MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Squid Jigging Ground
Maudie Sullivan NFLD 1 Tape 11 Track 2
Calvert Audio:

Oh this is the place where the fishermen gather
With oilskins and boots and Cape Annes battened down
All sizes and figures with squidlines and jiggers
They congregate here on the squid jigging ground

Some are working their jiggers while others are yarning
There's some standing up and there's more lying down
While all kinds of fun jokes and tricks are begun
As they wait for the squid on the squid jigging ground

There's men from the harbour and men from the tickle
In all kinds of motor-boats green grey and brown
There's a red-headed tory out here in a dory
A-runnin' down Squires on the squid jigging ground

There's men of all ages and boys in the bargain
There's old Billy Chafe and there's young Raymond Brown
Right yonder is Bobby and with him is Nobby
They're a-chawin' hard-tack on the squid jigging ground

The man with the whiskers is old Jacob Steele
He's getting' well up but he's still pretty sound
While Uncle Bob Hawkins wears three pairs of stockings
Whenever he's out on the squid jigging ground

God Bless my sou'wester there's Skipper John Chaffey
He's the best man at squid jigging here I'll be bound
Hello what's the row why he's jigging one now
The very first squid on the squid jigging ground

Holy Smoke what a bustle all hands are excited
It's a wonder to me that nobody is drowned
There's a bustle confusion a wonderful hustle
They're all jigging squid on the squid jigging ground

There's poor Uncle Billy his whiskers are spattered
With spots of the squid juice that's flying around
One poor little boy got it right in the eye
But they don't care a hang on the squid jigging ground

Says Bobby "The squid are on top of the water
I just got me jigger bout one fathom down
When a squid in the boat squirted right down me throat."
And he's swearing like mad on the squid jigging ground

Now if you ever feel inclined to go squidding
Leave your white shirts and collars behind in the town
And if you get cranky without a silk hanky
You'd better stay clear of the squid jigging ground


Sources: Mercer 181, Doyle, West 1:44. Recorded by a long list of people, including Harry Hibbs, Omar Blondahl, and Hank Snow. See Taft 94.

Composed as a high school project by Art Scammell at the age of 15, it was first published in Joey Smallwood's Book of Newfoundland in 1937. It was played on the Peace Tower carillon in Ottawa to mark the entry of Newfoundland into confederation in 1949 (Rosenberg in West 1:56). It is a "moniker" song naming local fishermen.

The tune resembles the Irish fiddle tune "Larry O'Gaff." A fast waltz, it is characterised by the opening octave descent and a pause on the sixth degree of the scale at the end of the second line. The tune may have influenced Wade Hemsworth's "Log Driver's Waltz."

Leach recorded four different versions of this, from Eddy Primroy of Pouch Cove, May Whalen of Cape Broyle, Maudie Sullivan of Calvert, and R. Sheaves of Port Aux Basques.

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