My intention is for this to be the first of a number of posts about useful resources that relate in some way to disaster songs. In this post, I introduce two of the most valuable online resources for identifying Atlantic Canadian disaster songs.
The first is Mudcat Café (mudcat.org). The Mudcat Café is an online forum for folk music and blues enthusiasts. It includes a huge database of folk songs (9,000 and counting!), some of which are also available in MIDI format so you can hear the melody. More importantly for my purposes, people can post messages. My colleague, Joe Scanlon, posted a question asking what Canadian disaster songs people knew. A generous number of responses resulted in a lengthy list of songs we were able to use when starting this project. The Mudcat Café is a great place to go to ask for lyrics of songs, to learn more about singers or songwriters, and to seek information about the context of a song (e.g., the historical circumstances in which it was written).
The second valuable online resource is GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador (www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/). Although this site deals specifically with songs of Newfoundland and Labrador whereas my research includes disaster songs from across Atlantic Canada, the GEST site has proven an invaluable resource for identifying relevant NL disaster songs. See, for example, their extensive list of shipwreck songs. What I love about the GEST site is that it carefully notes the sources of songs it provides, alternative sources, information about the songs, lyrics, information about any recordings on which it exists, and links to youtube videos.
Do you have resources to recommend, whether online or in print? Please let me know by leaving a message below.