Ramshackle Junction

by Ken McDonald

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1.
03:04
I saw Toolooa at High School Seemed like everybody knew her A line of galahs gawking and squawking All talking about Toolooa Hey Toolooa, Toolooa, Toolooa Where did she go, she go, where’d she go I knew it, I knew it, I knew it Where Toolooa goes, nobody knows You never forget her body and her clothes Like a mudcrab in mangroves Sweeter than sweet Her memory grows. Heheyy, she shoulda been a model Wooow, she coulda been a God Mmmmm, she could get in deep trouble Some blokes stared ‘n croaked like a frog Hey Toolooa, Toolooa, Toolooa, Toolooa Where did she go, she go, she go, she go I just knew it, I knew it, I knew it, I knew it Where Toolooa goes, nobody knows You never forget her body and her clothes Like a mudcrab in mangroves Sweeter than sweet Her memory grows. A lucky man married Toolooa No one I know really knows So’s he trying to hide her Her memory grows and grows
2.
Been working with cashed up bogans I’m talking concepts they’re talking slogans We all work with different notions I shoulda known better Talking to the brass it all turned funny I’m talking people they’re talking money They need a plan but they just want the honey I shoulda known better I shoulda known better, shoulda known, shoulda known I shoulda known better, shoulda known better I once chaired a secret meeting In no time flat there was a big dam leaking Good stories travel like a wild man streaking I shoulda known better I knew a bloke lost in a rage He didn’t see the anger through the haze We all look through a different cage I shoulda known better I work with guns ‘n I work with hacks Some give it all and some are plain slacks We all roll down our own set of tracks I shoulda known better I wondered why we’re called the human race Why all the hurry and breakneck pace Got caught napping in a sleepy place I shoulda known better
3.
I want a piece of land with a creek running through House on the bank with a really nice view Chooks and a cow and a dog to pat Fishing line, ‘n awesome hat Oh yeah gonna save my money ‘til it all comes true Oh yeah gonna save my money that’s what I’ll do I want a piece of land with a creek running through House up high with a beautiful view Wife ‘n kids ‘n a dog to pat Fishing line and an old slouch hat Oh yeah gonna save my money ‘til it all comes true Oh yeah gonna save my money that’s what I’ll do I want a piece of land with a creek running through House up high and a postcard view Wife and grandkids and a dog to pat Fishing line ‘n a wide brim hat Oh yeah gonna save my money ‘til it all comes true Oh yeah gonna save my money that’s what I’ll do Peace of land, peace of land…
4.
Fire on the river Crowd gape in awe “He’ hey, this is awesome” “Ye’ah, give us more” Crazy Mr Gunpowder Lighting up the sky Orchestrated detonators Crowd on a high When the fire licked the river My memory kicked alight By the wicked water Young lovers kiss the night Easy Mr Gunpowder Beware old wounds ‘74 and twenty eleven Echo in the tombs Easy Mr Gunpowder Our river runs deep Let it be like a mirror In a peaceful sleep Remember this river Remember this river Fire on the river Drama in the skies Crazy man in a frenzy Guy Faulkes in disguise Flame from the fighter plane Highlight of the night Let her rip dump and burn Disappear out of sight
5.
Lights go out you appear Out of the shadow another fading year Tumbling words outer space Lonely world in another place Moon and tide one plan Waves rolling on moving sand Warm wind blowing down the track Dusty haze calling me back Lonely no longer Gentle loving growing stronger Lonely no longer Gentle loving growing stronger Can I pack a lake from Canada Into my suitcase ‘n take it to Australia Love the beaches my homeland I can see you walking on the sand Fading light feeling near Tender moment melting in a tear Touching hands kissing lip Feel tingling toe to fingertip Lonely no longer … Lights out you appear Tender moment melting in a tear
6.
There was mud at Ramshackle Junction There was mud all over the place There was mud at Ramshackle Junction There was mud on everybody’s face The leader Karl said “Enough is enough I’ve had enough of all this asinine stuff We’ll work together clean up the place Make us proud, so pick up the pace” There was talk at Ramshackle Junction Lots of talk malarkey bliss There was talk at Ramshackle Junction Who’s this Karl who’s he think he is “Maybe we all should give it a try See if it works ‘n don’t ask why He’s using words that we’ve never heard Give it a go though it sounds absurd” They made a plan at Ramshackle Junction There was planning and clear purpose They got working at Ramshackle Junction People working and not one curse They planted trees and grass everywhere Mud disappeared you could smell clean air People smiling the place was afloat Karl had created a feeling of hope Then some people at Ramshackle Junction, Called Karl “King” down on their knees Then some kids at Ramshackle Junction Yelled “Tree King - Karl - King of the Trees” Karl decreed, “Enough is enough I’ve had enough of all this accolade stuff No monuments, just keep planting trees” Birds came back and they sang in the breeze
7.
Thinking back to the days we scrambled through school In a town built of timber from the bush Henry Taylor’s crew built a Grammar School in 1881 A monument to a journeyman with push Hey we lucked out in the sixties when radio always won Bruce Paige rolled the Stones on 4MB Dick and Red told stories gave us all a smile The world of work an opaque mystery Some of us went high some of us went low We all had to ride the ups and downs Some are gone forever we are still around Most of us still love our river town We scattered in the wind at the end of our school days The girls in uniform were all set free Then we started chasing something mostly undefined The leaves had all been blown off the tree Now we’re all together swapping stories from the past Talking ‘bout the joker and the fool Serve me food give me a drink a little quiet time to think No one steals our memories of school When the days were so long and the past was so near The future a far far away place Now the days go so quick the past like an old flic And the future is there in my face Some of us went high some of us went low We all had to ride the ups and downs Some are gone forever we are still around Most of us still love our river town
8.
When tales are told in the sailors’ den Of gallant deeds where men are men In the real man’s world of guts and blood You’ll hear the name of Merkyl Crud Now the Sydney-Hobart’s not for the meek Not for the faint hearted not for the weak It’s for men like Merkyl who go down to the sea Where boys become men and where men become free Now when Merkyl was strolling by Rushcutters Bay Where the boats were all moored on that fateful day When the old man said “We’re short of a hand” Then Merkyl said quickly “I’m your man” So out through the Heads heading south with the fleet Merkyl could sense he was with the elite As the boat dipped gently to the Nor’ Easters song Merkyl thought to himself “This is where I belong” “Can you take the wheel Merkyl?” asked the old man And the boat gained a knot under Merkyl’s soft hand And he felt right at home on the water and dreamed “If I could be anyone I’d be the wind” As night fell he saw the stars dance with the mast And the moon-beam tagging the stern as they passed But he sensed they were yet to meet their fate For lying ahead was the mighty Bass Strait As they entered the Strait, the wind roared aback The spray was as white as the water was black The Antarctic wind it stung and it hurt And Merkyl changed into his long sleeved shirt. He drove the boat up the wave refusing to crack Like a road-train up the Razorback Then cresting the wave and heaving a sigh Dropped like a skier down Kosciuszko’s side Then a black gust from hell spun the boat clean about The old man scarcely had time to shout The boom smacked across and with a sickening thud Cracked open the skull of Merkyl Crud “That was close!” cried Merkyl straightening the wheel The hardened crew marvelled at this man of steel When the old man asked “Are you in any pain?” Merkyl cried “Give me more tension on the main” But as he straightened the boat his heart filled with dread A giant sunfish was sunning itself dead ahead And though he swung hard to port on the wheel Slammed into the sunfish and snapped off the keel Straight over the side though he couldn’t even swim Merkyl grabbed the keel and he plugged it back in And fearing the sunfish might cause them more strife Stabbed it in the heart with his Swiss Army Knife Then like a bold Viking he conquered Storm Bay He sailed up the Derwent where the finish line lay Then found himself trapped in a dying wind And the big boat ahead would surely win But Merkyl spied a gust on the southern shore And the old man smiled as the boat eased to port The crowd on Constitution Dock held its breath Could Merkyl do it? Who was the best? Then the spinnaker filled. The bow of the boat rose. Merkyl Crud passed the big boat and won by a nose. The crowd went wild for Merkyl’s great win “King Merkyl” they cried for Merkyl was king Then Merkyl’s mum’s voice rang out through the din “You’ve forgotten to set your alarm again Just look at your bed it’s in such a state Looks like you just sailed it across Bass Strait”
9.
She’s efficient she’s pleasant she’s got calculating eyes She’s on her way up an expert in disguise Not a hair out of place everything is organised And her house is the same like a magazine Her day is regimented living in her dream She wonders what’d happen if she ever dropped her guard If she ever had some kids who went and messed up her yard Messed up her hair messed up her life But it’s never gonna happen you can bet your dear life Halleluliah to the mothers guiding with their hand Love and courage wrapped together their eyes can understand I wonder what’d happen if they ever lost their place If they ever gave it up in apparent disgrace If they ever said it wasn’t worth the trouble any more I wonder what’d happen maybe time will tell the score She’s efficient she’s pleasant she’s got calculating eyes She’s on her way up a wardrobe of disguise Not a hair out of place everything is organised And her house is a picture it could sell a magazine No dogs no cats no pets living in her dream living in her dream living in her dream
10.
Tall muscled packet Green and gold jacket You want to beat the best be my guest Have a crack at Mr Hackett 80 k’s a week 4,000 k’s a year A lifetime of swimming A lap around the world Is that a bit too far Swim around the world To win a pot of gold Are you feeling hungry Are you feeling bold/cold/old You want to have a go Go and attack it There can be no shame But can you hack it Won more gold Than a Kalgoorlie mine Like a swim machine Up and down a black line 10,000 hours To make it to the top A lifetime of swimming 30 million strokes Thought he’d never stop Fourteen thirty four Point five six Lasted 10 years Yeah mate it’s pretty quick Only 80 k’s a week 4000 k’s a year A lifetime of swimming A lap around the world Is that peculiar
11.
Special friends treasured friends make no demands Special friends treasured friends through thick and thin Take me back to the old school days Bat and ball and swimming pool Tell me now your grandkid stories You feel warm and cool We get together to share our triumph Sharing our time in grief Who knows why we stick together Is it our shared belief
12.
Wake up to-morrow you won’t see me for dust I’ll be outa here on a home bound bus Make sure and tell Betty look after my truck That old Caterpillar could change her luck I’ll miss all you crew so don’t get me wrong I hate to be leaving but it’s hard to beat home Someone tell the Moth my lights will be out So don’t come looking for your 21st shout Say good-bye to Lik Lik the final trim king I wish I coulda been half as good as him I love all you people you people who roam I hate to be leaving but it’s hard to beat home Hard to beat home it’s hard to beat home I’m missing the family I’m tired of the phone Hard to beat home hard to beat home I’ll be with my honey together alone Tell Betty I love her she’s had a bad run Sometimes you get thunder sometimes there’s sun Good fortune misfortune they both take a turn You gotta be patient and willing to learn Whatever turns out for right or for wrong Betty’s a gun but I gotta get home I wonder if Shelly will welcome me back I been gone a while will she talk about that I guess I won’t know til she’s there in my arms One thing for sure I got a heap of good yarns Sometimes I been aching I ache to the bones I hate to be leaving but it’s hard to beat home
13.
There’s some hefty hefty people drinking Diet Coke Some rather large people that live in hope Hoping they’ll end up skinny as a post They’re never gonna get there drinking Diet Coke Go for a walk go for a ride go for a swim Swim against the tide There’s no shot cut to make your body feel great Get your heart pumping make your legs ache There’s a lot of skinny people with a quiet smirk A lot of skinny people with a genetic quirk Lying on the lounge, lying on their back Lying to themself when they are so slack All of you like me who battle with the bulge Digest and read note what you’re told The magazines are selling us the same old tune So how do you choose - chocolate cake or prunes There’s some hefty hefty people make McDonald’s rich Some rather large people got the Big Mac itch Itching for the fries after a hard day’s work Itching at the bulges underneath the shirt
14.
Hey what about the worker you bunch of rotten sods Given half a chance we know your type you’d automate all our jobs And just in case you forget to give us blokes our due We’ve got our bag of dirty tricky on how to bung on a blue If you think that you have troubles well it could be compounded If you decide to take us on you’ll feel like you’re surrounded Industrial relations they’re a bunch of funny friends Hell bent on strangulation then they’re out to make amends To the chant of Union dogma to the thrust of Company lust Like a drunk on crutches falling to the Arbitrators bust That’s no way to talk to us when we’ve got empty pockets You can’t survive in the big bad world if you don’t make any profits You’ve done alright you’ve got your share so knuckle down and work If you want to take us on remember we can dish out worse Tut tut you boys that’s not the way to make one big happy family For no fee at all I’ll stop your free for all and arbitrate quite fairly You’ve got your responsibilities and one clear obligation To abide by my decision and that’s no abdication No one can guess what the Govern meant as they sit back and stare At all the megalomaniac out to get their share They procrastinate pontificate and make the Minister aware Of all that bad behaviour and to intervene if he dare
15.
Remember the days a car was a car Sun gleaming off a chrome bumper bar White wall tyres wire spoked wheel Two-tone duco ‘n fair dinkum steel Old cars had a mean muffler note A horn to blow the lines clean off the road Shockies told ya the road was rough They were cool and mean and tough When you drive a new car with ya head in the air I`m cruising with my babe wind in my hair When ya cooped up there with a vacant stare I`m cruising with my baby wind in my hair Bench seat so ya babe was near One hand free to fondle her ear Floor-shift built a relationship Back seat to keep our secrets Is there no cool style any more Don’t they know what curves are for New cars look like a big wheelie bin Scorecard of dag of minus 47 Go ahead and be a modern big deal Buy yourself a new abominobile When you’re trapped there with a vacant stare I’ll be cruising on by the wind in my hair
16.

about

Hi All, This is a loose collection of songs and a poem about life, aspirations, and intrigue – hence the title. Some songs like ‘Peace of Land’ started in the 1970’s when I sang in a 4 wheel drive as my family went on camping trips in Weipa. It is much richer now with three generations of singers. Other songs came from the 80’s 90’s and some are recent. Canada has been an important part of my life, so it sneaks into ‘Lonely No Longer’. ‘Merkyl Crud’ by Laurie is a great addition. This album is dedicated to my special friends, extended family and musicians. I would like to pay a great thanks to Mike Patterson in particular. His musical capability, planning and musical friends took the songs and Laurie’s poem to a higher level. Everybody’s contribution is deeply appreciated.

credits

released December 1, 2013

Ken McDonald wrote all songs - except ‘Merkyl Crud’ written and performed by Laurie McDonald. ‘Days Were So Long’ was written by Ken McDonald, John Lavery, Harry Rigney, Dean Patterson. Laurie’s poem ‘Wind in My Hair’ was adapted by Ken as a song. Ken - lead vocal, guitar, harmonica. Michael Patterson recorded most tracks plus violin, arrangements, mixing. Dean Patterson recorded ‘Days Were So Long’ ‘Can You Hack It’ ‘Enough is Enough’ plus piano, guitar. James Patterson - guitar. Sam Vincent - bass, double bass, harmonies, recorder. Will Eager - drums, percussion, harmonies. Shenton Gregory - lead guitar, mandolin. Paul Kucharski - trombone. John Lavery – banjo. Chris Kornacki guitar and original recording of ‘Lonely No Longer’ and ‘Hard to Beat Home’ in Sudbury, Ontario. Support vocals - Naomi McDonald, Fraser McDonald, Aimee Erickson, Janet Bellinger, Kyra Bellinger (plus flute), Seth Bellinger, Sophie Ebeltoft, John Lavery, Gail Paratz. Fraser McDonald - graphic art. Toby Nixon - scrap steel artist. Geoff McGahan – Mastering. Thanks to Laurie and Doug McDonald for advice on lyrics.

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Ken McDonald Music Brisbane, Australia

G’day, I am Ken McDonald, a singer songwriter who has been writing songs for over 40 years. I started recording albums for fun about 10 years ago. I have completed five albums, some with the help of family and friends.

All the best,


Ken
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