The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #182   Message #841570
Posted By: Desert Dancer
05-Dec-02 - 01:28 PM
Thread Name: Origins: When First I Went to Caledonia
Here's the result of this morning's exercise:

T:When First I Went to Caledonia
I:Amby Thomas version, original notation by Ron MacEachern, Songs and Stories from Deep Cove, Cape Breton, College of Cape Breton Press, 1979
E E2   F |A3  A2 A  (F E) E | E3 C2
I wish I were on the deep-est o-cean
E E2   F | (F A2) A2 A F2 E | (E F2) z
as far from land as once I could be
G A2   A |F3 E2 C   (B, A,) A, |A,3 C2
a sail-ing o-ver the deep- est o- cean
E    E E2 | (E F2) E   C2 B, B,2 |A,3 z |]
where woman's love would not trouble me.

I have turned Mr. MacEachern's tied eighth notes (same pitch) into quarter notes because that made it easier for me to read. (And thanks, Rod Stradling, for your HTML tutorial on the Musical Traditions website. (Which is apparently in the midst of server changes today.)) (And thank God for the new Preview feature!)

So what do you folks think about the relationship between this and Mo Rùin Geal Dìleas? (This midi link is to the tune as notated by Alfred Moffat's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Highlands.)

What I want to know from folks with local knowledge (George?) is whether there are other folks on Cape Breton who sing it more like Mo Rùin Geal Dìleas than Amby Thomas apparently did. And I also want to know how the Brits (Cuffe & Waterson) who say they got it from Songs and Stories from Deep Cove got switched over to the other tune.

Also, here's the quote from Amby Thomas about the song:

I just heard it you know. People singing it at home. Different people had it. Once a new song would come out everybody would have it. You'd hear everybody singing it around home and at parties. There's a lot of it mixed up with another song. They put them words in it about Cape Breton. I have no idea who wrote it. It seems this fellow he left the country and he went down to Glace Bay, Caledonia mines it was that he got work in. According to the song he made it himself; "When I first went to Caledonia I got loading at number three". That's the pit it was, Number Three.

What a lovely window to a musical culture...

~ Becky in Tucson