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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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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. 

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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 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).

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Transcript of '[Me and me chum Johnny Riley]' as sung by Frankie Nash / Aidan O'Hara

Me and me chum Johnny Riley, song (One day as I went out for a walk …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of '[Quigley and Picco]' as sung by Bernard Nash & Tom Murphy / Aidan O'Hara

Quigley and Picco, song (Oh ye sons of Erin, please pay attention to those few lines …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

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 'Golden bay' as sung by Anthony Power / Aidan O'Hara

Golden bay, song (In nineteen hundred and twelve, my boys for Golden Bay set sail …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.

Transcript of 'Grand lake' [The shores of Grand Lake] as sung by Frankie Nash / Aidan O'Hara

The shores of Grand Lake, song (One night as I sat in my old cosy corner …) A typed transcript based on Aidan O'Hara's field recording, with annotations and corrections by the collector.