Captain Charles Cates was born into a prominent seafaring family in Vancouver, British Columbia, and lived his entire life in the Vancouver area. In 1956, while mayor of North Vancouver, he took a trip to his father’s childhood home of Nova Scotia where he met with Helen Creighton and sang her songs learned from his father (himself a Vancouver pioneer who made the coast-to-coast trek across Canada in the 1880s).
This song is a variant of a rhyme that is quite old, perhaps dating as far back as the 1600s. Like many well-known nursery rhymes such as “Rock-a-bye Baby,” “The Carrion Crow” may have begun as an allegory for political goings-on within the British royal family. If so, it survived long
after its coded meaning was forgotten… probably because it was so much fun to sing!
An old carrion crow was sitting on an oak,
Fol the riddle, rol the riddle, hey ding oh,
Watching a tailor cutting out a coat.
Sing hey, sing ho, the old carrion crow,
Fol the riddle, rol the riddle, hey ding oh.
“Oh wife, oh wife, bring me my cross bow,
So that I may shoot yon carrion crow.”
Oh, the tailor shot and he missed his mark,
And he shot the miller’s sow right through the heart.
“Oh wife, oh wife, bring brandy in a spoon,
For the miller’s old sow is in a swoon.”
The old sow died and the bells did toll,
And the little pigs they all prayed for her soul.
from Spinning Yarns,
released March 17, 2015
Brian Miller and Randy Gosa on guitars, Norah Rendell on vocals and harmonium.
Originally from Vancouver, British Columbia, Norah Rendell is a consummate musician that specializes in the traditional folk
songs and dance music of Ireland and Canada. Norah was named "Best Vocalist of the Year" by the Live Ireland Awards in 2011 and 2012 and was nominated for "Best Traditional Singer of the Year" by the Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2009....more