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Alan Mills

Born Albert Miller in Montreal in 1913, Alan Mills was, at one time, the most popular folksinger in Canada. He trained as a journalist and worked for the Montreal Gazette, when the opportunity to sing came along in the early '30s -- he walked away from the writing to go on tour singing in a classical idiom, with the London Singers under John Goss, who toured both Canada and the United States in the mid-'30s. After the war, he resumed singing in the classical field, appearing in productions of The Magic Flute and Madame Butterfly through the Opera Guild of Montreal, but in 1947 he accepted an engagement with the CBC as a folksinger on radio, and this proved his popular breakthrough -- he subsequently recorded for RCA Victor of Canada, doing a collection of songs for children called Let's Sing a Little, and in the early '50s recorded a string of folk albums for Folkways Records, specifically devoted to Canadian songs -- his frequent accompanist was Gilbert "Buck" LaCombe. His other work included Songs de Chez Nous in collaboration with Hélène Baillargeon and the Art Morrow Singers. Mills later toured Europe and was well known in the United States as well, and he was extremely well received at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival, where he appeared with Jean Carignan, a performance that was later released by Vanguard Records. He also scored a hit as a songwriter during the folk revival of the 1950s when his song "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly," written in collaboration with Rose Bonne, was taken up by legions of folkies young and old, including Burl Ives, then one of the most popular folksingers in the world. In addition to his music, Mills did some acting and also wrote plays, including Ti-Jean and the Devil, based on a French-Canadian folk tale originally told to him by Carignan. In addition to popularizing Canadian folklore throughout his career, he was also a major contributor to the nine-volume Canadian Folk Songs: A Centennial Collection, released by RCA. He was also responsible for publishing several very popular collections of folk songs from the end of the 1940s through the 1960s, especially aimed at young listeners. ~ Bruce Eder
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Canada's Story In Song

Disc 1

1. Eskimo Weather Chant

2. Iroquois Lullaby

3. A Saint-Malo, Beau Port De Mer

4. Vive Les Matelots!

5. A La Claire Fontaine

6. The Golden Vanity

7. The Huron Christmas Carol - The Huron Carol - Jesous Ahatonhia

8. En Roulant Ma Boule

9. Petit Rocher

10. Tenaouich' Tenaga, Ouich'Ka

11. A Ballad Of New Scotland

12. La Courte Paille

13. Brave Wolfe

14. General Wolfe

15. Revolutionary Tea

16. Marching Down To Old Quebec

18. Come All Ye Bold Canadians

19. The Battle Of Queenstown Heights

20. The Chesapeake And Shannon

Disc 2

1. The Sir Robert Peel

2. The Battle Of The Windmill

3. Un Canadien Errant

4. A Fenian Song

5. An Anti-Fenian Song - Tramp, Tramp, Tramp The Boys Are Marching

7. Prince Edward Isle, Adieu!

8. Pork, Beans And Hard-Tack

9. Between The Forks And Carleton

10. The Maple Leaf Forever

12. La Rose Blanche

13. The Franklin Expedition

14. The Scarborough Settler's Lament

15. The Little Old Sod Shanty

16. The Alberta Homesteader

17. The Dying Outlaw

18. The Poor Little Girls Of Ontario

19. The Klondike Gold Rush

20. When The Ice Worms Nest Again

21. Saskatchewan

22. Iron Ore By 'Fifty-Four

x

Track List: O' Canada: A History In Song

1. Eskimo Chant - Weather Incantation

2. Iroquois Lullaby

3. A Saint-Malo, Beau Port De Mer

4. Vive Les Matelots! - Long Live The Sailors!

5. The Huron Carol - Jesous Ahatonhia

6. Petit Rocher - Little Rock

7. Tenaouich' Tenaga, Ouich'Ka

8. La Courte Paille - The Short Straw

9. Bold Wolfe - The Siege Of Quebec

10. Le Sergeant

11. Come All Ye Bold Canadians - War Of 1812

12. The Chesapeake And The Shannon

13. Un Canadian Errant - A Wandering Canadian

14. Anti-Fenian Song - Tramp, Tramp, Tramp The Boys Are Marching

15. No More Auction Block For Me

16. Anti-Confederation Song

17. Pork, Beans And Hard-Tack

18. The Maple Leaf Forever

19. O Canada! - Oh Canada English Words By R. Stanley Weir

20. La Rose Blanche - The White Rose

21. The Franklin Expedition

22. The Little Old Sod Shanty

23. Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie

24. Old Grandma

25. Saskatchewan

26. When The Ice Worms Nest Again

x

Track List: Folk Songs Of Newfoundland

1. Kelligrews Soiree

2. Tickle Cove Pond

3. As I Roved Out

4. Time To Be Made A Wife

5. I's The Boy That Builds The Boat

6. The Badger Drive

7. A Great Big Sea Hove In Long Beach

8. Jack Was Every Inch A Sailor

9. Lukey's Boat

10. The Squid-Jiggin' Ground

11. Two Jinkers

12. Anti-Confederation Song

x

Track List: Folk Songs Of French Canada

1. A La Claire Fontaine

2. Isabeau S'y Promène

3. C'est La Belle Françoise

4. Monsieur Le Curé

5. Ah! Si Mon Moine Voulait Danser!

6. Je Sais Bien Quelque Chose

7. Mon Père Y M'a Marié

8. Les Raftsmen

9. Youpe! Youpe! Sur La Rivière!

10. C'est L'Aviron

11. M'en Allant À La Chasse

12. Canadian Errant, Un

13. Vive La Canadienne

x

Track List: Songs Of The Sea: Sung By Alan Mills

1. Rio Grande

2. Haul Away Joe

3. Sally Brown

4. Cheerly, Men

5. Johnny Boker

6. Paddy Doyle's Boots

7. Dead Horse

8. Salt Horse

9. A-Roving

10. Tom's Gone To Hilo

11. Johnny Come Down To Hilo

12. Ten Thousand Miles Away

13. Shenandoah

14. Billy Boy

15. Lowlands

16. Drunken Sailor

17. Blow Boys Blow

18. Blow The Man Down

19. Clear The Track, Let The Bullgine Run

20. Can't You Dance The Polka

21. A Long Time Ago

22. New Bedford Whalers

23. Fire Down Below

24. The Sailor's Grave

25. Boney Was A Warrior

26. Santy Anna

27. The Chesapeake And The Shannon

28. Home, Dearie, Home

29. Goodbye, Fare Ye Well

30. Hilo Somebody

31. Galloping Randy Dandy O

32. Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her

Comments

Report as inappropriate
We sang this at the Pub,lol
Report as inappropriate
liatusnami
This song cracks me up every time I hear it.

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