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Entries Related To: disaster

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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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).

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Transcript of 'Georgie's banks' [Georges banks] as sung by Henry Campbell & Gerald Campbell / Aidan O'Hara

Georges banks, song (Ye roving sons of Newfoundland I hope ye will draw near …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of 'The Brave volunteer' as sung by Henry Campbell / Aidan O'Hara

The Brave volunteer, song (One cold stormy night in the month of December …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of 'The stream of cancer' [Drunken captain] as sung by Dermot Roche / Aidan O'Hara

Drunken captain, song (In the stream of cancer, our good ship lay …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector. Though Aidan records the title as 'The stream of cancer,' Dermot Roche's daughter, Karen Sarro, identifies the lyrics as 'The drunken captain'--a song that her father and elder brother regularly performed.