We were bound home in October from the shores of Labrador,
Trying to head a bad nor'easter and snow, too;
But the wind swept down upon us, making day as black as night,
Just before we made the land of Baccalieu.
Oh, we tried to clear the island as we brought her farther south,
And the wind from out the nor'east stronger blew;
Till our lookout soon he shouted and there lay dead ahead,
Through the snow squalls loomed the cliffs of Baccalieu.
It was hard down by the tiller as we struggled with the sheets,
Tried our best to haul them in a foot or two;
Till our decks so sharply tilted that we could barely keep our feet,
As we hauled her from the rocks of Baccalieu.
Oh, the combers beat her under and we thought she ne'er would rise,
And her main-boom was bending nigh in two;
With our lee rails three feet under and two hands at the wheel,
Sure, we hauled her from the rocks of Baccalieu.
Oh, to leeward was the island and to win'ard was the gale,
And the blinding sleet would cut you through and through;
But our hearts were beating gladly for no longer could we gaze,
Down to leeward at the cliffs of Baccalieu.
####.... Jack Withers [1899-1964] ....####
First sung by Jack Withers in April, 1934, on the popular serial radio show The Adventures of the Irene B. Mellon.
Liner Notes: Vocal - Denis Ryan.
Baccalieu is an island approximately two miles off shore at the northern entrance to Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Sailing vessels returning from the Labrador fishery were quite often at the mercy of treacherous winds and turbulent seas so prevalent around this coastline.
A variant was also recorded by Bristol's Hope as The Cliffs Of Baccalieu with lead vocalist Anita Best (Lately Come Over, trk#7, A Year Of The Arts 1997 Project, published by Pigeon Inlet Production, St. John's, NL, produced by Sandy Morris and Kelly Russell, recorded and mixed at The Nickel Soundworks, St. John's, NL).
Notes On Guitar Tabs:
All guitar tabs have been contributed by visitors to this site and represent their interpretation of the tune. We are unable to verify their accuracy.
From an arrangement by Harry Hibbs.
We were (A) bound home (E) in (A) October from the shores of (E) Labra-(A) dor,
Trying to (D) head a bad nor'-(E) easter and snow, (A) too;
But the wind swept (E) down upon (A) us, making day as (E) black as (A) night,
Just (D) before we made (E) the land of (A) Baccalieu.