The West Beyond The West

by Great Lonely Wild

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Mr J R
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Mr J R Some beautiful songs from a trio of lovely (they signed my CD!) Canadian grrls. Please have a listen if you like The Be Good Tanya's and The Wailin' Jenny's. Favorite track: Haul Away Joe (traditional).
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released November 9, 2012

All songs written and performed by Great Lonely Wild with the exception of Haul Away Joe, a traditional song arranged and performed by Great Lonely Wild (last verse written by Great Lonely Wild). All songs recorded and mixed by Chris Jaggers. Album mastered by Graemme Brown at Zen Mastering. Cover photograph obtained from the City of Vancouver Archives and is in the public domain.

Thanks to our families for their endless and unwavering support that made this project possible. Thanks to Chris Jaggers for his creative input and for help with percussion, to Ashley Culver for her support of our vision, to our housemates for hosting countless band practices, and to Joe Heikman and Mike Bartel Sawatzky for gang vocals. And finally we would like to recognize the individuals whose stories provided the inspiration for this project.



Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.


Great Lonely Wild Vancouver, British Columbia

Original roots and folk music about the 19th Century Pacific Northwest.

The sounds of mandolin, banjo, concertina, violin, guitar and vocal harmonies will expose you to the tales and stories of those who came before us in Canada's West. ... more

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Track Name: Rocky Mountain Portage
Late in the freasing of the middle of the night
We were waiting for the moonrise to begin the journey right
We set out as the frost laid heaviest on the ground
Departed from the mountain house with bales of ninety pound

Soon as the moon reached its summit that night
The storming began and kept on ‘til daylight
We walked as blind men stumbling all along the way but
We made rocky mountain portage afore dawn still that day

On down the Parnsip we tarried on our way
As far as the river reached we followed in its trail
We came across a man wearing skins over his head
He told us we were fools to take the river route instead

We tried all the same to ride those bad river bights
Wrestled with the whorls before we saw our plight
They were laughing from the shores as we made it up the bank
T’was no rocky mountain portage but we made it all the same

Late in the morning we were ordered all ashore
We were led up to a ladder, like a pole, to help us o’er
Scaling up the rocky walls we held on for our lives
At the mercy of those mountaineering men that we relied

The footpaths were impressed as well as any highway
Our guide said he took the path at least twice a day
Still I did not lose my footing, no, not once along that way
I’d make rocky mountain portage stead of that, any day

Those were the hours we could barely breathe
Those were the days we were too tired to see
Wrestling against the river runs of those woods
I’d make that rocky mountain portage yet again, if I could
Track Name: In The West
In the east I am a mere beggar-man
I can barely find a roof over my head
I can find no one to hear the counsel
I would give of a land they do not know

In the west I was a peacemaking man
A willing servant to the ways of the wild
They all knew me and they all knew of me
That I could find a home in every hill

Oh, the way the world turns, the way it goes
Oh, we make our way forward, the best we know

In the east I am a lonely solitary
Figure of a man who was
I don’t understand our ways and customs anymore
Than I know what lies above

In the west I was a stargazer
I had the company of skies I knew so well
Every step I took was one step further
Than my people ever did before

In the west there is a mountainous impasse
Guarded by six meter of snow
Few have ever seen it, fewer still have crossed it
But the way across I know

In the west there is a great forest
Filled with tree proportions never seen before
Barren wilderness as far as the eye can see
And this wilderness I know

Oh, we’ve both forgotten and have been forgot
Oh, we’ve both passed o’er and have been passed o’er
Track Name: Trapper's Song
I’d been warned of where I was headed
A fool to leave my countrymen
For the icy woods of the western barrens
For the frozen tundra hinterland

But oh, for the feel of the wind biting through me
Oh, for the brush with lonely death
Ne’er an eye has seen such longing
That could drive a man to so vast a wild

‘Neath the shadow of treacherous mountains
Untamed frontier, barely touched
A home I find among faithful adversity
A home to satisfy a wanderer’s lust

But oh, for the glance of a wild eye watching
Oh, for the tree’s heavy shudder and sigh
I’ve driven a stake, a steel jaw round me
I’ve driven a stake to fetter me fast

I have an unfeeling numb in my fingers
I bear a wanton pulse in my blood
The foreign tongues bid me due warning
Of winter’s hard and unfaltering stare

But oh, for the view from the peaks of mountains
Oh, for the misty veil at dawn
Ne’er could I have known the depths of
Caledonia’s great lonely wild

No one knows what I carry with me
No one has seen my frozen heart
I’ve buried it ‘neath a brow desideratum
I’ve buried it à la façon du pays
Track Name: Fraser River Lullaby
Wood in the water, there’s sand in the hole
There’s wood in the water, there’s sand in the hole

It’s clear on the rud bank, boom’s got your back
All clear on the rud bank, boom’s got your back

The river’s as good as any home
Night’s gonna rock us to sweet shores
We keep on moving with the fell tree trail and the water flow
So long as skid road keeps on rolling

Crib rocking heavy, wind from below
Crib’s rocking heavy, wind’s coming from below

Tighten up the fore lines, let ‘er shoot the hill
Tighten up the fore lines, better let ‘er shoot the hill

Basin in the offing, floodplains up the way
The basin’s in the offing, there be floodplains up the way

Float timbre offshore, let’s get ‘er on home
Float timbre offshore, yeah, let’s get ‘er on home
Track Name: Haul Away Joe (traditional)
When I was a little lad and so me mother told me
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
If I did not kiss the gals me lips would grow all moldy
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

Way, haul away, the good ship is a-bolding
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
Way, haul away, the sheet is now unfolding
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

Once I was in Ireland a’digging turf and taties
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
But now I’m on an English ship a’hauling at the braces
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

I ran away from Galway town and shipped aboard a whaler
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
Because the gal I courted there would only have a sailor
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

Way haul away, we’ll haul for better weather
Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
Way haul away, we’ll haul away together
Way haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

King Louis was the king of France before the revolutae-on
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
Then he got his head cut off which spoiled his constitutae-on
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!

Once I was a city lad a’weavin’ through the hackneys
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
But now I’m on a trading ship a’bound for the colonies
Way, haul away, we’ll haul away Joe!
Track Name: Black Lament
Underneath the breakers there lies a deep vast hole
It turns all the grass to dust and the sky it deftly shoals
It swallows up the sunlit hours and chews up a man’s soul
Underneath the breakers I want no more to go

Through the threshold of the slope, there lies a dark labyrinth
It reaches a winding trail through the stark coal plinths
It has no end for the miner’s pick nor the state in which he’s in
Through the threshold of the slope I will not enter in

Oh, in the colliery, the black is what I’m told
Oh, in the colliery, the black I dare not go
A hundred fifty men they lie in the caves of Wellington
A hundred fifty boys and men never see the light o’ day again

Down the levels of the shaft the garish cage descends
Into the depths of the earth where darkness never ends
On the feeble light of lanterns hung our frail steps depend
Down the levels of the shaft I will not further wend

Out from the gangway the coal seam roads run
Where the black dust covers all and settles in the lungs
No lye can purge the body of the pitch and what it duns
Out from the gangway I will not venture from

Deep in the broaden breasts the dynamite is laid
The weight of lives are held by pillars easily forayed
And the afterdamp will care not for the years your life outstayed
Deep in the broaden breasts I will not ever stray
Track Name: Lady Fortune
Lady Fortune’s calling
There’s gold in them hills and in every river too
The folks down south are rushing
The fever’s in my head and hammering at my door

The mountain’s coming down now and Johnny’s on the run
He’s losing his mind
The prospect’s unforgiving
Be wary ye of unbelief: there’s riches for ye that can dig

None ain’t ever seen such lustrous dregs
None would e’er believe such pure western bullion

The cost o’ gold is rising
The beneficiation’s cheap and there’s more to be found
And Johnny didn’t he make it
Made well staking his claim and marked what he paid for by blood

The land is worth its weight and you’ll be getting your vein too
This bender won’t last long
The prospect’s looking good boys
Be wary ye of little faith: there’s riches for ye that can wait
Track Name: Baby And Me
I wandered up the hill
Where we used to, Johnny, where we used to go
I wandered past the mill
Where we sat, Johnny, where we stayed, Johnny, still

They didn’t believe one word
Not a word from me, Johnny, not a word of my mouth
They could not see the worth
In a half breed, Johnny, in a half breed girl

Only me and the babe, only me and the babe

I could not get my fill
of those deep blue, Johnny, those eyes so blue
I could not keep you still
On the grass so, Johnny, on the green grass hill

I knew you couldn’t stay
You’re too quick for it, Johnny, you’re not from this place
You had to go away
You left me here, Johnny, you left me, aye

There’s a fire that doesn’t die
It’s got too much to feed on, too much heat
It lets me sleep at night
And wakes me first thing in the morning light

I wander past there still
Where we used to, Johnny, where we used to go
They’re a tearing up that mill
Where we used to, Johnny, where I sometimes still
Track Name: Confessions
It wasn’t right, it wasn’t wrong
Oh, the strength of the headstrong
Kept underfoot, a half decade long
Oh, the faith to prolong

Oh, we were deaf, we were blind to our crimes
Oh, we stood by while the peace took to slide
We will all die in our time
We will all hang for our crimes

Oh, how can I divine
In the dead of night, by my failing sight
For between us is a mountain range
Is an ocean wide, is an ocean

Over my dead hide, the river people taken by night
Over my dead mind, the river people betrayed in plain sight

Oh we’re walking on weak clay
All the people are dying from our malaise
The disease, the contempt and the rape
And the killing, the killing, the killing
How can anyone sufficedly pay?

In the woods we’ve wove inside
Beneath the lichen underside
Over the same rocks we all have climbed
Under our shared northern sky

I know it won’t save my soul
I know it won’t make anyone whole
Theirs is still a place I can never go
Theirs is still a people I can never truly know