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ShipSing Origins: Nova Scotia Men - songwriter? (31) RE: Origins: Nova Scotia Men - songwriter? 20 Mar 10


Bingo! I followed your suggestions (thank you Simon
G and the rest of you) and found the song listings for the Alexander Keith's CDs - I had only looked at their web site, no CDs for sale there.

The song is 'Captain Tom O'Brien', and the band is Mackinaw.

The CD is
Alexander Keith's India Pale Ale: The Evolution of East Coast Music, Volume 1: Pub Roots

Now if I could only find some way all of you could hear it. The CD doesn't seem to be available except for Ebay. Is there anywhere that this track by Mackinaw can be downloaded? Has anyone else recorded it?

Here are the lyrics, as near as we could make them out from the pub recording:

CAPTAIN TOM O'BRIEN

"Are you brave or are you crazy?" The sea asked Tom O'Brien
"Tend to your tides", the captain said, "I'm not afraid of dyin'"
His ship was born in River John, The William H. McNeill
800 tons would rest upon the hardwood upper keel      

They've heard of us around the world
The sea knows where we've been
She can't claim us, she can't tame us
We're Nova Scotia men

'A two-year maiden voyage' Captain Tom began his log
The mate he brought with him was his young bride Mary Vonn
First New York, then Liverpool, Then around the Horn they went
500 days away from home they left the Orient

Early in December her crew enlarged by one
With Mary now a mother, the Captain held his son
On Boxing Day the sky went gray in 1885
The glass was showing hurricane, They stabbed it in the eye

No rope could hold the canvas, No canvas had been made
Could hold the wind that hit the sails, A heavy sea obeyed
Her masts were snapped like matchsticks, The ocean claimed her rudder
The captain's order: "Rip the planks, we'll have to make another!"

The sea came in to take a look around the rudder post
All hands below to man the pumps or we'll never see the coast
At 6 foot six the water sits inside the lower hold
If the carpenter can't shore the leak, we'll none of us grow old

With kicks as hard as cannon balls, and winds hone like a knife
The William H McNeill withstood without a loss of life
The cyclone made a barge of her, took every inch of sail
And the men went out to sea again to find another gale

They've heard of us around the world
The sea knows where we've been
She can't claim us, she can't tame us
We're Nova Scotia men

She can't take us, she can't break us
She can't claim us, she can't tame us
We're Nova Scotia Men, We're Nova Scotia Men


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