THE CALL OF THE MOUNTAINS
At the end of 1971 I was transferred to Kingswood, a suburb west of Sydney near Penrith. I married Valda, whom I had met in Binnaway, and we settled nearby at South Penrith. Within two years we moved to Glenbrook in the Blue Mountains and started our family.
My interest in Australian folksong continued. I bought recordings and books, although these were not easily found. I also listened to the few radio programmes that played this kind of music. Around this time I became more familiar with the music of Alex Hood, through his influential radio production On The Wallaby Track and his live performances.
Another folk singer who influenced me greatly was Gary Tooth. Gary had been an original member of the Brisbane group The Wayfarers. When I first met him in 1972 he was also living at Glenbrook and singing at The Settlers Restaurant at Mulgoa. Gary’s dynamic interpretation of Australian folk songs increased my desire to learn more about the songs. He also kindly lent me his copies of Tradition, an Australian folk magazine that contained many traditional and contemporary songs. These magazines enabled me to increase my repertoire of Australian songs. “Put A Light in Every Country Window”, “Weevils in the Flower”, “Jim Jones at Botany Bay”, “The Maryborough Miner” and “Bonnie Jess” were some that I began singing around this time. I was already familiar with many of these songs through recordings, especially those of Gary Shearston. Now that I had the words and chords in front of me, the desire to learn them to perform became irresistible. Gary Tooth encouraged my early performances when I patronized The Settlers Restaurant. He also encouraged my song writing.