Lyrics and music are two souls which turn a song to a great song!! Lyrics are not just the words to read out while listening music but they connect your heart with the music. May be, we could say, ‘lyrics and music are a kind of poetry to the heart and soul’. Finally, what I want to convey is lyrics are the part of music and when you like the music, lyrics will become as part of you!!
Yes we have got a very good intro about the lyrics and its magical impact to a song and listeners too. But why am I talking about the lyrics, music, song, etc.!? Because today I am going to make all of you recall the old most iconic Australian folk song and we are also going to talk about the song in detail. Let us begin our way to learn more about the song’s lyrics, tune, music, writer, recordings, etc.
Jack O Hagan, a famous Australian song writer in 1922 had to write beautiful and magical lyrics to a song and he does not know that the song when it is tuned, is going to be a huge hit. It had become such a great hit that even Jack could not imagine that the song to which he had put in his feelings through lyrics is going to be the most iconic one among other top 30 Australian folk songs. Willing to know that song!? Here we go, the Jack’s most memorable song is nothing but ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’. Australians might have heard of this song in many events or concerts, radio, etc. However, Non-Australians just follow me in this article and continue reading to know much more about the song.
Before I give you the appropriate lyrics, I would like add few more note points about the song. I.e. as the most songs of this period were not written down in any books or papers when the writers composed, people use to learn and pass down to other persons just the way they heard from other’s mouth. So, it is highly inevitable situation to stop different versions of same song.
Here is the original lyrics and YouTube version of the song, “Along the Road to Gundagai’.
There’s a scene that lingers in my memory –
Of an old bush home and friends I long to see –
That’s why I am yearning
Just to be returning
Along the road to Gundagai –
There’s a track winding back
To an old-fashioned shack
Along the road to Gundagai –
Where the blue gums are growing
And the Murrumbidgee’s flowing
Beneath that sunny sky –
Where my daddy and mother
Are waiting for me
And the pals of my childhood
Once more I will see.
Then no more will I roam,
When I’m heading right for home
Along the road to Gundagai.
When I get back there I’ll be a kid again –
Oh! I’ll never have a thought of grief or pain –
Once more I’ll be playing
Where the gums are swaying
Along the road to Gundagai
Find the original version and tune of ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ on YouTube here.
About the ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’
‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ is an Australian most famous recording of popular folk songs. Jack O Hagan had given the lyrics to ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ in 1922 and in 1931 Peter Dawson, Australia’s bass-bariton and song writer reforded it for the first time and it became so popular among Australians and was one of the well-known Australian folks. The Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA), a not-for-profit copyright collectives which jointly represent over 47,000 composers, lyricists and music publishers in Australia and New Zealand, declared ‘Along the Road Gundagai’ as one of its top 30 Australian Folk songs of all time. This was declared on APRA’s 75th anniversary held on May 2001. Later in 2007, the Peter Dawson’s 1931 recording of ‘Along the Road Gundagai’ was selected to National Film and Sound Archive’s Sounds of Australia registry. It was even used as a theme for Dad and Dave radio show.
The ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ became a very popular World War II song when it was first published in 1922 and nearly 100,000 copies were sold over. As I already said, we can see over 30 old bush poems and songs about Gundagai. What is Gundagai!?
Gundagai is rural area located along the Murrumbidgee River 390 km south-west of Sydney, NSW. Gundagai lies within the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri speaking people, a group of aboriginal Australian people survived as skilled hunter–fisher and united by a common language.
A Tragic News about Gundagai: 1852 floods in Gundagai were the worst devastating floods ever hit Australia. 82 died in Australia’s deadliest flood that means on 25th June 1852, 25% of Australia’s population were swept away with the floods, making it one of the biggest natural disasters in Australia’s history. Three Aboriginal men are honoured with the bronze medallions for the credit of saving 40 Gundagai town people during floods. Regardless of of writing about the devastating floods in Gundagai, Jack O Hagan had first visited Gundagai as a guest of honor at its centenary celebrations in 1956.
Jack O Hang had written two more versions or further songs highlighting the small town of New South Wales, Gundagai. They include ‘When a Boy from Alabama Meets a Girl from Gundagai’ (1942) and ‘Where the Dog Sits on the Tuckerbox (Five Miles from Gundagai)’ (1938). The popularity of the song increased and continued to further decades by recording a number of different versions by different performers from The Harmoniques and Col Joye, Slim Dusty and Barry Humphries, to Rolf Harris and Liza Minnelli, which were a great commercial success. However, till date the ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ remains one of the greatest Australian folk songs and the recording by Peter Dawson remains one of the best-known versions.
A strange fact is that, Jack O Hagan in his earlier days of writing songs, wrote a song named ‘Down Carolina Way’, stating Australians were not interested about songs featuring Australia. An entrepreneur got to see the song and rebuked Jack O Hagan to write a song about Australia. That was when Jack worked on ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’ as a response.
But many get confused with the Banjo Peterson’s poem ‘The Road to Gundagai’, which is completely different from the old bush song ‘Along the Road to Gundagai’.
Here are the pretty old Australian folk songs on Gundagai:
Last but not the least fact about Jack O Hagan is that ‘Jack received OBE (Order of British Empire) award in 1973 and died at the age of 88 in 1983.