Friday, March 18, 2011

Lachlan Tigers



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Well at each gate each shearer stood as the whistle loudly blew
With eyebrows fixed and lips set tight and the tigers all fed too
You can hear the clicking of the shears as through the wool they glide
And see the ringer already turned and on the whipping side

A lot of Lachlan tigers it's plain to see they are
And the ringer goes on driving as he loudly calls for tar
Tar here you dozy loafer and quick the tar boy flies
Broom here and sweep those locks away another loudly cries

The scene it is a lively one and ought to be admired
There's never been a better board since Jacky Howe expired
Along the board the contractor walks his face all in a frown
And passing by the ringer he says my lad keep down

I mean to have those bellies off and topknots too likewise
My eye is quick so none of your tricks or from me you will fly
My curse on that contractor by flaming day and night
To shear a decent tally here in vain I've often tried

I have a pair of Ward and Payne's that are both bright and new
I'll rig them up and let you see what I can really do
For I've shore on the Bogan where they shear them by the score
But such a terror as this to clip I've never shore before

A lot of Lachlan tigers it's plain to see they are
And the ringer goes on driving as he loudly calls for tar
The scene it is a lively one and ought to be admired
There's never been a better board since Jacky Howe expired


From AL Lloyds liner notes ("Across the Western Plains", 1958):

A shearer's song from the Forbes district, that drives on at the pace of a ringer [master shearer] on the long blow in a busy shed. The Ward and Paine's mentioned in the song are a brand of shears. Jackie Howe, likewise mentioned, shore 321 wethers at Alice Downs, Central Queensland, in 1892. His record stood until 1947, when Daniel Cooper shore 325 at Glenara, Langkoop, Victoria. The tune, best known in Australia in association with the words of The Shearer's Cook, is a Scottish melody sometimes called Musselburgh Fair (It also exists in America, as The Cruise of the Bigler).

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