MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Squid Jigging Ground
R. Sheaves NFLD 1 Tape 17A Track 9
Port Aux Basques Audio:

Oh this is the place where the fishermen gather
With oilskins and boots and Cape Anns buttoned down
In all kinds of figures with squid lines 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 some 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 there's men from the tickle
In all kinds of motorboats: green grey and brown
There's a red tory out here in a dory
A-running 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 chawing hard tack on the squid jigging ground

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

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

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

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

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

Now if you ever feel inclined to go squidding
Leave your white shirt and collar back home in the town
And if you get cranky without a silk hanky
You'd better steer clear of the squid jigging ground


Sources: Mercer 181; Doyle 1940:66 and later editions; Scammell 1940:9; West 1:44; for recordings by CJON Glee Club, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan, Gerry Reeves, Winston Saunders, A.R. Scammell, John White, Omar Blondahl, Oscar Brand, George Hamilton IV, Ed McCurdy, Bill McKay, Alan Mills, Hank Snow, Tom Jim & Garth, Travellers, and the Irish Rovers, see Taft 94. See article by in The Broadside , 2004.

History: Composed as a high school project in 1928 by Art Scammell at the age of 15;   first published in 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).

Text notes: A "moniker" song naming local fishermen.

Tune notes: Resembles the Irish fiddle tune "Larry O'Gaff." A fast waltz, characterized by an opening octave descent and a pause on the sixth degree of the scale at the end of the second line.   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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