Bernie Bedore and Bill Berndt offer their impressions of this pioneer era in a cheerful celebration and recollection of great feats of strength and endurance both at work and at play.
Bedore and Berndt's song "I Walk Along The Opeongo" uses guitar and banjo accompaniment.
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I Walk Along The Opeongo Chorus I walk along The Opeongo Singing loud this happy song oh How are things atop The Mountain Billy K? How are things atop The Mountain, Billy Kertin How are things upon The Mountain top today How's your sister, how's your brother, How's your daddy and your mother How are things atop The Mountain Billy K? Chorus Just foine, me lad, says Billy, fair to middlin' Most everything up here is bright and gay But me sister Kate is smilin' at me brother Lornie's wilin' How are things down in the flat with you today? Chorus Now Katey Brady married Red Joe Whalen And went upon The Mountain top to live There they raised a merry crew and brought them up on Valley Dew And spuds and maple syrup so they say. Chorus Ah, the old folks were the tough ones hard and salty Like Culhane who fought the bear at Rockingham Big Mick stepped up and socked her and on her heels he rocked her Laid her dead upon the road did Mick Culhane. Chorus Well, tonight we''ll shake a shoe in Killaloe Bill When Mary Kate is wed to Pete McLaren We'll swing and laugh and sing, and dance round in a ring Sure these shindigs up here always last till morn. Chorus.
Each settlement, each stopping place was a source for stories and news for those further "up the line". The stories and news did not always portray a paradisal Opeongo area.
An amazing story survives in another song written by Bernie Bedore. Called "Old Saw Saw", it is really about an old man named Sampson who lived at Dacre. The French pronunciation Sampson sounds somewhat like "saw saw". The hope of owning land lured settlers. Energetic people who lived on a designated property and made improvements within three years could apply for a title or deed of ownership. Sometimes, however, greed and enmity reared their heads as disputes about labour and improvements led to violence. One version of this story is that because old Saw Saw was an obstacle to one group's acquiring title, the family members confronted old Sawsaw and beat him to death. Another version is that some "ribbon men" had a score to settle. A third version of this story reveals that Old Saw Saw was too much of a ladies' man and the consequences were a bitter lesson to all.
Here is Bedore's song put to music by Bill Berndt. Be prepared for the shockingly different interpretation of Saw Saw 's death.
Old Saw Saw
Dacre Town on a Saturday night was a merry place to play. Old Saw Saw was a ladies' man the gossips all would say. Now he lies full six feet down all wrapped in a big pine box. The ladies flailed him 'till he died, but the ghost of Saw Saw walks. Late one night before the dawn Saw Saw was full of gin A young lass knocked at Saw Saw's door Called please come let me in. Saw Saw came with nightshirt flying And opened wide the door They swarmed on him with flailing clubs And bore him to the floor. Die old man this Saturday night Let your blood run cold You've seduced your last young daughter It's time you died you're old. You'll kill me aye but when you place me Down in the cold deep ground, I'll be back at night to haunt you You'll feel my ghostly form. Saw Saw died there smiling For he knew his ghost would walk His sins were theirs and they killed him So Saw Saw couldn't talk. He died 'cause the ladies killed him But no freedom came for them For they walked with dread and deathly fear When the full moon brightly shone. Dacre Town on a Saturday night was a merry place to play. Old Saw Saw was a ladies' man the gossips all would say. Now he lies full six feet down all wrapped in a big pine box. The ladies flailed him 'till he died, but the ghost of Saw Saw walks.
Folk ballads have a blood-chilling tone, record grisly events, offer glimpses into the shadow side of people, and often hint at supernatural influences.