Reid's Express (Kenneth Peacock)

You'll get on board of Reid's Exprss
to travel the icy rail,
You'll think you're in some liner
out in some heavy gale;
You're rolled about and tossed about
as you may understand,
The station's below at Badger Brook,
you'll take your grip in hand.

The station's below at Badger Brook,
you'll take your grip in hand,
The foreman's there so anxiously
a-waiting on the stand,
Saying, "I am short-handed, sir,
will you come and camp with me?
And if you ask the wages
we'll promise twenty-three."

Twenty-three dollars is not enough
for a bushman I am sure,
Twenty-three dollars for three months
and twenty-six for four;
You'll sweat and toil from dawn till dark,
you'll work just like a slave,
Your system cannot stand it, b'ys,
'twill carry you to your grave.

And if you chance to ship for cook
'tis then you will begin,
I want you to do your utmost, sir,
to satisfy those men;
The first man kicks about the grub,
oh cook come into me,
We'll give him dirty paper
and rate him twenty-three.

Oh, now my song is ended
and all is put in rhyme,
I'll bid adieu to the lumbering woods,
the pulpwood, and the pine;
My parents reared me tenderly,
I being their only son,
When I gets home no more I'll roam
and the lumbering woods I'll shun.

####.... Author unknown. Traditional Newfoundland song ....####

Collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Levi Everett Bennett [b.1899] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.757-758, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that 23 dollars for three months' work amounts to about $1.77 per week, an incredible wage even in the early part of the twentieth century. Badger Brook is near the site of the loggers' strike in 1959 when the right of an American-controlled union to organize Newfoundland loggers was questioned by the government in power. For a ballad about the strike see The Loggers' Plight. Since the first line of verse two was missing on the recording, Peacock used the last line of the previous verse to complete the rhyming scheme.

See more lumber camp songs from NFLD.


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