Here is another great album by the Australian duo of Penny Davies and Roger Ilott. This is the latest of many of their CDs that I have purchased over the years. I forget which CD I purchased first but I remember thinking that the CD was great because (initially,as a bonus, it had a Byrdsy feel to it but also because) listening to (what I am guessing are) the Australian folk songs was extremely interesting. It gave me a taste and feel for a life and culture that I had never been aware of prior to listening. I can't thank Penny Davies and Roger Ilott enough for that experience. "Boomerang Bay" is an album that should not be missed. There are 12 great tracks, including a cover of that Carol King/Byrds hit, "Goin' Back". The other tracks make me conjure up imagery and visions of a place made vivid by Penny's & Roger's descriptive lyric and passion. The download is easily worth the price of admission. So, to avoid any confusion on this: Yes! You should buy this album!
|MOON CALLER||PENNY DAVIES & ROGER ILOTT||RM138|
MOON CALLER Review by Bob Wilson (THE FOLK RAG)
This new recording from Penny Davies & Roger Ilott turned up in my mailbox like a welcome letter from an old friend with new stories to tell.
Penny and Roger have been producing independent music from their home studio near Stanthorpe for more than 20 years, and with at least a dozen of their own recordings behind them, the experience shows. Like Big Water (released 2006), this CD has a folk-rock feel with drums, bass, Dobro and Roger's Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar adding a Byrds' flavour.
Moon Caller is a family affair, with son Jordan Davies-Ilott playing drums and dobro. It must have been a special moment for him to hear Mum and Dad's original song, Goodbye To Your Schooldays, at his high school awards ceremony. The 15 tracks on Moon Caller include old favourites ( Joni Mitchell's Circle Game and J .C. Stewart's tribute to the 1969 moon landing, Armstrong ), and one of the few unpublished collaborations between Roger and the late Bill Scott ( The Goldfield ). Penny and Roger's eight originals include the nostalgic Aurelia (about Penny's experiences emigrating from England) and the wistful opening track, She's Like a Tree .
Jed Hudson , who played with Roger in Sydney folk-rock band The Rusty Dusty Bros in the 1970s, collaborated on this album, playing bass, mandolin and adding backing vocals to some tracks.
Although this is a “band” album, Penny's distinctive, gentle vocals and Roger's under-stated harmonies are always to the fore. O'Mara's Front Verandah is a nostalgic ballad featuring Dobro, mandolin, pedal steel and acoustic bass, but the instruments are well back in the mix, allowing the listener to focus on the words, harmonies and feel of the song.
Other highlights include Song of the Artesian Water ( A.B.Paterson / C.O'Sullivan ), the droll Wet Season Blues and the duo's climate change protest song, Crazy Weather . This is a well-produced, listenable album with a lot of heart.
FROM THE POP GEEK HEAVEN WEBSITE.....Jangle On by Eric Sorenson
|BIG WATER||PENNY DAVIES & ROGER ILOTT||RM100|
BIG WATER CD Review by John Broomhall
Roger Ilott and Penny Davies have for decades been the epitome of the Folk tradition. They have written and recorded a multitude of songs, which chronicle and celebrate the history and tradition of Australia, particularly that of the Northern Tablelands. Based in Stanthorpe, Queensland, they have also been the driving force in the production and recording of many albums by other Aussie Folk artists, including the legendary Gary Shearston.
In every way as important as preserving the traditions of the past, however, Folk Music has always set its sights on being the impetus for improving the world of the future. This is another reason that Roger and Penny's albums across the years have been so admirable. They carry on the tradition of the ‘protest' song which has also been a very big part of that genre's heritage. Both these factors have come forcefully together in two recently released CDs entitled, Chimes of Freedom and Pyramids Road .
Chimes of Freedom begins with a powerful self-penned song, ‘Light Across the Sea', which speaks out for the dispossessed refugees who have been forced from their homes only to be imprisoned and persecuted in the many countries in which they sought asylum.
The next track takes us back gently to the historical facet of the Folk Tradition with the track “Tenterfield'. This song, penned by Gary Shearston, tells the story of the influential Federation Movement speech which was delivered in that town and led Australia towards becoming a unified nation.
The album Chimes of Freedom is a wonderful journey that leads us across an array of Folk classics and recent inspirational songs which call for change. It incorporates both original and ‘covers' material. The stand-out tracks for me include, ‘Whitehaven Coal', which confronts the destruction of our farmlands, our heritage areas and our water supplies by the mining corporations and the classic ‘Turn, Turn, Turn', penned by Pete Seeger from The Book of Ecclesiastes, which was a huge hit for The Byrds in the 1960's. Traditional Folk, Folk/Rock and elements of Australian Country Music come together seamlessly on this CD.
Pyramids Road begins with a compelling original track which chronicles the destruction of Australia's Indigenous heritage by white settlement. Again, in ‘Juukan Gorge', the Indigenous Cultural Heritage is targeted by Mining corporations. So, in many ways this song is a bridge between the two albums.
Pyramids Road contains a greater number of original tracks some of which were co-written with other artists, including some, such as Gordon Bok, whose own original songs are featured on Chimes of Freedom .
‘Roll on Old River', a co-write with John Broomhall, follows the flow of both the river and the history of Broken Hill. It is followed by Gary Shearston's ‘Riverina Drover', about a family travelling ‘The Long Paddock'. This song highlights how equal the work burden and management of rural properties has always been for Country Women and celebrates the resilience of our Drovers.
The next track that really demands our commitment to a better future is partly a tribute to Greta Thunberg. It asks the question we all need to ask as we confront the few remaining Climate Change Deniers ...'What Will it Take?'
The other thing that I really enjoyed about this particular album is that, in its last half, it also showcases the great role our friendships and personal histories form in the journey of our lives. A number of particularly moving songs; ‘Counting quarters', ‘Haul Away', ‘Shadows and Light', ‘Space and Time' and ‘Long Time To Say Goodbye' feature at the end of the album.
Penny Davies and Roger Ilott are multi-talented and highly creative people. They have written, arranged, performed, recorded and produced these CDs on their independent label ‘Restless Music'. Gorgeous harmonies, sensitive instrumentals and arrangements and a very thoughtful sequencing of these story songs make them a very enjoyable experience.
Their fellow artists, their audiences and those in the future who will look back to evaluate the impact of art on heritage will be very enriched by sharing these experiences.
Pat Drummond 11/05/2021
(Pat Drummond is a singer, songwriter from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, and has performed all over Australia since he was in short trousers.)