Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Classic Australian songs: Along the Road to Gundagai

Now this is a track I can picture in my mind! Growing up in rural Australia means that songs like this classic really speak to my heart.

Sometimes music these days is just a bunch of utter rubbish where people sing nonsense lyrics that some other bugger wrote for them to make them another million bucks.

Let's wind that clock back a bit and check out some lyrics from an Australian classic.

Typical country "track" with a homestead visible amongst
the gum trees ahead (to the right). Moggill Road, Indooroopilly, Brisbane 1921.
Photo credit:
Along the Road to Gundagai was written way back in 1922 by a true blue Aussie bloke tickling the ivories in a Melbourne music store.

Jack O'Hagan worked for Allans Music store (which is still around today!). He was a talented musician who played the sheetmusic that customers were interested in buying. In the meantime, this young'n was crafting a little masterpiece of his own that would eventually become an Aussie favourite.

Check out the lyrics and we'll discuss what some of the more obscure phrases mean.

There's a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai 
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee's flowing
Beneath that sunny sky 
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see. 
Then no more will I roam,
When I'm heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.

And it's that simple!

I dunno about you, but I reckon that's gold. Jack obviously had a love for the countryside and the simple things in life, like his old family shack, the big Aussie gum trees and his schoolmates. Those are the things memories are made of, ay?

Jack's mate, Peter Dawson, recorded this song a couple of years later. The song sold around 50,000 copies in 3 months and both blokes probably made a motza!

Have a listen to Peter Dawson's recording. Sing along if you want to!

I hope you enjoyed this Aussie classic. I'll end with an explanation of some of the lyrics used. Feel free to comment below and ask me any questions about other words you don't understand.

Til next time, see ya!

Track: a narrow country road, usually dirt
Shack: Old rugged house (not a fancy, expensive one)
Gundagai: a country town in rural New South Wales (wikipedia)
Blue gums: a type of eucalyptus tree native to Australia
Murrumbidgee: a major river in New South Wales

Other words...
Bugger: idiot, jerk
Bucks: dollars
True blue: genuine, real
Bloke: a man, guy
Tickling the ivories: playing the piano
Young'n: young guy, young lad
That's gold: that's great, awesome, amazing
Ay: often used at the end of a sentence, meaning "don't you agree?"

1 comment:

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