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 shantyboys in the lumber camps. We considered this song an obvious choice when we filmed in the area of St. Stephen, New Brunswick.
A very similar variant was collected in 1959 from Nicolas Keogh of Parson's Pond, NL, by Kenneth Peacock 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.