Listening to Schooner Fair with Zach…

From Schooner Fair — Alive!
MAN i wanna get sailing again…..
THE MARY L. McKAY
Frederick W. Wallace / Arr. & Adapt. Schooner Fare
We first heard this song in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Later we found it in a North American folk collection. The story is unchanged but the rhythm, melody and chords have been rewritten. It’s the story of a record-setting voyage between Portland, Maine, and Yarmouth, N.S., with a little help from Portland bootleg rum.


From Portland, Maine, to Yarmouth Sound
Two-twenty miles we ran
In eighteen hours, my bully boys,
Now beat that if you can.
The crew said it was seamanship;
The skipper, he kept dumb.
But the force that drove our vessel
Was the power of Portland rum.
Come all ye hardy haddockers
Who winter fishin’ go.
And brave the seas upon the banks
In stormy wind and snow
And ye who love hard driving
Come listen to my lay
Of the run we made from Portland
On the Mary L. McKay.
We hung the muslin on her
As the wind began to hum.
Twenty hardy Nova Scotia men
Chock full of Portland rum.
Mainsail, fores’l, jib and jumbo
On that wild December day
As we passed ole Cape Elizabeth
And slugged for Fundy Bay.
Storm along, drive along
Punch her through the rips.
Northeast gale’s a blowin’,
And we’ll take all that she gives.
We’re homeward bound to Yarmouth Sound
Two-twenty miles today
We made the run on Portland rum
On the Mary L. McKay.
We slammed her by Monhegan
As the gale began to scream.
Our vessel took to dancing
In a way that was no dream.
A howler o’er the taffrail, b’ye
As we steered sou’east away
For she was a hound for running
Was the Mary L. McKay.
We slammed her to Matinicus.
The skipper hauled the log
“Sixteen knots! Lord Harry!
Ain’t she just the gal to jog?”
The half-canned wheelsman shouted
As he swung her on her way
“Just watch me tear the mainsail off
The Mary L. McKay.”
Chorus
The rum was passing merrily
And the crew was feeling grand
Longnecks dancing in our wake
From where we left the land.
Our skipper he kept sober
For he knew how things could lay,
And he made us furl the mains’l
On the Mary L. McKay.
Now the captain didn’t care to make
His wife a widow yet.
He swung her off to Yarmouth Cape
With just her fores’l set
Past Fourchu in the mornin’
And shut in at break of day
And soon in shelterin’ harbor
Lay the Mary L. McKay.
Chorus
From Portland, Maine, to Yarmouth Sound
Two-twenty miles we ran.
In eighteen hours, my bully boys,
Now beat that if you can.
The crew said it was seamanship;
The skipper he kept dumb.
But the force that drove our vessel
Was the power of Portland rum.

Dave Shevett

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A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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One thought on “Listening to Schooner Fair with Zach…

  1. This song made me literally WEEP when I first heard it on WCLV’s Weekend Radio.

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