Mudcat Café message #4068792 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4068792
Posted By: Sandra in Sydney
19-Aug-20 - 02:12 AM
Thread Name: Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook
Subject: RE: One of the has-beens -2 versions - Don Henderson's re-writing of this classic Australian folksong + original song both on this thread & below

One of the has-beens by Don Henderson

I'm one of the has-beens
A folk song I mean.
In oral transmission
I once was serene.
Illiterate agrarians
my worth would avow,
but you may not believe me
'cause they don't do it now.


I'm as awkward as a new one,
much more cap and gown,
than a blithe air of arcadia;
I've been written down

Eluding the Banjo,
Vance Palmer, Bert Lloyd,
Jones, Durst and O'Connor
I did likewise avoid.
Manifold, Meredith,
Tate, de Hugard,
both Scotts, all found
finding me was too hard.

One day while engrossed
in making a whip,
my current custodian
let his version slip.
Ron Edwards was on hand
and wrote down all that,
while feigning description
of the sixteen strand plait.

Oh, it's no use complaining,
I'll never say die,
though the variant days
for me have gone by.
Now captured in MS,
stave and magazine,
I merely have told you
just what I have been.

Don Henderson 1937 - 1991

collectors of Australian Folk song
Banjo Paterson, Vance Palmer, Bert Lloyd, Percy Jones, Joy Durst, Norm O'Connor, John Manifold, John Meredith, Brad Tate,
Dave de Hugard, brothers bill scott and Alan Scott

Ron Edwards collector, folklorist, artist, storyteller, craftsman ...

ONE OF THE HAS-BEENS. It's an Australian shearing song, and is from the point of view of an old man who used to be the best shearer in the sheds, i.e. the ringer, but now he is old and has lost most of his shearing prowess.

The tune is PRETTY POLLY PERKINS OF PADDINGTON GREEN, and this tune and lyrics are in the DT database, if you search for [Polly Perkins].

I probably found this on an Australian folk music site. I posted these lyrics in a thread called "Feedback please" a while back. I'll check where I got it from and post the site address.



I'm one of the has beens a shearer I mean
I once was a ringer and I used to shear clean
I could make the wool roll off like the soil from the plough
But you may not believe me for I cant do it now

CHORUS: I'm as awkward as a new chum and I'm used to the frown
That the boss often shows me saying keep them blades down

I've shore with Pat Hogan, Bill Bright and Jack Gunn
Tommy Leighton Charlie Fergus and the great roaring Dunn
They brought from the Lachlan the best they could find
But not one among them could leave me behind

It's no use complaining I'll never say die
Though the days of fast shearing for me have gone by
I'll take the world easy shear slowly and clean
And I merely have told you just what I have been

Notes - Printed in Stewart and Keesing Old Bush Songs with the note: "From Mrs G.L.Ginns, of Merrylands, NSW". (Written by Robert Stewart) From the singing of A.L.Lloyd, who writes on the notes for Across the Western Plains that he heard it in Cowra, NSW when he was working there in the 1920's. Tune 'Pretty Polly Perkins'