“Bill Wiseman”


"Oh Bill rode out one morning just at the break of day; He said he was sure of his bait-tub of squid up here in Hiscock Bay." The song ends "It's all about Bill Wiseman jiggin' his squid in Hiscock Bay."


What are Bill, George, Patience, Tom, Ethel, Lisa and Judge Pippy doing between the first and last verse? They may be jigging but I doubt it has anything to do with squid; guessing at keywords could be like taking Bessie Smith literally when she sings "He's a deep sea diver."

Omar Blondahl recorded a version as "Kitchey Coo" -- from the nonsense chorus? -- on Rodeo LP RLP7 [per Neil Rosenberg, "Omar Blondahl's Contribution to the Newfoundland Folksong Canon" in Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, 1991]

Peacock (NFKPeacock notes): "The man who sang it for me was somewhat embarassed by the presence of women, a valuable clue to the involved symbolism of both the verses and the chorus. To an outsider unfamiliar with local sexual symbols it appears obscure, though perhaps mildly suggestive. Similar songs occur in our own popular music too.... Millions know the words but only a few know what's going on. In Newfoundland, everyone knows what's going on." - BS


  • Omar Blondahl, "Kitchey Coo" (on NFOBlondahl01)
  • Ken Peacock, "Bill Wiseman" (on NFKPeacock)


  1. Doyle3, pp. 14-15, "Bill Wiseman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Peacock, pp. 40-42, "Bill Wiseman" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Blondahl, pp. 12-13, "Kitchy-Coo" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. BI, Doyl3014


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1951 (Peacock)
Keywords: sailor sex bawdy humorous
Found in: Canada(Newf)