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Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain

DigiTrad:
KING CARACTACUS
SIX WHITE BOOMERS
TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN


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SharonA 25 Jan 02 - 01:16 PM
GUEST,Gary T 25 Jan 02 - 02:03 PM
GUEST,AR282 25 Jan 02 - 02:14 PM
jup 25 Jan 02 - 02:26 PM
Charley Noble 25 Jan 02 - 03:23 PM
John Gray 25 Jan 02 - 07:57 PM
breezy 25 Jan 02 - 08:17 PM
Helen 26 Jan 02 - 12:40 AM
Helen 26 Jan 02 - 12:58 AM
Mark Cohen 26 Jan 02 - 01:04 AM
LittlePagan 26 Jan 02 - 01:22 AM
Manitas_at_home 26 Jan 02 - 04:46 AM
Gareth 26 Jan 02 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,pete 26 Jan 02 - 11:30 AM
pavane 27 Jan 02 - 11:33 AM
Snuffy 27 Jan 02 - 02:14 PM
pavane 27 Jan 02 - 03:36 PM
Murray MacLeod 27 Jan 02 - 03:49 PM
GUEST,paskunia@optonline.net 27 Jan 02 - 03:59 PM
allie kiwi 27 Jan 02 - 04:32 PM
Snuffy 27 Jan 02 - 06:18 PM
DonMeixner 27 Jan 02 - 10:54 PM
SharonA 28 Jan 02 - 09:23 AM
GUEST 29 Jan 02 - 01:12 AM
John Gray 29 Jan 02 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Don 29 Jan 02 - 10:28 AM
Dave Bryant 29 Jan 02 - 11:32 AM
SharonA 29 Jan 02 - 11:41 AM
Gareth 29 Jan 02 - 06:41 PM
allie kiwi 30 Jan 02 - 12:45 AM
SharonA 30 Jan 02 - 09:00 AM
Joan from Wigan 31 Jan 02 - 04:25 AM
KingBrilliant 31 Jan 02 - 05:00 AM
SharonA 31 Jan 02 - 10:48 AM
open mike 18 Jan 08 - 04:15 PM
open mike 18 Jan 08 - 04:22 PM
PoppaGator 18 Jan 08 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Concha sam 18 Jan 08 - 05:32 PM
Keef 18 Jan 08 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Jan 08 - 12:02 AM
Andrez 19 Jan 08 - 07:39 AM
GUEST,Ogre 27 Aug 08 - 05:04 AM
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clueless don 27 Aug 08 - 09:01 AM
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Subject: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: SharonA
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 01:16 PM

Hi, all! In another thread, the song "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" was mentioned, and the meaning of the phrase "Let me Abos go loose" was questioned. Since it constituted major thread-creep there, and since I couldn't find another thread on the subject, I'd like to bring the discussion here and hopefully find out what that song's verse is all about.

Here's a link to "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" in the DigiTrad: TIE ME KANGAROO DOWN

(Note: the DigiTrad version does not include the spoken introduction to this song, in which it is revealed that the singer is at the point of death. If anyone has the words to that intro, please add them to this thread.)

The verse in question is as follows:
Let me Abos go loose, Bruce
Let me Abos go loose
They're of no further use, Bruce
So let me Abos go loose.


I had always assumed that "letting Abos (a slur similar to the American slur 'darkies') go loose" meant freeing them from slavery upon the owner's death, as was sometimes done in the pre-Civil-War US. Am I assuming incorrectly? I searched briefly, using Google, and could not find any historical reference to Europeans ever having enslaved native Australians.

But if the verse does not refer to slavery, what does it mean? Indentured servitude? Imprisonment? How were the native Australians supposedly "of use" to this guy, and how did he prevent them (until his death) from "going loose"?

Thanks in advance for any info or links you can offer to enlighten me on the subject.

Sharon


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Gary T
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 02:03 PM

Here's the introduction:

SPOKEN: There's an old Australian stockman lying, dying. He gets himself up onto one elbow and 'e turns to his mates, who are all gathered around and 'e says:

One site I checked included this: Note: The next-to-last verse, which is rather offensive, but evidently was acceptable in Australia in the early 60s, refers to Abos, or Aborigines. Roughly, the American equivalent would be "darkies".

Some sites had "Lew" rather than "Bruce" for that verse. One changed it from "Abos" to "wombats," another left out the verse.

At this point, my guess would be that the meaning of "Let me Abos go loose" would be "dismiss my field hands." I see it as similar to saying "his employer let him go," meaning he was fired.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 02:14 PM

I'm still trying to figure out why the Kangaroo needed to be tied down. They should let that poor bugger go loose.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: jup
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 02:26 PM

I think GaryT got it in one. My guess is that the line refers to aboriginal stockman. These men are as they were then an important part of the workforce in the bush. Slavery is part of Australian history mainly in the sugar industry. "Kanaka" labour was what established the cane fields. An apropriate reflection on Australia day. Jup.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 03:23 PM

The songs we used to sing along on so innocently! And I'm still not what purpose, if any, was being served by "tying me kangaroo down."


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: John Gray
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 07:57 PM

SharonA
No, there was no slavery as such of the Aboriginals. From the late 1800's to the 1960's many of the workforce on the outback cattle stations ( ranches )were Aboriginals. Drovers, cooks, cleaners etc and they lived in accommodation provided close to the main house. As the introduction of cattle was detrimental to the traditional hunting grounds, and as the Aboriginals began to lose their hunting skills, they worked to eat. In some cases they were paid in a form of script that could only be converted into food / tobacco etc. at the station store or they were paid with food.
This procedure tended to "lock" several Aboriginal families to the station as effectively as slavery would have done.
As the stockman ( cattle station owner / manager ) is dying he has no further need of their labour and some of them will be as old as he is anyway, past working age.
Charley.
As far as I'm aware there is no reason to tie kangaroos down unless you want to stop them hopping. I think - Tie me kangaroos down sport - is just a well-imagined lyric.
The word - sport - as used in this context means a good mate or buddy.

JG/FME


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: breezy
Date: 25 Jan 02 - 08:17 PM

SHEEP DONT NEED TO BE TIED DOWN.,
But why do it on the edge of a cliff?
because they push back harder
Am I in the right thread?


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Helen
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 12:40 AM

No, breezy, you're looking for the New Zealand thread.

[Ducking & running]

Helen (in Oz)


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Helen
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 12:58 AM

Don't forget that this song was written by Rolf Harris, so it - in all probability - was never intended to be taken seriously, and certainly not intended to be analysed logically. It's really more of a vehicle for playing on words and for using a string of Oz images.

As a young child, when I was first visiting the library in the early 60's there was only one picture book in the kids section which had *anything* to do with Australia. It was called Ambrose Kangaroo and it was one of the silliest, most useless books I've ever read in my life (& being an ex-librarian and perpetual student the total amounts to a mountain of books) but my sister & I kept on borrowing it just because it had some reference to an Oz image. Ambrose was nothing like a kangaroo at all, and there was no real Oz reference in it.

Maybe that will help you to think about why Rolf Harris was so popular in Oz then. He was one of a very few people who were using Oz-related images in the performing arts or other cultural formats.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Mark Cohen
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 01:04 AM

Helen, I presume you (and breezy) are talking about the kind of place where, in Bruce Phillips' words, "The men are men...and the sheep are nervous." All in good fun, of course. (OK, I'll go now.)

Aloha,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: LittlePagan
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 01:22 AM

I remember a 45 record with "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" on one side and on the flip side was a song that started, " Now I met a man the other day and he was dressed in a very strange way, with a great big hat with a big black brim....and around his ankle was a big black chain and dragging on the chain was a big black ball." Any one know who recorded it, what the title of the song is and what are the lyrics? Thanks, Pagan

John Gray- At the same time the Aborigines were being paid with script, so were the coal miners of Appalachia. Many of them were also people who had been displaced from their land.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Manitas_at_home
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 04:46 AM

I'm not sure Rolf Harris was popular in Australia at the time of that hit. He certainly was in th UK where he had come to live. I suspect he became popular in Oz afterwards.

With regard to payment in script isn't this what was banned under the 'truck' laws? A common practice in England used to be to pay workers in an ale-house owned by the company so that a large proportion of the wages never got home.

Oh, and Johnny Cash sings about owing his soul to the company store in '16 Tons'.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Gareth
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 09:43 AM

Yes - The Truck Acts were designed to end the "Mill Tokens" and the Company Store. Payment of wages must be in Legal Tender, which can be made by a bank transfer, provided the money is in the payee's bank account on or before the due date.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,pete
Date: 26 Jan 02 - 11:30 AM

i believe the company store was also referred to as the tommy shop and sold inferior goods, hence "tommyrot"


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: pavane
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 11:33 AM

Where did Mr RH get his inspiration for the song? Has anyone asked him? We do know that one of his other songs (Two Little Boys) bears some slight resemblence to a song published in 1906 (Two little chaps in two sailor caps...) which can be found online in the Lester Levy collection of sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Snuffy
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 02:14 PM

Many years ago I saw RH perform Two Little Boys on TV. In his introduction he said that the song dated from the Crimean Was period (mid-1850s).

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: pavane
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 03:36 PM

Dated from, or was set in? Or maybe the 1906 song was also a copy? Where does it all end?


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 03:49 PM

"Let me abo's go loose" simply means dismiss my field hands. The song caused some controversy at the time, and I remember it was banned from the airwaves in some (Asian? ) country as a result of this verse, which was in dubious taste even allowing for the less politically aware climate of the 60's.

One Guest above wonders why the kangaroo needed to be ties down in the first place.

My understanding is (and always has been) that "kangaroo" in this context is allegorical, being symbolic of the dying stockman's male member, which he is afraid might continue to flourish priapically even after death just as it did when he was alive, leading to potential problems with the fitting of the coffin lid. Therefore he beseeches his closest friend to take appropriate precautionary measures.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,paskunia@optonline.net
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 03:59 PM

"Kangaroo" was one of the first singles my sister ever bought. The other I remember her playing was "Afrikaan Beat" by Bert Kampfaert. One song is about letting one's abos go loose, the other about Boer music in mostly-black South Africa. Talk about being politically incorrect ahead of her time!

PS FWIW, she grew up to be a 60's liberal, and still is.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: allie kiwi
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 04:32 PM

LMAO, Murray. Men and their phallic symolism. *grin*

I wonder what everyone makes of Rolf's other hit 'Jake the Peg'??

Allie


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Snuffy
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 06:18 PM

Pavane, "Two Little Boys" has been discussed several times in the forum, aand I'm sure at least one of the threads gives its original publication date. I'm sure it's mid-Victorian (In US it's commonly believed to date from the Civil War).

Just type Two Little Boys in the Diditrad and Forum Search and you'll come up with more threads than you can shake a stick at.

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: DonMeixner
Date: 27 Jan 02 - 10:54 PM

We still do "The Kangaroo Song" in the band I've been in for the last 12 years. Our bass player sings it and had for the eleven years previous to my joining The Flyin' Column. He always sang "Let my elbows go loose Lew, let my Elbows go loose." When I corrected him I was expecting to hear some politically correct reason for not saying "Aboes". Fact is he thought they were saying "Aboes" but he was clueless as to what Aboes were so he thought he was miss hearing the word.

Well.... he is a bass player after all..

Don


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: SharonA
Date: 28 Jan 02 - 09:23 AM

Wow! Thanks, everyone, for responding. Lots of info here that is new to me!

I'm curious about the comment from jup: "Slavery is part of Australian history mainly in the sugar industry." Can someone tell me more about that? Who was enslaved – Aborigines, Africans, or some other ethnic population? (For that matter, were the slaveowners Europeans, or from somewhere else?)

Murray: I never would have thought that "kangaroo" was slang for the male member (being the prude that I am *G*), but it makes sense. After all, in the US it's got several animal slang-names (the "mouse in the pocket" joke is a classic), so why not a jumping kangaroo?! I wonder how few other people of that time caught on to the symbolism, since it's less obvious than, for instance, the song "My Ding-a-Ling" of a few years earlier.

By the way, I had to look up "priapically" (meaning "phallically" – the word originates with the Roman god of male generative power, Priapus, in turn from the Greek god Priapos). As I said, there's lots of info here! ;^)

Sharon


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 01:12 AM

there is plenty info available on 'blackbirding', the practice of kidnapping South Pacific Islanders (Kanakas) for work on the Queensland sugar-cane plantations in the 19 Century. Then after 1901, when the 'White Australia Policy' was brought in, many of them were shipped back 'home', even if they were second generation Australian-born.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: John Gray
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 08:51 AM

MurrayMac,
I well remember when the poo hit the fan over this songs lyrics and Rolf Harris then bringing out a sanitised version, and all the ensueing controversy and publicity, but nowhere do I recall the hopping kangaroo / penis version you put forward. Back in the 60's we just weren't that subtle with lyrics and RH is extremely conservative and probably devoid of that degree of imagination.
I would think your version as more likely the creation of an expansive folkie 3 litres into a 5 litre cider flagon.

JG / FME


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Don
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 10:28 AM

For "LittlePagan": As I recall, the Rolf Harris 45 of "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport", as released in the US, included the song about "a great big hat with a big black brim...[etc.]" as the flip side. I believe the song was titled "Big Black Hat", or something like that. However, I did not actually buy this record, so I may be misremembering.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 11:32 AM

As far as the Australian "Slavery" issue goes, forget the aborigines (sorry, I should have said Native Australians), what do think was the fate of the british transportees ?

An' it's seven long years I've bin out 'ere,
An' it's seven long years I've to stay,
All for beltin' a bloke down an alley,
An' takin' his ticker away.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: SharonA
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 11:41 AM

Dave Bryant: "Ticker"? Does that mean a watch (i.e. stealing from him), or his heart (i.e. killing him)?

GUEST 29-Jan-02 01:12 AM: Thanks for the information about "blackbirding" and the Kanakas. Again, this is news to me, the ignorant American. Any links to some of this "plenty" of information on the subject?

Sharon


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Gareth
Date: 29 Jan 02 - 06:41 PM

Ticker slg was Watch

The Music Hall Song " If you want to know the time, ask a Policeman" was a sarcastic comment on the alledged habits of London Police Constables of releiving drunks of their Watches.

"Every Member of the force,
Has a Watch and Chain of Course,
If you want to know the time, ask a Police Man

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: allie kiwi
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 12:45 AM

Here is a link to some information on Kanakas and blackbirding:

http://www.janeresture.com/kanakas/index.htm

Allie


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: SharonA
Date: 30 Jan 02 - 09:00 AM

Gareth and Allie: Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 04:25 AM

Rolf Harris's website has details of albums you can buy, but no lyrics. Richard Skeen's website has a section on RH plus some lyrics and other details about the songs.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 05:00 AM

For years I thought it was a song about an overly friendly kangaroo called Tymie.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: SharonA
Date: 31 Jan 02 - 10:48 AM

KingBrilliant: LOL! And I suppose he had feathers, and would Sport his Tymie Kangaroo Down.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: open mike
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 04:15 PM

A recent thread on another song "Tie Me Down" reminded me of this one.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: open mike
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 04:22 PM

I mainly remember hearing the name Rolf Harris in connection with the
freak accordion fire on stage--article here..
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/showbiz/2173870.stm
and here: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=50194
With the Australian performer Rolf Harris, fun is as contagious
as cold germs in a day-care center. Take the time his accordion
caught on fire because it was placed too close to the stage lights.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: PoppaGator
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 04:29 PM

Earlier in this thread there was an attribution of the line "I owe my soul to the company store" to Johnny Cash.

Although the late great Mr. Cash may very well have been among the many singers to cover the song in question, "Sixteen Tons," the best-known recording (and one of the earliest, if not the very first) was sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, and I believe the authorship is generally attributed to Merle Travis.

The "company store" was for many years a feature of exploitative employment, especially in isolated rural areas, such as coal mining and sharecropping. While there must be very many references to this "peculiar institution" in many different songs, the complete phrase "I owe my soul to the company store" is, quite famously, a specific quote from "Sixteen Tons."


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Concha sam
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 05:32 PM

They are only words, and good ones at that.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Keef
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 08:47 PM

I remember RH being asked about this during an interview. He did seem to be apologetic about it, explaining that at the time (50's 60's) it was just the everyday attitude to aboriginals and not done with INTENTIONAL malice.
In much the same way as my old mum would say n***** brown
Or eeney meaney miny mo....
Or "dark person" in the woodpile (that was a strange one)

Most/some of us nowadays can see that this kind of talk is hurtful and best avoided.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 12:02 AM

In a previous posting yesterday, I gave were references made to 16-tons in previous MC threads....this is a well discussed area.

PLEASE - (if you are interested) research SCOTIA (Pacific Lumber - Northern California) for more information about probably the last remaining "company store/town" in the USA. They had there own script for use in the town.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Andrez
Date: 19 Jan 08 - 07:39 AM

Just to contribute a little historical perspective, Ted Egans song Gurindji Blues, communicates some of the real life and times of Aboriginal people in remote pastoral Australia that were contemporaneous with Rolf Harrises ditty. Ted was a white person as well but his song is significantly more aware of the issues and it shows. For those that want a little more history on the background to the story try this link:
http://www.kevcarmody.com.au/Black%20fellas%20and%20white%20fellas.pdf
Gurindji Blues


Poor bugger me, Gurindji
Me bin sit down this country
Long time before the Lord Vestey
Allabout land belongin' to we
Oh poor bugger me, Gurindji.
Poor bugger blackfeller; Gurindji
Long time work no wages, we,
Work for the good old Lord Vestey
Little bit flour; sugar and tea
For the Gurindji, from Lord Vestey
Oh poor bugger me.



Poor bugger me, Gurindji,
Man called Vincent Lingiari
Talk long allabout Gurindji
'Daguragu place for we,
Home for we, Gurindji:
But poor bugger blackfeller, Gurindji
Government boss him talk long we
'We'll build you house with electricity
But at Wave Hill, for can't you see
Wattie Creek belong to Lord Vestey'
Oh poor bugger me.



Poor bugger me, Gurindji
Up come Mr: Frank Hardy
ABSCHOL too and talk long we
Givit hand long Gurindji
Buildim house and plantim tree
Longa Wattie Creek for Gurindji
But poor bugger blackfeller Gurindji
Government Law him talk long we
'Can't givit land long blackfeller, see
Only spoilim Gurindji'
Oh poor bugger me.



Poor bugger me, Gurindji
Peter Nixon talk long we:
'Buy you own land, Gurindji
Buyim back from the Lord Vestey'
Oh poor bugger me, Gurindji.
Poor bugger blackfeller Gurindji
Suppose we buyim back country
What you reckon proper fee?
Might be flour, sugar and tea
From the Gurindji to Lord Vestey?
Oh poor bugger me.



Oh ngaiyu luyurr ngura-u
Sorry my country, Gurindji.



Author: Ted Egan


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Ogre
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 05:04 AM

wow, this is so educational for me. I just stumbled across this string through a google search.

Just wanted to add that i think the flip side song was "Big Black Ball" and the company's fake money was called "scrip" without the "t" on the end.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Cliff
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 08:20 AM

Re. JC and the company store - in his song (which I believe JC wrote) 'Bottom of a mountain' one line is 'I draw scrip for most of my money' meaning that he doesnt see actual cash!


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: clueless don
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 09:01 AM

Although I did not actually buy the recording (as I said above on 29 Jan 02 - 10:28 AM, when I was still GUEST,Don), I listened to this song any number of times when it was popular, and I am quite sure that he said "Let me Abos go loose, Lou" (or Lew), and not "Bruce".

It actually sounded like he was saying "Let me abbas go loose, lou", so maybe he was saying to release his Swedish pop groups!

Don


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: SINSULL
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 09:04 AM

Ogre - joining is free and easy. Plus you can PM other members for more info. think about it.
SINS


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Rapparee
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 09:22 AM

Heck, I thought he was saying "emus" -- those big birds that taste like chicken.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: ClaireBear
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 11:52 AM

"Big Black Ball"?

Must have been more than one 45, then. The RH "Tie Me Kangaroo..." recording I heard countless times in California as a child (around 1966) had "Sun A-Rise" -- a song I still love to sing -- on the flip side.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: bubblyrat
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 01:45 PM

In England nowadays, we have a thing called an "Anti -Social Behaviour Order" , or ASBO, which is a punitive measure imposed upon those deemed to have crossed the line between civilised and outrageous conduct. Whilst a relatively new concept in the UK, the ASBO is actually quite an antiquated disciplinary discouragement, and was widely used in the early Antipodean Colonial settlements as a means of controlling the (largely criminal) populace. As a token of respect for the dead and dying, the stigma of these Behaviour Orders could be lifted at ,or just before, the moment of death ( where practicable, of course), and ,indeed, this is the case with respect to the much-misunderstood lyrics in the song in question.Here we have the Dying Stockman (or Rancher), a known and habitual miscreant,concerned principally for the welfare of his unmanageable marsupial,nevertheless anxious to preserve a modicum of dignity by imploring the attendant Aboriginal assistant law-officer, known ,inevitably,due to his sexual and amorous proclivities ,as "Loose Bruce", to release him from the Earthly obligations of his most recent non-custodial sentence, with the (now immortal )words " Let me ASBOs go."    QED.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Rowan
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 06:44 PM

My memory of an interview of Rolf Harris (by Andrew Denton) has it that Rolf had heard a calypso song sung by Harry Belafonte. Calypso apparently was a rhythm that was new to him and he was intrigued. Later, the phrase "Tie me kangaroo down, Sport" came into his head and fitted the calypso rhythm perfectly, so he spent some time and effort getting a singable song out of it. [As has already been mentioned, "Sport" is an Oz nominal similar to, and used in similar circumstances to, "Cobber", "Mate", "Digger" and "You old bastard".]

Some years after the song's success had changed his circumstances, Rolf ran into Harry Belafonte and went to thank him for giving him the inspiration for the song; as Rolf recounted it, Harry just ignored him. Andrew Denton's interview of Rolf, originally conducted a couple of years ago, was recently rebroadcast with the intro that its initial broadcast had elicited the highest (positive) audience response of any program that year; for me it was quite a sensitive and moving interview on both occasions.

While most nonIndigenous Australians would not recognise slavery as having been part of the Australian landscape (and would also argue there's never been a war in Australia), many would counter this view with accusations of sophistry. The "blackbirding" of Pacific Islanders ("Kanakas") involved exactly the same operations as the transAtlantic slave trade, with the exception that, "officially" they became "indentured labourers" in Oz. This was mostly centred on Queensland and there are a few "southerners" (ie residents of states south of Queensland) who regard Queensland as a racist community still; they need to remove the splinters from their own eyes first.

Away from the SE corner of Oz, Indigenous Australians (technically, both Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are recognised as two separate groups under this particular umbrella) were regarded as a form of wildlife by the "whites" who moved into "unoccupied" territory and "settled" it. Sometimes the wildlife was rather useful, for concubinage (and, occasionally, formal marriage) or labour.

Some explorers, traversing areas with small and separated waterholes, are recorded as capturing a few local Aborigines and chaining them up, forcing them to eat salt until they were overpowered by thirst and then releasing them to be followed to the next water source. Other relationships were more respectful but still did not recognise Aboriginal land tenure or rights to fair payment. Most Aborigines on pastoral properties were also on or close to the land occupied by their language group prior to white settlement and its notion of Terra nullius and the Aborigines' obligations to the ceremonies enabled them to "accept" conditions that would have been described anywhere else as "slavery".

"Poor bugger me", posted above by Andrez, celebrates the first successful action by Aborigines to gain right of occupation on land notionally owned by Lord Vestey, even though they had decided to no longer work as part of the station's work force.

"Let me Abos go loose, Bruce", I'd argue, has no real connection with a dying stockman releasing workers. To my mind, it's just a phrase (admittedly on the offensive side, but we didn't think much about such things until later) with a scansion that fits and continues the rhyming pattern, as well as 'pushing' an Oz allusion.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 07:24 PM

It is well to bear in mind that Queensland was not the only area in Oz where 'blackbirding' occurred. Mike Murray and Leslie Silvester, of Fremantle WA have written a song about its occurrence in Western Australia. They recorded it on their CD 'Strangers on the Shore', a suite of songs 'of ships, the sea and first contact with Western Australia'.

From the 'Western Australian Herald' of 23 October 1869: 'Preparation for the New Pearling Season … take the first ebb and glide away out of the creek … then comes the most important part, the picking up of the niggers … for pearling after all would never pay white labour'.

Mike and Lesley noted: 'Blackbirding flourished in the pearling industry in NW Australia. Kidnapped Aborigines from the Gascoyne region were held captive on islands, such as Lewis Island, and the luggers would call in from time to time to replenish those who had perished whether from the bends, ill-treatment or shipwreck'.

LEWIS ISLAND LUGGER
(Mike Murray & Lesley Silvester)

The lugger is painted already
She is painted in red and in green
She's painted so gaily, we smile at her
She's painted in red and in green

The lugger is rigged out already
She's rigged out with tackles and ropes
She rigged out to take us a-pearlin'
She's rigged out with tackles and ropes

And the lugger is charted already
She's charted out from Nichol Bay
She's charted to go out for the pearling
She's charted out from Nichol Bay

Oh father why are we waiting
Away from our home far away
Why do we wait on Lewis Island
For the lugger to take us away

And the lugger is loaded already
She's loaded with beer and with wine
Loaded with blackbirds from the Gascoyne
Loaded with beer and with wine

And the lugger is sailing already
She's sailing away from the land
She's taken away my family
She's sailing away from the land

Oh father …

And the lugger is stranded already
She's stranded between surf and reef
Now gone are my sister and brother
Stranded between surf and reef

And their headstone is written already
Written in pearl shells and blood
A headstone to stand among many
Written in pearl shells and blood

Oh, father …   

And the lugger is sailing already


--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Stewie
Date: 27 Aug 08 - 07:27 PM

Once again, Joe, I apologise for posting as guest in previous message - I didn't notice my cookie had been eaten.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 04:28 PM

Okay, there was a reference way back in this thread suggesting that the "kangaroo" was the subject's "member" and that the subject was asking his friend to tie it down so it wouldn't prop the casket open... ok. That's funny and all, but really makes no sense whatsoever with the rest of the song.

Towards the end of the song, the subject asks Fred to tan his hide when he's dead. No need for a casket here, or to be concerned with tying one's "member" down LOL!

And in the EPIC release in which the B side was "The Big Black Hat" - the Abos are to be loosed by Lou... it's pretty clear actually.

Have a listen... it's great:

Tie Me Kangaroo Down
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb0GvqsCn0g&NR=1

The Big Black Hat
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOvKqNJh4p4&feature=related

Yes, I had nothing better to do today than to look up a thread from a whole bunch of people trying to make something hugely symbolic and political out of something that simply entertained us all as children.

Learned a lot of theories and some facts in the process, so that's cool... what fun!

-- Joe


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Sarah
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 07:53 PM

Yes there was slavery and yes Aboriginal's (Native Australian's) worked but received no pay.. Also known as stolen wages. Maybe you'll find something on google about that. And as far as the song goes, its putrid and sounds like a racist old redneck bitch.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 02:21 PM

The song "16 Tons", originally recorded by Merle Travis in 1946, was a #1 hit by Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955 and only much later covered by Johnny Cash in 1987.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Tootler
Date: 25 Jun 12 - 07:41 PM

I got given a set of words for "Tie Me Kangaroo Down" when I did an absolute beginners' ukulele workshop. It simply left out the "Let the Abos go loose" verse and the song doesn't suffer any from it.

It's a fun song and that particular verse is not really necessary and is best left out.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Henryp
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 06:23 AM

The Vestey family, Britain's most notorious tax avoiders, are close friends of the Royal Family. Prince Harry's godmother, Celia Knight, is one of the Vestey family.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Andrez
Date: 26 Jun 12 - 08:13 AM

I guess the bottom line when thinking about the 'standing' of a song is to think about whether people sing it. As far as I can tell TMKD is not a song sung publicly at festivals or anywhere of a similar nature, or even privately, in Australia at least. Its a forgettable piece of writing, and apart from Rolf himself, isnt likely to be absorbed into the tradition other than as a curious dated oddity at best.

Gurindji Blues on the other hand will always have a place in the Aussie tradition because its real and tells a story that is powerful on so many levels. Have a listen to a couple of versions from You Tube. First here's Ted Egan (the white-fella who wrote it) doing the song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVD9pdz1piA

Thats pretty good as it stands 'cos Ted wrote the song too. Now listen to it done by Galurrwuy Yunupingu of Yothu Yindi fame doing the song together with the man who actually led the walk off: Mr Vincent Lingiari. This is how I first heard the song, it was electrifying!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdLIlyhLewI

This is living history and will always have a place in the tradition, TMKD is bollocks in comparison!

Cheers,

Andrez

PS: For what its worth, I've actually been to Dageragu through work and I've stood in Wattie Creek and while I don't have Indigenous ties of any kind let alone to that 'country', it still 'speaks' to you and the didge's drone and the clapsticks take me right back there every time.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 01:34 AM

Andrez, I won't disagree with you about the relative merits of the two songs, but I bet a lot more Australians (and American, and Brits) know Kangaroo than know Gurindji. If some misguided folkie started in on Kangaroo at a singing session at the National I think a lot more people would sing along than would be able to if the next person offered up Gurindji.


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 02:33 AM

The Vestey family, Britain's most notorious tax avoiders, are close friends of the Royal Family. Prince Harry's godmother, Celia Knight, is one of the Vestey family.

A very fine family indeed, one or two good polo players, and my wife's grandfather did business with their Buenos Aires company many years ago.

I'm pleased to read that that they play the system!


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Subject: RE: Tie Me Kangaroo Down'let Abos go'explain
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 27 Jun 12 - 02:35 AM

I meant the tax system!

Nothing wrong with Rolf Harris's lyrics.


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