The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #7665 Message #1109544
Posted By: GUEST,Blossom of Skinner's Rats
04-Feb-04 - 07:01 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Pub at the Crossroads? / Drink It Up Men
Subject: RE: Pub at the Crossroads: anyone heard of it?
Barry of Skinner's Rats has sung the song for at least thirty-three years, to my knowledge, and claimed he learned it from 'Glad' of 'Glad's Trad'. His stage introduction used to take the form: '...an Australian song written by a New Zealander called Thatcher...he's dead now...one down and one to go...' (a reference to the then British Prime Minister, not universally admired).
I believe that the Thatcher in question is known to have performed the song as part of a music hall act, rather than written it, but the song itself seems to have been developed from a poem written by E.J. Overbury entitled 'The Public by the Way', around the 1860s. I further understand that Fyffe's book 'Shanties by the Way' sheds more light on this but I have yet to find a copy.
We (Skinner's Rats) are still performing this song on an almost weekly basis. It is recorded on ESSAR 003 'My Boys Can Play Anything'(1981)- formerly vinyl with gatefold sleeve, later a tape cassette version and now remastered as a CD.