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Stewie Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook (993* d) RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia 29 Oct 20

This song by Slim Dusty (David Kirkpatrick) would have to be considered folk in Australia's north, particularly the Northern Territory where it was hammered on every juke box. Back in the day, Slim was king of the outback. Despite its condescending tone and the horrendous line 'His skin was black but his heart was white and that's what mattered most', the Aborigines loved 'Trumby'. I recall a concert at a Gold Rush Folk festival in Tennant Creek. It was held in the CWA hall which had windows opening on to the main street. Aborigines passing by were yelling into the windows, 'Sing Trumby!'


Trumby was a ringer
A good one too at that
He could rake and ride a twister
Throw a rope and fancy plait
He could count a line of saddle
Track a man lost in the night
Trumby was a good boy but he couldn't read or write

Trumby was dependable
He never took to beer
The boss admired him so much
One day made him overseer
It never went to Trumby's head
He didn't boast or skite
Trumby was a good boy but he couldn't read or write.

The drought was on the country
The grass in short supply
The tanks were getting lower and the water holes near dry
Cattle started dying
And relief was not in sight
To estimate the losses Trumby couldn't read or write.

He rode around the station pulling cattle from the bogs
To save them being torn apart by eagles,crows and dogs
He saw a notice on a tree
It wasn't there last night
Trumby tried to understand but he couldn't read or write.

On bended knee down in the mud
Trumby had a drink
Swung the reins and to his horse said, ‘We go home I think
Tell 'im boss about the sign, 'im read 'im good alright
One day boss's missus teach 'im Trumby read and write’

Well concern was felt for Trumby
He hadn't used his bed
Next day beside that muddy hole, they found the ringer dead
And a piece of tin tied to a tree then caught the boss's eye
He read the words of 'Poison Here'
And signed by Dogger Fry

Now the stock had never used that hole along that stony creek
And Trumby's bag was empty
It had frayed and sprung a leak
The dogs were there in hundreds
And the dogger in his plight
Told the boss he never knew poor Trumby couldn't read or write

Now Trumby was a ringer
As solid as a post
His skin was black but his heart was white and that's what mattered most
Sometimes I think how sad it is in this world with all its might
That a man like Trumby met his death because he couldn't read or write.

Couldn't read or write
Couldn't read or write

Youtube clip


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