The Songs From Irish Row CD Online

We are happy to offer some special notes on all of the songs on the CD. Some of the text will be identical to that found on the CD, while there are special comments and further information added--some of which was not able to be printed due to size constraints. We hope you will enjoy this companion to your CD purchase. There are additional external links to other sites offering lyrics and guitar chords and tabulature for your convenience.

liner notes

Waltzing Matilda is an anthem for immigrants and their struggles in a new land.  Waltzing refers to a German phrase (auf der walz) for going about the countryside learning or practicing a new trade, while your Matilda is Australian for your bluie or blanket/bed roll.  It tells the true story of a despondent German immigrant who killed himself during the Great Shearers' Strike of 1894. 

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Henry's artistry on the musical saw conjures up the swagman's ghost in haunting fashion.  Henry has
actually played this song on the musical saw on the streets of Sydney. 

This is one of our most requested songs, and the arrangement is unusual. We play the song as a jig in 6/8 time. I have heard that there are many origins for the tune, but you can find divergent views both in and out of Australia. The song is most often done as a march.

What is important is that the song is very special, and we give it a very unusual treatment with the musical saw. That came about quite by accident, as Henry had been asking Brian when he could slip a little saw into a show.

One Saturday night at the Sheabeen Pub in Denver it all came together. I've recently been amused by reading a bit of history of Banjo Patterson. As a lawyer, his clients set him upon a stockman by the name of Clancy. When his dunning letters came back as undeliverable to the man, Patterson imagined trading places with Clancy in a poem, and thus his career as a bush poet began.

Waltzing Matilda

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree
And he sang as he watched and
He waited 'til his billy boiled
"You'll come a waltzin' Matilda with me!"

Waltzin' Matilda, Waltzin' Matilda
You'll come a waltzin' Matilda with me!
And he sang as he watched and
He waited till his billy boiled
You'll come a waltzin' Matilda with me!

Down came a jumbuck to drink at the billagong
Up jumped the swagman and
He grabbed him with glee
And he sang as he stowed
that jumbuck in his tucker bag
"You'll come a waltzin' Matilda with me!"

Up rode the squatter,
Mounted on his thoroughbred
Down came the troopers, now, one, two and three "Where's that jolly jumbuck
you've got in your tuckerbag
"You'll come a waltzin' Matilda with me!"

Up jumped the swagman,
He sprang into the billagong
"You'll never catch me alive said he
And his ghost may be heard
As you pass by that billabong
"You'll come a waltzin' Matilda with me!"

Note: the last two lines of each verse become the last two lines of each chorus.


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