Sunday, May 3, 2015

Irvin Freese & Daughter Jacqueline - "Shell Lake Disaster"

"Shell Lake Disaster" b/w "Fate of Old Strawberry Roan"
(Eagle Records ER-128)

This song was written and recorded by Manitoba's Irvin Freese immediately following a horrific mass murder in Shell Lake. Stark lyrics detail the incident and are coupled with the cries of Irvin's young daughter Jacqueline (echoing the one child spared), turning the song into something deeply unsettling. Not surprisingly, Eagle Records was threatened with a lawsuit and the record was recalled almost immediately. Side 2 features a fine version of Wilf Carter's "Fate of Old Strawberry Roan," but I'm here for the Saskatchewan connection.

There's plenty written (online and off) about the Shell Lake disaster/massacre/murders, if you're at all interested. 


  1. My Mother had this song and I can't find it and my Mother and father passed away. It's the worst thing that ever happen in life to me. XXOO

  2. My father broke the record after I heard it, it was terrible, who in their right mind would want to profit after this family's hardship

    1. He wasn't trying to profit. Proceeds were to be donated to Phyllis's trust account. It was an awful time for the town and their families. Only to become more tragic that Phyllis passed so young. She was the most beautiful and kind soul you could wish to know.

  3. How dose a person purchase this song.....

  4. It's a horrific song. But the story itself was horrific. He didn't write it to sensationalize or profit. I believe he wrote it to draw attention to the horrible situation and his contribution to help raise funds for Phyllis. I think as a fellow local Canadian he like many must have looked at their own families and felt the fear that gripped the country. Not much a smalltime musician can do to help the child left behind but to do what he tried to do. And I know many get angry about this song but if you knew Phyllis you would know she didn't hold grudges and she tried to see the good in people and it didn't make her feel exploited.