> Louis Killen > Songs > Bay of Fundy

Bay of Fundy

[Gordon Bok]

Gordon Book wrote Bay of Fundy in 1965 and sang it as the title track of his 1975 Folk-Legacy album Bay of Fundy. He noted:

This is about a long and weary, windless trip from Maine around to Halifax on a little black schooner that seemed to move only by the slatting of her gear. We had a coal stove in her, and the foresail used to downdraft onto the charlienoble, turn the stack into an intake and the cabin into a chimney. So, with the coalgas and the wet, the offwatch was not much more comfortable than the deadwatch…

I think the one who worked the hardest was Ed's wife, Lainie, and you could hear her, working below or at the wheel, singing a little tune of her own, over and over. It was a private comfort tune that probably became as much of a comfort to the rest of us as to her.

When we got down to Cape Breton Island, I asked her if I could borrow the tune and put words to it, as a memento of the trip, and she said yes. And I tried, all the next fall, to make that tune say what I remembered, but after all, 'twas Lainie's tune, and private, and I had to make my own.

I tried-to keep the lonely sounds, and a few notes from Sable and the Sambro horn, but what she gave us then I have no way to give.

Louis Killen sang Bay of Fundy on his 1989 cassette The Rose in June. He noted:

Gordon Bok told me that a trip on a schooner from Bar Harbour, Maine, birthed this song. After one day out, the wind dropped and left the sails flapping for the next eleven days while she drifted in and out of the Bay of Fundy. The accompaniment was inspired by the bell buoys in Provincetown harbour.

Folly Bridge sang Bay of Fundy in 1992 on their second WildGoose cassette, Unabridged. Claire Lloyd noted:

A contemporary folk song written by Gordon Bok, about a trip on a sailboat from Maine to Halifax, Nova Scotia, The Bay of Fundy is renowned for having the highest tides in the world and freak weather conditions, including deep fog.

The Unthanks sang The Bay of Fundy on their 2022 album Sorrows Away. This song was released in advance as a single on 12 April 2022. Rachel Unthank noted:

We heard Alan Fitzsimmons and The Keelers (other members Jim Mageaan, Peter Wood and our dad, George Unthank) sing this song while we were growing up. Fundy Bay has the largest tides in the world. This song is about being aboard a boat stuck on the tide waiting'for days and weeks to be delivered ashore. The lyrics have a sense of isolation and loneliness, allowing for contemplation of the magnitude of nature compared to our tiny selves.

Lyrics

Gordon Bok sings Bay of Fundy

All you Maine-men, proud and young,
When you run your Easting down,
Don't go down to Fundy Bay,
She'll wear your time away.
    Fundy's long and Fundy's wide,
    Fundy's fog and rain and tide;
    Never see the sun or sky,
    Just the green wave going by.
        Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
        Wonder why,
        Wonder why.

Oh, you know, I'd rather ride
The Grenfell Strait or the Breton tide,
Spend my days on the Labrador,
And never see old Fundy's shore,
    All my days on the Labrador,
    And never see old Fundy's shore.
        Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
        Wonder why,
        Wonder why.

Give her staysail, give her main,
In the darkness and the rain;
I don't mind the wet and cold,
I just don't like the growing old.
    I don't mind the wet and cold,
    I just don't like the growing old.
        Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
        Wonder why,
        Wonder why.

East-by-North or East-North-East,
Give her what she steers the best;
I don't want this foggy wave
To be my far and lonely grave.
    I don't want this foggy wave
    To be my far and lonely grave.
        Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
        Wonder why,
        Wonder why.

        Cape Breton's bells ring in the swells;
        Ring for me,
        Ring for me.

Louis Killen sings Bay of Fundy

All you Maine-men, proud and young,
When you run your Easting down,
𝄆 Don't go down to Fundy Bay,
She'll wear your time away. 𝄇

Fundy's long and Fundy's wide,
Fundy's fog and rain and tide;
Never see the sun or sky,
Just the green wave passing by.

Chorus:
Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
I wonder why, I wonder why.

You know, I would rather ride
Grenfell Strait or the Breton tide,
𝄆 Spend my days on Labrador,
Never see old Fundy's shore, 𝄇

Give her staysail, give her main,
In the darkness and the rain;
I don't mind the wet and cold,
Just don't like the growing old.

Chorus:
Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
I wonder why, I wonder why.

East-by-North or East-North-East,
Give her what she steers the best;
I don't want the foggy waves
To be my far and lonely grave.

Final chorus:
Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
I wonder why, I wonder why.
Cape Breton's bells ring the swells;
Ring for me, ring for me.

The Unthanks sing The Bay of Fundy

All you Maine-men, proud and young,
When you run your Easting down,
Don't go down to Fundy Bay,
She'll wear your time away.

Fundy's long and Fundy's wide,
Fundy's fog and rain and tide;
Never see the sun or sky,
Just the green wave passing by.

Chorus:
Cape Sable's horn blows all day long;
I wonder why, I wonder why.
Cape Breton's bells ring the swells;
Ring for me, ring for me.

You know, I would rather ride
Grenfell Strait or the Breton tide,
Spend my days on Labrador,
Never see old Fundy's shore.

Give her staysail, give her main,
In the darkness and the rain;
I don't mind the wet and cold,
Just don't like the growing old.

Chorus

East-by-North or East-North-East,
Give her what she steers the best;
I don't want the foggy waves
To be my far and lonely grave.

Chorus