The Fisher Who Died In His Bed
(Kenneth Peacock) score

sheet music

Old Jim Jones, the fisher, the trapper, the trawler,
Jim Jones, the fish-killin' banker is dead;
No fisherman surely never stepped in a dory,
Like Jim Jones, the fisher, who died in his bed.

Was there any old fellow tied sods or made bobbers,
And set out his trawls in the dark it is said?
No fisherman ever braved such stormy weather,
Like Jim Jones, the trawler, who died in his bed.

Jim Jones, he would surely go out in a dory,
And set out his traps all weighed down with lead;
No fisher from Sidon
hauled traps with such tide on,
As Jim Jones, the trapper, who died in his bed.

In the foggiest of weather he'd set out the leader,
But who in the devil this side of the Head,
Could haul up such codfish or pick out the dogfish,
Like old skipper Jones who died in his bed?

There was never such a salter this side of the water,
There never was such a glutton
for eatin' cods' heads;
There never was a crackie who could chaw tobaccy,
Like old skipper Jones who died in his bed.

Was there any old fisher or any old fellow,
Cut throats or split fish or tear off the head?
For I'm darned if I ever saw one who'd pick liver,
So fast as our skipper who died in his bed.

Is there any old fellow this side of the harbour,
Sailed straight out the harbour
or tacked 'round the Head?
It would make you all frantic to sail the Atlantic,
With old skipper Jones who died in his bed.

His fishing days ended, his traps are unmended,
His trawls are all rotten, his fishing boat sunk;
And his days as a rover are finished and over,
Old skipper Jim Jones who died in his bunk.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####
Collected in 1961 by Kenneth Peacock from Patrick J Rossiter [1900-1980] of Fermeuse, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.127-128, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

An identical variant was published by Edith Fulton Fowke (Literary Editor) and Richard Johnston (Music Editor) in Folk Songs Of Canada (Waterloo Music Company, Waterloo, ON, 1955).

Kenneth Peacock noted that this is one of the finest native songs to come out of Newfoundland, sung by one of her very best singers. To the uninitiated, Jim Jones may appear to have led a life of variegated careers: trapper, trawler, fisher, banker. Peacock hoped people would not be too disappointed to find out that these were all occupations concerned with catching of the common cod. He explained that a trap is a huge box-shaped net suspended from surface floats and weighted with lead (verse three). A leader net (verse four) guides the fish through one opening. For some reason, he wrote, most of the fish keep going around inside the net, always missing the opening when they pass it. Trap nets are used in the relatively calm weather of the summer months. Trawls are multi-hooked and baited lines attached to a buoy or bobber. They can be used in rougher weather - though not too rough, Jim Jones to the contrary. A banker is a fisherman who fishes on the Grand Banks, or lesser banks of the North Atlantic (Peter's Banks, George's Banks). A 'crackie' is a small dog, like a Pomeranian, and 'salter' in the same verse refers to the process of preserving fish with salt.

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Banker - ¹ a vessel engaged in cod-fishing on the Newfoundland offshore grounds, especially the Grand Banks; ² a fisherman engaged in the offshore or 'bank' fishery; ³ the owner or operator of an offshore fishing vessel.
Crackie - a small, noisy mongrel dog; frequently in phrase 'saucy as a cracky,' applied to a person who usually has a saucy tongue or a person who will answer back.
Leader - a length of net stretching from the shore to a cod-trap to guide fish onto the entrance; leading net.

From Wikipedia:
Ancient Phoenician town whose name probably meant fishery or fishing town. Today, the fishing in the city of Sidon remains active with a newly opened fishery that sells fresh fish by bidding every morning. The ancient basin was transformed into a fishing port, while a small quay was constructed to receive small commercial vessels.


Index Page
GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here