Eric Bogle is unique in the world of songwriting. He isn't tall, he is dark and he isn't a bronzed god. He even has a Scottish accent! What Eric does possess is a keen observation on the foibles of the human race and a rare ability to translate our frustrations and aspirations into well-crafted songs that penetrate deep into the soul.
I remember the first time I heard him sing 'And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda' and how it moved all my usually well hidden emotions as his poetry took me deep into the hearts of the ANZACs. That was way back in the early nineteen eighties when I was 'carrying the banner with Hannah' protesting against injustice, war and uranium mining.
All of a sudden I started to think more about the craziness of war and how it affects those who survive. Eric's song opened my eyes by opening my mind to another side of war. I wrote to him and suggested he make a record for my fledgling Larrikin Label. Six months later we released his first album 'Now I'm Easy'. The success of this album resulted in a strong working relationship with Larrikin producing nearly a dozen Eric Bogle albums.
Eric Bogle is unique. What makes him unique is he has continued to 'deliver the goods' with I his songwriting over the years. Every new album produces songs that make me think, cringe and laugh. Triggering these emotions is often difficult but Eric has no inhibitions about tackling the most difficult subjects — domestic violence, disease, racism, ageing and anguish. He doesn't sit down at his songwriter's desk and think 'Now what awful topic can I write about today?' He writes songs because they nag at him. It has often been said that Eric Bogle 'wears his heart on his sleeve'. He does, and it is a very big heart for such a wee fellow!
This collection of Eric Bogle songs represents nearly twenty years of songwriting and two decades of life in Australia. The big ones are all here plus two new tracks to finish off the programme with a laugh. I urge you to seek out Eric's catalogue and to listen to a real poet in a society where we definitely could do with more poets and less politicians!
Over the years Eric has been honoured by several awards including the Order of Australia and the International Year of Peace Award. He has toured every year with on-going performance commitments throughout the world. He lives with his wife, Carmel, in Adelaide where he manages to restore old houses, collect antiques, walk the dog and generally enjoy life in the slow lane.
Warren Fahey, Chief Larrikin, Larrikin Records