I’se The Bye jig

Also known as I’s The B’y, I’se The B’y, I’se The B’ye, I’se The Boy.

There are 3 recordings of this tune.

I’se The Bye has been added to 3 tune sets.

I'se The Bye has been added to 42 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: I'se The Bye
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D2F A2A|BcB A2F|Bcd e2c|d3 d3:|
|:f2f f2f|e2c A3|f2f fef|g3 a3|
f2f f2f|e2c A3|Bcd e2c|d3 d3:|
X: 2
T: I'se The Bye
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Dmaj
D2F A2A|BcB A2F|Bcd e2c|1 d3 d3:|2 d3 d2e||
f2f fgf|e2c A3|f2f fef|g3 a2g|
f2f fgf|e2c A3|Bcd e2c|1 d3 d2e:|2 d3 d3||
X: 3
T: I'se The Bye
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
B2B B2B|A2F D2D|B2B B2B|Lc3 L[d3F3]|
B2B B2B|A A F D2D|D2F A2F|LG3 LG3||
B2B B2B|[A2F2D2]F D3|[B2G2D2] B B2B|c2c [d3F3]|
[B2G2D2]B B B B|[A2F2D2]F D2D|D2F A2F|G3 L[G3B,3]||

Twelve comments

I’se The Bye (or spelled B’y,colloquel for Boy)

Maybe the best known Newfoundland folk tune.
Supposedly, written about 1876 by Joseph Deering of Pearce’s Harbour, Nortre Dame Bay, Newfoundland, while courting Eliza Brown (nicknamed ‘Sally’) whom he married the following year. (Ref: Downhomer Magazine, column by Philip Hiscock)


I’se the bye that builds the boat
And I’se the bye that sails her
I’s the bye that catches the fish
And takes them home to Lizer.

Chorus: Hip yer partner, Sally Tibbo’
Hip yer partner, Sally Brown
Fogo, Twillingate, Moreton’s Harbour
All around the circle!

Sods and rinds to cover your flake
Cake and tea for supper
Codfish in the spring o’ the year
Fried in maggoty butter.


I don’t want your maggoty fish
That’s no good for winter
I could buy as good as that
Down in Bonavista.


I took Lizer to a dance
And faith, but she could travel
And every step that she did take
Was up to her knees in gravel.


Susan White, she’s out of sight
Her petticoat wants a border
Old Sam Oliver in the dark
He kissed her in the corner.

[‘Gravel’ was local for ‘mud’ and refers to a muddy path between Pearce’s Harbour and nearby Moreton’s Harbour where they walked to attend the dance]

Nice little tune, Chellam. BTW if you’re writing jigs in 6/8, you don’t need to denote triplets with the (3. They’re done automatically by the time signature.

I think this tune would make a great slide. The A-part reminds me of the Pat Ward’s/Doon family of tunes https://thesession.org/tunes/1964.

X: 1
T: I’se The Bye
M: 12/8
L: 1/8
R: slide
K: Dmaj
D2F A2A BcB A2F|D2F AFD E3 EFE|D2F A2A BcB A2F|1 Bcd e2c d3 d3:| Bcd e2c d3 d2e||
|:f2f fgf e2c A3|f2f fef g3 a2g|f2f fgf e2c A3|1 Bcd e2c d3 d2e:|2 Bcd e2c d3 d3:|

thnx for the abc tip….the two tunes I’ve submitted are my first two abc tunes..thought I’d screw it up ALOT worse than I did!🙂
We’ve been enjoying this catchy little tune for generations here, thought others might like to do so as well.
Indeed the A-part is very similar to the Pat Ward’s tune.

I have this on a cassette somewhere sung by an American band called Morrigan.

Chellam, most of the Newfoundland stuff you’ve posted. including this one, has been done by Great Big Sea. Not exactly ITM I know but a lot of their earlier recordings have a pretty traditional sound. Indeed their band name was taken from the “Great Big Sea Hove in Long Beach” song.

I always loved the line about “maggotty butter” in this one.

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Oh I forgot to add my children actually learned this song “I’s the By” in elementary school here in Iowa USA. Somehow it found it’s way into a traditional tune book they used in their music class.

Posted by .

I remember hearing this on an old Gordon Bok vinyl. It was a favorite of my S.E.H. (stinkin’ ex-husband). And despite that association, it’s fun to be reminded of the song. What pipes Bok has!

Burl Ives and I’s the Bye ~

One of my all time favourite LPs as a kid, along with loving Gershwin, and some other things too, was Burl Ives singing songs of Newfoundland… I have such fond memories of it that every now and then I try to find an old copy of it, but no luck so far…

I also learned this song in elementary school. I absolutely loved it, but I had no idea how to find the song until I finally looked up Twillingate on Wikipedia last night, 14-15 years later. Wow.

Re: I’se The Bye

FWIW: the logical spelling would be “I’s the B’y” (I’s = I is; B’y = Boy). Don’t know how Joseph Speering spelled it!

Re: I’se The Bye

Please note that Joseph Deering (Deer) wrote “I’se The Bye” around 1885 and he married Eliza Brown in 1886. I’m their great grandson. Thank you.