The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #1808   Message #1931173
Posted By: McGrath of Harlow
09-Jan-07 - 04:46 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Outside Track (Henry Lawson)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
America was colonised voluntarily by enthusiasts; Australia was colonised by forced labour.

I'm not at all sure that distinction is true. There were a whole lot of people colonised America who never wanted to go there - blaxck slaves, white slaves and indentured labour, transportees, reluctant refugees with no other escape from famine or terror. Trabnsportation to Australia only came about because it was nio longer possible to use the American colonies for teh same thing.

And there were plenty of people who emigrated to Australia in as hopeful frame of mind as people emigrating to America, after the first few years.

There's a knack some people have of dealing with hard times by relishing them, with a ironic glint in the eye, and I think that's something Australian songs seem to demonstrate. And I've never thought of the Outside Track as a basically sad song, not with that chorus. Tragic, maybe, but not sad.

There's a song dated 1918 by Peader Kearney, who wrote the Soldier's Song, which reminds me of the Outside Track - Down in the Village. It's about the company in a Republican watering hole in Dublin, Phil Shanahan's:

Sad is the theme of my muse and my story
Gone are the days of the snug and its glory;
Dark are the clouds that are hovering o'er me
Down in the village we tarried too long
Heigh Ho! Slán to the revelry,
Shouting and drinking and singing so merrily,
Red nights we never again shall see,
Down in the village we tarried so long

Dick in the corner there grinning and winking
Slater and Donoghue steadily drinking;
We did the talking and they did the thinking
Down in the village we tarried so long.

And there's another five verses.