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The Land Of Bright Gold

Lyrics Page

This page contains lyrics and notes to all of the tracks from our 2012 release, The Land Of Bright Gold

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Tracklist

1. To The West (4:26)
2. Song Of Artesian Water (4:56)
3. The Maryborough Miner (2:36)
4. Do You Think That I Do Not Know (6:12)
5. The Woodturner's Love Song (3:36)
6. Bushfire/The Joy Flight (4:39)
7. Jim Jones At Botany Bay (4:01)
8. The Gartan Mother's Lullaby (3:49)
9. Stringybark & Greenhide (2:55)
10. The Maid Of Australia (4:21)
11. Sign-On Day (1:36)
12. The Blooming Queensland Side (4:57)
13. The Land Of Bright Gold (3:25)

Total running time 51:28

 

1. To The West

Tune by Henry Russell and Eliza Cook, words unknown. Arranged by John Thompson and Nicole Murray

This wonderful song of dreams and speculation was published in the Coolgardie Miner, 1 January 1896 over the name John Richards.. The tune comes from Ron Edwards Big Book of Australian Folk Songs and is based on "I'm Afloat (The Erie Canal Song)" by Henry Russell and Eliza Cook (c. 1840).

To the West, To the West, to the land of the lag
Where the broad arrow floats on the national flag;
Where a man is a man if he only won't lie,
Where promoters are booming and not a bit shy;
Where the prospector swears with no sign of a smile
That the width of a the reef is exactly a mile;
And though 'tis the owner who says it as shouldn't,
That the gold in the reef is like plums in a puddin'

To the West, to the West, where the mining expert
Is never once seen with a barmaid to flirt;
To successfully flirt with a barmaid so fine,
Only those who are skilful in lying can shine.
Yet the mining expert can tell to the grain
How much gold to the ton the reef will contain:
And merely by taking a casual peep
How much gold's in the reef a thousand feet deep.

To the West, to the West, to the land of bright gold,
Where the man who buys shares is never once sold;
Where the bland mining boss with the truth in his eye
Talks of lenses and winzes and shafts deep and dry.
How the reef  underlies with a southerly dip -
An infallible sign of a rise in the scrip:
And the footwall, says he, which is just a bit bent,
Shows the shares will go up a good hundred per cent.

To the West, to the West, where there's plenty of fun,
Where the quartz fifty hundredweight goes to the ton;
Where the average is fully ten ounces or more,
Making shareholders dream of the bright golden shore;
And promoters they whisper "Now ain't we just smart
To collar in this world a big golden harp?
With the truthful prospectus we'll grab the bright gold,"
But the man who buys shares never dreams that he's sold.

 

2. Song Of Artesian Water/The Red Berry Path

Banjo Paterson/Graham Jenkin, arranged by John Thompson and Nicole Murray
Red Berry Path by Nicole Murray

The Great Artesian Basin lies under twenty per cent of Australia's landmass and is made up of water-bearing sandstone lodged between impermeable rock. Drilling in the right place releases water under pressure, often at great heat. On a continent where life is unsustainable without water, its discovery in the 1880s meant a great deal. Banjo Paterson's Song of Artesian Water (1896) is here set to a tune from Graham Jenkin's group, "The Overlanders".

The Red Berry Path was written by Nicole for the wedding of Karina Berry and Ian Redpath.

Now the stock have started dying, for the Lord has sent a drought
But we're sick of prayers and Providence---we're going to do without
With the derricks up above us and the solid earth below
We are waiting at the lever for the word to let her go.

CHORUS:
Sinking down, deeper down,
Yes, we'll find artesian water deeper down
Sinking down, deeper down,
Yes, we'll find artesian water deeper down

Now our engine's built in Glasgow by a very canny Scot
And he marked it twenty horse-power, but he don't what is what
When Canada Bill is firing with the sun-dried gidgee logs
She can equal thirty horses and a score or so of dogs

But the shaft has started caving and the sinking's very slow
And the yellow rods are bending in the water down below
And the tubes are always jamming, and they can't be made to shift
Till we nearly burst the engine with a forty horse-power lift

But there's no artesian water, though we've passed three thousand feet
And the contract price is growing, and the boss is nearly beat
But it must be down beneath us, and it's down we've got to go
Though she's bumping on the solid rock four thousand feet below

But it's hark! the whistle's blowing with a wild, exultant blast
And the boys are madly cheering, for they've struck the flow at last
And it's rushing up the tubing from four thousand feet below
Till it spouts above the casing in a million-gallon flow

And it's clear away the timber, and it's let the water run
How it glimmers in the shadow, how it flashes in the sun!
By the silent belts of timber, by the miles of blazing plain
It is bringing hope and comfort to the thirsty land again

 

3. The Maryborough Miner

Author unknown, arranged by John Thompson and Nicole Murray

An adaptation of The Murrumbidgee Shearer, collected by A.L. Lloyd from Bob Bell in the New South Wales town of Condolbin in 1934. The original poem was included in the 1906 edition of Banjo Paterson's collection, Old Bush Songs.

Come all you sons of liberty and listen to me song:
I'll tell you me observations and it won't take very long.
I've fossicked around this continent five thousand miles or more
And many's the time I might have starved but for the cheek I bore.

I've been on all the diggings, boys, from famous Ballarat,
I've long-tommed on the Lachlan and I've fossicked Lambing Flat.
So you can understand, me boys, just from my little rhyme,
I'm a Maryborough miner and I'm one of the good old time.

I came to the Fitzroy River all with me Bendigo rig;
I had a shovel, a pick, and a pan, and for a licence I begged.
But the assay man called me a loafer, said for work I'd no desire,
And so to do him justice, boys, I set his shed on fire.

Oh yes, my jolly jokers, I've done it on the cross,
Although I carry me bluey now, I've sweated many a horse.
I've helped to rob the escort of many an ounce of gold
And the traps have trailed upon my tail more times than I've ever told.

Oh yes, the traps have trailed me and been frightened out of their stripes;
They never could have caught me for they feared me cure for gripes.
And well they knew I carried it for they had often seen it
Glistening in me flipper chaps, me patent pill machine.

I'm one of the men who cradled on the reef at Tarrangower,
Anxiety and misery me grim companions there.
I puddled the clay at Bendigo and I chanced me arm at Kew,
And I wound up my avocation with ten years on Cockatoo.

I've been on all the diggings, boys, from famous Ballarat,
I've long-tommed on the Lachlan and I've fossicked Lambing Flat.
So you may understand, my boys, just from this little rhyme,
I'm a Maryborough miner and I'm one of the good old time.

 

4. Do You Think That I Do Not Know

Henry Lawson/David Kirkpatrick, arranged by John Thompson

One of Henry Lawson's best-loved poems (1910), here set to an adaptation of the tune written for it by David Kirkpatrick, better known as Slim Dusty.

They say that I never have written of love,
As a writer of songs should do;
They say that I never could touch the strings
With a touch that is firm and true;
They say I know nothing of women and men
In the fields where Love's roses grow,
And they say I must write with a halting pen
Do you think that I do not know?

When the love-burst came, like an English Spring,
In days when our hair was brown,
And the hem of her skirt was a sacred thing
And her hair was an angel's crown.
The shock when another man touched her arm,
Where the dancers sat round in a row;
The hope and despair, and the false alarm
Do you think that I do not know?

By the arbour lights on the western farms,
You remember the question put,
While you held her warm in your quivering arms
And you trembled from head to foot.
The electric shock from her finger tips,
And the murmuring answer low,
The soft, shy yielding of warm red lips
Do you think that I do not know?

She was buried at Brighton, where Gordon sleeps,
When I was a world away;
And the sad old garden its secret keeps,
For nobody knows to-day.
She left a message for me to read,
Where the wild wide oceans flow;
Do you know how the heart of a man can bleed
Do you think that I do not know?

I stood by the grave where the dead girl lies,
When the sunlit scenes were fair,
And the white clouds high in the autumn skies,
And I answered the message there.
But the haunting words of the dead to me
Shall go wherever I go.
She lives in the Marriage that Might Have Been
Do you think that I do not know?

They sneer or scoff, and they pray or groan,
And the false friend plays his part.
Do you think that the blackguard who drinks alone
Knows aught of a pure girl's heart?
Knows aught of the first pure love of a boy
With his warm young blood aglow,
Knows aught of the thrill of the world-old joy
Do you think that I do not know?

They say that I never have written of love,
They say that my heart is such
That finer feelings are far above;
But a writer may know too much.
There are darkest depths in the brightest nights,
When the clustering stars hang low;
There are things it would break his strong heart to write
Do you think that I do not know?

 

5. The Wood-Turner's Love Song

From Phyl Lobl's 1980 album, Broadmeadow Thistle, this song was written for a wood-working friend of Phyl's, to the tune of Charles Thatcher's 1850s song, "Look Out Below!"

If I had a piece of Maple, red or white or pink,
I'd turn you a set of chair legs so you could sit and think.
And when you sit and think love I hope you'll think of me,
For I'd like to be there in your thoughts if not in your company.

If I had a piece of Coachwood white and fine and pure
I'd turn you a handle smooth and round, a handle for your door.
And when I come to see you, you could make that handle spin,
And open up the door my dear, to let your true love in.

If I had a piece of Silky Oak of even textured grain
I’d turn you a lamp stand for your light, tapered tall and plain.
And when you turn your light on, I hope it'll be for me,
For you're the light of my life, the only one for me.

If I had a piece of Cedar, the grain well shot with red,
I'd turn you a set of corner posts for a fine double bed.
A bed for you to lie on with the one that you love best,
But I hope you'd lie with me love and farewell all the rest.

Yes I'm a turner, that's my trade, as you can plainly see,
But the thing I'd really like to turn is to turn your heart to me.
Alas in that I have no skill, I've never learnt the art,
And Cedar, Maple and Silky Oak don't make a lover's heart.

 

6. Bushfire/The Joy Flight

Both tunes by Nicole Murray. Performed with Emma Nixon on fiddle and Jem Dunlop on guitar


7. Jim Jones At Botany Bay

Traditional. Arranged by John Thompson

8. The Gartan Mother's Lullaby

Words by Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil (Joseph Campbell) to a traditional tune. Arranged by Nicole Murray and John Thompson.

Written in 1904, this hauntingly beautiful song is a lullaby by a mother from the parish of Gartan in County Donegal.

Sleep O babe, while the red bee hums the evening twilight's fall,
The Banshee from the grey rock comes, to wrap the world in thrall.
A Baby- O, my child, my joy, my love, my heart's desire,
The cricket sings his lullaby, beside the dying fire.

Dusk is drawn and the Green Man's thorn is wreathed in rings of fog,
Siabhra (sheevra) sails his boat till dawn, across the starry bog.
A Baby- O, the paley moon hath rimmed her cusp in dew,
And weeps to hear the sad, sweet tune, I sing my love, to you.

Faintly sweet doth the chapel bell, ring o'er the valley dim,
The village peasant voices swell, in fragrant evening hymn.
A Baby- O, the low bell rings, my little lamb to rest,
And angel-dreams till morning sings, its music in your breast.

 

9. Stringybark & Greenhide

A wonderful song from an undated mid-nineteenth century songster. This song sings the praises of the freely available resources of the bush and their ready use by enterprising settlers The second verse reference to being "stuck in Bargo", refers to the Bargo River in New South Wales. The scrub on the South bank was famously impassable.

I sing of a commodity, it's one that will not fail yer,
I mean the common oddity, the mainstay of Australia;
Gold it is a precious thing, for commerce it increases,
But stringy bark and green hide, can beat it all to pieces.

CHORUS:
Stringy bark and green hide, that will never fail yer!
Stringy bark and green hide, the mainstay of Australia.

If you travel on the road, and chance to stick in Bargo,
To avoid a bad capsise, you must unload your cargo;
For to pull a dray about, I do not see the force on,
Take a bit of green hide, and hook another horse on.

If you chance to take a dray, and break your leader's traces,
Get a bit of green hide, to mend the broken places.
Green hide is a useful thing all that you require;
But stringy bark's another thing when you want a fire.

If you want to build a hut, to keep out wind and weather,
Stringy bark will make it snug, and keep it well together;
Green hide, if it's used by you, will make it all the stronger,
For if you tie it with green hide, its sure to last the longer.

New chums to this golden land, never dream of failure,
Whilst you've got such useful things as these in fair Australia;
For stringy bark and green hide will never, never fail you,
Stringy bark and green hide is the mainstay of Australia.

 

10. The Maid of Australia

Traditional, arranged by Nicole Murray and John Thompson.

Described by Martin Carthy as a "sweet piece of Pre-Raphaelite fantasy", this seriously strange song is many things, but we doubt that it is Australian. As best as we can discover, it most probably originated in Norfolk where the imagined delights of a far-away land were likely to lead young men astray.

As I walked down by the Oxborough Banks
Where the maids of Australia do play their wild pranks,
By a shady green bower I sat myself down,
Where the birds sang so gaily, enchanting all round
In the forest of native Australia,
In the forest of native Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

Oh I had not been long at that beautiful scene
Where the fields are delightful, the trees evergreen,
When a lovely young damsel to me did appear.
From the banks of the river she quickly drew near,
She's a native of happy Australia,
She's a native of happy Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

She tore off her clothes and before me she stood
As naked as Venus just come from the flood.
She looked me in the face and smiling said she,
"This is the robe that nature gave me
On the day I was born in Australia,
On the day I was born in Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay."

She leapt in the water without fear or dread,
Her beautiful limbs she quickly outspread,
Her hair hung in ringlets, her colour was black,
"Kind sir, you can see how I swim on my back
In the stream of my native Australia,
In the stream of my native Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay."

Being tired of swimming she came to the bank,
"Assistance, kind sir, or I surely shall sink."
Like lightning I flew, took her out by the hand,
My footing I lost and we fell on the sand.
She took me to the bush of Australia,
She took me to the bush of Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

Oh we sported together in the highest of glee,
In the fairest Australia you ever did see.
My hair to her beautiful breast was inclined
Till the sun in the west all its glories resigned
To this beautiful maid of Australia,
To this beautiful maid of Australia,
Where the maidens are handsome and gay.

 

11. Sign-On Day

Traditional, arranged by Nicole Murray and John Thompson.

Signing-on for seasonal work was a feature of the cane-fields and other rural industries in early Australia. Hard work, followed by a large cheque and the long wait for the next season.

 

12. The Blooming Queensland Side

Traditional, arranged by Nicole Murray and John Thompson.

This beautiful variant of "The Banks of the Nile" comes from the Hurd Collection of clippings held at the State Library of Queensland. Originally published in the Queenslander in the late 19th century, it was submitted to the paper by "WHT" of Surat, Queensland.

Oh, come with me, my pretty girl, now come away with me,
I'll take you o'er the borders and we'll leave this colony,
Come away, my heart's desire, my darling and my pride,
And I'll treat you like a lady, love, on the blooming Queensland side.

Victoria's going to the bad, this bullocky cannot live;
The price of cartage comes so low, the squatters nothing to give.
There's a railway in every corner, you can meet them at every stride,
So we'll away in the morning to the blooming Queensland side.

So have your things in readiness at the breaking of the day,
I'll take you to the parson, love, and the words o'er us he'll say.
When he has tied us two together with a knot that can't be untied,
Then we'll away in the morning to the blooming Queensland side.

I would like to know if you've been true, I would like to know that same,
You bullockies are such knowing chaps, you are up to every game.
Perhaps, with some young dashing bell a-walking by your side
You've been doing a little killing on the bloom Queensland side.

If old Whitefoot in the pole could speak, I bet he'd answer "No",
I always have been true to you wherever I did go.
And if I now prove false to you may the grave my body hide,
And I'll never set foot again on the blooming Queensland side.

I know my bullocky is true — was always always true to me,
I only wanted to try you and hear what you would say.
Then I will be a constant wife until death us divide,
Then you can marry the prettiest girl on the blooming Queensland side.

I'll teach you my darling, a damper how to bake,
Fry chops in the morning, and cook a brownie cake,
And on top of my wagon so gaily you will ride,
They will think you're Queen Victoria a-going for a drive.

It's over the pole each night we'll cast the canvas down,
And underneath its spreading folds we'll sleep both safe and sound,
The cold will never trouble you, for the weather is always mild,
And the summer breezes gently blow on the blooming Queensland side.

When over in Queensland you are arrived at home,
It's up and down the Condamine of an evening you can roam,
Enjoy yourself to your heart's content and cast dull care aside,
For you'll be the happiest bullocky's wife on the blooming Queensland side.

 

13. The Land Of Bright Gold

John Thompson

I wrote this piece while thinking of the hopes that people carry for the "other place" that they imagine will be better. It is this type of dreaming that drives us to believe in the next world, or to travel to the far side of the globe in search of new lives.

Sung here with members of the Morningsong Choir.

I will go to the land of bright gold
A place of peace and plenty
Where every one's story is told
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will enter the palace of dreams
A place of peace and plenty
Where magic is just as it seems
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will walk through the towering trees
A place of peace and plenty
Where the leaves sing the song of the breeze
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will go to the cave of the King
A place of peace and plenty
And we'll sit there together and sing
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will dance in the garden of love
A place of peace and plenty
Where our souls can soar high up above
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will climb to the mountains of peace
A place of peace and plenty
The place where all anger will cease
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will sleep in the warmth of the sun
A place of peace and plenty
Where all who are gone will be one
And grief and sorrow can't find me

I will go to the land of bright gold
A place of peace and plenty
Where every one's story is told
And grief and sorrow can't find me

 

 

 
 
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