ROOTED IN THE COUNTRY


ROOTED IN THE COUNTRY

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Various Artists
featuring The Celebrated Knockers and Knackers Band

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ROOTED IN THE COUNTRY

Track Details

Maggie’s On The Shit-Chute
Major Bumsore & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Australian Folklore Society Journal, No. 24, 1994. From Tony Davis, collected by Ron Edwards, 1973. I suspect only an Australian could create a word like ‘shit-chute’. It has two meanings: one being an arsehole and the other, in this case, refers to the old dunnies and army latrines where the bottomless pan was over a pit. A matelot is a sailor.

The Lobster In The Pot
Andre Rude & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Ron Edwards had this one from Tony Davis as in AFSJ October, 1993. The quoted version, with its reference to ‘phone’ and ‘shuffti’ places it firmly in the twentieth century. Ed Cray in The Erotic Muse says this song ‘Is one of those living artefacts of another era, passed down in oral tradition for more than 300 years’. He also gave it the distinction of being the first song in his book. Originally known as ‘The Sea Crab’, it has been collected in Australia under various titles but especially The Lobster’or the ‘Codfish Song. It has numerous melodies associated with it including part of ‘The Limerick Rake’. A cleaner version, with its rol-tiddly-ole chorus, was popular in the music halls. Some versions use the ‘Farmer In The Dell’ as melody. This version collected by Karina Berry Redpath as remembered from the singing of her father, Bill Berry

The Penultimate offers an unusual chorus as follows;

Singing ro tiddly ho, shit or bust
Never let your bollocks dangle in the dust
Never let your bouncing balls dangle in the dust
Never let your curly twirlies dangle in the dust
Never let your grinders dangle in the dust
Never let your knicker-knockers dangle in the dust
Never let your flipper floppers dangle in the dust
Never let your clicker-clackers dangle in the dust
Never let your hammer-hangers dangle in the dust
Never let your gristle-grabbers dangle in the dust
(Repeat all lines of chorus)

Thrashing Machine
Major Bumsore & The Larrikins
From a broadside printed by Williamson Printer, Newcastle, England, and held in the Mitchell Library. I changed the location to Goulburn. The Penultimate Songbook offers a similar song, as ‘The Farmer’s Daughter’, more modern as the engine is driven by steam rather than faithful old ‘Dobbin’.

The Boy Stood On The Burning Deck
Major Bumsore
Composite. British poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans wrote the original ‘Casablanca’, published in 1826, and it has been a parody favourite ever since. The star in the chorus is usually rendered with a painfully long ‘staaaarrrrr’. I’m not sure how the tune ended up married to the verse.

My father regularly recited:

The boy stood on the burning deck,
Picking his nose like fury,
He rolled it into little balls
And flicked it at the jury.

My Beautiful Muff
Shiela Blige & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Folk Songs of Australia, J. Meredith/Hugh Anderson. This song has an old pedigree and was sung to a waltz tune. Meredith commented that “My Beautiful Muff” was always a favourite with the drinkers in the back parlour of the Centennial (Gulgong hotel). On winter’s nights, Tom Gibbons would sit there in front of the log fire, and sooner or later a request would be made for him to ‘give lip to it’. Everybody joined in the chorus, “My own and I’ll wear it…”

In researching the song I found a reference in James Hepburn’s A Book of Scattered Leaves (Poetry of Poverty in Broadside Ballads in 19th Century England. Vol. 2. 2000), where he suggests the song was probably composed by the broadside publisher, John Morgan, whose name appears on some of the original broadside (although this could also imply he was the publisher). Morgan was the composer of several lightly sexual ballads including ‘New Rigs At The Races’ and ‘Blow the Candle In’.

My Grandfather’s Cock Was Too Big For His Pants
Major Bumsore & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Snatches & Lays. Parody of Henry Clay Work’s ‘Grandfather’s Clock’
(published in USA 1876).

Footprints On The Dashboard Upside-Down
Andre Rude & Oliver Guinness with The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
This one got around in the 1950s but was published originally in Immortalia in 1927. It is essentially a sung conversation between a farmer and a salesman. I first learnt this in the 1960s. There is a version in Best Bawdry which takes a different perspective.

Whollop It Home
Major Bumsore & The Larrikins
From George Patrick Fahey who used to sing this in the shower. I delighted in joining in on the chorus. I recorded Dad singing it for my Australian Folklore Unit oral history collection at the National Library of Australia. He always managed to slur number eight and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized he was singing ‘Put your finger up my date’
I have recently found out that the song dates back to the sea shanty ‘Put yer shoulder next to mine and pump away’. Sea song historian Stan Hugill admitted to “much blue-penciling” in many published versions.. The original title was “Put Your Belly Next to Mine and Drive it On” or “Sheet it Home.” Hugill’s skill as a tamer of naughty songs was such that his sentimental text seemingly found its way into rugby lore close to forty years ago.

Never Root With A Prostitute
Dick Longhorn & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
As published in Fester Magazine and an obvious parody of ‘Never Smile At a Crocodile’.

Bung Your Eye
Major Bumsore & The Larrikins.
A salty tale from the early streets of Sydney with a twist on the old stories whereby the sailor returns to a port to find he has fathered a child.

South Of The Tramstop
Andre Rude & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Various sources including this text from Ken Macmaster, Melbourne, collected by Peter Parkhill, c.1975. The suburb of Rushcutters Bay is down the hill from Sydney’s Kings Cross. Chrome was an early 20th century term for prostitute. Stony means possessing no money, as in stony broke. And yes, the tram did run from Kings Cross, past Rushcutters Bay, to Watsons Bay.

What’s The Gentlest Tissue?
Major Bumsore & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band.
Many advertising jingles attract parodies, especially bawdy parodies.
This one, based on one of the most successful campaigns refuses to go away.

There Once Was An Indian Maid
Major Bumsore & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
I have collected various bawdy versions of this song reinforcing its popularity as a dance melody in Australia. The original ‘Redwings’ was a popular song and fiddle tune. The song was written by American songwriter Thurland Chatterway. It became a popular square dance tune and is still heard at bush dances. I am providing three collected versions to show evidence of how the song has travelled.

Holman’s Bar
Major Bumsore
From Ebb Wren, collected by Rob Willis and John Meredith, Forbes, NSW. NLA. Brad Tate also collected a version with an incomplete ending from Mac Mitchell, Speers Point, NSW 1972, and published in his Bastard From the Bush. I first came across the poem as Halman’s Bar in 1973 when George Tuckett of Nathalia, Victoria, sent me several verses commencing:

He was boasting of his tallies in Jimmy Halman’s Bar,
A pale and puny little cunt, as big guns mostly are.

The Black Cat Piddled In The White Cat’s Eye
The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band.
There has been some discussion on the Mudcat Café website regarding the possible origin of this dance tune’s name. Musicians liked to give tunes names – mostly as a phonetic reminder of the tune’s beat.

The Bastard From The Bush
Major Bumsore
This is a parody of Henry Lawson’s ‘Captain of the Push’. I have collected the poem and fragments several times including Mick Edwards, Melbourne, 2003, and John Horwood, Croyden, Victoria. The Push refers to early 2oth. century Sydney street gangs., mostly based in The Rocks. They were larrikins, loud and sometimes dangerous to themselves and others. Lawson’s original poem took the mickey out of them. It has been suggested that Lawson also wrote the parody, which is also a masterpiece and surely the crown in the Australian bawdry treasure-trove. H. A. Lindsay, in an article in the literary magazine Quadrant (v. 5. 1957) suggested that Lawson actually wrote the bawdy version first and, needing money, cleaned it up as ‘The Captain of the Push’. Laycock offers a slightly different version in Best Bawdry. It appears the song was also known in New Zealand and appeared in The Songs We Sang: a collection of New Zealand Army and Service Ballads’ by Les Cleveland, 1959.

Here’s Your Youngest Child!
Major Bumsore
First version from Bushwhacker’s Band ‘practise tape’, circa late 1950s, supplied by Rob Willis. Second version Australian Folklore Unit file circa 1975. The Bushwhackers sang their version but the melody was indistinguishable. Bubby refers to breasts however the second version use is confused. One assumes the word is bubs and the origin of the more familiar term boobs.

The Old Gray Mare
Shiela Blige & Major Bumsore with The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Queensland University Hockey Club Songbook, circa 1960s.

The Hole In The Elephant’s Bottom
Major Bumsore & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
A music hall song from my grandmother, Polly Phillips, who knew quite a few bawdy ditties.

Bullocky Bill
Major Bumsore and Adre Rude with The Celebrated Knockers and Knackers Band.
From Mick Playford, Bathurst, 1987. A parody of one of the world’s most popular comedy series, The Beverley Hillbillies.

Maids Of Australia
Major Bumsore & The Larrikins
From the singing of Jim Cargill, Randwick, NSW, 1973. Original recording can be heard at NLA. I had been taping Jimmy’s sea song repertoire when I asked him if he knew any ‘naughty songs’. He was living in a boarding house and he got up, closed the windows and drew the blinds. I thought this was going to be really filthy but to my surprise it turned out to be a classic erotic folk song. It is interesting in as much as it is possibly the first song to mention a sexual encounter between a settler and indigenous woman.

A Is For Arse Holes
Major Bumsore & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
Paddy Dick, Wyoming, NSW.
Alphabetical and alphanumerical songs are a major part of the bawdy song tradition. Maybe it is because half-drunken singers can establish where the hell the song goes next if it is easier to follow. Whatever the case this is one of the most popular.

Shickered
Major Bumsore & The Larrikins
Published in Mess Hall Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF. Shickered is a Yiddish word meaning drunk. The song is a relative of an extremely old ballad ‘Our Goodman’ and is also known as ‘Seven Nights Drunk’.

The Kings Cross Harlot’s Ball
Andre Rude & The Celebrated Knockers & Knacker’s Band
I live in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point, which includes Kings Cross. It’s the historic red-light district however those lights have dimmed considerably over the years. The locals talk about ‘Kings Cross Tennis” – when you walk down Darlinghurst Road you will hear the score – “Twenty, love.” “Sixty, love”, “Fifty, love”. Some versions of this song call for a drawn out refrain of ‘without her pants on’ after each verse.