Also published on p.22 of Songs Of Newfoundland, a complimentary booklet of lyrics to twenty-one songs distributed by the Bennett Brewing Co Ltd, of St John's, NL, with the cooperation of the Gerald S Doyle Song Book from which these words were obtained.
This is one of many variants based on a song collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1951 from P Lloyd Soper [1920-2009] and Robert F (Bob) MacLeod [1908-1981] of St John's, NL, as I's The B'y That Builds The Boat and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.64, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.
A variant was arranged and recorded as I's The B'y by Great Big Sea (Great Big Sea, 1993).
A variant was also recorded Pre-GBS as I'm The B'y (Rankin Street Tape - Live At The Blarneystone, 1991).
Ryan's Fancy was recorded live performing I'se The Bye at The Black Knight Lounge in Halifax, Nova Scotia, by Jack Hutchinson and George Taylor (An Irish Night At The Black Knight Lounge, trk#1, 1971, Marathon Music Incorporated, Scarborough, Ontario). That same variant was also independently produced as a studio recording by Ryan's Fancy (Times To Remember, trk#1, 1973, Audat Records, Oshawa, Ontario).
From the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada - We are told that although the song may have originated in the 1870s, probably in a Newfoundland fishing village, interest in I's The B'y did not spread outside Newfoundland until after the song was heard and transcribed by two researchers interested in Newfoundland's folk traditions, Kenneth Peacock and Gerald S Doyle. Its melody and lyrics were transmitted throughout Canada in the songbook Folk Songs of Canada by Edith Fowke and Richard Johnston (1954), relying on Peacock's transcription. Teachers and students outside Newfoundland were eager to learn about the music of the newest province, which had joined Canada a mere five years earlier, and I's the B'y quickly became a favourite of classrooms and choirs across the country.
From the Dictionary of Newfoundland English: Flake - platform built on poles and spread with boughs for drying cod-fish on the foreshore.