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Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack Song

01 Mar 00 - 12:41 PM (#187559)
Subject: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: BlueSage

I picked up the following song at a folk fest about twenty years ago. I've never heard the song again. I perform it often and would like to credit the composer. I don't even know the title of the piece. Bruce Phillips once mentioned to me that he thought he might know who wrote it, but I lost the name! The lyrics (as I sing them) are as follows:

Today he danced with Molly Hogan, tonight he's lying in the clay
And if it weren't the end of his life it would be just another day
He was out there swingin' rigging, though he called it "tending hook"
He didn't have much education but he died by the book

It was a high ball operation and the boss a greedy man
He always made the rigging crew feed it fast they can
But today old Joe was much too slow, it caught him on the run
And there wasn't much to haul away when the whistle's work was done

Well Joe, he had himself a widow and she went to the boss man
Trying to piece together just a little helping hand
But the boss, he said "I'm sorry, but I just can't help you out"
And when the boys came crowding in, well he raised his voice to shout...

CHORUS: He was only just a timber beast, so I'll hear no more of him
His life it was his chosen one, if his death a little grim
It wasn't for the luxury, it wasn't for the pay
That made him work out in the woods, made him die that way!

(repeat 1st verse and chorus)

The lyrics may not all be correct. Any information or corrections would be very much appreciated.
Thanks in advance....Mike


01 Mar 00 - 01:36 PM (#187588)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: Elektra

While I could not find the lyrics to be sure, my best guess is that it is "The Timber Beast's Lament" by (or at least performed by) Utah Phillips. If so, it may be found on the album _We Have Fed You All A Thousand Years_, cut #4.

For some background on the trying circumstances of being a "Timber Beast", as related to the song, look here.

Another Utah recording (available!) with it may be found here.

For more more current meanings/other info, try looking here.

For the same results, go to google.com and search on timber beast.

I hope this helps. More importantly, I hope the links work! [grin]

*elktra*

</a> added after the "click here" reference word of each link.
-Joe Offer-


01 Mar 00 - 01:40 PM (#187590)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: Elektra

Yikes!!

Well, the links are all there but they're a little misplaced. On top of that, I have apparently lost the ability to spell my own name. *sigh* Sorry 'bout that.

HELP!! Can somebody please sort out my mess?

*elektra*


01 Mar 00 - 02:55 PM (#187623)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: GUEST

Utah Phillips, "All Used Up", http://www.rounder.com/rounder/catalog/bylabel/phil/1050/1050.html

Timber Beasts

A google page of links


01 Mar 00 - 03:51 PM (#187648)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: Amergin

No, that's not the "Timberbeast's Lament". "Timberbeast's Lament" (also known as the Lumberjack's Prayer) start's off as:

"I pray dear Lord for Jesus' sake Give us this day a T-bone steak Hallowed be thy holy name But don't forget to send the same."

Well, I'll go searching for the song you wanted, but keep your chin up. Some one here is bound to know it.

By the way: Is this the same Bruce Phillips that goes by the name of "Utah"?


01 Mar 00 - 08:07 PM (#187822)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: Willie-O

It could be none other than The Golden Voice of the Great Southwest, now retired from performing due to heart problems. Think I'll start a thread inquiring about his current condition...

W-O


01 Mar 00 - 11:43 PM (#187930)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: BlueSage

About the only think I know for certain about this song is that it wasn't written by Utah Phillips. I did speak to Phillips about this. He gave me a name, I wrote it down, then lost the paper it was written on! I haven't run into him since. I know this is an obscure song, but I believe it was written by someone from the Pacific Northwest. I receive as much or more inquiries about this song as any other in my repertoire. I'd feel much better if I could pass on the composers name to those who ask. Thanks again for all your help....Mike Iverson


02 Mar 00 - 09:41 PM (#188531)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: BlueSage

Refresh. Still hoping someone from the Northwest might know who wrote this song.....Mike


31 Dec 07 - 04:16 PM (#2225737)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: BlueSage

I spent some time with Utah Phillips again last year and he couldn't recall exactly who sang this song. He had an idea, but when I tracked down that particular lead, it was a dead end. Anyone else have an idea of who sang or wrote this song?

Here's a link to the song if helps to hear it:

Lumberjack Song


31 Dec 07 - 04:34 PM (#2225749)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: Charley Noble

Don't know if this is helpful but in poker, "Molly Hogan" is the Queen of Spades.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


31 Dec 07 - 05:11 PM (#2225769)
Subject: RE: Looking for writer/info. of song
From: Bill D

I have the album Utah did it on, and it says "collected by George Milburn"
a search for George Milburn and 'timberbeast' gets this page where Milburn is credited with collecting a version of "The Big Rock Candy Mountains." in the 1920s.....so I guess we can't ask HIM...

The article also mentions "a Potlatch timberbeast" as one occupation of hoboes....so some things seem to be connected. I wonder if Utah got the song FROM Milburn.


31 Dec 07 - 05:31 PM (#2225783)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack S
From: Jon Bartlett

George Milburn was the author/collector of The Hobo's Hornbook: A Repertory for a Gutter Jongleur (1930), which I think is much too early for this song. Copies are rare and expensive: the last one I saw listed was $275. Ed Cray (EROTIC MUSE) would be the guy to ask if this song is in it - I'm sure he's got a copy.

I believe the hero is "slingin' (not "swingin') rigging". This looks like a gyppo (cheap haywire dangerous non-union) outfit where one guy is both rigging slinger and hooker.

A rigging slinger directs his choke setters or chokermen in high lead, slack line, or similar log yarding systems. The chokermen loop 16' cables or chokers around logs felled and waiting to be yarded. The rigging slinger determines the sequence of logs to be yarded, according to guidelines established by hook tender (or hooker). He issues directions to crew regarding which logs are to be yarded, the positioning and securing of chokers, and the position of crew during the movement of logs. These days, he signals the yarding engineer (or donkey puncher) to control the positioning of choker cables using a portable radio. In earlier days, he signaled to the whistle-punk (who held a wire connected back to the steam whistle on the donkey engine or skidder) who blew a series of whistles)). He has a bunch of other responsibilities, too, including training new chokermen.

And his girlfriend, Molly Hogan?

A Molly Hogan is a typical haywire fix-it for a lost cotter pin or the like. Here's how Tom Parkin defines it in Wet Coast Words (though I kinda doubt his etymology):

In logging, a wire strand, cut from a cable, used as a cotter pin. Canada. A Molly Hogan is a strand of wire pushed through a hole and twisted in place. It is used to replace a cotter pin which is easily lost in the bush. The word developed from Molle fr for "soft".

I've not heard the song before, though I'd say it's more likely a newer song (80's?). There was a group in Oregon called Timberbound: I think the names were John & Kim Cunick. That might be a place to start. There's also a thesis from Florida on northwest coast logging songs by Leslie Johnson. A fascinating read by itself, but her bibliography might provide some useful leads. I don't think the song comes from our side of the line.

Jon Bartlett


31 Dec 07 - 05:55 PM (#2225801)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack Song
From: Bill D

Oh, my goodness! (he said, trying to contain his glee and embarrassment at the same time)...I have "The Hobo's Hornbook"...in quite good shape. I had not looked at it in ages.

It DOES have "The Timberbeast's Lament", but that is not the song sung on the record.

Looking thru the book now for references.


31 Dec 07 - 06:15 PM (#2225815)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack S
From: Jon Bartlett

Good man, Bill! Jon


31 Dec 07 - 06:17 PM (#2225816)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack Song
From: Bill D

No...I'm sorry. That (Timberbeast's Lament)IS the song Utah sings on the record

http://www.utahphillips.org/fedyouall.html

The song BlueSage is looking for remains elusive.


01 Jan 08 - 02:07 PM (#2226253)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack Song
From: mg

If you want to get an idea of lumberjack injuries, do a google search of Finn death Aberdeen..hopefully it will take you to a site I stumbled on by accident..shows how the Finns int he early 1900s died..so many from being hit in the head by a log, etc. I'll see if I can find the url later..it also shows deaths of Finns in other NW cities. mg


01 Jan 08 - 08:34 PM (#2226471)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack S
From: BlueSage

Thanks for helping me out with this song. Jon, your post was (and will be) particularly helpful. The detailed information you gave will be something I'll pass on to the audience at our concerts; they always appreciate hearing some background on the song before it's performed.

I'll also follow up and try to contact John and Kim to see if they can shed some light on the authorship of this song. If I can find the person who wrote it, I'd love to send them a small royalty check for the mechanical rights from my CD sales.

Thanks again...


02 Jan 08 - 02:34 AM (#2226540)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack S
From: Jon Bartlett

Blue Sage, you're welcome. At what festival did you pick up the song?
Jon Bartlett


03 Jan 08 - 12:27 AM (#2227184)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack S
From: open mike

Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintlock wrote Big Rock Candy Mountain.


05 Dec 12 - 01:00 AM (#3447242)
Subject: RE: Writer/info needed -Utah Phillips-Lumberjack Song
From: GUEST,MzMedic

Molly Hogan was a prostitute in the Pacific Northwest in the 1800's as legend has it. (Hooker)....