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World Music CD Reviews Australia & Oceania

Eric Bogle

By Paula Kirman
Published December 15, 2006

Other People’s Children

For Eric Bogle, the medium comes second to the message. While his occasionally Celtic-tinged acoustic guitar work often hides its complexity, Bogle’s socially charged lyrics need little deciphering. Over the years, his bold, searing lyrics have caught the attention of numerous other performers, such as Mary Black and Joan Baez, who have covered his work. On Other People’s Children, his first collection of new songs since 2002, he tackles diverse subjects, including a title track that laments the killing of war’s youngest and most helpless victims. Musically speaking, the guitars, mandolins, fiddles and backing vocals provide the platform for Bogle’s powerful delivery. The one exception is “The Promise,” an emotional piece about saying goodbye for the last time to a loved one, on which Kat Kraus provides lead vocals. There aren’t any hidden meanings to any of these tracks; simple profundity is the key here. Even the album cover art is crude, featuring stick figures on a bland background. Bogle’s songs are not bland, though; they address local (Australian) and international issues with vehemence and vitality.