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Lyr Req: Outside Track (Henry Lawson)

DigiTrad:
ANDY'S GONE WITH CATTLE
DO YOU THINK THAT I DO NOT KNOW
FREEDOM'S ON THE WALLABY
IRELAND SHALL REBEL
REEDY RIVER


Related threads:
Lyr/Tune Req: The Bush Girl (Henry Lawson) (28)
Lyr ADD: Freedom on the Wallaby (Henry Lawson) (23)
ADD: The Never-Never Land (Lawson) (2)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Outside Track (Henry Lawson) (14)
Folklore: The songs they used to sing. (32)
Lyr Req: Ballad of Henry Lawson (Slim Dusty) (7)
ADD: When the Children Come Home (Henry Lawson) (31)
(origins) Origin: The Outside Track (H Lawson/G Hallom) (56)
Lyr Add: Good Old Concertina (Lawson) (7)
Lyr Add: Past Caring / Past Carin' (Henry Lawson) (26)
Tune Add: Reedy River (Chris Kempster) (2)
Tune Req: Do You Think That I Do Not Know (Lawson) (10)
Chord Req: Past Carin' - Bushwackers version (8)
(origins) Origins: Outside Track (15)
Lyr Req: Faces in the Street (Henry Lawson) (22)
Review: The Songs of Henry Lawson: new edition (3)
Lyr Req: Outside Track (Henry Lawson)-answered (13) (closed)
Attribution: Aussie song (7)
LyrTune Add: Shame of Going Back (Lawson, Herdman (1)
Henry Lawson at Kmart (17)
Lyr Req: Second Class Wait Here (Henry Lawson) (8)
Tune Req: Outside Track (Henry Lawson) (15)
Lyr Req: The Water Lily (Henry Lawson) (11)


McGrath of Harlow 29 Jul 03 - 05:40 PM
Bob Bolton 29 Jul 03 - 06:38 PM
SINSULL 30 Jul 03 - 05:59 PM
Bob Bolton 30 Jul 03 - 06:57 PM
Bob Bolton 30 Jul 03 - 07:00 PM
Bob Bolton 30 Jul 03 - 07:03 PM
Hrothgar 31 Jul 03 - 05:47 AM
Charley Noble 31 Jul 03 - 06:02 PM
Helen 31 Jul 03 - 07:18 PM
Bob Bolton 01 Aug 03 - 08:05 AM
Charley Noble 01 Aug 03 - 08:47 AM
Bob Bolton 01 Aug 03 - 08:59 AM
Desert Dancer 01 Aug 03 - 01:26 PM
Charley Noble 01 Aug 03 - 01:59 PM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 03 - 05:18 PM
Helen 24 Jan 04 - 07:21 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Jan 04 - 06:35 AM
The Fooles Troupe 25 Jan 04 - 07:08 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM
GUEST,Pip 31 Dec 05 - 02:22 AM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 07 - 06:55 PM
Jeri 06 Jan 07 - 07:05 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jan 07 - 07:11 PM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 07 - 07:14 PM
Jeri 06 Jan 07 - 07:21 PM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 07 - 07:25 PM
Jeri 06 Jan 07 - 08:12 PM
Alice 06 Jan 07 - 08:21 PM
Bob Bolton 06 Jan 07 - 08:23 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jan 07 - 08:23 PM
Jeri 06 Jan 07 - 08:56 PM
Joe Offer 06 Jan 07 - 09:12 PM
freda underhill 06 Jan 07 - 10:25 PM
Alice 06 Jan 07 - 10:26 PM
freda underhill 06 Jan 07 - 11:39 PM
Bob Bolton 07 Jan 07 - 02:18 AM
Joe Offer 07 Jan 07 - 02:25 AM
freda underhill 07 Jan 07 - 02:58 AM
freda underhill 07 Jan 07 - 03:20 AM
Hrothgar 07 Jan 07 - 05:33 AM
CET 07 Jan 07 - 06:29 AM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Jan 07 - 07:31 AM
Bob Bolton 07 Jan 07 - 07:55 AM
Charley Noble 07 Jan 07 - 10:55 AM
breezy 07 Jan 07 - 12:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jan 07 - 05:10 PM
Bob Bolton 07 Jan 07 - 08:31 PM
freda underhill 07 Jan 07 - 08:40 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jan 07 - 08:52 PM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Jan 07 - 09:04 PM
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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 05:40 PM

I think that "Banjo" refers to a racehorse he owned - I don't think there's any indication he ever played the instrument.


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 29 Jul 03 - 06:38 PM

G'day Helen & McGrath,

I think The Banjo was a racehorse owned by his family ... he adopted 'Banjo' as a nom de plume quite early in his writing career - well before he could afford to own a racehorse ... although, he definitely was of the 'horsey, fast set' of his day! ... And country station (~ = "ranch" [US] or "estate" [UK]) types all were much into horseracing on local town racecourses and at 'picnic meetings'.

A lot of Paterson's humorous poetry has racing as its background and he loved it ... and knew it well. Lawson's is the poetry of the Australian 'battler' ... carrying a swag on the rough roads, amking a living as best he can - and that doesn't appeal to those with upwardly-mobile pretensions.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: SINSULL
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 05:59 PM

Banjo Paterson - Waltzing Mathilda, right?


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 06:57 PM

G'day SINSULL,

Yes - inter alia! Paterson was a poet and author of a number of prose stories and books ... as well as a solicitor, journalist and war correspondent (Boer War & WW I), 'Remount Officer' (contractor supplying horses to troops in WW I). Very few of his poems went directly into the tradition as songs: Waltzing Matilda and The Bushman's Song (aka Travelling Down the Castlereagh or The Old Jig-Jog are probably the only collected examples.

In the "folk revival", a number of artists have set other poems - particularly Graham Jenkins ... best known for his setting of Clancy's Gone With Cattle and Cathy Sullivan, best known for her setting of The Song of Artesian Water. Graham Jenkins produced quite a decent book, full of settings of Paterson's poems ... but many have not had great impact.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 07:00 PM

Oops!

I think that the well-known setting of Clancy's Gone With Cattle is the "Wallis & Matilda" version! ... but Graham Jenkins certainly set a lot of Paterson's verse gto tunes.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 30 Jul 03 - 07:03 PM

Damn!

I also think the title I am overstating should be just Clancy ... I'm getting confused with Lawson's Andy's Gone with Cattle.

... The morning coffee's caffeine obviously has not had enough time to seep into my brain cells!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Hrothgar
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 05:47 AM

Couple of loose ends ...

It has been said (can't remember by whom) that Paterson is the poet for the man who rides, and Lawson is the poet for the man who walks. That's not too far off the mark.

I've said this before - generally, Paterson's stuff is better recited (with obvious notable exceptions), and Lawson's is better set to music.

And there is only one Graham Jenkin - it's not Jenkins. An interesting man in his own right - see "Two Years on Bardunyah Station"; Pitjantjara Publishers, Adelaide, 1967. No ISBN shown.


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 06:02 PM

I'm still looking forward to singing "Outside Track" when I get back to Sydney in late November. Takes great courage to sing it back to the folks I learned it from, but I really fell in love with the song, and it's now part of Roll & Go's regular concert set and will probably be recorded on our next CD.

I think I mentioned up above, or maybe on a related thread, that I found the biography THE REAL HENRY LAWSON a satisfying overview of his complex life. It's good to know more about where the songs/poems come from, even if the story doesn't have an especially happy ending.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Helen
Date: 31 Jul 03 - 07:18 PM

Charley,

Do you have a copy of the book called The Songs of Henry Lawson (compiled by Chris Kempster; published by Viking O'Neil, 1989). I don't know if/how you would find a copy. Lovely book with lots of his poems set to music, with different people's music to the same poem in some cases. Lots of song fodder there.

One of my favourites is Do You Think That I Do Not Know.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 08:05 AM

G'day Charley / Sandra,

Unfortunately, Viking O'Neill only printed a run of 2000 of The Songs of Henry Lawson and that made it too expensive at Aus$30 (nearly US$40, in the late '80s) - and there was no reprint.

I sold the last copy from the Bush Music Club stock, some years back, and I have never seen a secondhand copy (but I might be passing Da Capo tomorrow, and I'll just check there).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 08:47 AM

Helen-

Maybe you could post the words to "Do You Think That I Do Not Know" in a separate thread?

Oh, I forgot to include a link to my personal website where I have a MP3 sample file of how I play and sing "Outside Track":Charley Noble Website

I believe what I'm singing is close to how I hear Margaret and John sing it, but I may have improvised some.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 08:59 AM

G'day Helen,

Sorry ... I meant to respond to you ... not Sandra. If you have the words to Do You Think I Do Not Know then post them - as Charley says, to a separate "Lyr Add" thread. I have them here, in anumber of books - Poetical Works of Henry Lawson, i>A Campfire Yarn, oderick and Kempster - but I don't (currently) have an OCR program on this computer/scanner arrangement.

If you haven't come up with the words ... once I have set up OCR - I might post myself!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 01:26 PM

I've posted separately, but I'll put it here too:

Henry Lawson's "Do You Think That I Do Not Know" is in the DT here, and refers to the tune by Slim Dusty (as recorded by Martin Wyndham-Read, also by Priscilla Herdman). I can't get the midi to work, though.

This site has the tune by Chris Kempster.

~ Becky in Tucson
just back from a week at Pinewoods with Danny Spooner...


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 01:59 PM

Another Lawson poem which seems to fit well with "Outside Track" is "In the Days When the World was Wide." It's a long poem, and I'm not sure if it's been set to music. I could post it in another thread if it's not already in the DT.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 03 - 05:18 PM

Anybody want to send me the tune/dots/melody for "Outside Track"?
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Helen
Date: 24 Jan 04 - 07:21 PM

Joe,

Did you get the dots for The Outside Track yet?

I just opened this thread in a search for a thread on Henry Lawson's song, Do You Think That I Do Not Know, because of the Obit thread on Chris Kempster, who edited the Songs of Henry Lawson book and set many of the songs to music.

If you haven't got the dots I'll look it up in my copy of the book and scan it and send it to you.

Helen


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Subject: Tune Add: OUTSIDE TRACK (Henry Lawson)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 06:35 AM

G'day Joe and Helen,

I'm sure I would have posted the MIDItext version ... which is in my files ...:

ABC format:

X:1
T:
M:4/4
Q:1/4=128
K:C
E7D|C5/4C3/2C5/4C2EF|G2G2G3G|A5/4A3/2A5/4F2A2|
G6E2|F3ED2EF|E2F2G2G2|A5/4A3/2A5/4B3A|G6ED|
C2C2C2EF|G2G2G2GG|F2E2F2G2|A6AA|A2AAB2BB|
c2c2d2Bc|d3cB2A2|G6GG|G2F2E2GG|G2F2E2G2|A3AF5/4G3/2A5/4|
G6GG|A5/4A3/2A5/4B2B2|c2c2G2E2|F2GFE2D2|C6ED|
C19/4||



(Joe, if you already have it - just ignore me.

I'm just a bit shattered by the too early death, yesterday, of Chris Kempster - master collator (and author) of tunes to Lawson's poems.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


Click to play

(setting by Tony McLachlan, a Bush Music Club member)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 07:08 AM

The link to the Miditext S/W shows as not available.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jan 04 - 07:46 PM

G'day Foolestroupe,

Yes ... I am still using an old download of the MIDI to text string app that Alan (Foster) of Oz developed as a compact, text-based, music exchange program for Mudcat. I must ask Alan if he has a more recent version available (ie - one that has a current link!). I don't seem to have his home e-mail, post the disastrous total crash of my ()~) brand new hard disk, late last year - and I don't have his 'phone number ... perhaps I can get details from Alison, who performs with him in Beat Around the Bush Band.

The app should work anyway ... if you PM a suitable e-mail addie for yourself, I'll send you the 1998 versions of the two apps: MID2TXT and TXT2MID ... they're only (~) 1 KB each! (Come to think of it, the current versions may be downloadable from some link inside the Mudcat's FAQ, or some such handy spot ... I haven't looked.

Incidentally, the electronic file of my "sheet music" version of The Outside Track combining my setting into a music program of Gerry Hallom's tune with the Lawson words also was lost with my great crash (it all happened before I had backed up the whole disk!). I can probably find a good print and send you a fairly tidy 1-bit TIF of that ... or the appropriate page (127) in Chris Kempster's The Songs of Henry Lawson - that's in 'D' as well, but I reset it for my Monday Night Workshop group with the tune at the top - more 'conventional' sheet music layout, whereas Chris's book always has the poem words first, then the various collected or composed tunes following.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: GUEST,Pip
Date: 31 Dec 05 - 02:22 AM

Lots of Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson info here including Lawson's months in Harpenden in 1900. Four-page chronology.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 06:55 PM

I've converted Bob Bolton's MIDITXT transcription of "Outside Track," but it sure doesn't sound like the version I know. Is Bob's transcription OK, or did I goof it up. Can anybody send me a MIDI for the other version? Here's Bob's:

Click to play (Bolton)


Identified in another thread as a setting by Tony McLachlan, a Bush Music Club member....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:05 PM

Bob's tune isn't the one I'm familiar with, although I'm not sure who wrote the tune I know, which I first heard on Garnet Rogers' 'Outside Track' album.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:11 PM

Joe-

This is certainly not the way John Warner and Margaret Walters sing it, nor Gerry Hallom who set the poem to music.

Here's how Roll & Go recorded it based on Hallom's tune: Click and go to MP3 sample

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:14 PM

The Bolton tune is identified in another thread as a setting by Tony McLachlan, a Bush Music Club member....
I found a MIDItxt from Alison in another thread. It's closer to the tune I know, but not quite right, either:

Click to play (Alison)

If you can do better, e-mail a MIDI to me.
Thanks.
joe@mudcat.org


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:21 PM

Joe, I'll play with it a bit tomorrow, but Alison's tune sounds just about right to me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 07:25 PM

Hi, Jeri - the main problem I have with Alison's tune is the whole note in the first measure - that may be a conversion error. I converted Alison's ABC because her direct MIDItxt has other issues, most notably a wavering volume.
Note that I added above that the Bolton tune was identified in another thread as a setting by Tony McLachlan, a Bush Music Club member....
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 08:12 PM

Joe, the conversion is undoubtedly the problem. MidiText doesn't convert the rests in midis to rests in ABC. I messed with it (fixed the rest and simplified a couple other things), and I'll e-mail it to you. I fixed some tempo conversion problems, and it would be best to fix some other stuff, but if you don't want to wait (it might not matter), it's on the way.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Alice
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 08:21 PM

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 08:23 PM

G'day Joe,

I was puzzled (alarmed... ?) when I played back that tune ... It obviously fitted the rhythm of the words but wasn't Gerry's tune. (OK ... I completely forgot that I had - a long time ago - annotated Tony McLachlan's setting!)

I've just set down Gerry's tune, as found in Chris Kempster's The Songs of Henry Lawson .. and it does sound pretty well right! I'll e-mail to you the MIDI file ... a GIF of the music program setting, with lyrics emplaced ... and a scan of the appropriate The Songs of Henry Lawson page 127.

Then I'll get back to making music sheets for setting out a booklet of good old "Bush" songs neglected in the last quarter century, post "Folk Boom" - for a workshop at the Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW, Australia Day Weekend, 25 - 28 January 2007!

Regards,

Bob

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 08:23 PM

Joe and Jeri-

Alison's setting is closer to Gerry Hallom's tune to my ears. What Roll & Go does is decontruct Hallom's tune into its composite elements and make them more explicit: "Roddy McCorley", "The Foggy, Foggy Dew", and one other that escapes my brain.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 08:56 PM

The one I sent Joe sounds more like the tune to me, but the one Bob's sending will undoubtedly be the most correct, plus it's probably free of conversion weirdities.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:12 PM

Bob Bolton send me his MIDI transcription of the Hallom tune. Thanks, Bob.

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: freda underhill
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 10:25 PM

The tune to the Outside Track was written by an Englishman, Gerry Hallom. Chris Kempster brought it to Australia and many Australian singers thought Chris wrote the tune, as Chris put so many of Henry Lawson's songs to music.

The song is recorded on The Songs Of Chris Kempster
(there is an MP3 of it at that link) and is attributed to Gerry hallon on the CD.

Chris Kempster had a remarkable influence on the bush and folk music movements in Australia through his enthusiasm for traditional song and for the poetry of Henry Lawson. His tunes for the poems of Henry Lawson are his enduring gift to Australian music, but sadly, there are very few recordings of him performing them. This double CD is a compilation of previously unreleased taped recordings of Chris and others from as early as the 1980s; and his songs presented by other singers on their own commercial releases, and recordings made especially for this project.


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Subject: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Alice
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 10:26 PM

freda, thanks for posting that link!!

Alice


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: freda underhill
Date: 06 Jan 07 - 11:39 PM

on just re reading the thread, Bob's version as linked by Joe at Date: 06 Jan 07 - 09:12 PM is the version I recognise as being the version that Gerry Hallom wrote. It's the same tune that Chris Kempster sang (that I posted the link to earlier today) and is also the same tune as performed by Margaret Walters and John Warner on Who Was Here? (MP3 here)

freda


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 02:18 AM

G'day Freda,

The one I just posted was carefully set from the version printed in Chris's The Songs of Henry Lawson - With Music, Viking O'Neill, Ringwood, Vic., 1989. I also sent, to Joe, a scan of the tune, as printed and a screen grab of my setting - so he could double-check for any error! I must admit that a few subtle points, as I hear it - but not as written - are slightly different, but I may be 'hearing' Margaret Walter's subtle variations ... this is folk music!

I also think Alison's MIDI sounds like it has the "right" notes - but there's some problem with the tempo. Hers sounds a fair bit too slow. (Mine actually sounds a tad fast ... I think my music program has problem with speed ... about + 20%. Maybe it uses mains frequency as a simple regulatot ... but US 60 Hz is 20% faster than local 50 Hz. I tend to set my tempos about 28% faster, to suit my ear - but I probably should set them just 20% faster! Tut Tut - stop playing too fast!)

BTW: I don't know if Gerry wrote the tune while he was out here, back in the 1970s. He was the Institute of Technology, Sydney, administrative wallah I dealt with when I organised the Bush Music Festivals of 1975 and 1977 - but he wasn't asked to be on the concert bill ... because I didn't know that he was an accomplished singer! Chris's annotation has 1982, in the book - so Gerry may have set the tune after he went back to England.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 02:25 AM

Now, THIS is what Mudcat is supposed to be about. I have to say that the lyrics of this song don't really move me and I'm not quite sure what's meant by "Outside Track" - but the Hallom tune is rich and nostalgic, and the chorus is wonderful for group singing.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: freda underhill
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 02:58 AM

g'day, Bob. This is such a tragic song. Joe I always imagined it was about farewelling mates going off to the Great War. it was in a collection that was first published 1918.
But a re-read of the lyrics shows Lawson hasn't mentioned the war. Whatever the reason for the exodus of young men sailing out of Australia, the song is a plaintive celebration of mateship and times gone by. The song is about a choice, a choice to go away or to stay. as the lyrics say..

"But I'll try my luck for a cheque Out Back,
Then a last good-bye to the bush;
For my heart's away on the Outside track,
On the track of the steerage push."

This says to me that the Outside Track is the track of the steamship, taking young men away (to war or wherever).

The exodus of young people from the bush, whether overseas or to the cities for jobs, is still lamented because there's a history in the bush that is so different from the experiences of people in suburban and urban Australia.

freda


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Subject: Lyr Add: BILLY OF QUEENSLAND (Henry Lawson)
From: freda underhill
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 03:20 AM

I've just found another use of the phrase "The Outside Track" in a Henry Lawson poem published as a project Gutenberg eBook
Skyline Riders and Other Verses (1910)

here the Outside Track sounds like a track on the edge of a farming property (and some Australian farming properties are vast). On these huge properties workers would camp at the end of the day after doing their fencing or other work, because it was just too far back to the farm.

BILLY OF QUEENSLAND

"QUEENSLAND," he heads his letters--that's all:
    The date, and the month, and the year in brief;
He often sends me a cheerful scrawl,
    With an undertone of ancient grief.
The first seems familiar, but might have changed,
    As often the writing of wanderers will;
He seems all over the world to have ranged,
    And he signs himself William, or Billy, or Bill.

He might have been an old mate of mine--
    A shearer, or one of the station hands.
(There were some of 'em died, who drop me a line,
    Signing other names, and in other hands.
There was one who carried his swag with me
    On the western tracks, when the world was young,
And now he is spouting democracy
    In another land with another tongue.)

He cheers me up like an old mate, quite,
    And swears at times like an old mate, too;
(Perhaps he knows that I never write
    Except to say that I'm going to).
He says he is tired of telling lies
    For a Blank he knows for a Gory Scamp--
But--I note the tone where the sunset dies
    On the Outside Track or the cattle camp.

Who are you, Billy? But never mind--
    Come to think of it, I forgot--
There were so many in days behind,
    And all so true that it matters not.
It may be out in the Mulga scrub,
    In the southern seas, or a London street--
(I hope it's close to a bar or pub)--
    But I have a feeling that we shall meet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Hrothgar
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 05:33 AM

I'm fairly sure Gerry put this to music after he returned to England. I can remember his singing around the clubs in Sydney in the '70s, and in those days, as I recall, he was just a very talented Nic Jones clone. I certainly can't recall his singing "The Outside track" then.

The first time I heard it sung was at a National Folk Festival in Canberra in about 1998, when Chris Kempster sang it to s couple of us - giving credt to Gerry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: CET
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 06:29 AM

I see that Roll and Go change the fourth line in the first stanza from "Ever said old Len's a match" to "no one could be his match." I'd be tempted to do the same thing, since I have no idea what "old Len's a match" means. Can someone help?

Edmund


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 07:31 AM

There were ten of us there on the moonlit quay,
And one on the for'ard hatch;
No straighter man to his mates than he
Had ever said "Len's a match!"
"'Twill be long, old man, ere our glasses clink,
"'Twill be long ere we grip your hand" -
So we dragged him ashore for a final drink
And the whole wide world seemed grand.


"Len's a match!

ie "LEND US (me) A MATCH"

The narrator is asking for a light for his pipe/cigarette

sandra


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 07:55 AM

G'day Freda,

Somewhere ... deep in the muddy depths of the Mudcat ... I remember telling (Charley Noble- ?) that the farewell is from the poet / writer / artist mob at Sydney's rather bohemian Bulletin magazine (then "The Bushman's Bible") to various of their number as they take ship and go off to "Home" ... England ... to gain a reputation - as they can't gain any creditabilty if they stay in Australia.

Lawson wrote this just before he set of with his wife (also by ship) to Western Australia, hoping for a change of fortune. Oddly enough, they were snookered by a new gold rush to the western fields ... taking up all suitable accommodation, raising prices, moving commerce and opportunities in publishing away from Perth. They stood the loss, made their way back to Sydney ... then sailed to England themselves.

Fortunately, in a big new, international world, talented artist, poets, writers, cinematographers and actors can succeed, these days, on the strength of their work in their own environment, not some artificial 'Mecca'. Back then, we really knew what was meant by "The Tyranny of Distance" - living as far from Europe (and America) as anyone could conceive of in a world where ships were the ultimate in travel.

In this instance, Lawson uses "The Outside Track" to mean the working world beyond colonial Australia - contrasted to the (?) "home track", the familiar and accepting world of Australia.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 10:55 AM

Guess I'll have to give up my pet theory of what the "Outside Track" means. I've been thinking it was a horse race reference: those riders who avoid the competition close to the rail and sweep past on the outside track. Oh, well!

Gerry Hallom was very gracious to Roll & Go when we contacted him for permission to record his song, and he was pleased that we included the first verse which most recordings in the States oddly do not include; we insisted that he accpet full royalities, modest though they were.

The recordings that I am aware of in North America include Gordon Bok, Cindy Kallet, and Garnet Rogers; Jerry Epstein also played a significant role in introducing this song in the States.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: breezy
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 12:06 PM

migration mate

Garnet Roger's version is more generic as it omits the first and last verses.

And it still scans

IMHO


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 05:10 PM

it was in a collection that was first published 1918.

But Henry Lawson wrote it in 1896. (See here) Which of course doesn't mean that the Great War wouldn't have given it a new relevance and poignancy, and that would have been a reason to include it in a 1918 collection.

I much prefer Lawson's "Len's a match" to the amended version - "No one could be his match". I suppose that's got the merit of being easier to understand in places where people don't use the expression - but it goes against the sense of them all being equal, and it's just that this is the one who is being seen off today. It sets him up as a hero, rather than as a mate.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 08:31 PM

G'day Mcgrath (and freda),

Yes, I was aware that Henry wrote this 1896 - and, in a much earlier thread ran through the movement's of the newly wed Lawson's around that time. The lines from the final chorus, quoted 9½ years ago by Alan of Oz:

Last chorus
But I'll try my luck for a cheque Out Back, then a last good-bye to the bush;
For my heart's away on the Outside Track, on the track of the steerage push.


are an accurate prediction of Henry & Bertha's movements over the next few years: after their marriage in April 1896 they tried, first, Western Australian and then New Zealand before returning to Sydney and sailing to England in April 1900. Henry's The Men Who Made Australia, a bitter look at the "upper classes" fawning on British royalty visiting for the celeration of Australia's Federation, as a nation, no longer a "colony', was actually written in London ... and is still worth trotting out as a worthwhile antidote to fawning royalists during significant local celebrations!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: freda underhill
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 08:40 PM

Bob, that info re the Bulletin & aussies going OS to make it explains it all! thanks again for sharing your invaluable research & insight! I'll understand & enjoy that song all the more because of it!

fredalina :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 08:52 PM

McGrath-

You may want to re-evaluate your assumption that "all (mates) being equal" in this song as composed by Lawson. The fourth verse runs (emphasis added):

We roared "Lang Syne" as a last farewell,
But my heart seemed out of joint;
I well remember the hush that fell
When the steamer passed the point;
We drifted home through the public bars,
We were ten times less by one
Who had sailed out under the morning stars,
And under the rising sun.

However, you are correct that "Len's a match" is unintelligible to listeners in the States and that we grew weary of introducing the concept.

It is one of our most requested songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Outside Track - Henry Lawson
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Jan 07 - 09:04 PM

Maybe - but I'd read that as meaning it's diminished them, as the loss of any one of them would do, all ten of them. Still, I think if I was singing it in the States I'd do the same, to avoid the questions and jokes about "Who's this guy Len?" .

Great song. If it's one of your most requested songs, that shows good taste.


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