Redgum

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For eucalyptus species, see Red Gum; or for the deciduous tree see American Sweetgum.
Redgum
Origin Adelaide, Australia
Genres Folk, Rock
Years active 1975–1990
Labels Larrikin, Epic, CBS, Columbia
Associated acts Gordon Franklin & The Wilderness Ensemble, John Schumann, John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew, Crossroads
Past members Michael Atkinson
John Schumann
Verity Truman
Chris Timms
Gordon McLean
Tom Stehlik
Russell Coleman
Dave Flett
Hugh McDonald
Stephen Cooney
Brian Czempinski
Michael Spicer
James Spicer
Tim Hannaford
Bruce Barry

Redgum was an Australian folk and political music group formed in Adelaide in 1975 by singer-songwriter John Schumann, Michael Atkinson on guitars/vocals and Verity Truman on flute/vocals; they were soon joined by Chris Timms on violin.[1] All four had been students at Flinders University and together developed an intensely passionate and outspoken outlook.[2] They are best known for their protest song exploring the impact of war in 1983's "I Was Only Nineteen (A Walk in the Light Green)", which peaked at #1 on the National singles charts.[2][3][4][5] The song is in the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) list of Top 30 of All Time Best Australian Songs created in 2001.[6][7]

Redgum also covered Australian consumer influences on surrounding nations in 1984's "I've Been To Bali Too",[2] both hit singles were written by Schumann.[8] "The Diamantina Drover", written by Timms' replacement, violinist/vocalist Hugh McDonald and "Poor Ned", written by Trevor Lucas of Fairport Convention, are examples of their bush songs.[2][8] Lucas produced their best performed album, the June 1983 live LP Caught in the Act,[1][2] which peaked at #3 on the National albums chart.[2][3] Schumann left the band and pursued a solo career from 1986, Atkinson left in 1987 and Redgum finally disbanded in 1990.[1][2]

Since 2005 Schumann and McDonald have been performing together again as part of John Schumann and the Vagabond Crew.

History[edit]

Redgum was formed in 1975 when three students at Flinders University, John Schumann, Michael Atkinson (not the future Labor politician of the same name) and Verity Truman, collaborated for a musical assessment piece for their Politics and Art course.[2] The trio quickly gained fame around the University community for their forthright songs, and by 1976 had been joined by violinist Chris Timms who had previously attended Flinders University.[2] The group were soon in demand for parties, pubs and rallies throughout South Australia and Victoria. Initially a part-time band, performing weekends and school holidays (two members were teachers), it was only after they released their second album, Virgin Ground (late 1980), to strong sales and critical acclaim, that the group became full-time and started touring nationally.[2]

Music[edit]

On the first album, If You Don't Fight You Lose (1978) Redgum showed it was one of the few Australian bands prepared to tackle domestic politics and culture. "One More Boring Night in Adelaide" for some will remain, despite some of its dated references, a classic analysis of Australian provincial parochialism. The group's success continued to grow with the release of their next three albums, Virgin Ground, Brown Rice and Kerosine (1981) and the EP Cut to the Quick (September 1982), and they weathered several line-up changes including the addition of a didgeridoo and the replacement of Timms in May 1982 with Hugh McDonald, among others. They released a songbook The Redgum Songbook: Stubborn Words, Flagrant Vices (1981).

1983's Caught in the Act.

Collaboration with influential Australian folk producer Trevor Lucas (from UK folk group Fairport Convention) brought the high-point of their career - the live LP Caught in the Act was released in June 1983 and "I Was Only Nineteen" aka "A Walk in the Light Green" (March 1983) hit number one on the Australian singles chart. The song precipitated a Royal Commission into the use and effects of chemical agents in the Vietnam War by the Australian military. The album included "The Diamantina Drover" and "The Last Frontier" which are indicative of their folk music style.

The band released their next LP, Frontline (August 1984) with its single "I've Been to Bali Too", and started touring folk venues in the UK and Europe with some success. Late in 1985, Schumann announced that he had signed a solo deal with CBS Records and would be quitting. Redgum released one more album of new material, Midnight Sun (1986), and a last single "Roll it on Robbie" (1987) after which Atkinson left. There were plans to release another album[9] but this didn't occur.The album was recorded at Warrenwood in Melbourne but never released due to the studio going into liquidation The remaining members who recorded this album Hugh McDonald, Verity Truman,Michael Spicer,James Spicer and Tim Hannaford performed until 1990-1 until the bands considerable debts were cleared before breaking up.[1]

Redgum post-Redgum[edit]

After leaving the band, Schumann released two solo albums before pursuing a brief political career as an independent, standing for the South Australian seat of Mayo in the 1998 Federal election and losing by a small margin. He was later employed by the Democrats as a staffer .He left the Democrats in 2000 and returned to further solo works. Schumann returned to recording in 2005 with the Vagabond Crew (which includes fellow Redgum member Hugh McDonald) and new albums were released in 2005 and 2008.[10]

Chris Timms left to further a career in Adult Education within the Dept. of TAFE in South Australia. He was active within the Australian Labor Party for a time.[11]

Other members of Redgum continue to work in the Australian music scene. Atkinson has worked in film and television.[12] He composed the music for films including Heaven's Burning (1997), starring Russell Crowe.

Truman performs in Adelaide as a longtime member of cabaret/cover band CrossRoads.

In 2005, Redgum was again brought to attention through the recording of an acoustic / hip hop cover of "I Was Only 19" by Australian group The Herd with Schumann providing some vocals. The song received high rotation on popular national radio station Triple J. Michael Spicer is currently teaching MIDI, Synthesis & Composition in Singapore Polytechnic.

Members[edit]

In chronological order:[1][2]

  • Chris Timms (violin, backing vocals) 1973–1982
  • Bruce Barry (bass, guitar) 1974
  • Chris Boath (bass guitar) 1978–1979
  • Gordon McLean (drums) 1978–1979
  • Tom Stehlik (drums) 1978–1979
  • David Flett (bass guitar) 1980–1983
  • Geoff Gifford (drums) 1980–1982
  • Russel Coleman (drums) 1982–1983
  • Hugh McDonald (guitar, violin, vocals) 1982–1990
  • Michael Spicer (keyboards, flute) 1983–1990
  • Brian Czempinski (drums) 1984–1986
  • Stephen Cooney (bass guitar, didgeridoo, guitar, mandolin, banjo) 1984-1985
  • Andy Baylor (guitar, fiddle) 1986
  • Peter Bolke (bass guitar) 1986
  • Ray Rafael (drums) 1986–1989
  • Darren Deland Darren (bass guitar,vocals) 1987–1988
  • Louis McManus (guitar) 1987?
  • Malcolm Wakeford (drums) 1987?
  • Bob Sender Bob (guitar) 1987?
  • James Spicer (drums/vocals) 1988-90
  • Tim Hannaford (bass guitar/vocals) 1989-90

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Live albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

Songs[edit]

  • "Long Run" (Schumann) / "Little Hampton's Calling Me" (Atkinson, McDonald, Truman, Schumann) (January 1981) Re-released August 1983 with B side "Fabulon" (McDonald, Truman, Atkinson, Schumann)
  • "100 Years On" (Schumann)[8] / "Nuclear Cop" (Schumann, Atkinson, Truman, Timms) (November 1981)
  • "Working Girls" (Schumann) (1982)
  • "Caught in the Act" (Schumann, Atkinson, Truman, Timms) / "Stewie" (Schumann) / "Lear Jets Over Kulgera" (Atkinson) (1983 EP, also released with LP of same name)
  • "I Was Only Nineteen" (Schumann) / "Yarralumla Wine" (Atkinson) (March 1983) - #1 Aus
  • "A.S.I.O." (Atkinson) / "Hira" (Schumann, Cooney) (1984)
  • "Friday Night" (Atkinson) / "Last Frontier" (Schumann) (1984) - #82 Aus
  • "I've Been to Bali Too" (Schumann) / "Still Life" (Truman, McDonald) (February 1984) - #16 Aus
  • "Just Another Moment on Your Own" (Atkinson, Schumann) / "Kerang (Moon Over Water)" (McDonald) (1985)
  • "The Drover's Dog" (Schumann, Atkinson) / "It Doesn't Matter to Me" (Schumann, Atkinson) (1985) - #20 Aus
  • "Running With the Hurricane" (Atkinson, McDonald) / "Street to Die" (McDonald) (November 1986)
  • "Roll it on Robbie" (McDonald, Spicer) / "Empty Page" (Truman, Spicer) (May 1987) - #34 Aus

Video[edit]

On the Frontline (1990, Hoyts / Polygram)[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Magnus Holmgren (ed.). "Redgum discography". Australian Rock Database. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k McFarlane, Ian (1999). "Encyclopedia entry for 'Redgum'". Encyclopedia of Australian Rock and Pop. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-86448-768-2. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  3. ^ a b Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.  NOTE: Used for Australian Singles and Albums charting from 1970 until ARIA created their own charts in mid-1988.
  4. ^ "Australian Charts portal". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  5. ^ "Best of 1983". Oz Net Music Chart. Retrieved 13 October 2008. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Dimensions Episode 20: John Schumann". Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 18 June 2003. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  7. ^ Kruger, Debbie (2 May 2001). "The songs that resonate through the years" (PDF). APRA. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c "APRA search engine". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA). Retrieved 13 October 2008.  Note: requires user to input song title, e.g. I WAS ONLY NINETEEN
  9. ^ That Striped Sunlight Sound blog Redgum: The lost album
  10. ^ "John Schumann Official website Latest News". Retrieved 3 November 2007. 
  11. ^ Bmusic Where are they now? Redgum (Updated)
  12. ^ "Internet Movie Database entry on Michael Atkinson". IMDb. Retrieved 3 November 2007. 
  13. ^ Spencer, Chris; Thomas Hurst; Bob Bolton; Wendy Lowenstein (8 June 2000). "Australian Folk Songs Discography M-Z". Australian Folk Songs. Retrieved 8 November 2007. 

External links[edit]