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A Cape Shore Sampler

A sampler of songs, music, and stories recorded in the Cape Shore between 1974 and 1978. This widely varied collection features:

  • emigration songs and songs of the sea
  • songs brought over from old world homes and songs composed by Newfoundlanders
  • songs about murder and songs for comic relief

The voices featured in the playlist include singers and musicians who are well-known exponents of Newfoundland's oral traditions, but also individuals who normally are only heard in their own localities.



A Cape Shore Sampler

Now playing: Banna's banks / Caroline Brennan
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  1. Banna's banks / Caroline Brennan

    Banna's banks / Caroline Brennan

    Banna's banks, song (As down by Banna's Banks I strayed one evening in May …) This 18th-century broadside ballad is more commonly known as “Molly Asthore.” Composition is credited to Wexford politician George Ogle (1739–1814). The protagonist of the song wanders by the shore (Co Kerry), thinking back on an estranged lover.  Caroline Brennan learned this song from her grandmother.

  2. The barque in the harbour / John Hennessy

    The barque in the harbour / John Hennessy

    The barque in the harbour, song (The barque in the harbour, I went roaming on shore …) Also known as “The Spanish lass,” “The young Spanish lass,” and “The Indian lass,” this broadside ballad probably has its origins in 1820s Britain (Guigné 2016:347). It tells the story of a sailor who goes ashore, meets a local woman, and then leaves her to return home. 

  3. Bells of Shandon / Ellen Emma Power

    Bells of Shandon / Ellen Emma Power

    Bells of Shandon, song (With deep affection and recollection, I often think on those Shandon Bells …) This song was composed by the Rev Francis Mahoney (Father Prout, 1804–1866). In this nostalgic song, the protagonist remembers the sound of the church bells being rung in St Anne’s Church, Shandon, Co Cork.

  4. The Blackwater side / Caroline Brennan

    The Blackwater side / Caroline Brennan

    The Blackwater side, song (Ye lads of this nation of low and high station, I pray pay attention and listen to me …) Caroline Brennan introduces “The Blackwater side” with a story about her grandmother, “Irish Biddy,” and the time that she spent working in the Sweetman Company’s sail loft in Placentia. This was one of the songs that she sang to remember Ireland.  The song tells the story of a couple who court on the banks of the Blackwater. A variant version of “The Blackwater side” was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1951 and published in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 2 (1965:503–504).

  5. The bleach of Strathblane / Mike McGrath

    The bleach of Strathblane / Mike McGrath

    The bleach of Strathblane, song (As I roved out one morning in May …) In this Scottish song, a young man proposes to a woman. Though she initially refuses, she relents when the young man threatens to propose to someone else. He, however, proves inconstant and leaves. The “bleach” refers to the hills around Strathblane where local women laid their laundry to dry.

  6. The bonny bunch of roses / Anthony Power

    The bonny bunch of roses / Anthony Power

    The bonny bunch of roses, song (I overheard a female talking …) The lyrics of this ballad take the form of a conversation between Napoleon Bonaparte’s widow and his son. She warns her son of the danger of challenging England, Ireland, and Scotland—the bonny bunch of roses—and the folly of attacking Russia.  Anthony’s version omits some of the lines that clarify the relationship of the characters, but the singer compensates by rearranging the order of the verses to create a coherent narrative. Most notably, the characters of Napoleon and his son are merged. Historically inaccurate, the song tells a tale of military expansion, of resistance met, and of the ultimate defeat of the invading forces by the opposing allies.

  7. The bonny bunch of roses / Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

    The bonny bunch of roses / Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

    The bonny bunch of roses, song (By the margin of the ocean, one morning in the month of June …) The lyrics of this ballad take the form of a conversation between Napoleon Bonaparte’s widow and his son. She warns her son of the danger of challenging England, Ireland, and Scotland—the bonny bunch of roses—and the folly of attacking Russia.  It is quite similar to another version of this song collected from Anthony Power in the neighbouring town of Branch by Aidan O’Hara. Tom and Minnie Murphy’s version of this song is remarkable as an example of duet singing, a practice that is comparatively rare in traditional Newfoundland singing. 

  8. The bonny hills of Scotland / Eta Nash

    The bonny hills of Scotland / Eta Nash

    The bonny hills of Scotland, song (On the bonny hills of Scotland where bluebells they do grow … ) Known as “The Paisley officer,” “India’s burning sands,” “The new recruit,” and “Bonny Scottish Mary,” among other titles, this song tells the story of a woman disguising herself so that she can go away to war with her true love. It ends with her death on the battle field.  In Shamrock, Rose and Thistle, Hugh Shields notes that the song is common in Canada and the northeastern United States. He speculates on the song’s Ulster origins, noting that the fullest references to the text are found in northern regions of Ireland (1981:97). 

  9. The brave volunteer / Henry Campbell

    The brave volunteer / Henry Campbell

    The brave volunteer, song (One cold stormy night in the month of December …) The song tells the story of a widow lamenting the loss of her husband, whose ship sank off the shore of Galway. In this version of the song, the protagonist (whose name is Henry) leaves to seek his fortune, but how remains unclear. Another version of the song, recorded on a 19th-century ballad sheet held in the Bodleian Libraries (Bod7845) specifies that Henry has volunteered to fight as a mercenary for a Portuguese king. 

  10. Brennan on the moor / Patsy Judge

    Brennan on the moor / Patsy Judge

    Brennan on the moor, song (It's of a fearless highwayman the truth to you I'll tell …) Probably of Irish origin, this broadside ballad tells the story of folk hero and highwayman Willie Brennan, who was tried and hanged in Clonmel in 1804. Some versions of this song place Brennan in the mountains near Limerick; other versions depict Brennan on the highways of North Cork and South Tipperary.  Patsy Judge’s version references the Comeragh Mountains, perhaps a nod to the ancestry of the people of the Cape Shore, whose origins were mainly in Ireland’s southeast.

  11. The broken-hearted milkman / Tom Murphy

    The broken-hearted milkman / Tom Murphy

    The broken-hearted milkman, song (I’m a hard-working milkman in grief I’m arrayed …) Originally published as “Polly Perkins of Paddington Green” during the mid-19th century, this song was composed by Harry Clifton (1832–1872), a London-based music-hall songwriter. The version sung by Tom Murphy replaces the references to the London locality with references to Ireland.

  12. Bungle Rye / Anthony Power

    Bungle Rye / Anthony Power

    Bungle Rye, song (As I went a-walking a fair London Street …) This early 19th-century broadside ballad is a warning about the dangers of female wiles. The protagonist is tricked into paying 20 shillings for a basket that he thinks contains a bottle of liquor. Instead it contains a baby, whom he christens John Bungle Rye.  In many versions of this song, the phrase “Bung yer eye” appears instead of “Bungle Rye.” Indeed, Kenneth Peacock includes this song in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3, under the title “Young Bung-’er’eye,” noting that “bung-yer-eye” is an old sailing term for strong rum or hard liquor (1965:895–6).

  13. Cock-a-doodle-doo / Frankie Nash

    Cock-a-doodle-doo / Frankie Nash

    Cock-a-doodle-doo, song (One morning after breakfast taking a bit of the walk …) This comic song about a rooster is full of sexual innuendo. It tells the story of a man who buys a cock while out for a walk, and the variety of encounters that ensue.

  14. Colonna's lone shore / Denis McGrath

    Colonna's lone shore / Denis McGrath

    Colonna's lone shore, song (I will sing the word of young wandering Nellie ...) Written by Andrew Sharpe during the early 19th century, this song describes the death of a soldier at the Battle of Corunna on 16 January 1809. The focus, however, is on the reaction of the soldier’s sweetheart when word of his death arrives back in Scotland. Song collector Robert Ford writes in Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland:  “Andrew Sharpe had observed that, since Herdman’s departure, Ellen Rankine was greatly changed. Her passionate blue eyes had begun to fade, and her luxuriant brown hair, the pride of better days, to get tangled and dry; but when the news of his death came she sank into helpless idiocy, and despite the careful watchings of her distressed parents, she stole from them in a luckless moment, and, taking the back of the hill, went crooning and singing for a whole week away through the Howe of Strathmore” (1904:84).

  15. Conversation about music for dancing and types of dances / Patsy Judge & Bride Judge

    Conversation about music for dancing and types of dances / Patsy Judge & Bride Judge

    Patsy Judge performs several examples of “cheek” or “gob” music (i.e., dance music performed with the voice only), simultaneously explaining where these tunes were most likely to appear within the set dance.  The examples appear in the following order: “There was an old woman” (jig), “Tatter Jack Walsh” (jig), “All the way to Connickmore” (single), “Haste to the wedding” (jig), “The girl I left behind me” (single), “Girls in the salthouse” (single), “Mother wouldn’t beat him” (single), “Irishman’s shanty” (single), “Pop goes the weasel” (jig), “Green grow the rushes-o” (reel).

  16. The cottage by the sea / Jack Mooney

    The cottage by the sea / Jack Mooney

    The cottage by the sea, song (To a little seaside village came a youth one summer's day …) Jack Mooney learned this song from his mother, Esther (Careen) Mooney, who was originally from Point Lance, Newfoundland. This song tells the story of a young man who visits a seaside village. He engages in what he thinks is a harmless flirtation with a local woman, leaving her at the end of the summer. He returns a year later when he realises that he loves her, but discovers that she has died of a broken heart.  This song was recorded as “Just goodbye I am going home,” by American old-time singer-songwriter Roy Harvey on 9 September 1930 (Columbia 15609-D). 

  17. The days of the week / Stan McGrath

    The days of the week / Stan McGrath

    The days of the week, song (On Monday morning as I roved out …) Also known as “A week’s matrimony” or “The woeful marriage,” this comic broadside ballad tells the story of a whirlwind courtship and marriage that ends in violence and mental instability.  Stan McGrath learned this song while working away from the Cape Shore in the lumberwoods.

  18. Dear old Newfoundland / Gerald Campbell

    Dear old Newfoundland / Gerald Campbell

    Dear old Newfoundland, song (Twas just a year ago today I left my Emerald's Isle …) Originally recorded by John Barr (also known as Little John Cameron) in 1967 under the title “Tribute to Newfoundland,” this song is an account of the similarities between Ireland and Newfoundland. The melody is similar to that used by Ewan MacColl for his song, “Come my little son.”

  19. The dewy dells of Yarrow / John Joe English

    The dewy dells of Yarrow / John Joe English

    The dewy dells of Yarrow, song (There was a man lived in this town …) This song is a variant of the border ballad, “The Dowie Dens of Yarrow.” It tells the story of a fight between a poor ploughman and nine brothers.  John Joe English learned it from a man who used to stop by the fish stores where he worked. 

  20. Donald Monroe / Albert Roche

    Donald Monroe / Albert Roche

    Donald Monroe, song (Come all ye good men that's inclined for to roam, to seek for employment …) A variant of the 18th-century Scottish broadside, “Donald Munro,” this murder ballad tells the tale of a man who immigrates to America, leaving his sons behind as he cannot afford their fares. They follow in search of their father seven years later. They are attacked by highwaymen and killed. As they lay dying, their murderer realises that he has killed his two sons.  This song was widely sung in Newfoundland and several versions collected there, with the result that it exists with a number of different melodies and configurations of lyrics. Kenneth Peacock published three different versions in his Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3 (1965:812–16). MacEdward Leach also recorded several versions.

  21. Down by the riverside / Minnie Murphy

    Down by the riverside / Minnie Murphy

    Down by the riverside, song (When I was young and in my prime my age scarce twenty-one …) This song tells the tale of a man whose parents force him to marry a woman of higher social status, forsaking the woman he loves. He later murders his wife because he cannot live with his choice. He is sentenced to hang for his crimes.  After Minnie Murphy finished her performance, one of the men present in the room comments that he sometimes heard this song in the lumber camps of western Newfoundland. Little is known about the origins of the song, though the reference to Wexford Gaol suggests a possible southeast Ireland connection. Variants, including that collected by MacEdward Leach from John James of Trepassey, Newfoundland, have been recorded almost exclusively in Newfoundland.

  22. The drunken captain / Dermot Roche

    The drunken captain / Dermot Roche

    The drunken captain, song (In the stream of cancer [Strait of Canso] our good ship lay …) This song is usually known as “The drunken captain” in Newfoundland. Dermot Roche’s version closely resembles a variant titled “In Canso Strait” that more typically is associated with Nova Scotia origins. In both cases, the song tells the story of a ship’s captain who drinks too much and endangers his crew with his poor judgement. See Genevieve Lehr’s Come and I Will Sing You (1985:53–3) and Kenneth Peacock’s Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3 (1965:871–2) for other versions of this song collected in Newfoundland.

  23. The emigrant from Newfoundland / Gerald Campbell

    The emigrant from Newfoundland / Gerald Campbell

    The emigrant from Newfoundland, song (Dear Newfoundland, have I got to leave you …) This song may have been composed by JT Kinsella when he emigrated from Newfoundland to settle in Boston, Massachusetts. It laments the necessity of leaving Newfoundland to seek work on the mainland, in this case Boston. The song offers commentary on Confederation with Canada and includes reminiscences of favourite events and places in the St John’s area.  The song was published as early as 1904 in St John’s under the title “The Newfoundland exile” in James Murphy’s Old Colony Song Book. Details about the history of this song are available from the GEST song index. Variants have been published by Kenneth Peacock in the Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 2 (1965:360–61) and by MacEdward Leach.

  24. Fain Waterloo / Caroline Brennan

    Fain Waterloo / Caroline Brennan

    Fain Waterloo, song (It happened to be on a fine dewy morning …) This song tells the story of a soldier reuniting with his sweetheart. He tests her fidelity by leading her to believe that he died at the Battle of Waterloo. When she proves herself true, he reveals that he is her sweetheart by showing her the broken token that they shared.  Versions of this song are quite common in eastern Canada, including Newfoundland. Kenneth Peacock published a version in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3 (1965:1014–1015), as did Greenleaf and Mansfield in The Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland (1933:172–173), under the title “The plains of Waterloo.”

  25. The fair Fanny Moore / Patsy Judge

    The fair Fanny Moore / Patsy Judge

    The fair Fanny Moore, song (Yonder stands a cottage all deserted and alone...) This murder ballad most likely has its origins in the Irish or English broadside presses, though it is much more commonly heard in North American contexts. Newfoundland song scholar Anna Kearney Guigné speculates that the song gained “new life in the New World through its dissemination by way of oral tradition in such contexts as the lumber camps alongside such media as print and recordings” (2016:122).  In other versions of this song, the wealthy suitor is named Randal and Fanny’s true love (a poor shepherd) is named Henry. In Patsy’s version of the song, the names are used interchangeably; it seems probable that this was simply a memory slip.

  26. Fireman's story of a brave volunteer, recitation / John Joe English

    Fireman's story of a brave volunteer, recitation / John Joe English

    This recitation tells the story of the heroic deeds of a train engineer who rescues a woman from being run down by a train. He is grossly disfigured in the incident, but she nevertheless falls in love with him and proposes marriage.

  27. The forest was covered in bushes / Patsy Judge

    The forest was covered in bushes / Patsy Judge

    The forest was covered in bushes, song (One night as the moon it shone bright and shone clear …) Elsewhere this song is known as “The False-hearted lover,” “A week before Easter,” and “The false bride.” It tells the story of a man whose sweetheart marries someone else. The protagonist witnesses the marriage and consummation before announcing that he will die of a broken heart. The text was published as a broadside as early as 1690; it was recorded widely during the 20th century.

  28. The gambling man / Jack Mooney

    The gambling man / Jack Mooney

    The gambling man, song (I am a roaming gambler, I gamble down in town …) This American folk song is probably of British origin (Rosenbaum 2013:142). It tells the story of a man who likes to gamble and the woman who falls in love with him.  It was widely recorded by such popular commercial performers as the Everly Brothers, Bob Dylan, and Simon and Garfunkel, though perhaps the earliest recording was that by Kelly Harrel in 1925 under the title “Rovin’ Gambler” (Victor 20171-A). Jack Mooney’s version of “The gambling man,” though performed unaccompanied, closely resembles the version in the 1925 recording.

  29. Georges Banks / Henry Campbell & Gerald Campbell

    Georges Banks / Henry Campbell & Gerald Campbell

    Georges Banks, song (Ye roving sons of Newfoundland, I hope you will draw near …) Georges Bank is a large plateau-shaped shoal off the coast of Massachusetts. It is part of a series of banks and shoals that extend along the edge of the North American continental shelf—the most northern of which are Newfoundland’s Grand Banks.  This ballad tells the story of a ship, the Morning Star, whose crew was fishing on Georges Banks. The ship was caught in a November gale that resulted in many fisherman freezing or being swept overboard before they could return to Newfoundland.  Other versions of this song are included in Greenleaf and Mansfield’s Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland (1933:260–263); Kenneth Peacock’s Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3 (1965:916–21); and among the recordings of MacEdward Leach.

  30. The girl who slighted me / Gerald Campbell

    The girl who slighted me / Gerald Campbell

    The girl who slighted me, song (And I'll go down to yonder valley …) This song tells of an unhappy courtship. After being slighted by his sweetheart, the (male) protagonist of the song curses the girl in question and leaves Ireland for America.  One of the more common variants of this song is known as “Courting is a pleasure,” and Kenneth Peacock published another version in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 2 under the title “In courtship there lies pleasure” (1965:465–466).

  31. The girls from Newfoundland / Henry Nash

    The girls from Newfoundland / Henry Nash

    The girls from Newfoundland, song (There's a girl in St. John's Harbour that I'm longing now to see …) This wartime song is sung to the tune of “The yellow rose of Texas.” The protagonist is a soldier remembering his sweetheart in St John’s, Newfoundland.

  32. Golden Bay / Anthony Power

    Golden Bay / Anthony Power

    Golden Bay, song (In nineteen hundred and twelve, my boys for Golden Bay set sail …) Composed by brothers Henry Nash (Sr) and Bernard Nash who fished together in Golden Bay, this song describes a whaling expedition that left Branch in 1912. The crew caught a whale, but it rotted before they could sell it for the thirty pounds in gold that they expected to receive.  Henry Nash (Sr) was the father-in-law of Anthony Power, who performs the song here. 

  33. The hills of Glenswilly / Bernard Nash

    The hills of Glenswilly / Bernard Nash

    The hills of Glenswilly, song (Attention fellow countrymen come here my native news …) Written by Michael McGinley of Donegal, this song laments the necessity of leaving Donegal for a foreign land. Song collector Jim Carroll notes that McGinley may have composed the song while he travelled to New Zealand in 1879 aboard the “Invercardill.” The lyrics seem to indicate a political cause for emigration through the references to exile and raising a green flag over the hills of Glenswilly. 

  34. Thomas Trim / Gerald Campbell

    Thomas Trim / Gerald Campbell

    I'm Thomas Trim, song (I’m Thomas Trim a swell young man …) Gerald Campbell learned this song from his father, Henry Campbell. Henry Campbell sang “Thomas Trim” in a school concert around 1910. The song describes a young dandy going on promenade to show off his finery

  35. In Yorkshire city / Bride Judge

    In Yorkshire city / Bride Judge

    In Yorkshire city, song (Oh, in Yorkshire city there dwelled a maiden …) This murder ballad tells the tale of a woman who falls in love with her father’s servant. He poisons her when she declines his proposal, and then, stricken by remorse, he kills himself. The song exists in many variant versions of the lyrics; it is also known as “Oxford city,” “The cup of poison,” “The jealous lover,” or, simply, “Jealousy.”  The melody given here is used also for other songs performed by Cape Shore singers.

  36. India's burning shore / Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

    India's burning shore / Tom Murphy & Minnie Murphy

    India's burning shore, song (As I strayed beneath those lofty pines on India’s burning shore …) Also known as the “Irish Patriot,” this song tells the story of a man whose wife and child are killed when he refuses to fight for his landlord’s rebel army. He takes revenge by killing his landlord and thereafter must forever live in exile, though he dreams of returning to Ireland to be buried beside his wife.  The origins of this song are unknown; Robert B Waltz and David G Engle note that it is found predominantly along North America’s eastern seaboard. The song seems to have had some popularity in lumbering camps during the early 20th century.

  37. The Irish colleen / Jack Mooney

    The Irish colleen / Jack Mooney

    The Irish colleen, song (I went to a party consisting of four …) This song describes a party at which four toasts are proposed: a Welsh girl toasts a leek, a Scottish girl toasts a thistle, an English girl toasts a rose, and an Irish girl toasts a shamrock and Ireland.

  38. Jack was a sailor on board a whaler / Caroline Brennan

    Jack was a sailor on board a whaler / Caroline Brennan

    Jack was a sailor on board a whaler, song (Jack was a sailor on board of a whaler ...) This children’s son features a sailor named Jack. A friend asks him to pay a debt, and Jack responds, “You’ll have to wait till my ship comes in.” When Jack later survives a shipwreck and his friend makes the same demand, Jack gives the same excuse.  Though the song follows a standard verse-and-refrain form, the metric structure of the song is somewhat unusual: verses are sung in triple metre and choruses are in duple metre, matching shifts in the narration from third to first person.

  39. The lady in the east / Bride Judge

    The lady in the east / Bride Judge

    The lady in the east, song (There was a lady in the east …) This broadside ballad tells a tale of murder and heartbreak. A young woman falls in love with her father’s clerk; she persists with the romance despite her father’s objections. Her father then shoots her and her lover commits suicide. In Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3, Kenneth Peacock observes that this ballad seems to have survived mainly in Atlantic Canada (1965:726–8).

  40. Lobster salad (Paddy Kelly's dream), recitation / John Joe English

    Lobster salad (Paddy Kelly's dream), recitation / John Joe English

    Lobster salad (Paddy Kelly's dream), recitation (Last Saturday night I was invited …) This comic recitation describes the queue to get into heaven. Each new arrival is assessed by Saint Peter and is rejected from heaven for a variety of reasons. The last person to approach Saint Peter, Paddy from Ireland, plays a trick on St Peter in order to get into heaven.  John Joe English was known throughout the Cape Shore for his skills in drama and in performing dialogues. This performance of “Lobster Salad” demonstrates the flexibility of his voice and his capacity to enact different characters.

  41. Lonely Banna strand / Frankie Nash

    Lonely Banna strand / Frankie Nash

    Lonely Banna strand, song (Being on a Friday morning all in the month of May ...) This song tells the story of an incident that took place in the lead-up to Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. Sir Roger David Casement (1864–1916) attempted to gain German support for a rebellion against British rule. Due to a series of mishaps, the Irish rebels never received the arms that the Germans attempted to supply. Casement was arrested, tried for treason, and executed for his part in the plot.  Aidan O’Hara speculates that Frankie Nash probably learned this song from a Newfoundlander who served alongside an Irishman with nationalist sympathies at the end of the First World War. Many Newfoundlanders served in the British forces.

  42. The lovely Irish rose / Eta Nash

    The lovely Irish rose / Eta Nash

    The lovely Irish rose, song (A winding welard winds its way out to a lovely Irish home …) Composed by Fred Kearney of Carndonagh, Co Donegal, this song was available widely on commercial 78rpm records during the 1930s and ‘40s (McBride 1988:114–15). In more recent years, it was recorded by well-known Newfoundland singers Harry Hibbs (More Harry Hibbs, Arc Sound, 1968) and Eddie Coffey (Live at the Newfoundlander, Country Records, 1978).  Eta Nash learned “The lovely Irish rose” in order to sing it at a school concert.

  43. Mackenzie's dream / John Joe English

    Mackenzie's dream / John Joe English

    Mackenzie's dream, song (One night of late I chanced to stray, from a shore so far away ...) John Joe English learned this song from his uncle, John English. The protagonist of the song, Mackenzie, dreams of all the heroes of Erin standing together against tyranny.  At the end of John Joe’s performance, Aidan O’Hara speculates that the song’s origins might have been in the Young Ireland movement. The song is more widely known as the 19th-century Irish broadside ballad, “McKenna’s Dream.” John Joe sings the song in triple metre, a slowed-down version of the melody for “Suíl, a ghrá.”

  44. Me and me chum Johnny Riley / Frankie Nash

    Me and me chum Johnny Riley / Frankie Nash

    Me and me chum Johnny Riley, song  (One day as we went out for a walk …) Written by Newfoundland songwriter Johnny Burke (“The Bard of Prescott Street”), this song tells the story of two friends who share everything. While songs about a character named Reilly/Riley are popular in Ireland, England, and throughout North America, this song originates in Newfoundland (Partyka in Narváez 2006:11).

  45. Morrissey and the Russian bear / Denis McGrath

    Morrissey and the Russian bear / Denis McGrath

    Morrissey and the Russian bear, song (Come all ye gallant Irishmen wherever that you be …) This ballad relates the tale of 19th-century Irish prize-fighter Johnny Morrissey and a boxing match that lasted twenty-eight rounds between him and a Russian sailor

  46. The mountains of Mourne / Frankie Nash & Stephanie Nash

    The mountains of Mourne / Frankie Nash & Stephanie Nash

    The mountains of Mourne, song (Oh Mary this London's a wonderful sight ...) William Percy French (1854–1920) of Co. Roscommon wrote the lyrics to this song around 1896 on a postcard that he then sent to music-hall composer William Houston Collison. The song tells the story of an Irishman working away from home in London, recounting both the strange things he sees and his longing to be home. Newfoundland song scholar Anna Kearney Guigné writes: “The song’s mass appeal may be attributed more to modern media than tradition. The song was popularized by the Australian tenor Peter Dawson (1882–1961)” (2016:274). Dawson’s recordings apparently were in circulation in at least some Newfoundland localities.  To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Frankie Nash’s passing, his granddaughter, Stephanie Nash, used a field recording of Frankie singing “The Mountains of Mourne” in his kitchen as the basis of her version of the song. Her version, recorded in 2016, overdubs the original field recording.

  47. My boy Willie / John Joe English

    My boy Willie / John Joe English

    My boy Willie, song (The sailing trade is a weary life …) This English broadside ballad is also known as “The sailor boy” or “Sweet William.” It is widely anthologised and recorded, with variant versions transforming Willie from a sailor to a lumberjack. It recounts the pain of a woman who is left behind when a loved one goes to sea and dies far from home.  This song was among John Joe English’s favourite songs.

  48. The northeast gale / Denis McGrath

    The northeast gale / Denis McGrath

    The northeast gale, song (Ye hardy sons of Newfoundland pay attention to my song ...) Composed by Walt Young, this song tells the story of a gale that arose off the coast of Newfoundland on 18 June 1906. Several fishing craft from Placentia Bay that were fishing off Cape St Mary’s were caught in the storm and men were lost at sea.

  49. Only a face in the firelight / Petchie Nash & Frankie Nash

    Only a face in the firelight / Petchie Nash & Frankie Nash

    Only a face in the firelight, song (I was seated one night by the hearthstone ...) Written by American composer Charles Shackford, this song was recorded by tenor James McCool in 1904 (Victor 2732). This sentimental song describes someone dreaming of a deceased lover while slumbering by a fireside.

  50. Paddy in New York / John Joe English

    Paddy in New York / John Joe English

    Paddy in New York, song (Of an elderly man I'm going to tell you …) This comic song tells the story of an Irishman who goes to live in New York. Outraged when a barman overcharges for whiskey, he starts a fight, kills the barman, and is supported by other Irishmen in New York.

  51. Patrick Reilly / Emma Doyle

    Patrick Reilly / Emma Doyle

    Patrick Reilly, song (My name is Patrick Reilly and the truth I will make known …) This ballad relates the story of a certain Patrick Reilly, who plans to emigrate to America to seek his fortune. His sweetheart asks him not to leave, and then accuses him of attempted murder when he persists in his intent. Reilly is charged and sentenced to die. He never sees America.  Variants of this song exist throughout Newfoundland. For example, a version was published by Kenneth Peacock in Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 1 (1965:159–160). Another variant was collected by MacEdward Leach.

  52. Pinto / Denis Nash

    Pinto / Denis Nash

    Pinto, song (As I was riding one evening 'neath the starlite western sky…) This song is better known as “There’s a picture on Pinto’s Bridle,” recorded by Hank Snow in 1939.

  53. The plains of Easter Snow / James Connors

    The plains of Easter Snow / James Connors

    The plains of Easter Snow, song (As I roved for recreation beneath the falling dew …) In this romantic broadside ballad, the protagonist falls in love with a beautiful woman. His proposal ultimately is turned down, and the woman departs. Song collector Jim Carroll suggests  a possible explanation for the title and origin of the song:  “ ‘Estersnowe is the name of a townland in Roscommon. Originally the place was known by its Gaelic name Diseart Nuadhan (St. Nuadha's Hermitage) but in the process of adaptation to the English language in Elizabethan times, it became known as Issertnowne. By the nineteenth century the people, when speaking English, called it Estersnowe and rationalised that strange name into Easter Snow. In County Antrim where there is a strong Scots influence, the song is known as Wester Snow.”

  54. Quigley and Picco / Bernard Nash ; Tom Murphy

    Quigley and Picco / Bernard Nash ; Tom Murphy

    Quigley and Picco, song (Ye sons of Erin please pay attention …) Originally published in the St John’s Evening Telegram on 24 December 1891 (vol. 13/291:19) and reproduced as “Quigley on Picco” in James Murphy’s Old Songs of Newfoundland (1912), this song was composed by Johnny Quigley—the “Bard of Erin” (for details about Quigley and the history of this song, visit the GEST Song Index). During the 19th century, sectarian tensions marked Newfoundland society and politics. Though tensions between Catholic and Protestant populations were dissipated through political negotiations, power sharing, and alliances between partisans, there were moments of violence during the 1870s and ‘80s.  When Aidan O’Hara recorded “Quigley and Picco” a century later, those present remarked that one had to be careful about singing such songs; there was a time when performing it would have been considered treasonous.

  55. The schooner Annie / Caroline Brennan

    The schooner Annie / Caroline Brennan

    The schooner Annie, song (Young and old I pray make bold, and listen to my tale ...) Composed by Peter Leonard (1890–1964) under the title “Jim McCarthy,” this song recounts the story of a ship (the Annie) that left St John’s in 1915 with a cargo bound for Placentia Bay. The schooner was caught in a gale and, despite the best efforts of the crew, was eventually lost. The crew, however, was rescued by a passing ship, the Monarch.

  56. The schooner Mary Ann / Mike McGrath

    The schooner Mary Ann / Mike McGrath

    The schooner Mary Ann, song (Oh ye landsmen that live on the land, it's a little do you know …) Strong shipping links connected Newfoundland and New York during the 19th and early 20th centuries. This song tells the story of a smallpox outbreak on a ship travelling this route. In Songs of the Newfoundland Outports 3, Kenneth Peacock publishes the title of this song as “Bound down to Newfoundland” and observes that, though the subject matter might point to its being quite an old song, the reference to the Statue of Liberty dates its composition to after 1886 (1965:905–6).

  57. The scolding wife / Caroline Brennan

    The scolding wife / Caroline Brennan

    The scolding wife, song (I got married to a scolding wife about twenty years ago …) This broadside ballad is well known on both sides of the Atlantic (Guigné 2016:326). Though typically received as a comic song, it treats of a difficult theme: an abusive wife and the misery she brings on her husband.

  58. The shores of Grand Lake / Frankie Nash

    The shores of Grand Lake / Frankie Nash

    The shores of Grand Lake, song (One night as I sat in my own cozy corner …) This labour song describes the practice of subcontracting (“subbing”) in the lumberwoods of Newfoundland. The lyrics protest against the poor pay and conditions endured by woodsmen, specifically mentioning the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Company (“AND Company”) (Partyka in Narváez 2006:10).  This particular version seems to be a fusion of two related songs: its melody is that of “The track to Knob Lake” by Albert Roche (Roud Number 9811) and its lyrics closely resemble those of “Twin Lakes” (Roud Number 17693).

  59. Siúl a ghrá / Ellen Emma Power

    Siúl a ghrá / Ellen Emma Power

    Siúl a ghrá, song (Oh I'll go up in yonder hill …) Ellen Emma Power introduces this song as simply, “an Irish Song.” It tells the story of a woman whose lover has gone to France; she is left behind to wait for his unlikely return.  Though the Irish language had died out in Newfoundland by the early 20th century, certain words and phrases persist as evidence of the strong linkages between the two islands. In Ellen Emma Power’s performance, the pronunciation of the Irish words is phonetic only; the meanings of the words have been lost. 

  60. This is east / Frankie Nash

    This is east / Frankie Nash

    This is east, song (This east and this west; soon I’ll learn to say the rest …) This short children’s song is told from the perspective of a ten-year-old, bragging about all of the things he’s learned.  Frankie Nash learned this song for a school concert when he was only ten years old. He claimed that Aidan O’Hara was the first person outside of Branch to hear it.

  61. The true lovers' conversation / Henry Campbell

    The true lovers' conversation / Henry Campbell

    The true lovers' conversation, song (One pleasant evening as pinks and daisies, closed in their bosom a drop of dew …) This broadside ballad recounts an overheard conversation between two lovers. The woman questions the man’s fidelity and love. Eventually it is revealed that she fancies another who has wealth and fortune. The man rejects her and she retracts her statements, explaining that she was merely testing his love for her. In Shamrock, Rose and Thistle, song scholar Hugh Shields suggests that the text originates from an anonymous poet of Magheratimpany, Ballynahinch, Co Down (1981:155).  Henry Campbell learned this song from a woman named Kay Lynch—a nurse in Branch—who got it out of a songbook.

  62. Untitled singles / Gerald Campbell, accordion

    Untitled singles / Gerald Campbell, accordion

    Three singles. Singles are a tune type that is specific to Newfoundland dance music. They are similar to an Irish polka, but played at a faster tempo and with a heavy accent at the beginning of each bar.

  63. Just before the battle, mother / Ellen Emma Power

    Just before the battle, mother / Ellen Emma Power

    Just before the battle, mother, song (Just before the battle, mother, I am thinking most of you …) Composed by George Frederick Root, the sheet music for this song was originally published in Chicago in 1863. It was quite popular during the American Civil War, particularly among Unionist soldiers.