LYRICS & STORIES

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Been meaning to do this for years. Its a lock-down project now so it’s on the way….

The Dead Maggies’ songs are mostly true. We’re building this page in response to requests and more will be added soon.

MORE THAN JUST GHOSTS (2020)

Mad Tom of Bedlam

AKA ‘Boys of Bedlam’ or ‘Mad Maudlin’s Search’. This is a traditional song from early 17th Century England about the escaped inmates of Bedlam (Bethlam Royal Hospital) a notorious insane asylum since 1377 which still exists (with a better reputation) today. This is the first trad song ever recorded by The Dead Maggies.

Oh to see Mad Tom of Bedlam, ten thousand miles I’d travel, Mad Maudlin goes on dirty toes for to save her shoes from the gravel.
And so we sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys, Bedlam boys are bonny, for they all go bare and they live by the air and they want no drink nor money.
I went down to Satan’s kitchen, for to fetch me food one morning, and there I saw, all piping hot, the souls on the spit a-turning.
And so we sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys, Bedlam boys are bonny, for they all go bare and they live by the air and they want no drink nor money.
Well me staff has murdered giants, and me bag a long knife carries, for to cut mince pies from the children’s thighs with which to feed the fairies.
And so we sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys, Bedlam boys are bonny, for they all go bare and they live by the air and they want no drink nor money.
And me staff that’s murdered giants, crushed the man in the moon to a powder, and his soul did quake, his heart did break, and you’ve heard no screaming louder.
And so we sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys, Bedlam boys are bonny, for they all go bare and they live by the air and they want no drink nor money.
Oh spirits white as lightning, shall on my journey guide me, and all shake quake, and all shall break, whoever so bespied me.
And so we sing bonny boys, bonny mad boys, Bedlam boys are bonny, for they all go bare and they live by the air and they want no drink nor money.

Lacey’s Redemption

Lacey’s Redemption follows the story on from ‘Matthew Brady’ (Well Hanged 2015) and tells of how George Lacey (1799 – 1827), who betrayed revolutionary leader Brady, sought to make amends to the cause, and how his actions and words led to the closure of Sarah Island, Van Diemen’s Lands most notorious concentration camp (then known as a penal colony).

Well news came through from Hobart town that Brady had been hung and Lacey and the rest realised what it was they’d done, two years of revolution cut short upon that rope, along with Brady’s neck broke everybody’s hope.
Oh we were starving, freezing, half dead, we were nothing more than slaves, in chains, tortured, desperate, bush was the only place we could go.
Sent to Maria Island Lacey was reborn a rebel man, an agitator, troublemaker escaped by catamaran, sent back to Maquarie Harbour he made his final aim, to put a rope around king’s neck or be the one that’s slain.
Yes back in Maquarie Harbour he made his final plot, I’ve had enough of the lash let’s kill the bloody lot, I’ll wreak the blood of tyrant kings with witnesses to see and show them the true meaning of death or liberty.
Oh we were starving, freezing, half dead, we were nothing more than slaves, in chains, tortured, desperate, death was the only thing we could hope for.
Back on Sarah Island Lacey made his final plan, if he couldn’t kill the king then he’d kill the same named man, and after Rex we’ll do the rest or be done in ourselves, there’s nothing left to lose once you’re past the Gates of Hell.
Lashed half to death Lacey drew breath and sang a hopeful song, he knew he’d soon be on his way to become well hanged. To Hobart Town they dragged the wretch to where the gallows stood, they let him have one last speech but never knew he could say:
We were starving, freezing, half dead, we were nothing more than slaves, in chains, tortured, desperate, death was the only thing we could hope for.
And he said:
Well I’m not afraid to die I don’t believe in a vengeful god, and I don’t regret the death of kings or the wreaking of their blood, and as I die I hope not for heaven nor mercy, but only that you continue to oppose tyranny.
And even through the Gates of Hell they heard echo of his words, that united a resistance that knew no other cause, than freedom, bloody freedom or to die would be their fate, and through liberty and death, they closed Hell’s Gates.
They were starving.

The Tale of Martin Cash

Martin Cash (1808 – 1877) was a quick witted, erudite and almost certainly total con-man rogue of a bushranger. He wrote his own autobiography in 1870 before his death, which alongside providing an incredible account of life at the time – and the atrocities visited up the convict-slaves – is a long list of how he was always innocent of everything ever. Which he almost certainly wasn’t. However he was it seems a ‘honest rogue’; like Matthew Brady he stole only from the rich and was very anti rape, attacking other men who were not. His life is an incredible account of how quick wit and a fast tongue can get you through life, from being awarded a pound in settlement after punching policemen, to being possible the only convict ever to have NEVER received the lash, one of the few to escape Port Arthur and one of very few to shoot a cop, be sentenced to death and to somehow just get away with it. His is also a love story, a life spent protecting his long term partner, following each other across all Australia. He died at peace in his bed an old man. The Brisbane Hotel was called The Commodore Inn at the time, but The Brisbane Hotel is where The Dead Maggies played their first pub gig, and has been a long time support of the local live music scene. This song is for them.

Sentenced to the South Seas, sure I tried to disagree, no-one listened to me so I just set out for being free, before it all went straight to hell, outside of the Brisbane Hotel, I was the leader of the refugees, fighting for our liberty.
Oh this is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.
They kept coming for me with the lash, but I was big and I was brash, come at me boys you’ll get a bash, fuck you all I’m Martin Cash.
It was working in the cattle game that people first heard my name that soon rose to unwanted fame when for stolen cows I got the blame.
It wasn’t me I was just standing there with a hundred head of healthy steer, looking after them for this bloke I saw, he’s the one who broke the law.
But they didn’t think my tale that flash and I saw them reaching for the lash, so on horseback through them all I crashed shouting fuck you all I’m Martin Cash.
Oh life on the road rarely ends well but if you can’t be rich have a story to tell and as you raise your last glass on your way to hell, drink to Martin Cash and the Brisbane Hotel.
This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.
And so began life on the lamb and though they’d try I’d never hang, no shackle, whip, chain or lash could stop the likes of Martin Cash.
A debonair charismatic mate, Martin played blind cards with fate, his tongue kept him from the public’s hate, his quick feet from the pearly gate.
‘Gain and again caught with stolen goods, these aren’t mine you’ve misunderstood, guy stayed here who must have taken these things, he went that way quick get after him.
Moved to Tas with my one true love looking for the quiet life, but it wasn’t the wife that was trouble and strife but the fash, the guards and the ruling far right.
Oh life on the road rarely ends well but if you can’t be rich have a story to tell and as you raise your last glass on your way to hell, drink to Martin Cash and the Brisbane Hotel.
This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.
One day the cops of booze they reeked tried to rape my girlfriend in the street, I beat them so that she could run before the rest of the cops came with clubs and guns.
But the barkeep seen the whole event and told the judge those cops were bent, once again my luck it didn’t stop, I was paid a pound for punching a cop.
Dash and flash, confuse and escape, eventually we’d move too late, Port Arthur was a painful place but my tongue and wit kept the lash in place.
Took two goes to make my escape, with two other men I tried my fate, we lost our clothes on the swim across, naked and wet all seemed lost.
Oh life on the road rarely ends well but if you can’t be rich have a story to tell and as you raise your last glass on your way to hell, drink to Martin Cash and the Brisbane Hotel.
This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.
But up ahead was a sentry hut and steaming naked we charged we rushed, we surprised a lad still in his dacks, and dressed ourselves in the guards own slacks.
From this day on there was no other choice than bushranging as a way of life and me and my gang would take the cash of the fascist, lying, rank upper classes.
While on the run we stayed at old mate’s place, out of the city where we could wait, and party between adventurous heists, where we stole the money but never the vice.
It’s a lonely life out in the bush, we ordered from Hobart drink and cush, and our favourite fiddle player would come and play while we cursed Austraya.
This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.
Well I was back in Hobart Town visiting the love to who I’m bound.
When I was spotted by the crown and they raced me chased me round and round.
Trapped at the base of Brisbane street I looked desperately for my release.
But my luck it last it seemed it fell, that day nothing could go well and since it seemed I was bound for hell I shot a cop outside the Brisbane Hotel.
Oh life on the road rarely ends well but if you can’t be rich have a story to tell and as you raise your last glass on your way to hell, drink to Martin Cash and the Brisbane Hotel.
This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.
In Hobart Town I was restrained, kept alive by only my good name and standing as an honest con, even the guards were strung along.
Sentenced to death ‘gain and again, there’s something to be said of having fame and being good at the wording game, I want escape they want the same.
I never raped I only stole from them that think they own it all and proved that with courage and wit, you can beat those fascist, stuck up pigs.
Pardoned, released, I made my peace and passed away old out in the bush and wrote my tale so all could tell of Martin Cash and the Brisbane Hotel.
Oh life on the road rarely ends well but if you can’t be rich have a story to tell and as you raise your last glass on your way to hell, drink to Martin Cash and the Brisbane Hotel.
This is the man who made the dash, who bashed the fash to save his lass, yes this is the man who dodged the lash, this is the tale of Martin Cash.

Port Arthur

This song remembers the tragic gun massacre of 1996 at Port Arthur where 35 people died. Long before this, in the 1800’s, a penal colony (like a detention centre) enslaved and tortured convict-immigrants at Port Arthur. This track is not so much a story than a zeitgeist about the tragedy and guns. Port Arthur has seen a lot.

Weeping widows and willows wail out to sea, the ocean is filled with our misery
As thirty five souls follow thousands before, to their pointless death on these southern shores
And I guess we’ll never know why he raised that gun, but if it hadn’t been there then he couldn’t have done
So take them off of the streets, take them off of the police, keep your hunting rifles out of our children’s reach
For there aint no more use to an AR15, than the industrial killing of humanity
And some shores just see more pain than most; Port Arthur is haunted by more than just ghosts
Now I wasn’t there when he raised that gun but my friends went to school with him say it needn’t have come
And if you don’t want to see this again and again, like our USA friends gunned down by USA friends
Then take them off of the streets, take them off of the police, keep your hunting rifles out of our children’s reach
For there aint no more use to an AR15 than the industrial killing of humanity
And some shores just see more pain than most; Port Arthur is haunted by more than just ghosts
Now we all want our guns for protection and fun
To feel like a man and to teach to our sons
To fight of oppressors and to hunt our own food
But is it worth seeing mass shootings are your local school
No take them off of the streets, take them off of the police, keep your hunting rifles out of our children’s reach
For there aint no more use to an AR15 than the industrial killing of humanity
And some shores just see more pain than most; Port Arthur is haunted by more than just ghosts
Port Arthur is haunted by more than just ghosts
Port Arthur is haunted by more than just ghosts.

The Diary of Michael Howe

Goodnight settlement, hello anarchy, I’ve got a hundred ex-convicts, and they’re standing right beside of me. You displaced the natives, so now they’ll fight with me, refer to me as, the gov’ner of the woods. To the gov’ner of the town, from the gov’ner of the woods, also known as the gov’ner of the tiers. You’ve been sent to colonise, but you’ve been waiting for supplies, you will be waiting, for years upon years. Because we’ve got contacts we’ve got spies, they say the woods have a thousand eyes, we know who to talk to who to trust and what to steal. Nobody here is a robin hood, but it’s just too easy to do no good, so come on boys, let’s rock this wagon’s wheels. Goodnight settlement… To the gov’ner of the town, we’ve heard of the amnesty you’ve laid down, so put on the billy, because we’re all coming round. Now Hobart town you’re out of luck, you’ve given us six months to run amok, the most bushrangers ever seen are here to wipe their records clean. Whitehaven’s wounded soon to be dead, we made a pact this is what he said, if i’m going to die, then hack my neck, don’t let those fascists take my head. Now all the rogues report to me, and I rule from the ranges to the sea, and I treat from gov’ner to gov’ner in this state of anarchy. Goodnight settlement… To the gov’ner of the town, did you know your folk are all scared of me, but there’s none here as tough as Black Mary. Yeah we live rough but we live free, there’s a hundred more just like me, you’ve set us up to thrive in the kangaroo economy. Our dogs chase the kangaroo down, and we sell the meat in your town, while you’re waiting for supplies, bushranger meat keeps you alive. I wear the pelt like the natives do, and I write in the blood of the kangaroo, we’re ex-convicts dressed as natives, and we’re coming or you. Goodnight settlement… Mary and I are on the run, I turn to her and fire my gun. There’s honour among thieves, but not towards my loved one. They’ve lost my track, I’ve lost everyone, and you might think my race is run, but I got ammunition in my humpy with my gun. I led the outlaw community, but makes it hard when they double your bounty, with fewer here that I could trust, and now it’s only me. So with no more risk of mutiny, as I push my quill across my diary, I’m writing bloody scrawls, to create Tasmania’s history. And from the beginning, we both knew our endings, we were living our lives, as compost in training. From the gallows, our friends and our enemys, who’ll be the next one, to go out swinging, be it you me or both of us, there’s graves left to fill, in the meantime, lets give each other hell. Goodnight anarchy, hello settlement, I had a hundred ex-convicts, but now they’ve all been spent. You can kill me now, so long as you preserve my diary, and I can be remembered as, the gov’ner of the woods.



Paradise (The Paradise of Ephraim Doe)

It doesn’t matter the crime, they just make up the time. They like to watch you stand in line and suffer on your way to Paradise. The Judge is just like the Preacher, they both think other men are lesser creatures to be sent to Paradise. Well I’m not a bad man, yes I’m as innocent as the next man, well I do what I can ‘cos I’m a family man. The government said, you’ll be dead if you steal bread again, but when I took them up on their offer well they sent me off to transportation to Paradise. Oh winds are howling, oh waves are rolling, oh and in my dreams I hear the devil scream, welcome to Paradise. What did you think would happen when everything was owned by you? That we’d steal away and leave the world fresh and new for the select few? No we’ll steal and fight and break and take and make our own existence, I’d rather stake my life than take my chances with your system. Fuck your paradise. You say everybody be created equal, I say you don’t live the life of the people. You say build a new life for yourself but I work to death and only you acquire wealth. You say boundless plains but if you don’t share part of the gain then this isn’t a game it’s a pyramid system, where you stole all the land that you took from our brothers and sisters our friends had no chance to defend from the gun and the germ and the steel and the stern. So yes I’ll steal your meat it’s worth the heat to see my family feed, but busted in the dead of night you sent men out to beat me and mine. Well I’m worth more than your right hand man, I’ll stand defend me and my son and as madness falls there’s only the red and the fist, this is not justice. Just this desperate place and your desperate plans to break every last man women and child. So taken from yet another home and sentenced alone, judged like so many you judge with no knowledge of life, no question whose story you’ll heed than those of the right creed. Fifteen more years in a cell, half my life in hell, before released to the street, to old to defeat, too old for the drum and the beat and the meat. This land is for the quick of foot, the strong of arm and leg and mind, the young the brave who won’t be afraid to fight and lie to live and die free. And all that’s left for me is Paradise.


Fire On The Ship

Building ships to transport logs, putting trust in convict dogs. They stole the ship they’re sailing away, what should we make the semaphore say? Fire on the ship! But the semaphore’s manned by convicts too, we’re trusting the dogs with a job to do, to our disgust, to our dismay, guess what they made, the semaphore say? There’s no fire on the ship!



Down to the Sea (Down to the C’)

Down, down, down to the sea. Down, down, down to the sea. O’ sea-gypsy pirate come along in their boat, says let me take you to where the land runs out and there’s nothing but sea. Now if the fish keep biting we can live for free, we’ll make a place to sleep down by the beach, we can make alcohol from anything that grows and live where the turtles dig all the way down, down, down to the sea. Down, down, down to the sea. And here where the land ends and the plastic ends up, we can live and hide until the fish run out and there’s nothing but sea. Oh I am sick of working, you can take my job, and I’ll build a boat out of what has been thrown out, take it down to the water, through the river and out of the mouth of the estuary and all the way down, down, down to the sea. Down, down, down to the sea. Oh sea-gypsy do what a sea-gypsy must, and turtle eggs make up for the fish that have been lost and planting coconut trees wins back the land, for under the plastic there’s sand all the way down, down, down to the sea. Down, down, down to the sea. ‘Cos darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter, so won’t you take me. Down, down, down to the c’. Down, down, down to the c’. Down, down, down to the sea.


In The Pines

My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night. In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines, I shiver the whole night through. Black girl, Maggie girl, tell me where will you go. I”m going where the cold wind blows. You forced me to cry, you forced me to morn, you forced me to leave my home. My husband was a sealer man, died a mile and a half from here. His head was found on the big boat’s bow, his body ain’t ever been found. My girl, Maggie girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did he sleep last night. In the pines, in the pines, where the sun don’t ever shines, you’ll both shiver the whole night through. My husband was a sealer man, died a mile and a half from here. His head was found on the big boat’s bow, his body ain’t never been found.  Black girl, Maggie girl, tell me did you go. I’ve gone where the cold wind blows. You took away my man, now I can’t find our girl, I don’t know where she has gone. My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night. In the pines, in the pines, where the sun never shines, I shiver the whole night through. My girl, baby girl, come back to me, tell me where did you sleep last night, in the pines, in the pines, where the sun don’t ever shines, we both shiver the whole night through.



Indonesia

Oh I wish I was in Indonesia drinking arrack with the Javan punks. From the streets of Siduarjo to the mountains of Bandung. In Malang they all go crazy and in Solo they all get drunk, in Jogja they all are hipsters and Jakarta is just fucked. Thank fuck all our flannies are broken else we would be too hot. We lost it all in Indonesia, but that’s nothing to what we got. Oh I miss our friends in Indonesia, their spirit, their heart and fun. And I wish I was in Indonesia, drinking arrack with the Javan punks.




Sing about dead people (2013):

George III under D’Entrecasteaux

The sails are set and it’s time to go. Haul away, haul away boys.
The convicts are all in chains below. Haul away to Van Diemen’s Land.

Crossed the equator, hit a storm, lightning struck and the sails were torn. Ship on fire, lost half the food, that for the convicts went to the crew.Started to die before half through the ride, fourteen young men thrown over the side, the rest were all chained down below, as the ship sailed into Don-Catastro!

Land was sighted but the ship was stuck, for D’entrecasteaux’s full of rocks, cracked the hull, started to go down, stop them escaping was the Captains command. Make sure the convicts are all chained down, any who aren’t don’t let them make it to the ground, listen for the sounds of them jumping down, and when they try to swim, shoot them as they drown. 133 lives were lost in all, most died chained like dogs to the bilges floor, scrabbling for air as the water came in, the Captain said it washed away their sins. One child survived, only one thing to say, cried about blood red foamy waves, and those who were not chained down, and how they shot them as they drowned.

Davy Jones, as he took their bones, he said the sea’s a better home, than Arthur, Sarah or Hobart town, lucky they shot them as they drowned.