Picket line Songs from the Fraser River Strike

Martin Welch and Stuart (1912)

Tune: “Wearing of the Green” (trad.)
Written for the picket lines on the Fraser River strike

Martin Welch is mad as hell and don’t know what to do.
And all his gunnysack contractors are feeling mighty blue.
For we have tied their railroad line and scabs refuse to come,
And we will keep on striking till we put them on the bum.
Till we put them on the bum, till we put them on the bum,
And we will keep on striking till we put them on the bum.

(Excerpt, as recalled by camp delegate Louis Moreau)

We Won’t Build No More Railroads for Overalls and Snuff

Tune: “Wearing of the Green” (trad.)

We have got to stick together, boys,
And fight with all our might.
It’s a case of no surrender
We have got to win this fight.
From these gunnysack contractors,
We will take no more bluff;
And we won’t build no more railroads
For our overalls and snuff.
For our overalls and snuff, for our overalls and snuff,
We won’t build no more railroads
For our overalls and snuff.

Skookum Ryan the Walking Boss

Skookum Ryan the Walking Boss
Came tearing down the line,
Says he, “You dirty loafers take your coats off
Or go and get your time.”

Louis Moreau recalls that this “very popular” song had five or six stanzas; this is the only one to survive.

To purchase John McCutcheon’s recording of Overalls and Snuff click here.

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