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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.