On Christmas Eve the craft did leave as loud the winds did roar
A place we'll call the Horrid Gulch six hundred feet or more
While strong men on the hilltop stood to lower him over cliff
Then Alfred made another dash while angry seas did roar
(speaks) That's all I knows
[tape stops and starts]
The news was soon in town next day about the Water Witch
(speaks) That's all I knows of it.
History: The Pouch Cove ship, the Water Witch, struck a cliff and sank on November 29, 1875. Anita Best notes that "although some of the facts in the song are askew, the story unfolds as it should and the heroes are honoured as heroes should be" (liner notes, Crosshanded ).
Text notes: The story of this daring rescue is related from the perspective of one of the fishermen, Alfred Moores, and Leach collected this version from his son . This song immediately followed the story of the event as told by the protagonist's son.
Tune notes: This beautiful mixolydian mode tune is usually sung with a great deal of rhythmic freedom. Bruno Nettl, the transcriber of the tune, has tried to convey some of the singer's ornamentation. The tune on this website is not the same as the one recorded by Anita Best.
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