Barry Crocker - Barry Meets Banjo (CD)
Barry Crocker - Barry Meets Banjo (CD)
Barry Crocker - Barry Meets Banjo (CD) 
Regarded as one of the ‘greats’ of the Australian entertainment industry, Barry Crocker has fostered a very well respected and impressive career spanning over several decades. Barry Crocker has enjoyed success throughout an outstanding career, richly deserving the great reviews that follow in his wake. Barry's career includes a comprehensive recording history, numerous television appearances in Australia, the UK and America, national and international concert performances. The bible of the American entertainment industry, ‘Variety’, summed him up when reviewing both his singing and television appearances, as ‘Another Hot Australian Export.’
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Product Code: BPP 0041

Blue Pie Productions

Banjo Patersons pictures is on the Australian $10 note and one of his poems has become an unofficial Australian anthem.

Andrew Barton "Banjo" Paterson died in 1941 just as Waltzing Matilda was being claimed and marched to by Australian soldiers across war-torn Europe.

Throughout his creative life the poet, journalist, lawyer, horseman and soldier had captured the spirit of the outback, writing about the harsh, vast and beautiful places and the pioneering spirit of those who lived there.

Over lunch, Barry Crocker -- actor, singer and cabaret artist -- talks about Banjo Paterson with affection and depth of knowledge. It is no surprise that the first version of his own one-man musical play, Barry Crocker's Banjo, ran to almost three-and-a-half hours.

"I wanted desperately to bring all that I'd found to the stage," said Barry, who sensibly edited the play, even though it meant dropping some fascinating details.

Banjo's life was a mix of success, failure, adventure, romance and profound disappointment.

After leaving Sydney Grammar School, Banjo went into law as an articled clerk in a Sydney law office. He was a keen tennis player, rowed for Balmain, played polo, rode to hounds at Sydney Hunt Club meetings and raced in steeplechases. But throughout his life, his great love was writing.

The first ballad he had published in The Bulletin newspaper was El Mahdi to the Australian Troops in February 1885 when he was 21.

It was the beginning of a long association with the paper covering a range of subjects close to Banjo's heart -- adventure, war, horses and the bush. It was 10 years later with the publication of The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses that the public learnt who was behind the nom de plume, The Banjo, the name of a racehorse Paterson's father had once owned.

Some scholars believe The Man from Snowy River was written about Breaker Morant, an extraordinary horseman whose horse-riding skills around that time (1890) had achieved hero status.

Breaker and Banjo were finally introduced to each other by Banjo's uncle, in the late 1890s. Banjo recalled some 40 years later that he played polo with the "chivalrous, wild and reckless lad", a man who could break horses, dance, fight, do everything except work and anything as long as there was a crowd to watch. Like Morant, Banjo craved adventure and desperately wanted to be a soldier.

When Australian troops were sent to the Boer War Banjo went "marching into the {Sydney Morning} Herald office. I said I would like to go to the war and write them letters, descriptive letters".

He became the inaugural war correspondent for the SMH and although he was supposed to not "misbehave" he couldn't resist following a battalion into battle, claiming that he felt "more alive surrounded by death".

Barry Crocker's version of Banjo's life began as part of his cabaret and concert productions, a segment that proved so popular it became a regular.

"I wanted to go back into theatre but nothing was available," explained Barry. "So I decided to write{a play}for myself. It began as a three-person play but came down to just me and Banjo."

Researching and writing the one-man show took over two years.

It begins in the "hallowed halls" of Sydney Grammar in 1940. As an old boy, 76-year-old Banjo has been invited to address the boys at a leavers' assembly, an opportunity he takes to "set the record straight".

Melbourne visual artist Ian de Gruchy has provided the projected backdrops that add depth to the solo performance. De Gruchy is well known for his vast projections on to buildings, including transformations of the Melbourne Town Hall and Royal Exhibition building and the Australian National Gallery in Canberra.

Barry's wife, actor, writer and director Katy Manning -- they met in Perth when they were both here for a Telethon event - has directed the show.

She writes: "Barry has managed to unearth the very heart of Banjo and indeed the Australian people of his day. It is a piece that will re-warm the hearts of those who remember, and I believe will alert a bright, new generation of the work of our very own inspirational and original literary master, Andrew Barton Paterson."

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