Buddy Williams (country musician)
Bust of Buddy Williams, Bicentennial Park, Tamworth, NSW.
|Birth name||Harry Taylor|
|Also known as||The Yodelling Jackaroo|
|Born||5 September 1918|
|Died||12 December 1986|
|Occupation(s)||Singer/songwriter, yodeller, travelling showman, rodeo rider, bushman, horseman|
|Labels||Private Recordings (1935), EMI (1939–1964) RCA (1964–1986)|
Buddy Williams (5 September 1918 – 12 December 1986) born as Harry Taylor and also known as Harold Williams was an Australian country musician, singer and songwriter, known as "The Yodelling Jackaroo". Williams was the first Australian to record country music in Australia, three years after the New Zealander Tex Morton made his first recording in Australia. Buddy Williams recorded his own songs about life and times in the Australian bush. It was with Buddy Williams that the Bush Ballad was first born.
Williams was born Harry Taylor in the suburb of Newtown, Sydney and was soon placed in Glebe Point Orphanage. After many failed escape bids as a child, he was soon fostered out as a young boy to a dairy farming family at Dorrigo on the north coast of New South Wales. It soon became apparent that rather than looking for a new child to bring up, they were more interested in an unpaid labourer. This was not uncommon in the depression and post depression era where rural child slavery was a fact of life. Times were hard and life on the farm was tough for the young Williams, but it also allowed freedom he never had in the orphanage. He was soon listening to the recordings on an old Gramophone of his favourite singers such as Jimmie Rodgers and soon fell in love with this new music that was to become known as country music. At 15 he ran away from his foster home working for other families in the district. He worked at many jobs and started busking around the north coast of NSW, dodging the Police who frowned upon such activities.
Buddy Williams made his first recordings in 1938, a private process disk. The two songs recorded at this historic session were " Where The Jacarandas Bloom", and "They Call Me The Clarence River Yodeller". The latter song was re worked and called "They Call Me The Ramblin' Yodeller" and recorded during his first EMI session on 7 September 1939. These two long lost recordings were later released on a Kingfisher Records collection in the early 1990s as part of an early Buddy Williams catalogue re release. This re release is no longer available.
Buddy Williams first sang professionally in 1936 at the Grafton Jacaranda Festival in northern N.S.W. He also did a guest spot on Grafton's radio station 2GF at the time. He left the town of Grafton, NSW and busked his way down the N.S.W. coast before turning up on the doorstep of EMI records in Sydney asking for an audition. He eventually did get the audition and as they say, the rest is history.
The Page family from Newcastle who had befriended the young Buddy Williams, bought him his famous black Gibson L-00 acoustic guitar which he used on all his recordings during the 1940s. This beautiful guitar was later accidentally destroyed whilst on tour in the late 1940s. Buddy Williams later recalled that he had spent his entire life trying to find a replacement guitar that had the same sound quality of his old Gibson, but he never found a guitar as good as his old original Gibson. Some of the guitars Buddy used during his career included Gibson Hummingbird, Gibson Country and Western, Gibson J-200, and Martin D 28 to list a few.
On 7 September 1939 he recorded six songs for the Regal Zonophone label. More recording sessions followed during the war in 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943 and 1945. In September 1939, Australia entered WW2 and Buddy Williams enlisted in the army, many of his recording sessions were done whilst on leave from active service. In the final days of WW2 he was seriously wounded during the battle of Balikpapan (1945) and was not expected to live. He was recommended for the Military Medal and carried the mass of scars from his injuries all his life. In 1948 he also starred in a short film titled "He Chased The Chicken" which featured live performances of two of his recordings, "The Overlander Trail" and "The Chicken Song". The studio versions of these 2 songs had been recorded in 1946. Another live song in the film titled "Dear Little Lady of Mine", was never recorded nor released on record. Buddy was also meant to appear in the 1946 Australian movie "The Overlanders" with Chips Rafferty, but was unable to obtain leave from the army at the time.
After the war was over and he had recovered from his injuries, he set about forming one of the largest ever travelling rodeo tent shows Australia has ever seen. He toured the length and breadth of the country with this road show, being the first Australian entertainer to take a full road show on tour through the Northern Territory and far north Queensland. He blazed the trail for many artists to follow down through the years, visiting the isolated communities in the outback. He eventually wound back his rodeo and tent show after many years and then toured for 11 months of the year every year with the Buddy Williams Variety Show, visiting the isolated towns and communities of the bush preferring to steer clear of the large cities. For this he earned the respect of country Australians and was a special favourite amongst the Aboriginal people who's isolated communities he regularly performed at throughout the outback.
Though Buddy performed mostly in country towns and Outback communities, having once commented that during his long touring career he had performed in just about every country town in Australia, he also performed a small number of shows through the years in major cities. During 1940 he played the Theatre Royal, Sydney alongside Roy Rene and Evie Hayes. He also did an 8-week stint at Brisbane's Theatre Royal. In 1973 he played Sydney's Hordern Pavilion for the UNICEF concert alongside American big name acts such as Tex Ritter and Wanda Jackson. Also in the early 1980s, Buddy did a small number of one off Sydney shows including shows at the "Auburn Baseball Club", the "Seven Hills RSL Club", and a show at the "Star Hotel" in the heart of China Town Sydney where a fan in the audience there to see Buddy perform was famous Australian 50's and 60's Rocker Col Joye.
Buddy suffered the first of 2 massive heart attacks whilst on stage in the late 1970s. During one of these hospital stays, Buddy received a call from a lifelong fan called Bert Newton, who was an Australian Television icon. The pair became firm friends and Buddy would later appear on live Australian TV on the "Bert Newton" show singing his famous song from 1946 called "The Overlander Trail" with just guitar accompaniment.
Despite the constant touring over the years he continued to record right up until he died in 1986. In fact his last recordings were made just months before his death, despite the fact at the time he was very sick with the cancer that would eventually take his life. He was one of the last Australian singers who only used a guitar as accompaniment. His recordings from 1942 through to 1945 are considered by many good judges to be the finest ever recordings of a vocalist and guitarist.
During 1965 he moved over to RCA records where he became a Gold Record recording artist, and recorded a large number of albums, the last album he recorded in 1986 released after his death. In 1977 he was added to the Country Music Roll of Renown along with Tex Morton and Smokey Dawson and in 1980 won the first ever Heritage Award at the Tamworth Country Music Festival for his song "What A Dreary Old World It Would Be".
In 1978, Buddy Williams was the subject of a documentary titled The Last of the Fair Dinkum Outback Entertainers, narrated by his good mate John Singleton. It had a film crew travel with Buddy during one of his far North Queensland tours. At the time John Singleton was a famous radio station disk jockey and advertising executive. John Singleton would regularly feature Buddy's songs on his radio shows in the late 1970s and early 1980s. John would also become a regular face in the crowd at many of Buddy's shows.
A number of artists have recorded Buddy Williams songs including, Rick and Thel Carey who recorded an album of his songs. The Le Garde Twins who toured with Buddy also recorded a number of his songs, Rex Dallas, Slim Dusty, Nev Nichols, Lindsay Butler and more recently Ashley Cook who recorded a complete album of Buddy's songs.
During the 1970s US country Music superstar Wilf Carter also recorded a number of Buddy Williams songs on an album of Australian songs. A number of tribute songs have been recorded by many artists including John Williamson whose song "The Last of the Pioneers" is a fitting tribute to Buddy and his enormous contribution to Australian music. In the early 1970s he gave a young kid with a big guitar a start in his band. He would end up touring with Buddy for a number of years and was a regular session musician for Buddy down through the years. The young kid was none other than the great Australian guitarist Tommy Emmanuel.
The Australian Music Industry owes a lot to Buddy Williams, though many modern artists may know little of him or have no idea of the impact he had on their careers by what he did during those early pioneering days of the Australian Recording and Entertainment Industry. Those early pioneering recording sessions at the EMI studios at Homebush in primitive conditions, produced some of the finest singer / guitarist music ever recorded anywhere, timeless recordings that will live on forever. From the hardships he endured through to the personal tragedies he and his family suffered on the road, he continued to take his music to the people no matter where and no matter how isolated the communities were. He opened up many of the touring circuits that are now regular touring routes for not only Country artists but also artists from other styles of music.
Williams died in 1986 and is buried in Brisbane's Lutwyche Cemetery along with his second wife Grace and their daughter Dorita who had died in 1948 after being accidentally run over by a truck driven by one of the rodeo riders in Williams’ show.
||This list (which may have dates, numbers, etc.) may be better in a sortable table format. (November 2012)|
PRIVATE RECORDINGS, process disk. NOTE: These were released in the 1990s on the Kingfisher Records label.
They Call Me The Clarence River Yodeller
Where The Jacarandas Bloom
REGAL ZONOPHONE RECORDINGS: COLUMBIA STUDIOS, HOMEBUSH SYDNEY:
That Dapple Grey Broncho Of Mine / They Call Me The Rambling Yodeler (G 23854)
Lonesome For You Mother Dear / Give A Little Credit To Your Dad (G 23855)
The Orphan's Lament / My Moonlight Lullaby (G 23856)
14 May 1940:
Happy Jackaroo/ / Dreaming of My Mother (G 24026)
A Cowboy's Life Is Good Enough For Me / Under The Old Wattle Tree (G 24027)
The Australian Bushman's Yodel / There's An Empty Bunk in the Bunkhouse (G 24028)
25 November 1940:
The Shearer's Goodbye / Memories of Home (G 24187)
The Newsboy's Message / Going Home (G 24221)
The Wandering Gambler / Happy Cowboys (G 24326)
14 November 1941:
Headin' For The Warwick Rodeo / Can A Black Sheep Be Forgiven? (G 24382)
The Crepe Upon The Little Cabin Door / The Maple on the Hill (G 24409)
When The Candle Lights Are Gleaming ** / Let's Grow Old Together ** (G 24482)
NOTE: ** Duet With Bernie Burnett.
20 November 1941:
The Dying Soldier's Prayer / I'll Be Back Never Fear (G 24506)
The Face On The Bar Room Floor / Wingie The Railway Cop (G 24545)
Down By The Old Beaten Trail / The Australian Hillbilly (G 24554)
18 May 1942:
What A Pal My Mother Might Have Been To Me / Where The White Faced Cattle Roam (G 24596)
My Pretty Quadroon / Wonder Valley (G 24632)
Blazin' The Trail / A Mother's Plea (G 24670)
22 December 1943:
Where The Roly Poly Grass Rolls O'er The Plain / Music In My Pony's Feet (G 24822)
Stockmen In Uniform ** / Sunny Australian Sweetheart ** (G 24851)
Riding Home At Sundown / Bushland Of My Dreams (G 24883)
NOTE: ** Duet With Bernie Burnett.
16 March 1945:
Brown Eyed Sweetheart Of Mine ## / The Bushman's Rodeo ## (G 24929)
The Drover's Song / Where The Lazy Murray River Rolls Along ## (G 24947)
Bushland Paradise ## / Rhythm In The Saddle (G 24963) ##
NOTE: ## Duet With Lenore Miller.
19 September 1946:
The Overlander Trail / Over Hill Top And Hollow (G 25052)
Riding Down The Valley / The Mountain Barbecue (G 25069)
Chain Lightning The Outlaw / The Orphan Boy And His Dog (G 25078)
25 March 1948:
Down The Old Bush Track / Pioneering Days (G 25224)
The Stockman And The Outlaw / My Sunny Southern Home (G 25237)
23 April 1948:
The Chicken Song / Eureka (G 25218)
21 September 1950:
Dear Old Aussie Blues / Beneath The Queensland Moon (G 25284)
Riding Down The Wallaby Trail / Always Call Me Darling (G 25286)
My Darling River Rose / Little Jackeroo (G 25287)
18 June 1951:
Wedding Bells / Murrumbidgee Blues (G 25305)
The Black Sheep / Freight Train Blues (G 25306)
I'm Gonna Tear Down The Mailbox / Beyond The Setting Sun (G 25307)
30 October 1951:
The Flying Doctor / A Mother As Lovely As You (G 25323)
There's Another Angel In Heaven / Too Many Parties And Too Many Pals (G 25341)
I Can't Stand Sitting In A Cell / Gambling Polka Dot Blues (G 25342)
COLUMBIA RECORDING STUDIO SESSIONS, 301 CASTLEREAGH ST, SYDNEY
18 November 1952:
Too Old To Cut The Mustard / Back Street Affair (G 25344)
My Mother Must Have Been A Girl Like You / I Love You A Thousand Ways
Christmas Bells / Dear Old Dorrigo (G 25356)
Somebody's Stolen My Honey / Blue Since You've Been Gone (G 25357)
Death Of Hank Williams / Missing In Action (G 25368) / (45 - DO - 4076)
Pentridge Jail / Spirit Of Progress (G 25383)
I Can't Forget My Memories / Swagman's Friend (G 25391)
The Old Sundowner / Australia's Kitty Gill (G 25392)
Honeymoon On A Rocket Ship / The Ring (G 25376)
The Blacksheep's Return To The Fold / The Kelly Gang (G 25387)
In Daddy's Footsteps / I'd Rather Have A Pony Than A Girl
22 June 1955:
I've Mortgaged The Farm Again / Sailor Boy
Away Out On The Plain / Ben Hall The Bushranger
Busy Buzzin' Round / A Yellow Dog's Love
There's Sunshine On My Side Of The Street / She Left Me For The Joys Of Gold
It Sure Makes You Wonder, Don't It? / Christmas Boogie /
Rocky Roundup Show / Our Wedding
Little Red Bonnet / Kings Cross Boogie
Answer To Missing In Action / The Ringer (G 25462) / (45 - DO - 4052)
Mareeba Rodeo / Poison Darts
Mummy Didn't Tuck Me Into Bed Last Night / Lest We Forget
29 August 1958:
Flynn Of The Inland / My Dream Of Hank And Jimmie
I'll Stroll Down Memory Lane With You / Don't Forget Me Little Darling (45 - DO – 3988)
The Prisoner's Song / On An Ocean Of Broken Dreams (45 - DO - 3989)
In The Doghouse / Bowlegged Stockman (45 - DO - 3990)
18 September 1959:
Hank, It Will Never Be The Same Without You / Aren't I Lucky (45 - DO - 4104)
Rocking Alone In An Old Rocking Chair / Rhythm Of The Roundup (45 - DO - 4105)
Polling Day / Dave Sands (45 - DO - 4106)
24 March 1960:
Anybody's Lover / The Nightmare (45 - DO - 4133)
Christmas Blues / What's The Use (45- DO – 4134)
The Snowy Mountains / Ten Years (45 - DO - 4135)
22 September 1960:
Under Western Skies / When The Cactus Is In Bloom (45 - DO - 4160)
The Panther / The Spice Of Life (45 - DO - 4161)
My Sleepy Valley Home / Roley (45 - DO - 4162)
Mother Went A-Walking / Crazy (DO - 4163)
I Went Home To Mother / Teardrops (45 - DO - 4252)
Journey's End /
Gonna Ride Till The Sun Goes Down / Rocking Cowboy (45 - DO - 4384)
True Friends Are So Few / My Sleepy Valley Home (Recut)
20 May 1963:
Please Light The darkness For Me / Ive Forgotton How To Cry (45 - DO - 4381)
Snow On The Mountain / Back To Alice Springs (45 - DO - 4383)
When Jesus Calls / The Cross Of Jesus (45 - DO - 4382)
The Rules Of Love (not released until 1979) / Horse Teams (not released until 1979)
26 February 1964:
Way Up North / Pal Of My Heart (45 - DO - 4462)
I'm Moving Out / Pretty Girl (DO - 4463)
I've Been Around / A Letter To Slim (DO - 4464)
EMI / COLUMBIA 33 ⅓ RPM ALBUMS:
BUDDY WILLIAMS SINGS JIMMY RODGERS (1962) 330SX 7665. NOTE: This album was re released at a later date under the same name except with different album cover artwork. Columbia OEX 9659.''''Also note Jimmie Rodgers name spelt "Jimmy" on album cover on both versions of albums.
Moonlight And Skies (08/01/1962) / Mother Was A Lady (08/01/1962) / For The Sake Of Days Gone By (08/01/1962) / Gambling Polka Dot Blues (30 October 1951) / Daddy And Home (08/01/1962) / My Old Pal (09/01/1962)
Dear Old Sunny South By The Sea (08/01/1962) / Hobo Bill's Last Ride (09/01/1962) / Mother, The Queen Of My Heart (10/01/1962) / When The Cactus Is In Bloom (22 September 1960) / She Was Happy Till She Met You (09/01/1962) / Nobody Knows But Me (09/01/1962)
BUDDY WILLIAMS SINGS OUTBACK BALLADS: (19??) 330SX 7644
Where The Roly Poly Grass Rolls O'er The Plain (22 December 1943) / Rhythm In The Saddle ## (16 March 1945) / Music In My Pony's Feet (22 December 1943) / The Flying Doctor (30 October 1951) / Pioneering Days (25 March 1948) / Where The White Faced Cattle Roam (18 May 1942)
The Bushman's Rodeo ## (16 March 1945) / My Sunny Southern Home (25 March 1948) / The Swagman's Friend (3/7/1953) / The Stockman And The Outlaw (25 March 1948) / The Drover's Song (16 March 1045) / The Cowboy's Life Is Good Enough For Me (14 May 1940)
NOTE: ## Duet with Lenore Miller.
The following 33 ⅓ rpm compilation albums of previously released recordings were made possible by the use of original 78rpm and 45 rpm records from the collection of record collector and music historian Ray Faulks. He also provided detailed cover notes with a description of each song on the album.
BUDDY WILLIAMS "I'LL STROLL DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH YOU": (1978) EMI EMB.10402
(They Call Me) The Rambling Yodeller (7/9/1939) / Let's Grow Old Together ** (7 July 1941) / The Cowboy's Life Is Good Enough For Me (14 May 1940)- (Version 1) / Where The White Faced Cattle Roam (18 May 1942)- (Version 1) / The Australian Hillbilly (20 November 1941)- (Version 1) / Overlander Trail (13 September 1939)- (Version 1) / Music In My Pony's Feet (22 December 1943)- (Version 1)
Happy Cowboys (25 November 1940)- (Version 1) / Little Red Bonnet (5/10/1956)- (Version 1) / I'll Stroll Down Memory Lane With You (29 August 1958)- (Version 1) / My Sleepy Valley Home (24 May 1962)- (Version 2) / The Rules Of Love (20 May 1963, not released until May 1978 due to copyright issues) / Back To Alice Springs (20 May 1963) / Horse Teams (24 May 1962, not released until May 1978 due to copyright issues)
NOTE: ** Duet with Bernie Burnett.
BUDDY WILLIAMS "BUSHLAND OF MY DREAMS": (1979) EMI EMB.10441
Happy Jackaroo (14 May 1940) / Brown-Eyed Sweetheart Of Mine ## (16 March 1945)- (Version 1) / Dear Old Dorrigo (18 November 1952) / When The Candle Lights Are Gleaming ** (20 November 1941)- (Version 1) / Murrumbidgee Blues (18 June 1951) / Down By The Old Beaten Trail (20 November 1941)- (Version 1) / Where The Lazy Murray River Rolls Along ## (16 March 1945)- (Version 1)
Riding Home At Sundown (22 December 1943)- (Version 1) / Under The Old Wattle Tree (14 May 1040)- (Version 1) / Bushland Of My Dreams (22 December 1943) / Beneath The Queensland Moon (21 September 1950) / Sunny Australian Sweetheart ** (22 December 1943)- (Version 1) / Little Jackaroo (21 September 1950) / My Moonlight Lullaby (7/9/1939)
NOTE: ** Duet with Bernie Burnett. / ## Duet with Lenore Miller.
BUDDY WILLIAMS "BLAZIN' THE TRAIL": (1983) EMI EMB.10509
Blazin' The Trail (18 May 1942) / Poison Darts (5/10/1956)- (Version 1) / The Shearer's Goodbye (25 November 1940)- (Version 1) / The Dying Soldier's Prayer (20 November 1941)- (Version 1) / The Swagman's Friend (3/7/1953) / Stockmen In Uniform ** (22 December 1943)- (Version 1) / The Drover's Song (16 March 1945)
Headin' For The Warwick Rodeo (14 November 1941)- (Version 1) / The Spirit Of Progress (3/7/1953)- (Version 1) / That Dapple Grey Bronco Of Mine (7/9/1939)- (Version 1) / Wonder Valley (18 May 1942)- (Version 1) / The Flying Doctor (30 October 1951)- (Version 1) / Rhythm In The Saddle ## (16 March 1945) / Memories Of Home (25 November 1940)
NOTE: ** Duet with Bernie Burnett. / ## Duet with Lenore Miller.
BUDDY WILLIAMS "OVER HILLTOP AND HOLLOW": (1985) EMI AX 701217
Lonesome For You Mother Dear (7/9/1939) / The Australian Bushman's Yodel (14 May 1940) / Over Hilltop And Hollow (13 September 1946) / There' Another Angel In Heaven (30 October 1951) / Honeymoon On A Rocket Ship (2/10/1953) / Back Street Affair (18 November 1952) / Where The Roly Poly Grass Rolls O'er The Plain (22 December 1943)
Kings Cross Boogie (5/10/1956) / Christmas Bells (18 November 1952) / The Crepe Upon The Little Cabin Door (14 July 1941) / Our Wedding (5/10/1956) / Freight Train Blues (18 June 1951) / Too Old To Cut The Mustard (18 November 1952) / I'll Be Back Never Fear (20 November 1941)
THE IMMORTAL BUDDY WILLIAMS "AWAY OUT ON THE PLAIN": (1987) EMI AX 701370
The Old Sundowner (3/7/1953) / Australia's Kitty Gill (3/7/1953) / Away Out On The Plain (22 June 1955) / A Yellow Dog's Love (22 June 1955) / Mareeba Rodeo (5/10/1956) / Pioneering Days (25 March 1948)- (Version 1) / The Wandering Gambler (25 November 1940)
I'd Rather Have A Pony Than A Girl (2/10/1953) / Wingie The Railway Cop (20 November 1941)- (Version 1) / The Kelly Gang (2/10/1953)- (Version 1) / Bushland Paradise ## (16 March 1945) / The Ringer (5/10/1956) / Chain Lightning The Outlaw (13 September 1946)- (Version 1) / Going Home (25 November 1940)
NOTE: ## Duet with Lenore Miller.
To Be Continued.....
A large number of 45 rpm singles and at least two Extended Play 45 rpm E.P.'s were released by EMI over the years, of previously released recordings from 78 rpm Gramaphone records. These were released under the EMI Columbia label.
EMI: EXTENDED PLAY 45 RPM.
WEDDING BELLS: (1951) EMI SEGO 70035
When The Candle Lights Are Gleaming **(14 November 1941)
Let's Grow Old Together **(14 November 1041)
Wedding Bells (18 June 1951)
Murrumbidgee Blues (18 June 1951)
NOTE: ** Duet with Bernie Burnett.
THE KELLY GANG: (1957) EMI SEGO 70047
The Blacksheep's Return To The Fold (2/10/1953)
The Kelly Gang (2/10/1953)
Mareeba Rodeo (5/10/1956)
Poisoned Darts (5/10/1956)
EMI 45 rpm – Special Release: Headin' For The Warwick Rodeo / The Bushman's Rodeo (1981) EMI −601
Headin'For The Warwick Rodeo (14 November 1941) / The Bushmen's Rodeo (16 March 1945)
NOTE: ** This 45rpm single was released by EMI in 1981 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first release of Headin' For The Warwick Rodeo.
EMI COMPACT DISK (CD) RELEASES:
BUDDY WILLIAMS "UNDER WESTERN SKIES - (1991) - (8380202)
BUDDY WILLIAMS REGAL ZONOPHONE COLLECTION - VOL 1 (1997) 3 CD
ROCKET GROUP PTY LTD COMPACT DISK (CD) RELEASES:
BUDDY WILLIAMS - LAST OUTBACK ENTERTAINER - (3CD) Released July 12th 2011