TIm Montgomery wins songwriting competition

TIm Montgomery loves to spin a yarn which is a family tradition.

TIm Montgomery loves to spin a yarn which is a family tradition.

TIm Montgomery is helping to keep the classic Australian bush yarn tradition alive.

He, along with members of his family, recently won an award in the Australian Songwriting Competition.

Family members Steve Tony, Tim, Joan and Mike Montgomery, along with inlaw Colin Roberts all have their names on the award.

Jack Keagan’s Pub is an ode to an imaginary establishment the family created and features a lovable larrikin.

It’s about a shearer come property owner who by the sounds of it loved a beer or two.

“He (Keegan) likes a night out after a day’s shearing and some sessions get a bit rough at times and he got kicked out of this pub,” Mr Montgomery said.

“Being the only pub in the district and not being able to go there was a bit tough so he decided he would buy the pub.

“He bought the pub, put in a manager and unfortunately the manager kick him out as well.”

It’s a tale of a roguish character made famous by the likes of Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson.

When Mr Montgomery first started teaching he was sent to Ivanhoe (in the Hillston/Hay area) which allowed him to contribute to the award winning effort.

“Out there (Ivanhoe) everyone has a nickname and you are not a local until you have your own nickname,” he said.

“So I contributed some nicknames to the yarn, along with the few rhythms.”

Harry the Hat along with Bootlace and his son Shoelace were some of the characters Mr Montgomery blended into the yarn.

He said some of the nicknames were not flattering but they were still fun characters.

The family works well as a songwriting team.

“Steve gets this idea for a song and gets a tune in his head and then he asks for contributions from the rest of us,” Mr Montgomery said.

“He might ask for specific things and we will send in suggestions and he will tie it in all together in the format he has in his mind.

“It is just lyrics and we have no finished the music to it yet.”

Andrew Whitton, the brother of writer Tim who has recorded some of Steve’s songs in the past, may get to perform Keegan Pub.

The family had collaborated several times in the past, while Steve has enjoyed some musical success, including for a contemporary/pop song.

His song Let's Party was also contender in the folk acoustic category reaching the final 30 nominations out of several thousand entries.

Mr Montgomery’s songwriting ability surprises people.

He was an agricultural teacher/science at Bomaderry High and did not teach Australian literature in the classroom but always had an interest in this classic genre.

“It (bush yarns) is something my generations grew up with but it's not so prevalent now,” he said.

When was he growing up the children did not have electronic gadgets to play with and they had to do something to keep them busy and many liked to write.

As a 14-year-old roustabout he mixed with a few characters in the bush and picked a few interesting terms or two.

He laughed when it was suggested he should sing Jack Keagan’s Pub.

“You wouldn't want me to sing it,” he said.

He would, however, be happy to recite it and added there was music in the family, including daughter Alice who used to busk in town.

If all goes to plan Keegan Pub could be an award winning song at something like the Tamworth Country Music Festival and the family has a couple of other songs in the pipeline.

Jack Keagan's Pub (You can't keep a good man down)

Artwork by Peter Ryan.

Artwork by Peter Ryan.

Hydraulic Jack kept a room out back of the Ironbark hotel

For a stranger stuck, down on his luck or some local ne’re-do-wells

Come Friday night they’d be in full flight and then they’d sleep off the suds

There was always a little a bit of push and shove, at Hydraulic Jack Keagan’s pub

Now Gundy was a man; a giant of a man; he had hands as big as plates

He was born and bred in a shearing shed; and worked the bog-eye with his mates

When the shed was done that son-of-a-gun he would head in from the scrub

And the mood was high and the prices higher, down at Jack Keagan's Pub

Well, Gundy had a kelpie, dirty and smelly, by the name of Windy Red

If you let him near some offal boy, you'd wish that you were dead

But Windy was happy as a pig in mud in the beer and the sweat and the blood

And that sounds about right for a Friday night, down at Jack Keagan's Pub

Well you don't need to read the papers

It’s the only game in town

You can knock ‘em flat but they'll bounce back up

 ‘cause you can't keep a good man down

Old Jack was no fool, and he knew the rules and he’d welcome the boys to town

He’d cash their cheques; he’d wet their necks and he’d let them play the clown

With the cheques in the till they could drink their fill, but old Jack, he knew the rub

And we knew the scheme meant the whole damn team would get fleeced at Keagan’s Pub

But with too many beers and too many cheers, the years didn't treat Jack well

And it wasn't a joke when he had a stroke and we thought he'd have to sell

But his nephew from the big smoke thought he'd like to join the country club

So he headed west to do his best and to run Jack Keagan's Pub

Well you don't need to read the papers

It’s the only game in town

You can knock ‘em flat but they'll bounce back up

 ‘cause you can't keep a good man down

Now the young Galahad was an anxious lad, and he soon became unwrapped

When Harry the Hat and Tarboy Billy got into a bit of a scrap

And when Snake and Mango joined the tangle Galahad was on the job

Harry was scarred and Billy was tarred and they were barred from Keagan’s Pub

Well Harry and Bill didn’t take it well and Galahad was in their sights

And Gundy was in when the fight begin and young Galahad fainted in fright

When a hay cutter blow’s caught him on the nose and Bootlace called him a grub

Well that was the start that tore things apart at old Jack Keagan's Pub

And then Windy Red got it into his head that he’d like to join in the show

He was in a spin in the jumble of limbs and tearing at Galahad’s clothes

And when the local cop came to put a stop he said something about a judge

And in a single shot he banned the whole damn lot from old Jack Keagan's Pub

Well, as time went on, with its patrons gone, the old pub started to struggle

Its name was cursed and things got worse and Keagan's was in trouble

Just a few months later the liquidator was snooping and baying for blood

He put his hand in his pocket and our old mate got it.

Gundy bought Jack Keagan's Pub!

Well you don't need to read the papers

It’s the only game in town

You can knock ‘em flat but they'll bounce back up

 ‘cause you can't keep a good man down

 you don't need to read the papers

It’s the only game in town

You can knock ‘em flat but they'll bounce back up

 ‘cause you can't keep a good man down

 You can't keep a good man down

 You can't keep a good man down

 You can't keep a good man down

© 2017 Montgomery/Montgomery/Montgomery/Montgomery/Montgomery/Roberts