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The Ballad of Joe Taihape by Glenn Colquhoun, 2012

Where the mist goes slowly lifting up the valleys full of listening,
Where the river cuts along beneath the snow,
Cock your head towards the warbler with a sound like running water
You’ll hear the voice of old Taihape Joe.
In the garage, at the bar, to the sound of ten guitars,
When the party’s gone too far you might just catch
‘Mong the boozers slowly boozing and the lovers self-amusing
Smokin’ Joe Taihape sliding out the back.

Joe Taihape, Joe Taihape. Here’s a toast to all your daddies.
If you’re doing nothing Monday drop on by.
With a guitar in your hand you’re the singer of the land.
Joe Taihape, Joe Taihape. Yippe-ay!

They say in Rangitikei (though the story’s far from pretty)
Joe crawled out a gumboot fully cooked.
In Mangaweka bless ‘er an immaculate conceptor
Says the first she knew he bit her on the foot.
In Wellington they frown, from Alexander Turnbull down,
Say they have the papers and despite the talk
Katherine Mansfield, so it seems (and the Thorndon first fifteen)
At the moment have a case before the court.

Some say that he is whanau to a joker in Te Anau.
In Parl’ament they don’t know what t’reckin,
Although it seems unusual there’s a claim t’the tribunal,
He’s an article of Article the second.
It’s said in Timaru he was out of Phar Lap too,
Pinetree, Cardy, every bleeding hua.
Some say he is a legend (a ridiculous invention).
Even Abel Tasman has him on the crew.

Whatever way he got here now he’s here he’s not a bother.
And all we know for sure’s no one’s sure.
He’s a singer. He’s a songer. He’s a wanderer-a-longer,
And for any sort‘a sorrow he’s a cure.
If you hear him with the tui up the good ole Whanganui,
If you find him playing out’a Doubtful sound,
Tap you feet and nod your head and praise the Lord you’re not quite dead However fat the ghosts spread all around.

Joe Taihape, Joe Taihape. As a matter of a facty
If you’re doing nothing Tuesday drop on by.
With a guitar in your hand you’re the singer of the land.
Joe Taihape, Joe Taihape. Toru-wha!

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