MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
The Squid Jigging Ground
May Whalen NFLD 1 Tape 6 Track 8
Cape Broyle Audio:

Oh, this is the place where the fishermen gather
With oil clothes skin boots and Cape Annes battened down
With squid lines and jiggers and all kinds of figures
All congregate here on the squid jigging ground

Some are working their jiggers while others are yarning
There's some standing up and some more lying down
While all kinds of fun jokes and tricks are begun
As they wait for the squid on the squid jigging ground

There's men of all ages and boys in the bargain
There's old Billy Chafe and there's young Raymond Brown
Right yonder is Bobby and with him is Nobby
A-chawin' hard tack on the squid jigging ground

There's men from the harbour and men from the tickle
In all kinds of motorboats green, grey and brown
While uncle Bob Hawkins wears three pairs of stockings
Whenever he's out on the squid jigging ground

Says Bobby, "The squid are on top of the water
I just got my jigger 'bout a half fathom down."
When a squid in his boat squirted right down his throat
And he don't give a hang on the squid jigging ground

Holy smoke what a bustle all hands are excited
It's a wonder to me that nobody is drowned
One poor little boy got it right in the eye
And he's swearing like mad on the squid jigging ground

Now if you are ever inclined to go squidding
Leave your white shirts and collars behind in the town
And if you get cranky without a silk hanky
You'd better steer clear of the squid jigging ground


Sources: Mercer 181; Doyle 1940:66 and later editions; Scammell 1940:9; West 1:44; for recordings by CJON Glee Club, Harry Hibbs, Dick Nolan, Gerry Reeves, Winston Saunders, A.R. Scammell, John White, Omar Blondahl, Oscar Brand, George Hamilton IV, Ed McCurdy, Bill McKay, Alan Mills, Hank Snow, Tom Jim & Garth, Travellers, and the Irish Rovers, see Taft 94. See article by Greg Walsh in The Broadside , 2004.

History: Composed as a high school project in 1928 by Art Scammell at the age of 15, it was first published in Smallwood's Book of Newfoundland in 1937.  It was played on the Peace Tower carillon in Ottawa to mark the entry of Newfoundland into confederation in 1949 (Rosenberg in West 1: 56).

Text notes: A "moniker" song naming local fishermen.

Tune notes: Resembles the Irish fiddle tune "Larry O'Gaff." A fast waltz, characterized by an opening octave descent and a pause on the sixth degree of the scale at the end of the second line.   Tune may have influenced Wade Hemsworth's "Log driver's Waltz"

Leach recorded four different versions of this, from Eddy Primroy of Pouch Cove, May Whalen of Cape Broyle, Maudie Sullivan of Calvert, and R. Sheaves of Port Aux Basques.

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