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Lyr Add: The Push on the Corner

Joybell 14 Aug 09 - 10:01 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Aug 09 - 10:36 PM
Stewie 15 Aug 09 - 11:05 PM
Joybell 16 Aug 09 - 02:22 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PUSH ON THE CORNER
From: Joybell
Date: 14 Aug 09 - 10:01 PM

"The Push on the Corner" is a version of "Of Late I've Been Driven Near Crazy". It shares the same tune. It's buried on a thread about the song "The Water is Wide" along with its companion piece. It's only there because it shares one idea with this song?and only in the last 2 lines.

I believe it deserves its own thread and a place in the DT.

It's a Melbourne song probably from around the early 1900s. I learned it from an elderly man, in about 1984, in a pub in Collingwood, a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He called it an old Melbourne song. He used the title "Push on the Corner". A friend, Jack Johnson, recorded an almost identical version from an elderly man in a Melbourne nursing home. My informant told me he wanted me to have the song because I was "a Collingwood Lassie". He added that he meant not of the type described in the song. These two appearances of the song are the only ones I've come across. It sounds like somebody's music-hall turn.

THE PUSH ON THE CORNER

Last night I was driven near crazy, by one I both love and adore.
Now she's packed up her boxes and left me, and I ain't gonna see her no more.
I've written her hundreds of letters, to beg her my faults to forget,
but now she's found one she loves better, and this is the answer I get:

Oh, wait till the push on the corner refuses to drink a long beer!
Wait till the thieves and pickpockets from the streets of Fitzroy disappear.
When the dear little Collingwood lassies from powder and paint they are free,
When the Chinese are coppers on Bourke Street, my darling I'll come back to thee.


push: gang
Fitzroy, Collingwood : tough inner suburbs of Melbourne, containing redlight district.
Bourke St : a main thoroughfare of central Melbourne business district.

Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Push on the Corner
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 10:36 PM

According to the web site of The National Library of Australia, the song PUSH ON THE CORNER appears on the album "Push on the Corner" performed by Fred and Friends (Franklin, Tasmania: Fred Pribac?), 2003.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Push on the Corner
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Aug 09 - 11:05 PM

Joybell, the initial inspiration for a family of songs on this theme seems to have come from a song written in 1889 by Charles D. Vann titled 'Then My Darling I'll Come Back to Thee'. Meade's earliest citation is Wehman's Collection of Songs NYC - Wehman #138 'Then My Darling I'll Come Back to Thee' July 1889.

The first commercial recording of a related piece was by Ernest V. Stoneman 'When My Wife Will Return to Me' OK 45051.

Kelly Harrell made a recording in 1927 (released 1928):

MY WIFE, SHE HAS GONE AND LEFT ME

My wife she's gone and left me
Out in this wide world alone
With happiness and gladness she left me
She left a doggone good home
I wrote her a letter last Tuesday
I sealed it with a kiss
The answer came back this morning
And what it said was this

When the groceman puts sand in the sugar
And the milkman makes milk out of chalk
When the boys stay at home with their mothers
And the girls forget how to talk
Now after the ballgame is over
And the railroad runs under the sea
When the man in the moon comes down in a balloon
My darling I'll come back to thee

I went to see her this evening
She was standing in the hall
She beat me, she banged me, she swiped me
She hit me with a mall
I asked her to go back home with me
She hit me on my head
I told her I'd do all the cooking
But this is what she said

When the groceman puts sand in the sugar
And the milkman makes milk out of chalk
When the boys stay at home with their mothers
And the girls forget how to talk
Now after the ballgame is over
And the railroad runs under the sea
When the man in the moon comes down in a balloon
My darling I'll come back to thee

Source: transcription of Kelly Harrell & Virginia String Band Vi 21520, Sept 1928, reissued on Kelly Harrell 'Complete Recorded Works Vol 2' Document DOCD-8027.

Charlie Poole followed in 1930 with a similar, but not identical, song:

MY WIFE WENT AWAY AND LEFT ME

My wife went away and she left me
Out in this wide world alone
Sadness and gladness she left me
She left a doggone good home
I wrote her a letter last Tuesday
I sealed it with a kiss
The answer came back next morning
And what she said to me was this

When the groc'ry man puts sand in the sugar
The milkman makes milk out of chalk
Boys stay home with their mothers
Women forget how to talk
When the ocean turns into corn whiskey
The railroad runs under the sea
And the man in the moon comes down in a balloon
My darling I'll come back to thee

I sat down and wrote her another
Sealed it with my fist
The answer was mailed next morning
And what I said to her was this

When the moon turns into an apple
And a rainbow turns into a vine
They build a steeple to heaven
The stars they all fail to shine
When the ocean turns into rye whiskey
Makes glasses to see the wind
When the girls quit using powder and paint
Then, darling, I'll ask you again

Source: Kinney Rorrer's transcription in 'Rambling Blues: The Life & Songs of Charlie Poole' Old Time Music Booklet 3. Charlie Poole & The North Carolina Ramblers 'My Wife Went Away and Left Me' Columbia 15584-D November 1930.

It is possible that these 'hillbilly' recordings were the inspiration for the Australian version.

I very much enjoyed Hildebrand and O'Leary's recording of 'The Push on the Corner'. When are they going to do another album?

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Push on the Corner
From: Joybell
Date: 16 Aug 09 - 02:22 AM

Jim, Fred Pribac learned it from me. I believe he says that in his liner notes. Also as Stewie says -- Hildebrand has also recorded it.

Stewie -- nice to hear from you again. Thank you for the information about this family group of songs. The date of 1889 fits well with the feel of these songs, doesn't it.

We've just put some old tapes of Hildebrand onto disk. Also a few with O'Leary (and one of me as a guest). Thirty years ago they were made. I'll send them to you. They're a bit rough but the energy and quality of the performance is great.
Cheers, Joy


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