New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
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New CD: Rough But Honest Miner

Joe Offer 19 Jul 00 - 04:54 PM
richardw 19 Jul 00 - 11:36 PM
Cathryn Wellner 20 Jul 00 - 06:24 PM
Cathryn Wellner 21 Jul 00 - 11:32 PM
katlaughing 22 Jul 00 - 02:12 AM
richardw 22 Jul 00 - 11:44 AM
Mike Regenstreif 22 Jul 00 - 11:49 AM
Cathryn Wellner 22 Jul 00 - 08:12 PM
Cathryn Wellner 23 Jul 00 - 05:12 PM
Cathryn Wellner 25 Jul 00 - 12:07 PM
open mike 07 Aug 10 - 12:18 AM
Joe Offer 07 Aug 10 - 12:31 AM
Francy 07 Aug 10 - 01:05 AM
open mike 07 Aug 10 - 11:52 AM
Jon Bartlett 07 Aug 10 - 06:16 PM
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Subject: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 04:54 PM

Mudcatter Richard Wright has come up with a terrific new CD, Rough But Honest Miner: Reclaimed Music From British Columbia's 1800s Gold Rush, by Richard Wright & Cathryn Wellner. It has a companion book, Castles in the Air, that tells the sories of the BC gold rush and the songs that came from it.
What's particularly interesting about this CD is that Richard did much of the research for this CD at the Mudcat Cafe and the Digital Tradition. If you search under his name (click), you can see where he's been digging. Here's the ordering information for this CD. One thread that relates directly to this CD is Gold Miners' Songs.
If you like traditional music, you'll like this CD.
-Joe Offer-
"The Rough But Honest Miner" -- Reclaimed music from BC's goldrush years
Richard Wright & Cathryn Wellner with Ken Hamm & the Wake-Up Jacob Band.
John & Michelle Law, Willie P. Bennett, Donna Konsorado, Caridwen Irvine, Duncan Bell.
Running time over 1 hour, $24.95 [US $17.95]

"Castles in the Air" Music and Stories of the Gold Rush - a companion book to the CD with the stories behind the songs and the complete lyrics. $12.95 [US $9.95] Package price: $32.95 [US $25]
Winter Quarters Press, Box 15 Miocene, Williams Lake, B.C. V2G 2P3
250-296-4432 Fax: 250-296-4429

Website: (click)

I'll give you a list of the songs, and we'll post lyrics later, if they aren't already in the database.
  • Rough But Honest Miner
  • Chief Douglas's Daughter
  • Up by Barkerville (narr.)
  • Do They Miss Me At Home
  • There Are Some Women (narr)
  • Erin's Green Shore
  • Mary Come Home
  • The German Lasses
  • Dancing Girls of Cariboo
  • The Way They Dance (narr.)
  • The Seller of Souls
  • The Lover's Lament
  • The Old Red Shirt (narr.)
  • Hard Times Come Again No More
  • Yellow Rose of Texas
  • Come Back, Faro
  • Listen to the Mockingbird
  • Voices of the Wind (narr.)
  • Days of '49
  • Cold Cariboo Farewell & Days of '49 Reprise

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: richardw
Date: 19 Jul 00 - 11:36 PM


Thanks for this posting. It's always great to complete a project (this one took several years) and find that people actually enjoy it. You're right, of course, we did a lot of research here at mudcat and appreciate everyone's help. Another site that is really useful once someone has found a song or rather the lyrics, is Benjamin Tubb's A great resource.

We will begin posting the lyrics to the songs we recorded. I have passed this wee task to my partner Cathryn as I am out standing in the field, acutally haying on our ranch, for the next couple of weeks. A great way to remain grounded.

More information oon the fproject, including lesson polans that are gradually going up, music links etc. can be found at

Thanks again Joe

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Cathryn Wellner
Date: 20 Jul 00 - 06:24 PM

James Anderson's song, Rough but Honest Miner, the album's title track, is set to the popular Scots song by James Ballantine, Castles in the Air, sung by many miners, overlanders and stage performers. Ballantine in turn had used the tune of Bonny Jean of Aberdeen. This tune was also used for The Ball of Kirriemuir and the Irish The Stuttering Lovers. It was printed at least 13 times in Scots song and tune books from 1725 to 1790.

(I haven't posted to the list before so hope I've followed the instructions correctly!)


Words by James Anderson, Williams Creek,
7th May 1867, Cariboo Sentinel

The Rough but Honest miner
What toils night and day,
Seeking for the yellow gold
Hid among the clay—
Hawkin' on the mountain side,
What he does there
Ah! The old dreamer's
Building castles in the air.
His weather-beaten face
And his sore-worn hand
Are tell-tales to all
If the hardships that he stands;
His head may grow gray
And his face full o' care,
Hunting after gold
With its castles in the air.

He sees the old channel
Buried in the hill
Filled full of nuggets—
So goes at it with a will,
For long weeks and months,
Driftin' late and early,
Cutting out a door
To his castle in the air.
He hammers at the rock,
Believin' it's a rim,
When ten to one 'tis nothing
But his fancy's whim—
Sure when he gets thro'
He'll find his hame-stake there;
There's miners more than one
Built this castle in the air.

He thinks his pile is made,
And he's goin' home in fall—
He joins his dear old mother,
His father, friends and all,
His heart e'en jumps wi' joy,
At the thoughts of bein' there,
There's many a happy minute
Buildin' castles in the air.
But hopes that promised high
In the springtime of the year,
Like leaves of autumn fall
When the frost of winter's near
So his buildin' tumbles down
With another blast o' care
'Til there's no stone left standing,
Of his castle in the air.

"Toiling and sorrowing
On thro life he goes;
Each morning sees some work begun,
Each evening sees it close,"—
But he has all the grit,
Tho' his tum-tum may be sair,
For another year is coming,
With its castles in the air.
Tho fortune may not smile,
Upon his labors here
There is a world above,
Where his prospects will be clear—
If he now accepts the offer,
Of a stake beyond compare—
A happy home for all,
With a castle in the air.

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Cathryn Wellner
Date: 21 Jul 00 - 11:32 PM

For those who enjoy a tongue-in-cheek, modern (1864) version of an older ballad, here are the lyrics for a song written in Victoria, B.C.
Chief Douglas's Daughter is found in A. S. Farwell's manuscript in the B.C. Archives. His "Colonial Jottings" says, "Written by Ben Griffin on the elopement of Miss Douglas with Good." Griffin owned the Boomerang Hotel in Victoria. The End note: "From E Stamp. Dec. 1st 1864," would seem to indicate that Edward Stamp gave the song or words to Farwell.
The song, as pointed out by Phil Thomas in his Songs of the Pacific Northwest, is a reworking of the Thomas Campbell ballad, Lord Ullin's Daughter, from the turn of the 18th century. This poem was put to the tune of Pearl of the Irish Nation, which came from Charming Fair Eily. There is more than one version of the tune to be found. Ours is a reworking of Phil Thomas's.


A trav'ler bound across the sound
Cries, "Boatman, do not tarry
And Eagles three I'll give to thee
To row us o'er the Ferry!"
"Now who be ye would cross the flood,
This wild and stormy water?"
"Hush, man, I'm Secretary Good,
And this the Douglas daughter.

"Three days ago I sought her hand
Her Father bade me dry up,
And should he find me where I stand
He'd bung my other eye up."
Out spake the hardy boatman then,
"Come on my buck I am ready.
It is not for your Eagles bright
But for your plucky Lady.

"And by my word the bonny bird
Shall soon find fortune's frowns end
For tho' the waves are raging white
I'll take thee to Port Townsend."
The Chieftain after dinner sat
O'er his rum & water,
"But where's my Alice? Where's my pet,
My daughter, oh my daughter?"

He to his castle window hied.
He gazed out o'er the trellis
And in a schooner bobbing round
Espied his daughter Alice.
"What ho, my gallant Drake," he cried
"Quick to my house restore her.
Of old, your sire explored yon coast.
Go catch me yon 'Explorer'."

"Now haste, love, haste," the lady cried.
"Oh Charlie dear I'd rather
Be married on the other side
Than taken back to Father.
And by the rood my sight is good,
That sternmost schooner stuck in,
I'm sure I see that odious Drake.
I hope he will get a ducking."

The night fell dark, the lovers' barque
By Cupid's aid befriended
The land was made, the JP paid
And all their troubles ended.
And in the morn the gallant Drake
While brailing up the spanker
Espied the lovers in a Bay
Quite cosily at anchor.

Quick alongside, impetuously,
He boarded in a passion.
"Come back," said he. "I shan't,"
Said she, "I'm married Yankee fashion."
"Ah, is it so," cried Drake, "alas
None destiny can master.
Since Jonathan has tied you fast
John Bull must tie you faster.

"Come back, it is your sire's command
Tho' all his plans you've blighted
And since you've been united here
You'll there be reunited."
Back then they came and in the church,
Both Pa & Ma consenting,
The pair were wed, went home to bed,
And Drake was left lamenting.

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 02:12 AM

Wow! Thanks Joe for telling us about this. This sounds like something my dad and I would both really love! I am off to the website right now. Wonderful of you, Cathryn and Richard to put so much work into this and to share the lyrics with us. Thank you!


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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: richardw
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 11:44 AM

Thanks Kat;

Actually that last song/story Cathryn posted would be great for any mudcat playrights out there. It real is classic Gilbert and Sullivan stuff. The eloped lovers sailing from Canada to the US, the pursuer Drake, who also wanted to marry the lovely daughter--the irate father who could easily lead the Hudson Bay Company Chorus-- the distressed mother, the upset "cultured" Victoria colonials and the seocnd marriage that made alll right with the word. Of course, in reality, the life of bliss did not last but 10 years when they were divorced. Tsk tsk.

Just goes to show life hasn't changed over 150 years.


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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Mike Regenstreif
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 11:49 AM

I'll weigh in and say the CD (and the book) are very impressive. The use of all the different voices on the various songs is especially effective.

Mike Regenstreif

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Cathryn Wellner
Date: 22 Jul 00 - 08:12 PM

Thanks for all the kind words!

I've done a search on all the songs on Rough But Honest Miner and discovered quite a few that weren't yet in Mudcat's incredible database. As I get a chance to format them, I'll add them - with gratitude for the generosity and passion behind this extraordinary resource.

Cathryn Wellner

Below are lyrics for another of the miners' songs. The words were printed in Barkerville's Cariboo Sentinel, Feb. 13, 1869, and did not include a chorus. We have added one here based on the chorus of Come Home, Father.

This song was written in Barkerville, British Columbia, about a Mosquito Creek woman, who, judging from the Chinook words, was likely Mary Bent, a native woman. Mary Bent, aka Stablewis or Betsy, was in Mosquito Creek and Barkerville from 1869 to 1878.


Oh, Mary, dear Mary, come home with me now;
The sleigh from Mosquito has come.
You promised to live in my little board house
As soon as the pap'ring was done.
The fire burns brightly in the sheet-iron stove
And the bed is made up by the wall.
But it's lonesome, you know, these long winter nights
With no one to love me at all.

Come home, come home, come home.
Please Mary, dear Mary, come home.
Hear the sad voice of this poor miner sing
Which the night winds repeat as they roam,
Oh! Who could resist this most plaintive of prayers,
Please Mary, Dear Mary, come home.

Oh, Mary, dear Mary, come home with me now;
Old George with his kiuatan is here.
You can, if you like, have your drink of old Tom,
But I'd rather you'd drink lager beer.
I've come all this way through the cold drifting snow,
And brought you a message from Yaco;
And these were the very last words that she said:
"Kloshe waw-waw delate mika chako"

Oh, Mary, dear Mary, come home with me now;
The time by the watch, love, is three.
The night it grows colder, and George with the sleigh
Down the road now is waiting for me.
She stopped at a stump on her way up the hill
And whispered for me not to follow;
But pressing my hand ere I left her, she said,
"Delate nika chako tomollo."

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Cathryn Wellner
Date: 23 Jul 00 - 05:12 PM

Here's another addition to the Mudcat database, with some prefatory remarks written by Richard for the book, Castles in the Air, that accompanies the CD.
Cathryn Wellner

In this song from Rough But Honest Miner, James Anderson takes the voice of the Hurdy dancers. There is little doubt that many miners "cast sheep eye's" at the Hurdies. Clearly some fell in love and some more in lust, as evident from the Hurdies who stayed on in Cariboo to marry. It is also clear that at $1.00 a dance plus the cost of drinks, of which the Hurdies got a cut, it was not hard for a young in-lust miner to "spend his all" on the Hurdies.

The "four and twenty Welshmen, all sitting in a row," refers to the Company of Welsh Adventurers, a group of 24 miners who arrived in 1863, led by Captain John Evans and supported by British capital. They mined for two years with expenses of $26,000 and only retrieved $450 in gold. Men deserted regularly, and when the enterprise failed in 1864 all but Evans and few others scattered. For a time, however, they were the centre of a large Welsh community that was responsible for building the Cambrian Hall in Barkerville.>br>

Air — "Young Man from the Countree"

We are dancing girls in Cariboo,
And we're liked by all the men,
In gum boots and a blanket coat—
And e'en the upper ten!
We all of us have swee-eet-hearts,
But the dearest of all to me!
Is that young man who wistfully
Casts those sheep's-eyes at me!
Chorus—"Is that young man," etc.

O ev'ry night at eight o'clock,
We enter the saloon—
Altho' it may be vacant then,
'Tis crowded very soon.
Then all the boys they stare at us,
But we do not mind that so
Like those four-and-twenty Welshmen,
All sitting in a row.
Chorus—"Like those," etc.

O' what a charming thing it is,
To have a pretty face—
To know that one can kill as well
In calico as lace;
We steal the hearts of everyone,
But the dearest of all to me,
Is that dear boy with the curly head,
Who loves me faithfully,
Chorus—"Is that dear boy," etc.

To all the boys of Cariboo,
This moral—which is right—
From the dancing gals of Cariboo,
You may see on any night—
"Before we either give our hearts,
Or yet our sympath-ee,
You must be like this dear young man,
Who spends his all on me!"
Chorus—"You must be," etc.

Sawney's Letters and Cariboo Rhymes by James Anderson

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Cathryn Wellner
Date: 25 Jul 00 - 12:07 PM

Here's another set of lyrics from Rough But Honest Miner.
Cathryn Wellner

This song was popular enough that it reached the gold fields of Barkerville, British Columbia, as Kitty Wells. Perhaps a traveling music troupe brought it to town or another miner got a song sheet in the mail from the U.S. Also, sheet music and song sheets traveled nearly as fast as, and served a similar purpose to, today's recordings. Chips obviously knew the original words, as he left them in quotes in this song. The first two lines of the original, for instance, are:

"You ask what makes this darkie weep,
Why he like others am not gay…"

In 1869 Chips put his own experience to the tune and sent it off to the local paper, the readers of which may well have known who this Annie was.



I "asked" what made my Annie "weep,"
Why she, "like others, was not gay?"
What secret sorrow weighed so deep?
To chase her happy smile away.
The cause, my comrades, I did "hear,"
From her sweet lips that very day;
Then she fondly whispered in my ear,
Wilt thou be true, my love, oh! say.

"While the birds were singing in the morning,"
In joyous welcome of the day—
When "the sun" each rose was adorning,
"It was then" she whispered—love, oh! say.

"I never shall forget the" spot,
Where "we together" met that day;
In accents changed she asked me not,
Such very silly things to say.
So now this dream of love is o'er,
And she is happy, blythe and gay;
She never breathes those words of yore,
Wilt thou be true, my love, oh! say.

Chips, Barkerville, Cariboo Sentinel, February 27, 1869

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: open mike
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 12:18 AM

I am putting together a radio show on gold mining and am trying to contct these folks..the b c gold rush web site is not accissible. anyone have contact info for them?

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 12:31 AM

I think this is the Website for Cathryn Wellner: There's a way to send e-mail through her Website. I had quite a bit of correspondence with Richard while he was working on the album and book, but haven't heard from him since.


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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Francy
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 01:05 AM

here is a number I had a few years ago.....(250) 296 4432....Williams Lake B.C.....Frank of Toledo

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: open mike
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 11:52 AM

I foundboth Carolyn and Richard! Richard is running the Theatre Royal in the gold rush town of Barkerville, BC. Here is the Theatre's Web site -

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Subject: RE: New CD: Rough But Honest Miner
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 07 Aug 10 - 06:16 PM

Open Mike, we have recorded songs from the same material (the Cariboo gold rush) mined (!) by Richard and Cathryn:
The Young Man from Canada
Old Faro
Know ye the Land?
- these are on our The Young Man from Canada CD
and also
Klondike! (also on the Young Man CD)
from the rush of the same name

From the first BC rush, the Fraser River (1858) we have recorded
Far From Home
- on the Green Fields of Canada CD

Jon Bartlett

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