The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #152128   Message #3556616
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
06-Sep-13 - 01:48 PM
Thread Name: Tune Req: While Cruising Round Yarmouth
Subject: RE: Tune Req: While Cruising Round Yarmouth
I've gathered every available example of the family to which this song belongs. Steve Gardham provided a few broadsides

As Jim says, there are dozens of texts, but they don't all belong to "the same song." What they have in common, however, is the meeting of the sailor and the streetwalker, the ensuing nautical double entendre, and a disagreeable outcome for Jack Tar.

The earliest such song dates from the late 1600s. The subgrouping that includes both "Cruising 'Round Yarmouth" and Stan Hugill's "Ratcliffe Highway" seems to have started about two centuries later, with related efforts in the meantime. It hung on in tradition in the English-speaking navies till after World War 2, and of course MacColl and Lloyd rejuvenated it for folkies, courtesy of both Sam Larner and Harry Cox.

Mudcat's Charley Noble reinvented once more a few years ago under the title "Widgery Wharf." (Hi, Charley!)

Hugill's "Ratcliffe Highway" in "Shanties from the Seven Seas" is not the bar-room contretemps usually recorded under this title. You can hear it right here from Gibb Sahib:

One day I hope to tell all, but my current plate runneth over with responsibility.

Meanwhile, anyone with interesting thoughts or anecdotes about any of these songs should post them here. You could become a footnote!