#02143

The Herring Gibbers - Variant A
(Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump down to Variant B

Come all you jolly young fellows
and listen to my song,
It's all about the herring gibbers
and how they get along;
'Twas six o'clock in the morning,
our cook came waltzing out,
Saying, "Out you jolly fellows,
it's time to be on the route."

The packers they will get up
all in a frightened way,
"Where is my shoes, my stockings? -
oh, my pants are gone astray."
The next'll get up is the gibbers,
their socks they cannot find,
They'll blame it on the packers
and swear with all their mind.

Some other man may have them on
and they'll be laying near,
We'll pass it off all with a joke
and have a jolly cheer.
John Mann's our foreman,
as you may understand,
He is the finest fellow
as there is in Newfoundland.
For every man is willing
and try to do their best,
And when their work is finished
they'll have a little rest.

Sandy Royle, our second hand,
is plainly to be seen,
He looks all over these herring gibbers
for they is sort of green,
For every man is willing
but the most of them are slack,
They'll work before his face
and they'll slinge behind his back.

The next is our cook, b'ys,
for he is deep in love,
His name is Johnny Pottle,
he lives just up above,
He is so good a cook, b'ys,
as you may wish to see,
He pleases both the foremen
and likewise you and me.

Now my song is near the end,
I think I have done well,
For while my mind is roving
there is something else to tell:
'Tis all about Peter Jenny
as you may understand,
He's going down to Gloucester
and leaving old Newfoundland.

Christmas will roll around
and glad will be the day,
When thinking of our friends at home
we wander back this way,
'Twas down in old Harcourt
I sung a song of glee,
Now, b'ys, I have sung one for you,
now you sing one for me.

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Mrs Isaac Freeman (Catherine) Bennett [1908-2006] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.132-133, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The Herring Gibbers - Variant B
(Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump up to Variant A

Come all my jolly fellows
and listen to my song,
It's all about those herring gibbers
and how they get along.

At six o'clock in the morning
the cook he will sing out
"Arise, my jolly fellows,
it's time for to heave out."

The gibbers they will then get out
all in a frightened way:
"Oh, where's my boots and where's my socks? -
my pants are gone astray."

Someone else may have them on
or yet be lying there,
They'll pass it all off as a joke
and have a hearty cheer.

John Morrison is our foreman,
as you may understand,
He is as fine a man as
you'll find all over Newfoundland.

Everyone is willing
and trying to do his best,
And when the work is finished
we'll have a little rest.

Stanley Royle is our second hand
most plainly to be seen,
He looks over those gibbers
because they're sort of green.

Some of them are willing
while most of them are slack,
They work so hard before his face
and slinge behind his back.

The next is our cook, boys,
for he is deep in love,
His name is Johnny Poulos,
he lives just up above.

He is as good a cook, boys,
as you would wish to see,
He pleases both the foremen
and likewise you and me.

Now my song is nearly ended,
I think I have done well,
And while my mind is roving
I have something else to tell.

It's all about Peter Ghaney
as you may understand,
He's going away to Gloucester
and leaving old Newfoundland.

Christmas will roll around soon
and glad will be the day,
When we think of all our friends at home
and wander back that way.

Down in that lonely North Arm
I sang this song with glee,
Now, boys, I have sung one for you,
will you sing one for me?

####.... Author unknown. Original Newfoundland song ....####

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1960 from Joshua Osbourne [c.1903-?] of Seal Cove, White Bay, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.134-135, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Click to jump up to Variant A.

Click to jump up to Variant B.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this native song is patterned after a well-known Canadian lumber camp song, and even the tune of Variant A is borrowed from the same source. Mrs Bennett said she learned the song from a newspaper clipping over thirty five years before, though Peacock found it hard to see how she happened to use the right tune as well. He added that the newspaper could have been The Family Herald, a Canadian journal, popular for decades in rural areas, which often published quite good traditional songs sent in by readers. Peacock also noted that the text of variant B is in slightly better condition; and its tune, though not so rollicking as that of A, is of quite good quality. His final comment was that the gibbers are the men who disembowel and clean the fish.

From Wikipedia:
Gibbing - process of preparing salt herring (or soused herring), in which the gills and part of the gullet are removed from the fish, eliminating any bitter taste. The liver and pancreas are left in the fish during the salt-curing process because they release enzymes essential for flavor. The fish is then cured in a barrel with one part salt to 20 herring. Today many variations and local preferences exist on this process. The process of gibbing was invented by William Buckels or Buckelsson sometime between 1380 and 1386. Buckels, a Zealand fisherman, discovered that "salt fish will keep, and that fish that can be kept can be packed and can be exported". The invention of this fish preservation technique led to the Dutch becoming a seafaring power.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Slinge - to slink off or about; lounge about idly. To avoid one's share of work; to idle, loaf; to play truant from school.

From Archives Canada:
The Family Herald was based out of Montreal and the earliest date attributed to a Family Herald is 1859, however it is more likely that the Family Herald referred to in Kenneth Peacock's notes had its origin in the 1870s. At the closing of the Family Herald in 1968 it was associated with a sister paper the Weekly Star. The earliest date available for the pairing of the Family Herald and the Weekly Star is [1873?]. There was an Eastern edition and a Western edition of the Family Herald. The date at which two editions began to be run is not available. The Family Herald's main subject matter was farming and rural life across Canada. The paper not only ran articles on current events and farming practices but also ran articles documenting the history of farming in Canada.


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