Eric Bogle   •   Singing The Spirit Home (Compilation)

  • Singing The Spirit Home (Compilation)
    • 2005 - Greentrax CDTRAX 4001B CD (UK) [5 CD Set]

Boxed sets of "Greatest Hits" usually appear after the songwriter in question is safely dead, but I'm still in reasonable health and I need the cash now.

Anyway this isn't really a "Greatest Hits" compilation it's more a collection of the songs that are most requested at my live concerts. Plus a few of my personal favourites. Taken together they form a pretty fair cross section of the type of songs I've written over the last 30 years or so.

I know that pride is one of the least attractive of the seven deadly sins, but I can't help being proud of my songs, over the years they have been loyal and true companions through good and bad times, we've covered a lot of miles together. I hope that some of them will become friends to you as well.

E. Bogle — Sept. 2001

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  • Singing The Spirit Home (CD 1)
    • 2005 - Greentrax CDTRAX 4001-1 CD (UK)
  • Tracklist
    1. Now I'm Easy
    2. No Man's Land (aka Green Fields of France)
    3. Front Row Cowboy
    4. Song of the Whale
    5. Dan
    6. The Aussie BBQ Song
    7. Shining River
    8. Lady from Bendigo
    9. I Hate Wogs
    10. Leaving Nancy (live)
    11. And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda
    12. Belle of Broughton

Song Notes

Now I'm Easy — This is the first recorded version and remains the best. Recorded by Slim Dusty, The Dubliners, Denise Morrison

No Man's Land (aka Green Fields Of France) — I've already recorded this song on my first two LPs but make no excuses for doing so again as it is the song I most enjoy playing in company with John Munro. It is of course a song about the futility and waste of war and should be self-explanatory to anyone who listens to it. Recorded by The Fureys, Slim Dusty, Donovan, June Tabor, The Men They Couldn't Hang. Tony Blair's favourite peace poem.

Front Row Cowboy — Written for my boyhood hero, Roy Rogers.

Sons Of The Whale — I believe there is a deep kinship between whales and humans, something reaching back into the depths of evolution of life on this planet. Gentle, gregarious creatures that they are, we keep on slaughtering them, and for what? Profit, to our eternal shame, sheer profit.

Dan — Like many industrial societies, Australia faced the 80's with uncomfortably high levels of those twin evils, unemployment and inflation. I wrote this song to illustrate the anger and despair of many working men in Australia who, after having worked all their lives to give their kids a good start in life, now find that most of their work has been in vain as many of their kids now can't find jobs and face uncertain futures on the dole.

The Aussie BBQ Song — The Aussie barbie is a much loved pagan rite, which takes place all over the summer. To those bewildered Pommies who just cannot grasp the subtle enjoyment of this culinary extravaganza, this song is humbley offered.

Shining River — A simple ecology song. There are hopeful sings in this direction, however. In many countries we are trying to reclaim our polluted rivers. If we are lucky we may not be too late.

Lady From Bendigo — A love song. In this love song love is being offered. But is it being accepted?

I Hate Wogs — Written as satire on the racist attitude of some Australians. Like all satires, sometimes misinterpreted to the physical and emotional discomfort of the writer. And does he care? Not very much.

Leaving Nancy (Live) — A song of farewell that I wrote for my mother when I left Scotland.

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda — This version was arranged by John Munro and I've always enjoyed it. Recorded by June Tabor, Joan Baez, Slim Dusty, Clancy and Makem.

Belle of Broughton — Written for my grandmother who came from a small village in Scotland called Broughton. When she was young she was the most beautiful girl in the village and according to my grandfather, the most beautiful girl in Scotland.

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  • Singing The Spirit Home (CD 2)
    • 2005 - Greentrax CDTRAX 4001-2 CD (UK)
  • Tracklist
    1. Scraps of Paper
    2. He's Nobody's Moggy Now
    3. If Wishes Were Fishes
    4. Bushfire
    5. The Engima
    6. Hard Hard Times
    7. Do You Know Any Dylan (live)
    8. Safe in the Harbor
    9. Little Gomez
    10. A Reason For it All
    11. Glasgow Lullaby
    12. My Yougest Son Came Home Today

Song Notes

Scraps Of Paper — After my father died, I was surprised to find that he had written some poetry. While much of it was doggerel, I found it very moving and realised that we had much more in common than I ever thought.

He's Nobody's Moggy Now — A song about my favourite animal — a dead cat.

If Wishes Were Fishes — A song about wishing for things instead of doing them.

Bushfire — Inspired by the Ash Wednesday fires. I was in Perth at the time and from television reports it looked like my home town of Adelaide was burning to the ground.

The Enigma — Written for a friend who committed suicide and to this day we don't know why he did it. His mother claimed it was an accident.

Hard Hard Times — The plight of aboriginals in Australia is a sad one and one which is reflected in the native minorities in many countries. It is not only official neglect which is helping to destroy the culture of these people, but mainly the overpowering weight of the white man's culture. There are no easy answers to the problem but answers must be found or Australian aboriginals and all other native minorities like them will eventually vanish forever.

Do You Know Any Dylan (Live) — I am often asked to sing Bob Dylan songs. I don't because he doesn't sing any of mine. So this is a protest song against Bob Dylan.

Safe In The Harbour — This song was written as a tribute to Stan Rogers, a Canadian songwriter who was killed in an air crash in 1983. A great songwriter and a compassionate one.

Little Gomez — Chihuahuas may be small but they have large libidos. Unfortunately passion often leads to pain.

A Reason For It All — This song is unfortunately based on a true story. Clare lived and died in Sydney, Australia. There are so many isolated and lonely people in our society, many of them old and sick, a fact of which I become more and more uncomfortably aware as I slide towards the abyss of old age. One of the many yardsticks by which any society must be judged is how that society cares for the disadvantaged, i.e. the people who cannot care for themselves, mainly the young, the old, the sick and the poor. I wonder if any society measures up? I don't think so.

Glasgow Lullaby — A song about the usual victims of alcohol abuse; the wife and children.

My Youngest Son Came Home Today — Recorded by Dolores Keane, Billy Bragg. A song I wrote about the violence in Ulster.

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  • Singing The Spirit Home (CD 3)
    • 2005 - Greentrax CDTRAX 4001-3 CD (UK)
  • Tracklist
    1. When the Wind Blows
    2. Wilderness
    3. Silly Slang Song
    4. Harry's Wife
    5. Shelter
    6. What Kind of Man
    7. Feed the Children
    8. Blues for Alex
    9. Leaving the Land
    10. Something of Value
    11. Rosie (live)
    12. Peace Has Broken Out

Song Notes

When The Wind Blows — Many years ago I read a book by an Englishman, Raymond Briggs, called When The Wind Blows. It was a black comedy about two elderly people coping with the end of the world, courtesy of Nuclear Madness Inc. The book frightened me, it would frighten any sane person and this song was the result. I hope this song frightens a few people as well. I realise the singing would frighten anybody but I really mean the lyrics … .

Wilderness — Bogle goes green — move over Sting.

Silty Slang Song — As a Scot and therefore a possessor of an impressive command of the English language, I am deeply grieved by people what can't speak proper. Hence this song.

Harry's Wife — Based loosely on a lot of casualties I've met from that never-ending little skirmish called marriage. In this song the casualty happens to be a female. They still seem to form the bulk of the walking wounded, equality still has a long way to go.

Shelter — Recorded by John Williamson I wrote this song to express my deep feeling for my adopted homeland.

What Kind Of Man — "The object of terrorism" said Lenin "is to terrorise". Neatly, if somewhat obviously put. This song was written about all those who subscribe to this point of view. Funnily enough, I don't.

Feed The Children (Live) — There's a soap opera that appears on the TV every two years or so, it's called "Ethiopia". I was watching it a while back and two little black kids died of starvation right there and then — in front of my averted middle-class eyes. Ah, the magic of television. This song was the result.

Blues For Alex — Written for the late Alex Campbell, legendary singer, carouser and one of the last toubadours — a long-time hero of mine.

Leaving The Land — Recorded by Mary Black about the dislocation of people from the land. Can we eat microchips? No!

Something Of Value — This is my bicentennial effort. Inspired by love and concern. Love means never having to sing "I Still Call Australia Home".

Rosie (Live) — When I wrote this song, Rosie was the fifteen months old daughter of two friends of mine. She had cerebral palsy. She also had courage, determination, a sense of humour, big innocent eyes and curly hair. In short, she was a sweetie. She also had her father's nose, which may well be her biggest handicap.

Peace has Broken Out — Originally inspired by the events in Eastern Europe, especially East Germany. I never thought I'd see the Berlin Wall come down in my lifetime. Mind you, I never thought automobiles would replace horses either.

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  • Singing The Spirit Home (CD 4)
    • 2005 - Greentrax CDTRAX 4001-4 CD (UK)
  • Tracklist
    1. Singing the Spirit Home
    2. Katie and the Dreamtime Land
    3. Welcome Home
    4. Don't You Worry About That
    5. Plastic Paddy
    6. Somewhere in America
    7. One Small Life
    8. Short White Blues
    9. Vanya
    10. Mirrors
    11. The Gift of Years
    12. Wouldn't be Dead for Quids

Song Notes

Singing The Spirit Home — Freedom — yearned after by those who do not possess it and taken for granted by those who do.

Katie And The Dreamtime Land — Written for Kate Wolf, a Californian singer-songwriter and a friend of mine. She died of leukemia in 1987. She always wanted to see Australia, never got the chance. This song was born around a campfire near Docker River, N.T.

Welcome Home — A song for the Vietnam veterans.

Don't You Worry About That — The lamented, perhaps soon to be the late lamented Joh Bjelke Peterson often came out with little gems of homespun philosophy. None gave me greater comfort than this profound little phrase.

Plastic Paddy — The best of Irish Music is the best in the world. But the worst is, well …

Somewhere In America — A song for my wife Carmel — long overdue (the song that is, not Carmel).

One Small Life — What's it all about Eric? Life, I mean. I dunno, and even after writing this song, I'm none the wiser.

Short White Blues — I've always wanted to sing the blues, but was not given the necessary equipment by an indifferent fate. However if I keep smoking cigarettes at the rate I do, my voice will soon acquire a husky growl which blues singing demands.

Vanya — About the children of Chernobyl. Ask them and their parents if the nuclear threat has subsided.

Mirrors — 2000 street kids a year, give or take a few hundred, murdered in the cities of Brazil, mostly by death squads hired by local business interests and (imposing mostly, so we are told of off duty policemen and security guards. If children mirror the society they live in, then I don't think I'll bother attending next years carnival in Rio, where incidentally I've set this song.

The Gift Of Years — Written to commemorate the return of the surviving diggers to Gallipoli in 1990, the 75th Anniversary of the landing there by the Anzacs in April 1915. My thanks to Bill Gammage, historian, author and scourge of Saville Row for the title of the song and generally being a good bloke.

Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids — Written one bright, sparkling, freshly-minted morning. Then I had to go and read the morning paper

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  • Singing The Spirit Home (CD 5)
    • 2005 - Greentrax CDTRAX 4001-5 CD (UK)
  • Tracklist
    1. Small Miracles
    2. Keeper of the Flame
    3. Standing in the Light
    4. The Digger's Legacy
    5. Dedication Day
    6. The Golden City
    7. Troy's Song
    8. Ekka's Silver Jubilee Song
    9. Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo
    10. The Blessing
    11. One Small Star
    12. The End of an Auld Song

Song Notes

Small Miracles — Written for Rosie and Sandie — Rosie for her continuing indomitable battle to overcome obstacles that would crush a less courageous spirit and Sandie for showing what can be achieved. Watching Sandie operate the joystick on her electric wheelchair with one hand, hold down a frantically squirming Rosie with the other and suck a stubby of beer through a straw at the same time, was to behold an awesome feat of co-ordination.

Keeper Of The Flame — This song is aimed at the loony far right fringe of the Gun Lobby, who I am assured are not representatives of gun owners as a whole. However, if anyone else wishes to take offence, please feel free to do so.

Standing In The Light — For my mother, Nancy Bogle.

The Diggers Legacy — Written in 1995, the year of remembrance. Anyone remember it?

Dedication Day — In August 1995, the Sunraysia Vietnam, Korean and South East Asian Veterans Association invited me to Mildura to take part in the celebrations to mark the dedication of a memorial they had erected to honour their fallen comrades. This is a true account of an incident that happened during that weekend.

The Golden City — A familiar enough story but nonetheless tragic for being so. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt, or more accurately, apathy.

Troy's Song — Dedicated to Troy Lovegrove who died on 3 June 1993 of an AIDS related illness, three weeks before his eighth birthday, All royalties from this song are going to: — The Troy Lovegrove Foundation Ltd and this Foundation provides care and support for other families and children living with the HIV virus.

Ekka's Silver Jubilee Song — In 1994, I celebrated 50 years of physical and emotional survival upon Planet Earth, 25 years of which had been spent surviving physically and emotionally in Australia. This song was written to commemorate that singular achievement.

Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo — Love conquers all? Not in Sarajevo it seems, Another depressingly true story.

The Blessing — Seems like anyone who sticks their head up these days to speak in the cause of peace or reconciliation stands a good chance of getting it blown off. The song was written two days after the Israeli Prime Minister, Mr. Rubin, was murdered in Tel Aviv by a fellow Israeli acting, he assures us, on behalf of God. As far as I know, God has neither confirmed or denied this claim.

One Small Star — For the parents of those poor wee kiddies who died in Dunblane.

The End Of An Auld Song — An exile's typically bittersweet and somewhat schizophrenic view of his homeland. Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. I promise it won't happen again.