Spotlight: Bold Jack Donohue

The first and possibly greatest bushranger Ballad is Bold Jack Donohue, a portrayal of the wild career of one of the most infamous bushrangers. Such was the perceived insidiousness of the song’s influence that singing it in public was banned for a time, along with several other bushranger songs. It provided the basic structure and content for the most famous bushranger ballad The Wild Colonial Boy. Continue reading Spotlight: Bold Jack Donohue

Spotlight: The Streets of Forbes

Many songs of bushrangers have made a big impact culturally, but The Streets of Forbes is one of the most significant. Depicting the death of Ben Hall, it has been performed all around the world by scores of artists who each spice it with their own flavour. Folklore states that the words were originally written by John Maguire, Hall’s brother-in-law, it is perhaps the first recorded instance of the rumours about Billy Dargin being sent to assassinate Hall in his sleep. Continue reading Spotlight: The Streets of Forbes

Spotlight: Captain Thunderbolt by Slim Dusty

When we think of bush ballads and Australian folk songs, there’s really only two voices that jump to mind: John Williamson and Slim Dusty. Here, Slim sings about Captain Thunderbolt painting a colourful portrait of the bandit by contrasting him … Continue reading Spotlight: Captain Thunderbolt by Slim Dusty

Spotlight: The Ballad of Martin Cash

Come all you sons of Erin’s Isle that love to hear your tuneful notes, remember William Wallace and Montrose of sweet Dundee – The great Napoleon played his part, but by treachery was undone; Nelson, for England’s glory bled and nobly fought by sea – and Wellington, old Erin’s son, who Waterloo so bravely won, when leading on his veteran troops, bold faced his daring foes – but Martin Cash of matchless fame, The bravest man that owns that name, is a valiant son of Erin, where the sprig of shamrock grows. Continue reading Spotlight: The Ballad of Martin Cash