The Lumber Camp Song (Greenleaf & Mansfield)

See also: Double Sledder Lad (Payne & O'Byrne)
#1385: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
℗2010 ~ Used with permission ~


Come all you jolly fellows and listen to my song,
It's all about the shanty boys
and won't delay you long;
We're the jolliest good bunch of fellows
that ever you could find,
And how we spend our winter months
is hurling down the pine.

At four o'clock in the morning the boss he will shout,
"Heave out my jolly teamsters,
it's time to be on the route."
The teamsters they all jump up
all in a frightened way,
"Where is me boots? Where is me pants?
Me socks is gone astray!"

The next gets up is the choppers,
whose socks they cannot find,
They blames it on the teamsters
and swear with all their mind;
Some other man may have them on
and he be standing near,
Laugh it off all with a joke and have a hearty cheer.

At six o'clock it's breakfast and ev'ry man is out,
And if a man he is not sick,
he's sure to be on the route;
There's sawyers and choppers to lay the timber low,
There's swampers and loggers to drag it to and fro.

"Crack! Smack! goes my whip; I whistle and I sing,
I sit upon my double sleigh as happy as a king;
My horse is always ready, and I am never sad,
There's no one else so happy
as the double-sleigher lad."

The next comes is the loader, all at the break of day,
"Load up my slide, five hundred feet,
to the river drive away."
You can hear those axes ringing
until the sun goes down,
"Hurrah, my boys! The day is spent.
To the shanty we are bound."

We all arrive at the shanty, cold hands and wet feet,
We there pull off our larrigans, our supper for to eat;
We sing and dance till nine o'clock,
then to our bunks we climb,
Those winter months they won't be long
in hurling down the pine.

The springtime rolls around, and the boss he will say,
"Heave down your saws and axes,
b'ys, and help to clear away;
The floating ice it is all gone
and business is arrived,
Two hundred able-bodied men
are wanted on the drive."

The springtime rolls around and glad will be the day,
When folks relate unto their friends,
who wander back that way;
So now my song is ended
and don't you think it's true?
But if you doubt one word of it,
just ask one of our crew.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional lumber camp song ....####
Collected in 1920 from Samuel Roberts with words added by Maude Roberts and Joan Endacott of Sally's Cove, NL, and published as #159 on pp.321-322 in Ballads And Sea Songs Of Newfoundland, by Elisabeth Bristol Greenleaf and Grace Yarrow Mansfield (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1933; Folklore Associates, Hatboro, PA, 1968).

A very similar variant was collected in 1959 from Martin Deveau of Upper Ferry, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published as Hurling Down The Pine in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.750-751, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this is a very good version of a lumber camp song found all over northeastern North America. Evidence so far collected on its background suggests a New Brunswick or perhaps Maine origin.

The video above features a recording of a short variant by The Terra Novans, a group of a dozen business and professional men, who had been singing together for two years. They were all experienced choir singers, finding a welcome relaxation from everyday activity in singing folk songs (We'll Rant And We'll Roar, 1966 LP, trk#9, St John's NL).

See more NL lumber camp songs.


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