#02506
The Shining Birch Tree (Wade Hemsworth)
The Land Of The Muskeg
#1105: YouTube video by rrgomes
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~

Oh, ye girls in the village, ye girls in the town,
It's a long time - a very long time,
For a fellow who's after bein' out on his own.
Out on his own -
Where the whisky-jack's a-whistlin'
cheerful and free
In the land of the muskeg
and the shinin' birch tree,
The shinin' birch tree.

Now it's all very well in the full of the day,
When there's no time - not very much time
For a man to keep thinking
of the things that don't pay,
The things that don't pay -
Where the rapids are rushin'
so grand and so free
In the land of the muskeg
and the shinin' birch tree,
The shinin' birch tree.

But in the quiet of the evenin'
when the camp settles down
And the night is cold - so very cold
And old Rory Bory starts shiftin' around,
Shiftin' around -
Then he'll think of the warm lips
and the laughter so free
In the land of the muskeg
and the shinin' birch tree,
The shinin' birch tree.

Come the in-between seasons
of the freeze-up or the thaw,
And it's Let's go, hey look out, let's go,
For we're off for some fun
with the girls of the town,
The girls in the town -
He's a popular guy when his money flows free
In the land of the muskeg
and the shinin' birch tree,
The shinin' birch tree.

And when the huskies are a-howling
in the cold winter's dawn
Then he'll recall - oh how he'll recall
That he spent all his money
with the girls in the town,
The girls in the town -
So boys save your money or you'll all be like me
In the land of the muskeg
and the shinin' birch tree,
The shinin' birch tree.

####.... Wade Hemsworth ....####

Recorded as The Shining Birch Tree by Wade Hemsworth (Folk Songs Of The Canadian North Woods, trk#2, ©1955 Folkways Records & Service Corp, New York, NY, FW 6821, Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. R 55-370).

Also recorded as The Land of the Muskeg And The Shining Birch Tree (The Songs Of Wade Hemsworth, trk#2, 1995, produced by Penny Rose and edited by Simon Pressey for Good Noise).

Liner Notes: Wade Hemworth says: "I got the idea for this song when I was surveying for the new Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railroad [QNS&L] that leaves Sept-Iles on the Gulf of St Lawrence for the iron ore fields at Knob Lake in Labrador. The theme is a familiar one to anyone who has worked in the bush."


See more songs by Wade Hemsworth.

The video above features Murray McLauchlan, with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, performing Wade Hemsworth's The Land of the Muskeg And The Shining Birch Tree at the 1992 Winnipeg Folk Festival. Other performers include Jane McGarrigle (piano), Dane Lanken (vocal), Peter Weldon (banjo), Joel Zifkin (violin), Kit Johnson (bass), and Danny Greenspoon (guitar). Wade Hemsworth is seated behind Murray McLauchlin.

A variant was also recorded as The Land of the Muskeg (And the Shining Birch Tree) by Art Thieme (On the Wilderness Road, Folk Legacy Records, FSI-105, copyright Southern Music Pub Co Canada, Ltd, CAPAC).

From Global Security Military FM 31-71 Glossary:
Muskeg - poorly drained organic terrain which is characteristic of the Subarctic, covered with a thick, resilient carpet of water-sodden mosses and tussocks, and underlain by a high water table, peat of variable thickness, and often permafrost.


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