We Made the Steel – Mulga Wire

We Made The Steel (RF043CD)

Songs of the steel industry in 1960s NSW – The Roaring Forties

Singabout December 2012This is a beaut CD from the (nominally-) shanty group The Roaring Forties. Drawing on Robin Connaughton’s memories of the Steel Industry, between 1960 and 1975 … augmented (and nagged along) by songster John Warner the group have produced a cross between the early BMC’s wish for a body of ‘industrial folk songs’ … and the BBC’s legendary “Radio Ballads” of the 1950s.

The songs come from Robin (9), Robin & John (9) John alone (3) plus Dorothy Hewitt’s Weevils in the Flour.

The ‘linking thread’ comes from “Lovely Tom” … a Polish migrant whose surname we can’t get our tongues around … plus steel workers’ songs from their work experience, pranks, social life (fuelled by quite a bit of alcohol) and the annoyances of living in a ferric atmosphere.

Robin also lets us see how wartime necessity led the way, for some, to equal participation by women … who stayed on in the Sankey-Benson Press Room as long as they wanted to! There is also a view of the toxic effects of loosely controlled industrial effluvia on the health …indeed, the mortality of the innocent bystanders during the days of loose Government scrutiny and control.

Tunes come from all ‘Folk’ sources: ‘traditional’ / popular / Robin … and John.

It’s all good, rivetting (…) … and I hope to hear it walk off into the tradition!

Bob Bolton

From “Singabout” section of Mulga Wire #204 December 2012 published by the Bush Music Club

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