Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bushwackers Band - 1976 - The Shores Of Botany Bay

Shores of Botany Bay/South Australia/The Cuckoos Nest

By the time of the British Pop Invasion of the 1960's the flame of Australia's bush music heritage was barely alive. It wasn't until the early 1970's that the massive resurgence in folk music overseas inspired such Australian bands as "The Larrikins", "The Cobbers", and "The Original Bushwhackers and Bullockies Bush Band". Their success in those years is evidenced in part by ten albums and many gold records; the biggest selling Australian songbook ever; soundtracks for feature films and television series'; numerous awards and an entire ABC documentary devoted to the band.

The Bushwackers' astounding popularity in concert peaked in the 1980's when their dances attracted crowds of 4,000 in capital cities. One memorable night more than 1,000 people were turned away from a sell-out show at the "Birkenhead Barn" in Sydney.

Even after ten years of solid touring the public just couldn't get enough of The Bushwackers - long after most other bands formed in the same era had burned out or faded away. However in 1984 The Bushwackers too decided to call it a day, due primarily, to the costs of keeping a band of their stature on the road but also, to the desires of long-standing members to establish a home and family of their own.

 Various past members of the band got together for reunion tours every year between 1984 and 1990 while record companies churned out compilations drawn from The Bushwackers earlier recordings. It wasn't until late 1993 that Roger Corbett and Dobe Newton reformed the band with some old hands and players from a younger generation. This new outfit appeared at the "Tamworth Festival" in January 1994 as "The Range Rovers" but failed to escape the attention of several music industry heavyweights who had come to witness the band's covert debut.

Within just a few months Dobe, Roger and newcomer Melanie were signed as "The Bushwackers Band" to publishing giant Warner Chappell and a new recording deal was struck with ABC/EMI. Their latest recordings are among their finest with the band as potent as it ever was, and perhaps more focused.