Caring for the Dispossessed

Bob and Laurel performing on the Bohemia Bar stage at the National Folk Festival in Canberra. Photo by Karina Red.

Our latest song is a fairly accurate description of contemporary life in Australia and its moral dilemmas. Bob was inspired to write this after finding an old black and white photo of his grandfather (a stonemason in Bob’s Scottish hometown). The Highland Clearances are mentioned here in the context of the plight of First Australians, homeless people and refugees.

We entered this in the 2024 Alistair Hulett Songs for Social Justice Award, the last time this award will be offered. Bob’s song, When Whitlam Took his Turn at the Wheel, was awarded the prize in 2022.

This year’s awardee is Paddy McHugh for an as-yet unreleased song about Lismore and its disastrous floods (A Hatchet in the Roof). Award coordinator Bob Fagan told the audience at a special National Folk Festival concert on March 30 that 200 songs for social justice had been written and offered to the judges in the 14 years the award has been held. After the concert (when eight of the awardees performed their songs), some audience members commented that some or all of these songs ought to be on a CD (or a download). We second that!

The 2024 concert in the Budawang included songs by Fred Smith, Penelope Swales, Snez, Miguele Heatmole, Tony Eardley, Tripple Effect, Karen Law and The Goodwills. There was also a rousing all-in version of Alistair’s famous song, “The Swaggies”, led by Murray Law and Fred Smith’s band.

To listen to and/or download, follow this link

Author: Bob Wilson

musician, journalist, webmaster