Black Fly Song
(source: "Rise Up Singing", Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, 1992.)
(by Wade Hemsworth)

'Twas early in the spring, when I decide to go
To work up in the woods in North Ontario
And the unemployment office said they'd send me thru
To the Little Abitibi with the survey crew


But the black flies, the little black flies,
Always the black fly no matter where you go!
I'll die with the black fly a-picking my bones
In North Ontario-i-o
In North Ontario
Now the mand Black Toby was the captain of the crew
And he said "I'm gonna tell you boys what we're gonna do
They want to build a power dam and we must find a way
For to make the Little Ab flow around the other way."

So we surveyed to the east and surveyed to the west
And we couldn't make our minds up how to do it best
Little Ab, Little Ab, what shall I do?
For I'm all but goin' crazy on the survey crew

It was black fly, black fly, everywhere
A-crawlin' in your whiskers, a-crawlin' in your hair
A-swimmin' in your soup and a-swimmin' in the tea
Oh the devil take the black fly and let me be

Black Toby fell to swearin' 'cuz the work was gettin' slow
And the state of our morale was a-gettin' pretty low
And the flies swarmed heavy, it was hard to catch a breath
As you staggered up and down the trail talkin' to yourself

Now the bull cook's name was Blind River Joe
If it hadn't been for him we'd've never pulled thru
For he bound up our bruises and he kidded us for fun
And he lathered us with bacon grease and balsam gum

At last the job was over, Black Toby said "We're thru
With the Little Abitibi and the survey crew"
'Twas a wonderful experience and this I know
I'll never go again to North Ontario!