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> Trevor Lucas > Songs > Bluey Brink
> Peter Bellamy > Songs > Bluey Brink

Bluey Brink

[ Roud 3317 ; AFS 8 ; Ballad Index FaE148 ; trad.]

This song of the iron-stomached shearer Bluey Brink was recorded by A.L. Lloyd for both his Riverside LP Australian Bush Songs and for his Wattle album Across the Western Plains. On the latter recording, he is accompanied by Peggy Seeger on banjo. This version was was reissued in 1960 on the Topic LP Outback Ballads and in 1994 on the Larrikin CD The Old Bush Songs. A.L. Lloyd said in this album's sleeve notes:

Old Dad Adams of Cowra, New South Wales, used to sing this song. Rumour had it the pubs didn't stock anything strong enough for Old Dad. It was said he would bore a hole in the bottom of a silo and suck out the fermented juice of the ensilage through a straw. To one expressing disbelief, the answer was: “All right, look for yourself. All the silos around Cowra have got little holes bored in 'em.” Anyway, Old Dad didn't make the song. Perhaps it was made by the Speewa sleeper-cutter, who went into a chemist's and called for prussic acid with a vitriol chaser, adding: “And don't go dilutin' it with that ammonia, neither.” The tune is just another variant of the tried-and-trusted Dinah and her Villikins (without the refrain and softened out and syncopated a bit) which tune has probably been used for more texts than any other in the English-speaking world

Trevor Lucas sang Bluey Brink on both of his Australian LPs, See That My Grave Is Kept Clean and Overlander.

Peter Bellamy learnt Bluey Brink from A.L. Lloyd's Australian collection and sang it on his cassette Fair Annie: English, Irish, Australian and American Traditional Songs.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Bluey BrinkTrevor Lucas sings Bluey Brink

There once was a shearer, by name Bluey Brink,
A devil for work and a devil for drink.
He could shear his two hundred a day without fear,
And drink without winking four gallons of beer.

Now there once was a shearer, by the name Bluey Brink,
A devil for work and a devil for drink.
He could shear his two hundred each day without fear,
He could drink without winking four gallons of beer.

Now Jimmy, the barman, who served out the drink,
He hated the sight of this here Bluey Brink.
Who stayed much too late and who came much too soon;
At evening, at morning, at night and at noon.

Now Jimmy, the barman, what served up the drinks,
Hated the sight of this here Bluey Brink.
Well, he stayed much too late and he came much too soon;
Each morning, each evening, each night and at noon.

One morning as Jimmy was cleaning the bar
With sulphuric acid he kept in a jar,
Old Bluey came yelling and bawling with thirst,
“Whatever you got, Jim, just hand me the first.”

Now one day while Jimmy was cleaning the bar
With sulphuric acid he kept in a jar,
Along came the shearer with a terrible thirst,
Said, “Whatever you got, Jimmy, give me the first.”

Now, it ain't in the history, it ain't put in print,
But Bluey drank acid with never a wink,
Saying, “That's the stuff, Jimmy, why, strike me stone dead.
This'll make me the ringer of Stevenson's shed.”

Now, it ain't down in the histories, it ain't down in the prints,
But that shearer drank acid with never a wink,
Saying, “This is the stuff, Jimmy, knock me stone dead.
I'll be the best shearer in Stevenson's sheds.”

Now all that long day, as he served out the beer,
Poor Jimmy was sick with his trouble and fear.
Too worried to argue, too anxious to fight,
Seeing the shearer a corpse in his fright.

And all that day long, as he pulled out the beer,
Jimmy was shaking with his troubles and fears.
Too anxious to argue, too troubled to fight,
Seeing that shearer a corpse in his fright.

Now early next morning he opened the door,
And along came the shearer asking for more;
With his eyebrows all singed and his whiskers deranged
And holes in his hide like a dog with the mange.

But the next day while Jimmy was opening the bar,
Along came the shearer craving for more;
With his eyebrows all singed and his whiskers deranged
And holes in his hide like a dog with the mange.

Says Jimmy, “And how did you find the new stuff?”
Says Bluey, “It's fine but I've not had enough.
It gives me great courage to shear and to fight,
But why does this stuff set my whiskers alight?

Well, says Jimmy to Bluey, “And how's the new stuff?”
Said Bluey, “It was fine, but I ain't had enough.
For it gives me great courage to shear and to fight,
But why does this stuff set my whiskers alight?

I thought I knew drink but I must have been wrong,
For what you just give me was proper and strong.
It set me to coughing, and you know I'm no liar
And every cough sets my whiskers on fire.”

Well, I thought I knew drink but I must have been wrong,
The stuff you give me it's proper and strong.
Well, it sets me to coughing, and you know I'm no liar
And every cough sets my whiskers on fire.”

Peter Bellamy sings Bluey Brink

There once was a shearer, by name Bluey Brink,
He's a devil for work, he's a devil for drink.
He could shear a five hundred each day without fear,
He could drink without flinching twelve gallons of beer.

Now Jimmy, the barman, who served out the drink,
How he hated the sight of this here Bluey Brink.
'Cause he stayed much too late and he come much too soon;
At morning, at evening, at night time and noon.

So one morning when Jimmy was cleaning the bar
With sulphuric acid that he kept in a jar,
Along come the shearer a-bawling with thirst,
Saying, “Whatever you got, Jim, just hand me the first.”

Now, it ain't put in history, nor it ain't put in print,
But Old Bluey drunk acid with never a wink,
Saying, “That's the stuff, Jimmy, Christ, strike me stone dead.
This'll make me the ringer of Stevenson's shed.”

But the rest of the day as he served out the beer,
The barman he was trembling with worry and fear.
Too nervous to argue, too anxious to fight,
Thinking that shearer a corpse in his fright.

But next morning when Jimmy he opened the door,
Well, along come that shearer a-bawling for more;
With his eyebrows all singed and his whiskers deranged
And holes in his hide like a dog with the mange.

Says Jimmy, “And how did you find the new stuff?”
Oh, says Bluey, “It's fine but I've not had enough.
Though it sets me to coughing and you know I'm no liar,
But every cough sets my whiskers on fire.”

Acknowledgements

Lyrics copied from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Songs and adapted to the actual singing of A.L. Lloyd on The Old Bush Songs and Trevor Lucas on Overlander.