Stompin’ Tom Connors’ saucy wit extended to Nunavut
“He was a true Canadian who wrote songs about every province and territory in Canada”
To pay tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors, one of Canada’s best-known country and folk singers, who died March 6 at the age of 77, South Baffin MLA Fred Schell rose in the Nunavut legislature March 7.
“He was a true Canadian who wrote songs about every province and territory in Canada,” Schell said in his March 7 member’s statement.
“In one of the polls, it showed that 97.6 percent of Canadians knew who he was and only 58 percent knew who the Prime Minister was,” Schell said
Throughout his long career Connors wrote more than 300 songs, and released five dozen albums.
Among his best-known Canadian songs: Sudbury Saturday Night, Bud the Spud and The Hockey Song, which is still played at every home game of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
But few recall he also wrote and recorded at least three songs full of references to the Arctic.
One little-known tune, from his 1969 album, Bud the Spud, is entitled “My Little Eskimo.”
Another, the Martin Hartwell Story, tells the tale of a pilot who survived a plane crash while flying between Cambridge Bay and Yellowknife.
But many Nunavummiut will remember The Ballad of Muk Tuk Annie, from the 1974 album Stompin’ Tom Meets Muk Tuk Annie, based on a long poem by Eric Linden called the Ballad of Muktuk Annie. (See video embedded below.)
The cheeky, rollicking song tells the story of Muk-Tuk Annie, a former “Miss Baffin Island beauty queen,” with long black hair and “reindeer underwear,” who “came South to go to school with a see-through blouse and sealskin mini.”
Ambitious Annie shows all her critics — and her many admirers— what she’s really made of as she meets prejudice in Montreal but then heads back north and makes good.
Muk-Tuk Annie wanted to be a ballet dancer But she was four-foot-six with her mukluks off, Connors sings.
“And I heard her teacher say
“Now I ain’t sayin’ Annie that you can’t dance
No, I wouldn’t wanna tell you that
But I got a form here signed in triplicate
Says you gotta learn to drive a cab”
She says, “I don’t wanna learn to cook or sew
Build boats or drive no cab.”
So Muk-Tuk Annie went back to Frobisher Bay, today’s city of Iqaluit, where she opened up “a little groovy club where “ev’rybody comes and goes,” with “Old Stompin’ Tom on the record player,” and lots of “good booze and grub.”
“You can drink tea, beer and anti-freeze
Till you fall right off o’ your feet
And there’s seal flippers and potato chips
When you feel like somethin’ to eat.”
With money in her pocket, Muk-tuk Annie returns to Montreal and hires her teacher to work as her bartender at her club in Frobisher Bay.
“She came a long, long way from Frobisher Bay
People, doncha know now what I mean
She had the boys all cryin’ on the distant early warning line
Old Muk-Tuk Annie could really make the scene,” goes the refrain.