The Jam On Jerry's Rock (Ryan's Fancy) video

See also: The Jam On Gary's Rock (Leach)
#677 YouTube video by quickaccent2006
©2009 ~ Used with permission ~

Come all you brave young shanty boys,
I'll have ye all draw near,
And hear my lamentation,
it's more than I can bear;
Concerning six young shanty boys,
so manly and so brave,
Went on the jam at Jerry's Rock
and met with a watery grave.

'Twas on one Sunday morning,
as you may plainly hear,
The logs were piled up mountains high,
we could not keep them clear;
The bosses say, "Turn out, me boys,
with hearts so free from fear,
We'll break the jam from Jerry's Rock
and for Eganstown we'll steer."

Some of the boys were willing while,
some just gazed with fright,
To work upon a Sunday,
they did not think was right;
When six of our Canadian boys
did volunteer to go,
To break the jam from Jerry's Rock
with the foreman young Munroe.

They had not rolled up many's the log
when the boss of them did say,
"I'll have you all be on your guard
for this jam will soon give way."
He scarce had time to say these words
when the jam did break and go,
And carried away those six bold youths
and their foreman young Munroe.

When the rest of our young shanty boys
these tidings sad did hear,
To search for their dead comrades
to the river they did steer;
To search for their dead comrades
to the river they did go,
All maimed and bruised and bleeding
was their foreman young Munroe.

Now they buried him quite decently
all on the fifth of May,
And all his brave young comrades
o'er his dead form they did pray;
And engraved upon the hemlock tree
that by his grave did grow,
The name and date of drowning fate
and the foreman young Munroe.

So, come all you brave young shanty boys
and come along with me,
I'll take you to the riverside
to see that hemlock tree,
To read the fate of he who was
the bravest man to go,
To break the jam on Jerry's Rock,
our foreman young Munroe.

####.... Variant of a traditional lumber camp ballad, The Jam On Gerry's Rock [Laws C1] Native American Balladry (G Malcolm Laws, 1964) ....####
This variant was arranged and recorded by Ryan's Fancy (Songs From The Shows, trk#9, 2001, produced for CBC Television by Jack Kellum, and recorded at CBC Television Studios, St John's, NL), and is featured in the YouTube video above.

Liner Notes: Vocal - Fergus O'Byrne.
Wherever men worked in the woods in Atlantic Canada this song, describing one of the greatest dangers facing a riverman involved in the logging industry, would have been a favourite among the shanty boys in the lumber camps. We considered this song an obvious choice when we filmed in the area of St Stephen, New Brunswick.

See more songs by Ryan's Fancy.

A variant was sung as The Jam On Gary's Rock by Michael A (Mike) Kent [1904-1997] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A very similar variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from Nicholas Keough [1879-1967] of Parson's Pond, NL, and published as The Jam At Garby's Rock in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 3, pp.752-753, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Another very similar variant was collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1977 from John S (Jack) Lushman, Sr [1940-?] of Ramea, NL, and published as #57 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.102-103, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this extremely popular song has been sung in lumber camps throughout the United States, Canada, and Newfoundland. It is a song that 'everybody' seems to know.

See more songs by Lehr and Best

A variant was also recorded as Jam At Gerry's Rock by Wade Hemsworth (Folk Songs Of The Canadian North Woods, trk#4, ©1955, Folkways Records & Service Corp., New York, NY, FW 6821, Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. R 55-370).

See more lumber camp songs from NFLD.


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