American influences on Australian traditional music next1



American influences on Australian traditional music



WARREN FAHEY © 2005

page 3 [cont.] …

The following sample list of Australian songs using American tunes tracks the composer, provenance and approximated date written

BEN BOLT.
Written by Englishman Thomas Dunn, in 1842, with music by Nelson Neass, of Philadelphia, and first sung in America 1848
Sam Holt or Old Black Alice or Ballad of Queensland This song was extremely popular throughout the Australian bush. It was published in the Australian Melodist circa 1880s and collected several in variants. The song is typical of the era, a story song. The most curious line in one of the Australian versions includes the lines:

And don’t you remember Black Alice, Ben Bolt…..
The old mallee gin with the bone through her nose
And teeth like a Moreton Bay shark.

        

MY HOME IN TENNESSEE.
This was a popular American song was recorded by several country singers.

  • Les Darcy or Death of Les Darcy
  • Tattooed Lady (WW1 ditty)
  • Down In The Old Front Line. (WW1 ditty)
  • The Win The war Party. Via Edgar Ross. Quoted: Balls of Bob Menzies.

YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS/CAMOOWEAL RACES.
‘J K’ 1853 Civil War song.

  • Nine Miles From Gundagai or Bill the Bullocky (Variant)
  • This Side of Pinnaroo

GUM TREE CANOE.
There appears to be a Scottish broadside version and an American version attributed to S.S. Steele / A.F. Winnemore).

  • Dear native Girl or Oh, Give Me a Hut or Native mate or Then Give Me A Hut or My Own native Land
  • The Free Selector


“With a thumb on my banjo and a toe on the oar,
Like a feather we’re a-floating,
On my gum tree canoe.”

I collected a version of the Gumtree Canoe from Jim Cargill, Randwick, 1973. Jim had known the song for over 50 years and was originally from Scotland however his version is more like the American text.

CASEY JONES.
Wallace Saunders 1892

  • Billy Sheahan
  • Scab’s hymn. Quoted Balls of Bob Menzies. Aka Blue Whiskers

JOHN BROWN’S BODY AKA BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC

  • Brocklebank Engineers. Typical of the many Australian drinking ditties to use this tune.
  • Douglas Social Credit. 1930s Depression ditty

TRAMP TRAMP TRAMP.
George F Root. 1962

  • Wallaby Brigade
  • Unity Boys. Attributed to G T Rilley in Shearer’s Record circa 1890s.
  • Song of the Tram Driver. Sydney Punch circa 1855

REDWINGS. AKA THERE ONCE WAS AN INDIAN MAID

  • Workingmen Unite. 1ST Australian IWW songbook
  • Redwings (bawdy parody)

CHAMPAGNE CHARLIE.
Lee &Walker. Philadelphia. 1868

  • Salt Junk. Queenslander 1894

DARLING NELLY GRAY.
Benjamin Hanby. Ohio. 1856.

  • Good Old Maranoa. Queenslander 1894
  • Eumerella Shore“

DIXIE’S LAND (LOOK AWAY).
Daniel Emmett. Ohio/ circa 1861 in the musical ‘Pocahontus’, in New Orleans

  • The Brolga’s Laugh. The Queenslander 1894

THE GAY CABALLERO
(as sung By Frank Crummit USA)

  • The Gun Cane Cutter

THERE’S A GOOD TIME COMING.
1846. Stephen Foster. M and Charles Mackay

  • The Good Time Coming (Coxon ?)

LINES OF LOVE.
Traditional

  • Baldheaded End of the Broom. Coll. Fahey Herb Green. See Eureka.
back              

next

IN THIS SECTION:

 

 

REQUEST:

I would be pleased to receive any additional material on the use of American tunes in Australian traditional music.
Please email me.

© Warren Fahey 2005