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ADD: The Never-Never Land (Lawson)

26 Jan 22 - 01:45 PM (#4133930)
Subject: ADD: The Never-Never Land (Lawson)
From: Levana Taylor

On Ed Trickett's album Echo on the Evening Tide I encountered one of Henry Lawson's melancholy poems with a fine tune, and was intrigued even though I didn't care for the arrangement, which I thought needed a lot less sugar. Sure enough, Martyn Wyndham-Reed sings this gripping song very well: The tune is by Ian MacDougall.

This song's already been alluded to in the Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook but for some reason that post is the original poem rather than the singing version. So here's six verses out of the ten--Trickett's verse selection, and his version of the tune. See the older post for more recordings, though.

Words: Henry Lawson; Music: Ian MacDougall

By homestead, hut, and shearing shed,
By railroad, coach and track --
By lonely graves where rest our dead,
Up-Country and Out-Back:
To where beneath the clustered stars
The dreamy plains expand --
My home lies wide a thousand miles
In the Never-Never Land.

It lies beyond the farming belt,
Wide wastes of scrub and plain,
A blazing desert in the drought,
A lake-land after rain;
To the skyline sweeps the waving grass,
Or whirls the scorching sand --
A phantom land, a mystic realm!
That Never-Never Land.

Where lone Mount Desolation lies,
Mounts Dreadful and Despair
Are lost beneath the rainless sky
And hopeless deserts there.
It's north-north-west of No-Man's-Land
Where clouds are seldom seen
To where the cattle stations lie
Three hundred miles between.

And the drovers of the great stock routes
The big Gulf country know
Where traveling to the northern grass
The big lean bullocks go;
And camped at night where plains lie wide
Like some old ocean's bed,
The watches in the starlight ride
Round fifteen hundred head.

And west of named and numbered days
The shearers walk and ride,
Jack Cornstalk* and the Ne'er-do-well
And the grey-beard side by side.
They veil their eyes to moon and stars,
And slumber on the sand --
Sad memories sleep as years go round
In the Never-Never Land.

Lest in the city I forget
True mateship after all,
My water-bag and billy yet
Are hanging on the wall;
And I, to save my soul again,
Would tramp to sunsets grand
With sad-eyed mates across the plain
In the Never-Never Land.

*"Jack Cornstalk" was Lawson's name for a character emblematic of rural Australia in a number of his writings.


T:The Never-Never Land
C:lyrics: Henry Lawson; music: Ian MacDougall
N:As sung by Ed Trickett on Echo on the Evening Tide
E | E E E>D | D C C (D/2E/2) | F F F>E | D2 z (C/2D/2) |
w:By home-stead, hut, and shea-ring shed, by_ rail-road, coach and track By_
E>E E>D | D C C A, | D D D<E | D2 z (E/2F/2) |
w:lone-ly graves where rest our dead, Up-Coun-try and Out-back To_
G>G G A | G F E (D/2E/2) | F>F F E | D2 z (C/2D/2) |
w:where be-neath the clus-tered stars the_ drea-my plains ex-pand My_
E E E>E | D>C C C/2C/2 | D>D E>D | C2 ||
w:home lies wide a thou-sand miles in the Ne-ver-Ne-ver-Land

Rhythmic variation, verse 2 line 5 (and anywhere else you feel like it -- Ed Trickett also uses it in verse 4 line 3):

E/2F/2 | G G2 G/2A/2 | G F E
w:To the sky-line sweeps the wa-ving grass

More rhythmic variations using verse 3 line 3 as an example:

D/2 | E>E E>D | (D/2 C) C/2 C3/2
w:Are lost be-neath the rain_less sky

Martyn Wyndham-Read uses a much more complex rhythm than Trickett (transcribe it yourself if you dare). I love the way he stretches out the last line an extra half-measure:

D/2D/2 | [M:6/4] D<D-D E-E>D | [M:4/4] C2
w:in the Ne-ver_Ne_ver-Land


Chords, Trickett, first verse. Key: C major.

C - | - - G - | C - - - | F - - - | G - - - |
C - - - | Am - - - | Dm - D - | G - - - |
C - - - | C F C - | F - - - | G - - - |
C - - - | - - F - | G - - - | C -

Chords, Wyndham-Read, generalized [he also uses Dm at a variety of places in some verses]. Key: F major.

F - | - - - - | - - - - | Bb - - - | C - - F |
F - - - | C - - F | Bb - - - | C - - F |
F - - - | - - - - | Bb - - - | C - - F |
F - - - | - - - - | Bb - C - | F -

27 Jan 22 - 03:50 AM (#4133992)
Subject: RE: ADD: The Never-Never Land (Lawson)
From: Sandra in Sydney

thanks, Levana, I'll ask Gerry to update the video link