Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 55 > Page 12 - "The Time We Had for One Another": The Curtis Family & Songs

Page 12 - "The Time We Had for One Another": The Curtis Family & Songs

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1990/8/1 (235 reads)

learned that from Neilie MacNeil. (How did you learn those songs? ) "The Old-Fashioned Couple"? That--he wrote it for me. And at that point I had probably heard him sing it, you know, a dozen times, and probably, you know, knew almost all of it. At that point in life you could learn songs very quickly, you know. (Your parents would sing. And then would people in the crowd sing too?) Oh, yes, most definitely. Neilie MacNeil--we always heard of him as Black Neilie. You probably heard of him on your travels. He would be John Angus MacNeil's uncle. He was on lighthouses for years. If he was there on any occasion, they would always ask him --he would always be asked. Probably Daddy would ask him to sing--or Mom, you know--a certain song they'd want to hear. 1,2 & 3 Bedroom Houses and Apartments Available - Commercial Property "The Minimum Fee Service" f?? ' Rental Search 562-4700 There was another guy--you probably heard of him. Johnny Your Nova Scotia Govemment Bookstore Outlet in Cape Breton Cape Breton Books First-Rate Literature A Wide Range of Books from Popular to Scholarly 361 Charlotte St. '"'Xl''TJ SS'*'** Sydney B1P1 El ' • JSSSr'' KQQQCCI CAPEBRETON Ojy-0001 HISTORY BOOKS ARE A GREA T GIFT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR MacNeil. He died a couple of years ago. He was another. God, he used to sing a lot around the Bay. He used to sing a lot of the lumberjack songs. I don't think he knew any of Joe Scott's songs. But he had some of his own. "The Norway Bum" was one I remember. And "The Woodchopper's Alpha? bet" and those. Now, if he happened to be at the house, with other people, he would always sing, too. He was a nice singer, a good singer. (Can you imagine your father singing in the fields?) No. (Or, do you think he was singing when he was fishing, jigging for cod or baiting the trawl?) No. No. He would probably be whistling or humming, but not--you know, not to sing a couple verses of a song while doing something. No, I don't think so. (Why do you think that?) I don't know. I can't answer that. I really don't know. (But he wouldn't just lightly sing a couple of verses.) No. No. When he sang a song he was usually asked to sing. You know, I can't recall being around home and Daddy just started singing. You know, on his own. It was always, I think, when someone came and he was asked to sing. Or probably among ourselves, we have asked him to sing, you know, many times. If I was home and said, "Daddy, I'd love to hear 'The Shores of Gabarus.'" He'd sit down and sing it for me. Or any song. Another fa? vourite of mine was "John Maynard." I used to love to hear him sing it. If I asked him to sing that. Or it was the same if (my brother) Buddy was around home or came home for the weekend. He'd ask Daddy to sing, he'd sit down and sing any song he wanted to sing. Same with all the family, you know. Nbva Scotian Information Look It Up In Our Books • Thousands of Interesting Facts • Becipes • Baports • Statutes & Acts • History • Lithographs • M19S • Panq'hlets We sell these and many more exciting and informative publications at the Nova Scotia Crovemmexit Bookstore 1700 Granville Street, Halifax A free catalogue listing govemment titles available from the Nova Scotia Govemment Bookstore, P.O. Box 637, Halifax, NJS. B3 J ZT3 or by phone toU free 1-424-7880 Nova Scotia Information Service The flames rushed on with joy and strife, They scorched his hands & brow One arm disabled seeks his side; Oh he is conquered now. But no one flinches still, and brave, He crushes down his pain; One knee upon the stanchion He guides the ship again. • from "John Maynard" (And your mother?) Oh, I've heard Mum--you know, she'd be humming around, or singing lit? tle bits and pieces of songs. And in later years they often sat down together. You know, we wouldn't be home, we were long gone and married. They'd sit down together and sing. Probably in the after-
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