Silent Recordings
Unpredictable Music for
Unreliable Times

Artists:

CODA
Prop
Telemetry Orchestra
Tracky Dax

Compilations:

Around The Block
Nocturnal Emissions
Silent Soundtracks
Sounds of Silent
This Show Is About People

Rouseabout Records
Keeping it Real

Artists:

Bondi Cigars
Cathie O'Sullivan
Creedence Clearwater Revisited
The Celebrated Knackers & Knockers Band
Donna Fisk and Michael Cristian
Eric Bogle
Fiddlers Feast
Gary Shearston
Gordon Lightfoot
Herb Superb
Jim Low
Julie Wilson
Koori Classic
Kym Pitman
Marcus Holden
Mic Conway's National Junk Band
Ngarukuruwala
Nyalgodi Scotty Martin
Roger Knox
Russell Morris
Warren Fahey & Luke Webb
Warren Fahey & Max Cullen (DEAD MEN TALKING)

Compilations:

Down By The Billabong
The World Turned Upside-Down
Forte – Golden Fiddlers
Stand Up & Shout

Yesterday's Australia:

Barbara James
Bob Dyer
Bobby Limb
Buddy Williams
Dame Nellie Melba
Florence Austral
Frank Coughlan
John Brownlee
Johnny Ashcroft
Percy Grainger
Reg Lindsay
Shirley Thoms
Smoky Dawson
Strella Wilson
Tex Morton
Tex Morton and Sister Dorrie
Warren Fahey's Diggers

Yesterday's Australia Compilations:

Australian Radio Serials
Australian Hillbilly Radio Hits
Australian Stars of the International Music Hall Voume 1
Australian Stars of the International Music Hall Voume 2
Band in a Waistcoat Pocket
Mastertouch Pianola
Strike up the Band
Stars of Australian Stage & Radio Vol 1
Stars of Australian Stage & Radio Vol 2

Yep! Records
Music Without Compromise

Artists:

Antenna
Jenny Morris
Michal Nicholas
The Lovetones
Saints of India
Screw the Pooch
sounditout
Southend

Cathie O'Sullivan

The interpretation of folk song, including the marrying of new tunes to poetry, constantly changes. There are no set rules on how songs should be sung or tunes played and this elasticity is the real strength and magic of the contemporary folk process. Interpreting folk-inspired music from an Australian perspective, especially in modern times, must always salute our Anglo Celtic heritage, and, at the same time, have an eye for the future. Cathie O'Sullivan realised an Australian musical vision early on in her short, part-time musical career..

Cathie always had a 'day job', in the early days as a pharmacist, and, later, as an anthropologist and, more recently, as an academic. Music was a way of exploring the Australian story and she did that as a member of The Larrikins, Summerhaze and through solo performance. She had (and no doubt still has) a deft hand at bringing poetry, be it John Shaw-Neilsen, Henry Lawson or her own songs to life. Her arrangements of these songs took flight, usually propelled by her Celtic brass-strung harp and the talented musicians who created with her. Larrikin Records and its ambient label, Jarra Hill, released a series of albums featuring Cathie's music and they have been sitting in the archives for far too long. Dr. Catherine Summerhayes is leaving academia to write more books in her speciality of film and cultural studies and, with a bit of luck, we might also see her perform occasionally. Whatever the case it is wonderful to have much of the early recording catalogue remastered and re-released. The two compilations Down By The Green Bushes and Silly Winds sound amazingly fresh and bring together two streams of Cathie's music - the interpretation of traditional songs and tunes and the adventurous creation of new songs and music stemming from the same traditional roots. These albums are a testament to Cathie O'Sullivan's place in the story of Australian music. (Warren Fahey)

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Cathie O'Sullivan
'Down By The Green Bushes’
Catalogue Number RRR65

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Compiled from Artesian Waters LRF047 and High Places LRF128

Artists: Cathie O’Sullivan (vocals, metal-strung Irish harp, 5 string banjo) Declan Affley (fiddle, tin whistle) Cleis Pearce (electric viola) and Brownyn Evans (flute). Down By The Green Bushes photograph of Cathie by Sophie Dumaresq.

 

Album Track Listing

  1. Stony Town
  2. As Stock Go By
  3. Song of Artesian Water
  4. Keeping So thin
  5. Barbry Allen
  6. King of the Fairies/Miss Patterson
  7. Leaving
  8. Lovely Molly
  9. Nipper/Big Bill
  10. There’s Anguish
  11. The Teams
  12. Norfolk Whalers
  13. The Miner
  14. Planxty Dermott O’Dowd
  15. Green Bushes
  16. The Lost Sailor
  17. Cliffs of Moher

 

Cathie O'Sullivan
'Silly Winds’
Catalogue Number RRR66

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Compiled from High Places LRF128, Summerhaze LRF183 and Sweetheart JHR2005

Artists: Cathie O’Sullivan (vocals, metal-strung Irish harp, piano) Cleis Pearce (electric viola, violin, electric guitar, backing vocals) Jim Denley (alto saxophone, flute, backing vocals) Greg Sheehan (drums, percussion, stringed instruments, backing vocals) Steve Elphick (double bass, backing vocals)
Silly Winds cover painting courtesy of Johan Melander’s ‘Gate’

 

Album Track Listing

  1. Erus
  2. The Orange Tree
  3. Cameron Quartermain
  4. Ships Are Sailing
  5. Inland Born
  6. Sunny
  7. Sweetheart
  8. Silly Winds
  9. Maids of Mitchelltown
  10. Loving One
  11. Cruel Sister
  12. Cape Portland
  13. Foggy Dew
  14. Rain
  15. Childhood
  16. Care
  17. Photo

 

 

Press
What the Media have to Say...

 

“Some albums should be consigned to history at the earliest convenience, while others deserve resurrection and eternal life. A long-time member of the Larrikins and subsequently an academic, O’Sullivan has an important place in the fabric of Oz folk music, and here you can learn why. Her singing has a rare vivacity, so the words carry all the sudden surprise of seeing flowers that had not bloomed yesterday. In addition to her own Irish harp, she surrounds her voice with the brilliance of Cleis Pearce (strings), Jim Denley (reeds), Steve Elphick (bass) and Greg Sheehan (drums, percussion), four of the finest improvising players Australia ever produced.”
(John Shand, 4 star review, SMH)


Iconic, flawless. If this CD were a book, it would be a reference work. It is well done and worth putting on your shelf.”
(Sue Robinson, Trad&Now)




Angelic, an emotional maelstrom, one of my musical highlights of 2015. Discovering O'Sullivan feels a lot like striking gold. Like reading great literature: you can't help but feel enriched and moved by the experience. If you appreciate musicians who use folk music as a basis for innovation, exploration and inspiration then Silly Winds will quickly become essential listening.”
(Graham Blackley, Trad&Now)




CATHIE O’SULLIVAN RETURNS TO CENTRE STAGE by Warren Fahey

When you perform with someone for over a decade you get to know their music fairly intimately and that was the case with Cathie O’Sullivan who was a member of The Larrikins for a good stretch of the group’s long life. The Larrikins were never a typical bush band although they pre-date The Bushwhackers and, of course, like most bands, members came and went. There is little doubt that the group saw some of the most illustrious, notorious and talented folk musicians this country has ever assembled. Declan Affley, Jacko Kevans, Bob McInnes, Chris Kempster, Dave de Hugard, Gordon McIntyre, Andy Saunders, Tony Suttor and Kate Delaney being only some of the wonderful musicians who claimed membership. I started the group in the late 1960s, mainly to provide music for some ABC radio programs I wanted to develop. There were four of us to start with, the other three being an Irish trio Jack Fallis, Ned Alexander and Paddy McLoughlin but it didn’t take me long to realise I wanted a more Australian sound and a woman in the group. In comes Liora Claff and singer Tony Suttor. I wish I had documented who was in and who was out and who returned over the years but I didn’t and now the progression of band members is a bit jumbled in my nearly seventy-year old brain. Tony Suttor has been onto me to do a family tree of the group but the tree was a wild one. Gordon McIntyre and Kate Delaney came in soon after but Roger Fix, Steve Ellis, Tom Rummery, Peter Hobbs came in for a while. Novacastrian Brad Tate joined the group for a New Zealand tour in the 80s and banjo-playing Ian White joined for a couple of years. The long-standing members were Dave de Hugard, Jacko Kevans, Bob McInnes, Cathie O’Sullivan and myself. We did lots of touring, mostly for the Arts Council networks through Musica Viva. We also did several international tours including a five week tour of the South Pacific and a stint at the Commonwealth Games Arts Festival, Edinburgh, where musicologist Professor Michael Atherton joined the group. Fortunately, being a folklore bowerbird, I kept much of the group’s ephemera (leaflets, posters, itineraries etc) and these have been (partly) deposited in my manuscript collection in the National Library. One day I will work out that family tree.

I always had a sound in my head for the group. I experimented but I knew I wasn’t totally comfortable with what became known as the ‘bush band sound’. I wanted clarity in the singing, true dance rhythms in the tunes and I wanted spoken word, especially to link the songs and tunes to a traditional thread. We had a tea chest bass and a lager phone for about five minutes. Mind you, who needed novelties when you had the powerhouse of Jacko and Dave’s accordions and Bob’s fiddle? I also tended to avoid guitar although Gordon’s masterful guitar style felt totally comfortable within that sound. I guess I was after a more sensitive interpretation of the songs and also, most importantly, I wanted the group to avoid the Bush Band Top 20 and to concentrate on the more unusual collected material, including my own. To their credit the group members readily took my sometimes difficult requests to learn material. Many songs that would not have normally surfaced owe their popularity, or at least public airing, to The Larrikins. Jack singing ‘Saturday Night At The Dance Palais’, Bob’s rendition of ‘Take Me Back to Bendigo’ and Cathie’s beautiful interpretation of several Sally Sloane songs were all at my insistence. Declan, when he was in the group, was amazing at learning and interpreting new songs and learnt many for the 16 part ABC series I scripted called ‘The Australian Legend’. I was also keen to introduce new songs alongside the old. I   distributed songs from Don Henderson, Clem Parkinson, Phyl Lobl, Lyell Sayer, Eric Bogle, Tony Miles, Harry Robertson and others for the group to learn, and they usually did them brilliantly.

I mentioned my insistence on having a woman in the group. I wanted to dispel the notion that the Australian folk repertoire was totally macho man driven. I wanted to hear the more sensitive songs like ballad remnants and lyrical songs. This was important to me since many of the songs collected over the years were from women as song carriers. Cathie O’Sullivan never shied away from learning these songs and in each case she brought a new sensitively to their interpretation. Her versions of Barbry Allen, Lovely Molly and Green Bushes were exceptionally beautiful. Cathie also brought her own arrangements of John Shaw-Neilson and A.B. Paterson’s poetry to the group as well as several originals. Her Cameron Quartermain is still one of my all-time favourites.

Cathie also introduced the steel-strung celtic harp to the group and, once again, helped me enhance the sensitive approach to Australian folk music. It was obviously a bugger to keep tune and considering the group often toured the outback where it was stinking hot, or found itself in freezing temperatures, the strings were always bothersome. She is also a solid tin whistle player, a sound I definitely had in my head. Cathie recorded two solo albums with the Larrikin label as well as appearing on several recording projects undertaken by the ABC under the keen ear of David Mulhallen of Sunday Folk.

Whilst in The Larrikins Cathie also formed her own band which she called Summerhaze, a play on her name. It was more of a recording project ensemble although it did perform at festivals and a few tours. Notable members were the percussionist extraordinaire Greg Sheahan and interpretative viola player

Cleis Pearce, and saxophonists Jim Denley and Sandy Evans. Percussionist Peter Kennard also performed with the group at one stage. There were others and between them they drove Cathie’s contemporary explorations in folk music without musical boundaries. They made two albums with Larrikin’s Jarra Hill label. There was also the fine later album Dark Pleasures and Angels.

Cathie stopped performing in the early nineties to attend to her academic life. She already had a degree in Pharmacy and had embarked on another in Social Anthropology. On moving to Canberra she obtained a B.Lit and her PhD in Film and Cultural Studies. As Lecturer in Film and New Media Studies at the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences she also found time to write books and monographs, including a major work on artist Tracey Moffatt. Her return to part-time performing is shared with a new book Google Earth: Outreach and Activism (2015 Bloomsbury)

The good news is that the master tapes have all resurfaced and Rouseabout records has issued two compilations devised by Cathie and myself. I’ve been wanting to get Cathie’s music back into circulation for quite a few years and I can attest to the re-mastered songs as being as fresh as the proverbial daisies. The compilations offer two different approaches to Cathie’s music-making. ‘Down By The Green Bushes’ is a salute to the traditional repertoire and ‘Silly Winds’ is the more contemporary edge. Both albums are essential listening for anyone interested in the evolution of Australian folk music however they are much more - they are a unique and extremely satisfying musical delight. If possible they sound even better than when they were first released. Go explore.
(Warren Fahey, Rouseabout Records)


A remarkable voice!
(Bob Cady, Highland FM)



An interesting selection of traditional and more contemporary material drawn from several 1970s vinyl releases on Warren Fahey's Larrikin and Jarra Hill labels.
(Bruce Cameron, ‘Come All Ye’, 2MCE)


Delightful
(Bert Everett, Bundaberg Guardian)

I played tracks (from both CDs) last week, to VERY POSITIVE response from the audience. Cathie will get more "plays" from me.
(Graeme Gilbert, Talk Tonight, 2SM Super Radio Network)