Irish duo Foster and Allen is back for a milestone 20th tour of Australia.
Irish duo Foster and Allen is back for a milestone 20th tour of Australia. Barry Mc Call

How folk duo has remained friends for more than four decades

MICK Foster and Tony Allen have managed to pull off the seemingly impossible - a musical partnership of more than 40 years without one argument, bust-up or biffo.

The legendary Irish folk music duo has been solid since day one, says singer and accordion player Foster.

"After 44 years together - we've actually been playing for 52 years - we never had an argument in that length of time," he says.

"We don't have a problem on that front because we only work together for part of the year. We're in constant contact on the phone, but we might not see each other for a month or two months when we're not touring. Even then we'd have nothing to fight about. What I do he's not able to do, and what he does I'm not able to do. We've never had any competition about songs."

Foster and Allen return to our shores for a milestone 20th tour of Australia.

"We're very lucky that it's been successful as a duo, but we have a backing band as well," Foster says. "My wife is our band leader - she plays keyboards and flute - and we have a bass player and guitar player. We also bring our sound engineer everywhere with us. We're a compact little outfit."

There aren't many places in our sunburnt country the duo hasn't seen over those 20 visits and there are plenty of regional dates on their latest lap around Queensland.

"We try and take in as many places as we can to see as many people as we can. A lot of older people mightn't fancy driving two or three hours to a big city to see us," he says.

"We love the weather and we drive a lot when we're over there... we've been in places a lot of people don't even know exist.

"But our audience will be the same no matter where we are, whether it's Ireland or the UK, Australia or New Zealand. It's the same age group and they love the same songs. It's just a lovely, laid back, easy going audience."

Fans can expect to hear all of the group's greatest hits, from A Bunch of Thyme to Maggie, After All These Years and I Will Love You All My Life, spanning an impressive 30 albums.

"There will be songs that we haven't done before in the show; some have just been written in the last year or so, other ones we may have recorded 40 years ago," Foster says.

"But in general it will be the same. We dare not change. They (the fans) wouldn't be happy if we changed too much. They still want to hear the songs they know."

Foster and Allen's 2019 Australian Tour plays the Empire Theatre in Toowoomba on May 1, the Brolga Theatre in Maryborough on May 2, the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre in Bundaberg on May 3, the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre on May 5, the Ipswich Civic Centre on May 8, HOTA on the Gold Coast on June 1 and The Events Centre Caloundra on June 2.