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Lyr Req: Little Boy Billie / Little Billee

Liam's Sister-in-Law 26 Dec 98 - 01:13 PM
Bill Sables 26 Dec 98 - 07:13 PM
Liam's Sister-in -Law 26 Dec 98 - 07:27 PM
Barry Finn 26 Dec 98 - 08:54 PM
Barry Finn 26 Dec 98 - 08:59 PM
Barry Finn 26 Dec 98 - 09:30 PM
Liam's Sister-in-Law 26 Dec 98 - 11:37 PM
GUEST,Tuckernuck Jim 20 Sep 04 - 10:36 AM
MartinRyan 20 Sep 04 - 11:36 AM
Malcolm Douglas 20 Sep 04 - 11:43 AM
Snuffy 20 Sep 04 - 07:01 PM
Bill Brown 02 Jul 09 - 09:37 AM
Steve Gardham 02 Jul 09 - 11:24 AM
ossonflags 02 Jul 09 - 12:20 PM
Dead Horse 02 Jul 09 - 12:43 PM
Artful Codger 02 Jul 09 - 03:03 PM
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Subject: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Liam's Sister-in-Law
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 01:13 PM

There is a very humorous nautical song, "Little Boy Billie." It could possibly be a Gilbert & Sullivan piece. Does anyone have the words please? Thanks.

All the best,
Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Bill Sables
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 07:13 PM

Dear Bonnie, I seem to remember a song from many years ago called Three Sailors from Bristol City Some of the lines were There was gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy and also little boy Billy, It was about the sailors being hungry and intending to eat little boy billy. I will look up the words and send you them Cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Liam's Sister-in -Law
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 07:27 PM

Hi Bill!

That's the one. Many thanks. I look forward to it.

All the best,
Bonnie


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE BOY BILLY (from Bob Roberts)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 08:54 PM

LITTLE BOY BILLY
(As sung by Bob Roberts)

There were three men of Bristol City; (2x)
They stole a ship and went to sea. (2x)

There was Gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy
And also Little Boy Billee.

They stole a tin of captain's biscuits
And one large bottle of whiskee.

But when they reached the broad Atlantic
They had nothing left but one split pea.

Said Gorging Jack to Guzzling Jimmy,
"We've nothing to eat so I'm going to eat thee."

Said Guzzling Jimmy, "I'm old and toughest,
So let's eat Little Boy Billee."

"O Little Boy Billy, we're going to kill and eat you,
So undo the top button of your little chemie."

"O may I say my catechism
That my dear mother taught to me?"

He climbed up to the main topgallant
And there he fell upon his knee.

But when he reached the Eleventh Commandment,
He cried "Yo Ho! for land I see."

"I see Jerusalem and Madagascaar
And North and South Amerikee."

"I see the British fleet at anchor
And Admiral Nelson, K.C.B."

They hung Gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy
But they made an admiral of Little Boy Billee.

Bob Roberts (the singing bargeman) sings this on "Sea Songs and Shanties" on Saydisc (CD-SDL 405) produced by Peter Kennedy. Peter says that the words are probably a translated and adapted by the poet William Thackeray from the French folksong "Le Petit Navire" (The Little Corvette). Bob learned the tune from Henry Trefusis, Falmouth in Cornwall. The Little Corvett can also be found in Peter Kennedy's "Folksongs Of Britain and Ireland", though the text and story is not as near complete as in this English version. Some of the other singers on the same CD are Harry Cox of Norfolk, Bob and Ron Copper, Sarah Makem, Tom Brown, Clifford Jenkins and Bill Barber of Cornwall.
Liam's Sister, (Hi, Bonnie) it's good to see you onboard here, I hope you have two computers now that you're here as well as Dan. See ya. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 08:59 PM

Sorry Bonnie I should've mentioned that the 1st line of the verses are sung 3x & that the 2nd line of the verse is sung 2x. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 09:30 PM

Sorry, Sorry, again, again. Both lines of the verses are sung only twice. I started to sing it after I posted the second post & it wasn't right so I put the CD on for a listen. There you go. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Liam's Sister-in-Law
Date: 26 Dec 98 - 11:37 PM

Thank you, Barry.

All the best,
Bonnie


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: GUEST,Tuckernuck Jim
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 10:36 AM

I have the CD, and it's great.

The second to last stanza has always puzzled me -- it does indeed sound like he is singing "Admiral Nelson, K.C.B.", though it's a bit muddled. I've done some digging, and couldn't come up with any meaning for the "K.C.B." bit anywhere.

I think that what he's really saying is "Admiral Nelson, K.B.E.", which does make sense. "K.B.E." is abbreviation of "Knight (Commander) of the British Empire", a prestiguous award given by the King or Queen of Great Britain for meritorious service, which would certainly apply to Nelson.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_British_Empire

Tuckernuck Jim


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: MartinRyan
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 11:36 AM

KCB is Knight Commander of the Bath - another heraldic order.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 11:43 AM

"Admiral Napier, K.C.B" originally. See Thackeray's Little Billee


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Subject: RE: Lyric please: Little Boy Billie
From: Snuffy
Date: 20 Sep 04 - 07:01 PM

A KCB is a lot more prestigious than a mere KBE - I think the Order of the Bath goes back many centuries, while the Order of the British Empire is probably less than 100 years old


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Boy Billie
From: Bill Brown
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 09:37 AM

I'm digging up this old thread to ask if anyone knows whether someone owns copyrights to this song "Little Boy Billee?" It is not, technically, a folk song, but written by William Thackery (as noted above by Barry Finn). The original has been changed considerably in the version sung by Bob Roberts, and I wonder if Roberts may consider himself the author of that version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Boy Billie
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 11:24 AM

I would have thought unless you are singing SOE's copyrighted arrangement word for word, note for note, then the song should be public domain. Thackeray is long gone, even beyond the 90 year limit proposed by the scroungers. Cyril Tawney and Bob Roberts recorded it and McGarry is currently singing it. Neither Bob nor Cyril will consider themselves authors because they're both gone. I knew them well enough to know if they hadn't written it themselves they would never claim any rights to a song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Boy Billie
From: ossonflags
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 12:20 PM

I am indeed Steve! and a great song it is.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Boy Billie
From: Dead Horse
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 12:43 PM

This song lends itself to performing actions to accompany the words.
It can be made really funny, although sometimes when I perform it, it is me the audience laughs at, as I tend to get a bit confused after a couple of pints :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Little Boy Billie
From: Artful Codger
Date: 02 Jul 09 - 03:03 PM

Search for "Little Boy Billee" (note the final two E's) for fuller discussion on this song, as in the thread Malcolm linked above.

The song has been in the oral tradition pretty much since Thackeray wrote it. For many years, those who sang it were blissfully unaware of its original author, and the song mutated accordingly. Roberts mostly sang songs as he learned them, and this one is unlikely to be an exception.

If you're going for comic effect consider this couplet from Thackeray (placed after "chemie"), which Roberts does not sing:
   When Bill he heard this information,
   He used his pocket-handkerchie.


Which I sing as:
   When Bill received this information, (2x)
   He wet his p...ocket-handkerchie,
   He wet his pocket-handkerchie[f-f-f].
[leading into "First let me say"; emoted as fearful sobbing]

Also this couplet from Thackeray (after "mother taught to me"):
   Make haste! make haste!" says guzzling Jimmy,
   While Jack pulled out his [long] snickersnee.
[Pause before "snickersnee", for smutty minds to do their work.]


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Mudcat time: 23 September 1:47 AM EDT

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