Gulf of St. Lawrence

by Crosscurrents Music

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1.
Now 'twas twenty five or thirty years Since Jack first saw the light  He came into this world of woe One dark and stormy night.  He was born on board his father's ship As she was lying to  'Bout twenty five or thirty miles Southeast of Baccalieu. Chorus:  Jack was ev'ry inch a sailor, Five and twenty years a whaler,  Jack was ev'ry inch a sailor, He was born upon the bright blue sea.  When Jack grew up to be a man, He went to the Labrador,  He fished in Indian Harbour, Where his father fished before.  On his returning in the fog, He met a heavy gale,  And Jack was swept into the sea And swallowed by a whale.  The whale went straight for Baffin's Bay, About ninety knots an hour.  And every time he'd blow a spray He'd send it in a shower.  "O, now" says Jack unto himself, "I must see what he's about,"  He caught the whale by the tail And turned him inside out.
2.
A great big sea hove in Long Beach, REFRAIN: Right fal-o-ral tad-dle did-dle i-do, A great big sea hove in Long Beach, And Granny Snooks she lost her speech, REFRAIN:  To me right fol-di-dy fol-dee. A great big sea hove in the Harbour And hove right up to Keough's Parlour Oh, Mother, dear I wants a sack With beads and buttons down the back "Me boot is broke, me frock is tore But Georgie Snooks I do adore. Oh, fish is low and flour is high So Georgie Snooks he can't have I But he will have me in the fall If he don't I'll hoist my sail And say goodbye to old Canaille.
3.
There is one class of men in this country that never is mentioned in song. And now, since their trade is advancing, they'll come out on top before long. They say that our sailors have danger, and likewise our warriors bold, But there's none know the life of a driver, what he suffers with hardship and cold. With their pike poles and peavies and bateaus and all They're sure to drive out in the spring, that's the time With the caulks on their boots as they get on the logs, And it's hard to get over their time. Bill Dorothey he is the manager, and he's a good man at the trade; And when he's around seeking drivers, he's like a train going down grade, But still he is a man that's kindhearted, on his word you can always depend. And there's never a man that works with him but likes to go with him again. I tell you today home in London, The Times it is read by each man, But little they think of the fellows that drove the wood on Mary Ann, For paper is made out of pulpwood and many things more you may know, And long may our men live to drive it upon Paymeoch and Tomjoe. The drive it is just below Badger, and everything is working grand, With a jolly good crew of picked drivers and Ronald Kelly in command, For Ronald is boss on the river, and I tell you he's a man that's alive, He drove the wood off Victoria, now he's out on the main river drive. So now to conclude and to finish, I hope that ye all will agree In wishing success to all Badger and the A.N.D. Company. And long may they live for to flourish, and continue to chop, drive and roll, And long may the business be managed by Mr. Dorothey and Mr. Cole.
4.
'Twas winter down the icy Gulf, The Gulf St. Lawrence wide, Where stands a light-house on a rock, The sailor's friend and guide. The keeper and his wife and son, A helper too had he, These four alone lived on that rock, Surrounded by the sea. One day these three brave men went out, As they were wont to do, On rugged sheets of frozen ice To capture seals a few. But as they lingered o'er the seals, At length they failed to see The wind had veered from south to east And drove the ice to sea. The sheets of ice on which they stood Were drifted all unseen, And now they could not gain that rock For water flowed between. They wove their hands in wild despair And did for rescue pray, But not a soul was near to help That freezing winter's day. Alone within the light-house tower, The keeper's wife did see Her loved ones carried to their doom Toward the open sea. Four months she lived on that lone rock, Grief-stricken yet so brave, For nightly gleamed her beacon light Across the gloomy wave. At length the welcome spring appeared, A steamship came around, And when the skipper climbed the rock But one brave soul he found. She told her tale in plaintive tones, The skipper's eyes grew dim, He turned his eyes toward the sea, His heart was touched within. "What did you do," at last he said, "When all was snatched from you?" "I kept my light still burning, sir, 'Twas all that I could do." Oh may we, like this faithful soul In sorrow's darkest night, Still do our duty for our God, And show the world our light!
5.
There's a noble fleet o' whalers sailin' from Dundee Manned by British sailors to take them o'er the sea On a western ocean passage we started on the trip We flew along just like a song on our gallant whalin' ship CHORUS: For the wind was on her quarter, the engine's workin’ free There's not another whaler that sails the arctic sea Can beat the old Polina, ye need not try me sons We challenged all both great and small from Dundee to St. john's Twas the second Sunday morning just after leaving port We met a heavy south-west gale that washed away our boat It washed away our quarter deck our stanchions just as well And so we sent the whole she-bang a floatin' in the gale CHORUS Art Jackman set his canvas and Willard got up steam And captain Guy the daring by' came plungin' through the stream And Mullins' in the Husky tried to beat the bloody lot But to beat the Old Polina boys was something he could not CHORUS There's the noble Terra Nova, a model without doubt The Arctic and Aurora they talk so much about Art  Jackman's model mailboat the terror of the sea tried to beat the old Polina on a passage from Dundee CHORUS Now we're back in old St. John's where rum is very cheap we'll drink a health to captain Guy who brought us o'er the deep a health to all our sweethearts and to our wives so fair not another ship could make the trip, the Polina I declare! CHORUS (repeat)
6.
Come all you true countrymen, come listen to me, A story I'll tell you of the S.S. Ethie; She being the steam boat employed on our shore, To carry freight, mail and passengers down on the Labrador. On the tenth of December, as you all well may know, In the year nineteen nineteen, on her last trip did go; Where she leaves Daniel's Harbour about 4 P.M. With a strong breeze from the south'ard, for Cow Head did steam. The glass indicated a wild raging storm, And about nine o'clock the storm did come on; With the ship's husband on board, the crew had no fear, Captain English gave orders straight for Bonne Bay to steer. At first to the storm the brave ship gave no heed, Until at length it was found she was fast losing speed; And the great waves all around her like great Mountains did rise, And the crew all stood staring with fear in their eyes. The order went around to preserve for their life, For the ship she is doomed and it's perish we might; But still there is hope - there is one brave man on board, Who says he can guide her safely on to the shore. Walter Young, being our purser, as you may understand. Volunteered for to guide her safely in to the land; John Gullage, our first mate, bravely stood to the wheel, Captain English gave orders and all worked with a will. Up off Martin's Point about one o'clock, Through bravery and courage, she escapes every rock; And the people on the shore saw the ship in distress, All rushed to the spot for to help to do their best. And when we were landed in a rude boatswain's chair, Taken in by the people and treated with care; We stayed on the point until it was o'er, And the brave little Ethie lay standing on shore. O, what of the fright, the exhaustion and cold, The depth of my story will never be told! And all you brave fellows gets shipwrecked on the sea, You think of the fate of the S.S. Ethie.
7.
Old Jim Jones the fisher, the trapper, the trawler Jim Jones the fish-killin' banker is dead. No fisherman surely never stepped in a dory Like Jim Jones the fisher who died in his bed. Was there any old fellow tied sods or made bobbers And set out his trawls in the dark it is said? No fisherman ever braved such stormy weather Like Jim Jones the trawler who died in his bed. Jim Jones he would shorely go out in a dory And set out his traps all welghed down with lead. No fisher from side on hauled traps with such tide on As Jim Jones the trapper who died in his bed. In the foggiest of weather he'd set out the leader, But who in the devil this side of the Head Could haul up such codfish or pick out the dogfish Like old Skipper Jones who died in his bed? There was never such a salter this side of the water; And ne'er such a glutton for eatin' cods' heads. There ne'er was a crackie who could chaw tobaccy Like old Skipper Jones who died in his bed. Was there any old fisher or any old fellow (could) Cut throats or split fish or tear off the head? I'm darned if I ever saw one who'd pick liver So fast as our skipper who died in his bed. Is there any old fellow this side of the harbor Sailed straight out the harbor or tacked round the Head It would make you all frantic to sail the Atlantic With old Skipper Jones who died in his bed. His fishing days ended, his traps are unmended, His trawls are all rotten, his fishing boat sunk. His days as a rover are finished and over Old Skipper Jim Jones who died in his bunk.
8.
Far away and o'er the moor, Far away and o'er the moor, Far away and o'er the moor, Morar waits for a boat that saileth, Far away down Lowland way, I dream the dream I learned, lad, CHORUS: By the light o' the peat-fire flame, Light for love, for lilt, for laughter By the light o' the peat-fire flame, The light the hill-folk yearn for. Far away and o'er the moor, Far away and o'er the moor, Far away, down Lowland way, Grim's the toil, without tune or dream, lad, All you need's a creel and love, For the dream the heart can weave, lad CHORUS Far away and o'er the moor, Far away the tramp and tread, Tune and laughter of all the heroes, Pulls me onward o'er the trail Of the dream my heart may weave, lad,   By the light o' the peat-fire flame, Light for love, for lilt o' grail-deeds, By the light o' the peat-fire flame, The light the hill-folk yearn for.
9.
This is the race of Clyde and Bill The people are talking about it still Mothers tell their children with bated breath How this race with Bill was like a race with death. Now Bill was a man with muscles of steel He was muscle from the neck down to the heel. He could pole a boat or a large canoe With most half a ton on a heavy dew. Yes sir! Bill was as strong as both me and you. And he'd tell a crowd on certain days Always giving himself the praise Of carrying a boat, near a ton or more Full three miles in from the Kedgwick shore. Oh, if you'd believe him, he say two or more. Now Clyde is a man of a different type His hands were small and his frame was slight But you'd never hear him tell at all of the work he'd done from spring 'til fall. You'd never hear him tell a soul Of the mighty loads he often poled Poled away on the great North Branch Where the skeeters hand in hand did dance Danced on his head where the hair was thin But he'd never complain, no sir, not him, He was patience personified This wonderful hardworking warden, Clyde. But this was the day of the fateful race Bill had the best motor in the place A Johnson motor, that had the hum of a bumble bee in a homeward run 'Twould do you good to see her go O'er the waters, fast or slow. Bill at the helm, you'd hear him say He knew where every rock in the channel lay And he'd swear that he never cut a pin Old Ananias had nothing on him. But this is the story -- 'list while you may And Clyde will tell it in a cheerful way. Bill started off in a cloud of smoke As the Johnson turned, he lifted the choke Then he waved his hand, bade "good-bye" to me And steered his course for the seven-mile tree. Then I laughed a bit, well. 'twas only a grin For 'twas there friend Bill cut his very first pin. The Johnson screamed as the pin let go, Bill drifted back on the bar below The blue smoke arose once more And I couldn't see Bill or the Kedgwick Shore. But I said not a word; I was rather late So I kept pushing for twenty-eight. Then the spruce pole bent, and the Lewis swayed And white was the foam on the bars she made. While ducks were passed as they scattered in flight And I kept pushing for twenty-eight. But hark! There's a hum and up near Cyr I fell that my friend is drawing near. And I know by the distant, though mighty roar That the Johnson is doing her best once more And I'm thinking of Bill, and I'm wondering if he Is sitting so cool in the stern, by gee "There's many a slip" the proverb ran There's many a slip since the fall of man. And many the time Bill swore they say As the Johnson slipped, when the pin gave way And many a time the Johnson spun On the bar at Clinch, and at the "States Brook Run." But the spruce pole bent, and the Lewis swayed And I passed twelve ducks on the next two grades Though my feet were wet and my clothes were damp I came in first on the Taut Mile Camp. So this is the story of Clyde and Bill And people are talking about it still. Mothers tell their children with bated breath How this race with Bill, was like a race with death.
10.
Jeanneton prend sa faucille La rirette, la rirette Jeanneton prend sa faucille Pour aller couper des joncs Pour aller couper des joncs. En chemin elle rencontre La rirette, la rirette En chemin elle rencontre quatre jeunes et beaux garcons. quatre jeunes et beaux garcons. Le premier, un peu trop sage La rirette, la rirette Le premier, un peu trop sage lui chatouilla le menton. lui chatouilla le menton. Le deuxieme, encore moins sage La rirette, la rirette Le deuxieme, encore moins sage La coucha sur le gazon. La coucha sur le gazon. Le troisieme, un peu moins sage La rirette, la rirette Le troisieme, un peu moins sage lui souleva le jupon. lui souleva le jupon. Ce que fit le quatrieme La rirette, la rirette Ce que fit le quatrieme n' est pas dit dans cette chanson. n' est pas dit dans cette chanson. Si vous le saviez, mes dames La rirette, la rirette Si vous le saviez, mes dames vous iriez couper des joncs! vous iriez couper des joncs! La morale de cette histoire La rirette, la rirette La morale de cette histoire c'est qu'les hommes sont des cochons. c'est qu'les hommes sont des cochons. La morale de cette morale La rirette, la rirette La morale de cette morale c'est qu'les femmes aiment les cochons! c'est qu'les femmes aiment les cochons! La morale de ces morales La rirette, la rirette La morale de ces morales c'est qu’il y aura des p’tits cochons! c'est qu’il y aura des p’tits cochons!
11.
En passant par Paris Caressant la bouteille Passant par Paris Caressant la bouteille Un de mes amis Me dit à l'oreille Bon, bon, bon Le bon vin m'endort L'amour me réveille Le bon vin m'endort L'amour me réveille encore Un de mes amis Me dit à l'oreille Un de mes amis Me dit à l'oreille Jean, prends garde à toi On courtise ta belle Courtise qui voudra Je me fie en elle J'ai eu de son coeur La fleur la plus belle Dans un beau lit blanc Gréé de dentelles J'ai eu trois garçons Tous les trois capitaines L'un est à Bordeaux L'autre à la Rochelle Le plus jeune à Paris Courtisant les belles
12.
I went to the market; mon p´tit panier sous mon bras; (my little basket in hand) I went to the market; mon p´tit panier sous mon bras; (my little basket in hand) The first girl I met was la fill' d'un avocat. (was the lawyer's daughter) Refrain: I love you, vous n'm'entendez guerre I love you, vous n'm'entendez pas. I love you, vous n'm'entendez guerre I love you, vous n'm'entendez pas. (you hardly hear me… you don't hear me at all) The first girl I met was la fill' d'un avocat. The first girl I met was la fill' d'un avocat. ‘Monsieu' what'av you got dans ce beau p'tit panier la?” (in that lovely little basket?) Refrain “ Monsieu' what ‘av you got dans ce beau p'tit panier la?” “ Monsieu' what ‘av you got dans ce beau p'tit panier la?” “I've got some apples n'm'en acheteriez vous pas?” (won't you buy some from me?) Refrain “I've got some apples n'm'en acheteriez vous pas?” “I've got some apples n'm'en acheteriez vous pas?” “Oh! Give me two dozens, pis l'bon homm' te paiera ca” (and the guy will pay you…) Refrain “Oh! Give me two dozens, pis l'bon homm' te paiera ca” “Oh! Give me two dozens, pis l'bon homm' te paiera ca” I gave her two dozens mai l'bon homm' y payait pas… (but the guy did not pay) Refrain I gave her two dozens mai l'bon homm' y payait pas… I gave her two dozens mai l'bon homm' y payait pas… That’s what you get avec une fill' d'un avocat!!! (with the lawyer's daughter) Refrain
13.
I couldn't possibly transcribe this, as I've never seen any of the bits written down.
14.
La belle s'est endormie sur un beau lit de roses La belle s'est endormie sur un beau lit de roses Blanche comme la neige, bell' comme le jour, Trois jeunes capitaines s'en vont lui faire l'amour.  Le plus jeune des trois la prend par sa main blanche  Le plus jeune des trois la prend par sa main blanche "Montez, montez, princesse, dessus mon cheval gris!° A Paris, je vous mène dans un fort beau logis." Tout aussitôt rendus à cette hôtellerie Tout aussitôt rendus à cette hôtellerie "Mangez, buvez, la belle, selon votre appétit! Avec un capitaine vous passez la nuit."   Au milieu du repas, la belle tombe morte Au milieu du repas, la belle tombe morte "Sonnez, sonnez, les cloches, tambour au régiment! Ma maitresse, elle est morte, a l'age de quinze ans. "   "Où l'enterrerons-nous, cette aimable princesse? "Où l'enterrerons-nous, cette aimable princesse? "Au jardin de son père, dessous un pommier gris. Nous prierons Dieu pour elle, qu'elle aille en paradis."   Mais au bout de trois jours, son père se promène Mais au bout de trois jours, son père se promène "Ouvrez, ouvrez, la tombe, mon pèr', si vous m'aimez! Trois jours j'ai fait la morte, pour mon honneur garder."
15.
Belle Virginie, les larmes aux yeux Je viens te faire mes adieux Et la je repars pour l'Amérique Et je m'en vas suivant le vent Et adieu donc belle Virginie Les voiles sont déjà mises au vent Les voiles au vent, mon cher amant Cela me cause du tourment Il surviendra quelque tempête Et des orages assurément Qui fera périr ton bâtiment Et moi je resterai sans amant Belle Virginie, ne crains donc rien Je suis un premier marin Et je connais toute la terre Et je suis sûr de mon vaisseau Il m'arrivera aucun naufrage Durant que j'serai sur les eaux Belle Virginie, jusqu'au retour Sois fidèle à nos amours Je te promets, o ma mignonne De revenir en ce pays Là nous nous marierons ensemble Et adieu donc belle Virginie
16.
Amis, partons sans bruit; La pêche sera bonne La lune qui rayonne éclairera la nuit. Il faut qu'avant l'aurore Nous soyons de retour  Pour sommeiller encore  Avant qu'il soit grand jour.  REFRAIN:  Partons, la mer est belle; Embarquons-nous, pêcheurs,  Guidons notre nacelle, Ramons avec ardeur.  Aux mâts hissons les voiles, Le ciel est pur et beau,  Je vois briller l'étoile Qui guide les matelots!  Ainsi chantait mon père Lorsqu'il quitta le port.  Il ne s'attendait guère à y trouver la mort.  Par les vents, par l'orage, Il fut surpris soudain,  Et d'un cruel naufrage Il subit le destin.  REFRAIN  Je n'ai plus que ma mère Qui ne possède rien;  Elle est dans la misère, Je suis son seul soutien.  Ramons, ramons bien vite, Je l'aperçois là-bas,  Je la vois qui m'invite En me tendant les bras.  REFRAIN
17.
Salt and sand and surf and seagulls Sea and silence surrounding self. Chamomile, raspberry, bottle brush, bog myrtle, Pitcher plant, goldenrod, bearberry, balsam fir Long low line of this Long Range land. Bare black blocks of lichened boulders Barren bones of rock lie broken Wrack and rockweed bobbing Ribs and ridges reaching Coastline curves in crustal cracking Black, volcanic, Cambrian, Precambrian. Harsh unhurried hush of tidal hissing Shatters shales and flat black slates that rattle, Roll, recede, returning rounded, pebbled cobbles. Great and gray as glaciers gliding Clouds cowl mountains mirrored in masses passing Hiding Lomond low and folded. Bonne Bay gray and blue moves blowing White wings rising, whitecaps tossing Gray wings grapple, gray bay ripples, Races, runs, and rolls the river seaward. Soar and sail and fly -- cry, seabird! Sun sets red on ruddy ridges. Sheep seam the shorn shores to the spruce Tracks of the flock stitching the cliffs. Lookout's long, low line lies leeward Lighthouse, gleaming, gathers evening from the Gulf.

about

Atlantic Canada is rich in traditional song and sense of place. From Newfoundland to New Brunswick and from Nova Scotia to PEI, I've been exploring both the region and its music since the 1970s as a camp counselor, park naturalist, touring artist, and author with Breakwater Books. My song "Topophilia" (love of place), originally released on Crosscurrents and reissued on A Woman's Way, grew from this roots music.

This is a collection of campfire songs, learned and sung around the fire from Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland's west coast to Camp Discovery in Cape Breton and Kouchibouguac National Park on the New Brunswick Gulf shore. French culture is interwoven with English, Scots, Gaelic and Micmac in this region, as you'll hear in the Maritime Mouth Music Medley. You'll find songs of the fishery and the lumber mills alongside songs for tramping, dancing, and yarning in the ballad and tall tale traditions. I hope that listening to these songs takes you back down home as much as singing them takes me.

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released January 17, 2021

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Crosscurrents Music Boston, Massachusetts

Lynn Noel brings traditional song and heritage arts online to create digital community. Lynn has a voice of striking clarity and power, equally at home in rhythmic chanteys and flowing ballads.

Lynn is a respected song session leader on both sides of the Atlantic and the producer and host of the Mermaid's Tavern online folk club. She has earned awards from the IUCN, NRCA, and CDSS.
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