1. Captains and Ships: A Crowd of Bold Sharemen. Traditional, PD. From A Crowd of Bold Sharemen, SingSong 02 0210, 2001. A song from the early 20th century based on a list of ships tied up at St. John’s harbour, including their captains and the names of their owners.
2. Joe Batt’s Arm Long Liners: Middle Tickle. Written by Frank Dwyer. From Breaking Water, 02 50741. It’s always a happy event in coastal communities when fishing boats return safely home from sea.
3. Bound Down for Newfoundland: Connemara. Traditional, PD. From Near and Distant Shores Connemara 02 50355, 1995. One of the many songs in the Newfoundland traditional music repertoire recounting sea voyages along the natural north-south trade route between Newfoundland and New England.
4. The Cliffs of Baccalieu: Ryan’s Fancy. Written by Jack Withers. From A Time With Ryan’s Fancy Boot 7197, 1979. A well-known and often sung Newfoundland song originally composed for VOCM’s Irene B. Mellon show.
5. Away On the San Juan: George White and Elaine Clark. Written by Shirley Montague. From Remembering the Red Bay Basques Red Bay National Historic Site 87852, 2008. The 16th century Basque whaling ship, San Juan, was discovered at the bottom of Red Bay harbour by archaeologist Robert Grenier in 1978.
6. The Schooner Huberry: Dorman Ralph. Written by Dorman Ralph. From Dorman Ralph SingSong 02 9908, 1999. A classic sea song about a doomed schooner from New Perlican, Trinity Bay.
7. The Ballad of Captain Bob Bartlett-Jim Payne. Written by Otto P. Kelland, Unidisc Music Corp. Recorded 2009.This rarely heard ballad about Newfoundland’s famous master mariner and ice captain was first recorded by singer Leonard Meehan, on an LP entitled Songs of the Anchor Watch, a collection of Newfoundland songs written and composed by the late Otto P. Kelland, composer of one of Newfoundland’s best loved folk songs, Let Me Fish Off Cape St. Mary’s.
8. Anchors Away: Angus Stewart. Written by Angus Stewart. From Reefer Songs, WRC4-7168, 1998. The Ramea Island archipelago on the southwest coast of Newfoundland is rife with sea songs and stories, both traditional and contemporary.
9. The Privateer: Christina Smith and Jean Hewson with Greg Walsh. Traditional, PD. From The August Gale, Borealis BCD 170, 2005. This song was collected by Houdi Rawlings from the late Denis Byrne of Conche, Great Northern Peninsula. How many conversations like it must have taken place in seafaring communities the world over!
10. The Wreck of the Steamship Ethie: Graham Wells. Written by Maude Sampson, Sabina Eisan and Rufus Guinchard. From Graham Wells; Traditional Music from Newfoundland, Chain Rock Entertainment, 2008. Remnants of the SS Ethie can still be seen off Martin’s Point in Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of Newfoundland.
11. Towards the Sunset: Pat and Joe Byrne with Baxter Wareham. Written by Pat Byrne. From Towards the Sunset, SingSong 02 0311, 1984. A song that celebrates past seafarers and timeless journeys through the waters of Placentia Bay, a place that has inspired many a songwriter over the years.
12. Sailors By Choice: Jim Payne and Fergus O’Byrne. Written by Angus Stewart. From How Good Is Me Life! SingSong 02 08798, 2007. Many people have attempted to explain the lure of salt water, and why it is that, when asked, most seamen would echo the words of Captain Bob Bartlett who said, "If I had it all to do over again I should be a sailor just the same. There is nothing so satisfying as the sea."
All titles SOCAN. Additional recording at Record Time Productions, 55 Bond St., St. John’s, NL
Engineers: Rick Hollett, Kevin Pinhorn
Produced by Jim Payne for Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and SingSong Inc.
Cover photo of the Bowdoin, courtesy of Wayne Hamilton. Celebrating Bartlett ’09 image, courtesy of Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Line drawing of Effie M. Morrissey by Stephen K. Foster, courtesy of Newfoundland Historic Parks Association.
Thanks to Catherine Dempsey, Dean Williams, Rick Hollett, Jocelyn Kelland, Borealis Music, Robert Buck, and all of the artists who participated in the project.
Captains and Ships was compiled by the Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador and SingSong Inc. to help celebrate the historic accomplishments of Captain Bob Bartlett of Brigus, Newfoundland. Among his many achievements, the extraordinary navigator and greatest ice captain of them all made possible Peary’s famous dash to the Pole in April, 1909. While acknowledging the significance of the anniversary, this collection of songs is also intended to pay homage to all the men and women of this province whose lives have been profoundly affected by our ongoing relationship with the sea.
The Historic Sites Association of Newfoundland and Labrador operates Hawthorne Cottage National Historic Site of Canada, the Brigus home of Captain Bob Bartlett. Bartlett's 50-year Arctic career as captain of many famous ships, including his own Effie M. Morrissey, made him a household name across North America. The Association is proud to celebrate the province's many famous captains and ships, and to recognize Captain Bob's contributions.