Ryan's Fancy: Songs From The Shows
About The Songs
1. The Wild Goose
We thought it appropriate to open this collection with a Canadian song which
to us, at the time, reflected the mood of the great Land of Labrador where some
of our earlier shows were filmed.
2. Come Along
A Uist Marching Song, performed on a show that brought us to Washabuck on
Cape Breton Island for a fine evening of entertainment provided by a family
whose musical roots span several generations in the area.
3. Go To Sea No More
The dangers and distractions of shore leave often led to misadventure for
many a hapless sailor. Sound advice is given in this song to other sea faring
men, council that few sailors ever took to heart.
4. The Cliffs Of Baccalieu
Baccalieu is an island approximately two miles off shore at the northern
entrance to Conception Bay, Newfoundland. Sailing vessels returning from the
Labrador fishery were quite often at the mercy of treacherous winds and
turbulent seas so prevalent around this coastline.
5. The Boys Of The Island
Prince Edward Island proved to be a picturesque setting for several of our
television shows. As it has been a farming community for centuries we found many
songs that sang the praises and virtues of life on the land.
6. The Ryans And The Pittmans
In 1971 having lived in Toronto for four years we decided to move to the East
Coast and make Newfoundland our home. We were attracted by both the music and
the people of Atlantic Canada. One of the first local songs we added to our
repertoire was this great classic. We performed it on a show about the islands
in Placentia Bay.
7. Farewell To Tarwathie
The themes of many of our episodes dealt with seagoing people and the reality
of their leaving home for long periods of time. Whaling voyages were undertaken
by thousands of men from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to "the cold coast of
8. The Squid Jiggin' Ground
Vocal: Dermot & Fergus
The community of Change Islands, Newfoundland, was the location for the
performance of this song. Mr. Art Scammell captures, in colourful detail, the
activities involved in harvesting this valuable source of food and bait from the
waters of Notre Dame Bay.
9. The Jam On Jerry's Rock
Wherever men worked in the woods in Atlantic Canada this song, describing one
of the greatest dangers facing a riverman involved in the logging industry,
would have been a favourite among the shantyboys in the lumber camps. We
considered this song an obvious choice when we filmed in the area of St.
Stephen, New Brunswick.
10. The Hills Of Glenswilly
There are versions of this song to be found in the repertoires of traditional
performers in all of the Atlantic Provinces. "Heritage" was the theme for the
show in which this version was performed.
11. As Johnny Went Ploughin'
In this day and age of "technological wizardry" the art and industry of
working the land with horse and plough is practiced by few. For those urbanites
contemplating a return to rural life this song offers some sound advice -
another gem from Prince Edward Island.
12. The Green Shores Of Fogo
Parts of Fogo Island, off the north East Coast of Newfoundland have very
strong ancestral connections to Ireland. This haunting lyric and melody, based
on an older Irish love song, is reputed to have been composed by a sailor for
his girl friend in Fogo.
13. A Great Big Sea/The Copper Plate Reel
This jocular song is reputed to describe a tidal surge that occurred as a
result of heavy storm conditions during the fall of 1920 in the historic,
picturesque town of Bonavista, Newfoundland. Because of the shows we were
afforded the wonderful opportunity of visiting many such towns and villages in
Newfoundland and throughout the Atlantic Region. The song is followed by The
Copper Plate Reel.
14. Come To The Bower
The historical ties between Newfoundland and Ireland are well documented. We
felt that this song was appropriate for a show that celebrated these
15. Fear a'Bheata
While researching for songs to suit the various themes of the Ryan's Fancy
Television shows, we were struck by the wealth of material that was and is still
available in archives and other collections throughout Atlantic Canada. We leave
you with this old love song that is still a favourite at musical gatherings in