Wednesday, 8 February 2017

John Dengate's "I can't abide" & it's predecessor & successors.






John Dengate's parodies were not the first heard in the Bush Music Club as many parodies were collected by our founders and their fellow collectors, but John's arrival in 1961 brought many wonderful songs into existence. Some were enduring like I Can't abide, others ephemeral but they all enriched our lives.

From Dale Dengate's talk about the early days given at the 2012 National Folk Festival

In 1961, I encouraged another young teacher from my school, to accompany me to the Club. He was John Dengate, who was learning to play the guitar, and had already written lots of songs about his experiences in Menindee and in the National Service. Alan Scott, Merro and others, encouraged John to bring along a new song every week and to use traditional tunes. (John continues to this day to trace the political history of Australia as an unapologetic supporter of the worker and the union movement, and as a commentator on the follies of our political leaders.)

1.  1847 - Hymn Abide with me, written by Henry F Lyte 



Sheet music from Wikipedia

 
Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell'st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

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2.  I can't abide by John Dengate, 1998  (link includes background information & MP3 of John singing)

I can't abide the government's front bench, send them away to the Germans or the French

I can't abide Costello's shallow sneer - won't someone make the bastard disappear?

I can't abide that bloody aweful Kemp, bring back the gallows, the hangman and the hemp
Take Peter Reith and dump him in the tide. Him I particularly can't abide

Poor little John deserves our sympathy, born neath the star of mediocrity
Pat his wee head and send him off to bed, then hide the key lest he abide with me

I can't abide the government's ministry, Senator Vanstone's worse than dysentry
Send her away without the least delay - don't pour the tea lest she abide with me

Sink them the swine, an iceberg would be fine. Far, far away in distant Hudson Bay
As they go down they'll warble while they drown, flat and off-key, they'll be despised by me

I can't abide the government's front bench, send them away to the Germans or the French
Take Peter Reith and dump him in the tide. Him I particularly can't abide

I Can't Abide was included in MUA Centenary CD With These Arms, 1998


 



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3. Paul Spencer's version 2014 (Paul appeared at Dukes in May 2014)



Paul at Phyl Lobl's songwriting workshop, 2014 (Sandra Nixon photo)

I can't abide the Government's front bench,
Their greed and corruption leaves such a putrid stench,
But we'll triumph still and Joe Hockey will get pied,
His smug hypocrisy I can't abide.


I can't abide that bloody awful Hunt,
He lacks warmth or depth but he's got a lot of front,
He sells precious forests that once were set aside,
Corruption like his I simply can't abide.


I can't abide that racist bigot Brandis,
If things weren't bad enough then this is what they hand us,
Minister Pyne makes me dream of cyanide,
Lying little scumbag whom I can't abide.


Turnbull's a dog, or perhaps a hopeless clown,
Who stands in for Murdoch to bring the broadband down,
Bishop can't even pretend she's on our side,
Each and every one of them I can't abide.


I can't abide that vile, hateful Joyce,
I'd rather eat snail bait than listen to his voice,
Onto an ant's nest I'd like to see him tied,
Just one among them that I can't abide.

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4.  Jenny Fitzgibbon's additions to Paul's version (another of Jenny's song appeared in August  2016 Mulga Wire, in the Singabout supplement)



Jenny in Sydney, 2013 (Sandra Nixon photo)


I can't abide Scott Morrison at all

His soul must be infinitesimally / undetecta-bully small
With refugees, he surely has a hide
Saying in Australia they can't abide

I can't abide in Manus or Nauru

Holidays in Cambodia are few
Scott Morrison, borders on genocide
Making sure Asylum Seekers can't abide.

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4. Chris Maltby's version - 2015 (Chris is a long-time BMC member & appeared at Dukes in July 2015 )

I Can’t Abide
– Paul Spencer (2014) & revised Chris Maltby (2015), with due homage to John Dengate

I can’t abide the Government’s front bench,
Their greed and corruption leaves such a putrid stench,
Hockey and Cormann I vehemently deride,
Their smug hypocrisy I can’t abide.

I can’t abide that bloody awful Hunt,
He lacks warmth or depth but he’s got a lot of front,
When coal companies ask, he quickly does provide,
Corruption like his I simply can’t abide.


I can’t abide that racist bigot Brandis,
If things weren’t bad enough then this is what they hand us,
Christopher Pyne makes me dream of cyanide,
Snivelling little scumbag whom I can’t abide.

Turnbull’s a fraud, a spineless, hopeless clown,
Who stands in for Murdoch to bring the broadband down,
And Morrison’s dissembling takes a lot of hide,
Each and every one of them I can’t abide.


I can’t abide that vile, hateful Joyce,
I’d rather eat snail bait than listen to his voice,
Onto an ants’ nest I’d like to see him tied,
Just one among them that I can’t abide.


I can’t abide Abetz, that evil spawn,
His plan for employment law is all tooth and claw,
He sneers and he snarls in a drone that’s always snide,
Another jackboot thug I really can’t abide.


String them up, the swine, wind turbines would be fine,
Or deep in a hole, and make them live on coal,
“It’s good for humanity”, he often does confide,
That kind of bullshit I just can’t abide.

I can’t abide the Government’s front bench,
Their greed and corruption leaves such a putrid stench,
Seize Bronwyn’s love child and throw him in the tide,
Him I particularly can’t abide.

Arse...holes!

Over the years the choirs which sang the song added the last word (in beautiful harmonies!) to their arrangement of John's original 1998 song.



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6, Chris Maltby's 2016 version


I Can’t Abide – Paul Spencer (2014) & revised Chris Maltby (2015, 2016)
, with due homage to John Dengate

Chris singing I can't abide  at 2016 John Dengate memorial get-together

I can’t abide the Government’s front bench,
Their greed and corruption leaves such a putrid stench,
Morrison and Cormann I vehemently deride,
Their thieving hypocrisy I can’t abide.

I can’t abide that bloody awful Hunt,

He lacks warmth or depth but he’s got a lot of front,
What coal bosses asked, he quickly did provide,
Corruption like his I simply can’t abide.

I can’t abide that racist bigot Brandis,

If things weren’t bad enough then this is what they hand us,
Christopher Pyne makes me dream of cyanide,
Snivelling little scumbag whom I can’t abide.

Michaelia Cash, that neoliberal spawn,

Her plan for employment law is all tooth and claw,
She postures and sneers, all nastiness so snide,
A smiling assassin I just can’t abide.

I can’t abide that vile, hateful Joyce,

I’d rather eat rat bait than listen to his voice,
Onto an ants’ nest I’d like to see him tied,
Just one among them that I can’t abide.

Turnbull’s a fraud, a spineless, hopeless clown,

Who stood in for Murdoch to bring the broadband down,
His flatulent dissembling takes a lot of hide,
Self serving bull I really can’t abide.

String them up, the swine, wind turbines would be fine,

Or deep in a hole, and make them live on coal.
Cuts and co-payments while business fat cats thrive,
Each and every one of them I can’t abide.

I can’t abide the Government’s front bench,

Their greed and corruption leaves such a putrid stench,
Seize Peter Dutton and toss him in the tide,
Him I particularly can’t abide.
Arse...holes!



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