The Shining Birch Tree - Wade Hemsworth
sung by Murray McLauchlan with Kate and Anna McGarrigle. SheetMusic(pdf)

Oh ye girls in the village, ye girls in the town!
It's a long time, a very long time
For a fella who's after bein' out on his own-
Out on his own-
Where the whisky jack's a-whistling cheerful and free

     In the land of the muskeg and the shining birch tree,
     The muskeg and the shining birch tree.

Now it's all very well in the full of the day
When there's no time, not very much time
For a man to keep thinking of the things that don't pay-
The things that don't pay-
Where the rapids are rushing so grand and so free

But in the quiet of the evening when the camp settles down
And the night is cold, so very cold
And old Rory Bory starts shifting around-
Shifting around-
He'll think of the warm lips and the laughter so free

Come the in-between seasons of the freeze-up or the thaw,
And it's let's go - hey, look out let's go,
For we're off for some fun with the girls of the town-
The girls in the town.
He's a popular guy when his money flows free

And when the huskies are a-howling in the cold winter's dawn,
Then he'll recall, oh how he'll recall
That he spent all his money with the girls in the town-
The girls in the town.
So boys save your money or you'll all be like me

Wade Hemworth says: "I got the idea for this song when I was surveying for the new Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railroad [QNS&L] that leaves Sept Iles on the Gulf of St. Lawrence for the iron ore fields at Knob Lake in Labrador. The theme is a familiar one to anyone who has worked in the bush." Muskeg - poorly drained organic terrain which is characteristic of the Subarctic, covered with a thick, resilient carpet of water-sodden mosses and tussocks, and underlain by a high water table, peat of variable thickness, and often permafrost.