From the recording Tortology

I have long been a fan of the writing of Damon Runyan and in this song I've tried to blend his style of writing with a sorry tale of a local "Sydney colourful racing identity" who witnesses, and participates in the demise of a "mug punter". Sydney has long been noted for the shananigans of its "colourful recing identities". Still have not quite worked out why this song took on a reggae feel. This song was originally written in the mid to late 70's. I remember spending a day at the home of Graham Doust, the drummer of my old band Sirrah, recording the basic outline of this song on his TEAC four track machine not long after our band gave up the ghost.


(B Ralston)
Nobbler Nick walks down the road
His lady he must meet
From his eyes a damp tear flows
No shoes upon his feet
Cock a hoop he’d left that day
Headed for the track
Wretched loser now returns
No shirt upon his back,
On his back
Now I cannot pay the rent

On the corner Nick’s young dear
Is dressed in evening gown
Immune now to her punter’s tears
She wears a nasty frown
Nick drops down and pleads his case
“I am the devil’s sone
I’ve just blown a whole year’s cash
On a nag at 10 to 1 – blown from 7s
Now I cannot pay the rent”

“How’d it happen now
Last week you had a mint to spend?
Now you’ve blown it out the door”
“Oh no it’s worse than that,
We’ve run into a real dead-end
We don’ t own a door no more”

Digging deep she finds a cheque
And takes it from her purse
Hands it to the snivelling wreck
But still he’s got the curse
“Thank you dear, I’ll spend it well
Though gambling’s a sin
Tom the Tout’s told me a tip
I know the nag will win
It’ll win

(Instrumental break)
Once again poor Nick is broke
And wanders down the street
He has no shirt, his feet are bare
A visual repeat
I can’t stay, I’ve got to go
There’s gonna be a scene
I’ve just stolen Nick’s young love’s purse
And now they’re both picked clean
Picked clean
Now at least I’ll pay the rent.

Copyright Brian Ralston 1978