The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #85881   Message #1594000
Posted By: Q (Frank Staplin)
30-Oct-05 - 11:07 PM
Thread Name: C. Fox Smith PermaThread
Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith PermaThread
(Halliard Shanty)

Old Billy Riley
Was a dancing master-
Old Billy Riley O!

Old Billy Riley
Was master of a drogher,
Old Billy Riley O!

Master of a drogher
Sailing to Antigua,
Old Billy Riley O!

T:Billy Riley
C:C. Fox Smith 'A Book of Shanties' p 53
G2G G G2G2|A G F E F2D2|A2A A c2B2|A6
w:Old Bil-ly Ri-ley Was a danc-ing mas-ter Old Bil-ly Ri-ley O!

Notes by CFS:

This very jolly little shanty is one of the very old stagers, and I have come across very few of the younger generation of sailormen who have heard it. This version was sung in Green's "Blackwall" in the eighteen-fifties. I find it in only one other collection- that of the late Mr. Cecil Sharp.

A "drogher" was, of course, a West Indian trader in the sugar trade; the term was later applied to timber ships. Its etymology I do not know, but it probably is Dutch.

Drogher, OED- From the Dutch (originally a fisher, with facilities for drying fish), first mentioned in English print in 1756. Applied in the West Indies to slow coastal ships. Bartlett, 1860, in his Dictionary, defined it as "built solely for burden, and for transporting cotton, lumber, and other heavy articles."

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