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The Great Canadian Tunebook


I was talking to Doug Ross about not being able to find any Canadian songs to sing and as a result he sent me in these two emails which I thougt I'd simply include here and especially for all those Canadians in Kimberly who didn't know any Canadian songs when Billy and David were singing Scottish ones :-)

Hi, Alastair :)

It is impossible for me to translate my C64 disk of songs (music & words) to these new-fangled machines, so I went to the internet and searched for a site that had most of them. Many of these songs have been included in Canadian song books used in the classrooms of Ontario. The website is http://members.shaw.ca/tunebook/index.htm, which includes words and music.

 
The first two songs on any list would be ...
- O Canada
- The Maple Leaf Forever 
The latter was written by a Toronto teacher and principal of Leslieville Public School in Toronto's East end. He was Alexander Muir (1830 - 1906). The words aren't very popular in Quebec ... but many consider it Canada's Unofficial Anthem. 
 
Songs from Quebec, which pupils learn in French classes are ...
- Vive la Canadienne
- En roulant ma boule
- Auprès de ma blonde
- Alouette
- À la claire fontaine
. . . . . and quite a few others.  
 
Songs from Newfoundland include ...
- I's The B'y
- We'll Rant and We'll Roar
and Labrador would claim ...
- Jack Was Every Inch A Sailor
 
The Maritimes, particularly Nova Scotia, would own ...
- Farewell To Nova Scotia
- The Squid Jiggin' Ground
 
A song sung where canals were built along the seaway ...
- Donkey Riding (A donkey is an engine used to pull ships along the canal.)
 
Here are a few from Ontari-ari-ari-o ...
- The Log Driver's Waltz
- Land of The Silver Birch
- The Huron Carol  
- Canadian Boat Song (the one by Irish poet Thomas Moore after a visit to Canada ... not the one with Scottish-Canadian roots and written by an anonymous poet.)
 
Then there is Manitoba ...
- Red River Valley
 
and Alberta ...
- The Alberta Homesteader
 
not to forget my favourite Yukon poet, Robert Service ...
- When The Ice-worms Nest Again 
 
Other individuals might add a few more songs from the list.
 
I have at least twenty more songs, but it would be best if I can locate some music as well. Some of them have copyright laws still in effect. I'll return with the titles ... even if nothing more is available.
 
One of the most famous of the Canadian service songs after WWII is The North Atlantic Squadron, probably attributed to the 10th Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron which kept the shipping lanes open. I used to know about ten verses. I doubt if you will include it in your list ... even though it was popular. I'll be leaving that to you ... in case you decide to use a search engine such as http://www.google.ca .
 
Cheers,
Doug
Hi, Alastair :)
 
You have undoubtedly concluded (as I have long ago) that there is a strong fervour for "all things Scottish" amongst the living Canadian descendants of those survivors from the various forms of the clearances in the Highlands. I was not surprised on September 6th, 2003, to find the former Pipe Major of the Toronto Police Pipe Band helping to organize the parade for the Long's Point Scottish/Irish Festival in Estes, Colorado.  Naturally, I am prejudiced since he was wearing the Dress Ross Tartan worn by Pipe Major Thomas Ross when the TPPB was formed in 1912.    
 
Most of us, who now call Canada home, have learned to participate in a country filled with those who have been subjected to "Clearances" and "Ethnic Cleansings" around the world.  Our national icons are still a "work in progress",  our culture has a very "unique quality" in North America, and our preference for "peacekeeping over support of unilateral peacemaking" has earned respect around the world (beginning with Lester Bowles Pearson, I might add).  [Our overt display of patriotism and nationalism is very much subdued in comparison with many other countries, and all credit is due to the diplomatic character of Lester Bowles Pearson.]  However, we Canadians are properly proud of the artistic accomplishments of our fellow citizens.
 
The picture of Canada's most famous racing boat is featured on the Canadian dime.  The song was written and published by David A. Martins in 1963, and the words and music may be found at the same site.
- The Bluenose
 
This song was made famous by the Wakami Wailers, the last of the white pine loggers, at Wakami Lake Provincial Park in Northern Ontario. 
- The Lumber Camp Song
 
Here's another one from Northern Ontario which should be on everyone's list. The discordant background to the melody is a tribute to the annoying buzz of the insect.
- The Black Fly Song
I found a wee snippit sung by children from a school in the Abitibi Canyon.
 
The Canadian Girl Guide Song Book is a good source for some lyrics, but you might have to find the music elsewhere.
- Something to Sing About
- They Call it Canada
 
Other patriotic songs relate to Canada's Celebration of Confederation in 1967. The Centennial Song was composed by Bobby Gimby, and you may click on either the English or the French version here ...
- Ca-na-da 
- A Place To Stand (Ontari-ari-ari-o) was also written in 1967. Words are here ...
 
I was mildly surprised to see that the college song of my Alma Mater merited inclusion with some heritage lists of Canadian Music.
- On the Old Ontario Strand
 
Songwriter Gene MacLellan was born in Val D'Or, PQ, but lived most of his life in Summerside, PEI. A few of his songs were made famous by Anne Murray of Springhill, NS.
- Snowbird
- Put Your Hand in the Hand
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
At the risk of being repetitious, you'll note that many songs about Canada and by Canadians are listed at this website ...
Only one of the songs in the list did not involve a Canadian composer, and that was Canadian Sunset with words by Norman Gimbel of Brooklyn NY and music by Eddie Heywood of Atlanta GA.
However, here is one song which was written near Hamilton ON ...
- When You and I Were Young, Maggie
 
Two songs, written by Canadian Bob Nolan of Edmunston NB, may be a surprise to quite a few people because they became theme songs for well-known American singers.
- Tumbling Tumbleweed (1934)
- Cool Water (1936)
The words to both songs may be found with other cowboy songs at ...
The "music" for Tumbling Tumbleweed may be found at ...
and the "music" for Cool Water may be found at ...
 
Singer and writer Ian Tyson was born in British Columbia, but wrote this song in Longview, AB ...
- Four Strong Winds
 
Gordon Lightfoot of Orillia, Ontario, wrote this song and made it famous ...
- The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald
The lyrics are here ...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
In case you need more titles, here are some more. Some songs have copyright laws still in effect.
 
It would take a lifetime to explore each of the threads which I have provided in this final instalment alone. {CHUCKLE]
 
Cheers,
Doug

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