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Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger

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Bob Bolton 26 Jan 01 - 02:51 AM
wysiwyg 28 Jan 01 - 11:04 PM
Bob Bolton 29 Jan 01 - 09:41 PM
The Sugar Dog (inactive) 30 Jan 01 - 12:15 AM
The Sugar Dog (inactive) 30 Jan 01 - 12:17 AM
Bob Bolton 04 Feb 01 - 10:33 PM
The Sugar Dog (inactive) 05 Feb 01 - 01:15 AM
Bob Bolton 05 Feb 01 - 06:52 AM
GUEST,Roger Bayley 01 Aug 12 - 02:08 AM
Joe Offer 01 Aug 12 - 04:59 AM
GUEST,Gerry 01 Aug 12 - 05:25 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Aug 12 - 01:07 PM
Artful Codger 01 Aug 12 - 01:17 PM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Aug 12 - 04:41 PM
Bob Bolton 01 Aug 12 - 10:16 PM
GUEST,Grishka 02 Aug 12 - 10:10 AM
GUEST,Roger 05 Aug 12 - 08:06 AM
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Subject: ADD: Death of Fred Lowry
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 02:51 AM

G'day,

I did promise Marcus Campo Bellorum (aka Mark Campbell) in another thread that I would post the words, tune and some background to this song, collected in his native mountains of New South Wales.

This is a ballad describing the death of Fred Lowry, an Australian 'Bushranger' (an outlaw who lives rough in the bush) who was fatally wounded in an encounter with police in 1864 between Peelwood and Laggan, in the Great Dividing Range of New South Wales. Need I say that the official account of the affair ... and this song ... seem to describe entirely different events?

I have given a selection from the notes of John Meredith, who collected this version in 1983, at the end of the posting.

Regards,

Bob Bolton

THE DEATH OF FRED LOWRY

Come all young men and gentle maids,
Come listen now to me;
'Til I relate a cruel fate
Of one both bold and free,
Who fell while fighting the police,
He to the last was game;
A gallant fine young man he was,
Fred Lowry was his name.

It was in the month of August,
The troopers did him surround;
They told him to surrender,
To take him they were bound.
Your country's laws you've broken
And a trial you must stand
Before a country judge
And a jury of the land.

Surrender, that I'll never do,
I'll die first on the spot.
While ever ball and powder last
I'll give you shot for shot.'
While ever ball and powder last
I will not let you near;
Come on, he said, I'm well prepared,
My life I'll sell it dear.

The cowardly troopers placed themselves
Each man behind a tree;
They closely watched at every door,
Each window they could see '
They dare not show themselves for fear
A shot from Lowry's hand
Would lay that man a bleeding corpse
Upon that hollowed sand.

At length brave Lowry he stepped out
A pistol in each hand,
Saying, come on you cowardly troopers,
I'll fight you man for man.
I know it is my blood you want,
And that I'll freely give;
Fair play is all I ask for,
I care not for to live.

Right and left the balls flew round,
The troopers kept at bay
All for an hour and a half
Upon that blessed day.
Right manfully he stood his ground,
Right well he played his part,
Till a fatal ball from a coward's aim
Pierced Lowry near the heart.

Come on my boys, it's over now,
No mercy do I crave;
I never took an unmanly part,
I always acted brave.
The hour has come, my life is done,
It better pleases me,
To die a wild bushranger than
Upon a gallows tree.

There's one request I ask of you,
I hope you will comply;
A lovely maiden I love dear,
She was my only joy;
My reckless life prevented me
This maiden for to wed,
Just ask her to forgive and pray
For me when I am dead.

They quickly slipped the handcuffs on
The wounded dying man;
They sent straight for a doctor,
To save him was their plan.
It would better please those troopers
To lodge him safe in jail,
And get some information
Re the robbing of the Mail.

The doctor said there is no hope,
My skill is all in vain;
The ball has pierced a vital spot,
He'll soon be out of pain.
The dying man tried hard to speak,
His mouth was full of gore-
He closed his eyes and gave a sigh,
Fred Lowry was no more.

Here is the collected tune, in MIDItext form:

MIDI file: fredlwry.mid

Timebase: 240

TimeSig: 6/8 36 8
Tempo: 150 (400000 microsec/crotchet)
Start
0600 1 57 080 0096 0 57 064 0024 1 60 080 0192 0 60 064 0048 1 60 080 0096 0 60 064 0024 1 60 080 0192 0 60 064 0048 1 60 080 0096 0 60 064 0024 1 60 080 0096 0 60 064 0024 1 64 080 0192 0 64 064 0048 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 64 080 0096 0 64 064 0024 1 62 080 0096 0 62 064 0024 1 60 080 0192 0 60 064 0048 1 60 080 0192 0 60 064 0048 1 57 080 0096 0 57 064 0024 1 60 080 0288 0 60 064 0312 1 67 080 0096 0 67 064 0024 1 69 080 0192 0 69 064 0048 1 69 080 0096 0 69 064 0024 1 72 080 0192 0 72 064 0048 1 71 080 0096 0 71 064 0024 1 69 080 0096 0 69 064 0024 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 69 080 0096 0 69 064 0024 1 64 080 0096 0 64 064 0024 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 64 080 0192 0 64 064 0048 1 62 080 0096 0 62 064 0024 1 62 080 0288 0 62 064 0312 1 67 080 0096 0 67 064 0024 1 69 080 0192 0 69 064 0048 1 69 080 0096 0 69 064 0024 1 72 080 0192 0 72 064 0048 1 71 080 0096 0 71 064 0024 1 69 080 0192 0 69 064 0048 1 67 080 0096 0 67 064 0024 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 69 080 0096 0 69 064 0024 1 64 080 0192 0 64 064 0048 1 67 080 0096 0 67 064 0024 1 64 080 0192 0 64 064 0048 1 62 080 0096 0 62 064 0024 1 60 080 0288 0 60 064 0312 1 62 080 0096 0 62 064 0024 1 62 080 0192 0 62 064 0048 1 60 080 0096 0 60 064 0024 1 62 080 0096 0 62 064 0024 1 64 080 0192 0 64 064 0048 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 69 080 0096 0 69 064 0024 1 67 080 0192 0 67 064 0048 1 64 080 0120 1 62 080 0105 0 64 064 0087 0 62 064 0048 1 60 080 0096 0 60 064 0024 1 57 080 0096 0 57 064 0024 1 57 080 0192 0 57 064 0048 1 57 080 0288 0 57 064
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:
M:6/8
Q:1/4=150
K:C
A,6|C2CC2C|CE2G2E|DC2C2A,|C5G|A2Ac2B|AG2G2A|
EG2E2D|D5G|A2Ac2B|A2GG2A|E2GE2D|C5D|D2CDE2|
G2AG2E|D2CA,A,2|A,19/8||

Some notes from John Meredith's Folk Songs of Australia, vol. 2.
" ... Lowry was, of course, the bushranger who with his dying breath gave us the immortal message, 'Tell 'em I died game'. We found that there was still a great deal of local sympathy for the two outlaws, and one man told us that Fred Lowry was the Beau Brummel of bushrangers."
" Morton Gibbons
In January 1983 Chris Sullivan and I set out on a collecting trip to the south of Bathurst. One of my aims on this occasion was to try to record a version of the Fred Lowry ballad which I suspected was still sung In that area. At Black Springs we found Morton Gibbons and his wife, Berry, and her brother Keith Hotham, who used to know the ballad as a recitation in their younger days. They couldn't agree on the correct version, and were still discussing it when we left them. Meanwhile we journeyed on to Tuena, where we were successful in locating Mrs Thelma Cook, who, after many attempts, recalled the tune of the song as she had learnt it from her uncle when she was a girl.
Several weeks later I received in the post an almost complete version of The Death of Fred Lowry from the Gibbons family, with half a verse missing. Sullivan and I composed four substitute lines to fill the gap in the I text and I sent the result to a folk song journal, Stringybark & Greenhide. When it was published I forwarded copies of the article to all those who had helped in assembling the ballad, and to my surprise received back from the Gibbons's a longer and complete version which had been recalled by an older Hotham brother who learnt it from his parents as a recitation when he was a lad at Black Springs. This is the song using Kevin Hotham's words and Thelma Cook's tune."


To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net

Click to play (joeweb)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: wysiwyg
Date: 28 Jan 01 - 11:04 PM

Lovely!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 29 Jan 01 - 09:41 PM

G'day WYSIWYG,

I'm glad you enjoyed this song and, especially, The Men Who Made Australia. What with the half-cocked millennium, the Olympics, the Paralympics, the real millennium (the exact and real millennium of an inexact and unreal date), the Centenary of Federation, Australia Day and Chinese New Year (and we won't even mention the cricket!) ... the mind seems to naturally turn to bushrangers and the more strident Australian larrikins.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: The Sugar Dog (inactive)
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 12:15 AM

G'day Bob,

I forget now what the title was, it was very famous when published, but it was the story of how Australia came to be a country... the beginnings. Ever since then I think that when I have thought of things Oz, there is this resonance that tells me that the Australians are likely to have a pretty good handle on knowing how things actually ARE in life. And I value this tremendously-- a reality-based view will get me every time. Maybe it's a stereotype, in which case I aplogize for being simplistic and presumptuous... maybe it's all too long ago to matter... but I don't think so.

Anyway it makes me see these sorts of songs in a wider context, and what had begun as an effort to just refresh the unposted-to threads became this breathtaking sense of the scope of what you had shared.

So... gee. I wish I could HEAR them.

~Susan (AKA Praise, I had a name change)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: The Sugar Dog (inactive)
Date: 30 Jan 01 - 12:17 AM

Ooops!! (giggling)... forgot to reset cookie. Praise became WYSIWYG but I am also the Sugar Dog! (Long story!)

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 04 Feb 01 - 10:33 PM

G'day Susan (aka WYSIWYG / The Sugar Dog / Praise),

Sorry! I didn't notice this posting (I was distracted by the mess the local computer shop made of the addition of a 30 Gb drive last week and my slow rebuild). I'm not sure I can put a finger on the specific song you mention.

I reckon that " ... how Australia came to be a country ..." depends very much on who you ask ... and when ... and where - and runs very close to sounding like one of those self-congratulatory songs that I usually avoid like the very plague. There have been a few good songs in this line, but they sound better to those that don't have to hear them endlessly repeated by broadcasters ... and I did just list off all the excuses they have had over the past year or so.

If you can give me a few more clues, such as a line or two (a singer and or a date would be nice ...) I will see if I can track it down.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: The Sugar Dog (inactive)
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 01:15 AM

Aw, I were DUMB. It was a book! I didn't specify, so of course this being a music site-- sorry!

BTW, I thought you were great in the nasty thread. I went to do the music at church Saturday night and saw the pile of home made rhythm instruments lying in a pile with the other stuff we bring out for concerts. I almost laffed my butt off, thinking of sending them ALL to add to your collection! However I kept them for our own use, or as some would say, misuse! ~Susan


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Feb 01 - 06:52 AM

G'day again ~Susan,

Ah ... a book ... I still can't place the one of which you speak - although The Fatal Shore, Robert Hughes, (my copy) Collins Harvill, London, 1987 (first published Alfred A Knopf inc, 1986) would be a strong contender.

Hughes takes a line inherited from Manning Clark and looks for much of the Australian character in the convict experience. There is a lot to be said for this and it provides an good-sounding explanation of our "larrikin" streak, but we need to remember that this is something we hold in common with America - for hundreds of years the favoured place of exile of Britain's unwanted lower and criminal classes - sentenced to exile for minor crimes (any major crimes were capital offences).

Australia only received convicts after the succesful American Revolution - starting with the First Fleet in 1788 and pretty much stopped before the Gold Rushes of the 1850s (otherwise, the authorities would have suppressed all reports of gold, as they had done for 30 years or more). I think we have to credit those migrants who got up and went somewhere, anywhere, that might bring a living denied at home with a lot of Australia's character (and, once again, we are not far from American experience).

Anyway, perhaps you could tell me if that was the book you had in mind?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry - Australian Bus
From: GUEST,Roger Bayley
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 02:08 AM

G'day Bob,
          I am a newcomer to this forum,who came across it while researching the Lowry story.

I have a similar version of the poem which I collected in the Crookwell district, where many descendants of the people involved in the events described still live. This version is said to have been written by the sister-in-law of Larry Cummins, Lowry's partner-in-crime.

I would be glad to share it with you. The two versions, viewed side-by-side, both make a lot more sense.

I have showed the music file from this thread to local musicians, but I am told that it needs to be converted to a more modern format so that they can read it.

Is there anyone in the group who can do so?

The locals are all keen to hear the tune that their ancestors would have been so familiar with.
                            Cheers, Roger.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 04:59 AM

Hi, Roger-
I transcribed a MIDI from the same source Bob Bolton used. I hope that will do the trick for you.
If you have other versions or more information, we'd appreciate it if you could post them in this thread. Thanks.
-Joe Offer, Mudcat Archivist-



Click to play (joeweb)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 05:25 AM

Typo alert - back in the first post in this thread, 3rd last line of the lyrics, presumably "frill" is supposed to be "full".
    Good catch. I checked the original source, and you are correct. I corrected the error in Bob's message. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 10:02 AM

Worse typos seem to be in Bob's ABC rendering. Since Joe says he is using the same source, presumably more faithfully, here is a (software-generated) ABC from his MIDI file:

X:1
T:The Death of Fred Lowry
I:abc-version 2.1
I:abc-creator MidiZyx2abc 1.08
I:linebreak $
M:6/8
L:1/8
Q:3/8=80
K:C
A, | C2C C2C | C E2G2E | D C2C2A, | A,11/4z9/4G | A2A c2B | A G2G2A | % 7
w:Come all young men and gen-tle maids, Come list-en now to me; 'Til I re-late a cru-el fate Of
E G2E2D | E11/4z9/4G | A2A c2B | A2G G2A | E2G E2D | E11/4z9/4D | % 13
w:one both bold and free, Who fell while fight-ing the po-lice, He to the last was game; A
D2C D E2| G2A G2E | D2C A, A,2| A,11/4|] % 17
w:gal-lant fine young man he was, Fred Low-ry was his name.

But I agree, Gerry, that a bushranger deserves a "no-frills funeral".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 01:07 PM

PS, Roger: Any notation software in the world can read Joe's MIDI file and print it. "Modern format"? Indeed not, but still known everywhere.

Alternatively, copy the above ABC text (from the "X:" to "... his name." into the entry box at Folkinfo - you will get the sheet music as a PDF file or an image to print - modern enough.
    In 2001, Bob used the the (now-obsolete) Mudcat MIDItxt utility, which did not produce perfect ABC notation, but it did give an approximation of the general idea of the melody. In 2012, I used Noteworthy Composer to transcribe a MIDI from the original source, and I added a link to Bob's 2001 post. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: Artful Codger
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 01:17 PM

Thanks, Grishka, for the corrected ABC (and for refreshing this thread).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 04:41 PM

Y'welcome, but I refreshed the thread only by less than five hours. Guest Roger Bayley did the main refreshing. Hope he finds it again, being a newbie.

Although I have no more been down under this millennium, I welcome any decent opportunity to refresh my memories. But I would not dig up an old thread for mere nostalgia.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 10:16 PM

G'day Gerry,

I hadn't sighted the re-surfacing of this thread ... and your 'proof-read' of 01 Aug 12 - 05:25 AM.

You would be right ... although it wasn't exactly my "typo" so much as low-grade OCR from John Merediths publication. I probably ( ... err ... back just some 11 and a half years ago ...) started to lose critical proofreading concentration ... by line 72!
- X - X - X - X -

GUEST,Roger Bayley - PM
Date: 01 Aug 12 - 02:08 AM:

G'day Roger, I missed you post of a day or so back ... and I would be very interested in the poem you collected up round Crookwell - indeed, if it is suitable, and you agree, I should like to publish it in the Bush Music Club's Mulga Wire Magazine - probably in the Singabout supplement!

If you sign up for Mudcat ... no cost ... lots of fun and information ... you can PM (Private Message) me with a suitable contact - and I can reply with my contact details ... off the public view.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 02 Aug 12 - 10:10 AM

I see, Joe: when Roger posted his message, the MIDI file had not been there yet.

Now I do not want to analyze the MIDItext, but I bet the manifestly wrong pitches in measures 9 and 13 of Bob's ABC text are not the programmer's fault.

(The problem with MIDItext seems to be that it fails to administer upbeats, but here the author solved the problem by simply lengthening the upbeat to a whole measure.)

A tool "nwc2abc" that takes NWC files to ABC text is rumoured to exist. Do you use it, or would you if it were better? Are you convinced (as I am) that ABC text in Mudcat messages is useful, so that we can read the key signatures, bar lines, preferably lyrics, etc.? (Admittedly, MIDI files can have lyrics as well, as yours had, but browser-internal MIDI players do not display them.)

Some of the excellent free ABC software available, playing the song and displaying its written music, should be on every 'catter's computer. --

Like Bob, I am now waiting for Roger's version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Death of Fred Lowry-Australian Bushranger
From: GUEST,Roger
Date: 05 Aug 12 - 08:06 AM

Thanks everyone for helping to revive this forgotten piece of Crookwell history. I'll pass it on to some local musicians and see if they can rattle up a version of it.

As for posting the other version of the poem, I will do so as soon as I've asked permission of the descendants of the writer.

Will be away at work for the next week, talk to you then - Roger.


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