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Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.

11 Mar 00 - 11:40 PM (#193646)
Subject: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Pablo

Here are the lyrics, and I hope it doesn't provoke any rabid anti-Canadian sentiment. Norman Blake recorded this in 1996 on Chattanooga Sugar Babe (shanachie 6027), and he credits the very Wilf Carter mentioned in the Long Steel Rails thread. I know it isn't as mesmerizing a piece of literature as Nottamun Town.


11 Mar 00 - 11:40 PM (#193647)
From: Pablo

Trad., source Wilf Carter.

In the valley of Ontario you started
With heroic purpose crossing ranger's farm
You pioneers of canada who sponsored
You founders of the famous CPR.
Such a record laid in steel of daring genius,
At the dreams of those pioneers came true,
And remember the Bow River valley,
And what the CPR has done for you.
When the purpose swept across the great dominion
For confederation Vesey thought it best
That all Canada must build and start a railroad
That would link the oceans lying east and west.
Back in 1881 when Stevens stated,
"We must start this railroad west from Montreal,
Push right on through the northern Rocky lakesides,"
He was backed up by each member, one and all.
Oh, consider this tremendous undertaking
As they struggled onward fighting sheer but slow
And remember the Bow River valley
And the daring builders 50 years ago.
You have heard just how the forged right steady onward
Out across each mighty wilderness and plain,
Creeping slowly on through forests, farms and ranches,
Fighting elements and Indians again.
Now these great men battled cold and hard privation
Grim with purpose and right noble was the test
And old Crowfoot told those builders of the nation
They would never reach Calgary in the west.
Now you speed in travel o'er this great dominion
You may bid all your friends fond adieu
And remember east and west in all this nation,
That the CPR will bring you safely through.
Building onward o'er the great Canadian Rockies
They who sailed her steamships now on seven seas,
On through calagary and the Bow River valley
Where Tom Wilson found the famous Lake Louise.
Struggling on with ceaseless urge and persevering
This gigantic symbol of a mighty test,
Through the Frazier River valley's rocky canyons
With Vancouver eager waiting in the west.
When you travel through the great Canadian Rockies,
You will find a mighty welcome near and far.
And remember the world's best-travelled system
That you're guest of, the famous CPR.
On the CP round this world you travel safely.
Hotels, money orders, telegrams and mails,
Trusted bearers to the world's most farthest places
And you'll stay right on their steamships and their rails.
Oh, the hotels have become a famous system.
The Palliser at Calgary is the best.
And the Banff Spring Hotel up in the Rockies,
And the Lake Louise, the finest in the west.
Come and tarry in the shadow of the Rockies.
The fame of Lake Louise goes near and far.
And the great officials of this great railroad
With three cheers for the famous CPR.

12 Mar 00 - 12:14 AM (#193659)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Metchosin

Pablo, you're right, it isn't.

12 Mar 00 - 12:18 AM (#193661)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Metchosin

There should be a *BG* after that statement.

12 Mar 00 - 12:34 AM (#193672)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Metchosin

I wonder how much the "good ol'CPR" payed Wilf to write that, he seems to be advertising a lot of hotels.

12 Mar 00 - 12:49 AM (#193676)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Rick Fielding

Yoicks! I TOLD you there weren't many GOOD Canadian train songs. Did love ol' Wilf Carter though.


12 Mar 00 - 01:24 AM (#193691)
Subject: Lyr Add: CANADIAN PACIFIC (Hank Snow)
From: Metchosin

Sure there are Rick

Canadian Pacific
(Hank Snow)
Blue Echo Music Inc. BMI

I rode your ocean liner to Newfoundland
Where I made a living in an iron mine
When I got my fill I went to Nova Scotia
And I fished the salty waters for a time
Passing through Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick
I could see the rocks and cliffs of solid stone
Listening to the seagulls calling to each other
Made me miss my darling and my distant home

Canadian Pacific
Carry me three thousand miles
Through the valleys and the forests
To the sunshine of her smile
Cross the plains and rugged mountains
Keep this wandering boy from harm
Canadian Pacific
Take me to my baby's arms.

The Atlantic disappeared on the horizon
And Quebec way waving for me down the track
For a while I drove a truck to keep from starving
In Ontario I was a lumber jack
Manitoba and Saskatchewan then followed
Where the wheat fields and the old Red River flowed
In the quiet hours your whistle on the prairie
Touched my heart and set my memories aglow.

I could feel the nearness of her warm sweet kisses
When you rode into Alberta westward bound
I worked on an oil rig to make some money
For a ticket to the sweetest girl around,
Pushing out past Lake Louise in all its splendor
Where the trees and Rockies touch the sky above
I got to British Columbia and heaven
On your tracks I made it back to my true love.

Chorus (repeat twice).

Of course the CPR is now busy abandoning tracks and eliminating passenger rail service, and it probably is causing El Nino too…... just thought I'd keep up the Canadian tradition of blaming the CPR for everything. During the Depression if it didn't rain or your cow went dry the common cry was "G*d Damn the CPR".

12 Mar 00 - 01:49 AM (#193699)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Metchosin

of course Hank had to make the "British" in British Columbia into a three syllable word in order to make it scan for him (Brit-ee-ush Co-lumb-ya).

12 Mar 00 - 02:15 AM (#193707)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Metchosin

Rick, I noticed that you had Canadian Pacific as written by Ray Griff, you're probably correct, but the "Hank Snow Collection Album" doesn't credit him with the song.....Bad form.

12 Mar 00 - 10:41 AM (#193767)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Willie-O

Thanks for posting those...My original point is getting borne out...I guess it's something about rose-coloured glasses and the lyric power of nostalgia, cause there are way better train songs being written in the past few decades than either of the lyrics posted above.

Gotta say I find the Hank Snow (Ray Griff) one pretty trite--all it is is a right-to-left (on the map) listing of provinces and stereotypical occupations therein, with a romantic sub-plot.

A lot of better songs seem to focus on a particular train and delve into its significance...such as

  • Harvest Train by Alex Sinclair
  • I Never Did Like That Train and Railroad Man by Murray McLauchlan
  • even Orangedale Whistle by Jimmy Rankin

    Still, some of my other favourites are more about the relationships between (particular or groups of) people and railroads in general, including

  • Cross-Ties On A Railroad by Dennis Brown
  • Raised By the Railroad Line(title?)--not sure if its by Dennis Brown or Bill Garrett?
  • Texas 1949(?) by Guy Clark--my sole Merican entry here. (Nothin wrong with City of New Orleans of course, but its a bit obvious)

    I just got offered a bar gig in Smiths Falls, the railroad junction centre for Eastern Ontario--think I'll dust some of these off.


17 Apr 00 - 11:56 AM (#213127)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Jeremiah McCaw

Thank you, Rick for mentioning Canadian Pacific by Ray Griff. I've thought about trying that one myself. And thanks to Metchosin for posting the complete lyric. I first heard it on a George Hamilton IV album called Canadian Pacific - a very laid-back and somehow quite satisfying work. His lead guitarist on "Steel Rail Blues" was Gordon Lightfoot!

17 Apr 00 - 12:36 PM (#213151)
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Founding of the Famous C.P.R.
From: Metchosin

Jerimiah, I made a couple of small errors in the lyrics. which I will try to correct later on, never checked the DT for this one, so it may be in there also.