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Click go the Shears
Last updated: 22.04.17
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I've known "Click go the shears, boys, click, click, click" since childhood and probably learned it at St. Stephen's School, Worcester and it's one of my favourites. The song itself describes with remarkable economy, very many aspects of the life of a shearer both hard at work in the shearing sheds and the rapid manner in disposing of his hard earned money at the pub.
About ten years ago, when really getting involved in songs of the sea, I learned from Roy Palmer's wonderful book, The Oxford Book of Sea Songs that the song was originally written by a certain Henry Clay Work to celebrate the end of the American Civil War under the title of "Ring the bell, watchman". This was taken up by English and Scandinavian seamen in Strike the Bell and by Australian shearers in "Click go the shears".
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