Along the Road to Gundagai

  1. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Any Aussies here? Along the Road to Gundagai is an Australian folk song written by Jack O'Hagan in 1922. Gundagai is a small rural town in New South Wales, the main attraction of which seems to be a ramshackle wooden railroad bridge.
    I also found this tune in the Jazz Pirates New Orleans Songbook, so there are some chordal tunarounds in it. .
  2. gortnamona
    great playing Christian
  3. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks, Christian. Interesting interpretation -- that is very much slower than I know this song. I have known the song for many years, in recordings by Trevor Lucas, Martyn Windham-Read and The Bushwackers (in order of release). The alternative title is "Lazy Harry's". Lyrics and background to the song are here.

  4. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Yay! It's Christmas already! Many thanks Christian, this 1000+ Page song book is a must.

    Lovely playing as usual with gentle tremolo.
    And your tempo for the tune is perfect! I once lived in Australia and the hot humid lethargic season was just like your tune, Very nostalgic and authentic.

    I have a question, it's about this link
    If you noticed the first PDF in the top left-hand corner the first box at the top it's B-flat but above the music it is C major. Why is this?
    I'm hoping that the answer Will give some great insight into jazz music!

    Well done, it's nice to hear some jazz but also Australian tunes.
  5. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    Whoever put the collection together seems to have transcribed the tunes from the original keys to more instrument-friendly keys, Simon. Jazz instruments such as trumpet, clarinet, some of the saxes, etc are transposing instruments - i.e the note they read is not the note that they play! A trumpet player reading a C from standard notation will actually be creating a Bb note, a whole tone below what is being read. An alto or baritone sax player has a bigger transposition - the alto sax plays an Eb when reading a C, three semitones above. Our instruments are in concert pitch (though in fact the guitar in standard tuning plays a whole octave lower than it reads and the alto sax also plays an octave lower)! I bet you are glad you asked this question. The two sets of chords you are referring to are reflecting the difference between the transposing instrument and the concert-pitched instrument. If you are having a go at any of the tunes in this huge collection then play the chords which are written on the notation, not the ones which are in the chord chart above. And don't get me started on the tuning of the Great Highland Bagpipe!
  6. Frankdolin
    Very pretty Christian, very peaceful.... At first I thought it said Road to Guanja, so I got on but ended up some where else?
  7. Bren
    Thanks Christian,

    Aussies of my generation ("old") are very familiar with "Along The Road to Gundagai" , the popular 1920s song by the prolific Jack O'Hagan.

    It was used as a marching tune in WW2 and also was heard weekly as theme tune for the 1937-1952 radio rural comedy/serial "Dad and Dave".

    You'll also find video on YouTube of Tommy Emmanuel and David Grisman playing a medley of Waltzing Matilda/Road to Gundagai.

    (edited to add that that particular track only features WM with a brief reprise of Botany Bay- Tommy did the medley with Chet Atkins. Here he is demonstrating - and singing! -both songs to a fan )

    Last and definitely least, I submitted a medley of tunes from that era including The Road to Gundagai to Mandolin Cafe about 2004, I'll see if I can dig it up.

    Martin -
    there are many songs referring to Gundagai which was (and still is to some extent) a transport hub for that part of NSW, a familiar stop for wandering shearers and other rural workers in the 19th C and it's also on the main Sydney-Melbourne route.

    However the songs you mention are no relation to O'Hagan's tune.

    No doubt he had them in mind when he wrote it, though.

    He'd never actually been to Gundagai himself at the time but was later honoured by the town.
  8. Bren
    Here we go:

    My notes for that video:

    A rough 4-track recording I made in 2005 with the now defunct Zoom MRS-4 , using old Fender acoustic guitar, Marshall Dow mahogany/spruce mandolin, cheap tenor banjo, and Donmo (Don Morrison) brass/nickel resophonic mandolin.

    The three tunes are:

    Croajingolong - Pat Dunlop (1923)

    Along the Road to Gundagai - Jack O'Hagan (1922)

    I'm Going Back Again to Yarrawonga - Cpl. Neil McBeath A.I.F (ca 1919)

    I understand that the prolific O'Hagan had never been to Gundagai at the time he wrote his most popular song, nor had Dunlop or his lyricist Alice Lind been to Croajingolong.

    McBeath wrote Yarrawonga and several other patriotic/homesick songs for Anzacs while serving in France in WW1 and also part of the "Coo-ee" concert troop. He might have been from Yarrawonga. He died in Heidelberg repat, Melbourne, in 1980.
  9. John Kelly
    John Kelly
    What a fine medley, Bren, and creating such a great period feel with your instrument choices.

    You mention the Zoom recorder - I still have a 4-track Tascam Portastudio stored away in a cupboard here, complete with cassette tapes. They made remarkably good recordings and were an intro into mutitracking for so many of us all those years back.
  10. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Thanks for the clarification, Bren -- I was aware that there were many songs with "Gundagai" in the title, but thought "Along the Road to Gundagai" was the same as "The Road to Gundagai" (or "Lazy Harry's"). No wonder I was confused when I listened to Christian's recording and couldn't pick up the familiar (to me) tune I was expecting!

  11. Bren
    A lot of old timers used to call it Gundy-guy and I notice Tommy did when introducing it to a fan but reverted to Gunda-guy when singing.
    Was a common thing I think, like Californy and Canady (i-o).
  12. Bren
    John, I found the Zoom easier and faster to work with than today's computer options.
    The floppy memory card it used was not exactly future-proof though.
  13. Christian DP
    Christian DP
    Thanks for this lively discussion about a song, I didn't know two weeks ago.
    John: thanks for the explanation of the two sets of chords.
    Bren: nice medley.
    Martin: In the songbook I played this from, the melody is notated in quarter-and half notes.
    The Jazz Pirates play this song only a little faster than I do:
  14. Martin Jonas
    Martin Jonas
    Christian: please ignore my earlier comment about tempo -- as discussed in my reply to Bren, I was confusing the tune with a different song of (almost) the same title, "The Road To Gundagai". Your tempo is just fine for the actual tune you played...

  15. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Nice one Bren!
    Loads of energy and steady as Ayres Rock. Warm recording tone too.
    And thanks for the vids, I did live in Australia at one time, Freemantle and Manly (Syndey)

    Thanks for the info John, it makes sense now. I did wonder if it was some sort of Blues trick where for example you play a C major scale over a D major key, which would basically mean that you’re flattening the seventh of a scale and also flattening the third. I did try it out. Sounds interesting!
  16. Bren
    Hi Simon, I'm impressed that you managed to misspell Fremantle and Sydney all in the one phrase.

    Both places are completely unaffordable to me now so my retirement dreams are over.

    Maybe I'll get to Gundagai on my next visit, whenever that may be.

    As my old dad used to recite:

    As I came down through Conroy's Gap
    I heard a maiden cry
    There goes old Bill the bullocky
    and he's bound for Gundagai
    now a tougher poor old @&^@%£$£ never earned an honest crust
    and a meaner poor old @&^@%£$£ never drug a whip through dust

    But the team got bogged at the 5 mile creek
    @&^@%£$£! Bill cried,
    If Nobby don't get me out of this, I'll tattoo his @&^@%£$£ hide!
    But Nobby strained, and broke the yoke, and poked out the leader's eye
    And the dog @&^@%£$£ in the tucker box, 5 miles from Gundagai
  17. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    See what happens when the pizza’s waiting in the oven and I’m thinking about Ayres Rock and the cat’s howling to go out!
  18. Bren
    You can think about spelling it "Ayer's" Rock instead, more commonly-known now as Uluru, but first please let that cat out of the pizza oven.
  19. Jairo Ramos Parra
    Jairo Ramos Parra
    Excellent, Bren, I only hear very high quality stuff in your performances ...
  20. Simon DS
    Simon DS
    Sorry Bren, I’m occasionally not 100%, luckily though it doesn’t seem to affect my motor skills!

    Here’s something interesting. I was surprised that I knew most of these important phrases:
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