The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #8009   Message #4032678
Posted By: Joe Offer
06-Feb-20 - 11:10 PM
Thread Name: 'Wild Goose Shanty (Ranzo)' background
Subject: RE: 'Wild Goose Shanty (Ranzo)' background
Hi, Wm. I went to Mackenzie, intending to post the full lyrics from his book. But what you posted, is all there is. Here are his notes. At least I can add that. The book groaned as I put it in the scanner. It will never be the same.

This is to be regarded as a halliard shanty, although it apparently served ar times for the men who were heaving at the capstan bars. Terry lists it as a windlass and capstan shanty. It is of all shanties the most conspicuous for variability, and the investigator must be guided chiefly by the swing and metre of the lines and refrains and by the appearance of “Ranzo” in one or both of the refrains. Sometimes the “wild goose” figures in the first line; but while this is to be sought for, it is by no means always to be found. Bullen and Arnold (Songs of Sea Labour, p. 18) print a version under a title which is also the first line of the song, “Oh, what did you give for your fine leg of murron? Terry (Sailor Shanties, First Selection, pp. 4-5, and The Shanty Book, pp. 26—27) entitles it “The Wild Goose Shanty,” and his version begins, "I'm the shantyman of the wild goose nation.” Davis and Tozer ("Sailors' Songs" pp. 50—51) give it the generic title “The Chanty-Man’s Song” and present a version which begins with “I’m Chanty-man of the working party.” These strangely differentiated versions are all English, and the song seems been in use on British ships much more than on American ones. Two versions, however, have been printed in the United States: one by Captain John Robinson (The Bellman, July 14, 1917) with the title “Ranzo Ray” and beginning “We’ve passed the cliffs of Dover in the good old ship the Rover,” and one by Colcord, (p. 23) entitled “Huckleberry Hunting” and starting off with "Oh, the boys and the girls went a-huckleberry hunting.”
The brief version which follows I secured from Ephraim Tattrie of
Tatamagouche, Colchester County. The air is a particularly fine one, of the type which in the eighteenth century was characterized as “wild and melancholy":