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Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy (Craig Johnson)

DigiTrad:
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SWINGING?
KEEWANAW LIGHT
NEW HARMONY
NORTH COUNTRY TRAGEDY


Related threads:
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Craig Johnson songs (42)
Lyr Add: Damned Old Piney Mountains (C Johnson) (20)
Lyr Add: Keweenaw Light (Craig Johnson) (25)
Lyr Req: Roll, Big Sandy, Roll (Craig Johnson) (14)
Obit: Craig Johnson, December 5, 2009. (37)
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Lyr Req: Damned Old Piney Mountains (9)
The telling takes me home (2)


Wolfgang 29 May 00 - 03:48 AM
katlaughing 30 May 00 - 03:13 PM
raredance 30 May 00 - 08:43 PM
Art Thieme 30 May 00 - 11:19 PM
raredance 31 May 00 - 12:30 AM
katlaughing 31 May 00 - 12:33 AM
Wolfgang 31 May 00 - 07:19 AM
GUEST 31 May 00 - 11:49 AM
paddymac 31 May 00 - 12:37 PM
katlaughing 31 May 00 - 12:55 PM
Art Thieme 01 Jun 00 - 10:01 PM
katlaughing 01 Jun 00 - 10:37 PM
Charley Noble 20 Aug 01 - 01:34 PM
GUEST 20 Aug 01 - 01:55 PM
Sandy Paton 20 Aug 01 - 09:26 PM
Art Thieme 22 Aug 01 - 06:58 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: NORTH COUNTRY TRAGEDY (Craig Johnson)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 29 May 00 - 03:48 AM

Here's a collaborative effort to transcribe Craig Johnson's 'North Country Tragedy' as sung by Art Thieme on the 'The older I get the better I was' CD. I did the 'basic' transcription, kat(laughing) mended all my errors (especially but not only in the many proper names; for instance, in my version you would still have read 'Applefat' where you now read 'Epiphet'), and Art corroborated kat's place name guesses and added an explanatory note.

Wolfgang

NORTH COUNTRY TRAGEDY
(Craig Johnson)

Come all you Christian people who travel in the north
Who load your Winnebagos and boldly sally forth,
We left the hills of Bloomfield in the merry month of June
And crossed the straits of Mackinaw while the eight track played a tune.

And when we reached St. Ignace the night was dark and dank.
We pulled into a KOA to drain our holding tank,
We dumped the putrid refuse upon the barren ground
Ah, the gurgling in the frosty night, it made a mournful sound.

Next morn we load the minibikes upon the family van
And drove to Sea Shell City to view the giant clam.
Then on we sped to Epiphet from hunger growing weak,
We sought the Golden Arches, a Macmuffined egg to eat.

But all about was wilderness and nasty pasty stores,
Where Shifty Finns and Cousin Jacks did snort and belch and snore.
We cursed that northern wonderland with all its cruel deception,
'cause no matter what the channel we got bad TV reception.

Then on we sped to Engadine and left the lake behind.
We forgot to check the gas gauge which troubled all our minds.
And northward on through Shingleton in that dreary land of woods
The tank ran out of gasoline and the car ran not so good.

And how the children whimpered as dreary night drew on,
Abandoned by the roadside with all provisions gone.
As cruel hunger reared its head we commenced most desperately
To barbecue the poodles, poor Foofoo and Fifi.

And at last we all were rescued, back to Bloomfield Hills we've gone.
Around our yards of astroturf we will sing a jovial song:
"No more I'll go a-wandering where the northern lights unfurl."
And when next I seek adventure I'll stick to Disney World.
^^
Notes from Art Thieme: "Shifty Finns" refers to people from Finland who migrated to the Upper Peninsula to work in the iron mines. "Cousin Jacks" are Cornish folks from England who worked in coal mines in Cornwall before coming to Michigan. Their skills were highly prized in the deep iron mines of upper Michigan.
They brought the PASTY---(pronounced PASS-TY)---a meat and potatoes pie encased in a dough shell. You can get great ones up there still. The wives would put very hot coffee in a metal container for their husbands to take to the mines. Inside that same container was a second compartment above the coffee where the pasty would be. The hot coffee would help to keep the dinner warm.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 May 00 - 03:13 PM

You did a fine job, Wolfgang. Thank you so much. I've already sung this a few times in the HearMe sessions using what you had sent me. It's a great song!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: raredance
Date: 30 May 00 - 08:43 PM

Enter the place name nit picker. The town is "Epoufette" and the body of water over which arches that lovely big bridge, is the "Straits of Mackinac". It's too bad they didn't stop in Germfask. I always thought that name had potential for something.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: Art Thieme
Date: 30 May 00 - 11:19 PM

Yes, Wolfgang, fine job. "Mackinac" IS pronounced "Mackinaw" --- just one of the quirks o' language.

And rich r, It's good to know how to spell "Epoufette". We couldn't find it on a map. As I told Kat, I was just guessing. I could've called Craig---but he's been busy going for his doctorate. I do wish that he would make a record. He's written so many wonderful songs. I was the first person to record 3 of his songs---"THE KEWEENAW LIGHT" (pronounced Keewenaw: go figure), "FIRE IN THE JACKPINES" and this one.

The Keweenaw Peninsula sticks up from the south shore of Lake Superior like a hitchiker's thumb.

Did I say "iron" ???? Sorry Kat ! I meant COPPER !!! The Keweenaw Peninsula is just about solid copper. The iron was up there too--mostly at the southern / east end of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan----an area called the GOGEBIC RANGE----near the towns of Ironwood and Bessemer and Montreal. There used to be a wonderful festival in Ironwood --- the North Country Folk Festival. Left me with some fine memories.

Wolfgang, I've been told that if I was in Germany my name would be pronounced "TEE-MUH" or "TEE-MA". Is that correct?

All the best,

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: raredance
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:30 AM

I like both "Keweenaw Light" and "Fire in the Jackpines". Art, I must express regret that I don't have your version of the latter. I only have John Berquist's from his album of the same title. I think in my ignorance I always thought Berquist wrote it. Good to have that corrected.

The "Mackinac" paroblem is complicated by the fact that some semi literate Michiganer went and named the town on the south side of the Straits "Mackinaw City" complete with renegade spelling. And then they have the gall to look down on the UPers up there. The center of the UP can be pretty desolate. I've been in Epoufette and in Germfask and I've also been in Seney ( and perhaps I still am)

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:33 AM

Huh, out here, Art, near where the old Goose Egg Ranch was of The Virginian fame, we have an area called Bessemer Bend.

Leave to some udder Mudder to know how to spell Epoufette! Thanks, richr. We tried to do our best.

Thanks for the corrections, Art and the additional information. Always a pleasure to help out in anything to do with you.

Good job, Wolfgang, thanks for including me.

kat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: Wolfgang
Date: 31 May 00 - 07:19 AM

Rich, thanks for the additional corrections, but you should have seen how it looked before kat corrected my first version. Two examples:
'where shifty fins and cousin Jacks did snort a Belgian snore'
'who load your (wanabagos) and (boldly Sally Fords)'.
Yes, Art, that's about how your name is pronounced in German (and it's a fairly common name in Germany), but with a very short last vowel. Perhaps the best transliteration is the word 'teamer'.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: GUEST
Date: 31 May 00 - 11:49 AM

Kat, you seem befuddled and perhaps some explanation is in order before you are in Seney with me (pronounced, Say-nee). The Upper Penninsula of Michigan (above the Straits)is regionally known as the UP (pronounced, you-pee). Epoufette is about 30 miles northwest of St Ignace along the shore of Lake Huron.

Wolfgang, I like the Belgian snore. In case nobody told you, the Winnebago is a brand name for large motor homes, that has also become a generic term for the same in the USA, much the way the brand name Kleenex has become generic for tissues.

Art, did you hear of the pale skinned miner's wife whose meat an potato pies gained fame as "Pasty Patsy's Pasties"

Then there was the gentleman who died back in the 50's and requested in his will that a rather nasty saying be placed on his tombstone. It is known as the Epoufette Epithet Epitaph


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: paddymac
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:37 PM

I grew up with exposure to kin folks from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Amonst them, people from Michigan were called "Michiganders" or , sometimes, just "ganders", as in male geese. The later is probably not an entirely complimentary term. Those from the upper peninsula were usually called "yoopers". Their "typical" version of english pronunciation is greatly flavored by the strong Swedish influence in that region from the 1850s onward. There is an absolutely hillarious folk group from the area with a few records called "The Yoopers." One of their songs that comes to mind is (I think) "Mother got run-over by a reindeer". They might also be the ones that do the "rusty chevrolet". If you like really funny stuff, look for "The Yoopers".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: katlaughing
Date: 31 May 00 - 12:55 PM

Thanks, richr, but if you are referring to the *udderMudders* it is a generic, non-gender term arrived at a couple of years ago, in a thread baout what should Mudcatters call themselves, that I throw in once in awhile. Honestly, Art, Wolfgang, and I all looked at maps trying to find Epoufette. Never occured to me that it might what looks to be a French spelling.

As for the UP and "Saynee", I do have some inkling...my Hudson ancestors were supposed to have moved somewhere up there before the War of 1812 and I've been working on tracking them down, so have found out a bit, though not about them. Thanks, though, not a good thing for a kat to be befuddled (love that word!)**BG**

kat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 10:01 PM

I e-mailed this thread to Craig Johnson and he was pretty amazed. I was right, he is completely tied up with his scholastic delvings, but he took the time to say the following :

"It's interesting to note that the Internet has made it possible for people all over the globe to instantly exchange detailed information about one of the most shameless quasi-musical travesties ever perpetrated on a long suffering public. I must admit, it's pretty flattering."

(Craig Johnson)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: katlaughing
Date: 01 Jun 00 - 10:37 PM

Ah, that is great, Art! Thanks for including it here. Sounds as though his sense of honour is fully intact.

kat


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 01:34 PM

refresh with regard to Mobile Home thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 01:55 PM

I don't know why there is such disdain for what some of us northerners refer to as "campers" (ie motor homes). After all, don't they get about the same mileage as an SUV?

Their drivers actually seem much more polite too...

Unless you've attempted a late fall/early spring camping trip on the UP or in the Boundary Waters, you'll never understand the late 20th century American desire to invent a heated sleeping space on wheels.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 20 Aug 01 - 09:26 PM

I had a motorhome many years ago. Got about 6 miles to the gallon -- six and a half with a good tail wind. Sold it during Jimmy Carter's gas crunch. By comparison, my Blazer (the small S-10 type) gets between 12 and 14. So much for automotive disdain.

When Caroline and I were up at Shawano for their festival there a few years ago, we came back by way of the UP. We learned at that time that folks above the Mackinac Bridge are known as Yoopers, and those who live below the bridge are now called "trolls." (Yuk-yuk)

Caroline, who grew up at the southern end of Lake Michigan, found it disorienting to see a sunset from the other end of the lake with the sun going down over her right (wrong) shoulder!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: North Country Tragedy
From: Art Thieme
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 06:58 PM

I probably ought to mention that the tune for this song is the one used for the minor key version of "Buffalo Skinners.

Art Thieme


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