The Moonshine Can (Kenneth Peacock)

Come all my friends and comrades, come listen unto me,
Beware of those informers, you see how they served me,
Beware of those informers, good people all around,
For jealously could not agree, they put our whisky down.

On Easter Sunday morning as you may plainly see,
As soon as Mickey got the news he did come down to me,
He did come down to me, my boys, and put me on a stand,
Saying "Pat, there is a big kick up about your moonshine can."

The next that brought us all the news it was one of our rank,
I suppose you all do know his name, his name it is young Frank,
His name it is young Frank, my boys, as you may understand,
He is one of our lively chaps belong to Newfoundland.

The next misfortune came on me sure I was forced to go,
To travel 'cross the lonely plain up to my knees in snow;
To travel 'cross the lonely plain it was against the grain
As I marched up to the courthouse before a crowd of men.

As I marched up to the bar as you may plainly see.
"What did you make it out of?" the judge to me did say,
"What did you make it out of?" the judge to me did say,
"Of yeast cake and molasses, sure that's the proper way."

"Of yeast cake and molasses? - Sure that's a curious plan."
The next misfortune came on me I had to lose my can,
I had to give it up you see and that with no delay,
When up comes Mister Parsons my can to take away.

Sure I went in and brought it out and that with no delay,
I stood just like a monument without one word to say,
To hear those pipes a-rattling it grieved my heart full sore,
And when he put them in the bay it grieved me ten times more.

And now our whisky is put down it does seem rather queer,
Never mind, my darling boys, they won't stick us on the beer,
We'll go into a neighbor's house and drink a health all 'round,
But no health to those informers who put our whisky down.

Here's luck to Doctor Grenfell, that kind and gentle man,
He need not have been so hard on me for I was a poor man,
I wish him health and happiness all on the Judgement Day,
And a crown of glory be his bed when he shall pass away.

Here's luck to our good magistrate, may the Lord look down on him,
And when he leaves this world behind, goes on the other end,
'Tis there he'll meet Saint Peter the man who keeps the key,
The man who keeps the key, my boys, the door he will unlock,
Saying, "Walk right in, good magistrate, make one among the flock."

The man who made this song, sir, I'm sure he told no lie,
And if you want to know his name, his name it is Pat Troy,
His name it is Pat Troy, my boys, to Goose Cove do belong,
And when the whisky comes again we'll make a better song.

####.... Original Newfoundland song written by Patrick (Pat) Troy [1867-ca.1942] of Goose Cove, NL, per Boyd Manuel who informed GEST that he personally knows Pat Troy's family, and his own father used to tell him the story about the song. ....####
This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Kenneth Pink [1938-?] of Rose Blanche, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.75-76, by The National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved. Peacock published the name of the song's author as Pat Roy, which obviously sounds the same as Pat Troy.

Similar variants were collected in 1951 from George Hatfield [1865-?] of Tors Cove, NL, and Francis (Frank) Knox [1918-?] of St Shott's, NL, and published as The Moonshine Song in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

Kenneth Peacock noted that when he collected this song most outport grocery stores still sold home-brew kits of malt extract, hops, and yeast to make beer, a perfectly legal practice. Those with a taste for something stronger, however, had to go to one of the few government liquor stores (some Newfoundlanders lived more than 200 miles from the nearest), or run the risk of distilling their own moonshine from home-brew. Peacock was told that many had chosen this latter course and, like the hero of The Moonshine Can, had been caught with their pipes showing. Others had been more fortunate and had even gone into local commercial production with great success.

A variant was recorded by Omar Blondahl [Sagebrush Sam] (Down to the Sea Again, trk#B.03, 1955, Rodeo RLP 7, LP).

See more songs by Omar Blondahl.


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