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Inspiring Bogle Heads for U.S.

By Paul Keating

If you are a fan of singer-songwriters in the folk music world, you will be aware of the very prolific work of Eric Bogle, the Scotsman living in Australia for the past 35 years.

That distance may not make him a household name, but with 13 studio albums including a new one called Other People’s Children just coming out, his influence on singers looking for good material has long been legendary, especially in the Irish scene.

The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, Furey Brothers, Mary Black and John McDermott are among the many who have dipped into the Bogle canon for emotive material that decried the inhumanity of war, economic hard times and love lost and won or left behind for the road.

There are few singer-songwriters who cover the human landscape so vividly in verse as Bogle, and one of those too rare opportunities to see him in action are coming up in North America. It is a chance to see the marvellously talented and engaging performer in person.

Eric Bogle

Most of you will be familiar with his well-covered anti-war epics “No Man’s Land” (alternately known as the “Green Fields of France”) and “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda” dealing with the horrors of World War I.

Or perhaps “Leaving the Land” recorded by Mary Black, “Leaving Nancy,” “Now I’m Easy” and “One Small Star” which tenor John McDermott made popular.

One of my own favourites is a comical look at what awaits folk singers on the road from myriad audiences who think that Bob Dylan invented folk music in Bogle’s “Do You Know Any Dylan” sendup.

Granted much of the above is among his oldest material but it should be interesting to see how he has viewed the world in the many years since I have last seen him in person.

His current tour that began in mid-September brings him to the Northeast in early November and includes quite a few opportunities to see him in the Metropolitan New York area.

Coming up first on Wednesday, November 2 is a 7:30 p.m. show at Satalla (37 West 26th Street in Manhattan, phone 212-576-1155 or www.satalla.com).

On Friday, November 4 he will be at the Stadium in Garrison, New York (phone 845-734-4000 or www.stadiumbarrest.com).

On Saturday in Bergen County, New Jersey the Hurdy Gurdy Folk Club hosts him at the Central Unitarian Church on Forest Avenue in Paramus at 8 p.m. (phone 201-262-9866). On Sunday, November 13 he returns to Pawling, New York’s Towne Crier Café for an 8 p.m. show (phone 845-855-1300 www.townecrier.com).

His website, www.ericbogle.net, has more comprehensive details on the tour and is worth checking out for the extensive lyrics in his wide body of work.

Ironically his tour called for him to finish up down in New Orleans at his pal’s Danny O’Flaherty’s Pub in early December and something may yet develop there, but in the meantime he is pitching in to help his fellow folk minstrel (see below). In fact his November 7 concert in Cumberland, Rhode Island at the Blackstone River Theatre (www.riverfolk.org) is listed as a benefit for O’Flaherty.


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