The Past is Never Where You Think You Left It

by Charles Jenkins & The Amateur Historians

/
  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    Charles Jenkins & The Amateur Historians have crammed a lot of history into just six months: a clutch of superb new songs inspired by Melbourne past and present; two sold-out shows at Fitzroy and Northcote Town Halls; two limited-edition albums; and now a “best of” collection!

    If you weren’t lucky enough to attend one or both of the Amateur Historians’ gigs, then this new release “The Past Is Never Where You Think You Left It” presents an accurate historical record: 14 of the trio’s songs captured in the studio very much as they were performed live with tasty playing, clever but economical arrangements and brilliant, soaring harmonies.

    It’s hard to pick favourites, but “The Melbourne Eye” is an instant Jenkins classic and sets the tone for what follows. Likewise, the melodies and heartfelt lyrics of “Beautiful William” (a love song to escaped convict William Buckley), "Blue Lagoon" (a lament for the long-lost wetlands just west of the city) and “This Is How You Say Goodbye” make them moving and memorable.

    “Dennis” is whimsically romantic, and I love the only-in-Melbourne humour of “Hook Turn”, “Victoria Market” and “Little Audrey”, and the wacky gold rush romp of “The Theatre Royale”.

    Not surprisingly I have a soft spot for “Stephen Street”, a rocking exposé of Melbourne’s dark Victorian underbelly. “Trams of Love” and “Statues of Melbourne” tell tales of petty street crime, and the spoken-word piece “Beneath the Maniacal King” brings the childhood horrors of Luna Park's Giggle Palace flooding back.

    But “Chloe” is truly chilling, the tragedy of the story behind the iconic painting told simply and compellingly, with a bitter edge to the refrain.

    Let’s hope this great selection keeps the wolf from the door while Charles Jenkins, David Andrew Milne and Douglas Lee Robertson regroup for another history-making live performance in the not-too-distant future.

    Stephen Downes
    Touch My History / Batmania, 3RRR-FM

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  • Full Digital Discography

    Get all 13 Charles Jenkins releases available on Bandcamp and save 20%.

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of The Willaroo Tapes - Walk This Ocean demonstration disc, When I Was In My Room, Separation Street, When I Was On The Moon, The Last Polaroid, The Past is Never Where You Think You Left It, Too Much Water In The Boat, Love Your Crooked Neighbour With Your Crooked Heart, and 5 more. , and , .

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1.
Dropped into the Docklands On the edge of Melbourne Silent surreal Beautifully flawed and cracked A big blinkered wheel The Melbourne Eye Looking over the likes of you and I The Melbourne Eye It don’t see the museums Nor the coliseums But those that shake into bars Or cry in their cars Are you comfortable in your own skin? Ever wondered what you would change and why? Who gets to decide on what is beautiful? Who gets to decide? The Melbourne Eye Looking over the likes of you and I The Melbourne Eye It don’t see the great halls Nor the Winter Balls It sees the love going wrong And those struggling to hold on It don’t see the big ships rolling in But the little men within All with a flame that might burn And a wheel that might turn The Melbourne Eye Looking over the likes of you and I The Melbourne Eye
2.
Hook Turn 03:12
Flinders St Station And the MCG Both come in second best for me Ponyfish Island and Bernard’s Magic Shop And though Wunderkummer has got the lot Blame it on the weather Blame it on the wine Blame it on the Tram Line I love the hook turn we got the hook turn I love the hook turn let’s do the hook turn Melbourne wins medals For the fairest and the best And so we wonder what gets put to the test If it’s because we can turn right from a lane that’s left Then there’s no doubt we’re better than all the rest Blame it on the weather Blame it on the wine Blame it on my star sign I love the hook turn we got the hook turn I love the hook turn let’s do the hook turn Blame it on the weather Blame it on the wine Blame it on the Tram Line Hook Turn
3.
All the way from Brunswick East Down to St Kilda Beach Hoping that the tram would find me From the University Out to the rich folk of Carnegie I’d be daily dreaming of Love Before the world was pixilated Before the internet was where we dated I was always there From Richmond North to Prahran You could find me on the tram With a sparkle in my eye and wishing That someone would ring my bell On the ride to Camberwell I was always scheming daily Love Armed with flowers and stolen verses Pockets full of ladies purses I was always hoping Love
4.
Statues of Melbourne Next to Bourke and Wills there’s a low rider So a low rider I will ride tonight Across from Justice Barry there’s a little chemist So a little chemist I will roll tonight All is fair What’s yours is mine What’s mine is everywhere Oh yeah Across from Matthew Flinders there’s his train station Gonna get me the last train tonight Nearby Francis Ormond there’s always a few students Gonna get me some loose change and a few books All is fair What’s yours is mine What’s mine is everywhere Oh yeah When the heat is on there’s so many of places to hide There’s statues in Melbourne everywhere So when the heat is on there’s so many places to hide Cause no one stops to think to look there All is fair What’s yours is mine What’s mine is everywhere Oh yeah
5.
Well Barry Humphries found her in a rubbish tip And noted we should all maybe help her a bit Let’s dust her off and find a rope she can skip Little Audrey Keith Dunstan said “That would be more than fair But I think this one is gone she is beyond repair Bring on another and let her jump through the air” Little Audrey Oh oh oh… Little Audrey Salt vinegar mustard pepper if I dare I can do better Oh oh oh… Little Audrey
6.
Chloe 05:41
She stands there in silence year after year She's worth fortunes that she never knew Spare her a thought shed her a tear She stands naked for bastards like you She stands naked for bastards like you Chloe the French masterpiece that became a Melbourne icon was painted in 1875 when the beautiful young model who graces that frame was just 19 years old Our dear Marie Chloe was an over night success in Paris winning the hearts of all who gazed upon her and winning the most prestigious awards She arrived on our shores a couple of years later where she hit 'em for sixes in Sydney and made her way to Melbourne for more of the same She was bought and sold offered to galleries but rejected until she ended up in the pub of one Norman Figsby Young That was in 1908 and she's been there ever since Keeping company with soldiers and sailors artists and poets Prime Ministers and dignitaries drunks and celebrities knights dames and connoisseurs Through two world wars the diggers would come and have a drink with her before being shipped out Letters were written to her from the trenches of Turkey France and Papua New Guinea - all swearing their true love for her and promising to return As Chloe she's been damaged and abused over the years Had beer thrown at her Suffered lacerations And been the target for untold verbal abuse As Marie the fetching French model of 140 years ago she became damaged by the very man responsible for immortalising her beauty Marie fell hopelessly in love with Jules Joseph Lefebvre for whom she so often posed and with whom she shared her body But the cad Jules Joseph was also bedding Marie's younger sister and before too long the two of them were married Our dear Marie held her head up high She threw her hands in the air and she threw a big party for all her friends And as her guests drank Champagne and Cognac in her dining room Marie slipped off into the kitchen to knowingly drink the concoction she had prepared earlier This was only two years after she posed as Chloe. And our dear Marie was only 21 when she took her own life. She went into the kitchen out of her mind And she drank from her poisonous brew She went out of this world just to wind up in mine and stand Naked for bastards like you To stand naked for bastards like you Of the countless who have stared few have known her name She is Marie She is and shall always be Marie that prized possession so proudly presented naked forever on public display yet anonymous under glass and false identity Marie the object of so many desires Marie so vulnerable Maybe "Chloe" could take it in her stride - ogled over and gawked at like a freak The only totally nude person in a crowded room and she's there day and night Constantly greeted by silent eyes that in the past failed to hide their dour judgement overt discomfort or downright contempt. Maybe if it were Chloe But hanging on that wall is a portrait of a real person Not merely a thing of fiction Not simply the product of imagination Within that frame lies somebody's daughter Marie We look at Chloe We see Marie Our dear Marie She stands there in silence year after year She's worth fortunes that she never knew She went out of this world just to wind up in mine And stand Naked for bastards like you She stands naked for bastards like you. Stands naked for bastards like you
7.
My baby likes his shoes all the way from Rome He likes his aftershave to come from Cologne My baby likes his scarves to travel the silk road home He likes his gold watches to come across several time zones And it all comes from Victoria Market All of it from Victoria Market I get this shit from Victoria Market And he don’t need to know no no no no My baby likes his wine to wind its way across the waters He likes silver for our sons diamonds for our daughters I don’t do things by halves I do them by quarters This bag of Spanish Donuts smuggled across Spanish Borders And it all comes from Victoria Market All of it from Victoria Market I get this shit from Victoria Market And he don’t need to know no no no no
8.
Dennis 03:22
If I were to ever wait in the rain I’d wait in the rain at Dennis If I were to ever catch a train I’d catch the train at Dennis And If I were to ever cause you pain I’d promise not to do it again I’d make those promises promises On the platform at Dennis If I were to ever catch the bus I’d catch the bus to Dennis If I were to ever think of the two of us I’d think about us at Dennis And If I were to get down on my knee Well you know where that would be I’d make those promises promises On the platform at Dennis Aint it good good good to know? And when the crossing bells ring loud and true Well you know where they lead me to I’d make those promises promises On the platform at Dennis Aint it good good good to know? I’d make those promises promises On the platform at Dennis
9.
Beautiful William Of 1000 forms I know what you feel like when you feel like you’ve been torn Beautiful William of a 1000 forms So far so few Nights with you And where you are So black or white Wrong or right To get to where you are Beautiful William Of so many nights I know what you feel like when you feel like a fight Beautiful William so many nights So soft and loud So broken and so proud Of where you are So far so few Nights with you And where you are Beautiful William Leads a lively dance But I know what it feels like when it feels like you’ve no chance Beautiful William
10.
What's in the past when it don't remain? What's in a name that gets changed? How does a street acquire Such a seedy reputation? And get seen as being way below its station? Now this town holds a big secret And it sure wants to try and keep it Whatever happened to Stephen Street? Let’s sweep out the brothels And the opium dens The ungodly looking Women and men It’s what we do now that we did back then The stroke of a quill the stroke of a pen Whatever happened to Stephen Street? Spelt with a PH not a V Kind of lost in history But it always comes back to me Whatever happened to Stephen Street? I heard he went on to produce The Smiths I heard he became Exhibition St Wrapped it up all nice and neat Whatever happened to Stephen Street?
11.
12.
Gold gold gold gold Oh the butter and the milk Freshly squeezed from the cow Are placed upon the table that looks dandy She’s been told that the gold In the valley down below Is close and accessible that it’s handy Oh the shepherd drops the sheep The Drover drops the cow The Merchant and the Lawyer drop their quill The Captain and the Crew Have no more sailing to do For there are golden deposits in them thar hills The Theatre Royale hurrah The Theatre Royalee hurrah Built by gold made of gold Flung from far and near We'll all get drunk and arse about And swing from the chandelier Oh they’re out to break our backs Here comes another tax They’re sending all out gold back home to mother We’re sober now and then But gold brings out the worst in men And it can make us turn on one another The Theatre Royale hurrah The Theatre Royale hurrah Built by gold made of gold Flung from far and near We'll all get drunk and arse about And swing from the chandelier And swing from the golden chandelier hurrah
13.
Blue Lagoon 05:18
Where there once was a bountiful blue Now there’s nothing for me and you Now there sits a lonely place such a lonely place Where there once were creatures great and small Now we’ve got our backs against the wall We could have had a lovely place such a lovely place We could have had our own blue lagoon Where there once was quintessence and everything you’d need Taken over by cold stale greed We could have had a lovely place such a lovely place Baby steps wont shine a light On the giant steps to make it right See it all in black and white We could have had it all tonight Now there sits a lonely place such a lonely place We could have had our own blue lagoon
14.
Don’t text don’t call Don’t droop against the lane way wall Don’t drink so much don’t smoke Read Byron read Pope Don’t run and hide State your case to the Williamstown tide Don’t get angry let it go Go see a band see a show Stand up don’t stare at your shoes Let the sadness sail on through This is how you say goodbye Aurevoir Adios What once was found is now lost Write your letters Sing your songs Burn those letters And sing along Walk through the gardens Walk through the day Walk ‘til you drive the demons away Buy a Basement record a Paperback book Don’t you dare take a second look Stand up don’t stare at your shoes Let the weirdness walk on through This is how you say goodbye Stand up don’t stare at your shoes Let the madness march on through This is how you say goodbye

about

Charles Jenkins & The Amateur Historians have crammed a lot of history into just six months: a clutch of superb new songs inspired by Melbourne past and present; two sold-out shows at Fitzroy and Northcote Town Halls; two limited-edition albums; and now a “best of” collection!

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend one or both of the Amateur Historians’ gigs, then this new release “The Past Is Never Where You Think You Left It” presents an accurate historical record: 14 of the trio’s songs captured in the studio very much as they were performed live with tasty playing, clever but economical arrangements and brilliant, soaring harmonies.

It’s hard to pick favourites, but “The Melbourne Eye” is an instant Jenkins classic and sets the tone for what follows. Likewise, the melodies and heartfelt lyrics of “Beautiful William” (a love song to escaped convict William Buckley), "Blue Lagoon" (a lament for the long-lost wetlands just west of the city) and “This Is How You Say Goodbye” make them moving and memorable.

“Dennis” is whimsically romantic, and I love the only-in-Melbourne humour of “Hook Turn”, “Victoria Market” and “Little Audrey”, and the wacky gold rush romp of “The Theatre Royale”.

Not surprisingly I have a soft spot for “Stephen Street”, a rocking exposé of Melbourne’s dark Victorian underbelly. “Trams of Love” and “Statues of Melbourne” tell tales of petty street crime, and the spoken-word piece “Beneath the Maniacal King” brings the childhood horrors of Luna Park's Giggle Palace flooding back.

But “Chloe” is truly chilling, the tragedy of the story behind the iconic painting told simply and compellingly, with a bitter edge to the refrain.

Let’s hope this great selection keeps the wolf from the door while Charles Jenkins, David Andrew Milne and Douglas Lee Robertson regroup for another history-making live performance in the not-too-distant future.

Stephen Downes
Touch My History / Batmania, 3RRR-FM

credits

released December 12, 2014

Charles Jenkins - vocals/acoustic guitar
David Andrew Milne - vocals/piano
Doug Lee Robertson - vocals/electric guitar

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Charles Jenkins Melbourne, Australia

Charles Jenkins is a Melbourne songwriter/musician, producer and performer with more than 30 years experience in the Australian Music Industry.
He has released 14 albums, toured Europe and the USA several times and been nominated for two ARIA awards with the Icecream Hands. In 2014, his sixth solo album Too Much Water In The Boat won the AGE/Music Victoria award for best folk/roots album.
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