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Once More A Lumbering Go - On Youtube


Jody Kruskal
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Once More A Lumbering Go - https://youtu.be/B5G8L-NB684



I've been collecting historic vintage photographs to illustrate this charming and romantic description of deep woods logging in the American Northeast. It's a traditional song, known to go back at least as far as 1851 though I heard it from the singing of Adirondack balladeer, Larry Older.



It is featured as track 7 on my latest CD "Concertina Valentine - 16 Vintage Songs of Love, Lust and Romantic Notions" www.jodykruskal.com


Choice stories of passion from the giddy to the glorious, featuring an eccentric collection of humorous characters... earnest lovers, self-satisfied gloaters, punsters, dreamers, wimps, heroes and cads in this happy selection of saucy songs from times gone by.



The chorus singers are:



Julia Friend


Heather Wood


Ken Schatz


Deirdre Murtha


David Jones


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Some great historical photos there, very enlightening. Thank goodness they didn't have chainsaws back then. Imagine how quickly all of the forests could have been lost!

 

Sad to say that even without chainsaws, they were lost. (And where would you find a chainsaw big enough for some of those trees, anyway?)

 

I've read that the wonderful maple forests that folks travel to see in their blazing glory every autumn are actually second (or later) growth on land that -- at least in the Catskills -- originally was covered with old-growth hemlock (the American version, not the one that poisoned Socrates). The bark of American hemlock was ideal for tanning leather, and the trees -- thousands of square miles of them -- were felled for their bark, which was stripped away, leaving the trees themselves to rot, since there was small demand for them as lumber. Once the hemlock were gone, the hardwood trees sprang up on the now-open land.

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Sad to say that even without chainsaws, they were lost. (And where would you find a chainsaw big enough for some of those trees, anyway?)

 

I've read that the wonderful maple forests that folks travel to see in their blazing glory every autumn are actually second (or later) growth on land that -- at least in the Catskills -- originally was covered with old-growth hemlock

 

 

Yes Jim,

 

It is a shame about the extensive loss of our old-growth US forests with the ancient trees mostly cut by a hungry, rapacious and growing 18th and 19th century population. Still... what the song is about, has more to do with how much fun those early lumberjacks must have had as they joyfully cut the virgin forests down... Yah Hoo!

 

I’m sure they thought nothing of the long term consequences of their work... and so lies the attractive, antique and native innocence of the song. The fact that they see nothing of their place in the dramatic shift in the ecology of the Eastern forests only makes the song more ironic and intriguing as a period piece, IMO.

 

The song is not about trees at all but rather a glimpse into a social world long gone past that surely included an intense camaraderie, jokes, fun and song too, in an almost exclusively male environment (sounds like the Bowerie Boys morris dancing Suds event, eh?).

 

It certainly was a society of mostly males who were employed in this seasonal work. The men and boys were cooped up in very tight quarters. As the lumberjack lads tried to get along in a harsh work and living environment, I like to think that their situation created some fine conditions for exercising the unifying power of communal singing. A subject I try to celebrate in my solo performances.

 

The wealth of collected old lumbering songs and photos seem to indicate that the lyrics are likely true “At night ‘round our good campfire, We’ll sing while the cold winds blow - oh - ooooow.”

 

I think that “Once More A Lumbering Go” depicts a flavorful romantic notion of male intimacy with it’s own unique dash of fresh cut pine and wood smoke. That is what makes me sing this excellent old song.

 

As to the results of the lumberjacks employment, that is another story..........

 

 

 

There now. I've got it off my chest and I feel much better.

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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There now. I've got it off my chest and I feel much better.

Oh, I wasn't knocking the song, nor the culture it portrays. I was just responding to Steve's naive (not his fault) view of how much impact the loggers had before the introduction of powered machinery.

 

I agree with what you've said about the song and the culture, and the song is in fact one on my long list of songs to learn. Your presentation may be just what I need to bump it up to the top of my list. :)

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Interesting, thanks for sharing - sort of made me recall a book I'd read about lumbering in the NE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Night_in_Twisted_River

 

 

I'd thought of exactly the same book watching this video Ruediger! Another book that comes to mind is The Clearing by Tim Gautreaux which is set in the lumber mills of Louisiana in the 1920's. Great performance and wonderful photos Jody.

 

Adrian

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Well, as a Canadian I have to add to this thread.

 

There is logging and then there is the really skilled job of log driving. Here is a video that starts with some footage of real log driving which then morphs into an animated short about the desirability of a log driver for a husband. Good song by Wade Hemsworth sung by the McGarrigle sisters. A concertina does briefly make an appearance.

 

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DupsZZ2s3xv8&ved=0CCAQyCkwAGoVChMI4dSIttv2xwIVS3Q-Ch3TdAjX&usg=AFQjCNEHiGzZlFntorx0QGFaIaOaTMWLYQ

 

Don.

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Well, as a Canadian I have to add to this thread.

 

There is logging and then there is the really skilled job of log driving. Here is a video that starts with some footage of real log driving which then morphs into an animated short about the desirability of a log driver for a husband. Good song by Wade Hemsworth sung by the McGarrigle sisters. A concertina does briefly make an appearance.

 

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DupsZZ2s3xv8&ved=0CCAQyCkwAGoVChMI4dSIttv2xwIVS3Q-Ch3TdAjX&usg=AFQjCNEHiGzZlFntorx0QGFaIaOaTMWLYQ

 

It's been linked here more than once, but definitely worth another round. :)

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