MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Callahan
Performed by Pat Sullivan Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 1A Track 5
Community: Calvert Audio:
Genre: Ballad: storm at sea  

Transcription

It being in the depth of winter I'll ne'er forget the day
With Callahan in the Hilton on the Western banks we lay
It being foggy in the morning just at the peep of light
When we went down to haul our traps we turned up all right

"Come bait 'em up again me boys!" we heard our skipper say
"There's halibut here and we must try and run once more today!"

The second time that we went out it wasn't fit to go
With a wind southeast and breezing up and every sign of snow
Our trawls they lay to loo'ard of us we told our skipper so
And that our chances were but small if it came on to blow

Come double bank to little bud try all your skill and might
Sure if you go down astern you won't go out of sight
Three men go in a dory if the bad then comes to worse
We'll … astern so that you won't get lost

When we were done the parlaying the snow was falling thick
With a wind southeast and breezing up I tell you I was sick
We got our … t'was as much as we could do
And just as we had sighted her our oar he broke in two

We then came to an anchor all for to ride it out
Our buoy line it soon parted we all know they are not stout
We rigged a jig of halibut and threw them in the sea
For she would not lie stem to head we could not keep her free

You may talk of the courage of soldiers they are the bravest lads
But the courage of the Gloucester fishermen I'm sure they are the best


NOTES

Sources:

History: Possibly this references the great storm on George's Banks, in 1862, when fifteen ships from Gloucester were lost. (See "Fifteen Men Lost on George's Bank"), but in this version, the sailors live to tell the tale.

Text notes: Gloucester fishermen face peril in a snowstorm.

Tune notes: Fast tempo is rare for such a dramatic narrative. The tune bears some resemblance to that used for "Coaker's Dream" in this collection.

 

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