Ted Egan

The Bush Races

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Aussie folk music has never become popular outside Australia, and listening to this album it's easy to see why. Most of it doesn't reflect real life even inside that increasingly sophisticated country, much less in the outside world. Listening to The Bush Races, a live album recorded by an acknowledged master of the form, it's still a party to which the outside world isn't invited. The celebrations of frontier life and getting very drunk are at least comprehensible and the gratuitous insults to Englishmen understandable given the history of the place, but much of this material relies on stereotypes and slang that will confuse outsiders. "Marsupial Joe" is a pretty decent tale of a frontier swindler and the Afghan camel drivers' song is an interesting curiosity, but there isn't much else here to interest a non-Aussie.Ted Egan sings well and it sounds like the people in the pub where this was recorded were having a jolly time, but it's like college graduates getting together to sing the old songs -- if you don't already know them, you won't understand them.

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