MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Liquor Book
Eddy Primroy NFLD 1 Tape 14 Track 7
Pouch Cove Audio:
Comic song Mr. Primroy accompanies himself on guitar

After three long years of working sure there finally came a day
When my three weeks of holiday for my trip around the bay
Sure I tore off my overalls and rushed up in my [quay]
For I promised to get a drop of stuff to take along with me

After three long weeks of waiting and goodness knows I tried
With a half a dollar in my hand I finally got inside
I walked up to the wicket along with many more
Such names and occupations sure I never heard before

There were young men there with curly hair and old men with bald heads
Some pretty looking females and old maids with wooden legs
Young men with whiskers on their chin with disappointed looks
Whose faces growing longer as they waited for their books

Then a big policeman came along and he lined us up in twos
He had a billy in his band sure none of us refused
[…]
Twas then I learnt they're trying to get a book to get a drink

[…]
By Jove said he I might have sent my grandson here instead
[…]
[…] their waiting for their books

Too late to go around the bay my book I finally got
I bought myself a bottle of screech and drank the whole damn lot
I went right out just like a light dead to the world it seems
And boy oh boy while I was out what queer old things I dreamed

I saw Adam eating the apple […]
[…]
King Solomon trying to count his wives […]
[…] don't make any wonder if I never drink again


Notes

Sources: Mercer 146 and 113 ("Did you get your liquor book"); for recordings by Newfoundland Showband, Dick Nolan, see Taft 87.

History: Newfoundland song. During prohibition in Newfoundland, alcohol was only available to those with a prescription for it (which everyone, it seems, was able to get). The "liquor book" was part of this bureaucratic process required to buy even the smallest bottle of alcohol.

Text notes: Comic song about the lineups to get a bottle of screech.

Tune notes: This song uses the first four lines of the tune of "Killigrew's Soiree." A 6/8 metre, major melody, in abab form. [Throughout the song the guitar was a good deal louder than the voice and much of the words are almost impossible to hear]

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