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The Honest Working Man Explained?

DigiTrad:
HONEST WORKING MAN


Related thread:
Cape Breton Song (29)


GUEST,meself 07 Apr 07 - 10:01 AM
Bee 07 Apr 07 - 02:54 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Apr 07 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,meself 07 Apr 07 - 07:24 PM
Bee 07 Apr 07 - 08:19 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Apr 07 - 08:53 PM
GUEST,meself 07 Apr 07 - 08:58 PM
Effsee 07 Apr 07 - 09:13 PM
Bob the Postman 07 Apr 07 - 09:19 PM
Bee 07 Apr 07 - 09:27 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Apr 07 - 09:44 PM
Bee 07 Apr 07 - 10:23 PM
GUEST 07 Apr 07 - 10:55 PM
GUEST,meself 07 Apr 07 - 10:58 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Apr 07 - 11:04 PM
GUEST,meself 07 Apr 07 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,meself 07 Apr 07 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,meself 08 Apr 07 - 08:08 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Apr 07 - 08:18 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Apr 07 - 08:21 AM
Bee 08 Apr 07 - 08:31 AM
GUEST,meself 08 Apr 07 - 08:52 AM
Bob the Postman 08 Apr 07 - 09:10 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Apr 07 - 09:44 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Apr 07 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,meself 08 Apr 07 - 10:24 AM
GUEST 08 Apr 07 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,meself 08 Apr 07 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 08 Apr 07 - 05:47 PM
Beer 08 Apr 07 - 09:36 PM
Bob the Postman 08 Apr 07 - 10:07 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 08 Apr 07 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,meself 09 Apr 07 - 12:09 AM
Beer 09 Apr 07 - 08:41 AM
Bee 09 Apr 07 - 09:14 AM
Beer 09 Apr 07 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,guest 09 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM
Bob the Postman 09 Apr 07 - 10:33 AM
GUEST,meself 09 Apr 07 - 11:21 AM
Bee 09 Apr 07 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,meself 09 Apr 07 - 12:41 PM
Mrrzy 09 Apr 07 - 09:27 PM
Mrrzy 09 Apr 07 - 09:28 PM
GUEST,meself 09 Apr 07 - 09:37 PM
mg 09 Apr 07 - 10:15 PM
mg 09 Apr 07 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,meself 09 Apr 07 - 11:06 PM
Waddon Pete 10 Apr 07 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,meself 10 Apr 07 - 11:15 AM
Beer 10 Apr 07 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,meself 10 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM
mg 10 Apr 07 - 12:20 PM
GUEST,meself 10 Apr 07 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,meself 10 Apr 07 - 10:49 PM
Bee 10 Apr 07 - 11:13 PM
GUEST,meself 10 Apr 07 - 11:18 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 11 Apr 07 - 08:56 AM
Waddon Pete 11 Apr 07 - 03:49 PM
Joe Offer 11 Apr 07 - 10:17 PM
Beer 13 Apr 07 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,meself 13 Apr 07 - 09:35 AM
Bee 13 Apr 07 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,meself 13 Apr 07 - 09:58 AM
Beer 13 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM
Waddon Pete 28 Apr 07 - 04:14 PM
Bob the Postman 29 Apr 07 - 10:18 AM
Beer 29 Apr 07 - 08:55 PM
Beer 30 Apr 07 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,meself 04 May 07 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,meself 04 May 07 - 11:31 PM
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Beer 15 Jun 07 - 03:25 PM
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Subject: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 10:01 AM

The Honest Working Man is a song that both Edith Fowkes and Helen Creighton published versions of, from Cape Breton, apparently popular there in the early 1900s or so. I heard a recording of Alan Mills singing it this morning on the radio, which reminded me that I've always been perplexed by the chorus:


HONEST WORKING MAN

chorus:
'Way down in East Cape Breton, where they knit the sock and mitten
Chezzetcook is represented by the husky black and tan.
May they never be rejected, and home rule be protected
And always be connected with the honest working man!


From the Penguin Book of Canada Folk Songs, Fowkes


Does anyone know the relevance of Chezzetcook, the husky black and tan, and home rule, to the honest working man of Cape Breton? I don't believe either Fowke or Creighton give any explanation.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 02:54 PM

Bumping, as this Cape Bretoner is also perplexed.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 06:30 PM

There is an old thread on this song:
thread.cfm?threadid=79771#1450539


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 07:24 PM

Thanks, Sandy. No explanation there, though. There is rhyme - there's got to be some kind of reason - even if there are bits of an older song in there, what's the older song? Fowke (I think) says that the song was very popular in CB in its day, so I think it would have had to have made some vague bit of sense to people at the time ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 08:19 PM

Make sense - well, not necessarily, it being the chorus and not thought as important as the verses. Perhaps there's another song stuck in there, maybe an original on which the CB one was built, for the tune or the metre? Husky black and tans makes me think of maybe a sports team, hockey or softball - or sheep, for the mitten knittin', y'know.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 08:53 PM

I think that this is a nonsense song that is not intended to make any sense. Chezzetcook is not in Cape Breton but on the mainland in Halifax County. The "Black and Tans" was the nickname of the Royal Irish Constabulary which had little or nothing to do with Cape Breton. Most other parts of the song make little sense as well. In the old Gaelic Cape Breton and Scottish tradition words would be put to a fiddle or pipe tune in nonsense rhyme in order to sing the tune; "Port a beal" or mouth music is what it was known. I believe this song to be an English version of that. As stated it could very well include parts of older songs.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 08:58 PM

I didn't say "make sense" - I said "make some vague bit of sense". But the lyrics are so oddly specific that they don't seem like something someone would just pull out the air - like, why Chezzetcook - a seemingly insignificant (sorry, Beer!) village in another part of the province - and what is Chezzetcook doing being represented by ANYTHING in Cape Breton, let alone "the husky black and tan" - notice, not just the black and tan, but the "husky" black and tan? I always associated that with those gents who were so popular in Ireland - but what they would have had to do with CB I don't know ...

And so on. Anyway, I can't accept that these were just phrases someone threw together and they made no sense to anyone at the time. They just don't have that feel about them; there's too much in the way of artifice and overt political overtone. The rest of the song isn't just haphazard frivolity; most of it is a wry take on labour conditions - wages kept down by the importing of "outside labour", in particular. And the meaning for the most part is quite clear, even now. So what gives?

And that's not even getting into the decidely unfolkie melody ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Effsee
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 09:13 PM

The Husky dog is black and tan mostly isn't it?


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 09:19 PM

I've checked around in a few books but can't find the source of this notion I have: that the "husky black and tans" are a regiment of militia and "home rule be protected" refers to some pre-confederation British colonial policy of limited local self-government. The narrator resents the possibility that his local regiment will be disbanded as potential insurrectionaries; that London will meddle in Cape Breton affairs; and that Newfies will undercut the locals to grab what few jobs are left. Times are that hard some Capers stoop so low as to join the constabulary. Or something like that. I might have read this in a Helen Creighton book I borrowed from the library.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HONEST WORKING MAN
From: Bee
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 09:27 PM

HONEST WORKING MAN

chorus:
'Way down in East Cape Breton, where they knit the sock and mitten
Chezzetcook is represented by the husky black and tan.
May they never be rejected, and home rule be protected
And always be connected with the honest working man!

1. What raises high my dander, next door lives a Newfoundlander
Whose wire (wife? - Bee) you cannot stand her, since high living she began,
Along with the railroad rackers, also the codfish packers,
Who steal the cheese and crackers from the honest working man.

2. When leaves fall in the autumn and fish freeze to the bottom,
They take a three-ton schooner and go round the western shore;
They load her with provisions, hard tack and codfish mizzens,
The like I never heard of since the downfall of Bras d'Or.

3. The man who mixes mortar gets a dollar and a quarter,
The sugar-factory worker, he gets a dollar ten,
While there's my next-door neighbor, who subsists on outside labour,
In the winter scarcely earns enough to feed a sickly hen.

4. They cross the Bay of Fundy, they reach her ona Monday:
Do you see my brother Angus? Now tell me if you can.
He was once a soap-box greasman, but now he is a policeman
Because he could not earn a living as an honest working man.

Sandy, I think meself is right - the verses are not nonsense, and now I read through them carefully, I notice references to various parts of Nova Scotia. Besides Cape Breton, Chezzetcook, Western Shore, Bay of Fundy, there is a reference to the sugar factory, which I think Woodside (outside Dartmouth) had the only one (Atlantic Sugar). It does not appear to me to be a song about just CB, but about Nova Scotia, and various inequities in workers pay and status.

Note: one connection the Eastern Shore (where Chezzetcook is) had with Cape Breton is that previous to 1950, roads on the ES were poor to non-existant, coastal boats were in use. Up to WWII, Cape Breton farmers exported food to the Eastern Shore.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 09:44 PM

I don't know Bee, but I do agree that is more likely a mainland song than one native to Cape Breton. If it was as popular as Folke credits, it would still be much better known in the local tradition here.
The tune midi in the other thread seems very slow for a song of this type. Perhaps it needs to be sped up.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 10:23 PM

Next few benefits I attend at the local (Eastern Shore) Legions, I'll try to see if the song is known locally. The Eastern shore cargo boats travelled between Halifax, Cape Breton, and PEI, carrying fish, vegetables, dry goods, and wood products (and the odd passenger). There was a fair amount of resettling as well: original Eastern Shore families can be found in Cape Breton and PEI. Perhaps the song moved to CB that way.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 10:55 PM

Bob: I always got that vague impression from the chorus. I don't have either Fowke's nor Creighton's books on hand, but from what I recall reading in them thirty years ago, there wasn't much of an explanation offered. Although I do seem to recall one of them indicating that the song was post-Confederation ...

"Sandy, I think meself is right - the verses are not nonsense" -

Don't you have that the wrong way around - Sandy said the chorus was "nonsensical"; I said that the verses make fairly clear sense, and there must be a sensible interpretation of the chorus ...

"I do agree that is more likely a mainland song than one native to Cape Breton. If it was as popular as Folke credits, it would still be much better known in the local tradition here."

I have always wondered about that too - but Fowke quite emphatically situates it as a Cape Breton song; I believe she says it was practically a "national anthem" of Cape Breton. And I don't think she would say that without some basis. Creighton too, I believe, says it is a CB song - of course, one of them could be more or less quoting the other. However, it does seem strange that, as you say, it hasn't stayed alive in the oral tradition.

That said, my sense is that it is either a CB creation or was adapted to CB. There are the overt references (East Cape Breton, Bras D'Or); also, the mention of "the Newfoundlander" as a source of annoyance, an annoyance it is implied that listeners or other singers would sympathize with - the immigration of Newfoundlanders as cheap labour was a particular cause for ill-feeling in industrial CB (that's what Dirty Yankee Miners is about - anyone know that one?). Also - and here I'm really going out on a limb - the line 'Whose wife, you cannot stand her, since high-living she began', seems to me to have a distinctly CB feel both in the particular twist of its sardonic humour, and also in its syntax ('Whose wife, you cannot stand her'). And there's more - there's a recording of Helen(?) Oxner singing a Helen Creighton version with an additional last verse:

How well do I remember,
On the fifteenth of September,
We crossed the Little Narrows,
And landed in Boisdale;
We went down to Joe Dowey,
And had a lemon-howdy,
And we all got rowdy-dowdy,
On the road to Margaree.

Obviously what the song is really all about! It does sound like a later tag-on, but it indicates that the song was indeed known and sung by someone in CB.

Incidentally, there is another verse I got from somewhere, an introduction:

One fine evening at my leisure,
I thought it quite a pleasure,
To write a local ditty
On the subject of the day;
So I pinched a three-cent taper,
And a sheet of foolscap paper,
And I sat down quite contentedly,
To pass the time away.

That's all I have to offer for now ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 10:58 PM

Good stuff, Bee - keep us posted!


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 11:04 PM

The words are already in the DT (HONEST WORKING MAN) as well as in the earlier discussion (see link above). There are some typos, as 'Bee' points out; 'greasman' should be 'greaseman', and for some reason an inappropriate American spelling ('neighbor') has been imposed on this Canadian song, though 'labour' has been retained. Oh well.

'Black and Tan' is a common enough term, and usually has nothing at all to do with the RIC. Consider the possibility that it may be a breed of hunting dog, as already suggested.

Edith Fowke got the tune from Paddy Graber in 1970, who told her that it was Irish and that his family used it for 'The Hills of Mallabawn' [sic]. Mind you, Graber has made all sorts of claims about songs over the years, some of which are very unlikely to be true (see other threads here).

This tune, though, I recognise from somewhere else; it's basically 'Muirsheen Durkin' (and other spellings), isn't it? It has the sound of American vaudeville more than Irish tradition, but was popularised, I think, by expatriate Irish performers and may have genuine Irish antecedents. Is the Graber tune the one to which 'Honest Working Man' was originally sung?


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 11:29 PM

(The last GUEST was me, folks; forgot to put in my handle).

Thanks, Malcolm, for the additional info.

Re: black and tan. It seems a little unlikely (although not impossible) that it would be a breed of dog or sheep, because of what seems to be the political implications of the context: "May they never be rejected, and home rule be protected". What would the black and tan dogs or sheep have to do with home rule? And why is there concern that they could be "rejected" - which seems an oddly deliberate thing to do to dogs or sheep?

For some reason my computer is having trouble connecting, so I can't listen to the Midi ... But the tune as I know it I would not say is the popular tune to Muirsheen Durkin; there are similarities, but to my ear it's different enough that I would think of it as a separate tune.

I believe it was DIANE Oxner that recorded the song ... I'm curious now as to what year that was; I'll see what I can find on the 'net ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 11:48 PM

According to this site, Diane Oxner recorded that record in 1973 - or rather, the record was published in 1973. So she would have done the recording within two or three years of Fowke collecting the song. I'm just wondering whether Creighton had gotten the song earlier from a different source.

(By the way, apparently Diane Oxner was a music teacher of pop-folkie Sara Maclauchlan).


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:08 AM

I said re: Bee's post: "Don't you have that the wrong way around" -

Sorry, Bee, it seems to have been me that read what you said backwards - unless a clone went in and rearranged your words (do they do that sort of thing?).

Just had a listen to the Midi - it's the melody I've always heard for the verse, but the melody for the chorus is not included. The melody changes dramatically (for want of a better word) when the song goes into the chorus - then the last two lines of the chorus replicate the last two lines of the verse. And yes, the Midi seems slow. And, no, I don't hear the tune as Muirsheen Durkin, although it is similar; the differences are significant, though. To my ear. Now if I heard a version of Muirsheen Durkin that was "midway" between the two (a "missing link"), then I would agree that they are variants of the same tune. Not that I have any letters behind my name, or anything ...

Here's another mystery: "the downfall of Bras D'Or". Huhn?


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:18 AM

How well do I remember,
On the fifteenth of September,
We crossed the Little Narrows,
And landed in Boisdale;
We went down to Joe Dowey,
And had a lemon-howdy,
And we all got rowdy-dowdy,
On the road to Margaree.

This verse from "Guest" is one that I have not heard before but it is loaded with local Cape Breton context. Little Narrows is a village and also a ferry passage across the foot of Whycocomagh Bay on The Bras D'or Lakes. Boisdale, also on the Bras D'or would indicate someone heading east in the direction of Sydney. However Margaree is on the west coast in the opposite direction. Joe Dowie ran a store in the village of Orangedale, also on the Bras D'or but in a different direction once again. If one were to go from Orangedale to Little Narrows you would travel through Southside Whycocomagh or Alba and would not cross the ferry if headed to Boisedale. At Joe Dowie's store one could purchase flavour extracts such as lemon or orange extract. The stuff was about 75% alcohol and in an area with no liquour store Joe Dowie was well known to keek a good supply on hand. I am quite certain that this verse was locally written.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:21 AM

keek (keep)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:31 AM

Bit of joking folklore, heard as a child: Giant Angus MacAskill was said to have had no need of the Little Narrows ferry, as he was able to fart himself across.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 08:52 AM

I believe that last verse, with all the CB references, I got from the Diane Oxner recording.

Interesting local colour re: Joe Dowie. I was under the impression from a comment I heard once that there was some kind of community festival (presumably in Orangedale) named in honour of this Joe Dowie - did I just misinterpret what I heard? I don't remember this guy's exact words; I just have a vague memory of him chuckling about "Joe Dowie", and whatever he said, in an offhand way, I took to refer to a community festival ...

(Bee: You would want to wait awhile before you made the crossing yourself, after that!).


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 09:10 AM

Diane Oxner recorded The Honest Working Man for the Columbia Records anthology "Canadian Folk Songs: A Centennial Collection" which I presume was issued in 1967. That version starts with the "One evening at my leisure" verse and goes on to use the four verses given by Fowke which we have in Digitrad.
Here are Fowke's notes on the song from the Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (1973):

Stuart McCawley, who published his small booklet, Cape Breton Come-All-Ye, in 1929, noted that this "was the national anthem of the Cape Breton workers many years ago, and a popular song with the troops in World War I. It was written as a piece of irony aimed at the importation of surplus labour in the summer months. Anyone not 'porridge-bred' and Gaelic was a 'foreigner'." It was still popular after the war, for Paddy Graber's uncle, Jim Meade, heard it when he spent some time in Canada in the 1920s, and Paddy remembers the first verse he sang. Its tune is Irish: the Graber family use it for a Tipperary song, The Hills of Mallabawn, which dates back to the eighteenth century. Alphonse MacDonald who compiled The Cape Breton Songster in 1935 gives The Honest Working Man as "Cape Breton's national anthem", and both Helen Creighton and Margaret Sargent have collected it from tradition.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 09:44 AM

I am not aware of Joe's name being linked to a community festival but that may have been so. Another Orangedale merchant, Garnet Smith, was honoured by having his name attached to the Smith Community Centre and there would have been fundraising events for this. In any case Joe was one of a kind. He died probably in the late 50's or early 60's. He always drove an Austin car which was not a common brand in the area, so when you saw it comming you knew who it was. He was very well known for his selection of vintage flavours. :-}


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 09:55 AM

Cape Breton Island Map:

http://www.celtic-colours.com/aboutcb.html#map


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 10:24 AM

Bob: Thanks for Fowke's notes - she gives much more detail than I had remembered. Although we're still left with all the puzzlement regarding the chorus ...

Jim: I'll think of Joe Dowie the next time I'm down to the extracts ...


While we're in the neighbourhood, I'll ask again: Does anybody know lyrics for Dirty Yankee Miners? My father used to sing a verse and chorus, but there must be more verses:

In Sydney harbour I did stand [or "she did land" - don't remember],
A [The?] brig came in from Newfoundland,
The crew she had was simply grand,
Those Dirty Yankee Miners.

Dirty necks and dirty ties,
Dirty rings around their eyes,
You'd think that they were in disguise,
Those Dirty Yankee Miners.

And I've also heard:

Up the road, as thick as the flies,
With their dirty necks and dirty ties,
You'd think, etc.

Ronnie MacEachern used to sing the chorus to the A part of the tune Mussels in the Corner. Not the tune my father used.

And I've also heard somewhere, "Those dirty Newfoundlanders".

NB: The "Yankee Miners" were Newfoundlanders who had worked in the "Yankee Mine" in Newfoundland. They came to CB as replacement workers, or scabs, during a strike; hence the scorn.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 05:34 PM

"Chezzetcook is represented by the husky - black and tan"

It's just that you don't hear the dash!

Haven't heard the tune but I can quite see it fitting to Mursheen Durkan alright.

Regards


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 05:42 PM

Yes, the lyrics go easily to Muirsheen Durkin - and if you sing a bit of it to that tune, you'll have a hard time finding your way back to the original tune - but it is different.

(GUEST: why not give yourself a handle, so you won't be confused with other GUESTS?).


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 05:47 PM

Sorry, meself, it's meself that's in it!

Regards


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 09:36 PM

Hay Meself!
No apologies necessary.
As a child I remember Catherine MacKinnon's record being played in the house and was fascinated to hear the word Chezzetcook being mentioned in song. It made me feel very proud to be from this no name village. And I'm not shitting ya. I do remember this.
Now here is a different take on the line "Chezzetcook is represented by the Husky Black and Tan".
To find the following proof would take more than just stories told however. There are two possible connections.
One) Trade often took place in goods as well as a little hankie pankie in the barns or out in the fields with the young ladies and men of Preston. Preston being a well known black community in the Nova Scotia area.
Two) And most likely closer to the truth, Chezzetcook is an Indian "MicMac" (Mi'Kmaq) village name. What I was told is that Chezzetcook comes from the Chief's name. Anyway, a young lady of 94 told stories of the marriages between the two cultures. She use to tell us young ones stories of the Indian village located on a point of land (As we knew it. "The Brick Yard".)located in the Chezzetcook harbor. And so the rest is history. If you visit Chezzetcook today, look at the old folks and you can still see in some families "the black and tan". I won't say "Husky' as I don't believe that word applies to the present generation.
In regards to the Cape Breton connection I don't have a clue except maybe to say that the lines fit well together and threw us all off as Dylan would do. In closing I have two more things to add.
The 94 lady is still alive and doing very well living at home.
and last week tomorrow Mum passed away at 91. Two weeks before I was up in London Ontario and sang her a good hour of Maritime folk lore songs one of which was the song we are speaking about.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 10:07 PM

Condolences, Beer, mes sympathies pour votre perte. What a blessing you were able to have that session with her.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 08 Apr 07 - 10:27 PM

My sympathy as well, Adrien!
          Sandy


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 12:09 AM

Sympathies, Adrien. You've been through a lot in this last little while ...


Well, we're getting a lot of Nova Scotian folklore out of this thread, at any rate. And speaking of Chezzetcook, you must know that other song:

Oh, my name is Bellefontaine, Fontaine, Fontaine,
I am a Frenchman, from Chezzetcook I came;
It was in the month of June, when the [something]berry was in bloom,
That they used to sing the song,
'Do you want to buy the mitt?"

CHORUS
Do you want to buy the mitt, the hat,
The something, something, diddle-dee, doodle-dee,
Hum dee, diddle-dee dum ...

Um - I guess that's all I know.

Written by one of those earlier 20th century poets - Roberts? Lampman? Scott? - who was visiting Halifax. Inspired by guy who'd show up at the Halifax market every Saturday with an incredible array of goods.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 08:41 AM

Thank you for your sympathies. I would not have brought it up except that the first thread I seen when I came here was the Honest working Man and I had just recently sang it.
Myself, I can't say I heard the song with Bellefontaine in it. My brother in law who is a Bellefontaine from Chezzetcook is returning from St. Thomas this week and I will see his reaction. My sister who is a self taught historian on the Acadians will also be very interested in it.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 09:14 AM

My sympathies, also, Adrien.

Regarding 'black and tan', it seems too veiled if it is the kind of reference you propose, although certainly Chezzetcook's population represents a handsome artifact of early intermarriage. (For those ladies who have never visited, it's a fact that there are a lot of very handsome young fellas in the area - don't know about Beer as I've never seem him!)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 09:21 AM

Oh for sure I'm handsome but wasn't born in N.S.
I'm a spud (for those who may not know the referance to spud. It means Prince Edward Island.)from the Tignish area. The actual place is called Palmer Road.
But we will see you this summer, won't we Bee????
Hope so.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 10:26 AM

I always understood that "black and tan" referred to a specific "fair isle"-type knitting pattern that was unique to Chezzetcook.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 10:33 AM

I googled up this citation of a field-recording made by Helen Creighton, now held in the Nova Scotia Archives

Rec no. 3557
Loc. no. AR 5894
MF no. 289.752   Chezzetcook Song, The from WINSLOW, J.J.F. of Fredericton, New Brunswick
first line of song: My Name is Bellefontaine - fontaine - fontaine, July 1958   sound recording


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 11:21 AM

I believe "The Chezzetcook Song" is on the Diane Oxner record (my own books and records and old hats are all in storage five thousand miles away). I have the full lyrics somewhere in storage on a clipping I took out of the Chronicle-Herald sometime in the '70s or early '80s ... I don't think it's in any of the Helen Creighton print publications, and I'm sure it's not on either of the Folkways records from her collection ... I don't know how accessible those recordings in the archives are; certainly Clary Croft would be a good man to contact about it, and/or the Helen Creighton Society. Where's George Seto when you need him? He's involved with the HCS.

Anyway, beyond those opening lines, the song consists of several verses that list all the various and sundry goods Bellefontaine offered for sale.

"I always understood that "black and tan" referred to a specific "fair isle"-type knitting pattern that was unique to Chezzetcook. "

So far I'd say this explanation makes the most sense - which, of course, isn't saying much! - because it at least relates to the knitting of "the sock and mitten". Wait a minute now - why "husky" black and tan, if we're talking about a knitting pattern? Unless that indicates a peculiar bulk to the resulting product ... Okay, I don't know if we're any further ahead ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 12:13 PM

We need a knitter - I do remember my female relations in the 1950s-60s talking about 'husky' yarn, meaning a heavy wool yarn. It may even have been a brand name.

Hope to, Beer, in the one place or t'other. ;-)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 12:41 PM

Now that's interesting - I mean, about the "husky" yarn, not about what you hope to ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 09:27 PM

There is a great jail song I had by Ed McCurdy where he claims in the last line that the cop has made of him "A honest working man" - I'll post the lyrics if I recall the song and it isn't in the Trad.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 09:28 PM

It's there.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 09:37 PM

Bit of an odd song ... I imagine "honest working man" would have been a bit of a stock phrase at one time - although, I'm not sure that I've actually encountered it in other contexts


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: mg
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 10:15 PM

Well, it makes more sense the way Stan James sings it..

May they always be rejected and never be respected for they'll never be connected to the honest working man.

Great song. So full of images...mg


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: mg
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 10:17 PM

Stan also sings the verse about the 3 cent taper and the sheet of foolscap paper. mg


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 09 Apr 07 - 11:06 PM

Who is Stan James? Sounds like he's decided that "the black and tan" refers to the RIC, and then decided therefore to make it mean the complete opposite of what he thinks it originally meant ... Not to suggest that there would be anything the least bit arrogant about doing that ... but if it were me, I'd just not sing the song ...

Of course, he may have learned it that way!


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 10:28 AM

Hello,

Just a thought..."Black and Tan" is a drink....usually Guinness (or other stout) mixed with lager or beer.

May have nothing to do with the chorus....but honest working men and beer...?

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:15 AM

Any input is welcome, Peter - we're desperate!

I've e-mailed George Seto, but so far haven't heard from him. I'll try Clary Croft next.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:44 AM

I still think that it refers to the mix between the French Acadians of Chezzetcook and the local natives that were living there at the time.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 12:19 PM

Not saying it doesn't - but if we had some other reference to that sort of racial mix being called "black and tan", it would lend that interpretation a little more credence.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: mg
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 12:20 PM

I was under the impression that Cheezetcook was a company and not a place...mg


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 12:26 PM

Well, now, there's another possibility ... !


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 10:49 PM

Was just talking to me brudder. He says that the chorus given in Stuart McCawley's book is a little different - well, significantly different:

Way down in East Cape Breton, where they knit the sock and mitten,
Chezzetcookers represented by the dusky black and tan,
May they never be selected, and home rule be protected,
And always be connected with the honest working man.


Me brudder thinks that the "Chezzetcookers" were Acadians from the mainland (not necessarily just from Chezzetcook) coming to Cape Breton to work, and were about as popular as the Newfoundlanders. A couple of points interesting in relation to previous posts. The word "dusky" instead of "husky" would seem to lend support to Beer's interpretation, because "dusky" was a description often used for dark complexion, at the time in question. Also, this version of the chorus is closer to that sung by Stan James, as reported by mg, so maybe he really does sing it the way he heard it, and I shouldn't have been so prickly about it!

My brother says he takes "home rule" to be the idea that it should be Cape Bretoners running things in Cape Breton, and not the Newfoundlanders and mainland Acadians who keep coming in to take jobs.

Re: The verse about taking the "three-ton schooner" up the Western Shore. Bro says this is referring to the Newfoundlanders going back home in the fall - they would go up the western coast of Cape Breton as it is sheltered, and by the time they pass Cape North, they're half-way home.

I've contacted Clary Croft; he's going to send along some info. in awhile, when he gets some time ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:13 PM

Totally kewl bit of brudderly research, meself!

I'm still not convinced about the 'black and tan' reference - although just the fact they were Acadians would warrant them being described as dark or dusky by the Cape Bretoners of the day.

Very interested in what Clary Croft might have to add.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 10 Apr 07 - 11:18 PM

I hate going my big brother for this kind of thing, because I usually get a noogie, an Indian burn, a wedgie, and a hard punch in the shoulder before I get the info. ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 08:56 AM

I had not come across this song before. The Black and Tan IS a drink of Guinness with something else, BUT would probably not be common iin the timeframe involved. It's been an interesting read, James. Thanks for bringing this up. Will look at it a bit further later yhis week and will recommend to Clary....


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 03:49 PM

Hello,

While not flying the flag for Black and Tan, it has been around since the 18th century...Yuengling Brewery even have a bottled version! (Hmmm)

My money is on the knitting yarn!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: DT Correction:The Honest Working Man
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 10:17 PM

Gee, there's not much in the Traditional Ballad Index:

Honest Working Man, The

DESCRIPTION: "Way down in East Cape Breton, where they knit the sock and mitten, Cezzetcook is represented by the husky black and tan. May they never be rejected, and home rule be protected, and always be connected with the honest working man."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (Fowke/MacMillan)
KEYWORDS: work fishing
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Fowke/MacMillan 31, "The Honest Working Man" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, HONSTWR*

Roud #4535
Notes: Written as a piece of irony aimed at the importation of surplus labor in the summer months.... Referred to in several sources as "the national anthem of Cape Breton workers." - SL
File: FowM

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2006 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Roud lists only the version collected by Fowke and published in the Penguin Canadian book, and two versions collected by Creighton that are in the Nova Scotia Archives.
-Joe-
Here is the Fowke text shown in the DT, with corrections:


HONEST WORKING MAN


chorus:
'Way down in East Cape Breton, where they knit the sock and mitten
Chezzetcook is represented by the husky black and tan.
May they never be rejected, and home rule be protected
And always be connected with the honest working man.


1. What raises high my dander, next door lives a Newfoundlander,
Whose wife you cannot stand her, since high living she began,
Along with the railroad rackers, also the codfish packers,
Who steal the cheese and crackers from the honest working man.

2. When leaves fall in the autumn and fish freeze to the bottom,
They take a three-ton schooner and go round the western shore;
They load her with provisions, hard tack and codfish mizzens,
The like I never heard of since the downfall of Bras d'Or.

3. The man who mixes mortar gets a dollar and a quarter,
The sugar-factory worker, he gets a dollar ten,
While there's my next-door neighbour, who subsists on outside labour,
In the winter scarcely earns enough to feed a sickly hen.

4. They cross the Bay of Fundy, they reach her on a Monday:
Do you see my brother Angus? Now tell me if you can.
He was once a soap-box greaseman, but now he is a policeman,
Because he could not earn a living as an honest working man.

From the Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Song/i>, Fowkes
@work @Canada
filename[ HONSTWRK
TUNE FILE: HONSTWRK
CLICK TO PLAY
RG



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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 09:04 AM

Good Morning,
I am Beer's (Adrien) sister Judy and my husband and I are traveling back from St. Thomas Ontario where we spent 4 weeks beside my Mother's bedside.

Adrien showed me this site this morning and I found the reading quite fascinating. Of course I tend to agree with my brother's interpretation as I personally can attest to the handsomeness of the husky darken tanned men of Chezzetcook.!!

As to the Bellefontaine song. Come to visit "L'Acadie de Chezzetcook" this summer and if you are fortunate enough to be there when our volunteer Shirley (Doucette ) Lowe is on duty, she will sing the Bellefontaine song for you. This is done frequently for visitors to our site and especially to thoes visiting the Acadian House Museum. Also, our Local historian Lena Ferguson also sings this song for visitors.

A short time ago, Lena Ferguson sang the song for the Eastlink program on TV. The program is called Eastlink Magazine and the clip was filmed at our new facility the Café Grand Desert. This Café is an Acadian Café located in the Acadian community next to West Chezzetcook, along Highway 207. Drop by you will love it.

Incidentally, I have the recording by Diane Oxner of the Honest Working Man. I will check when I get back home to see if there is any information on the album.

Cheers Judy b.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for hopping in, Judy.

Any chance of getting the lyrics for the Bellefontaine song posted on here?

We keep hearing about all these handsome men in Chezzetcook - but no mention of the women. Do they just pale in comparison with the dark and tan men, or is it that no one wants the word to get out about the beautiful dark and tan women?

My interest is purely academic, you understand.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bee
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 09:44 AM

Oh, there're beautiful women down those winding roads, meself, but it's been me and other women commenting on the boys - priorities, y'know. ;-D


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 09:58 AM

"Oh, there're beautiful women down those winding roads[, my son,]" -

Now that sounds like the opening line of the chorus of a bittersweet song about lost youth, chances missed, the road not taken, wisdom hard-won, longing for what might have been, innocence and experience, resignation ... (sigh) ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 11:37 AM

Hi Judy again.

Yes, to the visitor to the Acadian House Museum, not only does Shirley (Doucette) Lowe sing the Bellefontaine song, our group, the West Chezzetcook/Grand Desert Community Interest Group, provides the visitor with a phamplet with the words to the song and if I remember correctly, a few notes of the music as well.

Our Community Interest Group is a registered Charity made up of local volunteers and we have worked hard to restore the Acadian heritage of our two communities. Do drop by when in the area.

When I get back home I expect sometime next week, I will send the words to Adrien.

As to the beauty of the Chezzetcook women, well on our arrival in Chezzetcook from my home province of PEI back in 1954, I remember my Mother commenting that she was surprised at the number of truly good looking young men in the community. As to the women, I do not recall her saying. Of course with 3 young daughters at the time perhaps she didn't want us to know how much competition we were in for??

cheers Judy b.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 28 Apr 07 - 04:14 PM

I think it is about time we refreshed this thread!


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 10:18 AM

Me too. I am convinced by Beer's explanation of "husky black and tan". But what's a "soap-box greaseman"?


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 29 Apr 07 - 08:55 PM

Never heard the term "soap-box greaseman" neither. Will make a few calls. Hopefully with results.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 30 Apr 07 - 09:36 PM

Started a thread called "Soap-box Greasman". Maybe someone who hasn't visited this thread may have heard of it.
A Newfoundland friend said that it could have been the men loading boxes of booze during the rum running days. Interesting! Could be.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 04 May 07 - 11:18 PM

I just received the much anticipated note from Clary Croft concerning this song. For those who aren't familiar with him, Clary has long been the foremost authority on the Helen Creighton collection of songs from the Maritimes. You will find that Clary fills out some of the background to this song, but doesn't have definitive answers to all the song's puzzles. Here is what Clary says:



Helen Creighton recorded two variants of the song. The first, in 1943,
from
Dennis Williams, Musquodoboit Harbour a few kilometres away from
Chezzetcook; the second from [Mr.] Grace Clergy in 1951 who lived in
East Petpeswick, also not far from Chezzetcook. Incidentally, it was in nearby West Petpeswick that Helen first collected the Nova Scotia Song. This area was one of Helen's richest collecting fields.

Here's what I can offer to the discussion:

"Husky black and tan" - I asked Ronald Labelle about this one. Ronald is Titulaire Chaire de Recherche McCain en ethnologie acadienne, Département d'études françaises, Université de Moncton. He is also the author of Acadian Life in Chezzetcook [Lawrencetown Beach: Pottersfield Press, 1995] and acknowledged as the preeminent Acadian scholar in the world. He doesn't know! How's that? I have some theories but they are just that and unproven.

Re: reference to "the sugar factory believed to have been in Woodside". The Nova Scotia Sugar Refinery, which began operations in 1880, was relocated on the waterfront near Young Street in Halifax but was destroyed in the 1917 Halifax Explosion. The business then moved to Woodside. Although the company did have private capital it was also publically subsidized with a supply of free water and an exemption from taxes. This could make the "average honest working man" a bit peeved at tax dollars going to subsidize business. [In
today's terms, think Nova Scotia governments subsidizing call-centres, tire manufacturers and forest industries today]

Diane Oxner released Traditional Folksongs of Nova Scotia in 1956. The Rodeo recording is a re-issue.

My belief is that the song Edith Fowke calls "The national anthem of
Cape Breton workers" was a comment on cheap labour imported from, among several sources, a foreign country - Newfoundland. Protecting home rule would be similar to our discussions of Free Trade today. After all, Newfoundland didn't allow Canada to join up with her until 1949. Numbers of Acadian workers were also brought in to work in lobster factories and coastal fishing operations. Along Nova Scotia's Northumberland shore, Acadian female workers from
New Brunswick and the Eastern shore of Nova Scotia [my wife's Acadian grandmother, as example] worked at the delicate operation of extracting the meat from the lobsters. They were known as fils de l'Acadie.

Helen has been criticized for not collecting bawdy or labour songs, but she did both. [Sometimes unknowingly.] From my biography, Helen Creighton: Canada's First lady of Folklore, come this knowing, August 7, 1943, entry as quoted from Helen's diary: "Dennis Williams ... keeps a country store, so Saturday afternoon is the worst possible time to go there. However, he didn't hesitate to close the shop up while he and his wife, their daughter and
her children all came to the house. ... He wouldn't let his name go with his singing of the Honest Working Man in case some Cape Bretoner heard it on the radio from New York and came and beat him up."

As for access to Helen's collection - visit http://www.gov.ns.ca/nsarm/virtual/creighton/ This site contains the
finding aid for her collection at the Nova Scotia Archives and Record Management. The Helen Creighton Folklore Society http://www.helencreighton.org/ has already released one archival field recording of material from her audio collection [Songs of the Sea - double CD featuring 47 songs or narratives] and Ronald Labelle and I are currently working on a joint production with the Creighton Society and Université de Moncton of a book/CD of Acadian material from Helen's collection.

Cheers,

Clary


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 04 May 07 - 11:31 PM

Here are a few comments that I made to Clary in response:


Hi Clary -

Thanks for the information and background on the song. It is interesting that while we have been talking about it as a "Cape Breton song", Helen collected both her versions in the Chezzetcook area - so maybe we've been looking at it from the wrong angle - especially when you take into consideration the suggestion on the part of Dennis Williams that Cape Bretoners might actually be offended by the song (of course, his remark can be interpreted in many ways as well).

Now I'm curious as to Edith Fowke's basis for calling it the "national anthem of Cape Breton workers" ...

I've posted your remarks on Mudcat, and now we'll see what further speculation, memories, apocrypha, quaint theories, and astonishing facts emerge ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 05 May 07 - 04:21 PM

Hmmmm

Lots of food for thought there! Thanks meself and Clary!

Best wishes,

Peter


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 03:25 PM

Chezzetcook Song


My name is Belle Fontaine, Fontaine, Fontaine.
I am a Frenchman, from Chezzetcook I came.
It was in the month of June
When the gully it was in bloom
That they used to sing the tune
Do you want to buy the mitt.

                         CHORUS

Do you want to buy the mitt, the sock, the ganzy frock,
The juniper post, the mussel or the clam,
The blueberry, the foxberry, the huckleberry, the cranberry,
The smelt, the pelt, the forty-foot ladder.
The thousand of brick or the sand.

There was Billy Gabriel too comprised the crew.
The divil a man was he when he got on a spree.
He would spend all his money and he'd gamble it all away.
He would smell the little demi-john and
get drunk as Billy-be-darned.

End


From Helen Creighton Collection. This may have been sung by Mr. Robert Young, Halifax. It is similar to Diane Oxner's rendition on the Rodeo record. Diane Oxner Sings. It would have been collected in the 1930's.

I've just typed word for word from the pamphlet that my sister just sent me.
Beer (adrien)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,meself
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 03:42 PM

Merci, Adrien (biere)! I've been waiting a long time for those words ...


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 04:40 PM

From one spud to another.
Your welcome


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: Beer
Date: 15 Jun 07 - 05:14 PM

HISTORY OF THE SONG

"The Chezzetcook Song", developed as the result of a visit to Halifax in 1886 or 1887 by the late Gilmore Brown, C. E., a bridge building engineer. On his return to Fredericton, he entertained at a meeting of the literary club with an account of his visit to the "Farmers Market" in Halifax. He told of his conversation with a Mr. Bellefontaine from Chezzetcook Bay, having come to market that day with a load of brick and sand. He explained that on occasions he brought cord wood and home products of rough carpentry, clams, mussels, berries of all kinds and some of his wife's handiwork, such as mitts, socks and Guernseys (frocks).

This account inspired Bliss Carman and his cousin Fred St. John Bliss, a barrister from Fredericton, to write lyrics of "The Chezzetcook Song". Prof. F.C.D. Bristowe, organist at Christ Church Cathedral in Fredericton, set the lyrics to music. So it was that a group of people in Fredericton were responsible for "The Chezzetcook Song". The literary club became known as "The Bellefontaine Club".

Information about the origin of "The Chezzetcook Song"" came from Mr. J.J.T. Winslow, a barrister in Fredericton. Singing this song was for many years an important part of the Christmas celebration in the Winslow home. It was well known and often sung around Dartmouth.
Our thanks to Dr.Helen Creighton for this information.

Typed by myself from the pamphlet that my sister sent me.
Beer (Adrien)


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: GUEST,Stevebury
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 06:56 PM

I ran across a two-verse fragment this week in the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. It was recorded in 1943 by Elise Hubbard Linscott [who wrote "Folk Songs of Old New England" (1939)] from the singing of Maynard Reynolds, Pittsburg NH. She transcribed the words for her projected second book "Songs from a Yankee Peddler's Pack", but the book was never published. A draft, however, is in her papers in the Folklife Center archives. My internet research led me from "The Dudes of East Cape Breton" ['dudes"?] to "The Honest Working Man", and to this Mudcat thread. Here is Linscott's transcription of Reynolds' lyrics:

Oh the dudes of East Cape Breton
    Where they knit the sock and mitten.
Chizzincoop is represented
    By the dusky black and tan,
May they never be respected
    May they always be rejected
May they never be respected
    By the honest workingman.

O what raised up high me dander
    Was a great big Newfoundlander
And his wife he could not stand her
    Since high living they began.
For in all they have no 'baccer
    They are well-known codfish packers
And they steal the chesse and crackers
    From the honest workingman.

Next time I'm at the Folklife Center, I'll try to listen to the field recording, to see how the tune compares with the tune Fowke published.

My internet digging also led me to Richard MacKinnon's article "Protest Song and Verse in Cape Breton Island" (Ethnologies, 30:2, pp 33-71, http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/019945ar ) which contains a discussion of "The Honest Working Man" in the context of workers' and labor songs in Cape Breton.


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Subject: RE: The Honest Working Man Explained?
From: meself
Date: 01 Jul 17 - 11:30 PM

Thanks, Stevebury - that's interesting!

Here's the link to a href="the whole essay">https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/ethno/2008-v30-n2-ethno2776/019945ar/
The discussion of Honest Working Man starts on p. 48. It still doesn't answer all the questions, but does throw a little more light on the subject.


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