Harold Blair sings 'Maranoa Lullaby’ on an unreleased recording from 1950.
There is an unfortunate audible hiss on this recording, which is one of two unreleased songs on a lacquer disc donated to the National Film and Sound Archive by Dorothy Blair (Harold’s widow). It is a lullaby with a soothing melody and lyrics gently crooned by Blair, a classically trained singer. The track has a simple piano backing.
It is perhaps an early version of a five-song EP Blair recorded in 1950. A notation describes five traditional 'Australian Aboriginal Songs: Melodies, Rhythms and Words Truly and Authentically Aboriginal’. Dr HO Lethbridge, whose family owned the Maranoa Station in Queensland, introduced the songs to Arthur Steadman Loam (1898–1976). Loam was an itinerant British composer who subsequently arranged the songs for voices and keyboard.
The melody figures prominently in the music of Peter Sculthorpe, notably in the Canticle section of his 2004 choral ‘Requiem’.