The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4069642
Posted By: GUEST
25-Aug-20 - 09:08 PM
Thread Name: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Cheers Jennie and Sandra.

I'll post a few more favourites from the Dog albums. Bob Rummery wrote the tune for this one:


Oh the western wind is blowing
So there’s rain and storm in store
And the teams have long been going
Down the road to Glindawor
To where tropic sun is gleaming
And the fragrant winds blow free
I’ve awakened from my dreaming
And the north is calling me

Oh, the steam is in the boiler
In the expert’s room below
While upon the board each toiler waits
To hear the whistle blow
For the shearing is beginning
And my heart is fancy free
And the friction wheels are spinning
So the north is calling me

From the southward to the nor’ward
Where the long brown tracks wind down
All me mates have hastened forward
To the wilderness from town
Gone! By stony hill and hollow
To where I now fain would be
Where they lead, I needs must follow
For the north is calling me


What’s this news I have been hearing
Tidings strange to me indeed
Bidgimia now is shearing
With Sawallish in the lead
Straining camels teams are swaying
From the junction to the sea
Why so long am I delaying
When the north is calling me


And so northward I am going
For I cannot linger here
For the starting whistle’s blowing
And the ‘guns’ are into gear
So to be there I am yearning
I will hail the sheds with glee
For the friction wheels are turning
And the north is calling me


The song is on 'Dusty gravel road'. Here is a rendition by Wongawilli:

Youtube clip

My mate, Phil Beck from Perth, and I once presented a themed concert 'Songs of Separation' which included 'Call of the north'. For those who may be interested, here are Phil's remarks about the life of Jack Sorensen:

Sorenson was amongst other things a shearer and a pugilist (at one time welter weight champion of WA) who once said you had to be prepared to be the latter if you were going to pretend to be the former in and around a shearing shed in the outback. In other words that one needs to be a hard man in a hard environment.

Born in Western Australia he began his working life as an orchardist on his family's property in Perth, and then worked as a shearer on stations in the Murchison, Gascoyne and Kimberleys. Returning to Perth, Sorensen took up employment with Mr Sampson, a local MP, who was influential in having some of his early poems published in local papers.   Throughout his life he drew on his early bush experiences to write poetry and songs mainly about life in rural Western Australia, often with an environmental theme. He clearly loved the bush and the sense of peace that living in the outback can bring.

The outbreak of war evoked in Sorensen a sense of doom that was to haunt him forever. The death of his friend and mentor, Mr Sampson had a further detrimental effect on his mental health to the point that he was discharged from the military. Not long after his discharge, his mother also died, further deepening his melancholia.

Seeking happier times, Sorensen set out for the Kimberleys searching for that inner peace that he’d felt in the north of WA in earlier years. This song, probably written around that time, revolves around the start of the shearing season in northern Western Australia. The Bidgemia mentioned is a reference to Bidgemia Station located on the south bank of the Gascoyne River. Sawallish refers Bob Sawallish a gun shearer of the time. Mullewa, inexplicably referred to as Glindawor in our version of the song, is a shire in mid west WA.

Sadly the inner peace Sorensen sought eluded him, so in 1949, he decided to fulfil his lifetime dream of going to the Queensland outback. He sailed from Fremantle, but never reached his goal, for it was on the ship in Sydney, just a week or so short of his destination that Jack decided his life was no longer worth living.