072).
In July, 2000 we travelled to Byfield in central Queensland with a mobile recording setup to record songs and tunes by local musicians who participated in the workshops we ran that weekend. We recorded two tracks by Kerry Lee Olditch (1977-2001), a talented young violinist.

HERE’S TO YOU FRANKLIN (D.de Hugard) DAVE DE HUGARD
DAVE DE HUGARD vocal, piano accordion, concertina, banjo
Recorded at Balmain, May, 1985 for the compilation album Wilderness – Songs for Conservation & the Environment (RM005).
Inspired by American folk singer Pete Seeger’s Brisbane, Queensland, concert in 1963,Dave de Hugard began performing songs and tunes, mainly on the concertina and accordion. This song was written to support the (successful)campaign to save Tasmania’s Franklin River from being dammed by the H.E.C. (Hydro-Electric Commission). This campaign was the catalyst for the foundation of the Wilderness Society.

KY CHORORO (trad.) AMARANTA
FRANCES PATERSON vocal, classical guitar CAROLINE SYKES concert harp, vocal, recorder JULIE SAVAGE vocal, charango, pipes
Recorded at Balmain, September, 1985. Previously unreleased recording.
Amaranta specialised in South American music, performing around the Sydney folk scene in the mid 1980’s.This is one of four songs recorded live in the Balmain studio. Harpist Caroline Sykes (M,F,A,) left Australia for the U.S.A. shortly after this recording, where she has studied, toured and performed with such artists as Judy Collins.

BLACK IS (M.Watson/P.Kearney) PETER KEARNEY
PETER KEARNEY vocal, acoustic guitar, recorder CLAIRE PARKHILL vocal, recorder ROSS GRIERSON double bass
PENNY DAVIES backing vocal, percussion ROGER ILOTT bouzouki, percussion, backing vocal
Recorded at Balmain, April, 1986 for the album Signs of Hope (CRM003). Original mix by kind permission of Crossover Music.
Peter Kearney recorded his albums Where is Your Song My Lord? (1985) and Signs of Hope in our Balmain studio for his Crossover Music label. Peter’s songs have a strong focus on social justice.The lyrics, written by poet Maureen Watson, reflect pride in her own Murri (Aboriginal) people and culture.

RAINBOW WARRIOR (K.Ottley) KAREN OTTLEY
KAREN OTTLEY vocal, acoustic guitar JOHN WARNER 12 string acoustic guitar PENNY DAVIES Appalachian dulcimer
RUTH & YOLANDE WARNER, CHRISTOPHER OTTLEY backing vocals
Recorded at Balmain, 1986 for the compilation album Workers in the Field – Volume 2 (RM013).
On July 10, 1985, the Rainbow Warrior, flagship of the Greenpeace fleet, was sunk in the Port of Auckland, New Zealand,by the ‘action’ branch of the French foreign intelligence service. The song was written and recorded by New Zealand folksinger, Karen Ottley, in the International Year of Peace.

CLOSING THE MINES (J.Broomhall) JOHN BROOMHALL
JOHN BROOMHALL vocal, nylon-string guitar ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, Fender bass, backing vocal
PENNY DAVIES backing vocal
Recorded at Balmain, 1987 for the album Drifting Down the Darling (SSM031) .Previously unreleased original mix.
John Broomhall wrote this song about the impact on members of his family as a result of mining in his hometown, Broken Hill, New South Wales. We recorded two other albums,Free as the Breeze (1985) and In the Days When the Anzacs Were New (1987) for other independent labels. Balmain Recordings (RM098), a collection of unreleased songs by this prolific writer, was archived in 2009.

FANCIE(excerpt) (G.Rees) GILL REES
GILL REES hammered dulcimer, keyboard
Recorded at Storm King, 1994 for the album Dulcimer Dreaming (RM045).
We recorded two other solo albums for English-born Gill Rees (1946-2012) –North Country Maid (RM008) in 1985, and The Kookaburra Laughed (RM015) in 1987, in addition to an album with her trio Phaedra (RM010) in 1986.A gifted music teacher and performer, multi-instrumentalist Gill’s main instrument was the hammered dulcimer.

RUM REBELLION(D.Kennedy/P.Malone) SKEWIFF
DAVE KENNEDY vocal, lagerphone MIKE HYDER fiddle JEFF DEBNAM acoustic guitar, drum, backing vocal PETE MALONE electric guitar
RICK KENYON bass guitar JOHN ROSS recorder
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the compilation album Under Southern Skies – Contemporary Folk from Bankstown & Beyond (RM004), released as a single (RM006) in 1985 and included on the 2015 CD reissue of More Songs about Sheep & Cows(RM007).
Skewiff were a dynamic bush music band, rising to prominence in the Sydney folk scene of the 1980’s.The song concerns the 1808 rebellion – the only successful armed takeover of government in Australia’s history.

MOTHER MESA (J.Stevens) JILL STEVENS
JILL STEVENS vocal GILL REES backing vocal ROGER ILOTT acoustic &classical guitars, bodhran
Recorded at Storm King, 1989 for the album Lifeline of the South (RM023).
This song concerns the fate of the Navajo people who were relocated away from their spirit lands in the Black Mesa area of NE Arizona as a result of uranium mining. Geologist and environmentalist Jill Stevens wrote this song as a cautionary tale for all indigenous peoples of the world. Wheelchair-bound due to a climbing accident as a teenager, Jill never saw that as an impediment to her involvement in music and environmental causes.

THE DARLING BUNYIP (W.N.Scott) BILL SCOTT
BILL SCOTT vocal SHARON DORO accordion DICK HALLIGAN Anglo concertina ROGER ILOTT banjo
Recorded at Storm King, 1993 for the album Songbird in Your Pocket (RM040).
Bill Scott (1923-2005) was a prospector, cane-cutter, cane train fireman, folklorist, poet, novelist, songwriter - and teller of tall tales. We recorded Bill’s first album, Hey Rain! Songs & Poems of Bill Scott (RM026) in 1990 and published Hey Rain! The Bill Scott Songbook in 2002. An American edition was published by Timberhead Music in 2003.Bill was awarded an O.A.M. (Order of Australia Medal) in 1992 for his services to Folklore and Australian Literature.

MUDGEE SCHOTTISCHE/HARVEST HOME (trad.) ALAN SCOTT
ALAN SCOTT concertina
Recorded at Balmain, 1987 for the compilation album Skeleton Flats – Keith Hollinshead & the Sydney Push (RM017).
Alan Scott (1930-1995) was a traditional singer and accomplished musician on concertina and tin whistle. He joined the (original) Bushwhackers Band in 1955, and was a foundation member of the Sydney Bush Music Club. He published and later edited its journal Singabout (1956–67).

A TOLERANT MAN (trad.) GORDON McINTYRE& KATE DELANEY
GORDON McINTYRE vocal, acoustic guitar, cittern KATE DELANEY vocal, concertina
Recorded at Balmain, 1987 for the compilation album Skeleton Flats – Keith Hollinshead & the Sydney Push (RM017).
Scottish-born guitarist Gordon McIntyre (1940-1999) and singer Kate Delaney began singing together in Sydney in the 1970s. They were regulars at folk clubs and festivals all over Australia and released a number of albums.This anonymous ditty first appeared in the Kalgoorlie Sun newspaper in Western Australia.

WHERE THE DEAD MEN LIE (B.Boake/M.Bradford) MARGARET BRADFORD
MARGARET BRADFORD vocals GLEN ANDREWS mandolin GARY HOWES concertina ROGER ILOTT acoustic& Nashville guitars, Fender bass
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the compilation album Under Southern Skies – Contemporary Folk from Bankstown & Beyond(RM004).
This bleak 1891 poem by the melancholic Barcroft Boake was set to music by former school teacher Margaret Bradford, a singer/songwriter and regular performer around the Sydney folk scene for over 30 years.

HI HI THE LITTLE BOAT RIDES (V.P.Brophy) VINCE BROPHY
VINCE BROPHY vocals, acoustic guitar, bodhran JOHNNY SPILLANE whistles ROGER ILOTT synthesiser TONY McGLOIN mandolin
Recorded at Balmain, 1986 for the album Down to the Sea in Ships(RM014).
Dublin-born Vince Brophy worked in the maritime industry for many years. The album on which this song first appeared draws on his experiences in the Wollongong, N.S.W. area, and the history of the south-eastern seaboard and inland waterways.

HARD TIMBER (H.Robertson/trad.) HARRY ROBERTSON
HARRY ROBERTSON vocal RICHARD BROOKS harmonica PENNY DAVIES Nashville rhythm guitar ROGER ILOTT acoustic& classical guitars
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the compilation album Wilderness – Songs for Conservation & the Environment (RM005).
This song, contrasting the old timber-cutting methods with modern-day clear-felling, was recorded while Scottish-born Harry Robertson (1923-1995) was Artist-In-Residence at Chullora Railway workshops in Sydney between 1985 and 1986.

TURN AROUND (B.Liddiard) SPANGLED DRONGOES
BRENDA LIDDIARD vocals, mandolin MICHAEL ‘FROG’ SMITH acoustic guitar ALEC MITCHELL violins, backing vocal
NICK FORRESTER-HOPE bass guitar
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the album Spangled Drongoes (RM009), and included on the compilation album Workers in the Field – Volume 2 (RM013).
The Spangled Drongoes -immigrants from Britain, New Zealand and Malaya - were a hard-hitting politically-oriented folk band in the 1980’s Sydney folk scene. The song reflects the prevailing cold-war atmosphere of the time.

PRAYER (J.Bogin/trad.) GORDON BOK
GORDON BOK vocal, 12 string acoustic guitar ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitar, backing vocal CAROL ROHL, PENNY DAVIES, JORDAN D. ILOTT KERRY MARIE, LEE WILLIAMS, EMILY, JOHN & DENICE ARLIDGE backing vocals
Recorded at Storm King, 2003.Previously unreleased track.
Maine (U.S.A.) folksinger Gordon Bok recorded his first album(produced by Noel Paul Stookey)in 1965. As a soloist, or with friends, this influential American folksinger has released 37 albums. He has toured extensively, including a short concert tour of New Zealand and Australia in 2003 with his wife, harpist Carol Rohl. We recorded four songs with Gordon & Carol during their 2003 visit.The song was adapted from a Navajo Prayer by Josh Bogin.

Balmain to Storm King
35 Years of Folk from the Restless Music Archives
RM198-2

HEY RAIN! (W.N.Scott) PENNY DAVIES & ROGER ILOTT
PENNY DAVIES vocals, Appalachian dulcimer ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitars, banjo, Fender bass, vocal
Recorded at Balmain, 1986 for the album Birchgrove Quay (RM012), included on the 1999 album Opal Miner – Songs of Bill Scott (RM075) and various other compilations - Ian McNamara’s Australia All Over – Volume 1 (ABC Music L38635) released in 1987 and Macca’s Top 100 (ABC Music 3714561) released in 2012.
Hey Rain!was the first of many songs we recorded by, or in collaboration with the eminent folklorist and poet Bill Scott.Since that time, it has travelled around the world and been included in many repertoires. Bill wrote this song with his daughter Elizabeth on a long rainy drive in North Queensland in the early 1960’s.

WOODCHIP MAN (D.Kevans/J.Dengate) JOHN DENGATE
JOHN DENGATE vocal, tin whistle
BOB, MARGARET, KATHERINE & JAMES FAGAN, JILL STEVENS, MARGARET BRADFORD, RICHARD DEPLEDGE, PENNY DAVIES backing vocals
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the compilation album Wilderness – Songs for Conservation & the Environment (RM005).
John Dengate (1938-2013) was best known for his satirical songs, often castigating politicians for their failings. He was a teacher for many years, but gave it up to busk, with his songs and tin whistle, outside St James Railway Station in Sydney.The song dryly laments the destruction of Australia’s native forests for pulp.

LOVE CALL ME HOME (P.Seeger) CAROL ROHL
CAROL ROHL vocal GORDON BOK 12 string acoustic guitar, vocal PENNY DAVIES vocal ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitar, vocal
Recorded in Camden, Maine, USA, September 2015.Previously unreleased track.
American folksinger Peggy Seeger sent this song to Carol Rohl after Carol suffered a severe stroke shortly after returning from the 2003 tour of Australia/New Zealand with husband Gordon Bok. We recorded the song in Camden, Maine, while visiting Gordon & Carol and performed it with them at a concert in Rockport, Maine in 2015. The song reminds us all that friends are there when you need them.

WHY DON’T YOU COME ON DOWN (G.Shearston) GARY SHEARSTON
GARY SHEARSON vocal, acoustic guitar JORDAN D. ILOTT drums, Dobro, backing vocal ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitar, piano, backing vocal
LEE WILLIAMS Fender bass PENNY DAVIES backing vocal
Recorded at Storm King, 2013 for the album Reverently (RM180).
Gary Shearston (1939-2013) released his first Australian folk album in 1964. For many years he lived and performed in the U.S.A. and the U.K. His song Sometime Lovin’ was recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary, and his version of Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You was a worldwide hit in 1974. We began working with Gary in 2005 and recorded the last six albums for this prominent Australian folksinger. This song imagines a young hopeful peering into a world of American blues music in the 1930’s.

D’ORO WALTZ (S.Doro) SHARON DORO
SHARON DORO accordion
Recorded at Storm King, 1992 for the album Portrait (RM033).
Sharon Doro (1950-2015)played as a soloist and in bush bands with other traditional musicians such as Jacko Kevans and Lionel O’Keefe. In 2014 we released an archival collection of her accordion tunes recorded between 1997-2003 - Farabella (RM063). She wrote D’Oro Waltz for her parents who ran the Post Office in Dalveen, Queensland, for many years.

COCKNEY COWBOY (L.Williams) LEE WILLIAMS
LEE WILLIAMS vocal, acoustic guitar
Recorded at Balmain, 1984. Included on the 2009 archival re-issue of the album Rainbows in My Eyes (RM025), originally released in 1990.
Londoner Lee Williams arrived in Australia in 1972, and performed mainly as a soloist in the Sydney folk scene. For some time, he was known as ‘the Cockney Cowboy’. Though Lee recorded a live album at Sydney’s Kirk Gallery in 1976, it was never released. We recorded tracks for his only album over a number of years, and released it in 1990 following his return from eight years living and working in Los Angeles, U.S.A.

HERE’S TO AMERICA (J.Lindsay) MURRUMBIDGEE WHALERS
COLLEEN WALTON vocal JIM LINDSAY acoustic guitar, vocal DAVE LAMBERT fiddle -with ROGER ILOTT Fender bass
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the album Murrumbidgee Whalers (MW001), and included on the compilation album Workers in the Field – Volume 2(RM013). Murrumbidgee Whalers was reissued as an archival CD (RM159) in 2015.
Murrumbidgee Whalers were a dynamic three-piece folk band, with members from Australia, Britain and Ireland. They were regular performers in the Sydney Folk Scene in the mid 1980’s. Irish-born Jim Lindsay wrote this song about the plight of Irish immigrants to America in the early 20th century.

CARLTON WEAVER (trad.) BOB & MARGARET FAGAN
BOB FAGAN vocal, acoustic guitar, Appalachian dulcimer MARGARET FAGAN, MARGARET WALTERS, KATHERINE FAGAN backing vocals
Recorded at Balmain, 1986 for Singing the Weaving – Songs of the Spinning & Weaving Industries (RM011).
We first recorded Margaret& Bob Fagan in 1984 for the compilation album Workers in the Field - Volume 1 (RM003).They have performed around the Australian folk scene for more than 30 years singing a broad mix of British, American and Australian songs (with special focus on the Realist Writers), both as a duo and with their daughter Kate,son James and daughter-in-law Nancy Kerr.

WINTERMUSIC (J.McGonigal) JULIE McGONIGAL
JULIE McGONIGAL fiddles, tin whistle MARK DAVIDSON acoustic guitar ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitars, Fender bass, bodhran
Recorded at Storm King, 1995 for the album Carried on the Wind (RM047), and included on the album Wintermusic(RM111) in 2005.
Though a classically trained violinist, New Guinea-born Julie McGonigal played traditional fiddle with Bale-Em-Up Bush Band and Bunyips Bush Band in the Brisbane folk scene through the 1970’-1980’s. We recorded her first album, Mists of Guyra (RM039) in 1993. Following the onset of the debilitating Charcot-Marie-Tooth syndrome she had to put aside the fiddle, but subsequently took up the hammered dulcimer.

MAKING HAY (J.Hoban/J.Gregory) JIM GREGORY
JIM GREGORY vocal, bouzouki PENNY DAVIES backing vocal ROGER ILOTT mandolin, pedal steel, backing vocal
Recorded at Storm King, 1988.Included on the 2009 archival reissue of Some People (RM020), originally released in 1987.
Jim Gregory(1963-2001) arrived in Sydney in the 1980’s from Glasgow. Playing around the folk clubs, he went on to perform with Alistair Hulett and other traditional musicians including Eilish O’Connor, Peter Woodley, and Lindsay Martin.The song documents the transition from reckless male youth into adulthood.

PAST CARIN’ (H.Lawson/P.Lobl) PHYL LOBL
PHYL LOBL vocal, classical guitar GERI LOBL harmonica
Recorded at Balmain, 1987 for the compilation album Skeleton Flats – Keith Hollinshead & the Sydney Push (RM017).
Phyl Loblhas been involved as a writer and performer in Australian folk music since just prior to the inaugural National Folk Festival of 1967. She fought for recognition of Australian Folk music on the Music Board of the Australia Council, and was awarded the Graham Squance Award for services to folk music in 1986. The song outlines the hardships pioneer women faced on the land.

TWO HUNDRED YEARS (C.Edmondson) CRAIG EDMONDSON
CRAIG EDMONDSON vocal, acoustic guitar ROGER ILOTT Rickenbacker 450/12, Fender bass, backing vocal ALEX BISHOP concertina
PENNY DAVIES backing vocal
Recorded at Balmain, 1987 for the album Bondi Road (RM019).
Craig Edmondson has always been interested in writing about Australian history and culture. His album was the final Balmain recording before we moved the studio to Storm King, Queensland.The song looks at the cultural insensitivity of many white Australians to the indigenous inhabitants at the time of the Bicentenary of settlement in 1988.

GIRLS OF IVORY (trad.) DICK HALLIGAN
DICK HALLIGAN Anglo concertina
Recorded at Storm King, 1997 for the audio documentary Stories from Quart Pot Creek – A Memory Quilt of Stanthorpe 1872-1997 (RM050).
Dick Halligan has been active in the Queensland folk scene since the days of the Folk Centre in Brisbane in the 1960’s, and is well known for his knowledge of traditional tunes. He was a session player on several Restless Music albums in the 1990’s.

STILLWATER BOYS (M.Davidson) MARK DAVIDSON
MARK DAVIDSON vocal, acoustic guitar JULIE McGONIGAL vocal, fiddle, MADONNA GARRIGAN backing vocal
ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitars, pedal steel, mandolin, Fender bass
Recorded at Storm King, 1995 for the album Carried on the Wind (RM047).
Mark Davidson is a Brisbane singer-songwriter who has played solo and with various groups around the Queensland folk scene for many years. The song contrasts fair weather friends with those who stay and weather the storms.

COUNTING QUARTERS (P.Davies/G.Bok) PENNY DAVIES, GORDON BOK & ROGER ILOTT
PENNY DAVIES vocal GORDON BOK vocal, 12 string acoustic guitar ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitar, vocal
Recorded in Camden, Maine, USA, September 2015. Previously unreleased track.
Following her stroke, harpist Carol Rohl described her daily ration of energy in terms of‘saving my quarters oday for going out tomorrow’. Touched by this description, I wrote the words, describing Carol’s courage in the face of her difficulties, and sent them to Gordon Bok (Carol’s husband) who wrote the tune. During our 2015 stay in Maine we recorded the song as a surprise for Carol.(P.D.)

LOVE IS A LIFELINE (P.Best) PAUL BEST
PAUL BEST vocal, 12 string acoustic guitar PENNY DAVIES backing vocal ROGER ILOTT acoustic guitar, Rickenbacker 360/12, backing vocal, key bass
Recorded at Storm King, 2002 for the album Faded Blue (RM082).
Paul Best (1951-2016) and I were friends from Kindergarten days in 1956 in Sydney. We went through most of our schooldays together, played our first folk gig together in 1969 (and Paul’s last gig in 2015), and remained friends and musical collaborators for 60 years.As one who always put the needs of others first, Paul wrote the song for a friend who was suffering the loss of a loved one. (R.I.)

BUSHLAND LULLABY (M.Lopes) MARIA, AMANDA, KATHERINE & JAMES
AMANDA LOPES nylon-string guitar, vocal MARIA LOPES vocal KATHERINE FAGAN vocal JAMES FAGAN vocal
Recorded at Balmain, 1985 for the compilation album Wilderness – Songs for Conservation & the Environment (RM005).
During their childhood in north-western Sydney, sisters Amanda & Maria Lopes and their neighbours James &Katherine Fagan wrote and arranged many songs together. This one was their loving tribute to the bush.


ROGER ILOTT talks about the history of the Restless Music label

Penny and I got together in 1976, formed the Restless Music label in 1982 with friends Howard Jones (engineer) and Cathy Kennedy (graphic artist), set up a studio and recorded and released our first album, Restless(001), on LP in 1983 to an excellent response. Restless was mainly recorded on Howard’s Otari 8 track, with a few tracks recorded on a TEAC 4 track.

In 1984, our partnership with Howard and Cathy dissolved. We got our own equipment, including a TEAC 4 track recorder, rebuilt the studio around it, and started working on our second album, The Proud and Careless Notes… (002).

After the 1984 release of our second album, The Proud and Careless Notes…, our independent label, Restless Music, was starting to make a name for itself. We had upgraded to 8 track recording equipment, and our Balmain studio was in demand for New South Wales based folk artists. Penny and I produced albums for artists such as John Broomhall, Vincent P. Brophy, Peter Kearney, Skewiff, Spangled Drongoes, Gill Rees and Jill Stevens, as well as quite a few compilations, including the landmark Wilderness – Songs for Conservation & the Environment (005, 1985).

The Restless Music studio became the hub of the Sydney folk scene, with dozens of musicians recording albums there, and our cottage in Balmain had become a real drop-in point for folkies.

One life-changing rainy night Dave de Hugard came knocking on the door to play us a ‘great new song’ he’d just learned – Bill Scott’s Hey Rain! Dave sat at our kitchen table with his big old accordion and sang about the ‘rain, rain coming down on the cane’ in North Queensland. We loved the song, and shortly after recorded our own (completely different) version for our third album, Birchgrove Quay (RM012) in 1986.

Just as we were moving to Stanthorpe, Queensland, in 1987, our recording of Bill Scott’s ‘Hey Rain!’ was receiving lots of airplay thanks to the interest of ABC broadcaster Ian McNamara. Macca included ‘Hey Rain!’ on the ABC’s ‘Australia All Over Volume 1’ album. The album went double platinum.

There was a four year gap between the release of our third album, Birchgrove Quay (1986) and our fourth album, Fair Wind Home (1990). In that time, we had recorded about 20 albums for other artists in our Balmain studio, and then in 1987 uprooted and moved interstate nearly 500 miles north to our 32 acre property overlooking Storm King Dam in Queensland’s Granite Belt. There we relocated (all the way from Brisbane) and then renovated a beautiful 1920’s ‘Queenslander’ (a style of timber home), and rebuilt the studio and began recording again in 1988. In 1989 our son, Jordan, was born – another life-changing event! Just as we were moving to Queensland in late 1987, our recording of Bill Scott’s Hey Rain! was receiving lots of airplay thanks to the interest of ABC broadcaster Ian McNamara, who included the song on the ABC’s Australia All Over Volume 1 album. The album went double platinum. Our recording of this song not only gave us national coverage for our music, it was the catalyst for an enduring friendship and musical collaboration with Bill Scott. It also helped us buy our house, and enabled Bill and Mavis Scott to add a verandah on theirs! In the almost 30 years at Storm King, we’ve recorded another 50 or more folk albums, both for ourselves and other folk artists, such as Gary Shearston, Sharon Doro, Bill Scott, Julie McGonigal & Mark Davidson. We’ve also recorded over 40 albums of bush poetry/spoken word/audio documentaries, and contemporary acoustic and country albums. Though our recording equipment has changed over the years – from 1983 to 1998 we recorded on a Tascam 38 8 track using 1/2" Ampex 456 tape, from 1998 to 2013 we recorded on a Tascam DA-38 digital tape recorder using Quantegy DA8 tape, and in recent times have moved on to Pro Tools MP9 - our intention has always been the same: record the instruments as they actually sound, and let the voice be clear and warm.

From 1983 to 2002 we mixed to Ampex 456 2-track analogue tape on a Tascam 32, from 2002 we began mixing to CDR and from 2012 direct to hard drive. A constant piece of equipment in both the Balmain and Storm King Studios has been the hard-working 1970’s Shure SM7 which we bought (from Les Simmonds) in 1984 and which is still going strong today. It has given Restless Music its trademark warm vocal sound.

ROGER ILOTT

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