Taking Back Gear In The Night (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Taking Gear In The Night (Lehr/Best)

Come all you good people and listen you might,
It's only a ditty I'm going to write,
It's only a ditty and I'm sure it's all right,
'Tis all about taking back gear in the night.

The first take-off engine I think it is slick
When pushing us through at a mighty full tick,
With the stars all above and the moon shining bright,
All hands are bound out to take gear in the night.

The next man I'll mention it is Little Toss,
He left about three o'clock to go across,
When the wind from the southeast it came up to blow
Then back to the island Little Toss he did go.

Jerry Fudge is my name, b'ys, 'tis I made this song,
I'll sing it to you and it won't take me long,
I'll sing it to you, it's the best I can do,
There's nobody knows what our ships they go through.

Now fishing's all over so late in the fall,
The b'ys are bound homeward to drink their alcohol,
And as they were leaving, I heard them all say:
Cheerio to old Pemminums [sic] while we are away.

####.... Original Newfoundland song written by Jeremiah (Jerry) Fudge [1927-?] of Burnt Islands & McCallum, NL. ....####

This variant was collected in 1959 by Kenneth Peacock from Kenneth Pink [1938-?] of Rose Blanche, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, pp.145-146, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Kenneth Peacock noted that fishermen often set up seasonal quarters on off-shore islands to be nearer the fishing grounds. He wrote that 'Pemminums' is one such island near Cape La Hune on the south coast of Newfoundland, but he was unable to find it on the map and spelled it the way the singer pronounced it. Peacock went on to note that this unassuming little song tells of a group of fishermen taking back their fishing gear at the end of the fishing season in the fall. He commented that offshore islands are also very good places to set up stills, so the 'gear' was probably not completely concerned with fishing. In other variants the author's name was sung as 'Jerry' Fudge and the island was called 'Penguin' Island.

The twelve-verse original of this song was collected in 1977 from Jerry Fudge of McCallum, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #105, Taking Gear In The Night in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.180-181, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that she recorded this song from the composer, Mr Jerry Fudge, of McCallum, Southwest coast. He wrote the song during his time as lightkeeper on the Penguin Islands where he spent many years. It describes the hardships that fishermen endure while risking their lives to earn a living from the sea. 'Taking gear in the night' simply means 'fishing in the dark' which makes the work extremely hazardous.

See more songs by Lehr and Best

Another variant was published as #18, Taking Gair In The Night, by Edith Fowke (editor) with Keith MacMillan (music consultant) in The Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (1973).

There is also a 12-verse variant of Taking Gair in the Night in Edith Fowke's Traditional Singers and Songs from Ontario (Folklore Associates, 1965). She collected it from Albert Simms in February, 1958. Simms was born and learned his songs in Newfoundland. In her notes Fowke says that this is a local Newfoundland song that Albert Simms learned about 1928. Albert said that he knew Jerry Fudge, the man who made up the song; he was a young fisherman about 23 years of age. Fowke continues to note that although Taking Gair in the Night was a local song, it has survived in tradition for at least 30 years: in 1959 Kenneth Peacock found a shorter version of it in Rose Blanche, NL. Finally, Fowke notes that the young Canadian singer, Karen James, had recently [c.1965] recorded it as she learned it from Fowke's tape of Mr Simms.

Another variant was recorded by Simani on a revision of their original 1987 album (Music & Friends, trk#7, 1999, SWC Productions, Belleoram, NL).


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