Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Hi there
My mate has just returned from a trip to Ireland and was at a session in Derry and the group played a tune that he was very familiar with. However, his version was the tune of a song that his band "Roolya Boolya" played regularly, it is a "bush" song known as Flash Jack From Gundagai, sometimes known as All Among The Wool.

Can anyone identify the Irish roots of the song?

YouTube versions are:
https://youtu.be/_aV9xr7GTic


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6arHA8t8DEU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbXjHDeNGF8


The lyrics for the first verse and chorus are:

Flash Jack from Gundagai

I’ve shore at Burrabogie and I’ve shore at Toganmain
I’ve shore at Big Willandra and out on the Coleraine
But before the shearing was over I longed to get back again
Shearing for old Tom Patterson on the One Tree Plain

Chorus
All among the wool boys all among the wool
Keep your blades full boys keep your blades full
I can do a respectable tally myself whenever I like to try
And they know me round the backblocks as Flash Jack from Gundagai

Thanks for any leads on this tune/song

Paul

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Why do you think this is an Australian song based on an Irish tune? Why do you not think it Australian in origin? I honestly don’t know if it is or not, but being quite familiar with Gundagai, it would, if anything,based on the early population, be of Scottish origin. As it doesn’t sound like Scottish. I will stick with Australian till you prove otherwise, most likely from around the first world war, where they (the guys in the trenches) wrote "The dog sits on the tuckerbox five miles from Gundagai". Next time I am in Gundagai I will ask about Flash Jack and get back to you. He is sure to have been a real person.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Apparently Flash Jack was a bushranger, real name Malloy, but known in his day as Jack-In-Boots. But that doesn’t help much with your question. I can find no evidence against the common claim that this is a traditional Australian song. That doesn’t mean, of course that whoever wrote the lyrics, or at least the person who put the music to them, didn’t have some old Irish tune in their head. But isn’t that how traditions grow and are claimed? I am now interested to see if anybody can answer your question. I have always been interested to see if Australia has yet any claimable distinctive culture if it’s own. I don’t think so! We are not old enough. That said, I would claim this as Australian, and in no way Irish, in the same way as "Dirty Old Town" is pure English.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Thanks NfldWhistler, can hear some similarities to both, but more with Aunt Martha’s Sheep, appreciated.
Paul

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

I’m sure the dog did something in and not on the tucker box according to the words of "Five Miles from Gundagai" and therefore more likely to have been sung in the trenches.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

I think the reason to guess that an Australian folk song has Irish (or British) origins is the same reason that many if not most old Appalachian folk songs have Irish or British origins- that’s where the people came from, and that’s the nature of the folk song process.

Old tunes are re-used over and over again as the original words get modified and/or replaced altogether.

There’s an entire album of songs that have a common origin. I think it’s called The Unfortunate Stranger. There are songs from Britain, Ireland, and America which obviously are members of a song-family. Sometimes the same tune is used for different words, sometimes similar words appear to utterly different tunes.

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Gobby: "Why do you think this is an Australian song based on an Irish tune? Why do you not think it Australian in origin?"

Because it has similarities with the melodies certain Irish songs. That doesn’t mean it’s not an Australian song, or that the melody in this form did not originate in Australia. But it would be fair to say that the melody forms part of a continuum of related melodies, some of which are the tunes of Irish songs. In fact, there are also English songs with similar melodies, like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K92ssxA3k4I so it might be most accurate to say that the melody of Gundagai belongs to a family of melodies having its origins in The British Isles (if I may use that term in its strictly geographical sense).


Ed. - Richard D. Cook pretty much said it befote me.

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Like Richard, I tend to think it’s one of those all-purpose folk tunes. Besides the other songs mentioned, the tune also reminds me of The Bastard King of England *
[find it yourselves; it’s filthy]

Oh, all right …
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5fu9F8qH2ps


and Jimmy Be Fair.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yrdgy4KhV5Q


*In a reverse of the usual folk process, it was parodied in a clean version for the Disney animated Robin Hood. You can tell who in the theater knows the original because they’re laughing much harder.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_jS06RgVks

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

All among the Wool and The Road to Gungadai are completely dissimilar tunes and rhythms, the only thing connecting them being the settlement (I’ve only just remembered this!)

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

@ Richard Cook, could you be referring to ‘Wayfaring Strangers’, by Fiona Ritchie and Dolly Parton?

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

To the Ebor_fiddler, the song I was referring to is "Flash Jack from Gundagai", not "The Road to Gundagai".

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

I was gifted a couple of tapes about 35 years ago, one was The Cobbers and the other was The Bushwhackers. Great stuff. Wish I had them now!
Alex.

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Alex, I would be happy post you the Bushwakers CD,- "So far. 1074-1994." It has all the major ones on it and is good stuff. I have it in my computer so you are welcome to the CD if you want it. Just Pm me with a mail address and I’ll send it to you.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

@Gobby: 1074-1994 … They’ve been around a while, eh? ;)

@Paul: You’re welcome!

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

"To the Ebor_fiddler, the song I was referring to is "Flash Jack from Gundagai", not "The Road to Gundagai". Yep, two totally different songs from a very small but proud community.
Unless anybody can directly identify the tunes origin, I would say that it is a multicultural blend. For example, there were a lot of Scottish settlers in that area, but as we all know, (or should know) the Scots knew many English and Irish tunes, as did the Irish know many Scottish and English tunes ( apologies for leaving out the Welsh for now). But in the end., unless disproved, the song was born in Australia, and is Australian traditional.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

"@Gobby: 1074-1994 … They’ve been around a while, eh? " …. HA, ha, Yes, not that long after Harold copped an arrow in his eye! Should have been 1974.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Gobby: I completely agree with you, which was why I called FJfG "All among the Wool." I sing both Australian songs mentioned above, as well as a good number of others.

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Yes Ebor, the tune is better known in Australia as "All among the Wool". Songs like that always make me wish I could sing.

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

You can download a lot of classic recordings of old Aussie bush songs at http://australianfolk.blogspot.com

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Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Gobby. Best I can find is it was published in Banjo Paterson’s "Old Bush Songs" in 1905 so it predates WW1. The other tid-bit of trivia, I think from Bill Scott’s book, is from a woman who knew old Tom Patterson as a shanty owner which certainly gives the song more of the shearing in the bar aspect.

Re: Irish tune based in an Aussie Bush song, Flash Jack from Gundagai

Thanks Mick. I should have known that. I’m sure I did at one time.

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