Henry's Songbook

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Old Settler's Song (Acres of Clams)

  • (Rossavieille(?) / Francis Henry)

    I've wandered all over this country
    Prospecting and digging for gold
    I've tunnelled, hydraulicked and cradled
    And I have been frequently sold

    For one who gets riches by mining
    Perceiving that hundreds grow poor
    I made up my mind to try farming
    The only pursuit that is sure

    Rolling my grub in the blanket
    I left all my tools on the ground
    I started one morning to shank it
    For the country they call Puget Sound

    Arriving flat broke in mid-winter
    The ground was enveloped in fog
    And covered all over with timber
    Thick as the hair on the back of a dog

    I looked at the prospects so gloomy
    The tears trickled over my face
    And I thought my troubles had brought me
    To the end of the jumping-off place

    I staked me a claim in the forest
    And sat myself down to hard toil
    For two years I chopped and I struggled
    But I never got down to the soil

    I tried to get out of the country
    But poverty forced me to stay
    Until I became an old settler
    And nothing could drive me away

    And now that I'm used to the country
    I think that if man ever found
    A place to live happy and easy
    That Eden is on Puget Sound

    No longer the slave of ambition
    I laugh at the world and its shams
    As I think of my happy condition
    Surrounded by acres of clams

    (as sung by Rossavieille)

    Tune: (usually) Rosin the Bow; in this version a different one, probably written by the artist

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1999:] One might add that the words were written by Judge Francis Henry, a police court judge in Seattle, in the 1890's, and sheet music for it was reported as selling briskly here then. Its memory was preserved by the late Seattle folksinger, eccentric, TV personality, and (highly successful) restaurateur Ivar Haglund -- it helped him publicize eating clams in his chain of restaurants. He is cited as source by Alan Lomax in "Folk Songs of North America". The tune is the Irish comic song "Rosin the Beau" which has been used for so many regional songs in the U.S. that they are collectively known as "The Emigrant Song". (Joe Felsenstein,, 31 Oct)


Quelle: USA

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aktualisiert am 25.04.2002