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The Open House Project

We asked our online community to suggest topics keywords & ideas. We picked one a week for five weeks. then we wrote the song, recorded it live and posted the clip one week later. Five songs, five weeks, here's what we came up with.

 

WEEK ONE - Nelson the Newfoundland

As suggested by one of our friends, it's the heroic story of a dog that saved a drowning man from a flood on the streets of Melbourne in the 1880s. You can check out the full article here. We decided to tell the tale from the point of view of the dog. Big thanks to The Caravan Club for letting us do the live recording and filming in their beautiful room.

 Lyrics:

Sky was black and the bluestone brown
The perfect storm brought the heavens down
It wasn't the first time that streets of this town
Had seen a man drown, poor Harry Brown

On Melbourne streets a river in a rage
A monster released from a watery cage
Harry the cabbie got caught in the flood
Swept away to drown in the mud, all broken bones and blood

I am not a hero I just did what I was born to do 
They say 'Nelson you're a good boy', I just did what i was born to do
The most that we can ever hope is to have a friend like you come to the rescue

On any given day, you'll find us at the barber shop
My master cuts hair by I never let him touch my mop
On that night, through the rain i could hear the screams
It felt like a dream, I dived into the stream

Four webbed paws, I am strong but the current was stronger
I held you in my jaws till i could hold no longer
It took everything I had to keep you from a watery grave
But i was not brave, just keep your head above the waves

I am not a hero I just did what I was born to do 
They say 'Nelson you're a good boy', I just did what i was born to do 
The most that we can ever hope is to have a friend like you come to the rescue

Harry Brown oh Harry Brown
I watched you going down down down down.
Master reached out just before it was too late
Death will have to wait, this was not your fate

 

WEEK TWO - 800 miles

This week's topic was 'The day I had to travel 800 miles with a ferret, 2 shillings and a message for my Ma.'
Quite the challenge but we had a lot of fun with with this one. For your information, a group of ferrets is know as 'a business of ferrets'.

I wore out my welcome
And I wore out my shoes
A dusty track all the way back
To give my Ma the news

Pa lost his luck in Sydney
And left me high and dry
With a note & ferret for my ma
She’ll know the reason why

They threw him in the jail-house
His two-up game's a con
Two shillings rigged so he could pick
Which side they landed on

800 miles never felt so far
With a ferret, 2 shillings
And a message for my Ma 

I followed that ferret
And he followed his nose
Tearing down the train line
Like a monster stole his clothes

A stranger in a crooked hat
Stopped us just to say
You give me that ferret
And I'll let you on your way

I said tell you what man 
We could flip two coins for that
But if you loose we're moving on
And you give me your hat 

800 miles never felt so far
With a ferret, 2 shillings
And a message for my Ma

I walked into Melbourne 
New hat on my head
Gave that ferret to my Ma
And the letter read

Wifey if you're reading this
You know I'm in the clink
So kindly take this ferret here
And send it down the sink

That ferret's trained to find the the drain
And scurry down the spout
It came up with a roll of cash
To bail my Daddy out

800 miles never felt so far
Walkin' down that track
It's gonna feel further still
When we are walking back

 

WEEK THREE - Mr Eternity

The fascinating life of the mysterious man known as Mr Eternity was suggested as our theme for Week Three. After a debauched early life on the streets of Sydney, the horrors of WW1 and the hardship of the depression, Arthur Stace found sollace in his one word sermon. He spent thirty years writing 'eternity' in an elegant copperplate all over Sydney, Melbourne and beyond. You might even remember seeing the word at the end of the Sydney fireworks display in 2000. We decided to honour him with a shanty.

 

Lyrics:

Don't call me Mr yesterday, nor hail me by tomorrow
I stole my bread when I was young and drank away my sorrow
Chalk it down, Arthur chalk it down

On foreign shore, to fight a war from a ships hull to a trench
There was no honor in the mud, only Death & his new friends 

Chalk fades way Arthur but the words remain
We all fade away but eternity is what you claim
So chalk it down, Arthur chalk it down

When I got back to Sydney lads no harbor would I find
Mustard gas had wrecked my lungs and I was half near blind
Chalk it down Arthur chalk it down

I fell inside the bottle like my parents did before me
Three sheets to the wind by night and metho in the morning 

Chalk fades way Arthur but the words remain
We all fade away but eternity is what you claim
So chalk it down, Arthur chalk it down

Standing in my filthy rags I saw their clean white clothes
I'll give that a go then lads, they know something I don't know
Chalk it down, Arthur chalk it down

And when the preacher rained it down I was struck by just one word
Eternity, eternity, was all I saw and all I heard 

Chalk fades way Arthur but the words remain
We all fade away but eternity is what you claim

 

WEEK FOUR - Haunted Hills

An area of Gippsland, Australia known as The Haunted Hills was suggested as the theme for Week Four. A true drover's legend of an area that would spook both men and cattle, where the birds didn't sing and the ground moved beneath your feet. Written, recorded and posted live in just one week.

Lyrics:

There is a place I know
Where drovers loath to go
But the fastest way to market
Is straight through the hills

Of course I’ve heard the tales
In pubs it never fails
To entertain the locals
And give brave men the chills

But when its dark 
And the nights watch is your own
You can almost hear
the wails and the moans

Well I wish somebody told me
Not to take those tales so seriously

‘Cause it’s so quiet and nothing stirs
I remember my old man’s words
You won’t see any birds round here
And cattle always disappear
The ground whispers and you feel alone
That’s why I always take the long way home

 

WEEK FIVE - Lead on!

Week Five: Lead On!

Our fifth and final chapter brings a festive close to our Open House project. This week we take a ride back to 1844 with 'Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol'. It just wouldn't be Christmas without this hilarious & heart-wrenching, masterfully written novella. (lyrics on the website) We hope you've enjoyed our tunes as much as we have writing them.

A big thanks to all those who contributed ideas, watched a clip or two, to Maz's tireless craftsmanship of sound, our special guests, and our location hosts. Stay tuned for an ep and live show early next year. 

Till then, merry christmas from The Bastards.

Lyrics:

Stave 01 Past

There was more of grave than of gravy about this night
His hand was aching as wrote by candlelight
Shadows danced above him to a merry tune
A well spun yarn upon a master’s loom

The ringing of the bells
I still hear refrains
By feeble candle light
The rattling of your chains

Lead on! The night wanes fast,
and it’s precious time, I know
So Lead on, Spirit lead on

Stave 02 present

He didn’t know the tidings he would bring
That he would be the reason we all sing
A scratching quill and a brilliant mind
More evergreen than the tallest pine 

Stave 03 future

I found you on the shelf one Christmas eve
Like a letter penned and left there just for me
So real I felt the frost upon the page
So loud it's bound to echo through the age

 

Launch Video - This is the House (Live Recording)

A new song to launch OPEN HOUSE with The Bastard Children. Recorded live at the house by us.
Visit our facebook page to suggest your idea