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Blackfly Song

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The Blackfly Song

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The Blackfly Song
(Wade Hemsworth)

'Twas early in the spring when I decide to go,
For to work up in the woods in North Ontario;
And the unemployment office said they'd see me through
To the Little Abitibi with the survey crew.

cho: And the black flies, the little black flies
     Always the black fly no matter where you go
     I'll die with the black fly a-pickin' on my bones
     In North Ontario, io, in North Ontario.

Now the man Black Toby was the captain of the crew,
And he said "I'm gonna tell you boys what we're gonna do;
The want to build a power dam and we must find a way
For to make the little Ab flow around the other way."

So we survey to the east and we survey to the west,
And we couldn't make our minds up how to do it best.
Little Ab, Little Ab, what shall I do?
For I'm all but goin' crazy on the survey crew.


It was blackfly, blackfly, blackfly, everywhere,
A-crawlin in your whiskers, a- crawlin in your hair;
A-swimmin' in the soup and a-swimmin' in the tea
Oh the Devil take the blackfly and leave me be.


Black Toby fell to swearin' cuz the work went slow,
And the state of our morale was a-gettin' mighty low,
And the flies swarmed heavy; it was hard to catch a breath,
As you staggered up and down the trail, talkin' to yourself.

Now the bull cook's name was Blind River Joe;
If it hadn't been for him, we'd've never pulled through.
For he bound up our bruises and he kidded us for fun,
And he lathered us with bacon grease and balsam gum.


At last the job was over; Black Toby said "We're through
With the Little Abitibi and the survey crew."
T'was a wonderful experience and this I know,
I'll never go again to North Ontario.


rec. by author on "Folksongs of the Canada   North Woods"
(Folkways) and Jon Bartlett & Rika Ruebsaat, "The Green
Fields of Canada" (Canada   Folk Workshop)
Copyright Southern Music Publishing Co.
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