Penny Davies & Roger Ilott | Birchgrove Quay

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Folk: Folk-Rock Folk: Alternative Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Birchgrove Quay

by Penny Davies & Roger Ilott

An eclectic collection of Australian folk rock, featuring the songwriting of the youthful Penny Davies & Roger Ilott from 1986. Their 3rd album. Features their "greatest hit" HEY RAIN! Lovely harmonies, lyrical, gentle, slightly esoteric.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Feel the Year Turning
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:46 $0.99
2. Balmain
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:53 $0.99
3. Oh! the Mountains
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:30 $0.99
4. When We Travelled the River
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
5:03 $0.99
5. Hey Rain
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:19 $0.99
6. Norfolk Whalers
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
4:59 $0.99
7. Nightfire
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:10 $0.99
8. Ibis Dance
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:38 $0.99
9. Return of the Wild Birds
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:06 $0.99
10. Homeward Bound
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
4:50 $0.99
11. Gardens
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
4:01 $0.99
12. Backwoods Bamboo
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
3:00 $0.99
13. Slightly Dinted
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
0:40 $0.99
14. Wee Pot Stove
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
4:18 $0.99
15. Otago
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
4:20 $0.99
16. Deep Sea Tug
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
4:23 $0.99
17. Ku-ring-gai Polka
Penny Davies & Roger Ilott
1:59 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Birchgrove Quay - 25 Years On

Birchgrove Quay remains just as exciting musically and thematically, as when it was first released in Sydney in the spring of ‘86. Every song stands up. Every arrangement works.

The late eighties was a period of intense creative activity for Penny Davies & Roger Ilott in terms of recording and producing, as they worked to establish Restless Music. But it was also a time of great change. By the end of the decade they had relocated to rural Queensland, a move which coincided with the birth of their son, Jordan.

The imminence of the new life they were about to embrace is central to this album, poised as they were ‘on the edge of change’. Although it is very much anchored in a specific time and place, effectively evoking the flavour and feel of one of Sydney’s most historic harbour suburbs ‘where the seagulls wheel and scatter’ and ‘streets and houses huddle like old folk reminiscing’, Birchgrove Quay takes us ‘away from the shore’ of Australia’s most built-up of urban environments, and places us squarely upon the open ocean of the past, ‘where the reeling mast heads swing and sway’’, and women and children wait anxiously on rocky island outcrops for the return of their loved ones.

It also takes us inland, journeying down the Darling in the heyday of the big riverside shearing sheds when the wool was carried by paddle steamer; and just for good measure, it gives us a taste of what the wet season is all about in far North Queensland. Along the way, Roger reminisces about childhood steam train journeys to the Blue Mountains on family holidays; while Penny, planting vegetables in the backyard garden of their Balmain home, pauses, knee deep in soil, and remembers lovingly her coal-mining granddad, and the small plot of earth that now contains him in distant Wales.

At the heart of all this movement is a camp by a dam, moon rising, a loving couple observing the changing colours of the sky: ‘Glowing sparks fly up from the campfire blazing, like small red stars they dance as the galaxies are turning…’ We go even deeper, contemplating ibis dancing, ‘A rhythm beyond: one bar is eternity, one beat stretches across the empty continent and back again, echoing…’

Finally, we are left with a thought on what the future could hold for Sydney’s harbour-side encampments, ‘where TV towers lace the sky’; an insight into the possibility of renewal, a change for the better: ‘The streets and houses shimmer, and I see a forest vision of days before and after, where wild birds are returning.’ This is an album which has lost none of its cutting edge.

John Broomhall, Thirroul, New South Wales, Australia, March, 2011

Review by Brian Goddard, 2BBB Folk Show, September, 1986 (extract).
Birchgrove Quay is the third album by PENNY DAVIES & ROGER ILOTT and is definitely their best and most coherent yet. With its rich tapestry of sound and pleasant nostalgic images, this is definitely an album for LISTENING.

Penny and Roger achieve a unity of purpose here, due to the skilful weaving together of several recurring themes: the passing of time, nostalgia, water and the sea, the joy of travelling. The themes are richly complemented by the instrumentation: sounds and instruments weave in and out. Tasteful use of electronic effects helps create a
nostalgic mood and prove that modern techniques can really enhance folk music as in Bill Scott's
Hey Rain! and Harry Robertson's Norfolk Whalers.

Their use of effects paradoxically gives the album a charming restful ‘old worldly’ feel, and is emphasised by Roger's BYRDS-like guitar. Their own songwriting is maturing, showing that Lawson-like ability to observe and capture the fleeting scenes, the passing moments, the typical pieces of Australian life, conjuring up pleasing images almost like a series of snapshots. If you enjoyed their first two albums - Restless and The Proud & Careless Notes - you'll love this one.

Review by Robin Connaughton, CORNSTALK GAZETTE,
October 1986 (extract).
Fans of the Sydney duo PENNY DAVIES & ROGER ILOTT who have been waiting for their third album will not be disappointed by this one. The melodies are smooth and lyrical…the words are simple
narrative, almost without simile or metaphor, and the subjects of the songs are similar enough to one's own life to create a ready empathy.

The arrangements involve a lot more instrumentation than Penny & Roger would have in their normal club act. This gives more complexity, though the sounds usually weave a background rather than highlighting solos. The mixing and level settings for all the multi-tracked instruments are well handled, leaving both voice and instruments clear and easily perceived. For old fans and those who haven't seen or heard this pair before, it's a thorough presentation of the type of thing they do, and on the Sydney scene at the moment no-one does it better. Try it.

Review: ON THE STREET November 5, 1986 (extract).
Drawing inspiration from both the city and the country, Davies & Ilott relate moods and musings from the ocean, up the waterways, over the land and back again, Birchgrove Quay stands as a folk record well worth encountering.



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