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In 1978 I spent a couple of months touring as a solo musician in northern British Columbia. During a particularly interesting two weeks in Vanderhoof, a bar patron told me the story that inspired this song. The story was changed slightly to protect the privacy of the person, but I hope it captures the essence of life and death in the north in those days. This song was recorded in 1995 with Stone Whistle, and also appears on the Stone Whistle CD "Salamanders".
Players: Rick Garvin - vocals, guitar
Rob Castle - background vocals, added guitar
Patty Castle - whistle, background vocals
Mark Rowsome - bass
© 1978 Rick Garvin
1. Once I was a young man, living by the coast
Fishing for my living, and living more than most
Now you see me begging, for a dollar or a drink
And you look at me and wonder how low a man can sink.
Chorus: Now it's round, round, the bottle pass my way
Maybe if we drink enough, we can drive the memories away.
2. Once I was a proud man, living by the sea
On the north of Graham Island in the Charlottes of BC
To the canneries at Rupert with my cargo I would go
And trade my fish for silver and pick up food for home.
3. My lady's name was Anna and she meant the world to me
I had a darling daughter whose name was Melody
They filled my days with loving till a man could want no more
But I lost them both to fire in 1964.
4. It happened late in August when I was not at home
A tankard of marine gas exploded in the sun
Where Melody was playing, she turned and looked around
And caught her head a fragment and died without a sound.
5. My Anna came a running from the house down to the pier
She saw her daughter lying with the flames drawing near
She ran to try and save her but the fire caught her hair
And when I returned at sunset, I found her dying there.
6. So I come down to Vancouver and I ran my ship aground
And if I were less a coward I'd have stayed with her and drowned
Now you see me dying one bottle at a time
So drink to your misfortune and I will drink to mine.