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Ephraim Braley was a nineteenth century lumberjack from Maine.


"'Canaday-I-O' is one of the many lumberjack songs reflecting conditions in the lumber camps of Canada and the United States. It probably originated in the 1850s when shantyboys from Maine were recruited to work in winter camps along the St. Lawrence. It is thought to have been written by a Maine man called Ephraim Braley who went up to 'Canaday-I-O' in 1853, and he patterned it on an old English sea song called 'Canada-I-O' which, in its turn, was based on a still older love song called 'Caledonia.' Soon the lumberman's complaint spread to other camps, taking on new forms as it traveled. In Ontario and the states bordering on the Great Lakes it told of hardships suffered in 'Michigan-I-O.' Then it reached the plains and was transformed into 'The Buffalo Skinners.' Railroad men also took it up and told of their troubles when they went to work on 'The Oregon Short Line Way Out in Idaho,' and the cowboys used it for a song about 'The Hills of Mexico.'"

—Edith Fowke and Joe Glazer, Songs of Work and Freedom


Canaday-I-O


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