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Lyr Req: One of the Has-Beens


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Folklore: Streets of Derry (7)
Lyr Req: The Streets of Derry (Bothy Band) (11)
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Lyr Req: Streets of Derry (4)

Sandra in Sydney 27 Jun 15 - 12:19 AM
Helen 12 Sep 98 - 05:50 PM
Alan of Australia 12 Sep 98 - 09:48 AM
Barbara 11 Sep 98 - 01:05 AM
Jerry Bryant 11 Sep 98 - 12:31 AM
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Subject: LYR ADD: One Of The Has-Beens by Don Henderson
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 12:19 AM

Don Henderson's re-writing of this classic Australian folksong

John Thompson of Cloudstreet singing the original

I'm one of the has-beens
A folk song I mean.
In oral transmission
I once was serene.
Illiterate agrarians
my worth would avow,
but you may not believe me
'cause they don't do it now.


I'm as awkward as a new one,
much more cap and gown,
than a blithe air of arcadia;
I've been written down

Eluding the Banjo,
Vance Palmer, Bert Lloyd,
Jones, Durst and O'Connor
I did likewise avoid.
Manifold, Meredith,
Tate, de Hugard,
both Scotts, all found
finding me was too hard.

One day while engrossed
in making a whip,
my current custodian
let his version slip.
Ron Edwards was on hand
and wrote down all that,
while feigning description
of the sixteen strand plait.

Oh, it's no use complaining,
I'll never say die,
though the variant days
for me have gone by.
Now captured in MS,
stave and magazine,
I merely have told you
just what I have been.

Don Henderson 1937 - 1991

collectors of Australian Folk song
Banjo Paterson, Vance Palmer, Bert Lloyd, Percy Jones, Joy Durst, Norm O'Connor, John Manifold, John Meredith, Brad Tate,
Dave de Hugard, brothers bill scott and Alan Scott

Ron Edwards collector, folklorist, artist, storyteller, craftsman ...

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Subject: Lyr Add: ONE OF THE HAS-BEENS
From: Helen
Date: 12 Sep 98 - 05:50 PM

Hi Jerry,

The song you are looking for is called: ONE OF THE HAS-BEENS. It's an Australian shearing song, and is from the point of view of an old man who used to be the best shearer in the sheds, i.e. the ringer, but now he is old and has lost most of his shearing prowess.

The tune is PRETTY POLLY PERKINS OF PADDINGTON GREEN, and this tune and lyrics are in the DT database, if you search for [Polly Perkins].

I probably found this on an Australian folk music site. I posted these lyrics in a thread called "Feedback please" a while back. I'll check where I got it from and post the site address.



I'm one of the has beens a shearer I mean
I once was a ringer and I used to shear clean
I could make the wool roll off like the soil from the plough
But you may not believe me for I cant do it now

CHORUS: I'm as awkward as a new chum and I'm used to the frown
That the boss often shows me saying keep them blades down

I've shore with Pat Hogan, Bill Bright and Jack Gunn
Tommy Leighton Charlie Fergus and the great roaring Dunn
They brought from the Lachlan the best they could find
But not one among them could leave me behind

It's no use complaining I'll never say die
Though the days of fast shearing for me have gone by
I'll take the world easy shear slowly and clean
And I merely have told you just what I have been


Printed in Stewart and Keesing Old Bush Songs with the note: "From Mrs G.L.Ginns, of Merrylands, NSW". (Written by Robert Stewart) From the singing of A.L.Lloyd, who writes on the notes for Across the Western Plains that he heard it in Cowra, NSW when he was working there in the 1920's. Tune 'Pretty Polly Perkins'

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Subject: RE: Info req: Shearer's Lament
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 12 Sep 98 - 09:48 AM

There's no trace of Lawson writing a Shearer's Lament, but he did write The Shearing of the Cook's Dog, which is a short story. Lawson's output probably consisted more of prose than poetry. You may find The Loaded Dog on the net somewhere. Well worth a search.


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Subject: RE: Info req: Shearer's Lament
From: Barbara
Date: 11 Sep 98 - 01:05 AM

We have a Shearer's Lament in the database, but it in not attributed to Henry Lawson, and it doesn't have the words you quote, Jerry. Instead it is by Matt O'Conner, tune by Martyn Wyndham-Read. Check it out.
Bob Bolton, can you sort this out for us?
And while you're at it, I was curious about the Shearing of the Cook's Dog. Do you have those lyrics around?

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Subject: Info req: Shearer's Lament
From: Jerry Bryant
Date: 11 Sep 98 - 12:31 AM

In the thread about the Dog's Meeting, Bob Bolton referred to a song by Henry Lawson called "The Shearer's Lament." Is that the song with the following chorus?

Now I'm awkward as a new chum and used to the frown/ That the boss often shows me saying, "Keep them blades down!"

I'm interested in any info about this song and it's bookend, "CLICK GO THE SHEARS." I'm almost willing to bet they are about the same character.

I do know the origin of the tune for "Click Go..." so can you help me with authorship of the lyrics, where it was collected, etc?

Thang Q. Jerry

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