Men’s shed goes global with surprise hit song

ALL men need a shed.

It's a simple message that has connected with senior men across the world after a revamped Aussie folk classic became a global surprise hit.

Members of the Coolum Men's Shed gave it little thought when they posted their song -  a reworked version of John Williamson's 'All Australian Boys Need A Shed' - to YouTube last week.

But the men were shocked when overnight the song, with its lyrics of mateship and having a place to spend time, travelled across the world and back!

"How would you feel?" song writer and guitar player Ross Baldwin asked the Seniors News. "I'm a retired music teacher, I'm now 68 going on to 69 … and one of my bucket lists was to record some of the music I produced.

"It all occurred from a song that was put together by the men's shed probably about four years ago when we were first establishing ourselves in Coolum Beach.

"I changed and adapted the lyrics to suit the song … and now we've recorded it.

"It's now gone overseas, it's in almost every men's shed country in the world and everyone is loving it and they're all coming back with wonderful feedback!

"We've been very fortunate to be able to do what we do and we're very proud."

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Ross and other members from the men's shed debuted the song when they were asked to perform at 'Crazy Musical Capers', a charity event sponsored by local choir Cool Harmonies, in 2014.

But it was when he, alongside fellow guitarist Doug Harbrow and harmonica player Paul Nicholas, played it late last year that a buzz began to grow around the tune.

"They asked us to sing it for the opening for the new shed," he said. "And we thought that was about it, thought that was all very well.

"Next thing, by that evening, we were all over the place! We didn't realise how many people were (filming) it on their phones and doing all that stuff."

Ross said even local politician Ted O'Brien got in on the act, sharing the song with his followers.

But the new-found attention unnerved some of the Coolum Men's Shed members.

"A couple of the guys pressed the panic button and said: 'John's not going to be happy'," Ross said.

"So I decided, rather than getting a little summons at the door, I'd contact John Williamson and ask permission to use the words to the song."

But Ross just didn't ask. Instead, the songwriter used his creative talents to win over a like-minded artist. He wrote him a poem.

>> Read Ross Baldwin's poem to John Williamson

How could John Williamson say no?

"When we finished recording our version of the song, we had official recognition and permission from John Williamson to do it," Ross said.

Now Ross, Doug, Paul and the 'Men's Shed Crew' - Mike Griffin (vocals), Stephen Foote (vocals), Geoff Hawes (vocals) and Fredi Hartsch (vocals) - are sharing their message around the world, one view at a time.

"We've got one thousand views! How about that?!" Ross said.

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