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Origins: Admiral Benbow

DigiTrad:
ADMIRAL BENBOW
ADMIRAL BENBOW (2)


Related threads:
Folklore: Brave Benbow (29)
happy? - Aug 14 (Death of Benbow) (2)
Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (7)


GUEST,Santa 19 Dec 03 - 04:53 AM
GUEST,Exbluebeller 12 Dec 04 - 02:11 PM
Fliss 13 Dec 04 - 02:48 AM
GUEST,Raymond Davies (raymonddavies1@comcast.net 03 Jun 05 - 03:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM
Artful Codger 05 May 09 - 05:56 AM
Sailor Ron 05 May 09 - 06:54 AM
NormanD 05 May 09 - 10:03 AM
NormanD 05 May 09 - 02:22 PM
GUEST,Jim P 06 May 09 - 03:28 AM
Jim Dixon 07 May 09 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,Fred Fnord 01 Oct 09 - 06:40 PM
Anglo 02 Oct 09 - 02:15 AM
Rumncoke 02 Oct 09 - 03:50 PM
MGM·Lion 02 Dec 11 - 12:16 AM
MGM·Lion 02 Dec 11 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,Don Wise 02 Dec 11 - 10:25 AM
GUEST,Guest: Dave Arthur 14 Jul 17 - 01:24 PM
r.padgett 15 Jul 17 - 02:51 AM
Nigel Parsons 09 Sep 17 - 06:47 PM
r.padgett 10 Sep 17 - 03:09 AM
Nigel Parsons 10 Sep 17 - 11:13 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Sep 17 - 11:15 AM
Les from Hull 13 Sep 17 - 09:37 AM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow lyrics
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 19 Dec 03 - 04:53 AM

Brave Admiral Benbow was also recorded by Strawhead on their first LP (Musket, Pike and Drum, 1977?), and sung by them ever since.

I don't know how this fits with the Swan Arcade story, if at all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow lyrics
From: GUEST,Exbluebeller
Date: 12 Dec 04 - 02:11 PM

In the 60's Mick Waterson was singing a version beginning "We sailed to Carthaginia (Cartagena?) and thence to Fayal, where we watered our ship me boys and then we sailed on" This makes better geographic sense than "Virginia" and surely predates the Tabor/Swan Arcade version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow lyrics
From: Fliss
Date: 13 Dec 04 - 02:48 AM

I come from Shrewsbury and there is an Admiral Benbow pub in the town much beloved of bikers in the 70s.

Until recently the site of the house Benbow lived in as a lad on Coton Hill was occupied by a local car firm. The key that Benbow left on a tree, when he ran away to sea, is in a case by the showroom.

The town's modern (1960s monstrosity) market hall has a tower and clock which is named Benbow.

fliss


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow lyrics
From: GUEST,Raymond Davies (raymonddavies1@comcast.net
Date: 03 Jun 05 - 03:50 PM

When I was in the Alpha class at Chichester High School for Boys (West Sussex) in 1941, our music teacher was a Mr Bimrose. We called him 'Bimbo' and I remember these words sung to the tune downloaded.

And Benbow lost his legs, in the fight, in the fight.
And Benbow lost his legs in the fight.
Benbow lost his legs (and then, possibly) "and they brought them home in kegs
They brought them (or him) home in kegs", in the fight, in the fight.

Pursuant to the custom of bringing back remains in rum (as they did Admiral Lord Nelson and described on the tour of the Victory in Portsmouth (my birthplace) the reference to the kegs is possible.

When singing the song, we naturally substituted 'Bimbo' for "Benbow" which is why I remember it so well. Thank you for the site.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Admiral Benbow (from Bodleian)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 05:51 PM

Malcolm linked a copy in the Bodleian Library which essentially is the one by Tabor, but differs in details. Fayall is not mentioned as a destination.

ADMIRAL BENBOW
(Printed for W. Armstrong, Liverpool, 1820-1824)

O we sail'd to Virginia, and thence to New York,
Where we water'd our shipping and so weigh'd for Cork,
Full in view on the seas, seven sail we did spy,
O we manned our capstern and weigh'd speedily.
2
The first two we came up with were brigantine sloops,
We ask'd were those five others as big as they look'd,
But turning to windward as near as we could lie,
We found them Frenchmen of war cruising hard by.
3
We took our leave of them, and made quick dispatch,
And we steer'd our course to the island of Vache,
But turning to windward, as near as we could lie,
On the fourteenth of August ten sail we did spy.
4
They hoisted their pendants, their colours they spread,
And they hoisted their bloody flag on main top-mast-head,
Then we hoisted the Jack flag at our mizen peak,
And soon formed the line, tho' our squadron was weak.
5
The very next morning, the engagement was hot,
When brave Admiral Benbow, receiv'd a chain shot,
O when he was wounded to his men he did say,
Take me up in your arms, boys, and bear me away.
6
O the guns they did rattle, and the bullets did fly,
While brave Admiral Benbow for help loud did cry,
Tp the cockpit convey me and soon ease my smart,
Should my brave fellows see me, 'twould soon break their heart.
7
And there Captain Kirby prov'd coward at last,
And with Wade play'd at bopeep behind the main mast,
O there did they stand and quiver and shake,
Lest those French dogs should conquer and their lives they
   should take.
8
The very next morning, at break of the day,
We hoisted our topsails and so bore away,
We bore to Port Royal where the people flock'd much,
To see Admiral Benbow brought to Kingston church.
9
Come all you brave fellows wherever you've been,
Let us drink a health to great George and his Queen,
And another good health to the girls that we know,
And a third in remembrance of Admiral Benbow.

Harding B28(261), 1820-1824, Printed for W. Armstrong, Bannastre Steeet (Liverpool).
Bodleian Library.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: Artful Codger
Date: 05 May 09 - 05:56 AM

There is a version in Frank Kidson and Martin Shaw's Songs of Britain (1913), with tune. The text on cursory examination seems very close to June Tabor's version. I don't know whether the tune is the same as Tabor, Killen or the Coppers use, not having heard any of them. A scan of the book is available at Google Books (pp. 60-61, PDF pp. 79-80).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: Sailor Ron
Date: 05 May 09 - 06:54 AM

The line '... brigantine sloop' does not make sence, as there is no such rig. I would suggest it should be "...a brig AND a sloop2.
Incidentally, the French Admiral De Grasse sent a message to Kingston offering to give evidence against Kirby, Wade & co at the courts martial. Ron


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: NormanD
Date: 05 May 09 - 10:03 AM

I recently came across the following piece in George Orwell's writings for Tribune magazine. Please excuse the length - the following quote is from Orwell himself! His end comment about the song's then unavailability still seems to apply - I couldn't find a version on YouTube, for example.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

"As I Please" Tribune, 29 December 1944

The English common people are not great lovers of military glory, and I have pointed out elsewhere that when a battle poem wins really wide popularity, it usually deals with a disaster and not a victory. But the other day, when I repeated this in some connexion, there came into my head the once popular song – it might be popular again if one of the gramophone companies would bother to record it – 'Admiral Benbow'. This rather jingoistic ballad seems to contradict my theory, but I believe it may have owed some of its popularity to the fact that it had a class-war angle which was understood at the time.

Admiral Benbow, when going into action against the French, was suddenly deserted by his subordinate captains and left to fight against heavy odds. As the ballad puts it:

Said Kirby unto Wade, 'We will run, we will run,'
Said Kirby unto Wade, 'We will run;
For I value no disgrace
Nor the losing of my place,
But the enemy I won't face,
Nor his guns, nor his guns.'

So Benbow was left to fight single-handed and, though victorious, he himself was killed. There is a gory but possibly authentic description of his death:

Brave Benbow lost his legs, by chain shot, by chain shot,
Brave Benbow lost his legs, by chain shot;
Brave Benbow lost his legs
And all on his stumps he begs,
'Fight on, my English lads,
'tis our lot, 'tis our lot.'

The surgeon dressed his wounds, Benbow cries, Benbow cries,
The surgeon dressed his wounds, Benbow cries;
'Let a cradle now in haste
On the quarter-deck be placed,
That the enemy I may face Till I die, till I die.'

The point is that Benbow was an ordinary seaman who had risen from the ranks. He had started off as a cabin boy. And his captains are supposed to have fled from the action because they did not want to see so plebeian a commander win a victory. I wonder whether it was this tradition that made Benbow into a popular hero and caused his name to be commemorated not only in the ballad but on the signs of innumerable public houses?

I believe no recording of this song exists, but – as I discovered when I was broadcasting and wanted to use similar pieces as five-minute fill-ups – it is only one of a long list of old popular songs and folk songs which have not been recorded. Until recently, at any rate, I believe there was not even a record of 'Tom Bowling' or of 'Greensleeves', i.e. the words as well as the music. Others that I failed to get hold of were 'A cottage well thatched with straw', 'Green grow the rushes, O', 'Blow away the morning dew', and 'Come lasses and lads'. Other well-known songs are recorded in mutilated versions, and usually sung by professional singers with such a stale perfunctoriness that you seem to smell the whisky and cigarette smoke coming off the record. The collection of recorded carols is also very poor. You can't, I believe, get hold of 'Minstrels and maid', or 'Like silver lamps in a distant shrine', or 'Dives and Lazarus', or other old favourites. On the other hand, if you want a record of 'Roll out the barrel', 'Boomps-a-daisy', etc., you would find quite a number of different renderings to choose from.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: NormanD
Date: 05 May 09 - 02:22 PM

Sorry, some of the post has already been quoted (though not all of it, and it was 7 years ago).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Jim P
Date: 06 May 09 - 03:28 AM

In addition to the sources mentioned above, the Sons of the Buccaneer's CD of the same name, contains Benbow, sung (very well) by Jim Nelson in an up-beat manner. The SOB's were a local (SF Bay Area) group, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were not well known elsewhere, even though they deserved to be. I think they've disbanded, although the individual members continue to be active locally. Jim Nelson often shows up at the Starry Plow's Irish jam on Sunday nights. If anyone wants to hear his version (and its well worth hearing) I bet he'd be happy to comply.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE DEATH OF ADMIRAL BENBOW
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 May 09 - 08:35 AM

From Salopian Shreds and Patches, Vol. 8, 1888, page 249:

"The following song appears at page 275 of an old song book called "The Songster's Favourite Companion," A collection of new and much-esteemed songs, adapted for the Flute, Voice, and Violin. Glasgow: Printed for A. Macgoun, Music-seller, by Oliver and Co., Printers, Edinr. [1810.] Illustrated by Bewick, and having musical headings to the first verse of each song."


THE DEATH OF ADMIRAL BENBOW

O we sailed to Virginia, and thence to Fayal,
Where we water'd our shipping, and so then weigh'd all;
Full in view on the seas, boys, seven sail we did espy!
О we mann-ed our capstern and weigh'd spee-di-ly.

The first we came up with, was a brig and a sloop,
We ask'd if the other five were as big as they look'd;
But turning to windward, as near as we could lie,
We found they were French men of war cruising hard by.

О we drew up our squadron in a very nice line,
And fought them courageous for four hours' time;
But the day being spent, boys, and night coming on,
We let them alone till the very next morn.

The very next morning, the engagement prov'd hot,
And brave Admiral Benbow receiv'd a chain-shot.
О when he was wounded, to his merry men he did say,
Take me up in your arms, boys, and carry me away.

О the guns they did rattle, and the bullets did fly,
While brave Admiral Benbow for help loud did cry;
Carry me down to the cockpit, there is ease for my smarts;
If my merry men should see me, 'twill sure break all their hearts.

The very next morning, at break of the day,
We hoisted our topsails, and so bore away;
We bore down to Port Royal, where the people flock'd much,
To see Admiral Benbow carried to Kingston Town Church.

Come all ye brave fellows, wheresoever you have been,
Let us drink a good health to our King and our queen,
Another good health, boys, to the girls that we know,
And a third in remembrance of brave Admiral Вenbow.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Fred Fnord
Date: 01 Oct 09 - 06:40 PM

> The first we came up with, was a brig and a sloop.

Ah hah! I always wondered about that 'brigantine sloop'. A brigantine is either a smallish boat with two masts, or a way of rigging a boat that has with two masts. A sloop only has one mast.

--fred


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: Anglo
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 02:15 AM

Apologies for not going carefully through the while thread, where this might have been discussed, but I always wondered about the "brigantine sloop" as well, and when I did sing it, substituted "brig and a sloop." However, I have since discovered that "sloop" in RN terms was not descriptive of rigging, but of the vessel's naval function (as a support vessel, I believe, though I am not certain of the exact definition). So I went back to singing it the other way.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: Rumncoke
Date: 02 Oct 09 - 03:50 PM

I believe that the Ruby was a sloop of war, a vessel smaller than a frigate, with lighter and/or fewer guns and built for speed rather than battling broadside to broadside.

The definition of sloop has certainly altered over the centuries, and the modern sloops are a design from the Caribbean islands.

Anne Croucher


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 12:16 AM

There is also the other Admiral Benbow song: other that is than the two with the "Sam Hall, chimney-sweep"-type chorus which are in DT, which begins "We sailed from Virginia & thence to Fayal, Where we watered our shipping and the we weighed all"; not another version, but a different song about the same man (Roud 227). It is in the Copper Family songbook, it appears, according to one note on the Google index:
"Admiral Benbow Song
bravebenbow.tripod.com/id19.html
Printed in The Copper Family Songbook - A Living Tradition. ADMIRAL BENBOW (4). We sailed from Virginia and thence to Fayall Where we watered our ships ..."

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 12:19 AM

Sorry ~ we have that one here. I meant that for the other thread ongoing, where I have now posted it.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Don Wise
Date: 02 Dec 11 - 10:25 AM

"We sailed to Virginia and thence to Fayal...."

was also recorded by Dave & Toni Arthur,"The Lark in the Morning",Topic 12T190.
From the sleeve notes: 'the version sung here is from Chappell's "Old English Popular Music".....The tune is a variant of 'Love Will Find Out The Way', first published in 1651..........Chappell collected it from hop-pickers in the mid nineteenth century, and Lucy Broadwood found it in Sussex in 1898.

Glad to be of service!

Don


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: GUEST,Guest: Dave Arthur
Date: 14 Jul 17 - 01:24 PM

As far as I know our 1969 Topic recording of Admiral Benbow (We sailed to Virginia and thence to Fayal) was the first recorded version of the song. Predating the Swan Arcade recording by about four years. June Tabor's Topic track on A Cut Above came out eleven years later in 1980. Louis Killen's was also considerably later. Of the several other recordings of the songs none, it seems pre-date 1969. Toni and I had been singing the song from about 1967 before recording it for Topic.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow (from June Tabor)
From: r.padgett
Date: 15 Jul 17 - 02:51 AM

The story of course is a bit hit and miss and there are Wikis for the encounter and Benbow's life story

Frankly I would have agreed with Kirby and Wade and left the battle (and got hanged) to fight when the odds and conditions were better ~

The French captain seems to have some sway also ~ Benbow had chain shot round one leg! he did not die straight after the battle in Port Royal ~ the Oral tradition and making things fit the song took over it seems!

Ray


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Subject: Lyr Add: Admiral Benbow (from Cecil J Sharp)
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Sep 17 - 06:47 PM

ADMIRAL BENBOW
Collected and arranged by Cecil J Sharp

Come all ye seamen bold, and draw near, and draw near.
Come all ye seamen bold, and draw near.
It's of an admiral's fame, O brave Benbow was his name
How he fought all on the main, you shall hear, you shall hear.
Brave Benbow he set sail, for to fight, for to fight
Brave Benbow he set sail, for to fight.
Brave Benbow he set sail, with a fine and pleasant gale
But his Captains they turned tail, In a fright, in a fright.

Says Kirby unto Wade, "we will run, we will run."
Says Kirby unto Wade, "we will run.
For I value no disgrace, nor the losing of my place,
But the enemy I won't face, nor his guns, nor his guns."
The Ruby and Benbow fought the French, fought the French,
The Ruby and Benbow fought the French.
They fought them up and down, till the blood came trickling down
'Til the blood came trickling down, where they lay, where they lay.

Brave Benbow lost his legs by chain shot, by chain shot,
Brave Benbow lost his legs by chain shot.
Brave Benbow lost his legs, and all on his stumps he begs
Fight on, my English lads, 'tis our lot, 'tis our lot.
The surgeon dressed his wounds, cries Benbow, Cries Benbow,
The surgeon dressed his wounds, cries Benbow.
"Let a cradle now in haste on the quarterdeck be placed,
That the enemy I may face till I die, till I die.


X: 1
T: Admiral Benbow (Sharp)
M: 2/2
L: 1/4
Z: NP 09/09/2017
K: G
z3 D| GGAF| G2Bc| d2cB| (AcB)A| GGAF| (GD)EE| E3c| BABc| d2cB| AGFE| D2DD| GGGE| C2B,C| D2EF| G2zD| GGAF| G2Bc|d2cB| (AcB)A|GGAF| (GD)EE| D3c|BABc|d2cB| AGFE| D2DD| GGGE| C2B,C|D2EF|G3z|
w: Come all ye sea-men bold, and draw near, and draw near__ Come all ye sea-men bold,_ and draw near. It's of an ad-miral's fame, O brave Ben-bow was his name, How he fought all on the main, you shall hear, you shall hear. Brave Ben-bow he set sail, for to fight, for to fight__ Brave Ben-bow he set sail,_ for to fight. Brave Ben-bow he set sail, with a fine and plea-sant gale But his Cap-tains they turned tail, in a fright, in a fright.

From: A Selection of Collected Folk Songs arranged by Cecil J Sharp and R Vaughan Williams
Published by Novello & Co (Undated)
Added despite there already being a couple of versions in the DT. Slight variations in the words ('till' instead on ''til' hardly seems worth correcting) but "The Ruby and Benbow fought the French" seems clearer than "Then Ruby and Benbow fought the French", making it clearer that 'The Ruby' is a ship, not another captain.
Also the tune appears to be different, particularly as it spans two verses.
Mine not to decide what's worthy of inclusion. Just spend the time typing & see!
NP

Note from Joe Offer: the lyrics exactly match the first version we have in the Digital Tradition. I didn't check to see if the tunes match.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Admiral Benbow
From: r.padgett
Date: 10 Sep 17 - 03:09 AM

I have been singing above version for some years! It was a favourite for group singing too!

Tune was/is Captain Kidd

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Admiral Benbow
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 10 Sep 17 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for combining, Joe.
There are minor differences in the words, as noted above. Using till instead of 'til is probably down to personal preference. But the line (above) "The Ruby and Benbow fought the French" Is somewhat clearer than the one in DT which has "Then Ruby and Benbow fought the French". The latter would seem to make Ruby a person as listed with Benbow. If (as with Benbow) you take the captains name it would be "Then Walton and Benbow fought the French". The only thing that give a hint that we are talking about the name of a ship, rather than the name of the captain is that in Sharp's version it's "The Ruby".
The tunes in the two sources seem completely different.

Cheers
Nigel


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Subject: RE: Origins: Admiral Benbow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Sep 17 - 11:15 AM

The fact that both Jack Hall and Benbow both share the same form and tune which is somewhat older than the events (c1702) suggests to me that both were written just after the events and used the tune which still survives in traditional versions. A remarkable survival. We have no way of knowing when in the 18thc the other Benbow was written, although written in the 1st person it could be contemporary.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Admiral Benbow
From: Les from Hull
Date: 13 Sep 17 - 09:37 AM

Just to clear up any confusion:

HIS Ruby was a 40gun fourth rate ship built in 1651 at Deptford. She was one of the ships in Benbow's squadron at the Action of August 1702.

Vice-Admiral John Benbow's popularity was often supposed to be because he was not of the traditional officer class of the Royal Navy. He had served as Master's Mate and in the Merchant Navy before his eventual commission in the Navy.


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