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

Mr and Mrs Mattis: I'll Never Move Again (date unknown, 1970s?)

Mr and Mrs Mattis: I'll Never Move Again (date unknown, 1970s?)

Here is a real mystery single: on the Narrow Way Gospel "label" out of Jamaica (crudely hand-printed, with a quote from Isaiah) comes this oddity which is clearly Jamaican singers but has... > Read more

Nina Simone: Cottage For Sale (1957)

Nina Simone: Cottage For Sale (1957)

At the very end of the Keith Richards' doco project about Chuck Berry, Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll, we see Chuck sitting quietly with his electric guitar (pianist Johnnie Johnson mostly off camera,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

CHARLES LLOYD INTERVIEWED (2010): A forest flower in full bloom

CHARLES LLOYD INTERVIEWED (2010): A forest flower in full bloom

For exceptional people, we make an exception. And saxophonist Charles Lloyd is certainly exceptional. Not just because he enjoyed that rarity in jazz, a hit album (Forest Flower in 66 which... > Read more

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Larry Henley: A very rich man indeed.

Ray Columbus seldom rang me at the Herald unless he had something to say. I liked him for that, he wasn't a time waster. But once he called and said he had an American friend in town that I might... > Read more