The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #34080   Message #2567975
Posted By: GUEST,Gibb
15-Feb-09 - 11:29 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Blood Red Roses (what's it mean?)
Subject: RE: Blood Red Roses
Lighter, thanks for the good discussion and for checking out the original edition of Hugill.

I'm not sure how Hugill would have influenced Lloyd if his book didnt come out until afterwards, unless they would meet up sometimes. (I would guess that around that time period when the film came out, Hugill was teaching at the Outward Bound Academy in Aberdovey. I honestly have no idea though if he would have been socializing with Lloyd.) But the fact that Hugill mentions both recordings by Lloyd (the film and the album) suggests they were an influence on him.

In my opinion, Hugill's book is the single best collection of chanteys. However, after reading it a lot you tend to notice certain places where he takes wild guesses but doesnt ~quite~ admit he's guessing! Case in point: He says this chantey was "overlooked by most collectors." What does that mean? Why say "most" when he could just admit, "The only other collection [excluding ON BOARD THE ROCKET, not a collection] that I've seen this in is Doerflinger's." He's intentionally ambiguous where information is lacking, and sometimes our faith in him (after all, he knew more than just about anybody) lets us give him the benefit of the doubt. Another example: On what basis does he say "it appears to be a British shanty"; he seems to be reasoning that the Napoleon theory is what makes it so.

As I said, I think Hugill's 1969 text is a flip flop after he has well and truly convinced himself of the Napoleon thing. The 1961 book was all about presenting all the various possibilities and dirty variations, whereas the 1969 book is about trying to give succinct "answers" to things. (Note for instance how in that book he had become convinced that he found an Italian source for "Rueben Ranzo".)

As for him getting stanzas from a movie, he really doesnt take many, and I dont think they're significant. His theme (and unique tune, in the earlier book) comes from Harding. It has "bound out for Iquique Bay," which is what marks it as a "Cape Horner" shanty; that also explains the idea "very popular in Liverpool ships" (i.e. those bound round Cape Horn in the nitrate trade). The only lines in common with the film are "Boots and clothes in pawn" and "around Cape Stiff we all must go", all regular cliches that are in a dozen other halyard shanties in his book.

Burl Ives recorded a very safe sounding "Go down you RED red roses" on an album in 1956. I would guess that was also derivative of the film version (or Lloyd's SINGING SAILOR). MOBY DICK was released in June of that year.

I have also thought that Lloyd must have used Doerflinger as a source, based on some of the tunes he has used, for example on songs "Paddy West" and "Do Me Ama".