Old Chestnuts Song Circle

November 1995

November Circle

The Circle on November 5th was another great success (at least in my opinion). We had 28 or more people in attendance; many new faces and 19 from out of town (Durham, Elora, Guelph and Toronto). It's wonderful to see people coming from quite a distance for these things, but I want to stress to the locals that if they know people that are interested please encourage them to come. Without a strong local base we may sputter out in a few months.

I'd guess (without meaning to insult anyone!) that we had every decade from the 20's right through to the 90's represented at the Circle. Anyway, we had 3 people under 7 years of age which I think is great, not only for us older folk in the group, but also for them; to grow up with this opportunity to make music is something I never knew how much I missed. And the kids participated; Amanda (with some help) led the group in a killer version of "Hobo's Lullaby". Now, what will she be working on for next time???

Several new songs were handed out. Colleen had one extra copy of Eileen McGann's "Braw Sailin' On The Sea", which I intended to clone and include in this newsletter, but it must have gone home with someone else. Maybe next month? James brought several yellow books full of songs and I didn't end up with one of those either! Do you have more James? I got a request for words for "Pirates of the Saskatchewan", which are included. My index is growing....remember, I have spare copies of some of these.

Future Circles

The next Old Chestnuts Song Circle will be December 2 at the home of Dan and Ellen Hergott, XXX XXXXXX. in Kitchener (directions to their home are at the end of this letter). Their phone number is (XXX) XXX-XXXX. They need to know approximately how many are coming, so please call myself (578-6298) or them directly if you plan to be there. The only house rule is no smoking. Please come and bring friends. There are a lot of other activities that night, so don't be shy!!

Since this is December's Circle, I'd like to encourage people to bring winter and Christmas songs. Remember to make 15 or 20 copies if you can, and it's best if you know the song well enough to lead it convincingly! Also, since I was inspired by Dougie MacLean last night, I'd like to challenge anyone to learn a Dougie song for December!

I'd like to note that hosting this meeting means that Dan and Ellen can't go to the Cambridge Singaround at Ernie's, where they are regulars, so double thanks are in order. It also means that some of their friends who wanted to come (and I expect some members of this mailing list) are in a quandry about what to do. I haven't been to Ernie's so I don't know how big a crowd they get or what the feeling is like. I do know that dividing the folk community between two venues can't be a good thing. We talked about finding a new regular night at the last circle, but there was no real voice in favour of doing so. There is no obvious night to pick; Ernie's occassionally switches to the second Saturday, and I favour a weekend that isn't adjacent to the Black Walnut (third Saturday). We certainly are open to a better solution, but until we find one we will (regretfully) stick to the first Saturday of each month. So, the January Circle will be on the 6th, back at 111 Chestnut. If you have comments or ideas and can't come to voice them, please call James at 745-3602.

Dougie MacLean

Wednesday November 15 was the Dougie MacLean concert at the Seagram's museum. Dougie is a marvelous songwriter from Scotland whose work is very much drawn from the history and spirit of that country. His songs are smooth, gentle and multi-dimensional - think Scotch whiskey. He's a natural for Song Circle folks - practically every song had a sing-along part, and he often took the time to teach choruses to the audience, making them sing along, or by themselves, sometimes even without the guitar accompaniment. For instrument fans, he used two guitars in different tunings, and retuned to at least two more. He didn't bring a fiddle or digeridoo (drats). He played for about 2 hours (less a twenty minute break), but with stories and chorus singing it seemed like much less. Probably 15 songs total; more would have been better, but still well worth being there.

Upcoming Events

Nov 18 Black Walnut Folk Club, Victoria Park, Kitchener. 8:00 (578-2942)

Nov 25 Folk Music: From Tradition to Today with Merrick Jarrett and Beverlie Robertson

(both Old Chestnuts), Church of the Good Shepherd, 116 Queen St. 2:00 PM (578-2942)

Nov 25 Concert In The Park with Ed Barrington & Jack Cooper (both Old Chestnuts), Victoria Park. 8:00 (578-2942).

Dec 1 Anderson & Brown Stratford City Hall 8:00 (273-4866)

Dec 1/2 Garnet Rogers Desert Rose Cafe, Elora (call them for info)

Dec 2 Old Chestnuts Song Circle (see above) 7:30

Dawnbreaker's CD Release Party Paris. Call Germaine for info (748-9550)

Ernie's Open Singaround Cambridge, Ernie's Tavern

Anderson & Brown The Button Factory, Kitchener

(....and I'm hoping for more local turnout! I think I see the problem!)

Dec 3 Grit Laskin CD Release Party Flying Cloud Folk Club, Toronto. 8:00 (I have more info)

Dec 9 House Concert - Penny Lang Bob Biderman's place, Toronto. Call me for info.

Dec 15 Eileen McGann & Cathy Miller Brantford Folk Club (759-7676) They are putting on a show

called "2000 Years of Christmas". This is also the BFC's Christmas party, so should be fun.

Possibly an open stage, possibly additional performers. A number of Old Chestnuts are

heading down - we can be A Force! Tickets are $12 - call Don and he'll tell you how.

Dec 16 Black Walnut Folk Club Victoria Park. 8:00

Jan 6 Old Chestnuts Song Circle 111 Chestnut St. Kitchener 7:30 (578-6298)

Directions to Dan and Ellen's Place


I've had no response about turning this into a regular folk music newsletter. Does that mean the idea is not worth continuing? Just in case people are interested, I'd like to invite all of you (and your friends) to write anything relevant - short concert reviews, album reviews, favourite album lists, upcoming concert info, or just plain musings on the subject. I'll include them in the next mailing. However, in the interest of using my time wisely (like, to learn more songs!) and not wasting money I do not intend to continue mailings just to inform everyone about the next song circle! Once we establish a regular time (if we haven't already) it will be up to you to call James or myself to find out where and if the next circle is. I will be happy to do mailings as long as there is additional information to impart, and if other folks can help with the cost. What do you think?

Also, if I don't hear from someone in 3 or 4 months I will assume they are not interested and drop them from the regular mailing list. So give me a call if you are in that catagory!

Finally, I have not given any names on this list to others, such as The Woods mailing list or the Black Walnut folks. Please let me know individually if you would like me to do so.

I've been in touch with someone about a Bill Gallaher/Jake Galbraithe house concert for the summertime at our place. Does this interest anyone? My guess is that it wouldn't be a Saturday night, as they are primarily touring the area to play festivals. But we might be able to squeeze in a weeknight, Friday or Sunday gig. Yes?

Hope to see you all at the next Circle!


Pirates of the Saskatchewan

Arrogant Worms

Chords: C, F, G, Am, D

1. I used to be a farmer and I made a living fine.

I had a little stretch of land along the CP line.

But times were hard and though I tried the money wasn't there

And bankers came and took my land and told me fair is fair.

I looked for every kind of job, the answer always "no".

"Hire you now?" they'd always laugh "We just let twenty go!"

The government, they promised me a measly little sum

But I've got too much pride to end up just another bum!

Then I thought, who gives a damn if all the jobs are gone?

I'm gonna' be a pirate on the River Saskatchewan!


'Cause it's a "Heave HO Hi HO" coming down the plains.

Stealin' wheat and barley and all the other grains.

It's a "Ho HEY Hi HEY" farmers bar your doors

When you see the Jolly Roger on Regina's mighty shores!


2. Well you'd think the local farmers would know that I'm at large

But just the other day I found an unprotected barge.

I snuck up right behind them and they were none the wiser.

I rammed their ship and sank it and I stole their fertilizer.

A bridge outside of Moose Jaw spans a mighty river.

Farmers cross in so much fear their stomachs are aquiver

'Cause they know that "TRACTOR JACK" is hiding in the bay.

I'll jump the bridge abd knock 'em cold and steal off with their hay!

3. Well, Mountie Bob he chased me. He was always at my throat.

He'd follow on the shoreline 'cause he didn't own a boat.

But cutbacks were a-comin', so the Mountie lost his job.

So now he's sailin' with me and we call him Salty Bob.

A swingin' sort'a skull and bones and pleasant company.

I never pay my income tax and screw the GST (Screw it!)

Prince Albert down to Saskatoon, the Terror of the Sea!

If you want to reach the Co-op boy you gotta' get by me!

4. Well pirate life's appealing, but you don't just find it here.

I hear that in Alberta there's a band of buccaneers.

They roam the Athabasca from Smith to Fort MacKay,

And you're gonna' lose your Stetsons if you have to pass their way.

Winter is a-comin' and a chill is in the breeze.

My pirate days are over once the river starts to freeze.

I'll be back in springtime, but for now I have to go.

I hear there's lots of plundering down in New Mexico!!