The Stable Lad
© 1975 melody: Phil Garland
words: Peter Cape
Learned from a tape a friend sent from New Zealand with Graham Wilson singing.
Somehow this sings like a film… I see an old fellow singing the first verse, then I see his younger brawny, enthusiastic (and naïve) self with his leather apron and sooty smudges on his face telling about the girl, whanging away on the anvil. (He's an apprentice wainwright and farrier.) And then his older sild again, "There's a graveyard…" and in ballad form, it never tell us how – or when p she died, and it's up to us to make the tale complete. Good, good, song.
Since I never saw these lyrics in print until after this recording was made, I sing Coven Co. instead of Cobb & Co. Neatsfoot Compound is an oil we still use here in Maine to soften, clean and protect leather.
Gordon – nylon 6-string guitar
When Cobb & Co. ran coaches from the Buller to the Grey
I went for a livery-stable lad in a halt up Westport way,
And I gave my heart to a red-haired girl, and left it where she lay
By the winding Westland highway from the Buller to the Grey.
There's Neatsfoot on my fingers, and lamp-black on my face,
And I've saddle-soaped the harness and hung each piece in place,
But my heart's not in the stable, it's in Charleston far away,
Where Cobb & Co. goes rolling by from the Buller to the Grey.
There's a red-haired girl in Charleston, and she's dancing in the bar,
But I know she's not like other girls who dance where miners are,
And I can't forget her eyes, and everything they seemed to say
The day I rode with Cobb & Co. from the Buller to the Grey.
There's a schooner down from Murchison, I can hear it in the gorge,
So I'll have to pump the bellows now and redden up the forge,
And I'll strike that iron so very hard she'll hear it far away
In the roaring European that the road runs by from Grey.
Some day I'll be teamster with the ribbons in my fist,
And I'll drive that Cobb & Co. Express through rain and snow and mist,
Drive a four-in-hand to Charleston, and no matter what they say,
I'll take my girl up on the box and marry her in Grey.
There's a graveyard down in Charleston where the moss trails from the trees,
And the Westland wind comes moaning in from off the Tassman Seas,
And it's there they laid my red-haired girl, in a pit of yellow clay
As Cobb & Co. went rolling by from the Buller to the Grey.