3)    VOYAGEUR 4:22

The first Europeans to cross the continent of North America came from East to West. They were the fur trade explorers of the North West and Hudson's Bay trading companies. Travelling in birch bark canoes, they explored west from Hudson's Bay (HBC) or Lachine, Quebec. (NWC)

Following the inland river and lake systems, and led by MacKenzie, Fraser and Thompson, they built trading posts, explored the waterways and created the first maps of those regions. These were the Voyageurs!

They came by here, those voyageurs over water sweet as wine

Those bold adventurers of a long forgotten time
Long before the riverboats, before the pioneers
Their chansons echoed through the wilderness frontier

On the 1st of May the spring brigades would depart from old Lachine

With sweat and blood they’d muscled through the hellish terrain
Over rocks or through white water or the miles of cursed mire
To winter in the Chipywan, cold and huddled by a fire

Those nights went on forever with the cruel wind howling at the door

When each man prayed to hear the bells of sweet Saint Anne’s once more
To die in the Harlot’s Tavern! in tassels, sash and plume
Fol da, diddle di, re fol dadin-o

Rise up you bold Nor’wester, an hour before the dawn

The sun will set again before your toil is done

If you were here brave Voyageur, what stories you could tell

Of Fraser & MacKenzie & Thompson as well

Did you pulled upstream ‘till your back was bent?

The weight on the tumpline, did it twist your neck?
If you don’t lie in an unmarked grave along the killing portages

You died in the Harlot’s Tavern, a worn-out twisted wretch
Fol da, diddle di, re fol dadin-o

Rise up now bold Nor’wester, this hour before the dawn
Your song shall rise again before this day is done


Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN) 

From Tiller’s FollyGhosts of the Mighty Fraser CD (1999)


Bruce Coughlanlead vocals, acoustic guitar
Laurence Knight
electric bass
Mike Sanyshyn
Victor Smith
Craig McGregor
electric guitar
Shawn Soucy
drums, percussion
Gord Maxwell:
Daryl Havers

Produced by Laurence Knight
Engineered by John Ellis Craig Stauffer
Recorded and mixed at Magic Lab Studios, Surrey, BC 
Mastered by Craig Waddell at Gotham City, Vancouver, BC.

Re-mastered by Joby Baker, Baker Studios, Victoria, BC.