The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #115504   Message #2474228
Posted By: Steve Gardham
23-Oct-08 - 07:03 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Loving Hannah - Bawley Boat?
Subject: RE: Origins: Loving Hannah - Bawley Boat?
The song isn't in Jean's 'Appalachian Songs' and her version printed in Lomax's FS of North America doesn't have this verse.
The song's not that scarce, particularly in Ireland. Sam Henry published 2 versions.
Curiouser and curiouser:
This type of lyric piece describing parting is particularly prone to attracting floaters or commonplaces which is what has happened here.
Other American versions which have similar verses are:

I wish I was in some sea-port,
Or in some sea-port town;
I set my foot on sea board
And sail this ocean round.   Mellinger Henry, FS from the S Highlands.

I wish I was in London
Or some other seaport town
I'd set myself on a steamship
And sail the ocean round.   Songs from Sing Out 11.

The only thing this side that comes near is the traveller verse

I wish I was in old Ireland
Lyin' on the grass,
With a prayer-book upon my lap
And upon my breast a cross.

Though I haven't seen a broadside version yet I'd put money on the origin being a Belfast broadside.

As for 'barley' I'd try looking for a Northern Irish or American origin. 'Bully boat' is a common expression. 'Bally' is a common Irish place name prefix, etc.