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Eric Bogle

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  • Born: Peebles, Scotland
  • Years Active: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s

Albums

Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

One of Australia's eminent singer/songwriters, Eric Bogle has been sharing his unique Scotsman-goes-down-under view since the late-'70s. His songs, including "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," "Leaving Nancy," "Nobody's Moggy Now," and "Little Gomez," have been covered by a growing list of artists, including June Tabor, the Pogues, Mary Black, Donovan, Billy Bragg, and the Dubliners. The Fureys' rendition of "No Man's Land (Green Fields of France)" spent 26 weeks on the Irish music charts, including ten weeks at the top position. The son of a bagpipe player, Bogle wrote poetry at the age of eight. Influenced by Elvis Presley and Lonnie Donegan, he taught himself to play guitar and joined a series of rock and skiffle bands. A career in music was the furthest thing from Bogle's mind, however. After leaving school at the age of 16, he worked a variety of jobs, including manual laborer, export clerk, and bartender. Moving to Australia, in 1969, to work as an accountant, Bogle soon connected with a folk club in Canberra and became immersed in the country's acoustic music scene. His first song to capture international attention, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," was inspired by watching an ANZAC march in Canberra, and was originally 15 minutes long. "No Man's Land (Green Fields of France)," which was written after a visit to a military cemetery in northern France, reflected Bogle's continuing fascination with World War I. Residing near the southern Australian city of Adelaide, Bogle performs with a quartet that features drummer Jon Jones; fiddle, guitar, and mandolin player David O'Neill; and former-Pyewackett bassist, keyboardist, and saxophonist Ian Blake.

Wikipedia:

Eric Bogle AM (born 23 September 1944) is a Scottish-born folk singer-songwriter. He emigrated to Australia in 1969 and currently resides near Adelaide, South Australia. On 25 January 1987, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his work as a singer-songwriter. In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named his song, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.

Early years[edit]

Eric Bogle was born on 23 September 1944 in Peebles, Scotland. His father was a woodcutter who played bagpipes. Bogle started writing poetry when he was eight-years-old. After attending school until 16-years-old, Bogle worked in various trades: labourer, clerk and barman. In 1969, Bogle emigrated to Australia and initially lived in the capital, Canberra, where he worked as an accountant. He had an interest in politics and by 1980 had moved to Queensland before settling in Adelaide.

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Career[edit]

Bogle taught himself to play guitar and joined a skiffle and rock band. He was the leader of Eric and the Informers in Scotland. His early influences were Lonnie Donegan, Elvis Presley and Ewan MacColl. He turned to folk music prior to emigrating to Australia – his first written songs concerned his parents. When living in Canberra he joined the local folk music scene and performed occasionally.

Several of his most famous songs tell of the futility or loss of war. Prominent among these is "And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda", written in 1971. The lyrics tell of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) experience fighting in the Battle of Gallipoli. It has also been interpreted as a reaction to the Vietnam War. Another of his best-known songs, "No Man's Land", is also World War I-themed. This song is commonly known as "The Green Fields of France", a title it was first given by The Fureys, and which has subsequently been used in many further cover versions. The song refers to the traditional Scottish song "Flowers of the Forest" being played over the grave of a World War I soldier. This song has been covered by Alec Beaton (with a Scottish soldier from "The Water is Wide"), Plethyn ("Gwaed ar eu Dwylo" (Blood on their Hands), sung in Welsh from "Blas y Pridd"), and Hannes Wader ("Es ist an der Zeit" (It is the Time)). American folk singer Charlie Zahm also has a version on his album Festival Favorites, as does American Folk Singer Robert Marr on his 2011 album "Celticism".

Another notable song on a similar theme, but with a more contemporary setting, is the Troubles-inspired "My Youngest Son Came Home Today", with its tale of a young man killed during fighting in Northern Ireland. Notably, the song does not take sides in the conflict; it does not mention whether the title character is a nationalist or loyalist. However, the song has been adopted by Nationalists and is now associated with Irish Republicanism.

Bogle's songs cover a wide range of subjects and themes, including comedic songs ("The Aussie Bar-B-Q"), satires ("I Hate Wogs") protest songs and serious songs about the human condition such as "Now I'm Easy". His song "Safe in the Harbour" is an homage to Stan Rogers. "Katie and the Dreamtime Land" is a tribute to American folk singer Kate Wolf, who died from leukaemia in 1986. Other well-known songs, with lighter subject matter, include two homages to departed pets, "Little Gomez" and "Nobody's Moggy Now" and an acknowledgment of his folk music fans with "Do You Sing Any Dylan?".

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Touring[edit]

Bogle has undertaken an extensive concert tour of the UK (sometimes including dates in Europe as well), every three years since 1985. These tours have usually included a supporting cast of Australian-based singers and musicians, most regularly John Munro and Brent Miller. Bogle said that his 2009 tour, with John Munro, would be his last overseas tour. This featured a Saturday Night Special on 27 June with Martyn Wyndham-Read, Johnny Collins and Les Sullivan in Watford, the only London venue.

More recent tours in Australia have included Adelaide based musicians Emma Luker (Fiddle) and Pete Titchener (Guitar/Bass)

Bogle was a prominent artist at the National Folk Festival in Canberra over Easter 2011, has been a regular artist at the Port Fairy Folk Festival held in Port Fairy, Victoria, Australia every March.

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Tributes[edit]

On 25 January 1987, Eric Bogle was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, "In recognition of service to the performing arts as a song writer and singer".

Many of Bogle's songs have been covered by other artists; including John Schumann, The Skids, June Tabor, The Men They Couldn't Hang, The Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners, Michael Grosvenor Myer(YouTube channel), John McDermott, Liam Clancy, Mike Harding, The Pogues, Robert Lawrence, De Dannan, Dropkick Murphys, The Corries, Billy Bragg, The Bushwackers, Slim Dusty and John Williamson. In May 2001 the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), as part of its 75th Anniversary celebrations, named his song, "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.

In 2000 a five CD collection was released called Singing The Spirit Home. His first and only live performance DVD was released in May 2009.

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