The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #418   Message #790905
Posted By: Bob Bolton
25-Sep-02 - 08:21 AM
Thread Name: Lyr/Tune Req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
Subject: RE: tune/lyric req: Poor Ned (you're better off dead)
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!


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