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Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)

Charley Noble 11 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM
Charley Noble 11 Apr 07 - 01:05 PM
GUEST,mg 11 Apr 07 - 01:11 PM
Charley Noble 11 Apr 07 - 03:59 PM
sciencegeek 12 Apr 07 - 09:35 AM
Charley Noble 12 Apr 07 - 10:00 AM
EBarnacle 12 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM
Charley Noble 12 Apr 07 - 04:52 PM
Joe Offer 12 Apr 07 - 04:58 PM
Jim Lad 12 Apr 07 - 05:01 PM
Jim Lad 12 Apr 07 - 05:09 PM
Jim Lad 12 Apr 07 - 06:12 PM
Bob the Postman 12 Apr 07 - 06:39 PM
Jim Lad 12 Apr 07 - 06:46 PM
Charley Noble 12 Apr 07 - 07:09 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Apr 07 - 08:48 PM
sciencegeek 13 Apr 07 - 12:47 PM
Jim Lad 13 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM
Charley Noble 13 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM
Charley Noble 29 May 07 - 04:36 PM
Charley Noble 07 Mar 11 - 01:24 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM

Here's an unusual ballad that I've found in a book about the ice block harvest in the Kennebec River here in Maine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries:
^^
By John "Liverpool Jack" Ellis, circa 1900
From TIDEWATER ICE, BY Jennie G. Everson,
published by The Maine State Museum,
Freeport, Maine, © 1970, p. 224.
Frozen Facts

For ice men generally and the Cochran-Oler Company in particular.

Come all you men of every land who are inclined to rove;
You're sure of work on the Kennebec at a place called Cedar grove;
Be sure you're well provided with clothing new and old,
For if you're not, as sure's you're born, you'll be frozen with the cold.

Chorus:

There's Mr. Barker, Ford, and Head, and Mr. Bramble, too,
Every morn when you turn out they'll find you work to do;
Quite early in the morning you're sure to hear their voice,
And you'll wish the Devil had you when you come to work on ice.


The is Superintendant Barker, a man you'll like at sight,
But when he gets you on the ice, he'll work you day and night;
And every frosty morning you're sure to hear him shout,
"Come out of that, you sleepers, the canal wants clearing out!" (CHO)

Next I'll mention Mr. Ford, a man we all love well,
Especially on pay day when our pockets he helps swell;
He shells us out our greenbacks, our pocket books we shut,
And then strike out for Richmond in search of tanglefoot. (CHO)

Our men are all good citizens, just take them as a rule,
There's "Killam" and "Dan" from Picou, and "Jack of Liverpool;"
"King" says he is a Yankee; his story makes me smile,
For I believe that boy was born at a place called Erin's Isle. (CHO)

We had hard luck last winter, may it never happen twice;
The water was so dirty we could not get our ice;
Starvation stared us in the face, indeed, it made us shiver
To see that nasty, muddy slosh blocking up the river. (CHO)

Our firm was nothing daunted, tho' their plans it did disjoint;
They instantly resolved to go to a place called Carney's Point;
We moved down our machinery, of men we hired a host,
But truth to say some were scared away by the former owner's ghost. (CHO)

To fill our buildings up with ice we tried with might and main,
But the spectre's power was often felt tugging at the chain;
We heard it trying to break us down, it stopped our engine twice,
But pull or tug, 'twas all the same, we were bound to have our ice. (CHO)

And now we have our buildings full, as they've often been before,
And "Cockcrane," "Head" and "Bramble" have gone back to Baltimore;
We wish them a safe passage, and everything that is nice;
May they return next winter, and help us with the ice. (CHO)

Of one thing more I'd like to speak, Mr. Hall will be my proof,
How Superintendent Barker rushed the work upon the roof;
Boards swung like mill sails in the air, both boards and battens too,
And when it came to nails, my boys, good gracious, how they flew! (CHO)

And now my rhyme is ended; I think I've said enough;
I hope I've none offended, although my manner's bluff;
I know I can't please every one, for no man has that knack,
But other poets have failed in this as well as "Liverpool Jack." (CHO)

It's very similar to the ballads that the lumbermen would compose and sing to entertain themselves after work in the evenings or at the end of the season.

I would be very interested if anyone is aware of any other songs that have to do with the ice harvest. The only other one I'm aware of has to do with pulling a horse out of Tickle Post Pond after it fell through the ice.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 01:05 PM

Make that "Tickle Cove Pond."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 01:11 PM

A song with wonderful words...mg


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Apr 07 - 03:59 PM

Thanks, mg!

I was hoping to find some work songs as well but apparently when this ballad was composed the ice was brought up from river level to the huge ice sheds by steam engine, utilizing a structure called an elevator: a ramped chute containing an endless chain with lags. There is quite a glossery of terms unique to this operation. Maybe they used work songs earlier in the 19th century before they adopted steam.

Getting the ice back down the chutes was easier when it came to loading the ships for transporting ice blocks down the coast and even overseas. Gravity was of great assistance.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: sciencegeek
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 09:35 AM

Ice harvesting has quite a long tradition here in western New York and just about every local historical society has a display of some sort, but I haven't seen any reference to songs or tunes.

It was a very seasonal activity ... a job that got done once - and in a fairly short period of time- and after the ice house was filled that was it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 10:00 AM

The Kennebec River ice houses were massive multi-storied structures, one was aslarge as a football field and as high as a six-story building. By 1895 most of the individual companies along the river had been consolidated under the management of Charles W. Morse, the "Ice King." By the early 1920's the industry went into "rapid meltdown."

I bet there are a few more songs out there.

My parents, who moved to the family farm in Maine from New York City in the 1930's, learned to cut ice from their neighbors and did so for about 10 years. There was a small ice house, where the blocks were stored, insulated with sawdust. The ice pond was about a mile up in the woods and old Betty, the workhorse, was used to pull the big ice cutting "plow," and the bobsled full of ice blocks out of the woods. I was too young to remember the actual ice cutting but I do remember the ice house full of big blocks and the old icebox in the back room.

We didn't get electricity to the farm until after World War 2, so refrigerating with ice was a practical option.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 02:30 PM

Is that the dssme Tickle Cove that is mentioned in the Wrecker's Prayer: Give us a wreck,etc?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 04:52 PM

The Tickle Cove Pond song is from Maritime Canada. I suppose it could be the same.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 04:58 PM

Charlie, does that book have a tune for the song? Can you send me a MIDI?
-joe@mudcat.org-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 05:01 PM

"Tickle Cove Pond."
That's a great song. A Newfoundland piece, I believe. I had it somewhere. It's a story of the horse going through the ice and how they saved it.
The song up top there has a definite Newfie feel to it. I can hear the Irish tune in my head as I read the words.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 05:09 PM

I'll bet it's the same tune as "The Bricklayer".


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Subject: Lyr Add: TICKLE COVE POND
From: Jim Lad
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 06:12 PM

In cutting and hauling in frost and in snow,
We're up against hardships that few people know;
And it's only by courage and patience and grit
And eating plain food that we keep ourselves fit.
The hard and the easy we take as it comes,
And when ponds freeze over, we shorten our runs.
To hurrying my haulin' with spring coming on,
Near lost me a mare on Tickle Cove Pond.

CHORUS: Lay hold, William Oldford. Lay hold, William White.
Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might.
Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can,
And give me a lift to poor Kit on the pond.

I knew that the ice was getting weaker each day,
But still took the risk and kept haulin' away.
One evening in April, bound home with a load,
The mare showed some halting against the ice road.
She knew more than I did, as matters turned out,
And lucky for me, had I joined her in doubt.
She turned round her head and with tears in her eyes
As if she were saying, "You're risking our lives."

All this I ignored with a whip and a blow,
For man is too stupid, dumb creatures to know.
The very next thing, the pond gave a sigh,
And down to our necks went poor Kitty and I.
For if I had taken wise Kitty's advice,
I'd never have taken the short cut on the ice.
Poor creature, she's dead; poor creature, she's gone.
I'll ne'er get my mare out of Tickle Cove Pond.

I raised an alarm you could hear for a mile,
And neighbours turned up in a very short while.
You can always rely on the Oldfords and Whites
To render assistance in all your bad plights.
To help a poor neighbour is part of their lives,
And the same I can say for their children and wives.
When the bowline was fastened around the mare's breast,
William White for a chantey song made a request.
There was no time for thinking, no time for delay;
Straight from his head came this song right away:

CHORUS: Lay hold, William Oldford. Lay hold, William White.
Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might.
Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can,
And with that we brought Kit out of Tickle Cove Pond.

words & music
I have to get myself into Newfoundland music. It's just so raw.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 06:39 PM

As the version of Tickle Cove Pond in Digitrad makes clear, that song is about getting in next winter's fire-wood, not next summer's ice.

I wonder if the truckers hauling on the ice road out of Yellowknife have composed any songs about working on ice. Apparently the convoys move so slowly that one driver anyway plays the fiddle as he drives.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 06:46 PM

One of my Brothers in law and some of my friends used to drive across Fraser Lake & Ootsa Lake hauling logs. Their speed, I'm told is dictated by the wave created on the ice by the weight of the truck.
I don't know if there are any songs about it but you'll go a long way to match "The Log Driver's Waltz".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 07:09 PM

Jim-

Thanks for re-posting "Tickle Cove Pond." Dick Swain did a nice recording of that one.

Joe-

There was no music with the lyrics but it appears to me to be a standard "Come all ye..." tune common to a lot of lumberjack ballads.

Cheerly,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Apr 07 - 08:48 PM

Ice-harvesting used to be widespread before the time of artificial ice. I have seen photos of ice-harvesting around Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta, and of the storage buildings. These supplied a fairly local market, but the Kennebec and others were a large business.

It is amazing how long ice storage pits will keep cold. Doing biological field work in Texas, we dug a pit, lined it with straw, and stacked large blocks of ice in it (the ice commercially produced in the nearest city). Temperatures were often high, but our ice cream, beer, meat, etc. were kept cold over the entire summer.

The ice roads (February-March best) across Great Slave Lake and on north to Inuvik are hard and fast at the height of the winter season; only at the fag end of winter do things become dicey. The four-foot thick ice road on Great Slave (The Blue Highway) sees rigs weighing 150,000 pounds and more going to the mines. Haven't heard any songs (No 'Diamond Rush'- everything commercially staked and evaluated).
http://www.roadstaronline.com/1999/06/9906134.asp

Winter was the time to take the Alaska Highway as well- the mud of summer is killing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: sciencegeek
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 12:47 PM

Jim Payne, of Newfoundland, sings the song as well... I forget if it's on an album and computer's being cranky, so can't find his website.

he a wrote Empty Nets, so a google search should pull it up


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Jim Lad
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 01:00 PM

http://www.singsong.nfld.com/bios/biojimpayne.html is as close as I could find to a home page. I don't think he has one. (looked yesterday, too)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Apr 07 - 01:03 PM

I was interested to learn that when the big ice sheds on the Kennebec caught fire and burned down, the owners were frequently able to salvage the bulk of the ice and sell it. I bet it had a distinctly smokey flavor but not a problem where the ice was used for cooling.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 May 07 - 04:36 PM

Refreshing!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Frozen Facts (Ice Harvesting Ballad)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Mar 11 - 01:24 PM

Here's a public link to an ice-harvesting photo essay that's I've pulled together on my Facebook page: click here!

The second set of photos are associated with the ice-harvesting ballad.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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