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Proud to be a Riverman w/ accordion @ Greenfield finals

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Published on Oct 26, 2009

A masterful version of the classic river tune, bathed in romanticism by the sensuous accordion addition of Bob Strokerfarb, of Arlington fame. The judges had something else in mind, apparently; one of the winners was "Russell, the Dwarf-Wedge Mussel." Ahhh...no sour grapes... I guess I'll have to just be myself, ('cause everyone else is already taken), to paraphrase Oscar Wilde. The lyrics are perhaps right out of a Jack London book, set to a Robert Service cadence. See below for lyrics:

I was just fifteen when I left the mill
To work as a chopper for the CRL (Conn. River Logging Co.)
Snow was heavy in the great north woods
The days were long but the food was good

Just a kid and my eyes were wide
For biscuits and beans and doughnuts and pie
Up before dawn for five months straight
4 square meals and decent pay

We was draggin on the Perry Stream
at Connecticut Lakes with a Belgian team
The teamster there was Tom Obrien
Best snubber there was, with no fear of dyin

Old Tom would sluice the frozen slopes
Snubbin the horses with an icy rope
He moved more spruce than a man could dream
He never lost a sled-he was the best I seen

But at the end of day, that bunkhouse stank
Wet clothes steamin in the dark and dank
We was Polish, Italian and Quebecois
And the Bangor Tigers-the best by far

By March, three million board feet lay
At Perry Stream, when we got paid
It was off to town with a loud hee-haw!
We all got drunk and we waited for the thaw

Chorus (#1)
I never did care for workin in the camps
In the middle of the winter in the cold and damp
But when the ice let go, I was ready and then
I was proud to be a riverman

I first worked the river in 82
When eleven men died by the end of June
It was hell and high water that awful year
But I weathered it through with a belly of fear

We worked the streams and drove em on down
The Connecticut, through New England towns
For four long months we drove until
We delivered our logs to the Holyoke Mill.

We was workin with Fleetwood Pride
At Horserace Rapids on the Van Dyke drive
I remember Tom Graham was the drivin boss
In 91 when not a man was lost

But Mullikens Pitch is a son of a gun
Wed dynamite and cut and run
Spiked boots dancing on every log
I was a-pushin and a-pullin with my cantdog

You know the peavey is a mans best friend
It dont do no good to know how to swim
You best stay on top of that log jam mess
Or you will find eternal rest

At Turners Falls in mid-July
At night to town the boys would fly
Oh the ladies! and oh the fights!
We was sluicin through the day and juicin through the night

Chorus (#2)
I worked the river for most my life
I loved the drive-I never took no wife
My memories are full from way back when
I was proud to be a riverman
I said I'm proud to be a riverman
I said I'm damn fine proud to be a riverman.

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