Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Great Northern Line





Words: Unknown
Tune: Trad ('Musselburgh Fair')






Non-flash audio for iPhone, iPad etc


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My love he is a teamster, a handsome man is he,
Red shirt, white moleskin trousers and hat of cabbage-tree;
He drives a team of bullocks, and whether it's wet or fine,
You'll hear his whip a-cracking on the Great Northern Line.


CHORUS:
Watch him, pipe him, twig him how he goes,
With his little team of bullocks he cuts no dirty shows;
He's one of the flash young carriers that on the road do shine,
With his little team of bullocks on the Great Northern Line.

And when he swings the greenhide, he raises skin and hair,
His bullocks all have shrivelled horns, for Lordy, he can swear!
But I will always love him, that splendid man of mine,
With his little team of bullocks on the Great Northern Line.

When he bogged at Mundowie and the bullocks took the yoke,
They strained with bellies on the ground until the bar chain broke,
But he fixed it up with fencing wire and brought wood from Bundamine,
With his little team of bullocks on the Great Northern Line.

When he comes into Tamworth you will hear the ladies sigh,
And parents guard their daughters for he has a roving eye;
But he signals with his bullock whip as he comes through the pine,
With his little team of bullocks on the Great Northern Line.



From Singabout, Volume 4, Number 4, 1962. A variant of the Knickerbocker Line, sung by Duke Tritton and Sally Sloane. Chloe and Jason Roweth have the following notes:

H.P. 'Duke' Tritton (1886 - 1965) sang 'The Great Northern Line' for collector John Meredith, who included the song in his book "Folk Songs of Australia Volume 1". Duke had originally learnt the song while fencing in the Warrumbungles, from Jack Large, who came from around Mudgee area in NSW..

The photograph is by Kerry and Co and shows a wheat wagon at Narromine railway station in New South Wales. From the Sydney Powerhouse collection.

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