...Click here to hear this song...

The Shovel Brigade   -the Kaslo Claim, Feb 22, 1896
Lyrics: Anonymous
Music: David Woodhead


When the engines slip, and go slower and slower,
 And the wheels fly ‘round to the futile roar
 And steam won’t pull us a single inch more,
  and gives four helpless toots.
Then the indispensible human bear,
 Wooly, unshaven, unshorn of hair,
 Crawls once more from his steaming lair,
  Grabs up his shovel, and scoots.

  Forty or fifty, all in a row,
  Wallowing down the line they go,
  Up to their ears in the mealy snow
   (seven feet deep or about.)
  And the engine stutters, Back! Back! Back!
  And they fall on the slide in a grand attack
  And shovel and pick and flange out the track,
   And dig us poor passengers out.

Oh! Their Mackinaw garments are wooly and wet,
 Their gunny-sack leggings are smelly and yet
 We admire them, not for their beauty, you bet!
  For there’s nothing pretty about ‘em.
But oh! give ‘em coffee, hot and strong
 Sandwiches, meaty, and wide and long,
 Give ‘em laurel wreaths, and a grateful song,
  For we’d all be dead without ‘em.


found in "The Skyline Limited" a beautiful book on the Kaslo and Slocan Railway in British Columbia
by Robert D. Turner and David S. Wilkie
Sono Nis Press, Victoria, B.C.