Folk Music Introduction, continued

Dad often sang: around the home, when driving in the car, at family gatherings and at work functions. Mum had a magical ability - after hearing a few bars she could accompany any song on the piano. Together, my parents were important participants in many happy gatherings. Dad's father played a squeeze-box which would come out after dinner on family occasions. Mum's father played a fiddle. My six brothers, two sisters and myself were all expected to perform at family sing-a-longs and concerts. We listened to the radio and the gramophone, but the most important music for us was that which we performed ourselves. Dad was the star. He was always called upon to perform. He enjoyed rising to the occasion. He was practiced and polished and sang with feeling. He prepared deliberately. For special occasions he wrote his own words and made his own songs.

Family sing-a-longs became less and less frequent, as we moved away from home. But occasionally, we found the time to gather together. When that happened, we often sang. I am glad that I took notice when, on one of those occasions, my father deliberately instructed me on how to sing several of his songs. I treasure the seed he planted.

In this collection, you will find songs that have assisted me to define who I am and that have instructed me on how I ought to live. Several themes run through them: determination in the face of adversity, making do, working together to achieve a common purpose, a healthy disrespect of authority, fairness, hope, happiness, and the joys of being in the bush. I have added some notes and reminiscences to some of the songs.

It has given me a great deal of pleasure to assemble this collection. I hope you find something that pleases you

Michael Gallagher
10th February 2007

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