The final Gordon Perry adaptation came as I dug through his old poems looking for another tune to jump out at me. This was a pretty simple and short poem all about the river we both grew up on, the mighty Fraser that dominates the province of BC.
His title of Muddy Fraser is very apt, as it is far from a clear river, full of sediment over its whole course, but of course that word Muddy immediately brings to mind the old blues classics born on the banks of another much bigger river down in the south. Like the great Mississippi, our river was plied by many steamboats in the 1800s, as the only reliable way to navigate between the urban coast (Vancouver and Victoria) and the rough wilds of central BC. The 1860s gold rush in Barkerville (and the later 1890s Klondike one) relied heavily on the Fraser for transportation, but throughout the century it and its tributaries were also thoroughly panned by hopeful prospectors seeking the elusive shiny gold dust lurking in its rich sediment.
Reading dad’s poem inspired a simple A blues pattern, which I had to twist slightly to fit his somewhat oddly scanning lines, resulting in a more unique song structure. Again needing a chorus, I went with the theme of rivers flowing on like time itself, the currents of which are relentless, bearing us always onward. And of course, this one has nostalgia to me as well, since I moved from my hometown (and his) all the way down to Vancouver at the other end of this river, so his lines “Fraser I may wander… but my heart will grow the fonder” really ring true for me. Like the salmon who take their life’s journey down this long flowing path, I look back upstream to where I came from, and always remember my home land.
Muddy Fraser Muddy Fraser’s flowing West wind softly blowing, Through the cottonwoods a-growing Along her winding shore Muddy Fraser’s dreaming Of her past, redeeming All the gold that lay a-gleaming And the miner on the bar Wherever we may go We are always flowing on with the current Of forever, everywhere Fraser I may wander Over hills out yonder But my heart will grow the fonder Before I travel far Wherever we may roam We are always flowing on with the current Of forever, everywhere And it never seems to slow It just goes to show, who knows where the river flows? On forever, everywhere
© 2022 Scott Perry (SOCAN/BMI) Recorded by Jackson Gardner at Flash Recording and Adrian Buckley at Chez Miaou Mixed & Mastered by Adrian Buckley Scott Perry: Vocals, Guitars Eric Lefebvre: Bass Derek Macdonald: Keyboards Adrian Buckley: Drums