The Close Shave

This is a variant on the song Barrack Street, sometimes Patrick Street, with words and music by Bob Bickerton.  This is a New Zealander’s take on the old song tradition of a young man being deceived by a fair young woman. It’s performed in a reasonably well-known version from Andy Irvine.

The Close Shave

Come gather round you diggers all who work the goldfields rare
It’s of a trick was played on me and it’s caused me to despair
I came to town the other day me precious gold to trade
And there I met a pretty maid who did me heart betray

And her lips were red as roses and her eyes a deep sky blue
Her hair was yellow as the gold she stole from me and you

We went into a Public House and there we did imbibe
Whiskey and strong porter and dreadful stuff beside
‘T was then she asked me up to bed to which I did agree
But truth to tell I fell asleep before she’d earned her fee

When I awoke next morning no trousers could I find
But scattered all around the room were women’s clothes so fine
Me jacket, shoes and gold was gone and all that’s left behind
Was a woman’s dress, a yellow wig and a shaving kit, not mine

Why did she need a wig, why did she need to shave?
‘T was then the truth it struck me in a fit of blinding rage
“Me pretty maid’s a man!”, I cried, and thanks be I fell asleep
For I’d rather lose a bag of gold than wake up with that creep

To venture in the street again I cautiously inclined
I had a shave, put on the wig and wore the dress so fine
And as I walked along the street a digger gave a wink
And I thought of all the gold he had and I offered him a drink

Now you may think it sinful, you may think it bold
To take advantage of the lads who struggle for the gold
It’s easy putting on a dress and drinking whiskey neat
But leave your shaving kit behind when they are fast asleep


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