When The Caplin Come In (Ed McCurdy)
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#1311A: YouTube video by oldirishladdie
℗2010 ~ Used with permission ~

Oh, now is the time when the men are all ready,
With oil-skins and rubbers, their work to begin,
You bet they'll be busy and work till they're dizzy,
And live on the beach while the caplin is in.

Oh, here comes a crowd o'er the bridge by the water
And out by the pond here they come by the score,
And out through the valley they won't dilly-dally,
Down the hill to the beach till they get to the store.

There's some with long whiskers and some are bald-headed,
There's Dicks, Jims, and Billys, Joes, Georges, and Jacks,
From wee little laddies to big-headed Paddys,
All coming along with their nets on their backs.

Oh, how they all fuss as they scuffle and shuffle,
And hustle and bustle as they dart to and fro,
The caplin to slaughter they rush to the water
And toss their nets as they tuck every throw.

Some are laughing and joking, chewing and smoking,
And prancing around up and down on the strand,
While in from the ocean in rapid commotion,
The silvery-scaled caplin pile up on the sand.

Oh, here comes the horses backed out in their breeches,
Bedecked in gay colours, red, white, black and gray,
There's Macks and Maloneys with full-breeds and ponies,
Up over the beach, they are hauling away.

The laughter of kiddies is heard in the distance,
Oh, here they come romping in cute little bands,
In tri-colour dresses they tosses their tresses,
And laugh as the caplin pile up on the sands.

The boats are all gathered, the men getting ready,
With cast-nets and dip-nets, bait tubs and bait-hooks,
They're comin' and goin' and scullin' and rowin',
And twistin' and turnin' like eels in a brook.

There's some in the water like ducks in a puddle,
All splashing around like a crew in a wreck,
There's motor boats streaming while Johnny is screaming,
Oh, look Uncle Joe is gone out to his neck.

Hello, what's the matter, there's somebody bawling,
I was up all the night and I never went home,
It's old Uncle Martin, his cussin' and snortin',
Someone stole me caplin and now I got none.

Oh, hark, Uncle Billy is fussin' and cussin',
Me net is all tangled and tattered and torn,
A tuck full o' caplin got hitched in a grapnel,
And now me old net is gone right from the horn.

He lost all his fishes, oh boy he looks vicious,
He's chewin' o' baccy, there's juice on his chin,
There's spawn on his whiskers, his hands are all blisters,
He lived on the beach since the caplin came in.

Now caplin shy off, here comes a young feller,
You're too late, me boys, says old Dick with a yawn,
Look o' Nathie and Harold, they got forty barrel,
If you want to haul caplin get up before dawn.

When the school is all over, an old fellow bellows,
As he tosses his net on his back with a grin,
Come ladies and lasses to the beach with your glasses,
If you want to see fun when the caplin comes in

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song to the tune of Art Scammell's Squid-Jigging Ground ....####
Published in Gerald S Doyle's Old-Time Songs And Poetry Of Newfoundland: Songs Of The People From The Days Of Our Forefathers (3rd edition, pp.85-86, 1955). The first eight verses were also published on page 30 of Songs Of Newfoundland, a complimentary booklet of lyrics to 21 songs distributed by the Bennett Brewing Co Ltd, of St John's, with the cooperation of the Gerald S Doyle Song Book from which the above lyrics were obtained.

The video above features a recording by Ed McCurdy (Homeward Bound, A Selection of Canadian Folklore, Rodeo RLP 102).

Ed McCurdy was an American folk singer, songwriter, and television actor, born 11 January 1919 in Willow Hill, Franklin County, PA, USA, and died 23 March 2000 in Halifax, NS, Canada.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Caplin - small, iridescent deep-water fish (Mallotus villosus) like a smelt which, followed by the cod, appears inshore during June and July to spawn along the beaches, and is netted for bait, for manuring the fields, or dried, salted, smoked, or frozen for eating.

The video below features Kathy Madigan on Trout River Beach, NL, dipping caplin for the first time on June 15, 2016.

#1311B: YouTube video by Mike Madigan
℗2016 ~ Used with permission ~


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