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Origins: Taking Gair in the Night

Bee 27 Jul 08 - 04:20 PM
Jim Dixon 31 Mar 09 - 12:51 PM
Jack Campin 31 Mar 09 - 01:39 PM
Ross Campbell 31 Mar 09 - 02:07 PM
GUEST,bigJ 01 Apr 09 - 07:34 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Apr 11 - 07:01 AM
MGM·Lion 26 Apr 11 - 07:21 AM
An Buachaill Caol Dubh 26 Apr 11 - 02:41 PM
MGM·Lion 26 Apr 11 - 03:37 PM
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Subject: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: Bee
Date: 27 Jul 08 - 04:20 PM

Someone gifted me with a 1965 edition of 124 Folk Songs edited by Moses Asch. Delighted to have it and note several Jean Ritchie songs in there.

But I'm curious if anyone knows where the song Taking Gair in the Night comes from - did Karen James write it? In the book it is listed 'from the singing of KJ' and as Folkways FG 3547.

I don't read music, so have to wait for someone to translate the melody for me, but I liked the chord sequence enough to start playing with the verses to my own invented melody (I'll be sorry about this later, I know).

First two verses, in case someone will be reminded...

Come all you good people and listen you might
It's only a ditty I'm going to write
It's only a ditty, I'm sure it's all right
It's all about taking your gair in the night

John Keeping come up and he give the first call
And with a loud shout these words he did bawl
Heave to Jolly boys, it's a beautiful night
All hands are bound out taking gair in the night

Chords:
D C D
C Am D
C D
C D

I'm guessing it is recent (if you think of pre-1965 as recent, which I fear I do), and is in fact a kind of 'fake-folk', because of the wording in various verses, including the first person 'writing' a ditty. But whether ancient or instant, what are Gair - fish, squid, whales?

Thanks, all.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TAKING BACK GEAR IN THE NIGHT (Nfld.)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 12:51 PM

From GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador:


#02142
TAKING BACK GEAR IN THE NIGHT

Come all you good people and listen you might.
It's only a ditty I'm going to write.
It's only a ditty and I'm sure it's all right.
'Tis all about taking back gear in the night.

The first take-off engine I think it is slick
When pushing us through at a mighty full tick,
With the stars all above and the moon shining bright,
All hands are bound out to take gear in the night.

The next man I'll mention it is Little Toss.
He left about three o'clock to go across,
When the wind from the southeast it came up to blow,
Then back to the island Little Toss he did go.

Jerry Fudge is my name, b'ys, 'tis I made this song.
I'll sing it to you and it won't take me long.
I'll sing it to you, it's the best I can do.
There's nobody knows what our ships they go through.

Now fishing's all over so late in the fall,
The b'ys are bound homeward to drink their alcohol,
And as they were leaving, I heard them all say:
Cheerio to old Pemminums [sp?] while we are away.

####.... Jerry Fudge (per the lyrics). Original Newfoundland song ....####

This variant was collected in 1959 from Kenneth Pink of Rose Blanche, NL, by Ken Peacock and published in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp. 145-146, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that fishermen often set up seasonal quarters on off-shore islands to be nearer the fishing grounds. He wrote that 'Pemminums' is one such island near Cape La Hune on the south coast of Newfoundland, but he was unable to find it on the map and spelled it the way the singer pronounced it. Peacock went on to note that this unassuming little song tells of a group of fishermen taking back their fishing gear at the end of the fishing season in the fall. He commented that offshore islands are also very good places to set up stills, so the 'gear' was probably not completely concerned with fishing. In the Fowke/MacMillan variant the author's name was sung as 'Jerry' Fudge and the island is called 'Penguin' Island.

A twelve-verse variant was collected in 1977 from Jerry Fudge of McCallum, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #105, TAKING GEAR IN THE NIGHT in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp. 180-181, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that she recorded this song from the composer, Mr. Jerry Fudge, of McCallum, Southwest coast. He wrote the song during his time as lightkeeper on the Penguin Islands where he spent many years. It describes the hardships that fishermen endure while risking their lives to earn a living from the sea. 'Taking gear in the night' simply means 'fishing in the dark,' which makes the work extremely hazardous.

Another variant was published as #18, TAKING GAIR IN THE NIGHT, by Edith Fowke (editor) with Keith MacMillan (music consultant) in The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (1973).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: Jack Campin
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 01:39 PM

Jerry Fudge is my name, b'ys, 'tis I made this song.
I'll sing it to you and it won't take me long.
I'll sing it to you, it's the best I can do.
There's nobody knows what our ships they go through.


Intriguing procedure - in one of the commonest genres of Turkish folksong it's usual for the author to state their name in the first line of the last verse, as Jerry Fudge did. (Look up the mediaeval mystical poet Yunus Emre for a lot of examples that have been translated). But I can't think of any other song in English that does that. Or in any other Western European language, for that matter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 31 Mar 09 - 02:07 PM

"My name's Duncan Campbell, from the shire o' Argyll" - first line of "Erin gu Bragh" - thread drift, but surely not the only (other) one?

Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 01 Apr 09 - 07:34 AM

There's also a 12-verse version of "Taking Gair in the Night" in Edith Fowke's 'Traditional Singers and Songs from Ontario' - Folklore Associates 1965. She collected it from Albert Simms in February 1958; he was born and learned his songs in Newfoundland.
In her notes on the song Fowke says:- This is a local Newfoundland song that Albert Simms learned ...... about 1928. Albert says that he knew Jerry Fudge, the man who made up the song; he was a young fisherman about 23 years of age.
Although "Taking Gair in the Night" was a local song, it has survived in tradition for at least 30 years: Kenneth Peacock found a shorter version of it in Rose Blanche, Newfoundland in 1959.
The young Canadian singer, Karen James, has recently recorded it as she learned it from my tape of Mr. Simms.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 07:01 AM

===Intriguing procedure - in one of the commonest genres of Turkish folksong it's usual for the author to state their name in the first line of the last verse, as Jerry Fudge did. (Look up the mediaeval mystical poet Yunus Emre for a lot of examples that have been translated). But I can't think of any other song in English that does that. Or in any other Western European language, for that matter.===

Only just found this from Jack Campin from 2 years ago ··· better late & all that ~~~

"This song was made by Billy Gashade
Soon as the news did arrive;
He swore there was never a man with the law on his hand
Who could take Jesse James when alive."

I remember that the book from which I first learned Jesse James about 55 years ago {tho have forgotten what book it was}, had a note saying that a last verse claim to authorship like this was quite common in Western songs.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 07:21 AM

FURTHER ~~Just found the following on a website re the Jesse James legend,
==    The Billy Gashade mentioned in the last verse, was a friend of the James Family, and a printer with the Liberty, Missouri newspaper. This last verse claims that he wrote the song. Maybe, maybe not -- to confuse this issue is the fact that some respected authorities render this name as Lashade. Another story has it that a black convict wrote this verse while in jail==

from "A Clipping from My Jesse James Scrapbook"
by Thurston James
http://www.jessejames.org/FOTJF/ballad.html


~M~


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 02:41 PM

Not fully sure what you mean, MtheGM, about any other songs having their makers' names included; it might not be in the first line of the final verse, but in the Irish song "Priosun Cluain Meala" ("The Jail of Clonmel") the name of the condemned man who made words and probably music, O'Donnel, occurs. Similarly, Eamonn a Chnuic, or Edmund Ryan of the Hill, puts his own name into a song about his own outlawry (in the first verse, admittedly), late seventeenth century. I should think there are other examples, though I can't think of any off-hand.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Taking Gair in the Night
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Apr 11 - 03:37 PM

Why this last addressed to me? It wasn't me asking, ABCD ~~ I was answering Jack Campin.

~M~


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