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Traditional Cape Breton songs

GUEST,julia L 18 Oct 11 - 11:27 PM
Desert Dancer 19 Oct 11 - 12:01 AM
maeve 19 Oct 11 - 12:03 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 19 Oct 11 - 03:22 AM
GUEST,julia L 19 Oct 11 - 08:52 AM
Bob the Postman 19 Oct 11 - 09:51 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 19 Oct 11 - 11:25 PM
Willie-O 20 Oct 11 - 04:52 PM
meself 20 Oct 11 - 05:36 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 20 Oct 11 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,mg 20 Oct 11 - 07:18 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 20 Oct 11 - 08:57 PM
Bob Landry 20 Oct 11 - 09:43 PM
Bob the Postman 20 Oct 11 - 09:47 PM
Beer 20 Oct 11 - 11:44 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 21 Oct 11 - 10:45 AM
gnu 21 Oct 11 - 01:44 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 21 Oct 11 - 10:13 PM
meself 21 Oct 11 - 11:03 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Oct 11 - 05:51 PM
GUEST,julia L 22 Oct 11 - 10:06 PM
maeve 24 Nov 11 - 05:56 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 24 Nov 11 - 09:27 PM
meself 25 Nov 11 - 12:54 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 25 Nov 11 - 08:27 AM
meself 25 Nov 11 - 11:02 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 25 Nov 11 - 01:26 PM
GUEST,julia L 25 Nov 11 - 10:05 PM
meself 26 Nov 11 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,steves 27 Nov 11 - 01:34 AM
meself 27 Nov 11 - 01:44 AM
GUEST 06 Dec 18 - 11:14 AM
meself 06 Dec 18 - 12:25 PM
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Subject: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 18 Oct 11 - 11:27 PM

hello- I have been searching for traditional (as in anonymous) non-Gaelic, non-Acadian songs from Cape Breton and have come up practically empty! There are numerous composed 20th century songs, but not many trad ballads esp compared with the rest of the Maritimes and New England. Anyone got a source for these or is this a hopeless quest?

Thanks Julia L


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 12:01 AM

Songs & Stories from Deep Cove Cape Breton
as Remembered by Amby Thomas
Edited by Ron MacEachern
College of Cape Breton Press, 1979

songs labeled "Composer unknown"

The City of Boston
When I First Went to Caledonia
Patrick Sheenal
A Gay Spanish Maid
You're Going to Leave the Old Home Jim
The Moncton Tragedy
The Woodsman's Alphabt
The Darby Ram
The Jam on Gary's Rock
The Maid I Left Behind
The Maids of Australia
A Drunken Captain in a Heavy Gale

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: maeve
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 12:03 AM

Julia, what about mining and lumbering songs? Dick Swain might have a few to consider. Must they be found only in Cape Breton, or might they include traditional songs sung in other places that made their way to the island?

I'm sure I had some Cape Breton songs in my notes, but all that is gone now. I'll be interested to learn what you find.

Maeve


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 03:22 AM

Might be worth a look at this link from the Cape Breton University:

http://www.beatoninstitutemusic.ca/song-index/index.html


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 08:52 AM

Thanks so very much for your leads!
J


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 09:51 AM

The Yahie Miners comes to mind. Either the source of or derived from "The Blackleg Miner", depending where you stand on the Bertsongs controversy.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 19 Oct 11 - 11:25 PM

Julia, the reason that there is little pre twentith century non-Gaelic, non-Acadian songs from Cape Breton is simple. When you disqualify Gaelic and French you remove the native tongue of so many people living on Cape Breton at that time that not a lot is left. Many people at that time didn't even speak English so it is unlikely that they would sing or compose in a strange language. Industrialzation of Cape Breton after the turn of the century increased the usage of English but before that rural communities flourished fine without it.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Willie-O
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 04:52 PM

yup, that's Cape Breton, not Cape England. Still, it's an interesting quest. If you ever spend a couple of hours in a pub full of Cape Bretoners, you will find their enthusiastic participation in relatively recent folksongs like The Island, Song for the Mira or The Jeannie C shows that the folk tradition is alive and well there (not to mention the excellent quality and quantity of fiddle tunes being composed and shared).

W-O


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 05:36 PM

Actually, I believe there are a number of predominantly English-language communities in Cape Breton going back at least to the time of Wolfe. As the Amby Thomas collection might suggest, there is no reason to suppose there was any shortage of songs in those communities, passed on in oral tradition. However, in Cape Breton, as in most of the rest of Canada, there was very little "collecting" done while the tradition was still flourishing. There are of course some notable collections of Gaelic songs that came out of Cape Breton, but I don't think that's because only Gaelic (and French) songs existed, but rather because 'collectors' went there, or were there, looking for them.

Like the collections seeming to 'represent' fiddling traditions in Canada, what's available barely scratches the surface of what is, or what once was, there.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 07:09 PM

True enough meself, the Gaelic collections that were done were all in the twentieth century, and what was collected was only a part of what existed two or three generations before. Probably the same could be said for the Acadians except that they did a better job of preserving their culture. Ronnie MacEachern collected the songs from Amby only a few decades ago and he was born in the twentieth century. By then there was more English spoken than French or Gaelic. There was indeed English speaking settlement in Sydney and Ship Harbour (now Port Hawkesbury) and a few other areas back into the 19th century and earlier but English was isolated and not dominant. Until 1870 or so Whycocomagh was larger than Sydney and an even larger population was on Isle Madame and even Englishtown was near totally Gaelic. As Willie-O says we all sing in English today and that is our dominant tongue but it was not always so. Many of Amby's songs were not born on this isle and most of those that were date to after 1900. Of course in the 1800's English speaking people would have sung English songs but I know of none surviving from then that were created here. I think that is what Julia is seeking


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 07:18 PM

What about way down in East Cape Breton where they knit the socks and mittens.

And of course Cape Breton Lullaby, not that old but very lovely.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 08:57 PM

"way down in East Cape Breton where they knit the socks and mittens" is titled The Honest Working Man. It may have some traditional origin but verses mention coal mines and the CNR (Canadian National Railroad).
Coal mining became a main industry after the turn of the century although some mines existed earlier. The CNR was started after WW1 in 1918 so I doubt that the song pre-dates the 1900's.
Cape Breton Lullaby is not traditional at all. It was written by Ken Leslie , first published in 1964 and the copyright is held by his daughter Rosaleen.
There are many great and beautiful English songs made by Cape Bretoners
or others about our island but it doesn't seem to be what Julia is searching for.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Bob Landry
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 09:43 PM

As meself noted, a number of English settlements sprang up on Cape Breton after the treaty of 1763. Louisburg became an English fishing port. The English worked the old French coal mine at Port Morien. Lawrence Kavanagh ended up in St. Peters. A number of merchants from the Island of Jersey set up shop in Arichat, Janvrin's Harbour and other places on Ile Madame. Among their numbers, the brothers John and Charles Robin went to St. Pierre & Miquelon to hire many of my ancestors and bring them back from exile to Ile Madame where they were living in 1771 when father Bailey found them. The Robins also brought a number of employees from across the pond to keep the books, supervise the fishermen and distribute necessities and other supplies to the Acadian fishermen in the tradition of company stores everywhere. Most of the employees went back to England or Jersey after their contracts were done. As for traditional English music, I can't say that I ever heard any while I lived back home.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 09:47 PM

Trolling through my Helen Creighton books, I found four songs with Cape Breton affiliations and no known author. All these are in MARITIME FOLK SONGS, Ryerson, 1961:

P. 33 - A Bonny Ca' Laddie For Me
p. 185 - Springhill Mine Disaster (ie, that of 1891)
p. 187 - Along The Shores Of Boularderie (it's not got much Gaelic)
p. 210 - The Hills And Glens

The Springhill song is in Digitrad. Mr. Google seems to have heard of "Laddie" and "Shores".


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Beer
Date: 20 Oct 11 - 11:44 PM

The Honest Working Man mentions my home village "Chezzetcook". If I recall we had a great discussion about this song in a previous thread.
Ad.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 10:45 AM

Yeah Beer, it comes up on two or three previous threads. Something I did notice is that the lyrics in DT are slightly different from those in the Beaton Archives at the Cape Breton University. The DT makes no reference to the coal mines or the CNR so it may be older than what I was referring to in the previous post:

The Honest Working man
Collected by Ron MacEachern from the singing of Charlie MacKinnon
Tune: "The Hills of Mullabawn"
© From the collection of Ron MacEachern.

Chorus:
'Way down in east Cape Breton, where they knit the socks and mittens,
Highlanders represented by the dusty, black and tan.
May they never be rejected, and home rule be protected
And always be connected with the honest working man.

1. I think I will meander with my friend the Newfoundlander;
He is the finest fellow that ever graced this land.
His name it is Dan Alex, and he can talk the Gaelic
We work down in the coal mine with the honest working men.

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

3. We cross the Bay of Fundy, we arrive there on a Monday:
Have you seen my brother Angus? Oh please tell me if you can.
He was a CNR box greaseman, but now he's a policeman,
And he now earns his living like an honest working man.

4. 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 lives on just his labour,
And in the winter doesn't earn enough to feed a sickly hen.

Repeat Chorus


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: gnu
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 01:44 PM

Sandy... "... the Acadians except that they did a better job of preserving their culture." They also had a little help with that from the English for a while. >;-)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 10:13 PM

Yeh gnu, when your kicked off your land and exiled it does little to make you want to adopt the culture of your oppressor.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 21 Oct 11 - 11:03 PM

Interesting the difference in the verses about the "Newfoundlander" - in the Edith Fowke version (Penguin), the Newfoundlander is clearly the object of hostility (presumably associated with strike-breaking, as well as accepting lower wages); I wonder if Charlie MacKinnon's version is a response to the other, written by Charlie or some predecessor?

The version recorded by Diane Oxner has a final verse about going to "Joe Dowey" (sp.?), and all getting "rowdy-dowdy, on the road to Margaree".


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 05:51 PM

Here is what I remember Stan James RIP singing..don't know where he learned but he was from western US

Way down in East Cape Breton where they knit the socks and mittens
Cheezecook is represented by the husky black and tan
May she always be rejected and never be respected
for she'll never be connected with the honest working man

-----next door lived a Newfoundlander
His wife I could not stand her since high living she began

Oh..here is the first verse..

One evening at my leasure I decides to take my pleasure
And write a little ditty of the subject of the day
So I took a 3 cent taper and a sheet of foolscap paper
And settled down contently to pass the time away


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 10:06 PM

Wow, folks, thanks so much for all your thoughts. I'm actually surprised that there is so little Scots! but, as you said, it is a predominantly Scots-GAELIC area. Anyway, thanks again for all your help

cheers- Julia


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: maeve
Date: 24 Nov 11 - 05:56 PM

Julia, Catter "meself" has found some links for you here:

Cape Breton Songs in English


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 24 Nov 11 - 09:27 PM

"The version recorded by Diane Oxner has a final verse about going to "Joe Dowey" (sp.?), and all getting "rowdy-dowdy, on the road to Margaree".
I still remember Joe Dowey and can offer some insight into that line in the song. Joe ran a store in Orangedale and was known to sell some "groceries" from the back room that could lift the spirits a bit.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 12:54 AM

I wonder if those groceries might have included "lemon howdies", as in:

Oh, it's well that I remember,
The [something] of September,
We took the [something] ferry and we landed in Boisdale;
We went down to Joe Dowey,
And we had a lemon howdy,
And we all got rowdy-dowdy on the road to Margaree!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 08:27 AM

Yes, lemon extract food flavouring was mostly alcohol. Vanilla and orange extract and Jamaica ginger catered to alternative tastes. These could be legally sold in a grocery store.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 11:02 AM

Lemon extract - didn't think of that; I was assuming lemonade and, say, rum.

Just remembered: "We crossed the Little Narrows, and we landed in Boisdale".


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 01:26 PM

Yeh, that's a bit confusing though. If you crossed Little Narrows you would be close to Orangedale but if you were heading to Margaree Boisedale would be in the other direction over the Grand Narrows. Anyway the whole song is mostly nonsence. :-}


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,julia L
Date: 25 Nov 11 - 10:05 PM

Wow- thanks!

In Maine it was vanilla extract that warmed the cockles during prohibition. and Moxie.. Now the favorite libation apparently is Allen's Coffee Brandy... and I do know people that actually drink rum and Moxie..yeck!


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 26 Nov 11 - 08:56 PM

A long, relevant article.


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST,steves
Date: 27 Nov 11 - 01:34 AM

There are a few mining songs collected in Glace Bay. I don't know if they are too modern. They were recorded by George Korson in 1940. However, while they were sung in Cape Breton, they don't specifically mention Cape Breton.

Jolly Wee Miner Men (Canadian version of a well known song in England, Scotland, and the U.S.)
Arise, Ye Nova Scotia Slaves (specifically mentions Glace Bay, but was probably written around 1910)
Wild Rover (a different version of the very well known song)
In New Glasgow I Was Born (not from Cape Breton, but fairly close)
The Bumps (this might possibly be from Springhill, but sung in Cape Breton)
The Yahie Miners (also mentioned above, this is said to be 60 years old in 1943)


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 27 Nov 11 - 01:44 AM

Any info., lyrics, music for "In New Glasgow I Was Born"? Having been born in New Glasgow, I'm curious ....


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 11:14 AM

the Ballad of Spring Hill?


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Subject: RE: Traditional Cape Breton songs
From: meself
Date: 06 Dec 18 - 12:25 PM

Since the last mention of The Honest Working Man, I've read that Charlie MacKinnon tweaked his version - quoted above, as collected by Ronnie MacEachern - so as to remove the anti-Newfoundlander bigotry - and also, presumably, to remove the anti-policeman bigotry: in Edith Fowke, the brother Angus "was once a soap-box greaseman, but now he is a policeman,/Because he could not earn a living as an Honest Working Man".


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