MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada

The Riverhead Launching

Nicholas Davis NFLD 2 Tape 16 Track 4
St. Shott's Audio:
Moniker Song

To the Riverhead la’nchin' on Jubilee day
Came the men of St. Mary's and all round the bay
They came from the Gaskiers, Coot’s Pond and Mal Bay
To help Uncle Steve to get his craft underway

There was custom-house officer, magistrate too
They both turned out in style that new boat to view
There was Gunrod, Ned Fagan and black Billy Joe
They all to the chorus oh Lord let 'er go

So we had Billy Allen for a shanty man too
And all the bay knows just what Billy can do
He sings in the coves in the fall of the year
All the gulls from Gull Island comes out for to hear

So he sang Johnny Coaker (Poker?) they pulled 'er along
And all the boys present were pulling so strong
When Mrs. McGrath broke her arm on her bow
We all hove together when Billy said now

So after hard heaving she got underway
She slipped down the way and right out in the bay
She went out so neat oh you'd think 'twas a charm
To see her slide out into Riverhead arm

So we're also delighted to see such a thing
We wished him good future we cheered for the king
We cheered for his majesty ___________ and strong
We wished him a future both happy and long

And as for Steve Fagan to whom you'd wish
At seventy-two still a devil for fish
A true fishing skipper aloft or alow
To train his three b'ys Gus, Leo and Joe

Now as for Steve's b'ys they are very well known
If they were like all are they would stay at home
But they fished outta Boston wit' old Gerry Shea
They built their own houses and paid their own way

Now as for the boat we can wish her the best
I know ________ building can stand a good test
We'll wish her good luck as years rolls around
Full hatches fair landing and a fair holding ground

Long life to the boat and good luck to the crew
My song it is finished my bottle is too
But twill be a long time till down in the bay
Like the Riverhead launchin’ on Jubilee day


Sources : Mercer, 1979: 173; Peacock, 1965: 759.

From the Memorial University Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA) Song Index and Song Annotation Collection: Burke, Anne MUNFLA 78-274

Text: The text relates the events and people at a boat launching at Riverhead, St. Mary's Bay.

Tune: The text is through composed and the melody repeats with each verse. The last few words are spoken. Speaking, instead of singing a final word or phrase is generally thought to indicate Irish influence on the singer or song. The singer uses a common tune to set the text. The meter is 6/8.   The key is f minor with a range of a major 10 th from E-flat to G.

All material on this webpage is copyright © 2004, Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland. No unauthorized copying or use is permitted. For more information, follow this link.