> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Euabalong Ball
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A.L. Lloyd sang Euabalong Ball in 1956 on his album Australian Bush Songs and in 1957 on his Australian EP with Ewan MacColl, Convicts and Currency Lads. Lloyd recorded it again in 1971 for the album the Great Australian Legend. This track was re-released in 1994 on the Australian CD The Old Bush Songs. A.L. Lloyd commented in the latter LP's sleeve notes:
Euabalong is on the Lachlan River some forty miles west of Condobolin, and the song was still around in those parts when I worked there in the early 1930s. A more genteel version that ours, called The Wooyeo Ball, was printed in Rob Webster's The First Fifty Years of Temora (Temora, NSW, 1950), but the song belongs to the West, not the South. Webster puts the date of his version as 1888. In the course of more than thirty years singing the song, I'm sure I've tinkered around a lot with the tune.
and in the accompanying booklet:
Somebody once described the Australian outback as a “long agony of scrub and wire fence”. Sometimes the flow of life is so slow as to be barely perceptible. Still, just occasionally bush life had its pleasures. Here's a description by Steele Rudd, a writer dearly loved by Australian country folk:
”No matter how things were going—whether the corn wouldn't come up or the wheat had failed or the pumpkins had given out or the waterhole run dry—we always had a concertina in the house. It never failed to attract company. Paddy Malony and the well-sinkers, after belting and blasting all day long, used to drop in at night and throw the table outside and take the girls up and prance about the floor with 'em till all hours.
Sandy Taylor passed our place every evening and always stopped at the fence to yarn with Kate about dancing. When the dancing subject was exhausted, Sandy would drag some hair out of the horse's mane and say, “How's the concertina?” “It's in there,” Kate would answer, and she'd call out: “Joe, bring the conker.” Joe would strut along with it, and Sandy for the fiftieth time would examine it and laugh at the kangaroo-skin strips that Dad had tacked to it, and the scraps of brown paper plastered over the ribs of it to keep the wind in; and cocking his left leg over the pommel of his saddle, he'd sound a full blast on it as a preliminary. Then he'd strike up The Rocky Road to Dublin or The Wind Among the Barley, or some other beautiful air, and grind away till it got dark, till mother came and asked him if he wouldn't come in and have some supper, and of course he would, and after supper he'd play some more. Then there would be a dance.”
Peter Dickie sang Euabalong Ball in 1967 on Martyn Wyndham-Read's, Phyl Vinnicombe's and his album Bullockies, Bushwackers & Booze. He noted:
This is a more working-class version of a genteel song of the late 19th century, The Woyoo Ball. Comparison between the last two lines of the last stanza and the version sung here indicates the change of tone wrought by its descent down the social ladder:
And many there will be who will love to recall
The fun they had at the Woyoo ball.
Danny Spooner sang Euabalong Ball in 2004 on his CD of Australian songs of toil and reward, 'Ard Tack. He noted:
Shortly after I arrived in Australia, I attended a woolshed dance at Junee in NSW, one of the great experiences of my life. It was very like this song—they knew how to enjoy themselves and the tables groaned with food and drink. The above is said to be A.L. Lloyd’s adaptation of the Wooyeo Ball, however, Ron Edwards notes that in Stewart and Keesing’s Old Bush Songs, their footnote to the Wooyeo Ball says “From Rob Webster's The First Fifty Years of Temora. This song was dated to 1888 and the place named was Euabalong.”
A.L. Lloyd sings Euabalong Ball
Oh, who hasn't heard of Euabalong Ball,
Where the lads of the Lachlan, the great and the small,
Come bent on diversion from far and from near
To cast off their troubles for just once a year.
Like stringy old wethers, the shearers in force
All rushed to the bar as a matter of course.
While waltzing his cliner, the manager cursed,
'Cause someone had caught him a jab with his spurs.
There were sheilas in plenty, some two or three score,
Some two-tooths, some weaners, some maybe some more,
With their fleeces all dipped and so fluffy and clean,
The finest young shearlings that ever was seen.
The boundary-riders was friskin' about
But the well-sinkers seemed to be feelin' the drought.
If the water was scarce, well, the whisky was there,
And what they couldn't drink, boys, they rubbed in their hair.
There was music and dancin' and goin' the pace.
Some went at a canter, some went at a race.
There was buckin' and glidin' and rootin' and slidin',
And to vary the gait, some couples collidin'.
Oh, Euabalong Ball was a wonderful sight,
Rams among the two-tooths the whole flamin' night.
And many young girls will regret to recall
The polkas they danced at Euabalong Ball.
Lyrics copied from Mark Gregory's Australian Folk Songs and adapted to the singing of A.L. Lloyd.