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Lyr/Tune Req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)

DigiTrad:
KELLYS, BYRNE AND HART
LONNIGAN'S WIDOW
NED KELLY'S FAREWELL TO GRETA.
POOR NED


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Lyr Add: Lonnigan's Widow (1)
Kellys, Byrne and Hart Query (2)
Lyr Add: Hat McGinnis Wore & Hat Ned Kelly Wore (8)


jamas@gil.com.au 02 Jan 97 - 11:03 PM
Kevin 03 Jan 97 - 09:46 AM
dick greenhaus 05 Jan 97 - 11:27 PM
jamas 06 Jan 97 - 03:36 PM
HuwG 24 Sep 02 - 01:54 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Sep 02 - 12:04 AM
Helen 25 Sep 02 - 12:13 AM
Joe Offer 25 Sep 02 - 12:46 AM
nickp 25 Sep 02 - 04:51 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Sep 02 - 08:21 AM
alinact 25 Sep 02 - 11:04 AM
Bob Bolton 29 Sep 02 - 06:09 AM
alinact 29 Sep 02 - 10:49 AM
Bob Bolton 30 Sep 02 - 12:27 AM
Joe Offer 24 Apr 03 - 06:19 AM
Bob Bolton 24 Apr 03 - 10:30 AM
nutty 28 Apr 03 - 02:28 AM
Helen 28 Apr 03 - 03:00 AM
Bob Bolton 28 Apr 03 - 09:42 AM
Leo Condie 28 Apr 03 - 10:07 AM
cobber 03 May 03 - 03:38 AM
Bob Bolton 08 Oct 06 - 10:13 AM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 06 - 10:24 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Oct 06 - 11:29 PM
Sandra in Sydney 08 Oct 06 - 11:34 PM
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Subject: lyric req - Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: jamas@gil.com.au
Date: 02 Jan 97 - 11:03 PM

Looking for lyrics to Australiana 'Poor Ned'

Thankyou


Also see Stringybark Creek (click) and Ned Kelly (click)


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Subject: Lyr Add: POOR NED (you're better off dead)
From: Kevin
Date: 03 Jan 97 - 09:46 AM

Poor Ned

Eighteen-hundred and seventy-eight was the year I rember so well.
They put my father in an early grave and slung my mother in gaol.
Now I don't know what's right or wrong
But they hung Christ on nails.
Six kids at home and two still on the breast
They wouldn't even give us bail.

(Chorus) Poor Ned, you're better off dead.
At least you'll get some peace of mind.
You're out on the track,
They're right on your back,
Boy, they're gonna hang you high.

You know I wrote a letter 'bout Stringy Bark Creek
So they would understand
That I might be a bushranger
But I'm not a murdering man.
I didn't want to shoot Kennedy
Or that copper Lonnigan.
He alone could have saved his life
By throwing down his gun.

(Chorus)

You know they took Ned Kelly
And they hung him in the Melbourne Gaol.
He fought so very bravely
Dressed in iron mail.
And no man single handed
Can hope to break the bars.
There's a thousand like Ned Kelly
Who'll hoist the flag of stars.

We sing...(Chorus)


Happy New Year,
Kevin
Added to Digital Tradition Oct 98. tune missing.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: lyric req - Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 05 Jan 97 - 11:27 PM

Hi- Thanx Kevin dick greenhaus


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Subject: RE: lyric req - Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: jamas
Date: 06 Jan 97 - 03:36 PM

Many thanks Kevin - Tony Hurley


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Subject: Poor Ned
From: HuwG
Date: 24 Sep 02 - 01:54 PM

Can anybody post the tune? To keep info about the song together, I transferred this from a separate tune request thread.
In another thread, Max Tone said the tune was written by Trevor Lucas, recorded by Redgum.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 12:04 AM

G'day Joe,

I'll have a look into Meredith and Scott's Ned Kelly after a century of Acrimony - this was published in 1980, but it is the best collection of the songs, up to that time, and I think it has this one. (Otherwise, I may need to dig out some vinyl and switch to my 'transcribing' hat!)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Helen
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 12:13 AM

Goodonya, Bob! I just did a Google-search and I found the guitar chords but no tune.

Helen


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 12:46 AM

Aha! Oz has awakened and come to the rescue!
G'nite, mates.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: nickp
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 04:51 AM

See 'The Ballad Of Ned Kelly' (by Trevor Lucas) on the Fotheringay cd (Lucas, Sandy Denny, Jerry Donahue, Gerry Conway, Pat Donaldson) - which appears to be the basis of Redgum's version


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 08:21 AM

G'day again Joe et al,

It looks like the easy way didn't work, this time. Ned Kelly, after a century of acrimony did not have this song. There is an entry for Poor Ned Kelly, but it is only a quote of the first stanza of "Smiling Billy" Blinkhorn's 1948 'country' song of that name. (The authors suggest Blinkhorn has borrowed heavily from the more traditional Ned Kelly was born in a ramshackle hut.) No music is given but his song, apparently, was set to an arrangement of the traditional Irish song The Happy Ploughboy. That is certainly not the tune of the 1970s Redgum song we are discussing here!

I checked my indexes and found that I had reviewed Redgum's LP If You Don't Fight You Lose, which is where this song first appeared, in August 1979. I comment that the songs are all contemporary social comment - even though Redgum describe Poor Ned as "Traditional, arranged Redgum". I can't see much traditional content, although it draws loosely on a number of older songs ... and an entire stanza of the 1930s song Death of Ned Kelly by poet / folkorist John Manifold -compiler of The Penguin Australian Song Book! I seem to remember seeing elsewhere that they used Trevor Lucas's song ... assuming it to be "traditional".

Anyway, I did not find any nicely written out version of this song's tune ... so I will have to re-learn it - then transcribe it. We used to do it fairly often in The Selectors Bush Band ... back in the '80s ... but I don't remember ever looking at the dots.

Of course, if somebody does have the dots ... and can beat them into a MIDI ... and run it through Alan of Oz's MIDItext program ... and post it all to this thread ... I won't have to do all that transcribing ... pretty please!

Regards,

Bob Bolton (getting back to issue #153 of Mulga Wire)


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF NED KELLY (from Trevor Lucas)
From: alinact
Date: 25 Sep 02 - 11:04 AM

From Click here

[Trevor Lucas]

Trevor sings vocals on this song about Australia's most famous outlaw. It appeared first on the Fotheringay album, but there is another version from the Fairport Nine Tour in 1974 with lead guitarist Jerry Donahue on Together Again - The Attic Tracks Vol. 4 and on The Attic Tracks CD.

The song was later picked up by Adelaide's Redgum and included on an album and in their live set, somehow attracting a myth that it was a traditional bush ballad. Trevor put the band right when he became their producer but since those days every Bush Band in Australia has had a crack at the Redgum arrangement (and it's all wrong!).

Lyrics

Eighteen hundred and eighty five
Is a year I remember so well
When they drove Old Brad into an early grave
And sent my mother to jail
Now I don't know what's right or wrong
But they hung Christ on nails
But with six kids at home and two still on her breast
They wouldn't even give her bail

Chorus
Oh Ned, you're better off dead
You get no peace of mind
A track's a trail
And they're hot on your tail
Before they're gonna hang you high

I did write a letter
And I sealed it with my hand
Tried to tell about Stringy Bog Creek
And tried to make them understand
Oh, that I didn't wanna kill Kennedy
Or cause his blood to run
Well he alone could have saved his life
By throwing down his gun

Chorus

Well I'd rather die like Donahue
That bush-ranger so brave
Than be taken by the government
And forced to walk in chains
Well I'd rather fight with all my might
While I have eyes to see
Well I'd rather die ten thousand times
Than hang from a gallows tree.

Chorus

(Copyright © 1970 Island Music (BMI))

Allan

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 27-Sep-02.


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 06:09 AM

G'day alinact,

It is (morbidly) interesting to see the Trevor Lucas lyrics (downloaded from the 'tribute' site?). I can now see why Redgum thought they were "traditional" - they are an incredibly muddled load of rubbish! In the first line we have Ned "remembering" the year five years after his death ... and I can't seem to place "Old Brad" anywhere in the Kelly canon. I can only hope that what is on the site is a mis-hearing by a cloth-eared fan!

Anyway, we launch of into verse two and mire down in "String Bog Creek" ... I'm not too interested in the lad's intestinal problems ... it was Stringybark Creek where the shootings happened. The Redgum re-write manages to beat some sense back into a limp stanza.

Of course, Lucas can only be blamed for the errors in the third verse, since it was totally (if badly) lifted from the traditional song My Name is Edward Kelly ... where it still rhymed! (and was better poetry ... to some degree.)

This is where Redgum completely diverge ... they decide to steal their third verse from John Manifold's <1931 The Death of Ned Kelly ... with a few inaccuracies ... but they did have the sense to leave his tune (locrian mode ... ?) alone.

The end result is a much better song than the version offered on the Lucas site. The compiler bemoans the fact taht Australian bush bands all took up the Redgum version "... and it's all wrong ..." - Yes; but it makes some degree of sense.

Regards,

Bob Bolton (For whom these are somewhat family matters ... via Mum's side, the Quinns)


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: alinact
Date: 29 Sep 02 - 10:49 AM

Bob

I think you're right about these lyrics being just an interpretation by a (possibly non-Oz) fan. The reference to old Brad is meant to be Old "Red" (Ned's dad). And to get really picky, the last line in the chorus should read "Boy, they're gonna hang you high".

Despite the inaccuracies, I relly do prefer the Fotheringay version.

So, you're a Quinn, huh? Remember the days when it was considered "not done" to reveal your convict ancestry. I gather that the descendants of the families of the Kelly clan around the Greta area still don't talk much.

Allan


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 30 Sep 02 - 12:27 AM

G'day Allan,

I think preferences can't be argued. I suspect that Trevor Lucas did his version well ... in his style and genre - but I have never followed that end of the music and never heard the track. I wasn't all that rapt in the Redgum version at the time I reviewed it ... 23 years ago ... but it was the track that I most commented on.

I can see (and hear) why it was taken up by the "rocky" end of bush bands ... and my present comments are mainly related to accuracy and provenance, which is the area in which Redgum improved it.

Re the Quinn connection: My ancestress was probably Ned's aunt - but she is murder to trace ... a bit prone not to tell the authorities much and there are gaping holes in the records. She married a Dutch sailor on the goldfields (same church, same year, as Ben Hall & Bridget ... but not the same day!) and ended up running a tavern/boarding house for merchant seamen officers in The Rocks area of Sydneys dockland.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 06:19 AM

Still looking for the tune. If anybody can send me a transcription in any format, please send me a personal message.
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 10:30 AM

G'day Joe,

I've been working up resolve to do some transcribing of tunes that interest me rather more than this one ... but I might include it - if nobody else comes up with the dots! (After I sort out some of the confused results of using an agency to do the scans of all the film I shot at the (Australian) National Folk Festival, over Easter.)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: nutty
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 02:28 AM

There's a Midi on this site

Poor Uncle Ned

and the Levy site can provide the sheet music

Uncle Ned


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off de
From: Helen
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 03:00 AM

Nutty, it's not the same song. The one we've been looking for is about the Australian bushranger called Ned Kelly.

Helen


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 09:42 AM

Damn!

I'm still committed ...

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Leo Condie
Date: 28 Apr 03 - 10:07 AM

Hi all - as I have an account on my university's server I figured I might as well upload the Fotheringay track for you all, as I believe the CD isn't on sale anymore. It's fairly big i'm afraid (6.56mb), but shouldn't take too long. If anyone REALLY wants it to be smaller I'll re-code it to a lower sound quality, but anyway. right click on this link (if it works) and select save as:

http://homepages.strath.ac.uk/~zhu02143/ned.mp3


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: cobber
Date: 03 May 03 - 03:38 AM

Hi Bob and all
Cobbers were one of the plethora of bush bands that recorded this song, in fact I think it was pre- Red Gum but I wouldn't swear to it. It only came out as a single and it might have been for the Ned Kelly centenary in 1980 that we were involved in. Trevor Lucas was in Melbourne at the time and we played nim the tape of the unfinished song. We had picked up on the 1885 mistake and changed the date back to 1878 and he told us how embarrased he had been after recording it with Fotheringay. Apparently they had needed an extra song and he had that one that he had been playing around with and they recorded it, with the date coming from his memory and no time to check. To be fair, in those days, there wasn't the mass of information that is available now, and where in England would you find data on Ned Kelly anyway. It's a great song, and the crowds loved it but personally, I never thought it really suited us that well. I was rather glad that we didn't put it on any of our albums.
Cheers
John Armstrong


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: POOR NED (YOU'RE BETTER OFF DEAD)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 10:13 AM

G'day,

Hmmmm... It seems that I was promising - about 3½ years back - to transcribe the dots of this transcontinental pastiche...

I was looking up the words, since I had it on the list for my Monday Mob (the Bush Music Club Music Session doing a public gig ... Ashfield Carnival of Cultures!). Having done the gig - I guess I had better set down something like the dots. (I'll also send the simple MIDI off to MMario.)

BTW: The words I have posted tend to cleave a littl more accurately to the sources from which stanzas 3 and 4 were stolen ...


Poor Ned (You're Better Off Dead)
Trevor Lucas (plus 'Trad': v. 3 & John Manifold: v. 4)

Eighteen-hundred and seventy-eight
Was the year I remember so well.
They put my father in an early grave
And slung my mother in gaol.
Now I don't know what's right or wrong
But they hung Christ on nails.
Six kids at home and two on the breast:
They wouldn't even give her bail.
Chorus:
Poor Ned, you're better off dead;
At least you'll get some peace of mind.
You're out on the track, they're right on your back -
Boy, they're gonna hang you high!


You know I wrote a letter 'bout Stringy Bark Creek
So they would understand
That I might be a bushranger
But I'm not a murdering man.
I didn't want to shoot Kennedy
Or that copper Lonigan.
He alone could have saved his life
By throwing down his gun.
Chorus:
Poor Ned, you're better off dead
…

I'd rather die like Donahoe,
That bushranger so brave,
Than be taken by the Government
And treated like a slave
I'd rather fight with all my might,
As long as I'd eyes to see;
I'd rather die ten thousand deaths,
Than die on the gallows tree.                †
Chorus:
Poor Ned, you're better off dead
…

You know they took Ned Kelly
And they hung him in the Melbourne Gaol.
He fought so very bravely
Dressed in iron mail.
But no man single-handed
Can hope to break the bars.
It's a thousand like Ned Kelly
Who'll hoist the flag of stars.                ‡
Chorus:
Poor Ned, you're better off dead
…

†: A light rewrite of stanza 7 (of 8) "Young Ned Kelly" (or "My Name is Edward Kelly") collected <1959 by the Moreton Bay Bushwhackers (Queensland Folklore Society) and published Queensland Centenary Pocket Songbook, 1959, p. 16.

‡:        A minor reworking of the last verse of John Manifold's "The Death of Ned Kelly", published: The Death of Ned Kelly and Other Ballads, London 1941.

As the Mudcat no longer supports Al of Oz's MIDItext program, here is the ABC component of the same … decodable at various free sites:

ABC format:

X:1
T:
M:4/4
Q:1/4=128
K:C
B3BB2B2|B2A2A2B2|c3cccc2|B6B2|B3BBBBB|B2A2A2B2|
c3cccc2|B6G2|B3BB2B2|B2A2A2B2|c3cc2c2|B6G2|
B3BB2B2|B2AAA2B2|ccccB2A2|G8|B4B3B|B2AAA2B2|
ccccB2A2|G6A2|B3BBB2B2|B2AAA2B2|ccccB2A2|
G13/4||


Regards,

Bob


Click to play


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off de
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 10:24 PM

Bob's MIDI added. As you can see, I'm far more punctual about posting tunes than Bob is.... [grin]


Click to play


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 11:29 PM

G'day Joe,

It's really a matter of commitment: I was in the position of knowing ... and occasionally accompanying ... the song, so I was capable of transcribing it. However, it wasn't a song for which I had much empathy (apart from the exercise of pondering its labyrinthine evolution!) and I was hoping someone else would come across a neat set of published 'dots' - and post the requisite MIDI.

Then I had an opportunistic memory lapse ... and didn't really think about it for 3½ years! Chris, who does sing it, is one of several siblings who had their malleable young minds 'turned' by playing around the room where their Dad, myself and sundry other reprobates practiced for a band in which we all played ... back in the 1970s!

I guess I have to pay for my sins ... so the exercise of getting the tune into the Mudcat will also help the rest of my Monday Mob do a better job of backing Chris!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off de
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 11:34 PM

and as Chris is a great singer, he deserves the best backing!

sandra


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