Tuesday, June 9, 2020

5 x 5: Songs about Australia, Part 2



5 Facts about 5 songs about Australia, Part 2
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Sounds of Then:
By Gang Gajang

Link:

Lyrics:

I think I hear the sounds of then,
And people talking,
The scenes recalled, by minute movement,
And songs they fall, from the backing tape.
That certain texture, that certain smell,

To lie in sweat, on familiar sheets,
In brick veneer on financed beds.
In a room, of silent hardiflex
That certain texture, that certain smell,
Brings home the heavy days,
Brings home the the night time swell,
Out on the patio we'd sit,
And the humidity we'd breathe,
We'd watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think, this is Australia.

The block is awkward - it faces west,
With long diagonals, sloping too.
And in the distance, through the heat haze,
In convoys of silence the cattle graze.
That certain texture, that certain beat,
Brings forth the night time heat.

Out on the patio we'd sit,
And the humidity we'd breathe,
We'd watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think that this is Australia.

To lie in sweat, on familiar sheets,
In brick veneer on financed beds.
In a room of silent hardiflex

That certain texture, that certain smell,
Brings forth the heavy days,
Brings forth the night time sweat
Out on the patio we'd sit,
And the humidity we'd breathe,
We'd watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think, this is Australia.
This is Australia etc..

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"Sounds of Then (This Is Australia)" (another personal favourite) is a 1985 song by Australian rock band, Gang Gajang, from their self-titled debut album, Gang Gajang. "Sounds of Then" was written by front man, Mark "Cal" Callaghan, who provides lead vocals and guitar. He co-produced the album with fellow band member, Graham Bidstrup, and Joe Wissert.
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Callaghan recalled that it started as a poem in his notebook, reflecting on the time that his family moved from England to Bundaberg in Queensland, a major culture shock for him:

We lived half way between Bundaberg and the ocean, all around was bush scrub and cane fields. And walking up to the top of the street to catch the school bus, one morning you turn around and there's fire. It's one of those songs where if your goal was only to sell records, whatever it took to do it, then the song would have been called 'This is Australia'. But it's not about that. It's a brick veneer drama. My parents got divorced when they came to Australia, it was a horrible period of my life. And the song is actually about how smells and sounds and sensations can rekindle a memory – which is what music does so successfully for people: 'I think I hear the sounds of then and people talkingScenes recalled by minute movementAnd songs they fall from the backing tape…'. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about, ‘Isn’t Australia great!’ And the memories that are being recalled are from the time my family moved to Australia. When out on the patio we’d sit and the humidity we’d breathe, we’d watch lightning crack over cane fields, laugh and think, ‘This is Australia’.
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The song was used in a Coca-Cola ad, see it at:

Also watch how the ad portrays what the lyrics are about.
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By the way . . .

The name Gang Gajang (also GANGgajang) was adopted in 1984 and is onomatopoeiac for the sound of a guitar playing a loud chord.



Give me a Home Among the Gum Trees:

"Give Me a Home Among the Gumtrees" is a popular Australian song written in 1974 by Wally Johnson and Bob Brown (aka Captain Rock). 

Link:
John Williamson live at the memorial service for Steve Irwin:

John Williamson remix, with lyrics:

Another John Williamson version with lyrics:

Lyrics:

I’ve been around the world

A couple of times or maybe more
I’ve seen the sights, I’ve had delights
On every foreign shore
But when my mates all ask me
The place that I adore
I tell them right away

Give me a home among the gumtrees

With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

You can see me in the kitchen

Cooking up a roast
Or Vegemite on toast
Just you and me, a cup of tea
And later on, we’ll settle down
And go out on the porch
And watch the possums play

Give me a home among the gumtrees

With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

There’s a Safeways up the corner

And a Woolies down the street
And a brand new place they’ve opened up
Where they regulate the heat
But I’d trade them all tomorrow
For a little bush retreat
Where the kookaburras call

Give me a home among the gumtrees

With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

Some people like their houses

With fences all around
Others live in mansions
And some beneath the ground
But me I like the bush you know
With rabbits running round
And a pumpkin vine out the back

Give me a home among the gumtrees

With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

Give me a home among the gumtrees

With lots of plum trees
A sheep or two, a k-kangaroo
A clothesline out the back
Verandah out the front
And an old rocking chair

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It was originally performed as a satirical number in Johnson and Brown's comedy act at the Flying Trapeze Cafe in Fitzroy, Melbourne.  At that time the Australian Government had decided to scrap God Save the Queen as the national anthem and was running a contest called the Australian National Anthem Quest to find a replacement. The Gumtrees song was Johnson and Brown's response (it did not win).
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The song was later recorded by popular Australian country music singer-songwriter John Williamson, thus increasing its popularity with many mistakenly believing Williamson to be the original composer.
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Country band Bullamakanka made some changes to the lyrics, which were also retained in Williamson's recording. These tended to water down the original tongue-in-cheek nature of the song. 
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Bullamakanka's version was later used as the theme song for the popular gardening and lifestyle television program Burke's Backyard, which ran on Australian television for 17 years.
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Glossary for overseas readers:

Gumtrees: eucalypts, widespread in Australia
Verandah out the front:  Verandahs have been a common feature of Australian homes since the early 19th century, preventing heating of the homes from the direct sunlight on the walls and for providing shade for seated areas.  In Queensland wrap around verandahs encompassing the whole house gave its name to that style, the Queenslander.
Safeways: a defunct Australian supermarket chain, which was a subsidiary of the American company and is now part of Woolworths Limited
Woolies: Woolworths, the Oz Woolies has no connection with tye US one, someone was astute enough to register the name in Oz






I Am Australian:

The Seekers

Link:

Lyrics:

I came from the dream-time
From the dusty red-soil plains
I am the ancient heart
The keeper of the flame
I stood upon the rocky shores
I watched the tall ships come
For forty thousand years I've been
The first Australian

I came upon the prison ship
Bowed down by iron chains
I bought the land, endured the lash
And waited for the rains
I'm a settler, I'm a farmer's wife
On a dry and barren run
A convict, then a free man
I became Australian

I'm the daughter of a digger
Who sought the mother lode
The girl became a woman
On the long and dusty road
I'm a child of the Depression
I saw the good times come
I'm a bushie, I'm a battler
I am Australian

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice
"I am, you are, we are Australian"

I'm a teller of stories
I'm a singer of songs
I am Albert Namatjira
And I paint the ghostly gums
I'm Clancy on his horse
I'm Ned Kelly on the run
I'm the one who waltzed Matilda
I am Australian

I'm the hot wind from the desert
I'm the black soil of the plains
I'm the mountains and the valleys
I'm the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky
The rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land
I am Australian

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice
"I am, you are, we are Australian"

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We'll share a dream and sing with one voice
"I am, you are, we are Australian"
"I am, you are, we are Australian"
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Written in 1987 by Bruce Woodley of The Seekers and Dobe Newton of The Bushwackers, its popularity has allowed it to join the ranks of other patriotic songs considered as alternatives to the Australian national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair". It is commonly taught in primary schools and, over the years since the song's release, there have been calls for it to become Australia's national anthem, notably in 2011 by former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett.
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"I Am Australian" is popular at celebrations such as Australia Day and New Year's Day, as it celebrates the diversity of Australian society.  It is often sung by Australian fans at numerous sporting events.

It was often played at citizenship ceremonies from 2008 until 2012 when the Copyright Tribunal ruled that this was an infringement and ordered the Federal Government to pay Bruce Woodley $149,743.34 in compensation.
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Spectators seated in the public gallery of the Australian House of Representatives erupted into applause and sang part of "I am Australian" when Parliament voted on and legalised same sex marriage on 7 December 2017.
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Glossary:

The dream-time:  the aboriginal; spiritual belief system stretching back to creation.
The tall ships: the sailing ships of the first settlement, 1788
Digger: prospector, the term later being extended to Australian soldiers and then later as a mark of affection for a friend (males, not females, or in the vernacular, blokes, not sheilas).
Bushie: anyone from the outback or sparsely populated regions, even if there is no forest.  It is defined as any place more than 50 kilometres from where I live, hence my friends Steve and Diane live in the bush.
Battler: a working class person who is doing it tough.
I am Albert Namatjira and I paint the ghostly gums: indigenous Australian artist 1902-1959, noted for his paintings of Australian gums and landscapes, such as:


I'm Clancy on his horse: the man who is the subject of Banjo Paterson’s poem Clancy of the Overflow
I'm Ned Kelly on the run: Ned Kelly was a famous Australian bushranger (outlaw) who was hanged in 1880.  Fascinating story, search for the detailed story on him in parts on Bytes.
I'm the one who waltzed Matilda: Waltzing Matilda is Australia’s unofficial national anthem.. The Matilda referred to was a man’s bedroll and swag, to go Waltzing Matilda was to take to the road, travelling from place to place, often looking for work in hard times or just being a swaggie or swagman, a hobo travelling the road.  I have written about the song previously, click on:



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