DESCRIPTION: Freddy Watson, on the dole, leaves St Mary's for St John's. There he meets "Billy Walsh the member," gets some clothing and underwear for himself, a blanket for a sail for Pete, and a dress for Stell. He gets a ride home from Ryan. He plans to go again
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (MUNFLA-Leach)
KEYWORDS: poverty travel clothes hardtimes political
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
John Molloy, "The Watson Song" (on MUNFLA-Leach)
NOTES [173 words]: The MUNFLA-Leach first line and tune of, at least, the first verse, agrees with "Big Rock Candy Mountain": "One evening as the sun went down, the jungle fires were burning." The resemblance ends there, except for whatever connection was made between an honest hobo and someone on the dole. - BS
William J. Walsh (1880-1948) was a member of the Newfoundland legislature 1913-1934 (i.e. until the legislature was discontinued in the latter year), and was Minister of Agriculture and Mines (a job with significant patronage opportunities) 1919, 1924-1928, 1932-1934. What's more, he represented St. Mary's 1913-1928 (he represented Placentia West thereafter). (Source: (Robert H. Cuff, managing editor), Dictionary of Newfoundland and Labrador Biography, Harry Cuff Publications, 1990, p. 351). Thus this would appear to be a topical song about an actual Member of the House of Assembly helping out one of his constituents.
St. Mary's is on the southwest side of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, on the shores of St. Mary's Bay. - RBW
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