Shanty Man's Life

Singer: 

Michael Cassius Dean

Recorder: 

Robert Winslow Gordon

Recording Date: 

Sep. 1924

Location of Recording: 

Canton, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA

Duration: 

0:53

Transcription: 

A shanty man's life is a wearisome one,
Although some say it's free from care,
It's the swinging of an axe from morning till night,
In the forest wild and drear,

Or sleeping in the shanties dreary
When the winter winds do blow,
But as soon as the morning star does appear,
To the wild woods we must go.

Rights: 

Duplication of sound recordings may be governed by copyright and other restrictions.

Language: 

en-US

Type: 

Music Recording

Format: 

mp3

Publisher: 

Brian Miller, Emma Dowd, Diane Giebink-Skoglind

Original Format: 

Wax Cylinder

Is Part Of: 

AFS Preservation Reel: AFS 19011A
G80
Misc. 131

Folk Song Index Numbers: 

Roud #838

Alternative Titles: 

The Shantyman's Life

Song Summary: 

The singer lists the negatives of life working in a lumber camp and on a log drive including the absense of women and alcohol. He vows to quit this line of work and get married.

Tags: 

First Line: 

A shanty man's life is a wearisome one

Full Song Text: 

A shanty man’s life is a wearisome one,
Although some say it’s free from care,
It’s the swinging of an axe from morning till night,
In the forest wild and drear,

Or sleeping in the shanties dreary
When the winter winds do blow,
But as soon as the morning star does appear,
To the wild woods we must go.

At four o’clock in the morning our old greasy cook calls out,
“Hurrah, boys, for it’s day,”
And from broken slumber we are aroused,
For to pass away the long winter’s day.

Transported as we are from the maiden so fair,
To the banks of some lonely stream,
Where the wolf, bear and owl with their terrifying howl,
Disturb our nightly dreams.

Transported from the glass and the smiling little lass,
Our life is long and drear;
No friend in sorrow high for to check the rising sigh,
Or to wipe away the briny tear.

Had we ale, wine or beer our spirits for to cheer,
While we’re in those woods so wild,
Or a glass of whiskey shone while we are in the woods alone,
For to pass away our long exile.

When spring it does come in double hardship then begins,
For the water is piercing cold;
Dripping wet will be our clothes and our limbs they are half froze,
And our pike poles we scarce can hold.

O’er rocks, shoals and sands give employment to old hands,
And our well bended raft we do steer,
Oh, the rapids that we run, they seem to us but fun,
We’re the boys of all slavish care.

Shantying I’ll give o’er when I’m landed safe on shore,
And I’ll lead a different life,
No longer will I roam, but contented stay at home,
With a pretty little smiling wife.

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