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Joe Clarke, an old song from the Lumberwoods of New Brunswick, Canada

Posted by tweedsidetune


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- Play count: 329

Size: 514kb, uploaded 7/29/2011 9:11:39 AM
Genre: Folk / Playing Style: Unknown/None Chosen

This song was always sung to my by my Grandfather, John Wesley Messer. He was born in 1890 in Tweedside, New Brunswick, and worked in the lumberwoods as a teenager and young adult. He was a great fiddle player, and was double first cousin to Canadian icon Don Messer. In fact, my great-grandfather and 3 great uncles were instrumental in teaching a young Don the old traditional songs. Anyway, here I am, playing Joe Clarke. The words are as follows: Joe Clarke he drives the black team, Judd Harvey drives the bay. That roaring old Bill Paterson, he drives the span of gray. Blow ye winds in the morning and blow ye winds aye-o. Clear the way your running gear and blow, boys blow. The next comes the cook's team, the dandy of them all. He gets us up in the morning with a most un-Godly call. Hot buns and beans for breakfast, work hard or not all day. "It's good enough for you my boys, my team gets musty hay!" I played years ago, learning of tapes my brother and i made of Gramp playing and singing. After a long hiatus of about 20 years, I started playing this past January. I've been having a ball relearing the old song and a lot of new ones. I hope you enjoy!

4 comments on “Joe Clarke, an old song from the Lumberwoods of New Brunswick, Canada”

mudbug Says:
Thursday, August 4, 2011 @4:03:11 PM

Glad you took it up again. You sound great. Playing since January? Sacre Bleu!

Diane G Says:
Saturday, August 6, 2011 @10:32:22 AM

Wow...this is great Andrew. Thanks for posting this. I love Don Messer's husband is a LP collector and we have some of Don's stuff on LP's ...the first time I heard him play was on those LP's and I didn't know how important he was to the Canadian people until a few years later when I was talking to someone from Canada. Keep the flame going....Stay tuned and have a great day. Diane
I'm a fiddle collector...I hope you or someone in your family has his fiddle, your grandfather's. :>)

tweedsidetune Says:
Monday, August 8, 2011 @7:55:54 PM

Hello Diane,
Sorry for not responding, but I just noticed your post.
Many thanks for your nice comments. I am thrilled that you like the song. My Grandfather's fiddle is still in our family, owned by my father. We grew up with that fiddle, as it was always in the corner of Gramp's living room, behind a door. We'd ask him to play and he'd always oblige. He was fantastic, even in old age.

In or around 1950, Don Messer was on a tour of Canada. He called my Grandfather to ask if he could come by the house for a home-cooked meal. My father and grandfather drove across the border and picked Don and Rae Simmons, clarinetist, up and brought them home for the evening. While at the house, Don played my grandfather's violin, and remarked how nice it sounded and played. So, yes, in a sense we have a Don Messer violin!!
The next day, my father and his family went to the concert. When they were approaching, Rae Simmons happened to see them. He took them in through the back entrance and told the security that they were band members. Anyway, I've been playing that fiddle a lot lately, too.

Growing up with my Grandfather, Don was never dwelled on in a fame sense. He was a fiddling Messer, as most of them were. They were all very proud of him, yes, but it was never a bragging thing.
Also, we have many pages of hand-written sheet music from Don. He and my grandfather always exchanged music with each other. Many famous songs, such as Dill Pickles and the like. I'll post some of them on here when I get the time. We also have letters from Don. One, in particular, asks to borrow my great-grandfather's sheet music. Of course, Don would have remembered those when he was a kid playing with my g-gf.

My great-grandfather's fiddle is now in the possession of my cousin in New Brunswick. For many years it was owned by my cousin and eldest grandson, in Niagara Falls,. After he died a few years ago, it was given to another cousin of mine in New Brunswick. We still are in touch with these cousins, so my hope is to go and play it sometime.

As for Don, we always had his albums, and I still listen to them. He was the crispest note sticker and a master of tone. He did things so intricate, I've still yet to hear playing like that. Phenomenal player, sort of like the Chet Atkins of fiddle. I only wish the recording technology was better in those days.

Thanks again, Diane. I really appreciate your comments!
Andrew Messer

tweedsidetune Says:
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @2:32:09 PM

Somehow I missed your comments, Mugbug---don't ask my how! Thank you very much for the same----I really appreciate it!

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