Here And There, Now And Then

Song Notes CD-1

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01 Dingo
- 4.11 [Words & Music; Gary Shearston]

Because of one thing and another, the United States immigration authorites declared me to be 'an undesirable alien' and expelled me from their shores. A dingo, in other words.

Track: from the album 'Dingo', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1974. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar, mulga-wood songsticks; John Turnbull, electric guitar; Rod King, pedal steel guitar; Gary Taylor (acoustic) guitar; Dave Oiney, bass; Andrew Steele, drums; Jim Parker, string arrangement; Phil Chapman, organ.

 

02 I Get A Kick Out Of You
- 3.39 [Words & Music: Cole Porter]

I used to sing this wonderful Cole Porter song as something of a party-piece for Australian expatriate friends in London. When most of them returned to Australia to avail themselves of the promises of the Whitlam government in the areas of artistic endeavour, I recorded this somewhat lairy version for them to remember me by - and for my partner of the time, out of whom I certainly got a kick. Charisma Records lifted it off the 'Dingo' album, released it as a single, and it's had a life of its own ever since.

Track: from the album 'Dingo', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1974. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Gary Taylor (acoustic) guitars; Rod King, pedal steel guitar;

Dave Oiney, bass; Andrew Steele, drums; Grahame Smith, violin; Jim Parker, string arrangement.

 

03 Witnessing
- 4.08 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

Reading of things Egyptian, I learned that the 'Divine Baboon' was entiled upon the walls of many tombs. Why, I wondered? Further investigation revealed that their job was to witness the solar journey.

Track: from the album 'Dingo', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1974. Note: by Gary Shearston

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Tommy Eyre, electric piano; Dave Oiney, bass; Andrew Steele, drums; John Field, congas.

 

04 The Lightkeeper Of America
- 4.14 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

During my brief stay in the United States, spanning the late 60s and early 70s, the Vietnam war was still being lost and Richard Nixon was at the height of his deception. I took a ferry from Battery Park, Manhattan, out to Liberty Island, to have a closer-up decco at the Mother-of-exiles. She was in some disarray at the time, as was her country. The statue, by the way, is offi cially entitled 'Liberty Enlightening the World'. Still a bit of a way to go, it would seem.

Track: from the album 'Dingo', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1974. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar, harmonica; John Turnbull, electric guitar; Rod King, pedal steel guitar; Grahame Smith, violin; Tommy Eyre, electric piano; Dave Oiney, bass; Andrew Steele, drums.

 

05 Aborigine
- 4.08 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

During my short sojourn in the United States, I would often be asked about Aboriginal culture in Australia. I quickly realized that any understanding lay well outside the scope of normal black/white discussion in terms of African-American/Caucasian relationships and that it far more closely related to Amer-Indian culture by way of land identity and worship of the Great Spirit. Acknowledging my limited knowledge of the subject, I would tell enquirers of Dougie Young, Kath Walker (Oodgeroo Noonuccal), Charles Perkins, and others with whom I had worked for the advancement and rights of Aboriginal people in Australia. To help matters along, I wrote this song, Aborigine.

Track: from the album 'Dingo', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1974. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar, double bass, mulga-wood songsticks; Hugh Murphy & Jon Astley, additional mulga-wood songsticks tracks.

 

06 Baiame (The Greatest Stone On Earth)
- 3.52 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

The song (written in London) followed on from Aborigine (written in New York) and for much the same reason. Initial inspiration came from William Hart-Smith's poem, 'baiame's never-failing stream':

then he made of the stars, in my mind,
pebbles and clear water running over them,
linking most strangely feelings of im-
measurable remoteness and intimacy.
so that at one and the same time i
not only saw a fine white mist of stars
there, far up there, but had my fingers
dabbling among those solid stones.

An anthropolgist from an American University wrote to me in London, complimenting me on getting the anthropology right. I wrote my thanks, commenting that, as I had no formal qualifi cations in that area of life, such 'rightness' was either a fl uke, or had evolved from the spirit of the thing. (I tended to believe the latter).

Track: from the album 'The Greatest Stone On Earth And Other Two-Bob Wonders', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1976. Note: by Gary Shearston

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Carl Levy, organ; Locksley Gichie, electric guitar; Franklyn Dunn, electric bass guitar; Maurice Ellis, drums; Deborah Wood, Camilla Wigan, Latifa Balston, Lynn Gibson, Christiane Konczewski, Michael Thomas, John James, Stable Stevens, Jon Astley, Robert Kirby, additional voices.

 

07 The Drover's Dream
- 6.03 [Trad. Arr. G. Shearston]

One of only two songs vaguely remembered from my New England, northern New South Wales childhood (the other being Click Go The Shears). I recorded the song on the second record I ever made, an EP (remember them?) released on the Leedon label in 1963. The time came around again when working in London with the musicians listed below. The "How're ya going', Jim?" on the ride-out was for two important Jims in my life: my father; and best of mates, the late Jim Carter.

Track: from the album 'The Greatest Stone On Earth And Other Two-Bob Wonders', released on the Charisma label (UK) in 1976. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Royston Mitchell, organ; Chris Rae, electric guitar; Frank

 

08 Charlie Mopps
- 2.53 [Trad. Arr. G. Shearston]

Recorded for the sheer fun of it with members of Steeleye Span. Can't remember exactlywho did what. We all had a bit to drink.

Track: released on the Mays Records label (UK) in 1982. Note: by Gary Shearston (courtesy of Adnams Ales).

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar: Et Al, everything

 

09 A Whiter Shade of Pale
- 3.40 [Written by Keith Reid & Gary Brooker]

Die-hard Procul Harum fans no doubt received this with some dismay. During my years in England, it was my privilege to work with the highly-gifted pedal steel guitar player, B.J. Cole. This reworking of A Whiter Shade of Pale features overlaid tracks of his wonderful playing. Unfortunately, my list of the other musicians involved has gone astray. But I'm pretty sure one of them was Gary Taylor.

Track: released on the Transatlantic (UK) label in 1977. Note: by Gary Shearston

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; B.J. Cole, pedal steel guitar; Gary Taylor (?) guitar; and Others, bass, drums etc

 

10 Faded Streets, Windy Weather
- 3.56 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

Written for my partner of the time as I prepared to leave Australia in September, 1967, bound for the United States via Britain. The track contains the only harmonica duet my dear friend, the late Richard Brooks, and I ever played on record.

Track: from the album 'Abreaction' (On A Bitumen Road With Soft Edges) released on the Festival label in 1967. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar, (diatonic) harmonica; Sven Libaek, piano; Ed Gaston, bass; John Sangster, drums; Richard Brooks (chromatic) harmonica.

 

 


11 Aussie Blue
- 4.58 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

I was back in Australia (from England) for ten months spanning the latter part of 1980 on into 1981. Invited to perform at the Tasmanian Folk Festival (held in Longford), I bought an old Holden station-wagon, supplied it with a reconditioned engine and drove from Sydney to Melbourne to catch a plane across Bass Strait. (The wagon baulked at driving across.) Returning to Melbourne, I then drove across to Adelaide, up to Peterborough, Broken Hill, Wilcannia, Nyngan, and on back to Sydney, visiting places in which I'd done concerts over a quarter of a century earlier and hadn't seen since. I made a few notes along the way and took them back to London with me, where they became 'Aussie Blue'.

Track: released on the Larrikin label in 1989. Note: by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Mark Punch, electric guitar; Michel Rose, pedal steel guitar; Alistair Jones, keyboard; Jim Conway, harmonica; lan Simpson, banjo; Leon Gaer, bass; Ricky Fataar, drums; Kirke Godfrey, programming.

 

12 Above Below
- 4.24 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

A seasoned maxim suggests that it's no good being so heavenly focused as to be of no earthly use. If, as Charles Wesley suggested, we are to experience, "Love divine, all loves excelling, joy of heaven to earth come down", we need to get our earthly act together - because love is a two-way fl ow. Hackneyed as it has, apparently, become to say so, I still believe peace and love to be the ground of all being between all people. Anything outside of that is a pose, in one way or another. "What a mug," I hear some mutter. But there are other voices, above and below.

Track: from the album 'Aussie Blue' released on the Larrikin label in 1989. Note: by Gary Shearston

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar, mouth percussion; Mark Punch, electric guitar; Alistair Jones, keyboard; Leon Gaer, bass; Paul Thorne, trumpet; Sunil De Silva, percussion.

 

13 Shopping on a Saturday
- 4.41 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

Reminiscences of a northern New England childhood in the mid 1940s. It was a four-wheel buggy, with hood and coachlights. Back where it all began, I can reiterate that mountain bush and southern sky are still the same as ever, graves upon a hillside do mark the time that's passed away, and that, whenever I come to think of it, memory has no curtain, life was lived for certain, old and in the way. "Go, Ted. . ." The song won the Tamworth Songwriters' Association's Bush Ballad Of The Year (1990).

Track: from the album 'Aussie Blue', released on the Larrikin label in 1989. Note: by Gary Shearston

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Mark Punch, electric guitar; lan Simpson, banjo; Michel Rose, pedal steel guitar; Mike Kerrin, fi ddle; Leon Gaer, bass; Steve Fearnley, drums.

 

14 Irish Girls (Will Steal Your Heart Away)
- 4.22 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

Anyone fortunate enough to have spent time on the west coast of Ireland will know that no tourist brochure ever devised can adequately explain the landscapes, time-warps, music and mystery to be found there, or why the Guinness tastes better there than anywhere else. A treasured memory: a fantastic night of music and singing at a Saturday night 'hooley' at Bridget McShane's Crossways Inn, Glencolumbkille, County Donegal. Boisterous, rowdy hubbub interspersed moments of complete, attentive silence when anyone took a turn to sing, recite, fi ddle, strum, fl ute, tin whistle, or whatever. Invited to participate, I sang them, unaccompanied, the Australian version of The Wild Colonial Boy (which I had learned from the singing of Sally Sloane of Bathurst, from a fi eld recording made by Edgar Waters). You could have heard, not the proverbial pin, but a feather drop, so hushed was the concentration coming back at me from the array of faces in that room which, by the way, had one of the best-stocked bars I've ever seen. A reverential silence followed the end of the song, before a round of thumping applause. That silence, I fi gured, was as much for the 'Boy' himself as for the singer of his song. I'll never forget it. Nor, for that matter, the Kerry daughter by Shannon's water.

Track: from the album 'Aussie Blue', released on the Larrikin label in 1989. Note: by Gary Shearston

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Mark Punch, electric guitar; Andrew De Teliga, fi ddle & Irish harp; Bill O'Toole, fl ute & tin whistle; Guy Madigan, bodhran; Leon Gaer, bass; Steve Fearnley, drums.

 

15 Riverina Drover
- 3.33 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

For the latter part of 1991 and early 1992, I was living in a little cottage on the banks of the mighty Murrumbidgee, just outside Narrandera. During my time there, I saw many a Riverina drover on the 'long paddock'. As I had lived away from Australia for many years, the experience reminded me of those I had witnessed on the 'long paddock' in my New England childhood days. Norm Deen was running the Narrandera Hotel at the time, known to one and all as 'the top end pub'.

Track: from the album 'Only Love Survives', released on the Rouseabout label in 2001. Note: from the original album notes by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; March Punch, acoustic & electric guitars & backing vocals; Mike Vidale, bass; Mark Collins, drums.

 

16 Pretty Bonnie
- 3.36 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

Written in anticipation of my daughter's fi rst visit to Australia. Having been born in England, Australia loomed as a very far and different horizon. She wasn't disappointed

Track: from the album 'Only Love Survives', released on the Rouseabout label in 2001. Note: from the original album notes by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Mark Punch, acoustic, 12-string & electric guitars && harmonica; Mike Vidale, bass; Doug Gallacher, drums.

 

17 Streets of Forbes
- 2.53 [Words: Traditional; Music: Gary Shearston]

Ben Hall's story has stayed with me ever since visiting in 1965 what had been his home turf. I had been preparing for the release of one of my earliest traditional song collections, 'Bolters, Bushrangers & Duffers'. A gaunt, ghostly, charred old chimney was all that remained of John Walsh's 'Wheogo' homestead in the Weddin Mountains of south-western New South Wales, where Ben worked and met Walsh's daughter, Bridget, whom he later married. The police who killed Ben Hall strapped his bullet-riddled carcass onto the back of his horse and led it through the streets of Forbes. Ben Hall's brother-in-law, John McGuire, was sitting outside a shop as the grisly procession went past. Though it may never be proved, and though these words are usually credited as 'traditional', there are reasons for thinking John McGuire may well have been the original author. They are here set to a tune of my own making.

Track: from the album 'Only Love Survives', released on the Rouseabout label in 2001. Note: from the original album notes by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Mark Punch, acoustic & electric guitars, mandolin, strings, percussion & backing vocals; Mark Vidale, bass.

 

18 The Man I Might Have Been
- 3.29 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

"There is nothing permanent," said Heraclitus, "except change." The Man I Might Have Been is a song of transition, of taking stock, of coming to terms, of refl ection on the purpose of life's journey. The title comes from a Henry Lawson poem and is also found in one of Morris West's novels. At an earlier date, the English poet, Adelaide Ann Procter (1825-1864), wrote, "No star is ever lost we once have seen. We always may be what we might have been." Heraclitus, by the way, was a Greek philosopher who lived from 540-475 BC. "Upon those that step into the same rivers," he said, "different and different waters flow down."

Track: from the album 'Only Love Survives', released on the Rouseabout label in 2001. Note: from the original album notes by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston, vocal & guitar; Mark Punch, 12-string & electric guitars, keyboard, strings & backing vocals; Mike Vidale, bass.

 

19 Love, Don't Ever Make A Fool of Me Again
- 4.28 [Words & Music: Gary Shearston]

Ah. . .love. Best thing going, and that's a fact. But where human love is concerned - as I'm sure you're well aware, dear reader - you can't always predict the outcome. Nevertheless, as Robert Browning pointed out, "Take away love and our earth is a tomb." That said, love, don't ever make a fool of me again.

Track: from the album 'Only Love Survives', released on the Rouseabout label in 2001. Note: from the original album notes by Gary Shearston.

Musicians: Gary Shearston: vocal & acoustic guitar; Mark Punch: acoustic, 12-string & electric guitars, mandolin, Backing Vocals; M ike Vidale: bass; Andrew Lambkin, drums; Paula Punch, backing vocals.

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