The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6537   Message #52960
Posted By: Art Thieme
08-Jan-99 - 11:41 PM
Thread Name: Art Thieme's CD: The Older I Get, The Better I Was
Subject: ADD: Pokegama Bear (Art Thieme CD)
I wrote this out once before. Took me two hours (I'm slow) and when I tried to post it, I only got half way and it crashed.

So, I'm gonna try again, in smaller chunks, and see if it'll post easier that way. Frustrating, but what's time to a pig? (Hope you know that joke.)


JOHN BERQUIST was my source for that song. It was John who put the tune of "Sweet Betsy From Pike" to the words by Frank Hasty (1874). John is a folklorist and a song collector from Eveleth, Minnesota--in the Mesabi (iron) Range---right now living in Chicago's Hyde Park area (for as short a time as he can arrange to make it, I'm pretty sure.) He is also a master of any kind of bellows instrument---button accordion etc. He has collected his tunes for those instruments from all of the many ethnic groups residing in Minnesota. His dialect tales are wonderful---as are his ballad renderings from the lumberjacks of the North woods. I'm proud to call him a friend. And I was truly glad I had a decent live version of this song to include on the CD.

Here's the song:

Don't you remember sweet Betsy from Pike,
Who crossed the boad prairie with her lover Ike,
With 2 yoke of oxen and an old army cot,
3 Charlie Parker records and 4 pounds of pot.

WHOOPS! That's wrong. Here's the right song...


from John Berquist
by Frank Hasty (1874)

Come all you good people who like to have fun,
Listen to me and I'll sing you a song,
Listen to me and the truth I'll declare
As I sing all about the Pokegama bear.

One cold winters mornin'-oh, the winds, how they blew,
It was into the pinewoods our days work to do,
Into the pinewoods our heroes did fare,
And there they encountered the Pokegama bear.

Now, Morris O'hearn was a bold Irish lad,
He was building a fire out in the pinewoods,
The ring of his ax filled the cold winter air,
When out popped the monstrous Pokegama bear.

With a roar like a lion O'hearn he did swear,
"Run boys, for Pete's sake, for I've found a bear."
When out of the bush Jimmy Quinn he did climb,
Sayin, "Forget that there bear. I got me own porcupine.

Now, into the swamp old bruin did go,
O'hearn, in haste, he did quickly pursue,
Into the swamp our hero did fare,
To capture or kill the Pokegama bear.

Old bruin got angry and in haste he did steer,
O'hearn followed after without dread or fear,
And with his teeth firmly set and his ax in the air,
He slipped and fell under Pokegama bear.

Now up on the road old bruin did go,
He thought that was better than wading in snow,
But little did he know what awaited him there,
For the fates were all against old Pokegama bear.

There was old Mike McAlpin of fame and renown,
He was a racer afoot on Canadian gound,
He ran up the road with his ax in the air,
And he dealt the death blow to Pokegama bear.

Now into the camp old bruin was sent,
Just to skin him and dress him it was our intent,
And we all did agree that we'd all get a share,
Of the grease and the fat from Pokegama bear.

And next it was sent to the cook and it fried,
And it was all very good it cannot be denied,
"Why it tastes just like turkey," Bill Monahan did swear,
As we feasted upon the Pokegama bear.

My song is ending--yes, it's drawing to an end,
Morris O'hearn, he got the the bear skin,
Here's long life to you---and long growth to your hair
When it's greased with the fat from Pokegama bear!

I LOVE THIS SONG! And I ask forbearance (pun intended) of animal rights folk or vegetarians. But IF WE WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO EAT ANIMALS, THEN WHY ARE THEY MADE OF MEAT!! (SMILE!! please?)

Art ^^