A Crowd Of Bold Sharemen (Kenneth Peacock) video
#2556: YouTube video by raymondcrooke
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

On the tenth day of June, boys, as we sailed away,
The wind was sou'west as we ran out the bay;
The Morris being lively, we had to move to;
We had a young skipper, likewise a young crew,
And a crowd of bold sharemen.

We ran down off Conche and got jammed in the ice,
Three days we were there and things didn't look nice;
For we were going fishing in the Straits of Belle Isle,
Our skipper wouldn't give us one darn sop of oil,
To a crowd of bold sharemen.

We said to our skipper when we arrived in Quirpon,
There's seven big puncheons you never will full;
For we mean to throw all the livers away,
And these were the words that our skipper did say,
We'll go home again, boys.

You'll go home again, sir, but that's not the thing,
There's seven of our boys you brought down here this spring;
You said we'd go fishing in the Straits of Belle Isle,
And if you don't do it we'll have you on trial,
As a crowd of bold sharemen.

The eighteenth of June, boys, when we left Quirpon,
The Morris being lively, for the berths we were bound;
Our skipper he carried the mainsail too long,
And rounding Cape Charles, sling goes our main boom,
And a crowd of bold sharemen.

We took in our mainsail and then bore away,
'Twas in L'Anse au Loup where we anchored that day;
The day it being Sunday we all went below,
The wind from the westward a gale it did blow,
On a crowd of bold sharemen.

We all went ashore for to get some pitch pine,
To fix up our main boom we were well inclined;
And now said our skipper, ye'd better begin,
For when the fog lightens we'll try her again,
As a crowd of bold sharemen.

The twentieth of June, as we left L'Anse au Loup,
'Twas out through the tickle the Morris she flew;
On Saturday evening our anchors went down,
And on Monday morning the prime berths were found,
By a crowd of bold sharemen.

As we were a-fishing on Shecateco,
We said to the header, the liver must go;
And up speaks our skipper, what do ye mean to do?
But the answer we gave him I think we told you,
As a crowd of bold sharemen.

Then up speaks our skipper in a sort of a way,
If ye don't pick liver it's for each ye'll pay;
And there we told him that we were aware,
Before we'd pick livers we'd last our two year,
As a crowd of bold sharemen.

A crowd of bold sharemen but one he backed out,
For to pick livers he thought it was right;
And there we told him to choose his own mind,
And he could pick livers if he felt inclined,
Not a crowd of bold sharemen.

We said to our skipper, what do you expect,
For us to go filling all the puncheons on deck?
Go home in the fall, hoist 'em out on your wharf,
And then you will tell us we can't claim our part,
As a crowd of bold sharemen.

You got the wrong crew, sir, I'll tell you in time,
For we don't intend to do nothing of the kind;
We won't touch a puncheon or a liver at all,
And you'll have to hoist 'em yourself in the fall,
Not a crowd of bold sharemen.

####.... Lyrics and music by John Campbell Mitchell [1898-1928] of Little Bay Islands, Notre Dame Bay, NL, ca.1915 ....####
A variant was 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.113-115, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Note: "The Morris might be the Helen C Morris, a schooner from Little Bay Islands owned by one of the Wiseman Brothers." ~ Per Gerry Strong (flute, tin whistle, and vocals in the band, A Crowd Of Bold Sharemen, which takes its name from this song of the sea.)

From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English:
Shareman - member of a fishing crew who receives a stipulated proportion of the profits of a voyage rather than wages.

Kenneth Peacock noted that the controversy in this ballad is the result of the captain's refusal to share the profits of the cod liver oil. When the fish were cleaned, the livers were thrown into large barrels and allowed to ferment for several weeks. The crude oil was skimmed off and sold through fishing merchants to pharmaceutical houses where it was refined to the familiar product bought in drug stores. Peacock further noted that it was through simple ballads like this one that cold economic and social statistics can be appreciated in human dimensions.

For another song about sharemen, see Fishing On The Labrador by Moses (Uncle Mose) Harris [1911-?] of Lethbridge, NL.


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