Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
The Bushwackers are proof that music in Australia is much more than the hook-laden pop tunes of the Bee Gees and the quasi-new wave of Men at Work. A product of early-'70s jam sessions at La Trobe University's campus folk club, the Bushwackers continue to deliver an aggressive, highly spirited blend of rock and Australia's folk music. Originally a trio featuring Jan Wositsky (vocals, harmonica, banjo, bass and various forms of traditional bush percussion), Dave Isom (guitar, vocals and mandolin) and Bert Kahanoff (largerphone), the Bushwackers attracted large crowds with their early performances in Melbourne. The group widened their following during a 1973 tour of New Zealand. In Australia, they continued to attract enthusiastic crowds to their performances at the Dan O'Connell Hotel in Fitzroy, where they appeared every Friday night from 1977 to 1980. They released their first single, "When the Rain Tumbles Down in July," in 1973. The group's debut album, A Shearer's Dream, was released in 1974 and reached the top slot on the British folk charts and led to the band's first British tour. While in the United Kingdom, the Bushwackers were befriended by such top-ranked folk acts as the Chieftains, the Dubliners, Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span. The Bushwackers continued their success in the late '70s and early '80s. In addition to ten albums, the group's music was heard on numerous movie and television soundtracks. In 1984, they announced they were disbanding due to "the costs of keeping the band on the road and the desire to spend more time with families." The group continued to get together for annual reunion tours from 1984 until 1990. Late in 1993, Roger Corbett (bass, mandolin, harmonica and vocals), who joined the group in 1980, and Dobe Newton (largerphone, whistle, bodhran, bones, spoons and vocals), a member since 1973, re-formed the group. Although they initially called the reorganized band "the Range Rovers", they went back to their original name upon signing a publishing contract with Warner Chappell and a recording contract with ABC/EMI. The current lineup features Mark Oates (fiddle), Pete Drummond (drums), Tim Gaze (guitar) and Pamela Drysdale (accordion, guitar and vocals).