domingo, junho 04, 2006

As I Roved Out

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My friends Pius Power and Jack Pearson (among others) used to sing, "One evening so late as, I roved out for pleasure ...". The sound of their voices came back to me, sitting in a hall at the university, listening to Anita and the crowd singing.

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarClick to Enlarge / Click para AumentarWhat astounds me is that there is no music of heartbreak and rage around the end of the fishery - not even ten years later and more. ??? I have a few theories, but no idea really. I mentioned it to a cultural pundit who happened to be there - but she thought I was looking for cheap sentiment, or some kind of topicality, and the discussion ended there. (Nevermind that sentiment is not always cheap.)

Click to Enlarge / Click para AumentarWhen Anita Best sang 'The Cliffs of Baccalieu' I was moved as always when I hear her sing that song.

Ron Hynes sang Tickle Cove - I heard him sing it once at The Ship, a cappella, happened to be the first time I had heard the song at all, ai ai. Ron also sang 'My Name is Nobody', not rage but a believable personal angst.

Kelly Russell calls himself a 'tradition bearer' (his inverted commas), quite so, honest humility (it looked like to me) and a jab at the pretentious language of the left. Very rarely do you hear two musicians who are so in tune with each other that the interplay between them ... well, for me it raises the hairs on my neck to hear it - but so it was between Kelly on fiddle and Graham Wells on concertina. Sandy Morris sat between them and sometimes didn't know which way to look.

The Cliffs of Baccalieu

We were bound home in October, from the shores of Labrador
Trying to race a bold nord'easter and snow too
When the wind swept down upon us, makin' day as dark as night
Just before we made the land at Baccalieu.

Well we tried to clear the island as we brought her further south
But the wind from out the nord'east stonger blew
And our lookout soon he shouted for there right dead ahead
Through the snow squalls loomed the cliffs of Baccalieu.

And it was hard down with the tiller as we struggled with the sheets
Tryin' our best to haul them in a foot or two
With our decks so sharply tilted we could scarcely keep our feet
As struggled on the rocks at Baccalieu.

For the combers beat her under and I thought she'd never rise
And her main boom was bending neigh in two
And all hands gone to wind'ard as they stared with straining eyes
Down to leward at the cliffs of Baccalieu.

For to leward stood the island and to wind'ard was the gale
And the blinding sleet 'ud cut you through and through
With her lee rail three foot under, yes and two hands at the wheel
We hauled her from the cliffs at Baccalieu.

Yes we hauled her to the south'ard and her canvas stood the strain
And the blinding snow squalls from the nord'east flew
But our hearts were beatin' gladly, when no longer could we view
Down to leward at the Cliffs of Baccalieu.

Tickle Cove Pond

In cuttin' and haulin', in frost and in snow
We're up against troubles that few people know
It's only by courage and patience and grit
And eatin' plain food that we keep ourselves fit

The hard and the easy we take as they come
And when ponds freeze over we shorten our runs
To hurry my haulin' with spring coming on
I near lost me a mare out on Tickle Cove Pond

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 with poor Kit on the pond

I knew that the ice grew weaker each day
But I still took the risk and kept haulin' away
One evening in April bound home with a load
My 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, with tears in her eyes
As if she were sayin', "You're risking our lives"

All this I ignored with a whip handle blow
For man is a stupid dumb creature you know
And the very next moment the pond gave a sigh
And up to our necks went poor Kitty and I


And if I had taken wise Kitty's advice
I ne'er would've made that 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

But I raised an alarm you could hear for a mile
And neighbours showed 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 kind neighbour is part of their lives
The same can be said for their children and wives
And with the rope fastened around the mare's breast
William White for a shanty song made a request

There was no time for thinkin', no time for delay
Straight from his heart came this song right away

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 with poor Kit on the pond

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Posted novembro 25, 2006 6:25 PM by Anonymous Anônimo /  

You mention Pius Power. I hope you know that Andy Jones currently has a show on at the LSPU Hall in St. John's Newfoundland called An Evening with Uncle Val within which (as is Andy's want) he goes on tangents - several thatinclude mention of Pius Power and in particular remembering the wedding of Anita Best to Pius Power Senior's son.

Uncle Val also has a CD of his letters to Jack out with Rattling Books ( hot off the press.

Rattling Books has a blog where you can follow news of their authors and tangential background as well.