A Cape Breton Lament

Shortly after finishing my degree in history, I wrote this song. It was a moment of reflection on the state of Cape Breton at the time. The Steel Plant was down, pretty much, to a skeleton crew, and the coal mine at Lingan had closed a year earlier. The fish plants were laying off due to a moratorium on fishing. Also, population was down, so the number of teachers was reduced. The railway had cut passenger trains, so I included that in the lyrics. “A Cape Breton Lament” seemed like an appropriate title for the song.

LYRICS

Sittin’ here, lookin’ out over the water/
As it rushes in toward the shore.
It’s sad to think when the dawn breaks, I’ll be leaving/
I may never live on this Island anymore.

The steel plant laid off, more than a thousand men/
I know how they’re feeling, ’cause I was one of them.
The coal mine at Lingan closed in nineteen ninety-two/
Leaving many miners with no work to do.

Sittin’ here, lookin’ out over the water/
As it rushes in toward the shore.
It’s sad to think when the dawn breaks, I’ll be leaving/
I may never live on this Island anymore.

The fish plants are closing, the fish quotas have been cut/
They’re calling us Tourist Island, it’s tearin’ away at my gut.
Education is in danger, with teacher’s jobs being cut back/
I’ll have to take a bus to Truro, ’cause passenger trains don’t run on our tracks.

Sittin’ here, lookin’ out over the water/
As it rushes in toward the shore.
It’s sad to think when the dawn breaks, I’ll be leaving/
I may never live on this Island anymore.

It’s sad to think when the dawn breaks, I’ll be leaving/
I may never live on this Island anymore.

By Hugh R. MacDonald

HUGH R. MACDONALD – VOCALS, RICHARD MACKINNON – GUITAR & BASS, BREAGH MACKINNON PIANO, COLIN GRANT – FIDDLE

About Hugh R. MacDonald

Hugh R. MacDonald is a writer of fiction, and a singer/songwriter. Hugh has been a member of the Writers Union of Canada and the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia for many years. His YA novel, Trapper Boy was published by Cape Breton University Press, and he has a sequel entitled Us and Them due to be released in October 2016. Also, his work has been in three anthologies, and online. Hugh is a graduate of Cape Breton University and works in the human service field. Hugh’s song, Trapper Boy, that he wrote prior to the novel of the same name, has been added to the repertoire of the world famous Men of the Deeps, and was included on their 50th Anniversary Compilation CD, which is scheduled for release in April 2016.

For additional information and how to purchase one of his books please check out, Hugh R. MacDonald, Cape Breton University Press.

Resources

 

The Ballad of Slim McInnis // The Ballad of Slim McInnis - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  1. The Ballad of Slim McInnis // The Ballad of Slim McInnis - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  2. Doscomocracy // Doscomocracy - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  3. Trampin’ Down the Highway // Trampin’ Down the Highway - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  4. Quaint Harbour // Quaint Harbour - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  5. Blackheart’s of the Company // Blackheart’s of the Company - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  6. Stand the Gaff // Stand the Gaff - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  7. Michael’s Tune // Michael’s Tune - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  8. Arise Ye Nova Scotia Slaves // Arise Ye Nova Scotia Slaves - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  9. Whatever It Takes // Whatever It Takes - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  10. The Wearing of the Red // The Wearing of the Red - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  11. Down at Sydney Steel // Sydney Steel - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  12. Stronger then Steel // Stronger then Steel - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  13. Steel Winds // Steel Winds - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  14. A Cape Breton Lament // A Cape Breton Lament - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  15. An Seann Tigh Sgoil // An Seann Tigh Sgoil - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  16. Friday Evening // Ian MacDougall - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  17. The Voice of the Worker // The Voice of the Worker - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  18. Daughters Awake // Daughters Awake - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  19. Cape Breton Miner and Besco // Cape Breton Miner and Besco - Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  20. Miner’s Wife // Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest
  21. Steel Workers Lament // Songs of Steel, Coal and Protest