4) THE GHOST OF SIMON FRASER 4:07


On May 22, 1808, Simon Fraser began an expedition, which has been described as one of the greatest in North American history, to explore the river then believed to be the Columbia, to its mouth. Fraser had been chosen to spearhead the Northwest Company's western trade expansion. He established the first four forts west of the Rockies at McLeod, Stuart and Fraser lakes, and at Fort George.

Simon Fraser possessed remarkable courage, determination, leadership and insight into human nature. These qualities would all be put to the text in a treacherous journey through uncharted wilderness in pre-contact First Nation's territories.

 


He started out, into the wild Nechako River

One morning, early, all in the month of May
With Jules Quesnel and dauntless John Stuart
Nineteen Nor’westers, and two guides to lead the way

The work was hard, and the river, unforgiving
A desperate undertaking, to test the will of men
At times they passed, where no human being should venture
O’er precipice and mountain, through a harsh, forbidding land

Oh, Mighty Fraser! Oh, you rolling river
What bold adventurers have traced your rocky shores
And oh, you rambling river, how your restless waters
Echo with the voices of all those who’ve been before

Their journey lay, through the proud and mighty nations
The cradle of the ancients, both bountiful and grand
They’d never seen, an equal to this country
Where people, kind and gentle, extend an open hand

Oh, Mighty Fraser! Oh, you rolling river
Pride of all who’ve made their lives, upon your shore
Oh, you rambling river, how your restless waters
Echo with the voices of all who’ve been before

They swore an oath, each, to him and to their maker
Sooner perish than forsake, they stood as brothers, side by side
They followed him, straight through the gates of Hades
And cast their souls upon the mercy of the tide

I stare alone, across a span of centuries
The Ghost of Simon Fraser, still haunts me in his way
In thirty-six days, he changed the face of history
Unravelling the mystery of who we are today

Oh, Mighty Fraser! Oh, you rolling river
The pride of all who’ve made their lives, upon your shores
Oh, you rambling river, how your restless waters
Echo with the voices of all who’ve been before
Still echo with the voices of all those who’ve been before

He started out, into the wild Nechako River



Music & lyrics by Bruce Coughlan (SOCAN)

From Tiller’s Folly:  Stirring Up Ghosts CD (2008)

 

Bruce Coughlan: lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Laurence Knight: electric bass
Nolan Murray: mandolin
Joby Baker: drums & Wurlitzer piano
David Sinclair: electric guitar
Aiden O’Brien: Uillean pipes, whistles, vocals
Paul O’Brien: vocals

Produced, engineered, mixed & mastered by Joby Baker, Baker Studios, Victoria, BC.