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Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain

Artful Codger 10 Feb 11 - 04:10 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Feb 11 - 04:26 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Feb 11 - 05:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Feb 11 - 05:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Feb 11 - 06:32 PM
Artful Codger 11 Feb 11 - 07:54 AM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Feb 11 - 12:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM
Bob Bolton 13 Feb 11 - 04:39 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 04:10 PM

Recently, John Thompson performed this song for his Australian Folk Song a Day site, but contrary to his practice with other songs to date, he did not provide the lyrics. He got the song from Ron Edwards' book Great Australian Folk Songs (1991), a retitled reprint of The Big Book of Australian Folk Song (1976). Edwards said:
"The Razor-Back Mountain" was sent to me by Nancy Keesing on 8 June 1971. She had discovered it in Hill's Life in New South Wales (28 December 1832). It goes to the tune of "The Tight Little Island".
As the lyrics are clearly in the public domain, can some kind soul please post the lyrics?

FWIW, "The Tight Little Island" is Thomas Dibdin's song "The Snug Little Island", tune adapted from "The Rogue's March". It was commonly considered Thomas's biggest hit. His brother, Charles Dibdin, jr., wrote another song to the same tune: "Abraham Newland". While this was reputedly an even bigger hit than "The Snug Little Island", I didn't find a complete text online, and judging from the fragments, that's just as well.

Thanks in advance.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 04:26 PM

G'day Codger,

I've got Ron's 1976 Great Australian Folk Songs (if not the 1991 ... which I remember Ron telling me was a blatant commercial rip off (they must have presumed that whoever put all that old stuff together would be long dead ... so they wouldn't get caught - but Ron prosecuted ... and ended up with their entire stock ... and saved himself the cost of running to a new printing in his own right!).

I'll just grab the text straight out of my digital version of Ron's comprehensive Australian Folk Song Index ... but I won't be back at a internet connection until Monday morning, so someone else may get back quicker!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE RAZOR-BACK MOUNTAIN
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 05:11 PM

I've got the book so here 'tis:


Lyr. Add.: THE RAZOR-BACK MOUNTAIN

A Frederick of late ('twas not Frederick the Great)
On pleasure and business full counting,
And time to beguile, took a trip to Argyle,
By way of the Razor-back Mountain.

Chorus-
Said he, "I'll go over the Mountain...
The romantic Razor-back Mountain;
Besides, folks tell me, it's a short cut will be;
So I'll just take a view of the Mountain ."

"Come, coachman prepare, my light carriage and pair,
And mind all your harness is right, Sir,
That trace, strap, or breeching don't want any stiching;
Your reins must be held pretty tight, Sir."

Chorus-
Or we may run Razor-back races,
And, maybe be making wry faces,
Since some seem to wrangle, and say that Menangle,
For crossing, a much better place is."

He did as he said... for the Cowpasture sped...
And, sundry small evils surmounting,
The bridge he got past, and arrived at last,
At the foot of the Razor-back Mountain.

Chorus-
My eyes: what a queer ugly mountain!
'Tis truly a Razor-back Mountain.
Now the Devil may rave, if he e'er has a shave
With the edge of the Razor-back Mountain.

But soon they has got, at a dangerous spot,
And the Chief, from his carriage dismounting,
Exclaimed with a sigh, "Why its all in my eye
About roads on the Razor-back Mountain;

Chorus-
Your horses head over the Montain;
I'll pad the hoof over the Mountain,
Let 'em say what they will, about Douglass's Hill,
Why, it can't be a patch on this Mountain."

Now all to be done was to keep moving on,
Thro' perils, and dangers, surrounding,
Till the light Baruchette, in a gully upset,
On the side of the Razor-back Mountain.

Chorus-
Och here! What a job on the Mountain!
A gentleman bogged on the Mountain!
A mighty fine way for the public to pay
For neck-breaking roads on this Mountain!

A roar-out for help, made the gang-men all skelp,
And soon the deep gully they bounded in,
A L..mb..e's brigade (perfect lifters by trade),
Made 'all right again' upon the Mountain.

Chorus-
They set-up the coach, on the Mountain,
Which erst was up-set on the Mountain,
And L..mb..e can swear, it took ninety or 'mair'
To make all quite right on the Mountain.

In journeys like these, where you meet Pyrenees,
If you your life not insure, Sir,
Pray take level ground, if you go five miles around,
And then you may travel secure, Sir.

Chorus-
Som adieu! to the Razor-back Mountain,
Till from its rough back springs a fountain!
Our Superintendent, had near made an end on't
By crossing the Razor-back Mountain.

With note : The RAZOR-BACK MOUNTAIN was sent to me by Nancy Keeling on 8 June 1971. She had discovered it in Hill's Life in New South Wales(28 December 1832). It goes to the tune of 'The Tight Little Island.'

Pp. 305-306, with musical score; Ron Edwards, 1976, The Big Book of Australian Folk Song, Rigby Press.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 05:40 PM

Last chorus- "Say adieu!...."

The Snug Little Island, is included in the admirable little book with illustrations by George Cruikshank: Songs by Charles Dibdin. With a Memoir, "collected and arranged by T(homas). Dibdin," includes the songs of Thomas Dibdin and some by Charles Dibdin jun., as well as a collection of "National Songs" by various authors. Abraham Newland is not included.

The song by T. Dibdin is typical of the time, mentioning the Romans, the Normans, etc., Spanish Armada and Drake, in seven forgetable verses.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 06:32 PM

Several copies of Abraham Newland (including re-written) are in the Bodleian Collection. He was Cashier (officer) of the Bank of England; his signature appeared on paper notes. The song was popular at the time, but, like many topical songs, is of no interest now except to historians.
None of the sheets mention a tune, although one cites 'Davis' as performer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Artful Codger
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 07:54 AM

Are you guys terrific or what? Thanks muchly.

And very interesting about the unauthorized reprinting.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 12:42 PM

I expected Razorback Mountain to be in Australia, but the song makes clear it is set in the Pyrenees, which I believe are in Spain. It occurred to me that I had never seen any pictures of the Pyrenees, so I googled them.

Sorry, the blue clicky didn't work, but if you search for Pyrenees images, you will see many amazing and beautiful sharp-edged mountains, any of which could bring disaster to Frederick the Late.

Thanks for the song and the inspiration.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 12:58 PM

The song is set in Australia; the line about the Pyrenees is a comparative reference.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Razor-Back Mountain
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Feb 11 - 04:39 PM

G'day Artful Codger, Q & leenia (GUESTING),

I did copy out the Australian Encyclopaedia entry covering the Razor Back Road (under Roadmaking) ... but that's on my portable drive ... but I left it on the kitchen table! The road over Razor Back was very carefully surveyed by the Government's engineer Mitchell ... and the final route was the easiest - but everyone always thought there must be an easier way!

Even when I was growing up, just after WW 2, the 'Razor Back Road' (from Menangle, south west of Sydney ... and going on to the major country town Goulburn) was looked at with concern by those with small-engined cars ... and those who did not relish being caught behind a heavily-laden semi-trailer! The (now modernised) Hume Highway swings off the old route, just past Menangle ... and bores straight through any large geographical obstacles! This is now the main road route between Sydney and Melbourne ... still a long day's driving!

BTW: I remember the remark of some geographical writer that the sort of range of up-thrusting mountains that often acquires the cognomen "Razor Back" in English is what the French, in their American stay called Les Grands Tetons! (Look up your French dictionaries!)

Reagrd(les)s,

Bob


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