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Origins: Click Go the Shears

DigiTrad:
CLICK GO THE SHEARS
RING THE BELL, WATCHMAN
SAMMY RING THE BELL
STRIKE THE BELL SECOND MATE
STRIKE THE BELL, LANDLORD
THE VERGER


Related thread:
(origins) Lyr Add: Strike the Bell (Ron Shuttleworth) (65)


Joe Offer 10 Jan 99 - 04:12 AM
Bill Bolton 25 Oct 01 - 05:52 AM
Steve Parkes 25 Oct 01 - 06:36 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Oct 01 - 09:35 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 25 Oct 01 - 10:52 PM
Garry Gillard 26 Oct 01 - 03:21 AM
Bob Bolton 26 Oct 01 - 04:15 AM
Bob Bolton 26 Oct 01 - 04:17 AM
Bob Bolton 26 Oct 01 - 06:50 AM
John in Brisbane 26 Oct 01 - 07:23 AM
Steve Parkes 26 Oct 01 - 07:35 AM
GUEST,Stavanger Bill 26 Oct 01 - 08:25 AM
GUEST,chrisj 26 Oct 01 - 09:23 AM
Charley Noble 26 Oct 01 - 09:32 AM
Steve Parkes 26 Oct 01 - 09:44 AM
Steve Parkes 26 Oct 01 - 09:46 AM
Bob Bolton 26 Oct 01 - 09:46 AM
Steve Parkes 26 Oct 01 - 09:48 AM
Steve Parkes 26 Oct 01 - 09:49 AM
Bob Bolton 04 Nov 01 - 02:07 AM
John MacKenzie 04 Nov 01 - 05:16 AM
Charley Noble 04 Nov 01 - 10:02 AM
Lin in Kansas 05 Nov 01 - 03:55 AM
Bob Bolton 05 Nov 01 - 07:27 AM
GUEST,Mark Gregory 05 Jun 13 - 11:49 PM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Jun 13 - 12:12 AM
Joe Offer 06 Jun 13 - 12:26 AM
GUEST,Mark 06 Jun 13 - 12:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jun 13 - 03:48 PM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Jun 13 - 07:20 PM
Sandra in Sydney 06 Jun 13 - 09:12 PM
Desert Dancer 07 Jun 13 - 09:15 AM
GUEST,Mark 07 Jun 13 - 01:11 PM
Nigel Parsons 07 Jun 13 - 08:02 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Jun 13 - 10:28 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Jun 13 - 11:28 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Jun 13 - 11:40 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Jun 13 - 11:54 PM
mark gregory 23 Jun 13 - 08:29 AM
Bob Bolton 25 Jun 13 - 12:58 AM
Rumncoke 25 Jun 13 - 06:41 AM
Allan C. 25 Jun 13 - 07:50 AM
Sandra in Sydney 25 Jun 13 - 10:31 AM
Allan C. 25 Jun 13 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,John Foxen 25 Jun 13 - 12:36 PM
Bob Bolton 25 Jun 13 - 07:00 PM
Bob Bolton 26 Jun 13 - 01:18 AM
Snuffy 26 Jun 13 - 04:00 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Jun 13 - 06:53 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM
Bob Bolton 26 Jun 13 - 06:48 PM
Joybell 26 Jun 13 - 07:39 PM
GUEST,Greg 14 Jun 15 - 06:17 PM
Sandra in Sydney 14 Jun 15 - 11:51 PM
Bruce D 15 Jun 15 - 08:25 AM
Sandra in Sydney 15 Jun 15 - 10:31 AM
Steve Parkes 28 Jul 15 - 01:02 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THAT'S HOW THE SHEARS GO + RING THE BELL.
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Jan 99 - 04:12 AM

Somebody requested this song in another thread. Our rendering of the song in the database could use improvement, I think. I found the lyrics below at Digital Muse, a great collection of Australian folk songs.
-Joe Offer-

    Click go the Shears

    Out on the board the old shearer stands
    Grasping his shears in his long bony hands
    Fixed is his gaze on a bare-bellied "joe"
    Glory if he gets her, won't he make the ringer go

    Chorus
    Click go the shears boys, click, click, click
    Wide is his blow and his hands move quick
    The ringer looks around and is beaten by a blow
    And curses the old snagger with the blue-bellied "joe"

    In the middle of the floor in his cane-bottomed chair
    Is the boss of the board, with eyes everywhere
    Notes well each fleece as it comes to the screen
    Paying strict attention if it's taken off clean

    The colonial-experience man he is there, of course
    With his shiny leggin's just got off his horse
    Casting round his eye like a real connoisseur
    Whistling the old tune "I'm the Perfect Lure"

    The tar-boy is there awaiting in demand
    With his blackened tar-pot and his tarry hand
    Sees one old sheep with a cut upon its back
    Here's what he's waiting for "Tar here Jack!"

    Shearing is all over and we've all got our cheques
    Roll up your swag for we're off on the tracks
    The first pub we come to it's there we'll have a spree
    And everyone that comes along it's, "Come and drink with me!"

    Down by the bar the old shearer stands
    Grasping his glass in his thin bony hands
    Fixed is his gaze on a green-painted keg
    Glory he'll get down on it ere he stirs a peg

    There we leave him standing, shouting for all hands
    Whilst all around him every shouter stands
    His eyes are on the cask which is now lowering fast
    He works hard he drinks hard and goes to hell at last

    You take off the belly-wool clean out the crutch
    Go up the neck for the rules they are such
    You clean round the horns first shoulder go down
    One blow up the back and you then turn around

    Click, click, that's how the shears go
    Click, click, so awfully quick
    You pull out a sheep he'll give a kick
    And still hear your shears going click, click, click


    Notes

    First published in the Twentieth Century in 1946 in an article by Percy Jones.

    This version from the singing of A.L.Lloyd Printed in Stewart and Keesing's Old Bush Songs with the following note: "From Dr Percy Jones's collection, with one additional stanza, "Now Mister Newchum" etc., collected by John Meredith from Mrs Sloane, of Lithgow, New South Wales. "Mrs Sloane is 60, and learnt most of her songs from her mother in the early part of this century. Mrs Sloane plays button-accordion, fiddle, mouth-organ and jewsharp, and her mother, Mrs Frost, played concertina, accordion and jews-harp." The word "Joe" is presumably a corruption of "Yowe"Ñewe."

Old Bush Songs also prints the following fragment and accompanying note:

    THAT'S HOW THE SHEARS GO

    You take off the belly-wool clean out the crutch
    Go up the neck for the rules they are such
    You clean round the horns first shoulder go down
    One blow up the back and you then turn around

    Click, click, that's how the shears go
    Click, click, so awfully quick
    You pull out a sheep he'll give a kick
    And still hear your shears going click, click, click

Collected by John Meredith, with the note: "Sung by Jack Luscombe of Ryde, aged 81: started picking up at 11, and shearing at 15. Was in the '91 strike at 18. Both songs learned in the 90s."

A.L.Lloyd adds this to his version of the song.

'Click go the Shears' uses the tune and form of the North American song 'Ring the Bell Watchman'

    RING THE BELL, WATCHMAN
    (Henry Clay Work)

    High in the belfry the old sexton stands
    Grasping the rope with his thin bony hands
    Fix'd is his gaze as by some magic spell
    Till he hears the distant murmur: Ring, ring the bell

    CHORUS: Ring the bell, watchman! ring! ring! ring!
    Yes, yes! the good news is now on the wing.
    Yes, yes! they come and with tiding to tell
    Glorious and blessed tidings: Ring, ring the bell!

    Baring his long silver locks to the breeze
    First for a moment he drops on his knees
    Then with a vigor that few could excel
    Answers he the welcome bidding: Ring, ring the bell

    Hear! from the hilltop, the first signal gun
    Thunders the word that some great deed is done
    Hear! thro' the valley the long echoes swell
    Ever and anon repeating: Ring, ring the bell

    Bonfires are blazing and rockets ascend
    No meagre triumph such tokens portend
    Shout! shout! my brothers for "all, all is well!"
    'Tis the universal chorus: Ring, ring the bell


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Subject: Click Go the Shears
From: Bill Bolton
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 05:52 AM

I just noticed a mistake in the Digital Tradition words to "Click Go the Shears" and a corresponding mistake in the explanations for the same song.

The songs words "Colonial Experienced Man" should be "Colonial Experience Man".

The explanation...

Colonial Experienced Man: A sort-of Humane-Society inspector.

... is, I think, someone having a joke. or making a wild guess.

A "Colonial Experience Man" was a term used to describe someone from the British aristocracy who had done something scandelous in Britian and been banished to "the colonies" by his familiy for a while until the scandal blew over. They were said to away getting "Colonial Experience". Another related term often used was "Remittence Man", as they lived off money remitted on a monthly basis from their families in Britain.

In the case of the song, the Colonial Experience Man, is very definintley an English toff, come to amuse himself by observing the working class shearers at their labour. It has nothing to do with humane societies, RSPCAs etc.

Cheers,

Bill (Snake Gully Bush Band)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 06:36 AM

I never sing that verse, Bill; I learned it without (from Barrie Roberts, who "made the tea" at Maralinga in the sixties, but still managed to come home with an enormous number of Aussie songs).

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 09:35 PM

G'day Bill,

I have always described a Colonial Experience Man as a Remittance Man with a job title and an option on a return ticket.

The late 19th century sense of Jackeroo was pretty similar, before it lapsed into meaning no more than a 'stockman'. Interestingly, its early 19th century sense was of any white man living beyond the Government's "Boundary of Settlemnet" ... essentially a 'squatter' in the earlier senses. Presumably, both terms went up in the world as the 'squatted' properties were legitimised and made money.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 Oct 01 - 10:52 PM

Remittance Man was used in the United States and Canada (A family antecedent was one) but I haven't heard the term Colonial Experience Man. Is it confined to Australia?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 03:21 AM

I've heard the usual tune for this song sung to these seafaring words.

Strike the bell, second mate Let us go below Look hard to windward You can see it's going to blow

etc.

I suppose that's in the Mudcat somewhere.

Garry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 04:15 AM

G'day again,

Dicho: The sense in which colonial was used in Australia ... for at least 70 years after the end of the Colonial Era (1 January 1901)would have quickly ceased in America in 1776.

I know that the Bush Music Club, back in 1955 had to pay £5 for a License to print (our magazine) ... payable to the British Colonial Secretary!

Garry Gillard: Both the Australian Click Go The Shears and the nautical RingThe Bell, Second Mate are parodies of H C Work's RingThe Bell, Watchman ... written to celebrate the end of the American Civil War ... but largely forgotten in peacetime.

Bill Bolton: You have a dangerously similar name ... you are in severe danger of being tarred with the brushes aimed at me ... Ah well ... we Boltons are tough (and pedantic)!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 04:17 AM

G'day again,

Oh yes: Bill - Welcome to the Mudcat!

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: DT Correction: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 06:50 AM

G'day yet again,

Since Bill (no relation ... but we have crossed paths around Sydney and the bush music scene) raised the matter, there are a number of dubious points about the DT version of Click go the Shears. Here is my view (one extra verse, an extra line and some corrections and clarfications):

Click go the Shears

chorus:
Click go the shears, boys, click, click, click,
Wide is his blow and his hands move quick,
The ringer looks around as he's beaten by a blow
And curses the old swagger with the bare-bellied yoe.
(yoe is n. English dialect = ewe)

Out on the board the old shearer stands,
(The 'board' is the name of the shearing area) Grasping his shears in his thin bony hands,
Fixed is his gaze on a bare-bellied yoe
Glory, if he gets her; won't he make the ringer go!

In the middle of the floor in his cane-bottomed chair,
Sits the boss of the board with his eyes everywhere
Notes well each fleece as it comes to the screen
Paying strict attention that it's taken off clean.

The Colonial Experience Man, he is there of course
With his shiny leggings like he's just off his horse
Gazes all around him like a real connoisseur,
Whistling the old time tune, "I'm the perfect lure."
[Also:] Scented soap and brilliantine … and smelling like a (who .. - said that!).

The tar boy is there, and he is in demand
With his blackened tar-pot, in his tarry hand:
He sees one old sheep with a cut upon its back
This is what he's waiting for, it's "Tar here, Jack!"

Now the shearing is over, we've all got our cheques
So roll up your swags, boys, we're off on the tracks
The first pub we come to, it's there we'll have a spree
And everyone that comes along, it's 'Have a drink with me!'.

Down by the bar, the old shearer stands,
Grasping a glass in his thin bony hands.
Fixed is has gaze on a green-painted keg;
Glory, he'll be down on it, afore they stir the peg!


There we leave him standing, shouting for all hands,
Whilst all around him, every shearer stands, (not 'shouter' …he is the one who is 'shouting' [buying drinks])
His eye is on the keg, which now is lowering fast,
He works hard; he drinks hard; and goes to Hell at last.

Notes:
ringer: fastest shearer on the team
snagger: Poor shearer, prone to cutting the sheep
bare-bellied yoe: young ewe with lightly-fleeced belly region, not needing shearing
tar: antiseptic treatment applied to cuts; originally (Stockholm?) tar. (/b>
Colonial Experience Man: A 'remittance man' with a job description … and an option on a return ticket

@work @animal @Australia
filename[ CLKSHEAR
Tune file : CLKSHEAR

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 07:23 AM

Hi Bob, it'd be a good idea to put together a complete list of those peculiar Australian words and phrases. How long do you think it would take?

Cheekily, John


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 07:35 AM

... And I take it the tar is to put on the sheep, not the shearers, Bob?!

John, somebody brought out a Strine dictionary back in about 1960: is it still in print?
Steve


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF KINLEY STICK / RING THE BELL...
From: GUEST,Stavanger Bill
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 08:25 AM

Hi Guys,

Really have enjoyed reading down through this thread.

I know of another version from Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, which I believe is called the Ballad of Kinley Stick, or Ring the Bell Kinley.


Ballad of Kinley Stick, or Ring the Bell Kinley.

In the back room at Barclay's the auld Stick he stands
Graspin' the Bell wi' his auld shakey hand
Ask why he lingers and sadly he'll tell
He hasnae got a copper so he can'y ring the bell

CHORUS: Ring the bell Kinley, Ring, Ring the bell.
Heather Jock's approaching the glad news tae tell
He's pawned his upper garment and they say he has done well
So ring the bell Kinley Stick man Kinley ring the bell.

Heather Jock enters while Kinley still grieves
He stands and he gazes all in his shirt sleeves
Stick hails him wi' a shout nae ither could excell
And Heathers brief response was Man! Kinley ring the bell. CHORUS

Half a gill for the twa the Stick does boldly cry
Drink and be off was the Landlords reply
Heather did then quaff the half gill tae himsel'
And left oor Kinley scare a drop tho' he did ring the bell. CHORUS

Aw Heather that's unfair the Stick does wildly cry
Ah drank it quoth Heather because that I was dry
But gin ye'll came wi' me ma sark ah will sell
And syne we'll baith came back again and ring, ring the bell. CHORUS

Then through the Sandbed the pair they did go
Strecht tae the Pawnshop that's kept by Milmoe
But the sark it was sae bad, it really wadnae sell
So they never did back again to ring, ring the bell. CHORUS


Enjoyed hearing the band at Skagen this year - when are you next over this way?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: GUEST,chrisj
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:23 AM

G'dday Bob, You've posted on one of my favourite Australian songs. It has always reminded me of the movie "The Sundowners" which I saw before migrating here. I know many felt that Robert Mitchum's 'accent' was a bit strange but despite that I think it had a certain authenticity, d'ya reckon? chrisj


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:32 AM

Great work as usual, Bob! See you in December.;-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:44 AM

Bill, you can also other find songs to the tune (inc. the original) here:Ring The Bell, Watchman, and this one. Bob Bolton is obviously an authority on the song!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:46 AM

Oops--bit of a cock-up on the blue clicky front! The second link should have been "this thread, and this one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:46 AM

G'day yet again,

Steve Parkes: the tar was both disinfectant and wound-sealing ... and usually had worm off by the time the sheep was shorn agin ... in 12 months time.

Australian Glossary - see below

John In Brisbane: Errr ... I have done some work on the glossary and have slipped into "Think about it for a while ... then panis ..." mode. I have just gone on 3 weeks leave ... and will attack the OzGloss.xls in ith next day or two ... (?)

ChrisJ: It's decades since I saw the Sundowners ... not sure I can remember Mitchum's accent now ... ?

Charley: Good to hear from you ... airlines still go?

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:48 AM

AAAGGHH! Try this, and this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Oct 01 - 09:49 AM

Cheers, Bob!


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Subject: Lyr Add: EIGHT BELLS (Merv Lilley)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 02:07 AM

G'day again,

While looking at Click Go The Shears, I came across this 1950's parody - explanations included in posting. This might be another to interest Charlie Noble - another, (~) modern day sailor's view.:

EIGHT BELLS
[Words: Merv Lilley (>1956)]
Tune: Ring the Bell, Watchman

Down in the engine room The old greaser stands,
Striking the bell With a steel in his hands.
Fixed is his gaze On the fiddley now and then,
At last he sees them coming; Six firemen.

Chorus: Ring the bell, greaser; Ring it on the dot.
While you swing that oil can The bearings won't run hot.
Feel around the bearings,; See that they are cool.
Every forty minutes is the Old greaser's rule.

The firemen are working; There's fires on the plates.
When the steam is on the blood, Then everyone is mates.
The Trimmer in the bunkers Is tipping down the slack.
If he doesn't trim his quota, He won't be coming back.

An A.B. is on the lookout, And one is at the wheel.
Every time he slews her, We feel a sudden keel.
The day workers are chipping; They make a dreadful noise
That interferes with sleeping, Brings curses from the boys.

The chief cook and the second Are busy cooking tea.
As soon as they get finished, It's come and drink with me.
The Stewards are all busy Serving to the mates.
The way they keep them happy Is by filling up their plates.

The Skipper is the big boss; Then next comes the Chief,
So carry out their orders Or they'll tear up your brief.
Square up the rigging; Let the shore lines go.
You're heading now for Sydney, The best place that we know.


I came across this in the Chips off The Old Block section in , vol. 1, #2, p.6, Autumn 1956. This section was introduced in the previous (first) issue as a place for new sets of words (perhaps for old tunes) – in line with the Bush Music Club's aims to not only collect old songs, but to encourage a continuing tradition of contemporary song. Click Go The Shears or else Ring The Bell, Watchman was obviously just as popular then, since the very first issue had another song set to the tune: Swish Goes The Crane, in which a West Australian Wharfy (wharf labourer / stevedore) tells of the perils off shift bosses trying to raise production rates with no regard for safety.

That same first issue had another section Introducing …, which profiled active Club members – starting with Merv Lilley:

36 year-old seaman on the coastal and Island ships, Merv writes a poem a day, just for practice. "Out of so much milk" he says "some cream must rise to the top." Represented in this issue by Cane Killed Abel, Merv also wrote Ho! Give a Fair Go! which appeared as a Bushwhacker Broadside and had just been recorded by Wallaby.

A North Queenslander by birth, he has tried his hand at all kinds of work, including wool-pressing and cane-cutting. Merv is an enthusiastic supporter of The Bush Music Club's collective song-writing sessions where new songs are tried out and alterations and additions are suggested by members. It was at such workshops that his two published songs assumed their present forms. Since he joined the Club, Merv Lilley has become an enthusiastic student of the traditional bush ballad, upon which many of his later poems are based.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 05:16 AM

You could always start a group, and call it Bolton Wanderers. Yes I know it's been used before, but not successfully *BG* Jock


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Nov 01 - 10:02 AM

Nice catch, Bob! (Eight Bells)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Lin in Kansas
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 03:55 AM

Nice version (with some word changes) of "Click Go the Shears" by Rolf Harris at this site.

Lin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 05 Nov 01 - 07:27 AM

G'day Lin,

Not a bad version, Rolf's ... a few personalising changes, but as true to te topic as a commercial pressing need be. Rolf does some lovely stuff .. and some good folk music creeps in. I'm sure he enjoys it.

(Frightening thought for the day ... it's 42 years since I met Rolf - just after he appeared in the kangaroo pen at Taronga Zoo, Sydney ... plugging his new record Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport! [B side: My 2 Amigos - Nick O. Teen and Al K. Hole]...!)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BARE BELLED EWE
From: GUEST,Mark Gregory
Date: 05 Jun 13 - 11:49 PM

Two days ago I discovered what id likely to be the first published version of the Australian Bush Song 'Click go the Shears' ... only it was published as 'The Bare Belled Ewe' on 5 December 1891 in the Victorian regional newspaper the Bacchus Marsh Express.

You can look at the original at

The Bare Belled Ewe

here are the words

THE BARE BELLED EWE

Oh, down at the catching pen an old shearer stands,
Grasping his shears in his long bony hands ;
Fixed is his gaze on a bare belled ewe,
Saying " If I can only get her, won't I make the ringer go."

Click goes his shears; click, click, click.
Wide are the blows, and his hand is moving quick,
The ringer looks round, for he lost it by a blow,
And he curses that old shearer with the bare belled ewe.

At the end of the board, in a cane-bottomed chair,
The boss remains seated with his eyes everywhere;
He marks well each fleece as it comes to the screen,
And he watches where it comes from if not taken off clean.

The "colonial experience" is there of course.
With his silver buckled leggings, he's just off his horse ;
With the air of a connoiseur he walks up the floor ;
And he whistles that sweet melody, "I am a perfect cure."

"So master new chum, you may now begin,
Muster number seven paddock, bring the sheep all in;
Leave none behind you, whatever you do,
And then we'll say you'r fit to be a Jackeroo."

The tar boy is there, awaiting all demands,
With his black tarry stick, in his black tarry hands.
He sees an old ewe, with a cut upon the back,
He hears what he supposes is--" Tar here, Jack."

"Tar on the back, Jack; Tar, boy, tar."
Tar from the middle to both ends of the board.
Jack jumps around, for he has no time to sleep,
And tars the shearer's backs as well as the sheep.

So now the shearing's over, each man has got his cheque,
The hut is as dull as the dullest old wreck ;
Where was many a noise and bustle only a few hours before,
Now you can hear it plainly if a pin fall on the floor.

The shearers now are scattered many miles and far;
Some in other sheds perhaps, singing out for "tar."
Down at the bar, there the old shearer stands,
Grasping his glass in his long bony hands.

Saying "Come on, landlord, come on, come!
I'm shouting for all hands, what's yours--mine's a rum;"
He chucks down his cheque, which is collared in a crack,
And the landlord with a pen writes no mercy on the back !

His eyes they were fixed on a green painted keg,
Saying "I will lower your contents, before I move a peg."
His eyes are on the keg, and are now lowering fast;
He works hard, he dies hard, and goes to heaven at last.

C. C.
Eynesbury, Nov. 20, 1891.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears original version?
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 12:12 AM

Mark's comments from the Trove link

mgregory 5 Jun 2013 at 15:41

This is almost certainly the earliest printed version of the iconic bush song Click go the shears, a song whose provenance has been in dispute for many years. Now we have proof it was around in 1891, the year of the famous shearers' strike.


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mgregory 6 Jun 2013 at 10:44

Bell Belled

probably a miss reading of the copper plate handwriting of the original letter sent to the newspaper by C. C. from Eynesbury on 20 November 1891

------------

mgregory 6 Jun 2013 at 10:52

His eyes they were fixed on a green painted keg,
Saying " I will lower your contents, before I move a peg."
His eyes are on the keg, and are now lowering fast ;
He works hard, he dies hard, and goes to heaven at last


65 years later In 1946 in Percy Jones' article on Australian Folk Songs, the second recorded publishing of the song the last verse has undergone some modification, losing its piousness in the bush, and the last verse becomes:

There we leave him standing, shouting for all hands
While all around him every "shouter" stands
His eyes are on the cask, which now is lowering fast
He works hard, he drinks hard , and goes to hell at last

A good indication that the song had entered the oral tradition

-----------------------

good detective work, Mark.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 12:26 AM

The earliest version found in the Traditional Ballad Index was the one collected by Meredith in 1953. You beat that by a long shot, Mark.

Click Go the Shears

DESCRIPTION: A description of shearing life: The race to shear the most sheep, the boss complaining of the quality, the constant clicking of the shears. The rules for shearing are briefly mentioned. Chorus: "Click, click, click, that's how the shears go...."
AUTHOR: unknown (music by Henry Clay Work: "Ring the Bell, Watchman")
EARLIEST DATE: 1953 (collected by John Meredith)
KEYWORDS: sheep work contest
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Meredith/Anderson, p. 24, "Click, Click, That's How the Shears Go"; pp. 193-194, "Click Go the Shears" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Fahey-Eureka, pp. 152-153, "Click Go the Shears" (1 text, 1 tune)
Paterson/Fahey/Seal, pp. 180-183, "Click Go the Shears" (1 text)
DT, CLKSHEAR*
ADDITIONAL: A. K. MacDougall, _An Anthology of Classic Australian Lore_ (earlier published as _The Big Treasury of Australian Foiklore_), The Five Mile Press, 1990, 2002, p. 290, "Click Go the Shears" (1 text)
Bill Beatty, _A Treasury of Australian Folk Tales & Traditions_, 1960 (I use the 1969 Walkabout Paperbacks edition), pp. 291-292, "Click Go the Shears" (1 text)

Roud #8398
RECORDINGS:
John Greenway, "Click Go the Shears" (on JGreenway01)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Ring the Bell, Watchman" (tune)
File: MA024

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2013 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


[threads combined]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 12:11 PM

Are hand shears still used anywhere?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 03:48 PM

Was "C. C." just a contributor, or the author of the song?

A nice find. Edwards speculated that it came from around 1910.

I wonder if any other gems are in issues of that old newspaper.

I have a pair of hand shears I found at a household auction.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 07:20 PM

Q - TROVE is a project by the National Library of Australia to digitise the nation's newspapers.

OzCatters Bodgie (aka Warren Fahey, folklorist, historian & performer) & Bob Bolton regularly use Trove - description from NLA website - Find and get over 347,696,715 Australian and online resources: books, images, historic newspapers, maps, music, archives and more.

I've also used it once or twice. I found an article in a 1950's newspaper about the first person to be collected by John Meredith, our first notable folksong collector & Bob tidied it up for me. I'll eventually be posting it on the Bush Music Club blog, probably Monday or Tuesday after I come back from a festival. I have articles on John & other early members of the folk revival on the blog if you want to check them out.

sandra


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 06 Jun 13 - 09:12 PM

Guest Mark - Shearing suppliers still sell Hand shears & the Federal Award for shearers mentions hand shearing (7.5% more than machine shearing!) Rates in the Pastoral Award as of December 2012

I don't know how widely they are used - some of them are for specialised operations. Dagging shears are used to remove dags = sheep shit - from fleece. I doubt they would be used to shear sheep in very large sheds. They would be more useful to shear a sheep or 2 in very small operations that don't justify the installation of expensive machinery.

History of shearing in Australia

sandra


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 09:15 AM

The tune that I've heard for "Click Go the Shears" (from USian Carla Skiaky) is not the same as the one I know for "Strike the Bell", but it's clear that works. I don't have access to the cd at the moment or my Aussie songbooks, but if anyone has something to say about the tunes...?

- Becky in South Haven, Michigan (on the road)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 01:11 PM

Thanks for sharing those links - in particular, the "Rates" link - describing all the individuals involved in a shearing session, along with their pay scales. (I'll have to look for the rates for the "tar boy" :-) )

The cooks get paid well - I'm surprised they aren't mentioned in the song. Were they a factor in the late 1800's or early 1900's?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 07 Jun 13 - 08:02 PM

Guest: Mark Gregory
I know no-one should doubt you (and a marvellous bit of work in finding this and copying it here) but some may be tempted to check that you've rendered it exactly as in the newspaper.
Save your time. I've checked that every word & spelling matches.

Nice job, Mark!

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 10:28 PM

G'day Desert Dancer,

There has been extensive discussion, in earlier threads, of the source tune for Click Go The Shears. It's interesting tha Henry Clay Work's song "Ring The Bell Watchman", rolled off to celebrate the news of the end of the American Civil War ... just faded from public interest in peacetime .

However the song had managed to be published in a popular collection of song tunes ... which remained in print for the best part of a century [I've handled copies from the late 19th century ... and own (slightly smaller) editions from the 1950s!.

"Ring The Bell Watchman" turned out to be an excellent tune for the "Barn Dance" ( ... which got its name from another song (~) "Dancing in the Barn" ...). By the start of "folk song" collecting in Australia "Ring The Bell Watchman" was widely held to be the best tune for the Barn Dance ( ... in 'schottische time') and it quietly picked up the words of a song about 'blade-shearing' ... in the time before the ~ 1890s development of more efficient 'machine shears'.

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 11:28 PM

G'day again,

Oops! I ought to have not let myself be side-tracked by the interesting separate issue of the long Australian life of the American "End of the Civil War" song Ring the Bell Watchman ... in a variety of song and dance roles ...

Mark Gregory is to be congratulated on locating such an early printing of these words. We don't know if there is some even earlier form lurking in even older newspaper archives ... and it certainly seems that this printed text was transcribed ( ... from a hand-written letter, or else from the notes of some 19th century proto "collector" ... or the notebook of a keen reciter picking up poems in his travels) ... "C.C. of Eynesbury" ... ???)

It's interesting that it comes from the period in which the mechanical shears were being developed ... that would make much of the poem / song outdated by the next decade.

It is wonderful that so many 19th century journals and newspapers are being captured into scanning programs like Trove ... and we can look forward to other gems like this one!

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 11:40 PM

G'day again,

I just did a quick search on the (... probable ...) address of the author / transcriber / collector of this poem / ~song~ :

"... Now considered Victoria's newest township, Eynesbury was named after a town in the United Kingdom (north of London) where Simon Staughton was born (1797). Mr Staughton moved with his family to Australia in 1841 and settled on 101,000 acres which was subsequently subdivided in 1852..."

Eynesbury apparently wasn't yet a town at the time of these verses' publication ... but C.C. doesn't seem to have been a Staughton - unless he only initialed his 'given names'. Maybe he was the 'colonial experience' (- man)... !)

Regardles)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Jun 13 - 11:54 PM

G'day yet again ... ,

Then I did some other background checking ... and noticed that Wolsely's mechanical sheep shears ... having been inspired and engineered up in Australia ... were tested and pronounced effective - in Britain from about a year earlier ... so that this published text comes just before the hand-shearing tradition is about to be replaced by machine-shearing!

Regards ... yet agin,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: mark gregory
Date: 23 Jun 13 - 08:29 AM

Ring the Bell Watchman worlds and music was published in Australia in 1868 (3 years after it was composed by Henry Work) by R.J. Paling in Melbourne and W. H. Paling in Sydney. From then on it was a popular concert piece to be sung or played as a tune.

Before Click Go the Shears in 1891 there were at least two other parodies of the song published in Australian newspapers.

The painting "Shearing the Rams" by Tom Roberts has the date 1890 (I think) and shows the shearing taking place in a wooden shed

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tom_Roberts_-_Shearing_the_rams_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Through Tom Roberts' eyes we see

a shearer dragging a ram through the his gate
the ringer in front with his hand shears (just before he turns to find he's been beaten by a blow by the shearer behind him?)
the boss of the board keeping an eye in things noting whether the fleece is took off clean
the tar boy with is tar stick

This boys and men in depicted in the painting are as close as you could hope to the narrative of the song and taken together the song and painting show how important the intricacies of shearing were in Australia at that time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 12:58 AM

G'day again Mark,

While I was copying the 1891 Trove / Bacchus Marsh Express / CC - Eynesbury (... to drop that one as the top of the pile in the "Click Go" file ...) I noticed a few other (~) possible or actual errors in their transcription of the verses.

The missing "i" in "Bare BellIed Ewe is the obvious one ... and might mean that the typesetter was not only cross-eyed but also not a shearer ... or sheep station owner.

Down in the third stanza, he also misses the doubled 's' in connoisSeur ... and ...

... more to my point, I suspect that he has missed / misread the last word of stanza 6 ... where we have 'tar' inexplicably rhymed with 'board' ... when the aim of the tar boy is, indeed, the old ewe's "scar".

To me, that stanza works far better as:

"Tar on the back, Jack; Tar, boy, tar."
Tar from the middle to the both ends of the SCAR.".
Jack jumps around, for he has no time to sleep,
And tars the shearer's backs as well as the sheep."

It is also interesting that, in the chorus,"blow" at the end of the third line ... allegedly rhymes with "ewe" ... suggesting that, to the sheep man who wrote these words, those two words did rhyme! Possibly that was an assumption on the part of the author ... but not shared with the typesetter!

Regards,

BobB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Rumncoke
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 06:41 AM

As ewe is promounced 'yow' it does rhyme with blow.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Allan C.
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 07:50 AM

"You take off the belly-wool clean out the crutch"

It seems clear that "crutch" is meant to rhyme with "such" in the line that follows. However, I can't help but think this is more of how the word, CROTCH, might be pronounced in order to force the rhyme. Any thoughts on this?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 10:31 AM

"crutching" is the removal of wool from the crutch of a sheep to keep the area dry and less attractive to blowfly strike.

It's pronounced with the 'U' sound, not the 'O' sound here in Australia

American site which gives both spellings
crutching


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Allan C.
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 10:39 AM

Thanks, SiS. Excellent link.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: GUEST,John Foxen
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 12:36 PM

I first learned this song at primary school in Adelaide (South Australia) in the late Fifties and then we were taught to sing blue-bellied joe. I was told then that it was because a sheep's belly looked blue if it was bare of wool. I accepted that then and have never thought to check it out (although I've long been back in Britain and Oz and Pom sheep may be different).
I barely heard the song in Britain for many years but suddenly it seems to have taken on a new lease of life. The Wreckers Border Morris side dance Tinners Rabbit to the tune and managed to score a first at this year's Chippenham folk festival by getting the tune on the Victorian iPod - a hand built, hand-pumped street organ and dancing to it.
Wreckers dance to ClickGo The Shears


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 25 Jun 13 - 07:00 PM

G'day Allan C,

As Sandra has already noted, the Germanic-derived "crutch" is much more common in Australian usage than the French-derived "crotch (from 'croche' = "hook"). My desktop Oxford Concise Australian Dictionary has listings for the Australian / (mainly) sheep industry terms:

Crutch: Noun - Hindquarters of a sheep / verb: 'clip wool from about the tail of a sheep to prevent fouling, and esp. to prevent blowfly strike. / noun: Crutcher ...

Crutchings: Noun - Wool clipped from the hindquarters of a sheep.

There were a number of large migrations of Germanic people ... mainly getting away from Bismarck's attempts to :unify" them ... during the 19th century. I believe quite a lot of their rural usages quietly slipped into the Australian variety of the "English" language.

Rgegard(les)s,

BobB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 01:18 AM

G'day again Rumncoke,

What's your location / 'English' language 'group'?

The accepted Australian pronunciation of "ewe" (as per my desktop Oxford Concise Australian Dictionary ... if not necessarily in the sheep-raising industry ...) is the same as the second person address "you" ... but its source is Germanic ... with pronunciation approximating "...ee oh woo ... " ... so it's two bob each way!

There was a good proportion of Germanic migration to parts of Australia, particularly in Bismarck's day - and there are still rural areas with a lot of German immigrants ... from a few generations back.

Anyway, I wouldn't baulk at finding areas around the English language diaspora that have stayed closer to the Germanic elements in a very polyglot language!

Regards,

BobB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Snuffy
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 04:00 AM

No need to seek German origins, Bob: in various British dialects "ewe" is pronounced "yoe" or "yowe" (rhyming with "know" and "now" respectively).

And although your trousers may have a crotch, in an altercation you would be kicked in the crutch rather than the crotch!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 06:53 AM

whatever, it would still hurt!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 03:04 PM

?
Never heard kicked in the crutch. Always crotch in American usage.
Ewe is "you" in the American language.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 06:48 PM

G'day Snuffy,

... German origins ( if not ultimately original ... that wwould have been "Ugh!" in ancient proto-human ...) are appropriate to discussing what we call 'English' ... which is at the western end of West Germanic languages - even if it has plundered most other European .(and not a few 'colonial' languages) along the way!

Regards,

BobB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Joybell
Date: 26 Jun 13 - 07:39 PM

Good work Mark. Trove is a great resource. I found the author of "The Caltapa" there.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: GUEST,Greg
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 06:17 PM

Kinly Stick was written in 1872
In Hawick


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Subject: LYR ADD - Kinly Stick - 2 versions
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 14 Jun 15 - 11:51 PM

Scocha and The Joe Mangels sing Kinly Stick

Kinly Stick lyrics

KINLY STICK


In the big room at Barclays, the auld stick hei stands
Graspin' yon' bellrope, wi' cauld shakin' hands
Ask why hei lingers, and sadly hei'll tell
Hei hesnae got a copper so hei darnae ring the bell


Heather Jock enters, while Kinly yet grieves
Hei stands there an' hei gazes, a' in his serk sleeves
Stick hails him wi' a shout which nae other could excel
And Heather's brief response was, "Man! Kinly ring the bell"


Chorus


Ring the bell Kinly
Ring ring the bell
Heather Jock's approaching
Wi' glad news tae tell
Hei's pawned his upper garment
They say he has done well
So ring the bell Kinly Stick
Kinly ring the bell



"Half a gill for twae", then Heather bold did cry
"Drink and be off", was the landlord's quick reply
Then Heather he did quaff the half gill tae himsel'
And left pair Kinly not a drop, though hei did ring the bell


"O' Heather that's unfair", the stick did wildly cry
"A' drank eet" quoth Heather, "Aw man bit a' was dry"
"Bit guin ye' come wi' mei, and ma' serk a wull sell
And suin we'll baith gaun back again and ring, ring the bell"


Chorus


Doon throw' the Sandbed the pair they did go
Streight tae yon pawnshop that's kept by Milmoe
But the serk it was sae bad, that it really wadnae sell
So they never did gaun back again tae ring the bluidy bell


Chorus x 2

=============================

another version from Harwick in Song & Poetry


Ye Ballad of Ye Kinly stick.
By WILLIAM EASTON.

In the back room at Barclay's, the Auld Stick he stands
Grasping the bell-rope with his auld shaky hands,
Ask why he lingers and sadly he'll tell,
He hasna got a copper, so he daurna ring the bell.

Chorus—

Ring the bell, Kinly, ring, ring, ring!
Heather Jock's approaching the good news to bring,
He's pawn'd his upper garment they say he has done well,
Ring the bell, Kinly Stick, Kinly ring the bell.

Heather Jock enters (while Kinly yet grieves),
He stands and he gazes all in his shirt s'eeves;
Stick hails him with a shout, which no other could excel,
And Heather's brief response was— "Stick, ring the bell."

Chorus—

"Half-a-gill for the twae," then Heather bold did cry;
"Drink and be off," was the landlord's quick reply;
Then Heather he did quaff the half-gill to himsel',
And left the Kinly not a drop though he did ring the be1l."

Chorus—

"Oh! Heather, that's unfair," the Suck did wi1dly cry,
"A' drank it," quoth Heather, because that I was dry,
But gin you'll come wi' me, my sark I wil1 sell,
And sune we'll baith come back agaia and ring, ring the bell."


Chorus—

Then through the Sandbed the pair they did go,
Streicht to the pawnshop that's kept by Milmoe;
But the sark it was sae bad, it really wad' na' sell,
And they never could gang back again to ring, ring the bell.

Chorus—


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Bruce D
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 08:25 AM

The Tar used to treat cuts while shearing was originally a byproduct of producing Kerosene from coal oil, and was used a a general cure-all for cuts, abrasions, and wounds for both Humans and animals use during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Tar used in road making is not the same product.

Coal Tar is also where Asprin was first derived from by Bryer in the 1890's.

Bruce D


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 Jun 15 - 10:31 AM

many thankyous, Bruce for the info


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Subject: RE: Origins: Click Go the Shears
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 28 Jul 15 - 01:02 PM

The tar-water that features so prominently in the early chapters of Great Expectations was a natural form of crude oil which occurs near the surface of the ground in some areas. Here's a blicky to a well-known English one.


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