On Gravelly Bay


This is a piece from Ivan Walton's collection of Great Lakes sailors' songs. Walton was a devoted amateur folklorist who travelled both sides of the Great Lakes in the early 1930s, gathering songs and stories from the last generation of sailors who had worked "under canvas" on the lakes. He never published his collection during his lifetime, but in 2002 it was finally made available as a pair of books - "Windjammers" and "Songquest". I have had a copy of a copy of a copy of Walton's original typescript for about 40 years (Thanks to singer and piper Barry O'Neill) Just for fun I have included the pages from this typescript along with my transcription. I've chosen to use the usual two"L" spelling of Gravelly.

This is a song about love gone wrong while dredging out Gravelly Bay, near Port Colborne, Ontario. It was collected from someone named E.J. Buzzard in Erieau, on the north shore of Lake Erie.

It didn't come with a tune, but seems to have borrowed some lyric content and style from the "Rambling Irishman" family of tunes, so I have set it to one of those melodies.


Details

Title On Gravelly Bay
Subject Social Life & Love Lakes & Rivers
Year 1933
Locale Southwestern
Keywords dredging Great Lakes Port Colborne Walton

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