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This edition of Undercover Radio features a selection of songs from our most recent Rouseabout Records releases ‘Before the Boomerang Came Back – Musical Aboriginalia (1949-1962)’ & Johnny Wade’s ‘Hawaiian Crooner’ two volume collection. Both titles are part of our Reissue Projects compiled by internationally recognized heritage sound archivist Michael Alexandratos. Also in the mix are John Munro (Spotify only), Michael Fix, Robyn Archer, Gary Shearston (Spotify only), Roger Knox, Smoky Dawson (Spotify only), Buddy Williams and The Scrum. We finish on an electronic tip with Yep! Records offerings old & new from Southend, Spaceniks and PNAU on remix duties for Jenny Morris.


Robyn Archer


The album has been very well received by critics and Robyn’s long legion of fans...

Vincent Plush from The Weekend Australian, gave it a 4.5 out of 5 and said: “There’s a kind of smoky sensual world weariness to Robyn’s new album. Yet there is also vitality and verve, anger and angst, barbs and bouquets. Archer has lived this music for a long time, yet each time she approaches it, she brings something new. It’s hard to imagine another performer bringing similar guts to this music. Can anyone tire of this music? And what better advocate than that fearless proselytizer, our very own Archer.”

Read the full review.

Sydney Morning Herald’s John Shand suggests: “A third of this album focuses on Paris circa 1880-1900, featuring Bruant's scowling view of a corrupted world. Robyn Archer's English translations reveal chilling parallels with the dark visions of William Blake's Songs of Experience, and the singer revels in material that suits a theatrical delivery spiked with words spat out with superb venom.

The second third comes from Weimar Berlin before Nazism blotted out a sunnier optimism; songs that play to Archer's arch playfulness. Moritat and Falling in Love Again aside, they are less familiar pieces, including the black humour of Frank Wedekind's Granny Murderer and the tender Eine Kleine Sehnsucht.

She closes the circle by returning to Paris, this time in the 1950s: the world of Brel. Archer's singing is expertly supported by Michael Morley (piano, vocals) and George Butrumlis (accordion, bass accordion, vocals). (4 stars)

Trad&Now’s Graham Blackley writes…“The award winning and much loved singer, Robyn Archer, who possesses a multitude of strings to her glittering bow, has been a dynamic and integral part of the international cabaret scene for many years. This entertaining collection is comprised of a gaggle of intriguing rarities. One of the most enriching aspects of this album, is the arresting and unexpected insights that some of the songs provide. On "Classic Cabaret Rarities" Archer both entertains and educates.”

“This kind of material is History Brought to Life and is the perfect complement to Hills Radio’s The Big Band Era.” (Bill Hodgson, Hills Radio 88.9FM) “Robyn's a very interesting and talented woman.” (Anne McAllister, Celtic Folk, 3CR)

Robyn Archer: Classic Cabaret Rarities (RRR91) is available to download or stream on Apple Music and Spotify and on CD through MGM Distribution or directly from Undercover Music via mail order.

For registered AirIt Radio Users three songs from the album are available on Amrap's AirIt catalogue.

Artist: Robyn Archer

Track: Red City

Track: The Deep Sigh Of A Lady In A Troubled Night

Track: Song Of The Rag And Bone Man

Look & listen out for Robyn Archer’s Classic Cabaret Rarities in The Weekend Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Trad& Now and on ABC Radio National, ABC Radio Sydney, Radio Adelaide, 89.7 Eastside Radio, 3CR - Celtic Folk Show, PBS-FM, Eastern FM 98.1, 98.3 OKR-FM Mitchell Community Radio, CoastFM SA, 2BAB, Lofty 88.9, Hills Radio 88.9FM, Seymour FM, Southern FM, 2SEA 104.7, (3RIM) 979fm, DDBB102.7 fm, HUON FM, Radio Murrindindi, 5 Triple Z, ArtSoundFM 92.7, 2AirFm, Vox FM, One FM, 98.9 North West FM, City Park Radio, 88.9 WYN FM, 3NRG Inc, Hobart FM, Monaro FM, Radio 1629am Newcastle.

Robyn Archer’s entire back catalogue is being released digitally on Rouseabout Records from September 2020 onwards starting with Take Your Partners For… The Ladies’ Choice first issued on Larrikin Records in 1978.

For more information: Artists Page

Eric Bogle

Eric Bogle

Perennial favourite, Eric Bogle, joined Shellie Morris, Nicky Bomba, Marcia Howard, the Toe Sucking Cowgirls and around 150 other acts when the Illawarra Folk Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary in January.

The annual four-day event, the State’s largest folk festival was held at Bulli Showground on January 16-19.

Artistic Director, David De Santi said the lineup was particularly strong, with top international, national and local acts and one of the largest contingents of young performers in the event’s history.

“This was Eric Bogle’s fifth appearance in our 35 years and he always attracts large audiences,” De Santi said.

“It was great to have him back.”

The Scottish born singer songwriter, whose anti-war song, ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’, is an international classic, first played at the festival in 1988, and returned in 2012, 2014 and 2018. (Source: Trad&Now)

Eric also headlined the inaugural Sydney Folk Festival held in August 2019.

More Information:  Artist Page

Before The Boomerang


Before the Boomerang Came Back - Musical Aboriginalia (1949-1962) compiled by producer Michael Alexandratos is out on all digital music platforms, including Spotify, iTunes and Apple Music.

Presented together for the first time are rare sound recordings of musical misappropriations of Aboriginal cultures, spanning the genres of jazz, pop, rock n roll, country music and art song, mostly recorded in Australia and by white non-Indigenous artists and composers.

All tracks have been remastered by Grammy Award winning audio engineer Michael Graves (Osiris Studio) and features album cover artwork by Tony Albert, courtesy of Sullivan + Strumpf.

The one theme tying the collection together is the often racist and misguided representations of Aboriginal peoples and cultures, through sounds, lyrics and music.

The album’s controversial recordings are set against the backdrop of the 1950s, a tumultuous decade in the struggle for indigenous rights, and during the same period when the first commercial recordings were made by Aboriginal artists.

It is hoped that this release will stimulate new perspectives and interpretations on material that represents an uncomfortable and difficult legacy in Australian music history.

“I laughed so hard at a crooner singing about the Dreamtime. This is wild stuff. (Karl Erik Roman-Miller)

Rouseabout Records Executive Producer Warren Fahey remarks ... “I am not in the business of guiding a protégé but young (he is twenty-two) Michael Alexandratos is already achieving international recognition as a heritage sound archivist.”

For more context check out Michael’s blog posts on Amnesiac Archive.

Michael appreared in the Sydney Morning Herald's Spectrum: On my mind: Michael Alexandratos and SBS Greek

More Information:  Artists Page

John Munro

John Munro

As depicted in the 2020 bushranger film, True History of the Kelly Gang, villain or hero, Ned Kelly’s name still resonates in Australian history and folklore in a similar way to Jesse James or Robin Hood, and the question of course, is ‘why’?

It’s hard to write him off simply as a ruffian, a thief and a murderer when his legend lives on so vigorously almost 140 years after his death.

The events that occupied his short 25 years on this earth are the raw materials for the story told on this album.

All the songs on this album are written by John who sadly died, far too young, in 2018, after a long battle with cancer. Most were recorded by Pete Titchener only a few months before John's death.

Writes Eric Bogle: “This, more than any other musical project that I have ever been involved in, has been a labour of love, as it has been for most of the musicians and others who so freely, generously and unstintingly gave of their time and talents in the creation of this CD.

We crafted this presentation of songs not only as a tribute to the masterful musicianship and songwriting of John Campbell Munro, but also because the songs themselves are fine examples of the songwriter’s art and deserve to be heard.

But mostly we made this CD because John was our friend and we loved him…”

You can read more about Ned Kelly in the extensive sleeve notes accompanying the CD.

Look & listen out for The Kelly Collection in Trad&Now and on PBS-FM, Radio 4EB FM 98.1, UGFM Radio Murrindindi, Triple U FM, Whitehorse Boroondara Community Radio, WMAfm, Triple Z, CoastFM SA, Fraser Coast Community Radio, Bay FM 99.9, CoastFM SA, WOWFM, Radio Kidnappers Hawke's Bay NZ

More Information:  Artist Page

Gary Shearston

Gary Shearston

“The word ‘legend’ is used freely in the music world, but few could be more entitled to its use than Gary Shearston.” (Ian Dearden, Trad & Now) “Gary Shearston is Royalty in our Australian Music Industry,” (Raymond Phillips, Country Harvest), “an icon of Australian folk.” (Jack Humphrys, Australian Options)

As we approach the seventh anniversary of his passing it’s an opportune time to reflect upon his mastery as a singer-songwriter.

In late 2017 Andrew Shields put together arguably the most comprehensive piece ever written about Gary who, whilst alive refrained approaches for a biography.

In conclusion Shields writes: “In his early career, he proved himself to be one of the very finest interpreters of that tradition Australia has ever produced. As time went on, he also demonstrated a rare ability as a songwriter. Indeed, although some commentators have described him as an Australian ‘Bob Dylan’ or ‘Johnny Cash’, in my opinion his work more closely resembles that of the great Texan songwriter, Guy Clark and that of his Canadian counterpart, Gordon Lightfoot. All three men’s work is also firmly grounded in a highly developed sense of place. With Shearston that place is the area in rural New South Wales where he grew up. With Clark, that ‘place’ frequently was the semi-rural small town Texas in which he grew up. In a similar way, Lightfoot’s songs frequently refer to the area around the town of Orillia in Ontario, Canada which was his birthplace. There is also a strong historical sense in all of their work, with many of Gary Shearston’s songs reflecting his deep knowledge of, and interest in, Australian culture and traditions. It is in this company of the very finest craftsmen songwriters that his superb body of work deserves, in my opinion, to be considered.”

For details about Gary Shearston’s numerous album releases on Rouseabout Records including the definitive anthology Here & There, Now & Then, visit his

Artist Page  Artist Page

Michael Fix

Michael Fix

By Susan Jarvis

Michael Fix sees music as art – as a way to paint a picture, evoke emotion and capture a place or experience.

But last year he became the subject of a different kind of art. Two of Australia's leading artists have painted Michael's portrait."It's a strange experience seeing yourself on a wall, almost larger than life. It's a little bit confronting, but also very cool: Michael said.

Brisbane artist Roey Fitzpatrick's "Butcherbird" was inspired by a track of the same name from Michael's Lines And Spaces album, while Wollongong's Donald Keys has painted Michael standing in front of a geometric background to enter in the 2020 Archibald Prize.

It's amazing that Michael's had time to sit for even one portrait last year, given how much else he did. He returned from an eleven-week tour of Europe, taking in Germany; the Czech Republic, Austria and the United Kingdom.

Prior to that, he toured Queensland for a month with his annual International Guitar Spectacular, featuring the talents of Italian YouTube sensation Luca Stricagnola and talented Queenslander Minnie Marks.

"Each year, the International Guitar Spectacular gives me a chance to bring an amazing young player from overseas, and to give a local artist an opportunity to reach new audiences. I love playing with different people each year, and they're always incredible players," Michael said.

Michael has now been touring Europe annually for 15 years, and is an extremely popular drawcard throughout Germany and in several other countries.

Over the past couple of years, he has been working with songstress Christine Collister, one of the UK's finest singers and interpreters, and the pair has released their second album, North & South, recorded in Michael's Parklands Studio in Brisbane.

They spent three weeks touring England in October, and pre COVID-19 were to return in September 2020. Meanwhile, they had an extended Australian tour planned for the first quarter of 2020, which kicked off at the Illawarra Folk Festival, then took them to Victoria, the Central West, South Coast and North Coast of New South Wales, the area around Brisbane, including a couple of local shows, and then up the Queensland Coast.

"I spend a lot of time touring solo, so it's wonderful to be able to work with such a talented vocalist. When we perform together, it's like alchemy - it just creates magic," Michael said.

But Michael is also focused on his other major recording project, Cloudsurfing, which showcases him at his best, as a completely solo artist, with no added instrumentation.

"Amazingly, given that I'm a solo performer, it's the first album I've recorded entirely solo – the only other instrument is my voice, on one track - a version of Harry Chapin's Taxi," Michael said. (Source: Capital Music Country News)

Read the entire feature

Michael’s track ‘The Balcony Bunch’ was nominated for the Instrumental of the year at the 48th Annual Country Music Awards of Australia. The Golden Guitars were presented at a star-studded event in January 2020 during the Toyota Country Music Festival in Tamworth.

Finally the virtuoso guitarist is taking requests from members of the public to play songs of their choice which he then records on video and puts up on YouTube for everyone to see and hear.

“Music is a powerful force, just a few dots of sound in a piece of quiet space can invoke joy, melancholy, memories, a whole variety of emotions,” Michael said. (Source: Trad&Now)

Read the entire feature

Michael Fix has two tracks on Down by the Billabong – Acoustic guitar arrangements of Australian folks songs and bush tunes (RRR69) which is available to download on iTunes, stream on Apple Music & Spotify and on CD through MGM Distribution or directly from Undercover Music via mail order.


Johnny Wade

Johnny Wade

Hawaiian Crooner, the two-volume collection of Hawaiian-style recordings by vocalist Johnny Wade (1916-1993) is finally out on iTunes, Spotify and other digital music outlets.

Presented here for the very first time are 59 masters that span from Wade's early involvement with the Sydney Hawaiian Club in 1937, until his last 78rpm recordings in 1956 under "Johnny Wade & His Hawaiians."

Also featured are the talents of electric steel players Les Adams and Neville Kahn, all backed with Wade's tender crooner-style vocalising.

Along with hapa-haole standards like ‘Aloha Oe’, ‘King’s Serenade’ and ‘The Hukilau Song’, these sessions feature a number of Australian compositions and songs which reference Maori, Samoan, Malaysian and Fijian cultures.

This release brings back into circulation recordings of a genre that deserves the same status and recognition alongside other Australian popular music styles of the era, including country and jazz. 

Hawaiian Crooner Volumes 1 & 2 are available to download on iTunes and stream on Apple Music & Spotify.

More Information:  Artist Page

Johnny Wade


Spaceniks is a new electro outfit from Wollongong, Australia. After some years of working away at their craft in private, Spaceniks has finally decided to release its first track. ‘Jawohl’ is the bastard offspring of indie and krautrock. ‘Jawohl’ is not representative of anything other than itself: Spaceniks doesn't sound like ‘Jawohl’ but ‘Jawohl’ sounds like Spaceniks. Does that make sense?

Spaceniks will be releasing an album in 2021. ‘Jawohl’ won't be on it.

Check out the video on YouTube.

For registered AirIt Radio Users ‘Jawohl’ is available on Amrap's AirIt catalogue.

Listen out for Spaceniks on VOX-FM, Gippsland FM, 2EAR FM, 5GTR FM, WOW FM, Three D Radio, Musosoup

More Information:  Artist Page


Warren Fahey

Musician, cultural historian & Rouseabout Records Executive Producer Warren Fahey recently joined Indira Naidoo on ABC Radio’s Nightlife program for an ANZAC Day special about the music that has cheered and inspired Australians of the past during war time.

The show featured tracks from Warren’s Diggers LP on Spotify and Apple Music, Australian Stars of the International Music Hall Vol 1 (Florrie Forde) (also on Apple Music), and Eric Bogle’s Now I’m Easy (on Spotify and Apple Music)

More Information:  Artist Page

Buddy Williams

The Boundary Rider Remembered

By Andrew Smith

Eighty years ago, on Thursday, September 7, 1939, two days after his 21st birthday, “The Yodelling Boundary Rider” Buddy Williams recorded at Columbia Graphophone in Sydney.

The recordings were released on the famous Regal Zonophone label with Buddy singing solo, accompanied by his own guitar.

He cut That Dappled Grey Bronco of Mine, They Call Me The Rambling Yodeller; Lonesome For You Mother Dear; Give A Little Credit To Your Dad, The Orphan's Lament and My Moonlight Lullaby.

The son of Annie Taylor, he was named Harry Taylor at birth and grew up in Sydney's Royleston Orphanage. He spent the first seven years of his life longing for a mother he would never know.

Buddy said little publicly about conditions in the institution, but a succession of inquiries in New South Wales revealed that children in orphanages during the 1920s had regularly been mistreated.

His early experiences undoubtedly affected him profoundly, and he later wrote and recorded songs that were inspired by loneliness and an unfulfilled yearning to be reunited with his mother: Lonesome For You Mother Dear; The Orphan's Lament, What A Pal My Mother Might Have Been To Me, The Orphan Boy And His Dog [borrowing extensively from The Orphan Girl and A Mother As Lovely As You, for example.

When he was seven, he was sent to live with Mr and Mrs Bandy McFarland, who owned a dairy farm near Dorrigo who used him as cheap labour.

Renamed Harry McFarland, he was immediately put to work at the homestead. But Harry had a stubborn streak and a stoic determination that helped him to survive life's adversities.

He absconded from his foster parents when he was about 15 and to erase memories of his unhappy past called himself "Buddy Williams".

Later, he sang unaccompanied over radio station 2GF Grafton, and appeared at the Jacaranda Festival in 1936, where he was popular with the crowds.

He moved on to Newcastle, and then to Sydney and in September 1943 enlisted in the army and was sent to a training camp in Queensland. While on leave, he made recordings in 1943 and 1945, including two duets with Bernie Burnett [the patriotic Stockmen In Uniform and Sunny Australian Sweetheart), Music In My Pony's Feet, Bushland Of My Dreams and Where The Lazy Murray River Rolls Along.

In June 1945, he was severely wounded by a grenade.

He was placed amongst those expected to die but a doctor saved his life. He carried unmovable shrapnel in his body for the rest of his life.

After recuperating, Buddy and his wife Grace toured Australia and Buddy recorded prolifically. His repertoire included songs about Australia although some of his output was American in origin, including two tribute long-play discs of favourites by Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams.

In 1977, he was elected to the Australasian Country Music Roll of Renown and also inducted into the Hands of Fame; in 1980 he won the Australian Country Music Heritage Award for What A Dreary Old World It Would Be and received the Queensland Modern Country Music Association's award for services to country music, which was presented once every decade.

He usually toured with his family, wife Grace and children Harold, Kaye and Karen. He suffered two heart attacks in 1977 and 1978 and died from cancer in 1986.

He was buried in Lutwyche, Queensland, next to his daughter Donita, who was tragically killed in Scottsdale, Tasmania, in 1948 aged 21 months.

Buddy wrote and recorded There's Another Angel In Heaven, Little Red Bonnet, and Our Sweet Little Girl in her memory.

In retrospect, Buddy's most significant contribution to Australian country music included composing authentic songs about aspects of rural Australia, thus pioneering the bushballad genre that was pursued later by Slim Dusty, who was undeniably influenced by him. In one sense, much of his music was sandwiched between that of Tex Morton's and Slim Dusty's, both in time and style; and his long-term involvement with recording and performing gave the genre a reassuring stability, particularly when Tex Morton was in North America [during the 1950s),and before Slim reached his zenith.

A heavily abridged excerpt about the life of Buddy Williams, from a recently completed book on Tex Morton and early Australian country music.

More Information:  Artist Page

Koori Classic


A Fascination With Sound

By Jon Wolfe

Steve Newton and his Enrec Studios (the home of Koori Classic) have a formidable reputation as one of the best places to go to record music and it is little wonder, as music, and particularly country music is in his blood.

As the son of Slim 'Redback' Newton, music was always in his young life, as background or up front and centre as he went on the road with Slim and later with some of Australian country music's touring road warriors.

"As a little kid I had to tag along to various shows that dad did," Steve said. "That's when I first saw Rick and Thel Carey, and ultimately we ended up in Tamworth from WA when he came here to work at Hadley Records with Eric Scott."

Steve's fascination with the recording process came about while he was involved with Slim in recording demo tapes to send to Hadley.

"It was during the recording of the demo tapes that I was introduced to tape recorders," he said. "I just found it fascinating - and I used to play with the equipment, the machinery, and even pulled them to bits, which I'm sure impressed Slim!"

It seemed inevitable that Steve would become a recording engineer and producer.

"For me it's the love of music and the fascination of being able to capture live sound,"

He can play just about every stringed instrument going, as well as piano and other instruments - and it's a skill that has come in handy as the owner of ENREC and a well·

Over many decades Steve has worked with almost every big name in Australian country music, as well as guiding and recording many up-and-coming artists in their careers and he has produced [pardon the pun] a body of work to be very proud of. (Source: Capital Music Country News)

Read the entire article here

One such project is KOORI CLASSIC, the series that launched Australia’s great Aboriginal music. Koori Classic features Roger Knox, Tracey Lee Gray, Vic Simms, Buddy Knox, Mop & the Dropouts and many, many more.

The producers and session musicians are also a Who’s Who of their era.

Best of Koori Classic – The Early Years Aboriginal Collection (RRR55) is available to download on iTunes, stream on Apple Music & Spotify and on CD-pro directly from  Undercover Music via mail order

More Information:  Artist Page


Smoky Dawson


When singer-songwriter-radio host and cyclist Smoky Dawson died at 94 on February 13, 2008, it was not the end of his career.

Smoky finished 27th in a field of 400 in the 1932 Warnambool to Melbourne bike race long before having a chance having the chance to enjoy hill climbs in the Tour De France cycling classic.

But now Smoky, whose sweetheart of the radio and singing spouse Dot lived until she was 104, is back in the saddle with songs on a new Howie Brothers DVD.

Dot, nee Florence Cheers, met Smoky after performing sketches with her sister Jean on Melbourne radio station 3JR in Preston.

They graduated to 3KZ and 3UZ and joined Smoky to host Smoky Dawson's Pepsodent Rangers.

It was an entree to the Kelloggs sponsored, nationally syndicated Adventures Of Smoky Dawson that ran for a decade from 1952 after he completed a long tour of duty in the US as a whip-cracking juggler and country singer.

Smoky's songs and videos have now been resurrected on the two DVD set- 40 Cowboy Songs - with The Howie Brothers and Wayne Horsburgh.

Smoky classics I'm A Happy Go Lucky Cowhand, Ridin' With A Smile & A Song and Will I Meet Old Faithful Up Yonder are among the classics released on the Howie Brothers' Glenample Records in Melboume suburb North Brighton.

It's south of the Yarra River from where Smoky was born in Abbotsford and where he spent four years in Warmambool.

Smoky MBE, had another three years in St Vincent De Paul orphanage in South Melbourne after his mother died and elder brother Les drowned in the Yarra.

"I remember Smoky telling me, on many occasions, about his bike riding, and in particular, the Warrnambool-Melbourne race," Graeme Howie told Country Music Capital News.

"We were great friends - Smoky, Dot, and us guys. I learnt so much from Smoky. He had wonderful stories to tell!"

They included his heart ailment, discovered during his cycling career, that precluded him from the Military during World War II.

Instead he joined the Army's medical corps where his musical expertise was also in demand.

And, like many of his colleagues, he returned from service in Borneo a burnt-out shell with malaria, dysentery and collapse of the nervous system.

But 12 months of Red Cross care at Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital brought Smoky back his health – but no pension.

"I never expected to perform again after that ordeal," Smoky, then 92, told me about the eve of his big break in music and show business.

Smoky, born Herbert Henry Dawson on March 19, 1913, was promoting his new album Homestead Of My Heart.

Dawson graduated from radio to rodeo with his vast array of rope, knife, axe and horse tricks.

Armed with a whip and a guitar, the singing cowboy gathered a huge following on Stan Gill's rodeo circuit and agricultural shows.

But a bigger challenge awaited Dawson in 1950 – a chance to blaze a new trail in the US.

His performance at the New York premiere of Twentieth Century Fox movie Kangaroo - starring Peter Lawford and Richard Boone - made international headlines when two zoo roos Zip and Zap escaped en route the screening.

It was at the height of the Korean War but the New York World Telegraph front-page story Zip Zigs As Police Zag made world wire service headlines and earned Smoky infamy.

He became the first artist to record for the Nashville Record label Hickory - the label created by Wes and Fred Rose who also managed and published the late country king Hank Williams. (Source: David Dawson, Capital Music Country News)

Read the entire article here

Smoky Dawson’s When The Bloom Is on The Sage (RRH23) is available to download on iTunes, stream on Apple Music & Spotify and on CD through MGM Distribution or directly from Undercover Music via mail order.


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