Lukey's Boat | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Lukey's Boat

'Lukey's Boat'

 'Lukey's Boat'. Comical song widely sung on the east coast of Newfoundland and collected by Elisabeth Greenleaf in 1929 in Twillingate, Nfld. Greenleaf noted that the song was cast in the same metre as the famous shanty 'In Amsterdam There Lived a Maid' and thus may have originated as a shanty. Helen Creighton, who in Nova Scotia collected a shorter version known as 'Loakie's Boat,' says that her singers told her it was about a man who came from Lunenburg.

The song has many stanzas which vary with the person singing it, but the usual ones describe Lukey's boat and tell of his return from a fishing expedition to discover that his wife is dead, which doesn't seem to grieve him much, for he announces that he'll get another in the spring (or the fall) of the year.

Creighton included it in Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia (Toronto 1932) and it is also in Greenleaf and Mansfield's Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland (Cambridge, Mass, 1933). Alan Mills recorded it (Folk Songs of Newfoundland, Folk FW-6931) as did the Memorial U Chamber Choir (Waterloo WR-18). The song has been popularized by the singer Dick Nolan. It has been arranged by Robert Fleming for voice and piano and by Donald Cook for SATB (Waterloo 1981). Harry Somers used the tune as a theme in the opening movement of his Little Suite for string orchestra (1955).

The melody of 'Lukey's Boat' was the subject of a series of articles in the Canadian Folk Music Bulletin (vol 18, no. 2-4, 1984).

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