The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #96814   Message #1897416
Posted By: OtherDave
01-Dec-06 - 09:13 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: songs of parting
Subject: Lyr Add: GO OFF ON YOUR WAY (Ronnie MacEachern
One of the most poignant songs of departure I know is Ronnie MacEachern's elegaic "Go Off on Your Way." Here's what he says about it himself, in "The Cape Breton Song Collection" (1985):

So he decided to write a song with actual people's names in it. The verses are filled with them, interwoven with the chorus:

Here's a song now for the Andersons
For the Abbasses and the Arsenaults
For the Anthonys and the Annestys,
For the Archibalds and the Atkinsons.

Go off on your way now
And may you find better things
Don't wait around till you have no fare to leave.
All the best if you're staying
All the best if you should choose to leave
Here's to kindness on your journey
Here's to joy in your new home.

He remembers forty or more family names on his way to the last three verses -- the first of which smiles as what might be the most common Cape Breton name:

...Let's tie one on now for the MacIntyres,
The MacLeods and the MacInnises,
The MacEacherns and the MacDougalls,
The MacDonalds and the MacDonalds...and the MacDonalds

And with each sunset, they'll be leaving
When it rises, some return again
Just one penny for each broken heart
I'd surely be a millionaire

If I said your name, I apologize
If I left you out, I apologize
Keep on singing if you're up to it
Good luck with X, Y, and Z...

You can hear Ronnie sing the chorus in this Real Audio clip from the CD Cape Breton by Request, Volume 1.

(As you might guess, I too am part of the Cape Breton diaspora)
Somehow this brought to mind Ronnie MacEachern's Cape Breton Island elegy, "Go Off on Your Way." If memory serves, this appeared in one of the first versions of the revue, "The Rise and Follies of Cape Breton." Lyrics and music appear in "The Cape Breton Songbook,"