This Old Guitar

I wrote this song recently as an ode to my old 1985 Maton CW80.
It's an attempt to explore the relationship we have as musicians with our instruments. I think we all have a favourite instrument and it's not always the newest, shiniest or most valuable in our collection. My old "ceedub" has been with me through the best and worst of times. It's always been there to work something out on, to doodle on watching the footy, to lug around to all sorts of gigs or just to lean over and listen to the songs that emerge.
It was with me on Black Saturday as I sat in front of the radio, curtains drawn, aircon blasting, as I listened to the events of the day unfold. We were waiting for Ray & Jill (my father and stepmother) to join us for dinner. They had a place at Marysville which they left mid morning to do a few things before joining us later in the afternoon.
The day was too hot (46 - 47 degrees celsius) to do much so I decided to have a go at arranging O'Carolan's "Shi Beag Si Mor" on DADGAD guitar. The result is actually the track that pops up when you open this site. My memory of that dreadful day will always include sitting for hours with my old "ceedub" listening to one disaster after another being announced on ABC radio. Fortunately my parents came down the mountain well before the fire storm started and were sitting with us as Marysville was destroyed. 
A year later my brother Richard and I wrote a couple of songs, "Shed Of Evans" and "Black Saturday" to perform at a gathering at my father's shed in Marysville. The shed had survived the firestorm and Dad was so impressed with this he felt a gathering was in order to commemorate both the losses of that terrible day as well as the amazing survival of the shed. The music for "Black Saturday" was  composed on, you guessed it, my trusty old CW80. I have other guitars (all Maton of course) and they're wonderful too but there's something extra special about this old guitar. 
So, I have added two songs to my album "Acoustic Sessions", "This Old Guitar" and "Black Saturday". I hope you enjoy them.
As a footnote, my other brother Tom recorded Richard and myself doing a version of "Shed Of Evans" at the new house in Marysville early this week. I haven't checked it out yet but if it's any good I'll upload it.

1 comment

  • Rich

    Rich Ocean Grove

    Nice song. It is the thoughts of a skilled artisan, reflecting on something which is the work of another skilled artisan. Funny, as a complete non-craftsman, just good enough at handyman stuff to know that I am hopeless at it, my most profound relationship with 'the man who made it' was with an even worse handyman than me, who had 'renovated' an old house I lived in for 11 years in Preston. He had built a (probably illegal) extension out of packing crates, fibro cement and sheer cheek. The roof leaked, the walls were not vertical, the back steps were in the wrong place, there was a rat's nest of (definitely illegal) wiring behind the powerpoint in the laundry, which had a hole in the floor where the heating service had caused the floor studs to collapse. Every so often, some new disaster would cause me to look into another part of this man's handiwork. The window frame which was, it turned out, held together by the fly wire was a highlight. I came to hate this guy, 'the builder who came before', who in my mind I named 'Shonky McGlonkie'. I am a terrible handyman who had no money, but I knew it, and I did my best. He was a terrible handyman who had no money, but he also had no shame. I have sometimes imagined writing a short story about this relationship a home owner has with 'the builder who came before', but I have never quite got to it. Idea free to good home!

    Nice song. It is the thoughts of a skilled artisan, reflecting on something which is the work of another skilled artisan.
    Funny, as a complete non-craftsman, just good enough at handyman stuff to know that I am hopeless at it, my most profound relationship with 'the man who made it' was with an even worse handyman than me, who had 'renovated' an old house I lived in for 11 years in Preston. He had built a (probably illegal) extension out of packing crates, fibro cement and sheer cheek. The roof leaked, the walls were not vertical, the back steps were in the wrong place, there was a rat's nest of (definitely illegal) wiring behind the powerpoint in the laundry, which had a hole in the floor where the heating service had caused the floor studs to collapse. Every so often, some new disaster would cause me to look into another part of this man's handiwork. The window frame which was, it turned out, held together by the fly wire was a highlight. I came to hate this guy, 'the builder who came before', who in my mind I named 'Shonky McGlonkie'. I am a terrible handyman who had no money, but I knew it, and I did my best. He was a terrible handyman who had no money, but he also had no shame.
    I have sometimes imagined writing a short story about this relationship a home owner has with 'the builder who came before', but I have never quite got to it. Idea free to good home!

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