> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Lachlan Tigers

Lachlan Tigers

[ Roud - ; AFS 53 ; Ballad Index FaE136 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang Lachlan Tigers in 1956 on his Riverside LP Australian Bush Songs, and in 1958 on his Wattle album Across the Western Plains. In 1960, the latter recording was reissued on the Topic LP Outback Ballads, and in 1994 on the Larrikin CD The Old Bush Songs. A.L. Lloyd said in the album's sleeve notes:

A shearer's song from the Forbes district, that drives on at the pace of a ringer [master shearer] on the long blow in a busy shed. The Ward and Paine's mentioned in the song are a brand of shears. Jackie Howe, likewise mentioned, shore 321 wethers at Alice Downs, Central Queensland, in 1892. His record stood until 1947, when Daniel Cooper shore 325 at Glenara, Langkoop, Victoria. The tune, best known in Australia in association with the words of The Shearer's Cook, is a Scottish melody sometimes called Musselburgh Fair (It also exists in America, as The Cruise of the Bigler).

Danny Spooner sang Lachlan Tigers in 1978 on his and Gordon McIntyre's Larrikin album Revived and Relieved!. And he and Martyn Wyndham-Read sang it in 1989 on their album All Around Down Under. They noted:

One of Australia's best known traditional songs, made famous at first by Joy Durst and A.L. Lloyd, then the Bushwhackers. It commemorates a gang of shearers working along the sheds of the Lachlan River, competitive and heroic—and hard driven by a watchful pastoralist.

Alex Cumming and Nicola Beazley sang Lachlan Tigers on their 2016 CD Across the Water. They commented:

A great traditional Australian folk song about sheep shearing in New South Wales. The Lachlan river runs through some of the best areas for raising sheep in the Western part of New South Wales. This song is part of the Dr Percy Jones collection and Alex first learnt this song from the singing of James Fagan.

Lyrics

A.L. Lloyd sings Lachlan Tigers

Well, at each gate each shearer stood as the whistle loudly blew,
With eyebrows fixed and lips set tight and the tigers all fed too.
You can hear the clicking of the shears as through the wool they glide
And see the ringer already turned and on the whipping side.

A lot of Lachlan tigers, it's plain to see they are,
And the ringer goes on driving as he loudly calls for tar.
“Tar here, you dozy loafer,” and quick the tar boy flies,
“Broom here and sweep them locks away,” another loudly cries.

The scene it is a lively one and ought to be admired,
There's never been a better board since Jacky Howe expired.
Along the board the contractor walks, his face all in a frown,
And passing by the ringer he says, “My lad keep down.”

I mean to have those bellies off and topknots too likewise,
My eye is quick, so stop your tricks or from me you will fly.
My curse on that contractor by flaming day and night
To shear a decent tally here in vain I've often tried.

I have a pair of Ward and Paine's that are both bright and new,
I'll rig them up and let you see what I can really do.
For I've shore on the Bogan where they shear them by the score,
But such a terror as this to clip I've never saw before.

A lot of Lachlan tigers, it's plain to see they are,
And the ringer goes on driving as he loudly calls for tar.
The scene it is a lively one and ought to be admired,
There's never been a better board since Jacky Howe expired.

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.