Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Les Darcy

Newton and Warener Chappeli

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Roll up ! roll up ! and see the show, you local blokes let's see you go
A quid for a goer, two bob for a dud, it's a princely pay for sweat and blood.

Young Les was keen to have a go, "now watch him Les ! he'll hit you low"
The tent-show boy never saw it coming, Maitland's pride was off and running
All I can wish for tonight is to see les D'Arcy fight.
How they cheered him, they clapped him & they cheered him
Every Saturday night
So he hung around the stadium door, they let him in to sweep the floor,
He saw them spar, the best they'd got, he knew that he could beat the lot
Three rounds to start and then a main, he never swept that floor again,
For he beat them all inside the bell, soon he heard the people yell.
They rolled up in regiments for every fight, they made Les Darcy King for a night
But then he refused to kill in our name, the press they called him a national shame.
He stowed away for the land of the free, he died alone across the sea
In a flag-drap'd coffin they sent 'im 'ome, he sat on our guilt like a champion's throne
He was going down to Tennessee, he was going down to die,
If we'd known that we would break your heart, you would have heard Australia cry.

Les Darcy was Australia's most famous boxer. He trained as a middleweight although at one point he held Australia's middleweigth and heavyweight titles simultaneously.

A hero in his time, he was caught up in a public outrage over whether he was seeking to avoid conscription, He moved to the United States, taking out citizenship two weeks later. He collapsed unexpectedly in Memphis, dying two weeks later from pneumonia on 24 May, 1917.

These notes from Warren Fahey's Larrikins, Louts and Layabouts album.

The year of his death saw another song published, Les Darcy, A Song Of Remembrance. Follow the link for the full score.

1 comment:

  1. Version i heard had two more lines before first chorous -
    Running down to Sydney town, running down to try,
    Running down to make his name and listen to them cry...