Sunday, January 1, 2012

"Jack Black: The Lumberjack".

Working the woods is a hard, hard life,
and the days are long and cold.

They shave your pay day to day,
and a young man quickly grows old.

You come to town to have some fun,
you wind up flat on the floor.

Sure a man must be blind to make up his mind,
to go back to the woods once more.

When I came down to Bangor town,
I was looking for some fun.

I spent a year and a half in the woods,
and the river drive was done.

And as I walked up Hancock Street,
the fair Miss I did see.

And I said "I'm Jack Black The Lumberjack,
will you come along with me."

Oh, we wined and dined and all was fine,
and the evening quickly sped.

We went down to the depot house,
upstairs to go to bed.

Said she "Jack Black you lumberjack,
I've taken a fancy to you".

"You can stay and play till the break of day,
I will be your sweetheart true."

When I awoke next morning,
I was all alone in bed.

My watch was new and my money was too,'
and with them both she fled.

And as I walked back Hancock Street,
the taps they all did roar.

"There goes Jack Black the poor lumberjack,
headed back to the woods once more."

As I went down Exchange Street,
I met with Captain Brown.

I asked him if he'd take me on,
and he looked at me with a frown.

Said He last time that you was paid off,
with me you jogged no skol.

But I'll take a chance and here's your advance,
and it's back to the woods once more.

We went up to the Chamberlain Lake,
where icy breezes blow.

You work in the cold, you work in the snow,
and its twenty-six below.

The camps unclean, the boss is mean,
and the lonely night goes roar.

Oh t'was then that I said, that I wish I was dead,
and back in the woods no more.

This song is from "In The Blood" By Sumner Mckane. It is quite a beautiful story telling folk song from Loggers during the turn of the century. I wonder if it was a common song that crews would hum while out in the field?  I have grabbed the audio and put it to images, so you can sing along with the actual tune.


  1. The tune is from a sea chanty - "Once More", although in this version, the chorus seems to be stripped out.

    See Roger McGuinn:

  2. Wow thanks For the heads up Sean! that's fantastic, Neat how a chanty moved from sea to the woods, probably as the jobs moved from season to season perhaps.

  3. Indeed the jobs did move from season to season for a period of time. In Bangor, where this song takes place, some of the same bars were frequented by both sailors and lumbermen. I believe the version you have here is sung by John A. Knight (who may have actually written it). It also looks like they cut out the final verse: "Come all you hearty young fellows and listen to my song;
    I’ll tell the truth because forsooth I’m wishing you no wrong.
    Take my advice, think it over twice, don’t go sleeping with no whore;
    But get married instead and stay in bed and go back in the woods no more."
    Also, I think it should be "score" instead of "skol" and "tarts" instead of "taps."