Monday, September 5, 2011

Two Professional Hums


Words: Unknown
Tune: Three Jolly Lads Are We (?)





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Come all you jovial fellows and listen to me chums,
And I'll relate to you the story of two professional hums,
Who travelled England, Ireland; all over Scotland too,
And took an oath in Bendigo, no more work they would do.

No more work they would do boys, troll old army dough boys,
Humming a drink where 'ere we could, sing fol the righty-o,
For we are hums and jolly good chums, we live like Royal Turks,
And if we've luck we'll hum our cheques and shoot the man who works.

We asked a lady, the other day, for something for to eat,
A little bit of chicken or a little bit of meat,
A little bit of turkey or a little bit of ham,
A half-a-dozen loaves of bread and a bucket full of jam.

Or anything at all, Mam, for we're nearly starving,
Anything to help a poor joker on his way,
For we are hums and jolly good chums, we live like Royal Turks,
And if we've luck we'll hum our cheques and shoot the man who works.

A farmer asked me the other day, "If I would go to graft?"
Says I, "What is the work ?", says he, "A-cutting of some chaff"
Says I, "What is the payment?" - 'A dollar and a half's the sum"
Says I, "Why don't you go shoot yourself! For we would rather hum

Than work upon the harvest and let the cockles starve us."
Humming a drink where 'ere we go, singing fol the righty-o,
For we are hums and jolly good chums, we live like Royal Turks,
And if we've luck we'll hum our cheques and shoot the man who works.

So to conclude and finish, the remainder of my song,
The song that was proposed, me boys, by two professional hums.
Who travelled England, Ireland; all over Scotland too,
And took an oath in Bendigo, no more work they would do.

No more work they would do boys, troll old army dough boys,
Humming a drink where 'ere they could, sing fol the righty - o
For we are hums and jolly good chums, we live like Royal Turks,
And if we've luck we'll hum our cheques and shoot the man who works.


Warren Fahey collected this song from Harry Chaplin as well as a snippet of the same from Matron Williams, both from the Broken Hill area. Warren gives the following note with the lyrics:


Matron Williams knew a version of 'Three Jolly Lads Are We', which is a song that appeared in A B Paterson's 1905 collection of Old Bush Songs. The fact that I also collected a full text of the song from Harry Chaplin, also of Broken Hill, points to widespread popularity of the song in that particular district. The interesting aspect is that both versions differ considerably.

I've been unable to track down the original song in the version of Old Bush Songs to which I have access. Any help would be appreciated to round out this post.

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