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Is High Barbaree a traditional song?

Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM
doc.tom 22 Apr 11 - 02:31 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:37 PM
Don Firth 22 Apr 11 - 02:38 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:46 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 11 - 03:12 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Lighter 22 Apr 11 - 04:32 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 11 - 04:46 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 04:48 PM
Tootler 22 Apr 11 - 05:30 PM
Charley Noble 22 Apr 11 - 05:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 11 - 05:48 PM
Acme 22 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM
Brian Peters 23 Apr 11 - 11:12 AM
doc.tom 24 Apr 11 - 08:11 AM
Charlie Baum 24 Apr 11 - 08:53 AM
Arthur_itus 24 Apr 11 - 10:58 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 11 - 11:46 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Apr 11 - 11:55 AM
GUEST 24 Apr 11 - 02:04 PM
Brian Peters 24 Apr 11 - 02:05 PM
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Subject: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM

I am having trouble finding out if the above song is a traditional song. If not, who wrote it. I am referring to the one sung by Bob Roberts. Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: doc.tom
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:31 PM

Yes, it is. And there are lots of other versions of it.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:37 PM

Thanks doc.tom, thats all I needed. That was very quick :-)

Les


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:38 PM

All I've been able to come up with is somewhat conflicting information. I first heard the song sung by Pacific Northwest folk singer Walt Robertson in the early 1950s. I subsequently found the words in the paperback "Burl Ives Song Book." Ives attributes the song to Charles Dibdin, who wrote a number of such songs.

But there's a small problem with the Dibdin attribution. Dibdin lived in the latter half of the 1700s and into the early 1800s.
A listing in the Stationers' Register for January 14, 1595 and tells the fate of two merchant ships, the George Aloe and the Sweepstake both sailing to Safee. While the George Aloe was resting at anchor the Sweepstake sailed on, then a French ship attacked the Sweepstake and threw the crew overboard. The George Aloe chased and defeated the French ship whose crew were shown no mercy because of the fate of the crew of the Sweepstake.

The most common lyrics may refer to the problems, European and North American trade have had with the North African pirates in the last half of the 18th century and the early 19th century which was the reason of the barbary wars.
It may be that Dibdin "borrowed" the rough outline of the story of the George Aloe and the Sweepstake and constructed High Barbaree from it. This is just a guess on my part, however.

Many traditional songs do have this kind of family tree. Taking an existing song and reconstructing it to fit new circumstances. Traditional songs didn't just spring full-blown into existence. They came from somewhere, often in this manner.

Good hunting.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:46 PM

Very interesting Don and thanks. Isn't Mudcat amazing. This when Mudcat is at it's best.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:49 PM

Oh, just for clarification. I am currently making a compilation CD of various songs and needed to either credit the correct artist or say it was Trad. MCPS will be paid (UK) for making the CD.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 03:12 PM

Thread 122653 might be of interest.
High Barbary

Also see Traditional Ballad Index


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:28 PM

Ta Q


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:32 PM

Bronson, Vol. IV, denies that Dibdin had anything to do with "High Barbaree."

The evidence shows he's right. There's no "High Barbaree" among Dibdin's works. The confusion seems to have arisen from the fact that Dibdin wrote a song called "Blow High, Blow Low" in the mid 18th century:


Blow high, blow low, let tempests tear
The main-mast by the board;
My heart with thoughts of thee, my dear,
And love well stored,
Shall brave all danger, scorn all fear,
The roaring winds the raging sea,
In hopes on shore
To be once more
Safe moor'd with thee.


Aloft while mountains high we go,
The whistling winds that scud along,
And surges roaring from below,
Shall my signal be
To think on thee,
And this shall be my song:
Blow high, blow low, &c.


And on that night, when all the crew
The mem'ry of their former lives
O'er flowing cans of flip renew,
And drink their sweethearts and their wives,
I'll heave a sigh, and think on thee;
And, as the ship rolls through the sea,
The burthen of my song shall be—
Blow high, blow low, &c.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:46 PM

I think you have chapter and verse there, Les.

You can find 17th century versions under the title 'The Sailor's Onely Delight', 18th century printings under 'The Salcombe Seaman's Flaunt to the Proud Pirate' and a 19th century rewrite on broadsides under the title 'Coast of Barbary' which most of the oral versions are based upon.

Someone will be along shortly to tell you it was written by 'ignorant peasants'.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:48 PM

LOL Steve :-)


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:30 PM

It was written by ignorant peasants who then recited it to a broadside hack who in turn wrote it down and sent it in to a printer.

There you have it.


Oh, and the broadside hack was paid one groat which he spent on gin.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:39 PM

Lighter has provided a much clearer statement of Dibdin's role in this song, essentially minimal.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:48 PM

The 19th C. rewrite Coast of Barbary is on a sheet at American Memory, along with two other songs, Constitution and Guerriere and Days of Absence. "Sold wholesale and retail, by L. Deming,.....Boston."


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Acme
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM

I've heard you sing that song, Don. I think I have it on a tape here somewhere. I know my Dad used to sing it (so we kids also sang it!)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Apr 11 - 11:12 AM

Might also be worth looking under Child 285...


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: doc.tom
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 08:11 AM

Quite so, Brian


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 08:53 AM

From the Traditional Ballad Index (http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/ballads/C285.html):

High Barbaree [Child 285; Laws K33]

DESCRIPTION: (Two) ships meet a pirate man-o-war. In the ensuing battle, the pirate is sunk, disabled, or taken.
AUTHOR: unknown (the "High Barbaree" recension is by Charles Dibdin)
EARLIEST DATE: 1670 (the title is mentioned 1611; a fragment is found in 1634)
KEYWORDS: battle navy ship pirate
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,West),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland US(MA,NE,NW,SE)
REFERENCES (23 citations):
Child 285, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake" (1 text)
Bronson 285, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake" (15 versions)
GreigDuncan1 38, "The Coasts of Barbary" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #12}
Laws K33, "High Barbaree"
Shay-SeaSongs, pp. 91-92, "The High Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Colcord, p. 153, "High Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Harlow, pp. 161-162, "High Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, pp. 419-4212, "High Barbaree" (3 texts, 3 tunes) [AbEd, pp. 320-321]
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 413-418, "High Barbary" (1 text plus 2 songster and 1 broadside version)
BrownII 118, "High Barbaree" (1 short text)
Chappell-FSRA 25, "The Queen of Russia and the Prince of Wales" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #14}
Flanders/Brown, pp. 229, "New Barbary" (1 fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #8}
Flanders-Ancient4, pp. 176-187, "The Coast of Barbary" (4 texts plus 3 fragments, 5 tunes) {F=Bronson's #8}
Leach, pp. 665-667, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake"; pp. 777-778, "High Barbaree" (2 texts)
Friedman, p. 399, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake"; p. 407, "High Barbaree" (2 texts, 1 tune)
OBB 131, "The 'George-Aloe'" (1 text)
Warner 142, "Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 79, "The Salcombe Seaman's Flaunt to the Proud Pirate" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 12, "The Coasts of High Barbary" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Darling-NAS, pp. 100-101, "High Barbaree" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 91, "High Barbaree" (1 text)
BBI, ZN953, "The George-Aloe and the Sweep-stake too"
DT, HIGHBARB* HIGHBRB3*

Roud #134
RECORDINGS:
Almanac Singers, "The Coast of High Barbary" (General 5017B, 1941; on Almanac02, Almanac03, AlmanacCD1)
Bob Roberts, "High Barbaree" (on LastDays)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, 4o Rawl. 566(183), "The Saylors Only Delight; shewing the brave fight between the George-Aloe, the Sweepstake, and certain Frenchmen at sea" ("The George-Aloe, and the Sweep-stake too"), F. Coles (London), 1663-1674; also Douce Ballads 2(196b), "The Seaman's Only Delight: shewing the brave fight between the George-Aloe, the Sweepstakes and certain French men at sea"
LOCSinging, as102370, "Coast of Barbary," L. Deming (Boston), n.d.

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Sailor's Joy" (tune, broadsides Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(183) and Douce Ballads 2(196b))
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Blow High, Blow Low
NOTES: Scholars continue to debate the relationship between Child's text "The George Aloe..." and the better-known "High Barbaree." Laws considers them separate, as does Roud (listing "The George Aloe" as #6739 and "Barbaree" as #134, which will give you some idea of their relative popularity); Coffin, in Flanders-Ancient4, reports that "High Barbary" retains "little of [its] model beyond the plot outline and the Barbary refrain."
I, obviously, think them the same. (Or, more correctly, regard them as separate recensions, but see no point in separating two songs so often filed together, particularly given the rarity of "The George Aloe.") Bronson doesn't even note the difference.
Frank Shay and Coffin, among others, reports that "High Barbaree" was written by Charles Dibdin (1745-1814), who wrote a number of songs for the Royal Navy (including "Blow High Blow Low"). If so, it seems likely that he was inspired by "The George Aloe..."; I do not consider this by itself reason to separate the two (again, most especially since certain publications do not distinguish them).
For more on author Charles Dibdin, see the notes to "Blow High Blow Low." - RBW
The first known text of "The George Aloe..." is found in the Shakespeare/Fletcher play "The Two Noble Kinsmen" (perhaps written c. 1611; printed 1634), Act III.v.59-66 (a section generally attributed to Fletcher):
The George Alow came from the south,
From the coast of Barbary-a;
And there he met with brave gallants of war,
By one, by two, by three-a.
Well hail'd, well hail'd, you jolly gallants!
And whither now are you bound-a?
O let me have your company
Till [I] come to the sound-a." [The word "I" is missing in the quarto print; conjectured by Tonson.]
Child can find no historical records of a voyage of these ships, particularly in the vicinity of Barbaree. But it is noteworthy that, in the 1540s, Henry VIII had a ship called the Sweepstake. According to N. A. M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea, p. 181, this ship and three others were set to patrolling Scotland in 1543 (?). And the enemy ship in "The George Aloe" was French, and the English squadron kept a French fleet from joining with the Scots.
We also find a ship called the Sweepstake in commission in the 1580s, commanded by Captain Diggory Piper; she was a privateer who took at least a couple of Spanish ships. This is interesting because Piper seemed to inspire music; there is a "Captain Diggory Piper's Galliard" mentioned on p. 343 of Rodger.
I won't say that either event inspired this song, but it might have influenced the name of the ship. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.4
File: C285

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright $TrueYear by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 10:58 AM

Great feed back from everybody and very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 11:46 AM

The fact that the Roud Index uses 2 different numbers usually means one song has been substantially rewritten from the text of another, which in broadside evolution often happens. Where this occurs I generally also count them as 2 separate songs.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 11:55 AM

Peter Bellamy's recording on Both Sides Then does nor appear on above entry.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 02:04 PM

Peters Bellamy used the same version as that recorded by Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis on the wonderful 'Wilder Joy' LP (Flying Fish, 1987), i.e. that recorded from 'Tink' Tillett of the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Frank and Anne Warner, which appears in their 'Traditional American Folk Songs'. The printed melody shows significant differences from the version recorded from Mr Tillett several years previously, which appeared in Bronson under Child 285. Also, both PB and Warner & Davis seem to have made identical tweaks to the later Tillett melody, which suggests that W & D were influenced by the PB version - they were comparing notes with him at the time.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 02:05 PM

That anonymous GUEST was me.


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