“Back to Larkins' Bar”

Author: James "Digger" O'Brien?
Earliest date: 1987
Keywords: home Australia drink
Found in: Australia

Description

The singer writes a letter to his (girl/wife); the (soldiering/cockie's) life is hard and lonely. He pleads, "Take me back to the Holbrook streets, And back where the beer-hogs are, Back to the sound of the barrel taps And back to Larkins' bar."

Notes

Meredith collected this song twice, in fragmentary but strikingly different forms, from two residents of Holbrook, Australia. Marilyn McPherson credited it to her father, Digger O'Brien; Jack Campbell also apparently had it from him. On its face, that would seem to disqualify it from "folk song" status -- except for the extreme set of variations.

Larkins' Bar is apparently one of the chief landmarks of Holbrook (this is Australia, after all). - RBW

References

  1. Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 273-274, 274-275, "Back to Larkins' Bar" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  2. BI, MCB273