from by Mal Webb

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On a plane once I was sitting beside the head of transport for Australia Post. He'd been at a Volvo truck launch in Alice Springs. The plane was delayed, so we spoke at length. I asked him how much mail went by train and he said, "Ha! When I first got this job, I commissioned a study into using trains and transfer stations versus just trucks and found that trains are 3 times more efficient than trucks... 3 to 1! 3 to 1! People kept saying, "But door to door has to be better" and I just kept repeating "3 to 1! 3 to 1!"... they must've thought I was a loony. And it didn't help anyway... people are obsessed with trucks". Thus, I wrote this song. I was spending a lot of time with Dad, helping with his chemotherapy, and discussing the song with him spurred me on to finish it. Thankfully, with the rising acceptance of intermodal freight systems in other parts of the world, good sense may eventually prevail.



I love trains, I always have
For rail, a high esteem I’ve always had
It seems I got it from my Dad
And so indeed I’m sad to see so many train lines closing
And increasing rows of trucks imposing woes upon our roads
It makes no sense! I’m so incensed!
Thus hence, I must compose this ode

Get the load off the road, get it back on track
Our transport system’s out of whack
Rail is three times, 3 to 1, triple the efficiency in fuel and upkeep
Go bike and train, then boat, then plane
Bus, truck and car only when needed
Global warnings ought be heeded
Progress unimpeded
Hear that pleasing squeal of steel to steel
That woo woo, that clicketty clack
Get the load off the road, get it back on track

Let’s retrain our brains and ride more than we drive and fly
I’m sure it can be done in the long run
Kind open minds combined can find a balance
Utilise the talents of each transport mode
Transfer the load, so it’s most appropriately stowed
And if the way is wonky, get a donkey or a yak ...

Trucking has its place for sure, but the law of door to door is sorely flawed in the long haul
I’m afraid of that great weight of freight, borne on worn-out tyres by tired drivers, wired day and night
Those umpteen wheelers hack and crack and smack the tarmac
Belt the asphalt and beat it blue and black ...

Sleepers wake! We’ve been derailed! Stuck in a rut! Quick! Get the jack! ...
That truckin’ cardiac attack will drive us all to ruin and rack ...
Less freighting over all would be ideal, of course
Seek out a local source, and buy less stuff
Don’t feel the lack, change tack
Make and grow your own and share your stack, I dare you
’Cos if we all get the knack, it’s not a one-way cul-de-sac ...

©Mal Webb 2015


from Not Nor Mal, released September 2, 2016




Mal Webb Melbourne, Australia

Vocal adventurer, multi-instrumentist, looping beatboxing songwriter Mal Webb sings his songs about all manner of stuff, using all sorts of vocal techniques (like sideways yodeling) and plays guitar, bass, mbira, slide trumpet, trombone, chromatic harmonica, bass and piano. He's like Bobby McFerrin, Aphex Twin and Cole Porter playing scrabble. Ani DiFranco said to Mal: "You're a freak!"
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