Volume 1

Hello Stranger
by Alvin Pleasant Carter
sung & played by Allan Murray
What better way to welcome you in than with this pleasant and friendly greeting? The rythmn of Allan’s guitar work gives his performances an endearing individuality, while the enthusiastic choruses are no less enjoyable! (more from Allan in volume 2)

    Hello stranger put your lovin’ hand in mine
    You are a stranger, but your a pal of mine

    Lord I came down here just see that gal o’ mine
    I got in trouble and I’ll soon be doin’ time

    But every time I ride a 64th streetcar
    I see my baby just a peekin’ through the bars

    She bowed her head and waved both hands at me
    I’m prison bound and longin’ to be free

    Weepin’ like a willow moanin’ like a dove
    There’s a girl up country that I really love

    Lord I’ll see you when your troubles are like mine
    Lord I’ll see you when you haven’t got a dime

    Hello stranger put your lovin’ hand in mine
    You are a stranger, but your a pal of mine
    I need a friend, won’t you be a friend of mine


When All Men Sing
words by Keith Scowcroft, tune by Derek Gifford
sung by Tom Hanson
“Set around the rural life and seasons of the northern hemisphere, this song typifies for me the spirit of the folk singing session - the company of friends, the spontaneity, the joy of singing, and the sheer delight when all the harmonies fall into place. I adopt the bi-gender definition of ‘men’ in my interpretation of the title, and despite the fact that I sing it, it is not called ‘When Bald Men Sing’.”

    When snows transform the hedgerow thorn
    And frosting gilds the berry
    Good men and true the fire logs hew
    And in the inns make merry
    Then, singing all as with one voice
    It seems the very walls rejoice
    And merriment about doth spring
    When all men sing

    Let every man so pitch his song
    To help his neighbour sing along
    To each and all contentment bring
    When all men sing

    When lambs are seen and trees spring green
    Come forth in bloom the daisies
    For winter’s end our thanks we’ll send
    At Easter time sing praises
    Then with a will, yea one accord
    We’ll raise our voices to the Lord
    And praise above our Heavenly King
    When all men sing!

    When in the fields his scythe he wields
    Then hear his summer sound
    As man and boy their lungs employ
    The songs they echo ‘round
    Resound from hill and roof and spire
    Starting lowly building higher
    So surely then his scythe will swing
    When all men sing

    When leaves they fall from elm tree tall
    Then every back must bend
    As young and old with courage bold
    Their efforts they expend
    Ensuring autumn’s gifts are stowed
    ‘Fore cold winter’s wind is blowed
    Then comes an end to foraging
    When all men sing

    Here song’s in season every year
    Some voices sweet while others strong
    Gently round ascending
    With harmonies a-blending
    As unison accords the song
    Uplifting beams of inn or hall
    And shaking plaster from the walls
    When all men sing!


A Wee Drappie O’t
by Robert Tannahill
sung by Carole Fyfe
This song by Robert Tannahill (1774-1810) a weaver bard from Paisley in Scotland, had some extra words added to it by Carole. “I grew up on the English/Scottish border where this song was often sung in sessions for its fine chorus, and also for the fact that it is a hymn to whisky!”

    This life is a journey we a’ hae tae gang
    And care is the burden we carry alang
    Though heavy be our burden and poverty our lot
    We’ll be happy a’ together owre a wee drappie o’t

    Owre a wee drappie o’t, owre a wee drappie o’t
    We’ll be happy a’ together owre a wee drappie o’t

    The trees are all stripped of their mantle sae green
    The leaves of the forest nae langer can be seen
    And winter is here wi’ his cauld icy coat
    But we’re a’ met together owre a wee drappie o’t

    Job in his lamentation said ‘Man was made tae mourn”
    There’s nae such thing as pleasure
    From the cradle tae the urn
    But in his meditations Job surely has forgot
    The pleasure man enjoys owre a wee drappie o’t

    So raise high your glass let your troubles lie the night
    They surely will wait for you by morn’s clear light
    Whate’er be your trade, be it loom, plough or boat
    We’ll be happy a’ together owre a wee drappie o’t


The Perilous Gate
words anonymous, tune by Phyl Lobl
sung by Simon Campbell
When Phyl Lobl found the original 19th century poem describing these shipwrecks she abridged and set it to music. The author had altered some dates to accomodate rhyme and metre, but the essential drama of the story with its themes of courage and regret are unaffected. Rhymin’ Simon, long known as a reciter and humorist, revealed his singing voice with this one and hasn’t looked back.

    A tale I’ll tell of a perilous gate upon the Eastern coast
    Of many shipwrecks and ruins this narrow gate can boast
    Beneath Newcastle harbour waves
    Lie rotting hulks and sailors graves
    Hero’s tombs are hidden caves
    Below the Nobby’s post

    Yes sir, a pretty entrance but were I homebound sail
    I’d rather stand far out to sea when it blows a stiffish gale
    Blowing from the south or east
    Each huge wave a crest of yeast
    Is charging like a wounded beast
    And mounts the rolling rail

    On the sixth day of November in 1858
    The Eleanor Lancaster was caught
    Entering that perilous gate
    We watched those huddled in the top
    With nothing but a slender prop
    Which at each blow we thought would drop
    As all the timbers failed

    An awful sea was running and not in all that crew
    Was one who thought boats could be brought
    Those boiling breakers through
    Then a little fair man
    Pushed and panted as he ran
    And urged us all the waves to scan
    And to our mates be true!

    “Come lads” he shouted shrill and clear
    “Who’ll venture it with me?
    Each minute lost a life may cost in such a tumbling sea
    With four good men I’ll wager
    We’ll bring them all to shore
    Come who will try?” Three answered “I”
    And I sir made up four

    It was a roughish kind of trip
    But Chatfield steered us well
    I see him there with his fairish hair facing what befell
    And when we’d brought them all to shore
    He shook us by the hand once more
    I’ve met no braver men before
    The truth to you I’ll tell

    For ten more years the oyster bank
    Was beaconed by a spar
    That stood in witness to the storm that sank the Lancaster
    Five fathoms deep her rotting shell
    A prayer the slender mast did tell
    A brave deed done so nobly well
    A good ten years before

    Then toward the close of winter
    Hard blowin’ all the night
    The great sea horses tearing high
    Raced madly past the bight
    Many a man came down to see
    If inbound craft there chanced to be
    Sailors’ wives watched anxiously
    Out on the surging flood

    Cawarra was comin’ in I knew her bow so well
    We watched her as she struggled on
    And battled with the swell
    We watched her through the mounting blast
    And hoped that once the Nobby’s past
    The harbour she might make at last
    None but the gods could tell

    She tried to turn again to sea
    When a snow white whiff of steam
    Told us that her fires were out
    And she drifted on her beam
    Her boilers by the waves were quenched
    Her engines by the waves were drenched
    Watchers hearts were sorely wrenched
    And hope a fading dream

    No boats set out to rescue those
    Still clinging to the wreck
    ‘Though one was there with his fairish hair,
    He now stood on that deck
    His beacon pointing to the sky
    Urged us not to let him die
    But his same noble feat to try
    No man would risk his neck

    Many’s the time at midnight
    I’ve heard the tempest roar
    I’ve lain awake and wished that I
    Could have the chance once more
    To be the one to leave the crowd
    To call his name out clear and loud
    And free from Neptune’s salty shroud
    Bring him back to shore


My Donald
by Owen Hand
sung by Jenny Fitzgibbon
As a lover both of traditional and of protest songs Jenny offers this advice: “I look forward to still singing when I am 90 and encouraging others to do so. Take your voice from the shower to the streets!”

    Oh my Donald he works upon the sea
    In the waves that blow wild and free
    He splices the ropes and he sets the sail
    As southward he roams to the home of the whale

    And he ne’er thinks of me left far behind
    Nor of the torments that rage in my mind
    He is mine for only a part of the year
    And then I’m all alone with only my tears

    So ye ladies that smell of wild rose
    Think ye for your perfume to where a man goes
    Think ye of the women and children who mourn
    For a man ne’er returned from hunting the sperm


The Shoals Of Herring
by Ewan McColl
sung by Malcolm Menzies & Len Neary
guitar by Malcolm Menzies
“I have liked this song since I first heard it sung by Jim Jarvis. A song of the sea, it’s power and benevolence and of the men that worked along the English coastline forty to fifty years ago, from boyhood to manhood to old age, the fishermen who chased after and sometimes caught the silver herring.” - Malcolm

    With our nets and gear we’re faring
    On the wild and wasteful ocean
    It’s out there on the deep
    That we harvest and reap our bread
    As we hunt the bonny shoals of herring

    Oh it was a fine and a pleasant day
    Out of Yarmouth harbour I was faring
    As a cabin boy on a sailing lugger
    For to go and hunt the shoals of herring

    Oh the work was hard and the hours were long
    And the treatment sure it took some bearing
    There was little kindness and the kicks were many
    As we hunted for the shoals of herring

    Oh we fished the Swarth and the Broken Bank
    I was cook and I’d a quarter-sharing
    And I used to sleep, standing on my feet
    And I’d dream about the shoals of herring

    Oh we left the home grounds in the month of June
    And for Canny Shiels we soon were bearing
    With a hundred cran of the silver darlings
    That we’d taken from the shoals of herring

    Now you’re up on deck, you’re a fisherman
    You can swear and show a manly bearing
    Take your turn on watch with the other fellows
    While you’re following the shoals of herring

    In the stormy seas and the living gales
    Just to earn your daily bread you’re daring
    From the Dover Straits to the Faroe Islands
    While you’re following the shoals of herring

    Oh I earned my keep and I paid my way
    And I earned the gear that I was wearing
    Sailed a million miles, caught ten-million fishes
    We were sailing after shoals of herring

    Day and night the sea we’re daring
    Come wind come hail or winter’s gale
    Sweating and cold, growing up
    Growing old and dying
    As we hunt the bonnie shoals of herring


The Weary Cutters
traditional English
sung by Rhiannon Davis
“I did the cheapest thing that any folk singer could possibly do and ripped it wholesale off a Steeleye Span recording.”

    Oh the weary cutters and oh the weary sea
    Oh the weary cutters have taken my laddie from me
    They’ve pressed him far away foreign
    With Nelson all on the salt sea
    Oh the weary cutters have taken my laddie from me

    Oh the lousy cutters and oh the weary sea
    Oh the lousy cutters have taken my laddie from me
    They always come in the night; they never come in the day
    They come in the night and steal the laddies away

    Oh the weary cutters and oh the weary sea
    Oh the weary cutters have taken my laddie from me
    I’ll give the cutter a guinea; I can give the cutter no more
    But I’ll give them a guinea to steal my laddie ashore


traditional English
sung by Len Neary
“Lowlands is a pumping shanty, and is notable not only because it is a fine song; unusually for a shanty it contains a coherent story. Its popularity in sessions and other venues is enduring.” Len Neary has been singing for many years, and ran the Glengarry Castle singing session for quite a few.

    I dreamed a dream the other night
    Lowlands, lowlands away my John
    I dreamed a dream the other night
    Lowlands, my lowlands away

    I dreamed my love came standing by
    Came standing close by my bedside

    She’s drowning in the lowland sea
    And never more coming home to me

    The sea-green weed was in her hair
    ‘Twas then I knew there was no life left there

    She lies there in the windy lowlands
    She lies there in the windy lowlands

    I dreamed a dream the other night


Pete’s Song
by Lis Frencham
sung by Kellie Stubbs
“This is a song that I heard Settlers Match do years ago and instantly fell in love with. Later I met the lovely Lis Frencham who graciously gave me her blessing to record it. I was attracted to Pete’s Song because of the emotion and intense longing it expressed.”

    Mighty sea you have such power in your hand
    Your waves they can turn the rock to sand
    But all of the strength you wield can never set me free
    If you can’t make that sweet boy love me

    For all your great voice you can’t kneel by his bed
    And whisper my name in his dreams
    And all of nature’s power means nothing now to me
    For I’ll die if he never loves me

    Gentle Earth with your magic old as time
    But I can only see it as a crime
    That you give birth to the flowers, the ferns and the trees
    Yet you can’t make that sweet boy love me

    Sky above with your sunshine and your rain
    Can you send me down something to ease the pain?
    For all your thunder and lightning is useless can’t you see?
    If you can’t make that sweet boy love me


Time After Time
by Cyndi Lauper & Rob Hyman
sung by Terry Clinton & Kate Andrews
lute by Terry Clinton
"This version of Cyndi Lauper's hit proves that pop music is not inherently evil - a good song is just that, no matter the genre." - Kate

Terry, Kate and Christina Mimmocchi (see volume 2) are members of the vocal trio Touchwood. Their album The Great City contains a different recording of this song where Terry plays lute instead of vihuela - collectors take note!
(lyrics copyright Sony Music)


Whatever Happened To You?
by Loudon Wainwright III
sung & played by Christy Reynolds
additional vocals by Judy Pinder
Christy’s is one of those voices capable of claiming attention amid the noise and smoke of even the busiest pub session. His tuneful brogue was often heard in between the jigs and reels at the Carlisle Castle in Newtown.

    Hey whatever happened to you?
    And whatever happened to us?
    Hey we missed the proverbial boat
    The plane and the train and the bus
    Yeah we pushed and we shoved, we fell outta love
    Tore each other apart
    Yes, love is grand but I can’t understand

    Why you broke my proverbial heart
    Well we used to be in love
    Now we are in hate
    You used to say I came to early
    But it was you who came too late!
    Hey boy meets girl you give it a whirl
    And the very next thing you know
    You thinks she’s nuts, she hates your guts

    And the bad blood starts to flow
    Well it sounds like sour grapes
    And that’s just what it is
    Gonna send my subscription to Oracle
    You can send my subscription to Male
    Hey that’s a whole lotta crap about a tender trap
    Love’s just a suicide snare
    All I wanna do is forget you and our lousy love affair!
    (lyrics reprinted by kind permission of Snowden Music)


written, sung & played by Dennis Aubrey
Dennis describes himself as a “smartarse songwriter” and a practitioner of the “country and redfern” genre. He regularly hosts an open stage for songwriters, and is a veteran of the campaign to legalise street singing in the 1970s and 80s.

    I dreamed that I was naked, standing in the street
    Nothing but my guitar and the shoes on my feet
    I didn’t know what to do so I sang a song
    Some guy who said he was a Christian came along
    And he said “Shame on you heathen!
    Standing naked is a sin!”
    I said “I’m sorry you’re embarrassed
    By this predicament I’m in”
    I didn’t choose to be here like this, wearing only skin”
    He said “Shame on you heathen!” again

    A guy with lots of money came up
    And when he saw me there
    He said “I started out with nothin’ once” I said “Oh yeah?
    Could you help me out now please?
    I need to buy some clothes”
    He said “I’m sorry, my adviser told me not to issue loans”
    I said ‘Thanks a lot mate, for your generosity”
    Then a woman and a five year old boy came up to me
    She looked at me and turned bright red
    And started to scream
    To everybody in the street there “It’s obscene!”

    I remember thinkin’ “lady if you don’t like what you see
    Why do you insist on starin’ at me?”
    I was more embarrassed by her than she was by me
    I hid behind my instrument and I hoped she’d go away
    Then the little kid came up to me, he said
    “Why’ve you got no clothes on, standing in the street?”
    I said “I dunno kid I just got here in a dream”
    He said “So did I, I know what you mean”

    I dreamed that I was naked, standing in the street
    Nothing but my guitar and the shoes on my feet
    I didn’t know what to do so I sang a song


Beetles In The Basin - I Can’t Spell Hippopotamus
by unknown author & by J Fred Coots
sung by Isobel Andrews
Kate says “This was recorded when Isobel was 4 years old. Now that she is 6 she can spell hippopotamus, and her repertoire has expanded to include Burt Bacharach and Crowded House. She says she likes music because it makes her happy.”

    Beetles in the basin in the bathroom
    Striped with black and blue
    Beetles in the basin in the bathroom
    I’m in the bathroom too
    How embarrassing! I’m in the bathroom too!
    I can spell hat, h-a-t
    I can spell cat, c-a-t
    I can spell fat, f-a-t
    But I can’t spell hippopotamus
    I can spell dog, d-o-g
    I can spell log, l-o-g
    I can spell hog, h-o-g
    But I can’t spell hippopotamus

    H-i-p-p-o I know, and then comes p-o-t
    But that’s as far as I can go and that’s what bothers me, Gee!


Suicidal Shrubbery
written, sung & played by Matthew Hobbs
“I was in love with a girl who gave me a beautiful orchid which I kept in my kitchen. Then one day she decided she didn’t want to continue our relationship. Next day the plant died. So every time I sing this I am simply asking ‘Why? Why?’”

    Here’s my story, sad but true
    About a pot plant I once knew
    I met it at the nursery, took it home to stay with me
    But soon its little leaves it shed
    It shrivelled up, then dropped dead
    Was it something that I said?
    Why don’t my houseplants like me?

    Next day I bought another one 
    If plants had legs it would’ve run
    This fern thought it would rather die
    Than live with me, don’t ask me why
    I treated it exactly right with water, fertiliser, light
    But it didn’t make it through the night
    Why don’t my houseplants like me?

    Well soon the pattern was quite plain
    Plants all treat me with disdain
    Steadily decrease in size, refuse to photosynthesise
    Oh, suicidal shrubbery it’s a mystery to me
    This botanic conspiracy
    Why don’t my houseplants like me?

    I only wanted something to love
    A pretty plant to call my own
    A very special floral friend
    To brighten up my empty home
    But now the only thing that’s left of them
    Is curled-up leaf and dried-up stem
    Guess I’ll never come to terms
    With anti-social angiosperms

    But there’s just one thing that will make me calm
    A plant that cannot come to harm
    Now I’m shopping for a plastic palm
    Why don’t my houseplants like me?


The Activity Room
by Ruth Pelham
sung by Jane Maze
Jane from the Solidarity Choir describes this as “a song about organising - how to build the networks that can change the world.”

    Would you like to play bridge and have a nice cup of tea
    In the morning, Mrs Abrams?
    We’re starting out at ten
    Mrs Iltis and Flora Hazleton
    What we need is a fourth ‘cause Ida Yancey’s not here
    She’s at her sister’s in New Jersey
    So, Mrs Abrams, will you play - what d’ya say?

    Well, I haven’t played bridge since my husband died
    It’s been a while, Mrs Reilly
    I can hardly remember the rules
    I’m really rusty and I know I’d feel like a fool
    But since you ask I could give it a go
    Mrs Iltis has a book she’d lend me I know
    So, Mrs Reilly, it’s tea at ten - see you then

    Would you like to play pool in the tournament?
    We could be partners, Mr Gaffney
    There’s a game that starts at two
    Mr Sheen and Ted Fine against me and you
    Yes, you’re my pick you bank ‘em in every time
    We could both win a trophy
    Mr Gaffney, will you play - what d’ya say?

    I like to catch a few winks, take a snooze at noon
    I get so tired, Mr Rosen
    There are times when I’m so stiff
    I can hardly keep a hold of the darn queue-stick
    But since you ask, it doesn’t feel like rain
    Last night I slept great
    With those pink pills for the pain
    So, Mr Rosen, see you at two
    We’ll take ‘em on, me and you!

    Would you like to play horn in the orchestra?
    You’d be terrific, Mr Lopez
    We’re tuning up at three
    Your friend Hal Herschel’ll play the tympani
    We’re gonna play a little Gershwin and some J S Bach
    Can you even believe
    We’re gonna try a little pop and some rock?
    So, Mr Lopez, will you play - what do you say?

    My lip is not in shape, my horn is worn and old
    It’s at my brother’s, Mrs Malcolm
    My sight-reading’s awful slow
    It’s been years, I’d hold you up I know
    But since you ask I could just stop by
    I could sit in for a while if you need me
    So, Mrs Malcolm, I’ll see you at three at the do-re-
    I’ll even bring my brother with me to the do-re-
    And thanks for asking me to the do-re-mi!


Tupperware Massacre
written & sung by Peter Willey
additional vocals by Miguel Heatwole &
Matthew Hobbs
“I wrote this song with a rhyming dictionary in one hand and a Tupperware catalogue in the other. All the names in the song are people I know. I really have an Aunt Mel.”

    Come gather round and listen to this tale of misery
    It happened long ago at some poor girl’s kitchen tea
    It should have been a party but things turned sour instead
    There were stains upon the carpet and over twenty dead

    It started out okay I guess as the ladies gathered round
    The bride-to-be was happy
    With her crimplene dressing gown
    The handy-bin from Grandma would be useful in her home
    And Mrs Duke had painted her a hand-made garden gnome

    Then Aunt Mel took exception
    To a comment from her niece
    And she responded angrily and kicked her friend Bernice
    Fights broke out around the room and none got out alive
    Of the kitchen tea Tupperware massacre of 1965

    Well it turned into a melee - you could see the plastic fly
    A gift-wrapped beetroot strainer
    Caught Kate above the eye
    Red and yellow lunchboxes flew about the place
    And someone rubbed a cheese grater
    Down Mrs Porter’s face

    A see-through, freezer canister killed Mrs Ross stone dead
    A sawn-off salad crisper protruded from her head
    PVC had severed limbs before the police arrived
    At the kitchen tea Tupperware massacre of 1965

    Thirty years have come and gone
    Since the bodies were entombed
    The Forensic Squad sought evidence
    And ordered them exhumed
    They dug up Mrs Henderson and the mother of the bride
    They were neatly stacked in Tupperware
    Fresh and crisp as the day they died!


written, sung & played by Paul Spencer
Paul is a songwriter whose work is prominent in Ecopella’s repertoire and also the Solidarity Choir’s. A young man with interesting hair and clothes he says: “Just like everyone else, I’m the standard against which normal behaviour is measured.”

    There are strange people living in the city
    They shave their chins and armpits
    And dress up like cement
    Their nervous eyes evoke a sense of pity
    They’ve bought themselves a prison
    Which was never their intent
    The only way to free them is to shock them
    Show them the reality that’s killing me and you
    They’re the only ones who can unlock them
    When I see them on the escalators all I want to do is yell:

    “Freaks! What are you doing?
    Dressing up like mannequins and marching up and down
    Can’t you smell the poison you’re brewing
    While you’re living in a bubble in the plastic part of town?”

    They think its human nature to be selfish
    To them co-operation is a weakness of the mind
    They recognise the system isn’t healthy
    But they’d rather just enjoy it, and leave it all behind
    Now that’s just not acceptable behaviour
    Tripping on consumption and the products of today
    Excreting waste in our suburban graveyard
    When they colonise my television
    I just want to say to them:

    They don’t believe in things outside the present
    The future has no value if it can’t be sold today
    They help to make each other’s moments pleasant
    By building a reality that keeps the world away
    We have to talk some holes into their fortress
    Teach them to respect the future’s right to just exist
    Use the lessons history has taught us
    When I cycle past their traffic jams
    The hardest to resist is yelling:


Wendy’s Song
written, sung & played by Dylan Curnow
additional guitar by Chuk Singh
I enjoy the surprise on my friends’ faces when I tell them there is a Dylan song on the album and then sing them a few bars of this elegant satire! The ‘woods between the worlds’ is a reference to ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ by CS Lewis and describes a still, inert place of trees and ponds that exists between realities.

    Horoscopes and cigarettes and fancy hair
    Chocolate cake and Rikki Lake and Marie Clare
    Jenny Craig and calories

    Reading Tarot cards and the Woman’s Day
    With aliens coming down to take us all away
    I’m sure they’ve been here for years

    Like a dream within a dream, like a looking-glass world
    Her life is like a spiral, how it curls
    And she’s living in the woods between the worlds

    Drinking Diet Coke and cappuccino
    Keeping up with Quentin Tarantino
    Mortgages and salaries

    Stomach tuck and lipo suck are all the rage
    But luckily you can’t afford them on your wage
    You’ll have to age so gracefully


written, sung & played by Karen Cregan
“In 1998 I travelled with a man from California through the snow forests of Washington State to El Paso, Texas. People called him ‘Boxcar’ but his real name, that few knew, was Tom. For three months we journeyed on the freight trains and together learnt the pain it is to trust and to know each other. I don’t know where Tom is now but this heart-song keeps him with me.”

    Tom rolled his cigarette, cursing the breeze
    For blowing it half away
    In green eyes made iron grey I see reflections of a boy
    “Oh Tom your a clumsy one
    Fall’n down and broke your arm again”
    There’s a price you’ve paid from pain and it’s not freedom

    Oh Tom the anger that you keep
    Is the anchor to your father’s wrongs
    Oh Tom don’t make him pay by punishing his son

    At seven years of age too scared to run
    From the only home he’d ever known
    He kept it on his own and the secrets eat the man away
    I believe him when he says his anger is a hidden thing
    It’s disguised itself from even him
    You can’t see your rage, the secret dragon in our love

    Oh Tom, if you can’t forgive
    How will you heal your father’s wrongs?
    Oh Tom don’t make him pay by punishing his son

    At thirty-seven years of age
    Now you’re running away from home
    Your bedroll on your arm by the freight train yards
    And after childhood years of drunken hate
    If you wish him dead maybe you can relate
    To the pain in your heart that you’d wait
    Just to hear ‘I love you son’

    You deserve to live and be free
    You deserve to love and be free

    Victims and knaves and distributors of blame
    Are players in a game of tears
    In the end you waste those years
    With bitter hearts still hungry
    So come little Tom lay yourself in my arms
    A kiss can make it go away
    And if it helps today my breast will be your mother’s

    Oh Tom, if you can’t forgive
    How will you learn to love and live?
    Tom don’t make him pay by punishing his son


Ramblin’ Boy
by Tom Paxton
sung by Tom Bridges
Here’s a different kind of love song for a man living the tough life of an itinerant worker. Perhaps we could name him Tom as well?

    He was a man and a friend always
    He stuck with me through the hard old days
    He never cared if I had no dough
    We rambled round through the rain and snow
    So here’s to you my ramblin’ boy

    May all your rambles bring you joy
    Here’s to you my ramblin’ boy
    May all your rambles bring you joy

    In Tulsa town we chanced to stray
    We tried to find some work one day
    The boss said he had room for one
    Says my old pal ‘we’d rather bum’

    Late one night in the jungle camp
    The weather it was cold and damp
    He got the chills and he got ‘em bad
    They took the only friend I had

    He left me here to ramble on
    My ramblin’ pal is dead and gone
    If when we die we go somewhere,
    I bet you a dollar he’s ramblin’ there


Farther Along
traditional USA
sung by Amalina Wallace
An artist as well as a folkie, Amalina is often seen sketching as the room fills with singing. Her choice of song seems to gravitate towards the funereal but it’s always uplifting to sing with her!

    Tempted and tried we’re oft made to wonder
    Why it should be thus all the day long
    While there are others living about us
    Never molested ‘though in the wrong

    Farther along we’ll know all about it
    Farther along we’ll understand why
    Cheer up my brothers
    Live in the sunshine
    We’ll understand it all by and by

    When death has come and taken our loved ones
    Leavin’ our homes so lonely and drear
    Then do we wonder why others prosper
    Livin’ as sinners year after year

    Often I wonder why I must journey
    Over a road so rugged and steep
    While there are others living in comfort
    While with the lost I labour and weep


He Fades Away
by Alistair Hulett
sung by Miguel Heatwole
I’ve often thought of this song as the most difficult in my repertoire – something about it almost always chokes me up. Alistair wrote it after reading a letter in the newspaper from a woman who was watching her husband slowly die of asbestosis.

    There’s a man in my bed I used to love him
    His kisses used to take my breath away
    There’s a man in my bed I hardly know him
    I wipe his face and hold his hand
    And watch him as he slowly fades away

    And he fades away
    Not like leaves that fall in autumn
    Turning gold against the grey
    He fades away
    Like the bloodstains on the pillow case
    That I wash every day
    He fades away

    There’s a man in my bed, he’s on a pension
    Although he’s only fifty years of age
    The lawyer says we might get compensation
    In the course of due procedure
    But he couldn’t say for certain at this stage

    And he’s not the only one
    Who made that trip so many years ago
    To work the Wittenoom mines
    So many young men old before their time
    And dying slowHe fades away
    A wheezing bag of bones his
    Lungs half clogged and full of clay
    He fades away

    There’s a man in my bed they never told him
    The cost of bringing home his weekly pay
    And when the courts decide how much they owe him
    How will he spend his money
    When he lies in bed and coughs his life away?


Only Remembered
traditional English & John Tams
sung by Jennifer Lees
“I heard this version from the singing of Coope, Boyes and Simpson who credit it to John Tams. It is actually a hymn, probably Baptist, that John has slightly altered to make it more palatable to the Union movement - I am making an assumption here! as it appears to have been taken up as a Union anthem.”

    Fading away like the stars in the morning
    Losing their light in the glorious sun
    Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling
    Only remembered for what we have done

    Only remembered only remembered
    Only remembered for what we have done
    Thus would we pass from this earth and its toiling
    Only remembered for what we have done

    Only the truth that in life we have spoken
    Only the seed that in life we have sown
    These shall pass onwards when we are forgotten
    Only remembered for what we have done

    Who’ll sing the anthem and who’ll tell the story
    Will the line hold? Will it scatter and run?
    Shall we at last be united in glory
    Only remembered for what we have done


Volume 2

The People Have Songs
written & sung by Miguel Heatwole
Some have described it as an anthem for singing sessions, but I often look on it as a manual giving content and etiquette. I went to England and found it emblazoned on a socialist choir’s banner so maybe the former is true. My friends have flattered me with two fine parodies. I’ll stop bragging now...

    Here voices are tuned to each other in gladness
    To all here in common affection belongs
    Here joy and laughter meet keening and sadness
    Here tyranny’s cursed for the people have songs

    Let us set the room ringing with the sound of our singing
    When we come to the end let us hold the chord long
    Hear the harmonies rise and all close our eyes
    ’Til the last cadence dies the people have songs

    Here is war parting sweethearts
    Here are strong sweating sailors
    And poets for beauty who ardently long
    Here are people at work singing loud at their labours
    Here are marriage and drinking for the people have songs

    Respect for each other gives each one a hearing
    And whether the voice be uncertain or strong
    We listen with love if the heart is endearing
    Supported in harmony the people have songs

    Disdaining oppression like others before us
    Our gentleness angered by history’s wrongs
    Our tradition endures, and our voices in chorus
    Are lifted in hope for the people have songs!


Raise Your Banners
by John Tams
sung by Hazel Keziah Waters
“ I have sung with the Sydney Trade Union Choir, Solidarity Choir, and performed at the New Theatre Newtown where I was involved in the revival of Reedy River in 2002. Basically I just love singing! This song was given by a friend but came from a UK production of the story of the Tolpuddle Martyrs.”

    Joined together through the land
    Keep the spirit, keep the way
    Brother, sister take a hand
    Unity will win the day

    Raise your banners high!
    Strength to strength and line by line
    Unity must never die!
    Raise your banners high!

    Those who live in face of strife
    Those who fight for liberty
    Fight to win a better life
    Fight to keep the future free!

    ‘Though the struggle brings us pain
    ‘Though the struggle gives us tears
    Ours will be the final gain
    We shall raise the victor’s cheers!


Mark Allen
traditional tune ‘The Ram of Derby’
words written & sung by John Warner
“Mark Allen was a young union organiser who was killed in 1996 when he fell from the roof of a building site in Perth.” John Warner is a prolific and gifted songwriter with many worthwhile albums to his credit.

    The roof Mark Allen fell from was a hangman’s trap of shame
    But from the day Mark Allen died the union sings his fame

    He’s every worker’s brother, he is the union’s son
    And in Mark Allen’s memory we’ll fight ‘til we have won!

    He went to inspect safety – a union worker’s right
    But those who had the contract tried to bar him from the site

    You contractors with cheap tin souls the truth you can’t deny
    It was your unsafe practices that let Mark Allen die

    “The union doesn’t pay your wage, you climb back up that wall”
    So frightened young men went back up and saw Mark Allen fall

    You bureaucrats of government who blame him for his death
    His blood is on your murdering hands you lie with every breath

    Mark Allen’s aching mother weeps, Mark Allen’s father grieves
    The union’s weeping with them but it’s rolling up its sleeves


The Liberals’ Darling
written & sung by John Dengate
“At Bob Pringle’s wake at the Harold Park Pub:
Me: Costello’s a bastard.
Someone else: Yair, but only because his mother hated him when he was little.
Me: No! His mother hated him because he was a bastard!”

    To sing you a song is my purpose and aim
    Concerning a pollie, Costello by name
    The Liberals’ darling, a financial whiz
    He’s Federal Treasurer that’s what he is
    When he was a baby his mother said “Pete
    Most little children are cuddly and sweet
    Most mothers their dear little babies adore
    But you are a bastard and that is for sure”

    His childhood was spent doing horrible things
    Like tearing off poor little butteflies’ wings
    Bullying infants, reneging on bets
    Robbing his Granny and torturing pets
    When he was just fourteen his father said “Son
    I’m really ashamed of some things that I’ve done
    I poisoned my mates with a tainted home-brew
    But my cardinal error was fathering you”

    He sugared the petrol, he short-sheeted beds
    He filled up the air vents with rotten prawn heads
    He was selfish, vindictive and shallow and cruel
    He was king of the dobbers when he went to school
    The neighbours took up a collection one day
    To buy him a ticket and send him away
    To Bathurst or Beijing or Belfast or Rome
    But no one would have him so he stayed at home.

    Now he is Treasurer wielding his axe
    On national broadcasting, students and blacks
    Hacking and burning and kicking at heads
    Til’ thousands lie trembling in fear in their beds
    He derives satisfaction and joy from his work
    You can tell by his cynical satisfied smirk
    But don’t lose your temper and don’t lose your nerve
    Remember we’re getting just what we deserve


That’s Not The Way
by Leon Rosselson
additional words by Robin Connaughton
sung by Robin Connaughton
“I am an occasional songwriter, Tech teacher, singer and unionist. Exasperated by the rise of economic rationalism and the sustained move to the right in the major Australian political parties, I wrote new words to ‘The Plan’, a song by Leon Rosselson that I’d learned and couldn’t get out of my head. Don’t try for an exact birthday for the current version, the song keeps acquiring and losing new verses as needed!”

    That’s not the way it’s got to be
    There should be jobs for you and me
    Hiring not firing should be the master plan
    The workers shouldn’t have to pay
    Just to keep the boss at bay
    The world shouldn’t turn just to please a wealthy man

    I don’t like Keating, I didn’t like Hawke
    All they bloody did was talk
    And fight with each other while the country went to pot
    The Labour party doesn’t seem
    To know what the word labour means
    Retrenchment and recession
    They are now the workers’ lot

    We’ve got John Howard for a year or three
    Captain mediocrity
    Cutting back on welfare and the poor old ABC
    Costello, Reith and Vanstone too
    And a Labour rat to spice the brew
    Senate rat or rationalist they’re no friends to you or me

    In NSW we’ve got Bob Carr
    More like a Liberal every hour
    Fighting with his workers, nurses, teachers and police
    Who said the DLP was dead?
    The Labour right lifts up his head
    He’s just a Labour squatter
    And were cockies on his lease

    Victoria ran under Kennett’s rules
    Closing down the government schools
    Sacking public servants and stealing their back pay
    Victoria is on the dole
    And Kennett thought he was on a roll
    If you want to help the workers mate there is a better way

    Economic rationalism, now there’s another sacred cow
    Sane as scientology, and as fallible as the pope
    I don’t like trickle-down, y’see
    No money trickles down to me
    Meanwhile me wages goes on trickling up like smoke


Song For Ireland
by Phil & June Colclough
sung by Rosemary McArdle, guitar by Patrick McArdle
“Being from ‘over there’ at times we are attacked by bouts of flashback and mellowness for the missing of it. This song bounces off a lot of the characteristics, the hopes, the traditions that go to make up the island of Ireland. Hope you feel that stuff too in the singing of the song.”

    Walking all the day
    By tall towers where falcons build their nests
    Silver-winged they fly
    They know the call of freedom in their breasts
    Saw Black Head against the sky
    Where twisted rocks run down to the sea

    Living on your western shore
    Saw summer sunsets, asked for more
    I stood by your Atlantic sea
    And sang a song for Ireland

    Drinking all the day
    In old pubs where fiddlers love to play
    Saw one touch the bow
    He played a reel which seemed so grand and gay
    We stood on Dingle Beach and cast
    In wild foam we found Atlantic bass

    Talking all the day
    With true friends who try to make you stay
    Telling jokes and news
    And singing songs to pass the time away
    Watched the Galway salmon run
    Like silver dancing, darting in the sun

    Dreaming in the night
    I saw a land where no-one had to fight
    Waking in your dawn
    I saw you crying in the morning light
    Lying where the falcons fly
    They twist and turn all in your e’er blue sky


Bríd Óg Ní Mháille
traditional Irish
sung by Belinda Bennett
“I first heard the Irish language sung as an accompaniment to a toiletries commercial on tele. I didn’t buy the moisturiser but I did launch into a journey in Irish language and music.”

    ‘S a Bhríd Óg Ní Mháille ‘s tú d’fhág mo chroí cráite
    Chuir tu arraing an bháis tri cheart-lár mo chroí
    Tá na ceadta fear i ngrá le d’éadan ciúin náireach
    Is go dtug tú barr breáhacht ar thír Oirghiall má’s fíor

    Níl ní ar bith is áille ná’n ghealach os cionn an tsáile
    Ná bláth bán na n-áirné bhíos ag fás ar an droighean
    O siúd mar a bhíos mo ghrá-sa, nios trillsí le breáhacht
    Béilín meala na h-ailleacht nach ndearna riamh claon

    Is buachaill deas óg mé ‘tá ag triall chun mo phósta
    ’S ní buan i bhfad beo mé mura bhfaghaidh mé mo mhian
    A chuisle is a stóirín, déan réidh is bí romham-sa
    Cionn deireannach den Domhnach
    Ar Bhóithrín Droim Sliabh

    Is tuirseach ‘s is brónach a chaithimse an Domhnach
    Mo hata ‘n mo dhorn, is mé ag osnaíl go trom
    Is mé ag amharc ar na bóithre
    A mbíonn mo ghrása ag gabháil ann
    Si ag fear eile pósta ‘gus gan i bheith liom


My Lagan Love
traditional Irish, lyrics by Joseph McCahill
sung by Christina Mimmocchi, harp by Mark Davies
“When the record Irish Heartbeat was released by Van Morrison and The Chieftains I played it continuously (for some months) until the neighbours complained! I love this song for its haunting melody and evocative words. This version is not sung in the vocal style of Van.”

    Where Lagan stream sings lullaby
    There blows a lily fair
    The twilight gleam is in her eye
    The night is on her hair
    And like a lovesick leannán sí
    She hath my heart in thrall
    No life I own nor liberty
    For love is lord of all

    And often when the beetle’s horn
    Hath lulled the eye to sleep
    I steal unto her shieling lorn
    And through the dooring peep
    There on the cricket’s singing stone
    She stirs the bogwood fire
    And sings in sad, sweet undertones
    The song of heart’s desire

    Her welcome like her love for me
    Is from the heart within
    Her warm kiss is felicity
    That knows no taint nor sin
    When she was only fairy-small
    Her gentle mother died
    But true love keeps her memory warm
    By Lagan’s silver side


It’s With Kitty I’ll Go
traditional Irish
sung by Rosie Wells
“I learned this song over 30 years ago from a recording of American folk singer, Jean Ritchie. She had collected the song in Ireland. She has been a great inspiration for me, and this song remains my all-time favourite.”

    It’s with Kitty I’ll go for a ramble
    Over the mountains wild
    Where the blackbirds nest in the bramble
    In a home where the eagle chides
    Or in some lonely valley
    Where the birds in the evening nest
    And mine with their prayers would mingle
    For the sun to hurry west

    Oh, I’ll buy the roughest of raiment
    To last out the life of man
    My whiskers unkempt and unshaven
    ‘Til the reach is a mile in span
    Like the fleece of the grey mountain wether
    They’ll tumble and dangle around
    If I don’t get a wife in the heather
    I’ll try in the new-mown ground


Labouring With The Hoe
words by Francis MacNamara
sung by Margaret Walters
These words were written by a spirited Irish convict, well-known in Australia’s penal colonies as Frank the Poet. In between collecting fine traditional material for her solo albums Margaret assembled the tune from folk sources.

    I was convicted by the laws
    Of England’s hostile crown
    Conveyed across those swelling seas
    In slavery’s fetters bound
    Forever banished from that shore
    Where love and friendship grow
    That loss of freedom to deplore
    And work the labouring hoe

    Despised rejected and oppressed
    In tattered rags I’m clad
    What anguish fills my aching breast
    And drives me almost mad
    When I hear the settler’s threatening voice
    Say “Arise to labour go!
    Take scourging convict for your choice
    Or work the labouring hoe

    Growing weary from compulsive toil
    Beneath the noontide sun
    While drops of sweat bedew the soil
    My task remains undone
    I’m flogged for wilful negligence
    Or the tyrant calls it so
    Oh what a doleful recompense
    For labouring with the hoe

    Behold yon lofty woodbine hills
    Where the rose in the morning shines
    Those crystal brooks that do distil
    And mingle with those vines
    There seems to me no pleasure gained
    They but augment my woe
    While here an outcast doomed to live
    And work the labouring hoe

    You generous sons of Erin’s isle
    Whose heart for glory burns
    Pity a wretched exile
    Who his long-lost country mourns
    Restore me heaven to liberty
    Whilst I lie here below
    Untie this clue of bondage
    And release me from the hoe!


Mary Reiby
written, played & sung by Sue Gee
additional vocals by Jenny O’Reilly, Miguel Heatwole, Margaret Walters & Len Neary
“While researching a workshop on cross-dressing in folk music I discovered the teenaged Mary’s brief episode during which she stole a horse, resulting in her being transported to Australia. I have been writing songs for many years now and my pet topics include women in Austalian ‘herstory,’ especially controversial figures, and political satire.”

    Tell me, convict boy James Borrow
    What may be your fate tomorrow?
    Streets of Sydney glowing gold
    For Mary Reiby, merchant bold

    When you’re next at Circular Quay
    Take a stroll down Reiby Place
    See a travel-worn ship docking
    And a teenaged convict’s lonely face
    Was she anxious, hopeless, fearful
    Bitter, raging at her plight?
    Or did she see sun on water glinting
    Thanking God he’d spared her life?

    Denied a loving place in family
    Young Mary took a desperate ploy
    To escape her situation
    She masqueraded as a boy
    James Borrow was the name she took
    Three months she roamed a wandering course
    Til penniless, in rags, and starving
    From a field she stole a horse

    Could she have known this reckless act
    Her whole destiny would shape?
    Despite all pleas she was transported
    To spend her days in a strange landscape
    Conditions on the ship were hard
    A fever cost them many lives
    But Mary, lucky and resourceful
    Somehow managed to survive

    Assigned to working as a servant
    In Lieutenant Grose’s home
    She caught the eye of a young sailor
    Thomas Reiby was his name
    On the banks of the Hawkesbury River
    Together they farmed a grant of land
    Began their lives as equal partners
    In love and business, hand in hand

    A flood destroyed their Hawkesbury home
    So the Reibys moved to Sydney’s Rocks
    Mary ran their trading stores
    Tom sailed the world purchasing stock
    For many years the business prospered
    ‘Til fever took Tom from her side
    But Mary carried on undaunted
    Although her tears had scarcely dried

    Alone, she brought up seven children
    Her sons upon her ships enrolled
    Her steady hand made wise investments
    Until an empire she controlled
    She stood her ground among the men
    With commonsense and business skill
    Yes, we salute you Mary Reiby
    Your life inspires all women still


Rugged ’n’ Buggered
written & sung by David Nipperess
“This song is directly inspired by Peter Brune’s book ‘Those Ragged Bloody Heroes’. The lyrics reflect the language of spoken accounts included therein. Apologies for any instances of historical inaccuracy - put it down to artistic license.”

    I was working for my father
    On a dairy farm out on Otway
    When one day that thrice-poxed postie
    With a conscription notice came
    John Curtin said “boy you’re the one
    To protect our dear home from the rising sun”
    ‘Cos the volunteers were fighting for England
    Only the rugged and the buggered remained

    So they placed me in a Choco battalion
    39th AMF was its name
    And they sent us on off to New Guinea
    Even though we were only half-trained
    I remember turning twenty quite well
    ‘Cos the very next day was when Singapore fell
    And as the panic spread to Port Moresby
    Only the rugged and the buggered remained

    So we marched on up to Kokoda
    And the track it was sheer muddy hell
    And they told us to hold this great ridgeline boys
    Before the Japs could get there as well
    But they took us at about six to one
    When the best thing we had was an old Lewis gun
    And the cry went back to Port Moresby
    Only the rugged and the buggered remained

    Well we fought them off with our rifles
    With our spades and our boots and our knives
    And we gave those sons of the Emperor
    The bloodiest fight of our lives
    But we knew we hadn’t a hope
    As we paid with our youth to retreat down the slope
    And as the veterans sailed for Port Moresby
    Only the rugged and the buggered remained

    We were on our last bloody legs at Isurava
    We were sick, we were starved, we were worn
    Then the veterans came to fill out our line
    Just when we thought we were gone
    Well we staggered away from the front
    Our clothes were old rags and our guns rusted up
    And as I looked out amongst my companions
    Only the rugged and the buggered remained


The Metho Man
by Graeme Connors
sung by Frank Moore
Daintry Frank – a mate of Simon’s from up north – was one of those discoveries that make folk festivals so worthwhile. I’ve not seen any of the films he’s in but oh, what a voice!

    On the edge of the mangrove, down by Casey’s hole
    There lives the Metho Man
    ’Neath rusting wrought iron, a fire’s burning low
    There lives the Metho Man

    Come my beauty and dance
    They’re playing the Varsovienna
    Come my beauty and drink
    Drink to the memory of a younger man’s dreams

    At night you can hear them float by on the wind
    The songs of the Metho Man
    His voice at times booming, sometimes high and thin
    The songs of the Metho Man

    My Grandfather knew him, from his time on the rails
    Says he was real quiet, always kept to himself

    On the edge of the mangrove, down by Casey's Hole
    There died the Metho Man
    And they say he just fell asleep in the flames
    There died the Metho Man


by Ian Telfer
sung & played by Tony Eardley
“Nostalgia for departed youth and the sadness of loss are poignantly captured in this song of buccaneering on the Spanish Main, by the Oyster Band’s Ian Telfer. For the hearing challenged, no it’s not ‘farewell Fred Astaire’!” Tony is an original songwriter, watch out for his album appearing ‘at some point.’

    Farewell Finisterre
    Sleep away the afternoon
    Rockin’ with the tide, drinkin’ with the moon
    I found a ticket in my pocket
    All the way from Port of Spain
    And a warm wind from the Indies carried me again

    The sky is falling
    The tale we told each other has an end
    D’you hear me calling?
    You that never lost a friend

    We’d off and search for gold: treasure’s buried in the sand
    We hid it long ago, before our wars began
    When the world was green and early
    And time was on our side
    Before the storm got up to blow us far and wide

    So farewell Finisterre
    Sleep away the afternoon
    Just rockin’ with the tide, drinkin’ with the moon
    Last night I turned the glasses over
    And I drank the bottle dry
    The moon stared out to sea all night and so did I
    (lyrics reprinted by permission of Ian Telfer/Pukka Music 1990)


Hard Times
by Jim Ringer, chorus by Stephen Foster
sung by Allan Murray
“I get a lot of inspiration from American bluegrass. I first became interested in folk music about 40 years ago. At the time, I lived in Scotland and would often go to Glasgow Folk Club. Upon emigrating to South Africa, I got more deeply involved in playing music and found that the more I did it, the more I enjoyed it!”

    We’ll play guitar all night long
    When the good old days come back
    When the Wabash Cannonball
    Comes steamin’ down this rusty track
    We’ll sing along with the bluebirds’ song
    In the cool clear air for sure
    There’ll be a chicken in every pot
    When the hard times come no more

    Oh hard times come again no more!
    Many days you have lingered around my cabin door
    Oh hard times come again no more!

    All I see is poverty
    When I look for a brighter day
    The good Lord knows where the good times go
    The good times sure go away
    I’ll make a damn good wealthy man
    I ain’t done good as poor
    And there’ll be a chicken in every pot
    When the hard times come no more

    I’m tired of singin’ sad songs
    I wanna dance an old time jig
    I recall when the bills were small
    A Cadillac was big
    A government bond was as good as gold
    A handshake meant for sure
    Oh there’ll be a chicken in every pot
    When the hard times come no more

    I hope I’m here to stand and cheer
    When nobody has the blues
    When you watch TV and all you see
    Is nothin’ but good news
    I wanna see the old SP
    Kick an Amtrak out the door
    I wanna see a chicken in every pot
    When the hard times come no more


Back In Durham Gaol
by Jez Lowe
sung by Adrian Hill
“Jez Lowe’s genius is in capturing the spirit, culture and humour of the North East of England in his songs.” This song was inspired by ‘Nee Gud Luck in Dorham Jail’ by Tommy Armstrong (1848-1919) known as ‘the Pitman Poet.’

    I’m a poor man as honest as they come
    I never was a thief until they caught me
    And the judge said he saw my hands were red
    No matter how I plead he found me guilty
    There was no bail, off to Durham gaol
    I went knowing nothing that could save me
    Calamities they always come in threes
    And that’s how many months it was he gave me
    And no never in the livelong day

    You won’t find me back in Durham gaol
    ‘Twas a grey day when first I went astray

    The devil take the man that came to tempt me
    ‘Cause in no time my life was one of crime
    And now you see the trouble that it’s got me
    There’s four bare walls at which to stare
    My board and my lodgings are all paid for
    And you can’t see the turning of the key
    To see it turnin’ back is all you wait for

    Sad to say, here I am to stay
    With only iron bars around to lean on
    I get a cold bath to dampen down me wrath
    ‘Though it’s barely just a month ago I had one
    And God knows I need a suit of clothes
    You’d think they could’ve found a one to fit me
    My boots would be fine if they were both a nine
    I’m walking like a fall of stones has hit me

    And I’m sure that me mother’s heart would break
    To see me in a state of such repentance
    And I’m glad she’s not around to see
    ‘Cause I’ll be out before she finishes her sentence
    The sun will shine, I’ll leave it all behind
    Knowing I’ve done my time and done my duty
    Out through the gates on the narrow and the straight
    To the place where I have buried all the booty!
    (lyrics reprinted by permission of J.Lowe/Lowe Life Music)


The Judge That Liked To Gamble
tune ‘The Court of King Caractacus’
words by Dave Kennedy
sung by John Ross
“This is a great chorus song - it’s all chorus! It’s one of a series of ‘Rolf Harris’ parodies by my friend Dave Kennedy - who once convinced a punter in the Longyard Hotel (Tamworth) that he was the real Rolf!”

    If you’re from the National Times
    And you’d really like to find
    All the cops and tape-recorders
    Who were following the orders
    Of the crooked politician
    Seen on national television
    With the well known racing figure
    Taking compromising pictures
    Of the judge that liked to gamble
    With the payoffs that he handled
    At the court of petty sessions...


Manyura Manyah
by Matt McGinn
sung by Bill Arnett
“I came to the folkie family by vicarious ways through exposure to Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan & Pete Seeger during the 1960s. My natural pixie tendency automatically picked up on toilet humour so this song was a natural. Later in life I learned that the song is actually a lament for past times while also a cultural comment about big business and the loss of the importance of the individual when a mogul has influence. It’s also great to sing along with.......”

    I’ve heard men complain o’ the jobs that they’re dain’
    When they’re hawkin’ the coal or diggin’ the drain
    But whatever they are, there’s none that compar’
    Wi’ a man that’s at shovellin’ manyura, manyah!
    Wi’ manyura manyah, wi’ manyura manyah!
    Wi’ manyura, manyura, manyura manyah!

    Oh the streets o’ the toon were all kivvered aroon
    Wi’ stuff that was beautiful gowden and broon
    It was put there o’ course by a big Clydesdale horse
    And its name was manyura, manyura manyah!

    I ha’ followed its track wi’ me shovel and sack
    And often as no wi’ a pain in me back
    It was a’ for the rent and the beautiful scent
    Of manyura, manyura, manyura manyah!

    But I’m feelin’ so sore for my job’s been took o’er
    And everything noo is mechanical power
    And there’s nought left for me but the sweet memory
    Of manyura, manyura, manyura manyah!


My Last Farewell To Stirling
traditional Scottish
sung by Anthony Woolcott
“The late Dave Alexander suggested this to me one night at the Glen. I’d asked him for suggestions and he said ‘Farewell to Stirling’ without batting an eye.” This is one of relatively few transportation ballads from Scotland, and it’s certainly a popular one – see Anthony, Judy and Miguel’s album ‘Triantan’ for another version.

    No lark in transport mounts the sky
    Or leaves with early plaintive cry
    But I will bid a last goodbye
    My last farewell to Stirling, oh

    Though far away, my heart’s with you
    Our youthful hours upon wings they flew
    But I will bid a last adieu
    My last farewell to Stirling, oh

    No more I’ll meet you in the dark
    Or go with you to the king’s park
    Or raise the hare from out their flap
    When I go far from Stirling,oh

    No more I’ll wander through the glen
    Disturb the roost of the pheasant hen
    Or chase the rabbits to their den
    When I go far from Stirling, oh

    So fare thee well, my Jeannie dear
    For you I’ll shed a bitter tear
    I hope you find another, dear
    When I go far from Stirling, oh

    So fare thee well, for I am bound
    For twenty years to Van Dieman’s Land
    But think on me and what I’ve done
    When I go far from Stirling, oh


The Parting Glass
traditional Irish
sung by Judy Pinder
“This is an ‘American wake’ song to farewell emigrants. Since anyone leaving Ireland in the 19th century was highly unlikely to return home again, their family and friends would hold a wake for them before they left.” For many years at the Glengarry Castle the session would only finish if Judy, or someone else, would sing this song.

    Of all the money that e’er I spent
    I spent it in good company
    And of all the harm that e’er I’ve done
    I swear ‘twas done to none but me
    And all I’ve done for want of wit
    To memory now I can’t recall
    So fill to me the parting glass
    Good night, and joy be to you all

    If I had money enough to spend
    And leisure time to sit awhile
    There is a fair maid in this town
    And she surely has my heart beguiled
    Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips
    I own she has my heart in thrall
    So fill to me the parting glass
    Good night, and joy be to you all

    Of all the friends that e’er I had
    They were sorry for my going away
    And of all the sweethearts e’er I had
    They would wish me one more day to stay
    But since it falls unto my lot
    That I should rise and you should not
    Then I’d gently rise and softly call
    Good night, and joy be to you all


Volume 1 Volume 2

The People Have Songs - Miguel Heatwole: