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The major recurring theme in these folksongs from Maine and Maritime Canada is the flow of cultural products and people within the area of New Hampshire, Maine, and eastern Canada. But while this cultural and demographic exchange helped define the region, it did not mean there was no rivalry or animosity between states, provinces, or nations.
1. Come all ye jolly lumbermen, and listen to my song, But do not get discouraged, the length it is not long, Concerning of some lumbermen, who did agree to go And spend one pleasant winter up in Canaday-I-O.
2. It happened late one season in the fall of fifty-three, That a preacher of the gospel one morning came to me; Says he: “My jolly fellow, how would you like to go And spend one pleasant winter up in Canaday-I-O?”
3. To him I quickly made reply, and unto him did say: “In going out to Canaday depends upon the pay. If you will pay good wages, my passage to and fro, Then I think I’ll go along with you to Canaday-I-O.”
4. “Yes, we will pay good wages, and will pay your passage out, Provided you sign papers that you will stay the route; But if you do get homesick, and swear that home you’ll go, We never can your passage pay from Canaday-I-O.”
5. It was by his gift of flattery he enlisted quite a train, Some twenty-five or thirty, both well and able men; We had a pleasant journey o’er the road we had to go ‘Til we landed at Three Rivers, up in Canaday-I-O.
6. But there our joys were ended, and our sorrows did begin; Fields, Phillips, and Norcross they then came marching in; They scattered us all directions, some where I do not know, Among those jabbering Frenchmen up in Canaday-I-O.
7. After we had suffered there some eight or ten long weeks We arrived at headquarters, up among the lakes; We thought we’d find a paradise, at least they told us so, God grant there may is no worse a hell than Canaday-I-O!
8. To describe what we have suffered here is beyond the art of man, But to give a fair description I will do the best I can; Our food the dogs would snarl at, our beds were on the snow, We suffered worse than murderers up in Canaday-I-O.
9. But now our lumbering is over and we are returning home, To greet our wives and sweethearts and never more to roam, To greet our friends and neighbors; we tell them not to go To that gosh darn forsaken place called Canaday-I-O.
Robert French, Sister Poulin, Canaday-I-O, Franklin, Maine, satire, loggers, lumberwoods, lumbercamp, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, English, sea song, Caledonia, The Buffalo Skinners, Roud, Laws
For “Canaday-I-O” see Eckstorm, Fannie Hardy and Mary Winslow Smyth. Minstrelsy of Maine: Folk-Songs and Ballads of the Woods and the Coast. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927, 21-25; Gray, Ronald Palmer. Songs and Ballads of the Maine Lumberjacks with Other Songs from Maine. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1924, 37-40; Linscott, Eloise Hubbard. Folk Songs of Old New England. New York: MacMillan Co., 1939, 181-83; Fowke, Edith. Lumbering Songs from the Northern Woods. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970, 28-29; & Fowke, Edith Fulton and Richard Johnston. Folk Songs of Canada. Waterloo, Ontario: Waterloo Music Company, 1954, 68-69. For “Canada-I-O” see Leach, MacEdward. Folk Ballads and Songs of the Lower Labrador Coast. Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1965, 230-31; Huntington, E. G. Sam Henry’s Songs of the People. Revised, with additions and indexes by Lani Herrmann. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990, 333-34. Also see Laws. G. Malcolm. Native American Balladry. Philadelphia: The American Folklore Society, 1964, 155 (C17); & discussion in Ives, Edward D. Larry Gorman: The Man Who Made the Songs. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 1993, 170, 181.
Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Oral History
French, Robert. 1962. “Canaday-I-O.” NA331, CD5.11. Northeast Archives of Folklore and Oral History, Raymond H. Fogler Special Collections Department, University of Maine.