The type of radio used to hear folk music in the mid-twentieth century.

When Louis Manny broadcast her folk song programs in the 1950s, radio receivers like this were tuned in all over the province.

Unknown
Musée régional Restigouche Regional Museum
c. 1950
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, Musée régional Restigouche Regional Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Letter from Louise Manny to Lord Beaverbrook (March 27th, 1950) describing her collection and promotion of folk songs.

Newcastle, New Brunswick, Canada, March 27th, 1950. Dear Lord Beaverbrook: I go to Halifax April 2nd, to give a talk for the C.B.C., a sort of dialogue with Helen Creighton, the Nova Scotia Folksong specialist, on the Folksongs of the Maritimes. I hope it will be a success. I have many letters from local people, appreciating the Folksong programs. It is the first time that many of these people have ever heard the songs they loved treated with respect. About the records – I suppose we have somewhere a set of Master Records? From these pressings are made, at a low cost. The original lot you gave me are pretty well worn. I always played them carefully with a “thorn needle”, but some have been on the local radio a good deal, and are getting worn. You also sent me the lot which you had, and I think some of those are a bit worn, too. I thought it would be nice to have a fresh lot of the better songs made, to use for further broadcasts, and lectures. I would like very much to get a further lot this Spring – my idea is to hold a sort of festival in the Town Hall, and record everyone who comes – on a tape recorder. Then we can weed out and discard. You never know until you bring them in, just how a man’s song is going to turn out. Should we stick to New Brunswick songs? After all, the WEXFORD LASS was one of our biggest successes, and we took it by mistake. I’ll write you a longer letter on this subject later on. I would like to get all the songs I possibly can, before the Library of Congress gets wind of our gold-mine, and sends someone down to record the songs. I am very pleased with the reception the historical talks are getting. Schools which have radios are listening. The children especially like to hear about localities they know of.... Kindest regards, Sincerely, (Signed) Louise Manny

Louise Manny
Beaverbrook Canadian Correspondence (MG H 156), Archives & Special Collections, Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick
1950-03-27
CANADA Atlantic Provinces, Atlantic Provinces, CANADA
12245
© 2007, Archives & Special Collections, Harriet Irving Library, UNB. All Rights Reserved.


Letter from Louise Manny to Lord Beaverbrook (May 5th, 1950) explaining the success of her local radio program on folk music.

Newcastle, New Brunswick, Canada, May 5th, 1950. Dear Lord Beaverbrook: I have meant for some time to write about the Folksongs, and now I suppose my letter will pursue you hither and yon, for we all hope you are on your way to North American and New Brunswick. What I would like to do is to have a sort of recording festival in June (when our singers won’t have colds), get all the people that we can to come in to Newcastle and Chatham, and record all the songs we can. There are many of great interest we haven’t got so far. I am strongly of the opinion that we should record what “traditional songs” we can get. We have some old Scottish, English and Irish ballads of great antiquity, brought here by our early settlers, which are still being sung. These may have been recorded elsewhere but we may find interesting variants. Also the collection of the local folksongs gives us a view of our local folk-culture, a background to our Miramichi life and thinking. I don’t wish to record songs people have imported recently but those which have lived in Miramichi for a hundred years. Since last October, I have given two folksong programs a week (free, gratis) on the local Radio. I discuss the folksong in general, tell the story and play one. You would be surprised at the interest which is taken by all classes. The people in the country districts, of course, are simply delighted to hear what they call “our own Songs” on the radio. I am pleased at the interest taken by more sophisticated people, to whom, at first, the songs sounded uncouth. As you know, our songs are sung on a 5-tone scale, in the “rubato parlando” or declamatory style, and they sound odd at first hearing to musical people. They have, however, an artistic entity of their own, and are really an important musical form. I am glad to say our recordings are mechanically superb – much better than the Nova Scotia ones, and better than most I have heard from the Library of Congress collection. I think I told you I collaborated in 4 programs for the CBC. These consisted of conversations between Miss Helen Creighton of Nova Scotia, and myself, illustrated by bits of our songs. Hers were mostly “traditional”, mine the woods songs of Miramichi. These have not yet broadcast yet, but they are recorded on tape ready for broadcasting…. (Signed) Sincerely, Louise Manny

Louise Manny
Beaverbrook Canadian Correspondence (MG H 156), Archives & Special Collections, Harriet Irving Library, University of New Brunswick
1950-05-05
CANADA Atlantic Provinces, Atlantic Provinces, CANADA
12269
© 2007, Archives & Special Collections, Harriet Irving Library, UNB. All Rights Reserved.


Oh! The Jones Boys, they built a mill
On the side of a hill,
And they worked all night, and they worked all day,
But they couldn’t make the gosh-darned saw mill pay.


It seems to have been a Miramichi custom in the 1880s and 1890s to make up satiric songs about the Jones Boys and their mills. Lord Beaverbrook remembered with delight the above fragment which he had heard sung on the Newcastle streets when he was a boy. He himself often sang it on convivial occasions, claiming it was his wife’s favourite song. When he gave the quarter-hour chimes to the University of New Brunswick in the late 1940s, he arranged for them to play his tune of The Jones Boys.

During World War II, His Lordship used the Miramichi song as a sort of ice-breaker at international meetings. It is said he taught it to all the diplomats he knew, from Churchill to Molotov, and that many a tense meeting on which the fate of nations depended, was eased by the rousing song of the Miramichi boys and their unlucky saw-mill. [It was suggested] that when Molotov joined in the song with gusto, it was because he thought it celebrated the downfall of th Read More

Oh! The Jones Boys, they built a mill
On the side of a hill,
And they worked all night, and they worked all day,
But they couldn’t make the gosh-darned saw mill pay.


It seems to have been a Miramichi custom in the 1880s and 1890s to make up satiric songs about the Jones Boys and their mills. Lord Beaverbrook remembered with delight the above fragment which he had heard sung on the Newcastle streets when he was a boy. He himself often sang it on convivial occasions, claiming it was his wife’s favourite song. When he gave the quarter-hour chimes to the University of New Brunswick in the late 1940s, he arranged for them to play his tune of The Jones Boys.

During World War II, His Lordship used the Miramichi song as a sort of ice-breaker at international meetings. It is said he taught it to all the diplomats he knew, from Churchill to Molotov, and that many a tense meeting on which the fate of nations depended, was eased by the rousing song of the Miramichi boys and their unlucky saw-mill. [It was suggested] that when Molotov joined in the song with gusto, it was because he thought it celebrated the downfall of the capitalist system.

John Jones, father of the Jones boys, came out from Camborne, Cornwall, in 1840, when he was 34 years old. He settled first in Chatham, where his son James was born in 1844. Shortly afterwards, the Jones family moved up to a brook flowing into the Nor’West Miramichi, which then took the name of Jones’s Brook. There John Jones built a grist mill to serve the community, and raised a family of ten children.

John Senior died in 1866, and his sons, James and John Junior took over the business, James managing the grist mill, and John a sawmill near by. Both the mills were run by water power from the brook. When a section of the Intercolonial Railway was built across the Jones property about 1870, the name of the locality became Jones’s Crossing, which it still bears.

John Jones, Junior, died in 1940, aged 96, at his home at Jones’s Crossing. He was the last surviving member of the family of ten. 


Louise Manny, Songs of Miramichi,  pp. 124-5


© 1968, Brunswick Press. All Rights Reserved.

Nick Underhill performs The Jones Boys

Oh! The Jones Boys, they built a mill
On the side of a hill,
And they worked all night, and they worked all day,
But they couldn’t make the gosh-darned saw mill pay.

Unknown
Nick Underhill
c. 1959
CANADA Northern New Brunswick, New Brunswick, Northern New Brunswick, CANADA
© 1962, Folkway Records. All Rights Reserved.


Important collection of records and recording machines.

The Acadian Museum of the University of Moncton presents a new exhibit relating to the theme of music. The goal of this inhouse exhibit is to provide the interested public with the unique opportunity to see all of the Museums artifacts related to the delightful world of music.

Musée acadien, University of Moncton
c. 1997
CANADA Atlantic Provinces, Atlantic Provinces, CANADA
© 2007, Musée acadien, Université de Moncton. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Learners will understand how New Brunswick folk music became available to the masses.

Teachers' Centre Home Page | Find Learning Resources & Lesson Plans