Waiting for the Rain

Words: John Neilson/ music unknown


The words to Waiting for the Rain are based on a poem by John Neilson and the author of the melody is unknown.  I learned it from Ray Wales, originally of New South Wales, Australia.  He had a lot of unidentified recordings he's made off folk radio in the '50s and '60s – many of the songs were recorded by Dave de Hugard,  I learned many years later.  Australian songs are probably from de Hugard's singing; he's a magnificent singer in whose footprints I've been honored to plod.  This is pretty much as I heard it. 


Gordon – 12-string guitar


Well, the weather had been sultry for a fortnight's time or more

The shearers had been battling might and main

And some had got the century as never did before

And now all hands are waiting for the rain

The boss is getting rusty and the ringer's caving in

His bandaged write is aching with the pain

And the second man, I fear, is going to make it hot for him

Unless we get another fall of rain.


Well, the sky is clouding over and the thinder's muttering loud

The clouds are driving eastward o'er the plain

And I see the lightning flashing followed by an awful crash

And I hear the gentle patter of the rain

So lads put on your stoppers and let us to the hut

We'll gather 'round and have a friendly game

And some are playing music and some play ante-up

And some are gazing outward at the rain


Well, now the rain is over, let the pressers spin their screws

Let the teamsters drive the wagons in again

And we'll block the classer's table by the way we push them through

Since now all hands are merry since the rain

And the boss won't be so rusty when the sheep have all been shorn

And the ringer's wrist won't ache so with the pain

Of pocketing a season's check for fifty pounds or more

And the second man will drive him hard again


So boss, bring out the bottle and we'll wet the final flock

For the shearers here may never meet again

And some may meet next season and some not even then

And some they will just vanish like the rain



Waiting for the Rain is recorded on the album Apples in the Basket