Canada Songs

by John Spearn

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about

Released in 2002, this contains 12 original songs (plus an instrumental) that attempt to personalize, pay tribute to, or help stimulate an appreciation or understanding of an event or aspect of Canadiana: something that needs to be shared or understood, or a story that needs to be told.

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released January 1, 2002

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about

John Spearn Edmonton, Alberta

You’ll instantly catch these deep influences threaded through John’s fine vocals, lyrics, and rootsy, guitar-mastered songwriting works. This is pure Canadiana: forgotten but deserving heroes, the humility in our international image, and a superb range of tender ballads through to raw, foot-stompin’ stories that need to be told. ... more

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Track Name: Dieppe
We rode on a wave to Dieppe that day
There was Frenchy, Mack, n’ me, in our proud Black Berets.
Canadian Commandos, 5000 strong were we,
So glad to be delivering liberty
But the Germans were there, on the shore-
Dave Mack ran a gamut, way out in front of the boys
We just couldn’t see, through the smoke, fire, and noise
We knew he could run, but rock sand, his pack, and his gun . . .
In a blinding flash on the shore . . . cry no more.
Frenchy led the way past the gun-caves we could see,
With a fine eye and luck, he knocked out two or three,
The boys heard armor rollin’, closer than they wanted to be
It seemed so sudden, for Frenchy
“. . . Pousser des cris”
With as many dead as wounded, pinned down we can’t break free
I just want to go back to my Saskatoon prairie,
They’re picking us off like flies, I can’t take it no more
Dear Lord, please sail us off this shore . . .
1000 men lay dyin’, dear Lord . . . cry no more
[We rode on a wave, to Dieppe that day]…
Track Name: Ten Thousand Guns (Vimy Ridge 1917)
Down the line we waited for the signal to run
On the ridge we’ll face 10 000 guns.
Over here in God’s hands where we can’t see the sun
[10 000 long miles from home]
And again I dreamed of my Jenny
Back in the ‘Peg waiting for me.
Her brown hair and eyes spark a’plenty
And [soon to be married we'll be].
Through no-man’s-land was the glory we found
Through craters and holes with our friends we were bound.
And our sons will carry our story on down
And have [peace in a world without end].
T’was then I saw my Jenny
But why can’t she see me?
Her brown eyes carry tears a’plenty
[10 000 miles cross the sea].
10 000 mothers are crying
10 000 sons paid to turn the tide.
And many a good lad still trying
[To cross to the other side]
Track Name: Blind Mary
When I saw Blind Mary, t’was nothing I could say
On the cliffs of Bantry Bay
But she smiled at me, her treasures for to see
Now I must be on my way.
Captain Shea is calling, the bugle beckons me
to the barge in Bantry Bay
And I’ll sail from here, to the hills of Calgary
From my home, far and away.
For you see, Blind Mary, forever she will stay
On the cliffs of Bantry Bay
She will wait for you, forever it will be
And she’ll live in your mem’ry.
Track Name: Roy Brown and Wop May
It’s the Baron! In terror they cried,
80 men tried him . . . 80 men died.
With the German Flying Circus, along for the ride
Nothing seemed likely to turn the tide . . .
Through the haze flew Roy Brown and Wop May
Two Royal Air Force fly boys from Canadi-ay.
“Stop the Flying Circus!” they’d toast
“Down with the Baron!” they’d drink to their host.
There was fear in the sky when the Red Baron did fly,
For numb was his nerve, and firm his despise.
Eighty small emblems appeared as his brand,
Each an opponent, shot down by his hand . . .
For Manfred was a sniper who wore no disguise,
From a fortress in Breslau came bullets with eyes . . .
From above, he’d swoop out of the sun,
On the doomed Allied pilot he’d open his guns!
Through the haze flew Roy Brown and Wop May
Two Royal Air Force fly boys from Canadi-ay.
“Stop the Flying Circus!” they’d toast
“Down with the Baron!” they’d drink to their host.
T’was in spring of ’18, over Amiens one day
On his maiden mission, the rookie Wop May
Felt the roar of a tri-plane hurtling his way,
There were death lights flashing! He veered from the fray
And a free-fall . . . he tried to escape but in vain,
For the Baron was right on his heels again.
And he prayed, “Take me home Lord, I’m finished I fear…”
When high, from the sky, Captain Brown did appear!
And with guns ablaze, from above and below,
The Great Baron’s plane became lifeless and slow . . .
And it fluttered and fell to the ground,
Where the great ace, Von Richtofen, dying; was found . . .
Through the haze flew Roy Brown and Wop May
Two Royal Air Force fly boys from Canadi-ay . . .
["To the Flying Circus!" they'd toast
"Here's to the Baron!" they'd drink to their host . . . ]
Track Name: Northwest Company
I’m here in the bush, in no-man’s-land, for the Northwest Company.
In an evergreen forest in my trading shack, the river is all I see.
It’s been three long years and 17 months since I left Montreal,
And I don’t know when I’ll ever get back, can’t leave in summer or fall.
These native lads are fine hunters, they taught a Scot a thing or two,
But if not for my fiddle this loneliness would break my heart, it’s true.
There’s a native lass who came in with the Cree, they want to trade her to me,
But I’m still not sure if she wants to stay, she’s scared to leave, you see.
The last I heard and for all I know, it’s 1793
I’m here in the bush in no-man’s-land
For the Northwest Company
For the Northwest Company.
Well it’s 18 years since I left bonnie Glasgow for this cursed life I’ve known,
Now I’m much too old to travel that river, so it’s here I’ll cut my stone.
The Voyageur crew, that in June were due, should be here in a week or two,
For the ice was late and the weather’s been hell, and another cursed winter is due.
The last I heard and for all I know, it’s 1793
I’m here in the bush in no-man’s-land
For the Northwest Company
For the Northwest Company.
I’m here in the bush in no-man’s-land . . . for the Northwest Company.
Track Name: When the Crop Comes (Fair Meaghan)
Oh, why, fair Meighan, did you come to the west
To join me out here on this unbroken ground
And give up your life, all the finest and best
Out of fair Charlottetown
Out of fair Charlottetown.
Come dance, pretty Meighan, my partner, my wife
Tell me what made you choose such a hard, lonely life.
No doubt, we could never afford to go down
To see again fair Charlottetown,
To sea again fair Charlottetown.
But when the crop comes in, we’ll dance again
We’ll paint these bare walls if a good rain falls.
And the bad news from France about your brother
We’ll pray for him
When the crop comes in.
And when the crop comes in we’ll dance again
When the threshing crew is through I’ll be home to you
And the bad news from France about your brother
We’ll pray for him
When the crop comes in
Oh how, mother dear did you stay in the west
And bear these five sons and a daughter so fair
With only the riches of the grand-kids at best,
And a sweet song when Sunday comes ’round
And a sweet song when Sunday comes ’round.
Now at last, your spirit is free to go down . . .
To see again fair Charlottetown . . .
To sea again fair Charlottetown.
Track Name: Run, Terry Fox, Run
In the fragrant green trees in an ocean’s sweet breeze,
Canada’s favorite son,
With one leg lost in peril, and a passionate plea
From the east, he started to run.
With the wind at his back and a tiny belt pack,
He left on a wing and a prayer,
To run clean across the wide country he loved,
In the hopes that the world might share:
In his mission so frightfully clear,
To find a cure for mankind’s greatest fear-
And it’s run, Terry Fox run,
As far and as fast as you can.
Run, Terry Fox run,
And hold the world in your hand.
With a start at the Maritime shoreline
Through the busy Saint Lawrence Valley
Like a trooper he kept on, to honour his pledge
The people would stop just to see.
And on to Ontario with weeks flying by,
“He’s coming!” the newsmen would cry.
But on a south-bending road near Superior’s waters,
This brave boy’s dream . . . was left to you and I . . . you and I.
Now it’s run, Terry Fox run,
As far and as fast as you can.
Run, Terry Fox run,
And hold the world in your hand.
“. . . and hold . . . the world . . . in your hand . . .”
Track Name: Song of the Nepton Child
The Earthship is leaving, on its long, long flight
And I want to go with them, I’ll hide here tonight.
I want to go with them, to Earth I must go
Won’t you let me go with them, no my son, no.
Oh father, oh father, I feel you are unkind
And I’m going with the Earthmen, to live with mankind.
I’m leaving forever, with humans I will go
Won’t you let me go with them, no my son, no
I’ve lived here on Nepton, I’ll live here no more
There is nothing here, father, but pain, death, and war.
The hating and fighting, from long, long ago
Won’t you let me go with them, no my son, no
A stowaway I’ll be, I’m going to Earth
In its radiant splendor, I’ll find what I’m worth.
I’ll find peace and gladness my people can’t know
Won’t you let me go with them, no my son, no
Won’t you let me go with them . . . no, my son no.
Track Name: A Few Scarlet Horsemen
Red Cloud and Crazy Horse chose to fight on
To echo their forefather’s warrior song.
For the Sioux swarmed the Yellow-hair in the Bighorn Coulee
But a million long-rifles sing no harmony.
As they crossed the Milk River to a new native land
From the Black Hills of Dakota 6000 were banned.
And those few scarlet horsemen stood fearless that day
To welcome the warriors that fate cast away.
Take your whiskey and smallpox, gold claim and TB
All the plagues on these people: those few horsemen could see.
With Victoria’s promise to let them roam free
Sitting Bull was a guest in the Territory
Major Walsh and his Mounties stood as their true friends,
While the Bluecoats at Wounded Knee slaughtered again.
Take your whiskey and smallpox, gold claim and TB
All the plagues on these people: those few horsemen could see.
So the gold rush goes on and the miners still come
And the red mounted horsemen still honour the song
Of the exiled Sioux nation in the Grandmother’s Land
Where a man’s word is solemn and the law takes a stand.
Take your whiskey and smallpox, gold claim and TB
All the plagues on these people: those few horsemen could see.
Track Name: Requiem for Montcalm
Countless times you led us to victory
Amazed were we with the enemy’s discord.
When you graciously set free an army at your mercy,
And let them go home with their guns and swords.
Yet you stood representing that fickle monarchy,
And died amidst carnage from intrigue faraway.
Such a waste of precious humanity,
Revered and respected in a world led astray.
How do we follow in your footsteps?
How can we, your soldiers, belong?
Marquis de Montcalm, guardien de liberation,
Votre passion, qui s’ensuivraient!
We witnessed your death on Abraham’s Plains,
And because of your passing our freedom remains.
For the English crown won’t give us disdain,
Respecting the honour of your name.
How do we follow in your footsteps?
How can we, your soldiers, belong?
Marquis de Montcalm, guardien de liberation,
Votre passion, qui s’ensuivraient!
Marquis de Montcalm, guardien de liberation,
Votre passion, qui s’ensuivraient!
Track Name: The Corvettes of Halifax
On the icy Atlantic where the Merchant men sail
From Canada’s harbors to save England we can’t fail
We’re putting the U-boats on the cold ocean floor
We’re the corvettes of Halifax . . . out to even the score
We’ve signed on with Canada’s navy
From all over this land we’ve arrived
We’re tossing and losing our gravy
But we’ve got to keep England alive, boys,
We’ve got to keep England alive.
And the horror we saw when our gunship St. Croix
Took torpedoes from U305
She burst like an egg . . . men left floating to freeze
Sayin’ good Lord, we’re too young to die,
Please, lord we’re too young to die.
And the U-boats that were putting our merchantmen down
Soon were “the hunted” when the Sackville came around
We’re the sheep dogs out to guard the convoy boys
And we’re taking our wolf pelts to town.
Taking our wolf pelts to town
On the icy Atlantic where the Merchant men sail
From Canada’s harbors to save England we can’t fail
We’re putting the U-boats on the cold ocean floor
We’re the corvettes of Halifax . . . out to even the score
. . . out to even the score.
Track Name: Wyoming Homeless
For 100 000 years the families did roam,
With a spirit wild and high
They ran free and strong, in a wilderness home,
And those fairy tales gave no reply.
Yes, they’d be understood, if they could,
Risking a life just to feed
And raise all their young ones, in nature’s own way,
Never for evil or greed . . . please welcome:
The alpha timber wolf, she roams again,
Her time on earth now dignified.
From Bow Valley Parkway to a Wyoming range,
Can we face her eye to eye, and hear her cry?
Venture into our forest of dreams
Can you tell us what you see?
Long, dark shadows, and jungles of fear,
Or is it just you and me? Please welcome:
The alpha timber wolf, she roams again,
Her time on earth now dignified.
From Bow Valley Parkway to a Wyoming range,
Can we face her eye to eye, and hear her cry?
Wyoming Homeless, her brand new name,
Taken back in time to try.
Is she a prairie dolphin or a rancher’s disdain,
Can we make up our minds, and tell her why?
Bringing back the Nez Perce spirit ring,
Hear nature’s harmony sing?
We’re trying carefully to make amends,
Did we do the right thing? Do the right thing?