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Sixteen Million People

[Don Henderson]

Danny Spooner sang Don Henderson’s Sixteen Million People on his 2007 CD of fairly contemporary Australian songs, Emerging Tradition. He noted:

I remember falling about myself when I first heard Don Henderson sing this at the Troubadour in Sydney when Australia only had sixteen million population. The experience of being mistaken for someone else might be common enough, but Don’s exquisite sense of humour and imagination suggests endless possibilities.


Danny Spooner sings Sixteen Million People

Have you ever had the feeling, being introduced to someone,
You think that you’ve already met.
But you really can’t be certain, ’cause the names aren’t familiar
But there’s something about the face you can’t forget.
And it turns out that really, after quite a bit of talking,
You went to kindergarten and such,
And the people that surround you, there’s only sixteen million
And sixteen million people isn’t much.

Well you walk into a bar and a bloke says, “G’day Charlie.”
And you tell him that Charlie’s not yer name,
And he says that he is sorry but he thought yer name was Charlie,
But he reckons that he knows yer just the same.
And it turns out that his sister’s married to your uncle’s second cousin,
Yes, of course now he remembers you,
You were seated four rows down at the table in a grey suit
At the wedding in nineteen fifty-two.

Well, you’re at the country-dance and you’re dancin’ with a stranger
To tell the truth you wouldn’t know from Eve,
But with faint heart and all that stuff you say, “’aven’t we met somewhere?”
And she says, “Why yes! I do believe.”
And it turned out that once you were on a train to Brisbane
And it didn’t have a dining car, don’t cry,
And she was the waitress at South Grafton Station
And you ordered black coffee and a pie.

Well, you are in the one horse town and the horse has long since bolted,
There’s nothing but a hotel and a jail,
And a copper and a publican and a liver-coloured kelpie
And the dog comes up to you and wags his tail.
Now it turns out that really the dog’s never met yer
Just thought that he’d come over and say hi!
But the copper and the publican, they reckon they both know yer
But they didn’t want to say so, they were shy.