MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

The North Shoreman’s Line

John James NFLD 2 Tape 10 Track 13
Trepassey Audio:

Now as l rode out on one morning in May
To view those poor labourers down on the railway
The birds they did whistle the sun it did shine
As l rode for amusement on the North Shoreman's Line

I met an old man from the head of the Bay
He had been eight summers down on the railway
Good morning old man, and isn't it fine
How do you like the people on the North Shoremen's Line

The old man he gazed on me wit’ sad sad surprise
l knew by devil that's he in his eye
And now l will tell you since I have got time
They're the red roaring devils on the North Shoremen's line

For boiling your kettle they charge you five cents
And fifty to stick up a camp by their fence
To sew in a bottom(?) they charge you a dime
For that is the rule on the North Shoremen's line

You'll go into a shop your groceries to buy
The old woman she'll nod and she’ll then wink her eye
Sayin now we have got them and isn’t it fine
They're the devils own on the North Shoremen's line

You'll go into a shop your milk for to buy
They'll say it's the best ever came from a cow
Tis flour and water and mixed up so fine
They'll sell for milk on the North Shoremen's line

Oh 'tis for the pork my God it is bad
Like and molasses twould near drive you mad
It is for the flour tis like the slaked lime
Twould give you consumption on the North Shoremen's line

Now l' Il go home to the head of the bay
No more from my Collier's no more will I stray
I’ll sit myself down like any that's(?) fine
And think on the people on the North Shoremen's line


Text: A passenger on a railway speaks to one of the workers, who explains the harsh conditions and exorbitant prices for basic supplies to which the workers are subjected.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody is repeated by the verse. The meter is in 6/8 and the key is C# major with a range of a minor 9th.

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