Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pappy's verse for I's the B'y

After doing a bunch of Googling this afternoon, I discovered that I know a verse to the famous Newfoundland folksong I's the B'y that apparently nobody has put on the internet.

Just about every Canadian who attended English elementary school knows at least a few verses of the song about the b'y who catches the fish and brings'em home to Lizer, doesn't want your maggoty fish, and has to take poor Lizer to a dance when every step was up to her knees in gravel.

Today, I created a sheet music version in Noteworthy Composer so I can do duets with my horn and someone else. I decided to add the lyrics. 

I had a piano score to copy that has the verses I learned in elementary school and one that they didn't teach us back in grade three:

Susan White, she's out of sight.
Her petticoat wants a border.
Old Sam Oliver in the dark,
He kissed her in the corner.

This verse is also in the Great Big Sea recording along with the elementary school verses.

And I found another verse I didn't know in a version by Shanneyganock:

Oh, me mudder, may I go out?
Yes, me darling daughter;
Tuck your petticoat under your skirt,
And don't go near the water.

But when I searched for the version Pappy taught me many years ago, not a single hit.

Stephen Scrimshaw, Albert Elms, David Scrimshaw in '64?

My grandfather, Albert James Elms, was born in Stones Cove, Newfoundland in 1903. He left school in grade two to become a fisher. Fished in dories off the Grand Banks for 23 years before getting work on the CS Cyrus Field, an Atlantic cable laying ship. He told people he was a spud barber, but his official title was probably steward's assistant.

He was a strong singer. Sang tenor in his church choir his whole life. I loved listening to his voice soar on Will Your Anchor Hold.

This is the verse of I's the B'y he taught me:

Lizer she went up the stairs,
and I went up behind her.
Then I opened up her legs
to see her coffee grinder.

If you want to check that I'm right that nobody else has put these words on the net, I suggest you use the last line of the verse and not the third line.

The sheet music I found says: "Most Newfoundlanders love to dance, and this lively ditty is one of their favourite dance tunes. It has many stanzas, some of which are hardly suitable for publication."

If you know other stanzas verses, I'd love to learn them.

1 comment:

Nan said...

Love this story. And your Newfoundland roots explain why’s I likes ye so