Merry Xmas, Carrol by Painters and Dockers
‘Merry Xmas, Carrol’ is a sombre offering from Melbourne band Painters and Dockers, featured on their EP Hickory Dickory Dock. Lead singer Paul Stewart leaves his trumpet at home for this track and delivers a half-spoken, half-sung lyric which unfolds the sad story of a man who kills his girlfriend after she tells him she is leaving him for another man.
Breaking away from their usual pub rock sound, ‘Merry Xmas, Carrol’ is delivered more in the style of a spaghetti western. The verses are full of Christmas puns and the chorus is nothing short of a ‘can’t get it out of my head’ sing-a-long. To tie this black comedy back to its gaol cell setting, the song features a harmonica, the prisoners’ musical instrument of choice, which gives the track its melancholy feel.
Almost as controversial as their namesake, the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, the band used their popularity to deliver songs full of sarcastic humour that addressed issues and injustices of the time. A band with a deep social conscience, Painters and Dockers have given both their time and artist talents to causes and campaigns that educate across a range of topics including gay rights, safe sex, the clean syringes initiative and organ donation, to name a few.