June 1, 2017Bogleography...
Eric Bogle was born in Peebles, Scotland a few months after the D-Day landings
in Normandy. One of a set, his twin sister Sandra had her own D-Day about 15
minutes after Eric's. A particularly annoying, whiney little child, it was prophesied
that Eric was either destined to be a politician or a folk singer of protest songs.
And so one of these prophesies came to pass.....
However, there was much murky water to flow under the bridge before then.
After a fairly rudimentary education where he stubbornly refused to learn much of
anything, Eric left school at 16 years old and wandered hesitantly into the big wide
world. Unsurprisingly, the world was less than impressed with this new addition to
an already overcrowded job market, and for the next 8 years or so Eric had a
succession of jobs: labourer, waiter, export clerk, bar steward, mill worker, etc.
His record as an employee in all those occupations was less than spectacular,
and in fact he was sacked from a couple of them for “attitude” problems.
This problem has, unfortunately, never been corrected.
Any talents Eric possessed, certainly in the musical or artistic field, had been pretty
well hidden up until he was about 18, when a chance meeting with a friend in a local
pub changed his life forever. He told Eric that the local rock band “The Informers”
were looking for a new lead singer. Eric went for an audition, and because of his
amazing vocal ability and the fact that he owned a Kombi van, he got the job.
Fired with an enthusiasm and sense of purpose he'd never experienced before, he set
out to make “The Informers” world famous and transform himself into a Rock God.
A couple of years later, with neither ambitions anywhere near recognised, Eric
denounced the whole pop music scene as “frivolous and full of bloody wankers!”
and turned his attention to folk music. Because of an increasing awareness of and
involvement with politics, he'd heard his first folk songs at various protest marches
and meetings he'd attended. Soon his interest in folk music had turned to passion,
which then turned to love, and which to date has proved to be a life-long, enduring
However, his personal life continued to go pretty much round in circles. Realising he
was in danger of one day disappearing up his own fundamentals, Eric decided that
perhaps his future lay elsewhere, and so emigrated to Australia in 1969. In 1971
he met one Carmel Verona Sutton in Canberra, and in 1972 they were married,
and they still are, much to their mutual surprise. About this time his long delayed
maturity began to kick in and, starting a Leading Hand in the yard of a scaffolding hire
company, he actually started rapidly rising up the firm's corporate ladder, due in part
to his increased self-confidence and work ethic, but also to his ability to drink the
company's managing director under the table. Which skill, apparently, is much
admired in the corporate world.
So in 1980 Eric was still very much a young man on the rise. The Queensland
state accountant for his company, he was based in Brisbane, with a company car,
expense account, big wage, etc. etc. Then one day, for no particular reason, he
looked around him and thought “Is this all there is?” Deciding that it wasn't , he
hauled Carmel back to Sydney with him and embarked on the perilous career
path of a professional musician.
The rest, as they say, is history. Fairly obscure history, but history nonetheless.
A compulsive, almost obsessive songwriter for most of his adult life, Eric has written
some songs that have pretty much become Australian classics of their particular
genre. Probably his best known song is “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”, which
confirmed it's iconic status by appearing as a question in the Australian version of
Trivial Pursuit! Some of his other songs , “No Man's Land”(The Green Fields of
France) “Leaving Nancy”, “Now I'm Easy” “Shelter” “If Wishes were Fishes” etc.
etc. are now beginning to rival “Matilda” in the icon stakes. His songs have been
recorded by Joan Baez, Mary Black, Donovan, Slim Dusty, John Williamson, Billy
Bragg, The Pogues and The Furies, just to name a few.
Eric himself has recorded 14 CDs and, together with his long term partner John
Munro, has literally taken his music to the world. He has toured extensively over
the last 25 years or so, and this includes 8 tours of North America, 10 Tours of
Europe and God knows how many tours of Australia. He has appeared at every
major Folk and Country music festival in Australia and overseas: Port Fairy,
Woodford, Tamworth, Gympie Muster, Philadelphia Festival, Newport, Toronto,
New Orleans, Vancouver, Edinburgh, you name it, he's done them all, and many
times as well. He has won quite a few awards along the way including the Order of
Australia medal for services to the entertainment industry, and a Peace medal from
the U.N. for his efforts, through music, to promote peace and racial harmony.
All this makes Eric sound like a cross between U2 and Mother Theresa. Well, he's
not, he's just a literate and thoughtful songwriter who can cut to the heart of the matter
with some well-crafted lines. He's also a warm and engaging stage performer who,
with his sharp, often self-deprecating wit and shrewd common sense view on the
world, communicates well with an audience and draws them in to his performance.
Mind you, all this is only our opinion, and of course is highly subjective.
Try and catch Eric in concert and form one of your own.................