Cranberry Bogs, The (Cranberry Song)
DESCRIPTION: "Have you ever been down to the cranberry bogs? Some of the houses are hewn out of logs...." Asked to sing, the singer tells stories of the cranberry harvest. The fruit are gathered after most other crops are in, so all sorts of people happily take part
AUTHOR: Barney Reynolds?
EARLIEST DATE: 1946 (recording, Frances Perry)
KEYWORDS: farming work nonballad moniker
FOUND IN: US(MW)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Peters, p.45, "The Cranberry Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen-AFS2, p. 435, "The Cranberry Song" (1 text)
DT, CRANBRRY* CRANBRR2*
Frances Perry, "Cranberry Song" (AAFS, 1946; on LC55)
NOTES [228 words]: The only published version of this piece appears to be that recorded by Frances Perry for AAFS. But Perry herself (who thought the song to have been composed around 1900) admitted that "At each marsh every year, new verses are composed about the workers present at that season." (Hence my use of the "moniker" keyword).
Curiously, John Berquist claims to have a Minnesota version, which conforms closely to the outline of the Perry version but has dozens of minor verbal differences; the tune is also different from that printed in Peters. It appears there has been some folk processing (but starting from the basic Reynolds/Perry text). The most substantial change alters the location: "Mather" in Perry becomes "Mercer" in Berquist.
This is a noteworthy change, because there doesn't seem to be a town called Mather (although Frances Perry said that author Barney Reyonds was from Mather). Mercer, however, is in northern Wisconsin, near the border with upper Michigan and about 20 miles south and slightly east of Ironwood. It's a wet region, there is, in fact, a Cranberry Lake not too far south of there.
The Digital Tradition claims that Dillon Buston wrote a tune for this in 1987, taking the text from Peters. However, Perry had a tune back in 1946, and Berquist recorded his tune in 1981 -- and it's a fine tune that doesn't need any newfangled replacements. - RBW
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