Day One: Dalby

Written by Emma Bosworth

L to R: Roz Pappalardo, Frank, Emma Bosworth & Jackie Marshall. Photo by Les Bosworth

G’day. It’s been a long time between drinks. I guess having a baby will do that to the best and worst of us! I’m writing here from Dalby. I’m on the road with the wonderful women of “The Soldiers Wife”. What a beautiful and PRODUCTIVE day in Dalby for me today. I’m travelling with my little five month old, Franklin, with legendary parents-in-law in toe doing between feed duties. Such a different way of touring but there’s nothing like a deadline to get the blood pumping. I met with lovely Joyce today, a Dalby local who has an amazing story to tell about her late husband Jack, his story is one of redemption.

This is me (and Frank) with Joyce, and her son Peter Photo by Bertie Page

Joyce was travelling her way through Australia with two girlfriends after World War II, moving from port to port as a hospitality worker, often serving the high lieutenants in fancy rooms set aside for the finest. She was 27 when she met Jack; admittedly later in life to get married for those days, but worth the wait. I praised her for her independence, I’d never heard of woman in those days waitng that long for Mr. Right. From the moment she met Jack, she noticed his polished shoes, and knew he was for her. And there were over 1000 men at that camp!

Like most soldiers, Jack, who served in Japan for World War II, carried baggage of sadness, sickness (malaria) and alcohol abuse. Joyce was no stranger to alcoholism, she watched her uncle go through it, so she was no stranger to the battle they lay ahead. His spark certainly said a lot for him. After they married, Jack became clean and worked within the church, helping locals get sober, particularly the young aboriginal men. He remained sober for 45 years and he and Joyce worked tirelessly helping local youth and grown adults with alcoholism, having an open door policy always. The lives they touched through their support was so apparent, that when Jack passed, Joyce received 300 letters, and 100 calls from people who Jack had helped.

Me and Roz performing “Bullets and Blues” at Dalby. There’s lovely Jackie Marshall in the background with the tambo adding some sparkle. Photo by Les Bosworth.

The chorus of this song “it’s coming out bullets and blues” is a reference to the shrapnel that Jack continued to get out of his leg until the day he died. It came out of him, like his sins, in the form of redemption.

I was privileged enough to work on this song with Roz Pappalardo; who is part of The Soldiers Wife group.  I remember the week before Dalby thinking how much I’d love to do the first co-write for our performances. Tick! So here’s our little blues number, for Joyce. We hope you like it.

Written by Emma Bosworth & Roz Pappalardo

Down the creek with the boys and their booze
In you walk with your bright shiny shoes
We remember
I remember
Cause you’ve been there before
It’s coming out like bullets and blues

I took you in with all of your sins
It didn’t matter I knew where you’d been
We remember
I remember
And we threw it away
Down the river with your bottle of gin

It’s never bullets and blues when I’m with you

300 letters, and 100 calls
From where I stand, you gave it your all
Dressed in black, dressed in black
You’re not here anymore
It’s coming out like bullets and blues