PUB WITH NO BEER, A

Latest update on 28/09/2018

Artist: Gordon Parsons
Author: Gordon Parsons/Dan Sheahan
Label: EMI
Year: 1956

Captured live during a Slim Dusty Show, recorded by a fan (Live At Townsville); released in 1996. That Slim Dusty Show package started touring throughout Australia in 1954. Just like there's a real House Of The Rising Sun (see there), there's a real Pub With No Beer. Australia, the land where distances are measured in six-packs rather than in miles, counts even more than one: according to Slim Dusty, the local bush balladeer who had a nationwide hit with it, the Day Dawn Hotel in Ingham (Queensland) is the real place. Wartime beer rationing inspired Sheahan to write his poem. Villagers from Taylors Arm though, a small place west of Nambucca (NSW), claim their local bar inspired local songwriter Gordon Parsons when it got flooded circa 1950 and ran out of beer for days. Won't happen again; the place provides at least five draught beers on tap.

Covers:

1958:

Slim Dusty & His Bushlanders [n°1 Australia, n°3 UK, n°1 IRE]

1959:

Bobbejaan Schoepen [as Café Zonder Bier; cover suggested by Louis Baret; also a millionseller in Germany as Ich steh an der Bar und habe kein Geld]

1963:

Rolf Harris

1967:

Dubliners

1995:

Hamish Imlach

1997:

Thomas Hampson [as Beautiful Dreamer; see footnote]

1998:

Midnight Oil

1999:

Helmut Lotti [as My Angel, own lyrics on the Stephen Foster melody Beautiful Dreamer (see footnote)]

1999:

Dead Man Ray [part of live soundtrack remake to the English version of Flemish Bobbejaan Schoepen film De Ordonnans Van Napoleon]

2010:

Bill Frisell [as Beautiful Dreamer]

2018:

Martha Wainwright [idem]

According to Slim Dusty, friend of the author, the lyrics were written by an Irish lad Dan Sheahan as A Pub Without Beer, published in the North Queensland Register in 1943. Gordon Parsons just wrote the music and did it first (live). Reason enough to be inducted into the Australian Roll Of Renown in Tamworth, the Nashville Down Under. Nevertheless the waltz melody of Pub With No Beer is strikingly similar to the one in Stephen Foster's Beautiful Dreamer, composed in 1862, first cut in the 1920s by The Silvertone String Orchestra, covered by Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, Don Gibson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy J. Kramer, Roy Orbison and The Beatles and the title track (by Raul Malo) of a Stephen Foster tribute cd. (see also: De Camptown Races)

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