Mudcat Café message #4070544 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4070544
Posted By: GUEST
02-Sep-20 - 08:25 PM
Thread Name: Mudcat Australia/NZ Songbook
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
My apologies, Sandra. I had forgotten that you posted links re 'From little things...' It seems so long ago. Anyhow, the words are now available on this thread.

From Union Songs website:

(Don Henderson)

Purpose built tugs that like line boats attended
berthed bulk coal carriers in open sea.
To fulfil that function, the union contended,
required four deckhands. The owners said three.
Three deckhands and motorman just couldn't handle
sixteen inch polyprop, double dead eyes.
When the tow-hook was blacked, the company gambled
on a tension winched, ten inch, calm sea compromise.

Broadsound. Belyando. Nebo. Sarina.
The sea snaps your hawsers like thin strands of twine.
Broadsound. Belyando. Nebo. Sarina.
Hundred ton bollard pull thirty ton line.

At two in the morning we made fast the Martha.
By nine the Academy Star had been berthed.
Then all tugs and line boats returned to the harbour.
Their work being finished, the four crews dispersed.
Five the same evening, storm warnings were sounding.
Cyclone approaching, no time for delay.
At their berths the big bulkies were taking a pounding.
Broadsound and Belyando must get them away.

To Hay Point at full speed the two tugs went dashing;
got lines on the Martha at Wharf Number Two.
Though twelve foot green water on our decks was crashing,
the order for maximum tow had come through.
With the whole hull vibrating, the tension winch slipping,
then came the moment that all tugmen dread.
The sudden lurch forward, the broken line whipping.
The thought of old shipmates; the injured, the dead.

The Martha had cleared just as our line had broken.
The Academy Star was at Wharf Number One.
Though the help we could offer might be but a token,
in her plight that help would be better than none.
Time and again, we tried to position,
so the tow might commence with all possible speed.
With a jury-rigged line and in such bad conditions,
three deckhands and motorman could not succeed.

Well, not fully laden and high in the water,
the Academy Star could not be controlled.
With a strong on-shore wind by her bow on the quarter,
she slammed at the pylons till her hull had holed.
And yet the ship owners and those who do their will,
send tugs to sea, light on gear, under-manned.
One million dollars will be the repair bill.
They'd pay that in preference to one more deckhand.


Don Henderson wrote:

"Arriving in Mackay for me to assess the songwriting situation for "The Flames of Discontent" album created a bit of suspicion among maritime workers.
Willsie had stayed C.P.A. when E.V. Elliott had led the union to the S.P.A. and who was this ageing hippy in Chelsea Flair cowboy boots and a burgundy and gold brocade coat that understood the struggle for tug jobs anyway?
A well known P&D knuckle man was delegated to ask me why I wore a coat like that. I answered that it got me into a better class of fight. He took back the verdict that I was O.K. After a week's work and no song had appeared, this verdict was being questioned. Back in Brisbane going over notes, a bit of paper appeared on which l'd written down the names of the tugs and line boats as they were tied up at the wharf.
Broadsound, Belyando, Nebo, Sarina. Said quickly it seemed to sing. Getting the facts of the night right, I wrote the song and sent a cassette to Mackay.
The original O.K. verdict was confirmed. I might look like an old ponce but the song was the one they wanted."

Don first recorded this song on the 1979 LP "Flames Of Discontent". It is also on the MUA Centenary CD "With These Arms"

The tune can be found here:

Union Songs

Music and chords are on p176 of Don Henderson '100 Songs & Poems: A Quiet Century' Queensland Folk Federation-

Danny Spooner did a fine rendition on his 'Emerging Tradition' CD.