Neil Colquhoun: Talking Swag (1972)

 |   |  1 min read

Neil Colquhoun: Talking Swag (1972)

For many years in the late Seventies/early Eighties, when working at Glenfield College in Auckland, I had no idea that the slight, quietly spoken music teacher Neil Colquhoun was the same person who had compiled an important collection of New Zealand folk songs for the book Song of a Young Country, and had subsequently produced a double album of the same name for Kiwi Pacific.

On that album were multi-instrumentalist Robbie Laven (later of Red Hot Peppers and today in Bonjour Swing), Phil Garland (another important folk archivist and writer), Tamburlaine, Bruce Hall, Marilyn Bennett, Dave Calder (later of the Hamilton Country Bluegrass Band), Dave Skinner and others.

nzfsA few copies of the original book still float around -- I believe there was a 2010 update but I haven't seen it -- but the album seems harder to come by, and then I found a copy in very good condition for a mere $10 in a local secondhand shop.

It was worth wading past all those Al Martino and Neil Diamond albums to rescue it.

As far as I can tell the words to this piece were by Selwyn "Shirlee" Alison (don't ask me about the "Shirlee") and the music is by Neil who is a well known collector of songs about and by whalers, gumdiggers, gold miners, unionists, bushmen and of course, swagmen.

Hence this song which might mean absolutely nothing to anyone today, but Elsewhere offers it From the Vaults just because we can. And that it might make people wonder about swagmen.

For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Gerry Mulligan: Mr Tambourine Man (1965)

Gerry Mulligan: Mr Tambourine Man (1965)

By the mid Sixties the once-popular jazz had been pushed to the margins of mainstream interest by the arrival of pop culture in the form the Beatles, the British Invasion and then the American... > Read more

Rosalie Allen: Hitler Lives (1945)

Rosalie Allen: Hitler Lives (1945)

Because the name "Hitler" became such a signifier for all that was evil and his name a shorthand for the inhuman and demonic, it was inevitable that any portrayal of him as a mere man... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SHADOW MORTON (1941-2013): Who knows? The Shadow knows

SHADOW MORTON (1941-2013): Who knows? The Shadow knows

Only a fiction writer could make up the life of New York's George Morton, the man who got his nickname "Shadow"  because he would simply disappear from work for days at time and... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Matthew Bannister

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Matthew Bannister

Matthew Bannister has some serious form, as they say. A founder member of the singular Flying Nun band Sneaky Feelings, he then formed Dribbling Darts of Love when SFeelings folded, and... > Read more