Friday, April 25, 2008

The Bushwackers Band - And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

A special Anzac day post, the Bushwacker's 1st album (I think)
" And the Band Played waltzing Matilda"
released in 1976 and is regarded as one of their
finest recordings.
Not many bands in the 70s were fronted by a man in a rage
intent on smashing a big stick with bottle tops that sent
chunks, chips and sparks flying while the floorboards
were pounded. Small wonder Newton gathered a following!
This is a rollicking good album, with some very funny
songs, fantastic instrumentals and fine Australian
bush music the way it should be.
This the original band includes Dobe Newton,
Jan Wositzky and Roger Corbett, these guys are
true national treasures.
And the song that says it all about Anzac day.

AND THE BAND PLAYED
WALTZING MATILDA

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It's time to stop rambling 'cause there's work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he'd blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For no more I'll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, "What are they marching for?"
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all

Waltzing Matilda, Waltzing Matilda
Who'll come a waltzing Matilda with me
And their ghosts may be heard as you pass the Billabong
Who'll come-a-waltzing Matilda with me?


copyright © Eric Bogle

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6 comments:

micaus said...

Great to see this wonderflu slice of Australia posted. I play the title track every Anzac day, its a sublime version.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Indeed it is micaus, have you seen the june the 30th post, the bushwackers album faces in the street, fantastic album
ciao bob

Jukebox said...

Figures that I'd find this amazing blog, just after zshare goes belly-up & takes half the links with it. I'm happy to wait until others request you to re-up most of the stuff I want, but I really want this one. I only discovered the existence of this band a couple of weeks ago & have been madly trying to track down recordings. This has led me first to the Ausrock forum, which I joined immediately, then to you.

Please re-up this one soon.

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

Ok jukebox , you have twisted my arm.
For a fellow ausrocker, so will you also be after the much better album "faces in the street" , which I also have here somewhere
ciao bob

Bob, Brisbane, Australia said...

back up ciao bob

Jukebox said...

The link was still OK for Faces in The Street, so I grabbed that before making my request. ;o)