My Father's Old Sou'wester (Gerald S Doyle)
score, MIDI, videos


#1073: YouTube video by johndrakes
℗2007 ~ Used with permission ~


My memory often wandered back
when I was but a lad,
When the boats came in from fishing,
I ran to meet my dad;
He would take his old sou'wester off
and throw it ashore to me,
And I would put it on my head,
how happy I would be.

My father's old sou'wester
he wore in days gone by,
And every time he put it on
his face would beam with joy;
It reminds me of the happy days,
those happy days of old,
I would not part with that old hat
for the full of it in gold.

He wore it every Sunday,
he never liked a cap,
He wore it every Monday
when he went to haul the trap;
He wore it in the sunshine,
he wore it in the rain,
On Sunday and on Monday
he wore it just the same.

If that old hat could only speak,
what stories it would tell,
Would tell you of many's the time
he fought the raging swell;
It would tell you of the happy time
out on the squiddin' ground,
Wherever that my father went,
it was perched upon his crown.

And now he's dead and laid to rest,
he'll wear it nevermore,
For there's no stormy weather
over on the other shore;
He said to me before he died,
"There's one request I'll make,
Go take my old sou'wester hat
and wear it for my sake."

####.... William (Bill) Hollett [1916-2008], 1934 (See notes below) ....####
This variant published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (3rd Ed, pp.42-43, 1955).

The video above features a recording of a variant by John Drakes (Picture In A Frame, trk#6).

A variant was collected by MacEdward Leach, and published as #118, Old Southwester in Folk Ballads And Songs Of The Lower Labrador Coast by The National Museum of Canada (Ottawa, 1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also published on p.57 of Newfoundlanders, Sing!: A Collection Of Favorite Newfoundland Folk Songs compiled by Omar Blondahl and published for Robin Hood Flour Mills (E J Bonnell Associates, St John's, NL, 1964).

Posted on Flickr.com by Felip1, Professor of Folklore at Memorial University of Newfoundland [MUN] in St John's, NL, Jan 1, 2007:

Back in 1984 I was researching an old radio programme (from the 1930s) when I interviewed Bill Hollett about his songs, particularly My Father's Old Sou'wester. He wrote that song as a teenager for the radio show The Irene B Mellon in 1934; it was put to music by the renowned accordionist Jimmy Ring. It is one of the classic songs of Newfoundland nowadays and it comes as a surprise to many people to learn its author is still alive. A couple of weeks ago, Bill's son Bob contacted me and I went to visit Bill and his wife Lily again, now in their room at a local old people's home. Bill is 90 and his memory for those times is failing, though still sharp in many ways. He recited several of his songs and poems during my visit.
Afterword: Sadly, just three weeks after his 92nd birthday, Bill died in late March, 2008. He'll be missed.
From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Sou'wester - fisherman's waterproof hat with a broad brim, elongated and sloping at the back, with side flaps tied under the chin; also south-wester, southwester, cape ann, lincoln, oil hat.

The video below features a recording by Omar Blondahl (A Visit To Newfoundland With Omar Blondahl, , 1958 LP, trk#11, Rodeo International, ON; Distributed by London Records of Canada).

See more Omar Blondahl songs.

#1424: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
℗2010 ~ Used with permission ~


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