Lionel Long - Ben Hall





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Published on Feb 8, 2011

The cover painting of "Ned Kelly" by Sidney Nolan is reproduced by permission of the artist and the Museum of Modern Art and Design of Australia, Melbourne.

The Bold Bushrangers

— Volume Two —

Songs of Wild Colonial Days

Lionel Long is now firmly established as a recording and television artist, and night-club entertainer. He is generally regarded as Australia's top folk singer and balladist, and his work is rapidly drawing attention outside this country.

When Ken Cook first submitted audition tapes of twelve of these songs for Lionel to hear, Lionel was so enthusiastic about them that, in addition to assisting in their musical arrangements, he suggested that the series should be extended to twenty-four. This was done and the collection in this album is the result.

Unlike his earlier records, in which he was accompanied either by an orchestra or a sextette with vocal group, Lionel is heard in this new album in what may be called a "straight" presentation, thus achieving the more authentic folk song style. On some of the tracks his own guitar is his only accompaniment, while on others the addition of Don Andrews on guitar and Dave Guard on banjo still retain the directness and simplicity of true folk music.


Dave Guard — Don Andrews

This collection of bushranging ballads came into being when the Australian novelist, Kenneth Cook, was asked by the Australian Broadcasting Commission to give a series of talks on Bushranging. To enliven the talks, Cook decided to include songs of those days. However, considerable searching for such songs produced the conclusion that there were not many extant that were suitable. Still determined to use bush-ranging songs of the A.B.C. programmes, Cook decided to write them. He selected as the basis for his melodies Irish. English and American folk songs appropriate to the time, and he wrote the lyrics in the style used by the balladists who have recorded Australian folk history. His wife, Patricia, sang the songs for the A.B.C., and the flood of letters that resulted was so great that he decided to approach a recording company. This Columbia album is the outcome.


Ben Hall: Ben Hall was air Australian-born squatter. His first venture into bushranging was to take part in the spectacular Eugowra Gold hold-up, under the leadership of Darkie Gardiner. Because he was a Weddin Mountaineer, he had the complete sympathy of the. local people. His career under Gardiner, and later as leader of his own gang, places him permanently in the ranks of "great" bushrangers.

Hall was finally shot, almost literally to pieces, outside Forbes. It was widely believed at the time, although denied by the police, that the first shot was fired by Billy Dargin, a police blacktracker, who once worked for Ben Hall.

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