Sleeve Notes — Larrikin release
On the sleeve of this L.P. I had originally intended to include individual notes on each song, explaining what the song was about, how I came to write it etc., etc. In short, to thoroughly indulge myself, a trait for which I am regrettably, but justifiably, quite well known.
Instead, I offer these songs to you without comment. The primary function of any song is communication, so if I've succeeded as a songwriter these songs should require no further explanation from me, they should speak for themselves. I certainly hope they do. Listen to them, draw your own conclusions, make your own interpretations, form your own judgments.
Please do not let the fact that I think they're all great, and that they represent a large slice of my life, sway you in any way whatsoever.
My grateful and sincere thanks to all those who have been involved in the making of this record, it has been both a pleasure and an education to work with real professionals. My special thanks to Chris Nicholson, my producer, who orchestrated this whole project from the start.
Finally, this record was made for, and is dedicated to, all those people who, over the last 10 years or so, have given me love, advice, encouragement friendship, and a kick in the bum when I needed it.
But mainly, it's for Nancy.
Sleeve Notes — Celtic Music LP release
NOW I'M EASY
I met an old "Cocky" in a pub in Australia once and this is his life story as told to me. The songwriter's ultimate arrogance I suppose, a man's life in six verses, but I think that I picked out the important bits. A "Cocky" by the way is a farmer, and "an old black Gin" means an aborigional woman. The song title is denied from a phrase which the Cocky kept using while spinning his yams to me.
Everybody knows the pain of leaving loved ones. This was a song I wrote for my mother when I emigrated from Scotland to Australia in 1969. It was a difficult parting, as we tried desperately and unsuccessfully to ignore the fact that I was going to the other side of the world, and submerged our true feelings by talking trivia. This song perhaps redresses the balance.
I HATE WOGS
A satire (I hope) about some Australian attitudes to Migrants. It's got me into a lot of trouble one way and another, with verbal and physical abuse and a couple of death threats along the way as well.
NO MAN'S LAND
A song about the waste and futility of war. Pure and simple.
LEAVING IN THE MORNING
Every songwriter worth his salt tries one of these, "I'm leaving you babe" type songs. Here is my contribution, drawn from imagination only, not real life.
SINCE NANCY DIED
I wrote this song to try and explain the feelings I had when my parents died. What were these feelings? Guilt mainly, and also an awareness of my own mortality. This song is about that new awareness of mortality.
THE WAR CORRESPONDENT
About war correspondents in Vietnam. Brave, or greedy, or thrill-seekers? I don t know. I wrote this for a documentary film (it wasn't used!).
SONG OF THE WHALE
All the whaling songs I've ever heard have been from the wrong end of the harpoon. This is a song about what it's like on the sharp end, i.e. the end that usually kills.
FRONT ROW COWBOY
Written for ROY ROGERS, bless his white Stetson.
THE BAND PLAYED WALTZING MATILDA
An attempt to try and express on one hand, my revulsion of war, and on the other, my genuine admiration for the brave men who fought at GALLIPOLLI, volunteers to a man!
I was born in Peebles, Scotland, in 1944 and had the usual early musical influences of Lonnie Donegan and Elvis Presley, and ended up singing in a rock group for three years in the early sixties. In 1969 I emigrated to Australia, the only sensible thing I've ever done in my life. I started writing songs in Australia having only written poetry previously. In 1972, I wrote "Matilda" after watching an ANZAC march in Canberra, and that was the start of a road I've often since wondered whether I should ever have taken! "MATILDA" was followed by "NO MAN'S LAND" another World War I song, which I wrote after a short sobering visit to one of the multitude of military cemeteries in northern France. I attempted to convey in the song the sad, angry, futile atmosphere of that graveyard. Those two songs have been the most commercially successful I've ever written, but of course I've written many others, about subjects ranging from bar-b-q's to humped back whales, I love them all equally because they are mine, and like a father with his kids, I'm proud of them all and don't like to play favourites.
My sincere thanks to all those who have been involved in the making of this record. My special thanks to Chris Nicholson my producer, who orchestrated the whole project from the start. Finally, this record was made for, and is dedicated to all those people who over the last ten years or so have given me love, advice, encouragement, friendship, and a kick in the bum when I needed it!
But it's mainly for Nancy