MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Harbour Le Cou
Mrs. Peter Mushrow NFLD 1 Tape 18 Track 4
Cape Ray Audio:
Newfoundland ballad / flirting sailor

As I strolled ashore from a schooner nearby
A maid on the beach I chanced for to spy
Her hair it was red and her bonnet was blue
And the place of her bedding was in Harbour Le Cou

Boldly I asked her to walk on the sand
She. she smiled like an angel and held out her hand
So I buttoned me Guernsey and hove way me chew
In the dark rolling waters of Harbour Le Cou

As we walked on the sand at the close of the day
I thought of me wife who was home in Torbay
I knew she would kill me if she only knew
I was courting a lassie in Harbour Le Cou

We passed a log cabin that stood on the shore
I met an old shipmate I knew of before
He greeted me kindly saying, "Jack, how are you?
'Tis seldom we see you in Harbour Le Cou."

I glanced at the maiden that stood by my side
Her face it drawn down and her mouth opened wide
And then like a cat upon me she flew
And I fled from the fury of Harbour Le Cou

Come all you young sailors who live on the shore
Beware of old shipmates that knew you of yore
Beware of the damsel with the bonnet of blue
And the pretty young maidens of Harbour Le Cou


Sources: Mercer 130: Peacock 198; Doyle 1955: 26 & 1966: 31; West 1: 14; for recordings by CJON Glee Club, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan, Gordon Pinsent, Omar Blondahl, Ed McCurdy, Alan Mills, see Taft 82.

History: Attributed to Jack Dodd of Torbay; Bill Brennan of Stock Cove, who learned the song in a lumbercamp, sang the song in 1951 for Kenneth Peacock who gave it to Gerald S. Doyle. Doyle subsequently incorporated it into his 1955 songster.

Text notes: Harbour Le Cou is in Southwest Newfoundland, near Port Aux Basques. The song text relates how a married man away from home, flirts with a girl from Harbour le Cou only to have a friend expose the deception by asking about "the missus and wee kiddies two" in the young girls' presence.   Rosenberg (in West 1, 55) notes that the theme would perhaps resonate in the isolated lumber camps where Brennan learned the song.

Tune notes: This tune is not the same as the more commonly known one published by West, but it has a similar contour and cadence notes. Phrases are abcd; the melody is in a major key in triple metre.

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