The Jam On Gary's Rock (MacEdward Leach)
MIDI, score, video

See also: The Jam On Jerry's Rock (Ryan's Fancy)
music score

#1826: YouTube video by Banjerholler
℗2012 ~ Used with permission ~


Come all of you young shanty boys,
come listen to my song,
Hear my sad lamentation,
it won't delay you long;
It's all about six shanty boys,
so proud and so brave,
'twas in a jam on Gary's Rock
where they met a watery grave.

It was on a Sunday morning,
as you will quickly hear,
Our logs were piled up mountains high,
we could not keep them clear;
Our foreman said, "Turn out brave boys,
with hearts so brave and bold,
We'll break the jam on Gary's Rock
To Ellingtown we'll steer."

Some of them were willing,
and some of them were not,
To work on jams on Sunday,
they did not think they ought;
Till six of our Canadian boys
did volunteer to go,
For to break the jam on Gary's Rock
with their foreman, young Munroe.

They did not roll up many logs
when they heard his young voice say,
"I'll warn you boys be on your guard,
this jam will soon give way."
These words were scarcely spoken
when the jam did break and go
It carried away those six brave boys
with their foreman, young Munroe.

The rest of those bold shanty boys,
the sad news they did hear,
In search of their brave comrades,
to the river they did steer;
Among their mangled bodies,
a-floating down did go,
'twas dead and bleeding on the bank
their foreman, young Munroe.

They took him from his watery grave,
brushed back his curly hair,
There was one fair girl among them
whose sad cries filled the air;
There was one fair girl among them
who came from Signal town,
Whose moans and sighs would fill the skies,
her true love had gone down.

Fair Clara being a noble girl,
the river man's true friend,
Who with her widowed mother dear,
lived near the river's bend;
The wages of her own true love,
the boys to her did pay,
While the shanty boys made up for her
a generous purse next day.

We buried him in silence,
'twas on the first of May,
In a grave whereby the riverside,
there grew an 'emlock grey;
Engraved upon that 'emlock
that by the grave did grow,
Was the name and date and the sad fate
of our foreman, young Munroe.

Clara did not long survive,
her heart broke with her grief,
'twas scarcely six months afterwards
death came to her relief;
And when her time at last had come
and she was called to go,
Her last request was granted,
to be laid by young Munroe.

####.... Variant of a traditional lumber camp ballad, The Jam On Gerry's Rock [Laws C1] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####
Sung in 1950 by Michael (Mike) A Kent [1904-1997] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published as Jam On Jerry's Rock in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada, ©2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

The video above features the singing of Tom Brandon to a very similar variant collected in 1977 by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best from John S (Jack) Lushman, Sr [1940-?] of Ramea, NL, and published as #57 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.102-103, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press ©1985/2003).

Tom Brandon was born in 1927, in Midland, ON. From men in winter lumber camps he learned many songs which appear on the LP Lumbering Songs From The Ontario Shanties (FM-4052) 1961, a compilation album by many artists, trk#A2, Folkways Records, published in Edith Fowke's 1965 Traditional Singers And Songs From Ontario.

Genevieve Lehr noted that this extremely popular song has been sung in lumber camps throughout the United States, Canada, and Newfoundland. It is a song that 'everybody' seems to know.

See more Lehr and Best songs.

A very similar variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Nicholas J Keough [1914-1979] of Parson's Pond, NL, and published as The Jam At Garby's Rock in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 3, pp.752-753, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was also recorded as Jam At Gerry's Rock by Wade Hemsworth (Folk Songs Of The Canadian North Woods, ©1955, trk#4, Folkways Records & Service Corp, New York, NY, FW 6821, Library of Congress Catalogue Card No R 55-370).

A variant was also arranged and recorded as The Jam On Jerry's Rock by Ryan's Fancy (Songs From The Shows, trk#9, Avondale Music, St John's, NL).

See more Ryan's Fancy songs.

See more NL lumber camp songs.


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