Mudcat Café message #4068958 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168402   Message #4068958
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
20-Aug-20 - 11:46 AM
Thread Name: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Subject: RE: Rise Up Mudcat Songbook - Australia
Gerry Hallom sang The Outside Track to his own tune in 1984 on his Fellside album A Run a Minute. He noted:

Another Lawson poem which fits conveniently into song. To me it captures the sadness and emptiness when parting company from friends when futures are uncertain. The traveller at least has his adventures before him to soften the parting, but those on the quayside have only the loss.

There were ten of us there on the moonlit quay,
And one on the for’ard hatch;
No straighter mate to his mates than he
Had ever said: “Len’s a match!”
“’Twill be long, old man, ere our glasses clink,
’Twill be long ere we grip your hand!”—
And we dragged him ashore for a final drink
Till the whole wide world seemed grand.

For they marry and go as the world rolls back,
They marry and vanish and die;
But their spirit shall live on the Outside Track
As long as the years go by.

The port-lights glowed in the morning mist
That rolled from the waters green;
And over the railing we grasped his fist
As the dark tide came between.
We cheered the captain and cheered the crew,
And our mate, times out of mind;
We cheered the land he was going to
And the land he had left behind.

We roared Lang Syne as a last farewell,
But my heart seemed out of joint;
I well remember the hush that fell
When the steamer had passed the point
We drifted home through the public bars,
We were ten times less by one
Who sailed out under the morning stars,
And under the rising sun.

And one by one, and two by two,
They have sailed from the wharf since then;
I have said good-bye to the last I knew,
The last of the careless men.
And I can’t but think that the times we had
Were the best times after all,
As I turn aside with a lonely glass
And drink to the bar-room wall.

But I’ll try my luck for a cheque Out Back,
Then a last good-bye to the bush;
For my heart’s away on the Outside Track,
On the track of the steerage push.

Thanks to Mainly Norfolk