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                    xv
Mr. Fowler, boasted that he knew over one hundred songs, all of which he, with others, used to sing in the woods. Some of them were long, having thirty or more verses. It was interesting to hear him and Mr. Chadburne, the other woodsman, discuss the merits of certain rhymes in one of the ballads. Their facility as rhymesters surprised me. Mr. Chadburne remembered only a few scattering lines of the ballads. He explained that he did not sing, and therefore, "could not remember them." The favorite here seemed to be "Fair Charlotte," which Mr. Fowler sang in a lilting chant with unique effect. Miss Chad­burne, a college graduate, took it down for me.
My most unique and valuable find was in a trolley car halted on a switch somewhere between Orono and Ban­gor. While we were waiting, the motorman came in and asked me if I would give him a copy of "The Jam at Gerry's Rock." I replied that I should be glad to do so, but should like to know why he was interested in that particular song. "Well," he said, "my brother was a member of the crew referred to in that song, and it is all true that is related about the accident." I was at once all excitement and curiosity. I pressed him — Mr. Reid by name, who had himself been a lumberjack — to tell me what he knew about the origin of the ballad. I wrote down what he said. "The accident," he told me, "took place on the west branch of the Penobscot River just above a place now called Mawutum. There was a rock there where the logs frequently jammed. The rock, I think, was afterwards blown up." The statement re­garding the blowing up of the rock was later confirmed

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III