Category Archives: Recordings
Forty Degrees South is happy to announce the publication of their new recording of nautical mayhem: Crossing the Line: songs of the southern oceans – see details under CDs and hear tracks on our Bandcamp page. You can obtain copies of the album or downloads via Bandcamp or direct from the group by emailing us. Paypal facilities available.
The album was recently completed in time for what was to be the Albany International Folk n Shanty Festival in WA in July 2021. Sadly, the festival has been affected by COVID-19 restrictions and is now scheduled for early October.
As the title suggests, the focus of the album is the southern hemisphere starting with Don Brian’s song “On the Middle Ground”, about the whaling grounds between New Zealand, Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, is the first track on the CD.
Over half the songs date from the 1800s: some familiar titles like “South Australia” (track 21), are recorded here in very early versions. A New Zealand take on “Blood Red Roses” (track 13) concerns sealers rather than whalers. An American hymn by Phillip Bliss (1871) “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning” (track 7) is still part of Norfolk Island’s maritime hymn tradition; “Nets Below the Gangway” (track 18) is a delightful poem from 1909 set here to a traditional tune. “Across the Line” (track 22) – a love song to the sea from about 1909 – makes a fitting conclusion to the CD.
More recent compositions include three titles by Harry Robertson (1923-95), a Scottish-born ships’ engineer who worked on whaling fleets from the North Atlantic to the Antarctic settling in Brisbane, writing clear-sighted songs about his experiences; a setting of Merv Lilley’s “The Birchgrove Park” (track 14) about a collier wrecked in Broken Bay; “The Wind and the Waves” (track 2) describes a convict’s voyage to Australia. Bernard Bolan’s whimsical “Rose Bay Ferry” (track 20), which topped the pop charts in 1974, is one of several cheerful and energetic songs on this album.
Forty Degrees South is indebted to Christina Mimmocchi and Greg White for their help in producing the album, and to the songwriters, collectors, authors of ships logs etc. And special thanks to the many singers worldwide who have influenced the group over many decades, not forgetting the shanty singers of the 21st Century who have refocused the love of these songs…
We’ve recently received a few reviews from the British Isles of our latest CD, “We Made the Steel“. We’re chuffed…
“Not only are the singing and playing on this disc uniformly excellent and highly characterful, but the actual presentation of this release is also exemplary…. A benchmark release; and highly entertaining and inspiring to boot.” – Folk Roundabout (UK) #167 [read the full review here]
“A CD packed with ripping yarns, dry humour, poignant laments and lots of great choruses … we can hear many of these songs becoming classic folk club material in future years.” – Living Tradition (UK) #96 [read the full review here]
“Outstanding among the Connaughton/Warner compositions is The Price of Steel, which tells of the effects of the steelworks’ pollution on the health of those living and working around them, and has echoes of Alistair Hulett’s ‘He Fades Away’. … This is an album worth having for the songs alone, with the bonus that it tells a really good story as well.” – Shire Folk (UK) #123 [read the full review here]
“Albums like this can so easily lapse into beer-induced nostalgia and sentimentality, but this one mostly escapes, especially by means of its tight lyrics. … Though this is New South Wales, the songs are applicable to the steel industry anywhere in the world, especially the Don Valley.” Stirrings (UK) #155 [read the full review here]
“An entertaining CD for anyone interested in life in heavy industry, especially in the antipodes. There is an excellent booklet with the words of all the songs, which also has many images of the New South Wales steel industry.” – Tykes News (UK) Spring 2013 [read the full review here]
The Roaring Forties are stoked to be singing in the Union Concert at this year’s National Folk Festival in Canberra. The festival has also scheduled our workshop on the steelmaking life, “We Made the Steel” with enough time for all the songs and Robin’s introductions and slides.
Besides concert spots on the Friday afternoon and Sunday evening, we’re also hosting the singing session on Friday night.
The full list of performances from the interim programme is:
Flute & Fiddle
|Sunday||11:30am||We Made the Steel
We’re working on an entry for the Infinite Song Competition and we’ll be found lending our voices to the singing session most nights too!