Songs & Ballads Of The Maine Lumberjacks

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

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xvi                    Introduction
by Mr. Perkins of Orono, who for many years had been engaged in lumber operations. " Monroe and his love," Mr. Reid added, "are buried further up the river." Then I asked him to tell me how this and similar ballads come to be made. "Well," he said," I will tell you. Something happens. Then, at night, when the fellows are gathered around the fire, some one, who can sing better than the rest, starts a song, and the rest chip in. Each adds a little, some make changes and additions, until the song is made. Probably one hundred and fifty took part in making that song. Something happens," he reiterated, "then the boys get together, and some one who sings better than the rest usually starts a song and the others help." Mr. Reid made this statement without receiving from me any hint whatever regarding the theories held of the origin of the ballad. Five lumberjacks have con­firmed his account of how the popular ballad came to be made, and one added this interesting and significant fact, namely, that an employer was in the habit of paying more to a lumberjack who could sing than to the others.
For those interested in the theories regarding the origin of popular ballads, and therefore in the value of the evi­dence here set forth, I may state with repeated emphasis that, in seeking information from the lumberjacks and from lumber operators, I in no case disclosed any theory whatsoever or even asked, "Did you dance?" or "Did more than one person compose these songs?" I asked simply, "What did you do?" and "How did these songs come to be made?"
On another occasion I put the same question as to how

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