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Lyr Add: Mad Jack's Cockatoo (Bill Ryland)

Kenny B 09 Mar 03 - 01:55 PM
Bob Bolton 09 Mar 03 - 08:53 PM
Hrothgar 10 Mar 03 - 06:15 AM
Kenny B 10 Mar 03 - 08:39 AM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 03 - 09:28 PM
Kenny B 11 Mar 03 - 11:51 AM
Bob Bolton 12 Mar 03 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Blarney - friend of the late Bill Ryland 04 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM
Hrothgar 05 Dec 03 - 02:47 AM
Joybell 05 Dec 03 - 04:56 PM
Kenny B 05 Dec 03 - 09:01 PM
GUEST,Mary Ryland 11 Jul 16 - 09:10 AM
Helen 13 Jul 16 - 02:38 AM
Kenny B 13 Jul 16 - 04:31 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: MAD JACK'S COCKATOO (from Slim Dusty)
From: Kenny B
Date: 09 Mar 03 - 01:55 PM

Mad Jack's Cockatoo.
ASB Slim Dusty

[D] There's a man that went out, in the [G] flood time and drought
by the [A] banks of the [A7] Alkabar? [D] too,
They called him "Mad Jack", 'cos the [G] swag on his back
was the [A] perch for an [A7] old cocka- [D] -too,
By [G] towns near and far in shed, [D] shanty and bar
In the [G] arms of Mad Jack and his [A] bird
And this [D] tale I relate, it was [G] told by a mate
and its [A] just one of [A7] many I've [D] heard

Now Jack was a bloke who could drink "Holy Smoke!"
He could swig twenty mugs to my ten,
And that old cockatoo it could sink quite a few
and it drank with the rest of the men
One day when the heat was just plain was hard to beat,
Mad Jack and his old cockatoo,
Came in from the west to the "Old Swag Man's Rest"
And they ordered up schooners for two,

When these had gone down he popped out half a crown
and they drank till their money was spent,
Then he pulled out a note from his old tattered coat
And between them they drank every cent,
Then that old cockatoo it swore red, black and blue,
And it knocked all the mugs off the bar,
Then it flew through the air and it pulled at the hair,
Of a chap who was drinking "Three Star",

And it jerked out the pegs from the barrels and kegs
Knocked the bottles all down from the shelf,
With a sound like a cheer it dived into the beer
and it finished up drowning itself
When poor Jack awoke not a word then was spoke,
But he cried like a lost husband's wife,
And with each falling tear made a flood so severe,
That the men had to swim for their life,

Now poor jack was drowned and when finally found
he was lying there stiffened and blue,
It was told far and wide that stretched out by his side
Was his pack mate ..... the old cockatoo.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 09 Mar 03 - 08:53 PM

G'day Kenny B,

I'm not sure what the "ASB" means re Slim Dusty and this song (AScriBed to ... ?). I seem to remember this as being a collected poem, published in an old issue of Singabout - Journal of Australian Folklore, Bush Music Club, Sydney ... sometime late '50s / early '60s. I'll check the index tonight at home ... if I have any energy left after the Monday Night Music Session.

I presume that Slim put a tune to the existing poem ... He did quite a lot, drawn from traditional sources in his earlier performing career ... but I'll see what the publishing record says.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: Lyr Add: MAD JACK'S COCKATOO
From: Hrothgar
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 06:15 AM

Couple of differences in the version I know:

There's a man that went out, in the flood time and drought
By the banks of the outer Barcoo,
They called him "Mad Jack", 'cos the swag on his back
Was the perch for an old cockatoo.

From towns near and far and shed, shanty and bar
Came the tales of Mad Jack and his bird
And this one I relate, it was told by a mate
Is just one of the many I've heard.

Now Jack was a bloke who could drink, holy smoke!
He could swig twenty pots to my ten,
And that old cockatoo it could sink quite a few
and it drank with the rest of the men.

One day when the heat was a thing hard to beat,
Mad Jack and his old cockatoo
Came in from the west to the old "Swagman's Rest"
And Jack ordered schooners for two.

When these had gone down he pulled out half a crown
And they drank till that money was spent,
Then he pulled half a note from his tattered old coat
And between them they drank every cent.

Then that old cockatoo it swore red, black and blue,
And it knocked all the mugs off the bar,
Then it flew through the air and it pulled at the hair
Of a chap who was drinking "Three Star",

And it pulled all the pegs from the barrels and kegs
And knocked the bottles all down from the shelf,
With a sound like a cheer it dived into the beer
And it finished up drowning itself.

When poor Jack awoke from his sleep he ne'er spoke,
But he cried like a lost husband's wife,
And each quick falling tear made a flood with the beer,
And the men had to swim for their life,

Poor Jack he did drown; When the waters went down
He was lying there stiffened and blue,
And it's told far and wide that stretched out by his side
Was his track mate ..... the old cockatoo.

Another one that I think is better as a recitation.

As far as I know, the author is Anonymous. I don't know who did the music - probably Slim himself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Kenny B
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 08:39 AM

ASB "As Sung By" Thanks Hrothgar for the corrections. My ears aint what they used to be.
Got the song off a copied tape.
The net and Slim Dusty's web site gives no help to who wrote it.
Here's recent thought of mine "the more I listen to Slim Dusty and Eric Bogle the more I think Slim had a reasonable influence on what Eric wrote, consious or unconsious" Would that be a reasonable assumption?


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Subject: Lyr Add: MALONEY'S COCKATOO
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 09:28 PM

G'day Kenny B,

I don't know how solid Wee Eric would make the connection to Slim Dusty. He was into country styles well before he came to Australia ... but he can hardly have not heard a lot of Slim once he was here ... and a good songwriter absorbs everything ... and gives back the good bits!

By the way, my memory was faulty ... the poem I was thinking of, from Singabout, vol. 3, no. 1, Summer 1958, was:

MALONEY'S COCKATOO

'Twas on a river bank I met, nor far from By and By,
An ancient man of bitter speech, there was murder in his eye.
His gaze was lifted heavenward, where in the taller trees,
A bunch of drowsy cockatoos were perched at noon-day ease.
"I'd like to choke the cows!" he said," Their flaming necks to screw,
There aint a curse in all this world to beat a cockatoo."

"Just forty years ago," he said," I had a slap-up team
Of bullocks, carting stores and wool along the Darling stream,
Yes! Four-and-twenty of the best - I was a big gun then;
Could fill 'em up and speak my turn, with any class of men.
I was a cove as gained respect where ever bullocks drew,
Until my life was blighted by a flaming cockatoo."

"I'd loaded up at Bog-a-Duck, with stores from off the boat,
Then, feeling sort of parched inside, I thought I'd damp me throat.
I left the bullocks in the road, contented in their yokes,
And in Maloney's bar I met a lot of station blokes;
Old friends of mine, the drinks went round, the way they used to do.
I never thought no mischief from Maloney's cockatoo."

"He was an educated bird, the sort you know may be,
Could sing and whistle, curse and swear, the same as you and me.
Oh well, we downed our drinks, and laughed and talked the time away
When a lady friend of mine came in, excited-like, to say,"
'Hi Bill, you blanky fool,' she says, 'Come out, and lively too,
Your flaming team's been started by that blooming cockatoo!,' ".

"Struth, she was right, through clouds of dust they showed,
With cocky on the waggon perched; I sprinted down the road,
And as I drew near I heard him shout, like one who knew the trade,
'Gee off, you crimson crocodiles' The cranky cows obeyed.
'Gee off.' While I was still behind, I saw the leaders slew
Right over to that river bank, drove by that cockatoo."

"I saw the bubbles rising as I leaned against a post,
Where Spot and Brindle and the rest, was giving up the ghost.
One living thing alone escaped, high in the air it flew
In screeching triumph to the pub, Maloney's cockatoo.
That broke me heart!" The ancient raised his eyes aloft once more
And in that mellow afternoon, blood-curdling oaths he swore.

The sweet bush blooms were round his feet; he paid no heed to these
But wished that he had wings to reach those blighters in the trees.
So from that sylvan solitude, I turned and bade adieu,
To one whose life was blighted by a flaming cockatoo.

From the collection of Matt O'Connor, Wilcannia.

There aren't too many obscure terms, but here's a quick gloss -

Glossary:
Station = Usual Australian term for a large rural property (~= 'ranch')
Cow = Australian general epithet for any one or thing of little use or respect
Blanky = Milder (euphemised) Australian form of 'Bloody'
Flaming = Mild Australian epithet
Crimson = Another (more literary?) euphemism for 'Bloody'
Blighter = A more English epithet for any one of little respect.

We have an oversupply of mad cockatoos in this country ... some of them with wings (cockatoos also means a farmer/pastoralist).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Kenny B
Date: 11 Mar 03 - 11:51 AM

Thanks Bob, I Like that one too. Is there a tune that suits it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Mar 03 - 07:42 AM

G'day again Kenny B,

It was published in Reciter's Corner ... and Matt O'Connor generally sent in poems ... from the far west of New South Wales. With its irregular stanza length, it has mch more of the feel of a recitation than a song ... and I would prefer to have the liberty of keeping free of the restraints of an accompaniment.

That said, I'm sure someone with a stronger inclination to accompaniment (having read GerMan's thread above on "Unaccompanied Singing - How and Why?") could shape a tune to work.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: GUEST,Blarney - friend of the late Bill Ryland
Date: 04 Dec 03 - 10:22 PM

I know this thread is rather old now but I have just 'fallen over' it. The poem Mad Jack's Cockatoo was written by the late Bill Ryland of Curl Curl New South Wales. Bill also penned a couple of other Dusty songs: Ballad of Henry Lawson and Last Train to Nowhere.

Apparently he was listening to the radio one day when he heard one of his poems being sung by Dusty. He wrote to EMI and eventually got a letter from Slim asking for anything else hence the other 2. I'm not sure which poem was recorded first but I do know that from the moment of contact with Slim Dusty, Bill was acknowledged and paid royalties. His daughter still gets them!

He sometimes appeared as Bill Ryland, W L Ryland William Ryland and was even published in the Bulletin many years ago as Bushie (Bushy?) Bill. He was a prolific writer of poetry and short story.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Hrothgar
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 02:47 AM

Thanks, Blarney - I'll be able t attribute it now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Joybell
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 04:56 PM

This is one of the many stories about songs or poems that take off on their own without credit where it's due. Great that this one has a happy ending. Thanks Blarney.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Kenny B
Date: 05 Dec 03 - 09:01 PM

G'day Folks
I sang the song at Dunfermline folk Club session and the 19th Acoustic Club session this week and it was very well received, especially by an Australian lady in the audience.
Kenny B


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: GUEST,Mary Ryland
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 09:10 AM

The lyrics to Mad Jack's Cockatoo were in fact written by my father Bill Ryland. He wrote the poem and it was published under the pen name of Bushie a Bill. It was found and recorded by Slim Dusty. My dad heard it on the radio and was able to establish authorship. He subsequently wrote a couple of other songs for Slim Dusty.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Helen
Date: 13 Jul 16 - 02:38 AM

Welcome to Mudcat, Mary!

Thank you for the information about your father. This thread is fairly old so some of the people who posted the information may not see your posting. I'll keep it near the top of the list and hope that some of them see it here.

Sometimes it takes years to find out the answer to a question on Mudcat, but when the author or composer of a piece or a close relative of that person pops up on this site, it always make me so happy to be a part of this community.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mad Jacks Cockatoo
From: Kenny B
Date: 13 Jul 16 - 04:31 AM

Thanks Mary Ive added that to my notes with the song


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