Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

A Collection Of Traditional & Folk Songs of the area with Lyrics & Commentaries -online book

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Introduction                    xiii
vast woodland, rivers and lakes intervening. Way down east, for instance, there is a little flourishing town divided by the Machias River; on either side of the river is — or was a few years ago — a lumber camp; each camp had its crew or gang of men; each crew chose as its chief or leader one of its number who possessed most nearly the elemental virtues of the heroes of old, courage and physi­cal strength. Whenever these crews came together, their chiefs would fight, whether there was anything to fight about or not. I have not found or heard of a ballad re­lating these exploits; but I am looking for it. The "Sandy Stream Song," with the preliminary description of its origin, given on pages 31-33, illustrates vividly the actual conditions which gave rise to that ballad.
The ballads from Maine in the present volume have been collected from various sources. Many of them have been taken down as woodsmen sang or recited them. They have been transmitted by word of mouth and have been traditional in Maine, some of them, for over half a century. As in the days of Homer, they have been handed down from memory within the family, in the lumber camps, and in the river towns, and have travelled with the singers of them, not only to various parts of Maine but to distant states. Their exact origin is often uncer­tain, frequently elusive of the most careful search, and at times frankly evident. "Bay Billy" was recovered from California some time before I had ascertained its author­ship. "The Jam at Gerry's Rock" circulates among the cowboys of Texas, is known in several other states, and has crossed the sea to Scotland,






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