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Shearing in the Bar

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Shearing in the Bar

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Shearing in the Bar
(Duke Tritton)

My shearing days are over, though I never was a gun
I could always count my twenty at the end of every run
I  used  the old Trade Union shears, and the blades  were  always
As I drove 'em to the knockers, and I clipped away the wool
I shore at Goorianawa and didn't get the sack
From Breeza out to Compadore, I always could go back
And though I am a truthful man, I find when in a bar
My tallies seem to double, but I never call for tar

Shearing on the western plains where the fleece is full of sand
And the clover burr and corkscrew grass, is the place to try your
For  the sheep are tall and wiry where they feed on the  Mitchell
And every second one of them is close to the cobbler class
And a pen chock full of cobblers is a shearers dream of hell
So loud and lurid are their words when they catch one on the bell
But when we're pouring down the grog, you'll have no call for tar
For a shearer never cuts 'em, when shearing in a bar

At Louth I caught the bell sheep, a wrinkled, tough wooled brute
Who never stopped his kicking till I tossed him down the chute
My wrist was aching badly, but I fought him all the way
Couldn't afford to miss a blow, I must earn my pound a day
So when I'd take a strip of skin, I'd hide it with my knee
Turn the sheep around a bit where the right bower couldn't see
Then try and catch the rousie's eye and softly whisper "tar"
But it never seems to happen when I'm shearing in the bar

I shore away the belly wool and trimmed the crutch and hocks
Opened up along the neck while the rousie swept the locks
Then smartly swung the sheep around and dumped him on his rear
Two blows to clip away the wig - I also took an ear
Then down around the shoulder and the blades were open wide
As I drove 'em on the long blow and down the whipping side
But this is never mentioned when I'm shearing in a bar

Now when the seasons ended and my grandsons all come back
In their buggies and their sulkies -I was always on the track
They come and take me into town to fill me up with beer
And I sit on a corner stool and listen to them shear
There's not a bit of difference - it must make the angels weep
To hear a mob of shearers in a barroom shearing sheep
For the sheep go rattling down the race with never a call for tar
For a shearer never cuts 'em when he's shearing in a bar

Then memories come a crowding and they wipe away the years
And my hand begins to tighten and I seem to feel the shears
I want to tell them of the sheds, the sheds where I have shorn
Full fifty years and sometimes more, before these boys were born
I want to speak of yarragin, Dunlop or Wingadee
But the beer has started working and I'm wobbling at the knees
So I'd better not start shearing, I'd be bound to call for tar
Then be treated as a blackleg when I'm shearing in a bar

sung by Martyn Windom-Read
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