In the heat of Covid Summer 2020 I had a fevered dream. I was singing Paul Metser's "Farewell To The Gold" on a big stage with three friends. To my right and left were Findlay Napier, Boo Hewerdine and Kris Drever and we were belting out this song like nobody’s business. 

Inspired by this dream, I phoned them all up the following day and, to my delight, they unanimously agreed to record the song with me. 

Unfortunately, the situation we find ourselves in at the moment prevented us from getting together in person to make that recording. So we’ve had to record across the miles between Cambridge and Glasgow.

 I recorded my parts first and, if I recall correctly, it next went to Fin, then Kris, and then, finally, Boo. Each step along the way we refined our parts and in the end it was as you hear it now. We all played guitar and sang. 

As it turns out, we all know Paul Metsers iconic song from the same recording, “Penguin Eggs” by Nic Jones. A seminal album if ever there was one.

 “Farewell To The Gold” speaks of New Zealand’s gold rush from the point of view of one who has tried, but ultimately been unsuccessful, in finding one’s fortune. Making “hardly enough to get by,” it’s goodbye to the dream. 

I thank Fin, Boo and Kris for giving my dream the wings to fly. I appreciate the generosity of their time and ideas. If we ever get back to gigging, I hope there is a stage somewhere we four can belt this out in person.


Farewell to the Gold
(Paul Metsers, arranged by Brooks Williams, Findlay Napier, Boo Hewerdine & Kris Drever)

Verse 1
Shotover river, your gold it is waning
It's weeks since the colour I've seen
But it's no use just sitting and Lady Luck blaming
So I'll pack up and make the break clean

Verse 2
It's nearly two years since I left my old mother
For adventure and gold by the pound
With Jimmy the prospector - he was another
For the hills of Otago was bound

Farewell to the gold that never I found
Goodbye to the nuggets that somewhere abound
For it's only when dreaming that I see you gleaming
Down in the dark, deep underground

Verse 3
We worked the Cardrona's dry valley all over
Old Jimmy Williams and me
But they were panning good dirt on the winding Shotover
So we headed down there just to see

Repeat Chorus

Verse 4
We sluiced and we cradled for day after day
Making hardly enough to get by
Til a terrible flood swept poor Jimmy away
During six stormy days in July

Repeat Chorus