The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46744   Message #2598529
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
27-Mar-09 - 10:09 AM
Thread Name: Jamboree: Oat Cakes?
Subject: RE: Jamboree: Oat Cakes?
Thanks, Charley!

I'm inclined to think --though I can't prove it-- that the chantey is not based in any single song, but rather that it used little catch phrases from minstrel songs. My reason for this is that a lot of chanteys seem like a jumble of minstrel song phrases, and rarely do they seem to match up to any minstrel song very well.

"Jamboree" is pretty similar in melody and feel to "Clear the Track," so I'm not surprised about the final line cited by Lighter "Johnny let the bullgine run!" -- substituting one minstrel catch phrase for another.


"Bullgine" / "buljine" / "bulgine" is a steam engine. This slang term is used in several minstrel songs,including the original version of Stephen Foster's "Oh, Susanna." It's also in at least 4 sea chanteys at my present count:

Clear the Track / Eliza Lee
Run, Let the Bulgine Run
The Arabella
Hilo, Boys, Hilo

The last two have the odd phrase, "bulgine-pie"! Of course, the word could probably be added to lots more songs in the improv process! It seems like the word was a bit of a fashion in the time period of these songs, say 1840s (but don't take my word for that; seek an historical dictionary).

Which song did you sing in school, HughM?