Thursday, July 21, 2011

Last Train from Mobiltown

Related article: Altona Rail History

While writing the post on Altona Rail History, I discovered a song called "Last Train from Mobiltown" composed by Broderick Smith, an Australian singer-songwriter, harmonica, guitar and banjo player. I searched for the lyrics online to no avail. But I did manage to find the website and email address of Broderick Smith. He kindly provided me the lyrics. I wish I could provide a link to this song but it appears this song is not hosted anywhere online. I myself would be curious to listen how it sounds like. Here is a video clip of another song by him.


Update: When I searched for this song on 22/4/2014, I found out it is now on YouTube.

Here is a little background about Broderick. He was born in Hertfordshire, England and migrated with his family to Australia in 1959, initially settling in St Albans. Apart from his music career, he has various jobs, as a clerk, storeman, soldier, advertising copywriter, graphic artist and actor.

The song came about due to a brief work stint that Broderick was engaged in. His friend was seeking workers for his wooden toy factory located in an industrial complex near the Mobiltown train station. Hence, Broderick went to work there for a few weeks, making toys.

The station was a raised gravel embankment. The train did not actually stop at the station so the passenger had to half run next to it and jump on or jump off. This would have been great training for hobos (migratory workers) hopping freight trains during the depression.

Here is the lyrics:


Listen to the train go rolling free
Breaking the chain between this town and me
Gasoline rainbow in the sky
Over the fields where the dead cars lie

Last train from Mobiltown
Last chance to go
Last train goes rolling down
Through Refinery Row

The way I feel I’m covered in rust
In these pillars of steel
You do what you must
So dream on dreamers I’m slipping away
If you don’t understand
I’ve got nothing to say

chorus 4 bars drums

Racing the whistle as the train pulls in
Jumping the thistles where the fields begin
Chasin the laughter as the train rolls by
A figure in blue against a burnin’ sky

chorus
Last train
Last train from Mobiltown
Last train
Last train from Mobiltown



The song invoked Broderick's memories of Altona in the early sixties. Reproducing his impromptu artistic creation (please note this is not a song) from the email:


Ah Altona !
Seaweed and oil mixed together in one pungent blast.

Ah Altona!
Lying in bed as a teenager in St Albans on a summer night and smelling Altona wafting through the bedroom window like the smell of hell.

Ah Altona!
Where us folk from St Albans would swim among the flotsam and jetsam in the hottest summer days.
And the Altona sea water would cut through the industrial grime on our bodies like draino.

Ah Altona!!
Dim sims, soy sauce and beach sand mixed together still reverberates in my soul.



Broderick Smith's website: www.brodericksmith.com


1 comments:

Ian C. Thomas said...

The album this song is from was released on CD by Aztec Music, but they ceased business in March this year, so if you want a copy of Broderick Smith's Big Combo the last few are available online from Red Eye Records: http://www.redeye.com.au

This is a great, hard-rocking, totally Australian ablum, beautifully remastered and repackaged, so I totally recommend grabbing a copy now, before the last ones are gone!

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