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Origin: Soil of Australia / Swaggies Have All ...

AKS 14 Feb 00 - 09:33 AM
Crowhugger 14 Feb 00 - 06:44 PM
Callie 14 Feb 00 - 07:32 PM
Bob Bolton 14 Feb 00 - 09:41 PM
Bob Bolton 15 Feb 00 - 12:13 AM
Alan of Australia 15 Feb 00 - 01:20 AM
AKS 15 Feb 00 - 05:36 AM
Alan of Australia 15 Feb 00 - 05:44 AM
GUEST, Bob Bolton (slaving by his home computer) 15 Feb 00 - 07:20 AM
Callie 15 Feb 00 - 07:31 AM
Bob Bolton 15 Feb 00 - 11:06 PM
Callie 16 Feb 00 - 09:01 AM
Sam O 12 May 10 - 06:46 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 May 10 - 11:02 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SOIL OF AUSTRALIA
From: AKS
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 09:33 AM

G'day all! A couple of years ago a friend of mine gave this song to me on a cassette and helped me with the transciption. Hard as we try, we both seem to have forgotten the performer (and have no idea of the author), and the cassette has mysteriously vanished.

Here's what we worked out with the lyrics:

The Soil of Australia
author?

You came to this country in tethers and chains
outlaws and rebels with numbers for names
and on the triangle were beaten and maimed
blood stained the soil of Australia

Dukees and dutchesses flash lads and whores
you worked their plantations and polished their floors
lived in their shadow and died in their wars
blood stained the soil of Australia

ch:
Does it quicken your heartbeat to see tar and concrete
cover the tracks of the old bullock dray
have you grown so heartless to christen it progress
when the swaggies have all waltzed Matilda away

Driven like dogs from your own native home
hardship and poverty caused you to roam
over the bracken and over the foam
blood stained the soil of Australia

Then in the fever of fortune and fame
you caused the poor blacks to suffer the same
imprisoned on missions are hunted for game
blood stained the soil of Australia

Does it ...

It's two hundred years since you came to this land
betrayed by the girl with the black velvet band
and still to this day you don't understand
blood stained the soil of Australia

Coolie and white old Australian and new
brothers and sisters of every hue
the future is ours take the wealth from the few
and raise the red flag in Australia

Let it quicken your heartbeat the road's at your own feet
travel it lightly and travel it well
and don't speak of success but christen it progress
'til the swaggies can all waltz Matilda as well

Any additional information, anybody?

AKS, Joensuu, Finland


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Crowhugger
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 06:44 PM

refresh. It was Praise's idea.


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Callie
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 07:32 PM

Alistair Hulett wrote the song. You hear it a lot in Australian folk circles. Callie


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 09:41 PM

G'day AKS,

I don't know if the correct title will help in searching for enrties on the song, but I think it is actually called The Swaggies have all Waltzed Matilda Away. It is not a song with a snappy title lurking in the first few lines!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWAGGIES HAVE ALL WALTZED MATILDA AWAY
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 12:13 AM

G'day again AKS,

I just looked through your transcription and a few corrections come to mind. I have italicised the changes (which are straight off the top of my memory ... I will check with a recording when I get home). I tend to think that a few pronouns may have dropped out, especially in the last line of each stanza - but this may simply be the style of the particular singer!

The Swaggies have all Waltzed Matilda Away

You came to this country in fetters and chains
outlaws and rebels with numbers for names
and on the triangle were beaten and maimed
(your?)(blood stained the soil of Australia

Dukees and dutchesses flash lads and whores
you worked their plantations and polished their floors
lived in their shadow and died in their wars
blood stained the soil of Australia

ch:
Does it quicken your heartbeat to see tar and concrete
cover the tracks of the old bullock dray
have you grown so heartless to christen it progress
when the swaggies have all waltzed Matilda away

Driven like dogs from your own native home
hardship and poverty caused you to roam
over the bracken and over the foam
blood stained the soil of Australia

Then in the fever of fortune and fame
you caused the poor blacks to suffer the same
imprisoned on missions and hunted for game
blood stained the soil of Australia

Does it ...

It's two hundred years since you came to this land
betrayed by the girl with the black velvet band
and still to this day you don't understand
blood stained the soil of Australia

Coolie and white old Australian and new
brothers and sisters of every hue
the future is ours take the wealth from the few
and raise the red flag in Australia

Let it quicken your heartbeat the road's at your own feet
travel it lightly and travel it well
and don't speak of success or christen it progress
'til the swaggies can all waltz Matilda as well

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 01:20 AM

Great song. After quite a few years in Oz Alistair returned to Scotland a year or 2 ago & seems to be very active in the UK scene.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: AKS
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 05:36 AM

Thanks, folks! Have to ask my friend whether he could remember the origins of that cassette I was referring to, I mean in order to find out the performer.

AKS


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 05:44 AM

It might have been Alistair himself. Did he have a Scottish accent?


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Subject: Lyr Add: SWAGGIES HAVE ALL WALTZED MATILDA AWAY
From: GUEST, Bob Bolton (slaving by his home computer)
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 07:20 AM

G'day AKS,

I thought I had this sung by Alistair himself ... if si it is on a compilation album, and I can't find it. However, I do have Wongawilli singing it on their Musica Pangaea CD Australian Tradition: Musica Pangaea 10009. The Wongas are a beaut Aussie group with a strong traditional base - and not infectied by the current tendency to pass off a secondhand Irish pub band as a bush band.

I had a good listen to Graham Murray's singing and it is pretty much as I amended your original posting, but I have done a corrected version:

The Swaggies have all Waltzed Matilda Away

Alistair Hulett

You came to this country in fetters and chains,
Outlaws and rebels with numbers for names
And on the triangle were beaten and maimed;
Your blood stained the soil of Australia.

Dukies and dutchesses, flash lads and whores;
You worked their plantations and polished their floors,
Lived in their shadow and died in their wars:
Blood stained the soil of Australia.
ch:
Does it quicken your heartbeat to see tar and concrete
Cover the tracks of the old bullock dray?
Have you grown so heartless, to christen it progress
When the swaggies have all waltzed Matilda away?

Driven like dogs from your own native home;
Hardship and poverty caused you to roam
Over the bracken and over the foam:
Blood stained the soil of Australia.

Then in the fever of fortune and fame
You caused the poor blacks to suffer the same;
Imprisoned on missions or hunted for game:
Blood stained the soil of Australia.
Does it ...

It's two hundred years since you came to this land
Betrayed by the girl with the black velvet band
And still to this day you don't understand
That blood stained the soil of Australia.

Koorie and white, old Australians and new,
Brothers and sisters of every hue;
The future is ours take the wealth from the few
And raise the red flag in Australia.

Let it quicken your heartbeat, the road's at your own feet;
Travel it lightly and travel it well,
And don't speak of success nor christen it progress,
'Til the swaggies can all waltz Matilda as well.


There are a few references (often to old Australian songs)that you may need to have explained:
Dookies and dutchesses: Pickpockets (who stole with their 'dooks' - hands)
flash lads: Young men with a life style a bit too rich for their pockets - probably financed by petty thievery ot worse
girl with the black velvet band: Refer the song(s) of the same name (possibly an agent used by the British Government to snare urgently needed young tradesmen into the colony, as minor ofenders?)
caused the poor blacks to suffer...: Obvious reference to the various failures of black/white relations of the past 2 centuries
Koorie: The name East Coast (New South Wales) Aborigines usae for themselves. There is a move to use it for all Australian Aborignes (... not so popular with those who think of themselves as: Murries, Boories, Nwungars &c!)
Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Callie
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 07:31 AM

I know I won't be popular for saying this, and I add this to the thread in the spirit of generating discussion - not offending!

I myself strongly dislike the song for perpetuating that myth that the swaggies' days were the good old days, and all you needed to do was wander carefree, stopping for the occasional damper & billy tea break. I reckon things were tough on the road for these homeless men.

The "does it quicken your heart beat to see tar and concrete" chorus: I find it contradictory that the song laments the passing of the ways of the generation that committed what paramounts to genocide in Australia. Sure the roads now cover the bullock drays, but before that the bullock drays destroyed the land and the tracks of Australia's first people.

I know most folk love this song. DO I stand alone in my discomfort in singing it? Callie


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 11:06 PM

G'day yet again,

Callie: I agree totally. I was hovering around commenting on the song itself, but decided to restrict my comments to interpreting the words and phrases that might be pretty foriegn to a Finnlander.

I think Alistair's song won a competition during the '90s and I feel it is a bit like those songs of the '60s Folk Revival that purport to solve all the world's problems at a stroke. However, there are some good lines and sometimes we have to live with a few inconsistencies in life.

It isn't a song I would sing by choice - but there are not a lot of good traditional songs on race relations, either. We desperately need to start a dialogue in a country where the Prime Minister isn't game to apologise for 2 centuries of atrocious behaviour (among occasional specific examples of good faith and honest endeavour) because it might be grounds for a compensation claim!

Things were hard for everyone and this forged what is good in the Australian spirit. I love our traditional songs because they are about living despite the problems. There is not much philosophy - it is a luxury for any country dweller.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Soil of Australia; who and when and ...
From: Callie
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 09:01 AM

Well said Bob. You're right: I can't think of a swag (hee hee!!) of reconciliation songs - there ought to be more. However, I can think of one 'anti-apology' song that's been doing the rounds of the festivals called 'Say No More', about forgetting the past and getting on with it. I myself find such a sentiment distasteful: I think we're not saying nearly enough about reconciliation, and particularly in song. Cor, I wish I were a songwriter! Regards Callie


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soil of Australia / Swaggies Have All ...
From: Sam O
Date: 12 May 10 - 06:46 AM

Would anyone happen to have the notes for The Swaggies have all Waltzed Matilda away? We have lyrics and chords. I'm sure we can notate it if we can't find them but thought we would check to see if someone may have already done this.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soil of Australia / Swaggies Have All ...
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 May 10 - 11:02 AM

I can't answer your question Sam, the following links are just for general info

Alistair's website

Alistair on Youtube


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