THIS IS OUR MUSIC: The Go-Betweens – “Cattle and Cane”.
The song was recorded and released as the first single off of their second album Before Hollywood, which established their international reputation. Cattle and Cane rose to No 4 on the UK indie chart in 1983. It is one of the classic songs of the 80s.
In 1983, McLennan described writing Cattle and Cane: “I wrote (the song) to please my mother. She hasn’t heard it yet because my mother and stepfather live (on a cattle station) and they can’t get 240 volts electricity there, so I have to sing it over the phone to her. I don’t like the word nostalgic; to me, it’s a sloppy yearning for the past, and I’m not trying to do that in that song. I’m just trying to put three vignettes of a person, who’s a lot like myself, growing up in Queensland, and just juxtaposing that against how I am now.”