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Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties

GUEST,John Macdonald 03 May 07 - 10:56 AM
freda underhill 03 May 07 - 11:21 AM
Anglo 03 May 07 - 11:54 AM
GUEST,JimP 03 May 07 - 12:05 PM
freda underhill 03 May 07 - 12:07 PM
GUEST,kenny 03 May 07 - 12:09 PM
Charley Noble 03 May 07 - 12:23 PM
freda underhill 03 May 07 - 12:27 PM
dick greenhaus 03 May 07 - 12:36 PM
Greg B 03 May 07 - 01:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 May 07 - 02:11 PM
Jack Campin 03 May 07 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,Julia 03 May 07 - 04:48 PM
Anglo 03 May 07 - 05:00 PM
Lighter 03 May 07 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 03 May 07 - 05:59 PM
Jack Campin 03 May 07 - 06:29 PM
Crane Driver 03 May 07 - 06:35 PM
GUEST,Julia 03 May 07 - 08:27 PM
Jack Campin 03 May 07 - 08:46 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 May 07 - 09:29 PM
Tattie Bogle 04 May 07 - 08:45 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 04 May 07 - 11:15 PM
GUEST,John Macdonald 17 May 07 - 12:57 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 May 07 - 03:59 PM
Tattie Bogle 24 May 07 - 08:11 PM
GUEST,JWB 24 May 07 - 09:49 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 24 May 07 - 10:22 PM
Chanteyranger 25 May 07 - 01:25 AM
GUEST 25 May 07 - 09:52 AM
JWB 25 May 07 - 10:23 AM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 25 May 07 - 11:51 AM
GUEST 25 May 07 - 12:29 PM
Barry Finn 25 May 07 - 12:56 PM
GUEST 25 May 07 - 03:11 PM
Barry Finn 25 May 07 - 03:37 PM
JWB 25 May 07 - 03:49 PM
Skivee 25 May 07 - 04:36 PM
JWB 25 May 07 - 04:49 PM
GUEST 25 May 07 - 05:09 PM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 25 May 07 - 05:58 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 25 May 07 - 06:13 PM
GUEST,Lighter 25 May 07 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Rev 26 May 07 - 02:06 AM
Barry Finn 26 May 07 - 04:34 AM
GUEST,STROMNESS HARBOUR 12 Apr 10 - 10:45 AM
goatfell 12 Apr 10 - 11:11 AM
Tattie Bogle 14 Jul 10 - 12:01 PM
stallion 15 Jul 10 - 07:41 AM
Dead Horse 15 Jul 10 - 08:57 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 15 Aug 10 - 11:30 PM
Snuffy 16 Aug 10 - 10:50 AM
mikesamwild 16 Aug 10 - 11:05 AM
IanC 16 Aug 10 - 11:25 AM
mikesamwild 16 Aug 10 - 11:28 AM
Gutcher 16 Aug 10 - 12:23 PM
mikesamwild 23 Aug 10 - 07:24 AM
Gutcher 23 Aug 10 - 01:29 PM
Gutcher 24 Aug 10 - 03:08 PM
EBarnacle 25 Aug 10 - 10:57 AM
GUEST,ddevine 22 Jun 17 - 02:57 PM
GUEST 22 Jun 17 - 04:02 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,John Macdonald
Date: 03 May 07 - 10:56 AM

Hi Folks,

I know a few shanties but most of them are English in origin it seems. Does anyone know of any shanties which are Scottish in origin.

Were shanties used only on Military Navy ships or were they also used by Merchant Ships? If they were on Merchant Ships then I would expect to find some Scottish Shanties, but so far I've had little success.

There are plenty of Scottish Sea Songs, often about Whaling and Fishing, but what I'm after are the work songs (call and reply).

Can anyone help please?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: freda underhill
Date: 03 May 07 - 11:21 AM

Hi John

not Scottish, but Australian - Harry Robertson - Whale Chasing Men

This disc features 12 tracks composed and sung by Harry Robertson,a great writer and fine singer - an Australian whaler and author of "the Wee Pot Stove" sung so plaintively by Nic Jones.

and this one 'Rogue's Gallery:' Songs of the Sea has some powerful, raw shanties on it, including a powerful version of the Mingulay Boat Song sung by Richard Thompson, with drums.

For Scottish shanties, you could try Paddy Hernon's CD "By Request" because it has some scottish shanties, including "The Loch Tay Boat Song". problemo - I don't know where to get this one (have heard it's a good one) - if anyone knows a source, I'd be interested in getting a copy too.

good luck

freda


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Anglo
Date: 03 May 07 - 11:54 AM

Shanties were used on merchant ships, not on navy ships (considered bad for discipline, for one thing). When rhythm was needed in the navy, they tended to use a fiddler or drummer.

Not wishing to pick a fight with Freda, I would point out that Harry Robertson's songs (and he was an expatriate Scot) are not in any way shanties, fine as they are. He wrote a number of songs about his whaling experiences in Australia, which doesn't answer the question.

There were Gallic rowing songs, certainly, but I don't know them. My feeling is that a Scottish shantyman on a merchant packet would have sung songs in English on a British ship, and learn whatever was being sung if he was on a foreign ship.

The best overview of shanties and their usage and history is Stan Hugill's book Shanties of the Seven Seas, primarily English but with songs in many languages.

Personally I think the Rogue's Gallery is mostly a bunch of crap.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,JimP
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:05 PM

I'm sure many others will set you straight on this, but just to get things going:

Generally, there was little or no shantying on navy ships; it was almost exclusively a merchant vessel practice. In the Royal Navy, with their large crews, they would use a drum beating time if necessary, but no singing. On merchant ships, with their small crews, it was essential that they get as much coordination as possible, and that is where the shanty came into its own.

As far as specifically Scottish shanties goes, there's allways "Hieland Laddie," which took a pre-existing Jacobite song and mashed it up with a shanty called "Donkey Riding." (At least, that's what it looks like to me.)

Of course, you should remember that when the shanty was a living practice, there were very few shanties with set words. (There were some, of course.) Each shantyman would make things up about his ship, his crew and really whatever he felt like. I imagine a Scott would sing about things from home as often as any other shantyman.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: freda underhill
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:07 PM

aargh, y'ole grump.

CD 1
1. Cape Cod Girls - Baby Gramps
2. Mingulay Boat Song - Richard Thompson
3. My Son John - John C. Reilly
4. Fire Down Below - Nick Cave
5. Turkish Revelry - Loudon Wainwright III
6. Bully In The Alley - Three Pruned Men
7. The Cruel Ship's Captain - Bryan Ferry
8. Dead Horse - Robin Holcomb
9. Spanish Ladies - Bill Frisell
10. High Barbary - Joseph Arthur
11. Haul Away Joe - Mark Anthony Thompson
12. Dan Dan - David Thomas
13. Blood Red Roses - Sting
14. Sally Brown - Teddy Thompson
15. Lowlands Away - Rufus Wainwright & Kate McGarrigle
16. Baltimore Whores - Gavin Friday
17. Rolling Sea - Eliza Carthy
18. The Mermaid - Martin Carthy & the UK Group
19. Haul On The Bowline - Bob Neuwirth
20. Dying Sailor to His Shipmates - Bono
21. Bonnie Portmore - Lucinda Williams
22. Shenandoah - Richard Greene & Jack Shit
23. The Cry Of Man - Mary Margaret O'Hara


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,kenny
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:09 PM

"The Loch Tay Boat Song" a shanty !!!! Sorry, freda, but apart from anything else, why the hell would you need a shanty on Loch Tay ?
"The Gaugers" from Aberdeen did a CD of sea-songs - not sure about shanties, although I've certainly heard Arthur Watson singing a few. I'll check it out for you.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:23 PM

It's so dangerous to respond to such a specific request. LOL

Now, let's see what I can suggest. How about "The Muckin' o' Georde's Byre" for a bailing shanty?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, temporarily at large in NYC


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: freda underhill
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:27 PM

i guess that highland fling's all about dodging the pedants!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 May 07 - 12:36 PM

You can get any or all of the CDs mentioned above (though I heartily recommend that nobody waste his or her money on Rogues Gallery) from CAMSCO Music. 800/548-FOLK {3655}


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Greg B
Date: 03 May 07 - 01:37 PM

Indeed. Rogues Gallery sets the genre back three decades. A couple
of gems surrounded by a bunch that are presented by performers
who lack either knowledge, talent, giving a damn about the material
or various lethal combinations of said shortcomings.

To call it 'crap' is to denigrate good honest excrement.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 May 07 - 02:11 PM

For some good chanteys and sailors songs, including Gallic chants de marins, get Michel Colleu and Nathalie Couilloud, "Chants de Marins," Chasse/maree, which includes a cd with Stan Hugill, Stormalong John, Didier Queval, Cabestan, Djiboudjep, John Wright and others; 25 tracks.
See other threads on chanteys here at Mudcat.

There are Scots, Irish, etc. songs about fishermen, but chanteys? I agree with Anglo.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 07 - 04:29 PM

I think the nearest you will get is rowing songs - there are quite a few Gaelic ones and a few in Scots used by the inshore fishermen of the Forth.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 03 May 07 - 04:48 PM

Do Rowing songs qualify as shanties? The Hebridean Scots were/are Island people and getting from here to there meant rowing a lot.There are a number of tunes with evocative names and rhythmic cadence which had lyrics in Gaelic originally. Seems like some of our Gaelic experts could provide lyrics..?

Aran Boat song
Setting Sail for Iona
Kisimul's Galley
The Cuillins of Rhum
Mist Covered Mountains

Slainte-- Julia


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Anglo
Date: 03 May 07 - 05:00 PM

Well, the original poster was looking for work songs, and rowing songs certainly qualify as that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Lighter
Date: 03 May 07 - 05:06 PM

Thompson's rendition is beautiful. Almost everything else on the CD is...as characterized above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 03 May 07 - 05:59 PM

Actually, the verses that are widely believed to be the oldest known shanties in the world are Scottish. They are included in a work called "The Complaynt of Scotland," dating from the 16th century. We discussed them in this thread.

Nancy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 07 - 06:29 PM

The shanties in The Complaint of Scotland are *not* Scottish. They were Wedderburn's transcription of what the invading English sailors sang.

Mist Covered Mountains is a late 19th century song to an English tune and has nothing at all to do with ships.

Kishmul's Galley was written (in English) around 1900 by Marjorie Kennedy-Fraser to a mangled version of a Gaelic waulking song. (Waulking is rhythmically walloping woven wool fabric soaked in stale urine - not exactly a maritime activity).

The Arran (not Aran unless you mean Ireland) Boat Song has no words I've ever heard. It's a version of The Banks of the Devon which has no maritime associations either.

The Cuillins aren't in Rhum. I've never heard or the song/tune, nor of Setting Sail for Iona (where from? you'd hardly need a shanty for a trip from Fionnphort).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Crane Driver
Date: 03 May 07 - 06:35 PM

Sea Shanties by definition are from the gaps between countries - it's hard to describe a shanty as being 'from' anywhere on land.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Julia
Date: 03 May 07 - 08:27 PM

Marjory Kennedy Fraser worked with collector Kenneth MacLeod who "translated" the songs he collected from the original Gaelic. She arranged them for performance in the drawing rooms of angst ridden Celtic twilight officianados. They are truly ghastly BUT the melodies are traditional.

Although Mist Covered Mountains speaks about just that, it is a homecoming song with a strong chorus

Ho ro, soon shall I see them Oh
Hee Ro See them Oh see them Oh etc

It is much more reminiscent of rowing than hiking, and one can imagine the mountainous islands of the Hebrides emerging from the horizon...

The others mentioned have that same quality.

My understanding from the trad Gaelic singers I know is that rhythmical songs could be used interchangeably and the lyrics were mutable and spontaneous. Thus a song could be used for both waulking or rowing. One example is Fliuch an Oidche (Wet is the night) which sings in praise of Clan Nill and their exploits at sea.

In looking at the Simon Fraser fiddle collection we find
"Rowing from Islay to Uist" the title of which implies that activity and it has the same "swing" as those previously mentioned. Another is simply called a "Rowing time piece"and another is "Sitting in the stern of a boat" -'nuf said. These could esaily have had words at one time.

I think one could safely conclude that these and many other tunes /songs with the appropriate cadence could have been used for rowing and or hauling sail.

cheers- Julia


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 May 07 - 08:46 PM

If you tried rowing in time to "Sitting in the stern of a boat" you'd be a *very* long time getting there. Simon Fraser names the composer and describes it as a "poetical description of sailing", which is a very long way from a practical work song.

"Mist Covered Mountains" relates specifically to Morvern, not the Hebrides.

Probably the oldest rowing song tune known from Scotland is "Sir John Malcolm", though we only have the Gowified version of it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 May 07 - 09:29 PM

Scottish Sea Shanties - NO

There are Gaelic Rowing Songs. They're called Iorrams.

Loch Tay Boat song and Mist Covered Mountains are not Shanties. Actually Mist Covered Mountains is a parting song, where one is leaving their homeland and going over what they're going to be missing as if they were returning at some future date. As mentioned above, the original tune it was written to is an English tune. Not that the tune it is sung to now is that tune. Kishmul's Galley IS one of the old Iorrams "translated" from the Gaelic song. The original GAelic song as mentioned by Julia, has been absorbed into the body of works called "waulking" or "milling" songs used to help fulling the cloth before the industrial revolution invented machines for that purpose.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 04 May 07 - 08:45 PM

Heard a really good shanty at Orkney Folk festival last year: written and performed by primary school kids in Stromness in association with a group called "Haggerdash". Loads of local history in the verses. It was called "Stromness Harbour" and slightly reminiscent of "South Australia", but a different tune. I cajoled Haggerdash into giving me the words, and have sung it in a few sessions. Should probably ask permission to reproduce it here.
TB


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 04 May 07 - 11:15 PM

Please and if you could get the author(S)'s name. That would be awesome. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,John Macdonald
Date: 17 May 07 - 12:57 PM

Thank You all for your help, especially - Guest: Jim P, Anglo and Guest: Nancy King. This is useful information.

As always Mudcat Users "come up trumps".

Thanks Again.

Regards,

John Mac.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 May 07 - 03:59 PM

Don't forget, though, that the earlier discussion Nancy linked to should be read in the light of the comments Jack Campin made in this thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 24 May 07 - 08:11 PM

George, I emailed Haggerdash re the Stromness Harbour shanty but they haven't replied. I'll give it a bit longer, but if they still don't, I'll take it as consent!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,JWB
Date: 24 May 07 - 09:49 PM

Though not a traditional worksong, Archie Fisher's "The Final Trawl" is a call-and-response song that one could use at halyards.

I presented a paper years ago at the Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival Symposium, called "A Chronological Sample of Scottish Sea Songs". In the research I did for it I came across only one true chantey that is identifiable as Scottish: the aforementioned "Hieland Laddie". Who's to say that "Blow the Man Down" wasn't originally composed by a Scot?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 24 May 07 - 10:22 PM

Thanks, Tatie. Figured you were waiting for permission. No problem.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Chanteyranger
Date: 25 May 07 - 01:25 AM

Then there's Whiskey Johnny.....oops, sorry, that's a Scotch shanty :-).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 07 - 09:52 AM

How could Final Trawl ever be used as a halyard chantey? Not likely. It doesn't and couldn't fit anywhere in the scheme of traditional shipboard labor.
Rowing songs are used for rowing. Net hauling songs are used for hauling nets. Shanties by definition were used by deep water sailors which means merchant or whaling vessels and not fishing vessels. Shipboard labor was divided into two areas; heaving or hauling meaning pushing or pulling.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: JWB
Date: 25 May 07 - 10:23 AM

Dear Guest,

I'm no expert, 'tis true. I understand from the reading I have done that it was not the subject matter that determined a chantey, but the rhythm. There is documentation of sailors adapting shore-side songs for shipboard labor ("Billy Boy" and "The Little Ball of Yarn" come to mind). The rhythm of "Final Trawl" would fit long-haul halyard work well, based on my experience. It is likely that, because the song was written in the late 20th century, it's never been used as a chantey.

You have raised an interesting question: did sailors on wind-powered fishing vessels use chanteys?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 25 May 07 - 11:51 AM

I would go with folklorists who have collected work songs used by fishermen and defined them as chanteys. Alan Lomax recorded Italian and Sicilian capstan chanteys used by fishermen. Yes, they had capstans aboard their fishing vessels. Same call and response as in any deepwater chanteys. Then there are the Menhaden chanteymen and the West Indies rowing whalemen. Folkloric scholarship supports a definition of chanteys that includes fishermen.

On another matter, to further support JWB's point about shore songs turned into chanteys, check out Hugill. "Johns Brown's Body" and "Goodnight, Ladies," used at rthe capstan, with salt-water changes to lyrics, to mention two.

JWB, you're a bit modest. Anyone who knows your real identity knows how knowledgeable you are about sea music.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 07 - 12:29 PM

Look at Hugill's opening lines. Shanties were the work songs of SAILING-SHIP man. He was not talking about men that row boats or haul net. On page 2 he draws a distinction between "rowing songs" and "heaving and hauling chants." If scholars want to revise the definition then let them but it is an alteration.
If you were to alter the rhythm of Final Trawl-yea it would work at the halyards but not in the form and style that Archie Fisher sings it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 May 07 - 12:56 PM

Adaptation was the shanteyman's stock & trade.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 07 - 03:11 PM

Excuse me Mr. Finn but how do you know that? That seems like a pretty conclusive statement from a 21st century citizen. A few extra verses in the back pocket perhaps but stock and trade? It's folly to believe that verses were being made up on the spot on a regular basis. If you were to work at the capstan or at the halyards you would appreciate the need to have verses well prepared. It is very difficult to "wing it", almost impossibe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 25 May 07 - 03:37 PM

Well guest I was friends with a sailor, ex Cape Horner who did exactly that when we were restoring a ship on Maui. He sang impromtui while we raised yards. He did & could "wing it" and he pleased & was quite proud to show it off. He sailed the Baltic trades as a kid before finishing up in the Cape Horn trade as an adult. If alive today he'd be around 107, George Herbert was his name. Cabin boy, deep water sailor, singer, musician, collector & master rigger.
My singing partner Neil Downey "wings it" & he quite good at it to & pretty funny to boot.

Guest: "If you were to work at the capstan or at the halyards you would appreciate the need to have verses well prepared"

are you assuming that I've never worked either & do you think you're talking to a salt water taffy? Don't be so smug, you're excused.

Hi Jerry, I'd have to say that you'd do fine using Archie's song at the halyards for that matter you could take the rock & roll out of the song "Rockin' Robin" & use that too & it'd would work.
Have a great time at Mystic, I'll miss you there.
Barry
Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: JWB
Date: 25 May 07 - 03:49 PM

Although I'm not a fan of rap music, I have been impressed on those occasions when I've seen a "freestyle" rap performed. This involves the rapper improvising the rhymes as s/he goes along, to a solid beat.

Freestyling, to me, is the modern equivalent of the improvising that I've read was done by chanteymen. There were standard verses, of course, but the exigencies of the job at hand often required the chanteyman to "piece out" the song beyond the standard lyrics, based on the sources I've consulted. Some chanteys, apparently, were mostly improvised, and the version collected was what the singer happened to remember that day.

As to "Final Trawl" being useful as a halyard chantey, I haven't heard Fisher sing it, but I imagine it would need to be slowed down a bit. But you can get two good pulls on the two chorus lines in each verse -- "Sing *haul* away, ma *lad*die-O" -- which should work in getting a topsail hoisted, for example.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Skivee
Date: 25 May 07 - 04:36 PM

It seems that folks have a differing view on "what would a Scottish chantey be".
Most of us know that there were two major classes of these songs...the work songs and the forebitters songs for offduty singing.
The work songs were frequently used for specific work tasks, i.e. stamping the capstan, pumping out the ship, long haul/ short haul chanties. But the same tune could have very different words, or be used for different tasks on various ships. If the ship had a chantyman, he could be expected to make up verses on the fly. Some were quite proud of this skill.
The forebitters could be just about any song on any subject. That being said, the typical forebitter would not have been about ploughing fields, weaving fabric, milking cows, etc. Just because a task can be done to the meter of a given song or that it was a memorable song romanticising life's trials doesn't mean that it's a chanty.
The question was basically, "do you know any Scottish chanties".
Unfortunately, the only one I know is Highland Lassie.
My band has been singing Mist Covered mountains for 15 years now. It's a lovely song...one of our most popular offerings. It's not a Scottish chanty. We pretend that it's a sailors song, but it could be sung by any Scot return to his craggy home...his pointy mountains under clouds. There's nothing that I'm aware of to suggest that Scottish sailors ever sang this as a chanty.
Similarly, Archie Fisher's song isn't a shanty, but a highly evocative and very modern song about the decline of the Scottish fisheries. The boats he was talking about were modern small net haulers, with electric winches. No chanty singing involved.
I do hope that Mr. MacDonald's question stirs up enough interest that some more actual Scottish chanties come to light.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: JWB
Date: 25 May 07 - 04:49 PM

It is a beguiling, if not terribly productive pastime to search for clues to the origins of most traditional chanteys. I'm a native of the State of Maine, from which many ships and many men sailed the world over. I've been looking for years for chanteys that can definitively be said to be of Downeast origins; there are a scant few.

The windbag sailor of the chantey era was a citizen of the world, and his themes were universal: hard work, strong liquor, easy women. The ports he visited, and the landmarks he passed on the way there, show up over and over. But there are really not many that you can point to and say, "That was written by a Mainer, or a Scot, or a Manxman".

Until Richard Branson starts offering time travel trips, we'll have to live with the mystery, eh?

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST
Date: 25 May 07 - 05:09 PM

I doubt that the 107 year old Cape Horner was making songs up on the spot out to sea, perhaps in a shipyard but not out to sea. As for singing partners- well, entertainment is a another matter. If you have actually done capstan or halyard work you would know where reality is located.
Try actually working at these jobs and making songs up on the spot-it can't be done effectively. Just because you say it's so don't make it so.   
Rap music is pure entertainment. It has nothing to do with work and so lends itself to spontaneity.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 25 May 07 - 05:58 PM

Stan Hugill, in Shanties From The Seven Seas, includes the Sicilian tuna fishermans "Brindisi di Marinai," used for net hauling.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 25 May 07 - 06:13 PM

Guest who doesn't believe Barry Finn, - Extemporare verses are quite common in work songs. In the Gaelic waulking song tradition, that though many songs have "standard" verses, many of the singers would add verses to tie local people and events into the song, usually to poke fun at younger women and men, sometimes to warn a woman about a man or to encourage the pairing in other instances. These people who do this are trained to do this. Perhaps you and I couldn't do it, but people who know the rhythm of the song and the people involved could create such verses on the fly with ease. I've seen it done. I know it is possible. For instance, Nelson's Blood is one where it's so short singers will often add to it. Please don't scoff, it can and does happen.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 25 May 07 - 07:25 PM

Guest is correct if he's talking about extemporizing new, four-line rhyming stanzas of some merit, less correct if he means two-liners of no merit, and quite wrong if he means one-line verses that don't need to rhyme because they're doubled to fit the structure of the shanty.

Most shanties, as actually sung by men simply trying to get a job of manual labor done, fell into the two-line (or one-line) category. It is very easy to invent a nonrhyming, stand-alone line to (more or less) fit the meter. It's easier still to import a known line or a couplet from some other shanty, or to alter it just a little.

What many current singers don't fully understand is that at sea the shanty served solely to aid in the very hard work of heaving and hauling. Few sailors cared anything about musical or lyrical quality, any more than modern military recruits worry about the professional entertainment value of marching chants. Nowadays the beauty of a shanty comes from accomplished performance. At sea, the performance was rough and ready. The beauty came partly from the idea of the melody, partly from the setting and the weather, partly from the satisfaction working at a challenging task together, and partly from thinking about all these things later.

We're all lucky that the melodic quality of so many shanties is as good as it is, and that enough of the words remain interesting.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,Rev
Date: 26 May 07 - 02:06 AM

Guest (who sounds a bit like Jim Lad on that "Blow the Man Down" thread) - I have worked at halyards and capstans (as have many of the others on this thread), and have experienced a good amount of extemporaneous chanteying. It's not as impossible as you seem to think, and I'm sure that chanteymen who knew their business could do it very handily. There are plenty of historical sources to back this up. For example, F.T. Bullen, who was chanteyman on every vessel upon which he sailed, from 1869-1880, has this to say:

The stubborn fact is that they had no set words beyond a starting verse or two and the fixed phrases of the chorus, which were very often not words at all. For all Chanties were impromptu as far as the words were concerned. Many a Chanteyman was prized in spite of his poor voice because of his improvisations. Poor doggerel they were mostly and often very lewd and filthy, but they gave the knowing and appreciative shipmates, who roared the refrain, much opportunity for laughter. Because of this I maintain that a Chanty that is "composed" to-day by a literary man is an anomaly. (Bullen and Arnold, Songs of Sea Labour, 1914)

There are more examples I could cite, but I think Bullen says all that needs to be said on that thread creep.

Now as for Scottish chanteys, I had to give Alexandrine Smith's Music of the Waters back to the library, but I think she might have a Scottish work song or two in there. I'll try to check and get back to you on that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Barry Finn
Date: 26 May 07 - 04:34 AM

To add to Rev's commentFrom Joanna Colcord's collection "Roll & Go" p.4 of the forword she states "Gross some of the words undoubtly were, when the shantyman choseso to improvise them; for the solo part of a shanty was largely "made up" by the shantyman as h went along"
SHe goes on "In improvising the solo part of a shanty, the leader or shantyman with originality & a reputation to maintain tried not to repeat the same line twice. If his story came to an end before the job was over, he fell back ona series of lines describing the piece of work under way, a common stock of which lines were used for "piecing out" on such occasions.

Capt Whall on p.xiii ofhis collection from "Sea Songs & Shanties" says while discussing indecent shanties; "The consequence was that in those ships the old time shanties were sung to their proper words, & most of the good ones had a story in verse that never varied, though in the long hoist, if the regulation words did not suffice, a good shanty-man would improvise to spin out."

Harlow in his collection "Chanteying Aboard American Ships" on p.2 says; "Many a chanteyman with a good voice but dull of comprehension would string out a chantey by repeating every line, using words with no meaning & sometimes without reguard to rhyme or meter. But if he were original, he would make up verses as he sang, bringing in incidents of the oyage in such a vivid way that the crew redoubled their efforts at the capstan bars or ropes, thus getting more pleasure from the work & keeping them in a contented mood"

Lydia Parrish in her collection "Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands" in her chapter on 'Work Songs', p.199 goes on to say "In the old days, if no suitable verse came to mind for a particular task, one was made up then & there out of slender material".

Lastly Hugill in his "Shanties From The Seven Sea" p.30 He says of shanymen whose practice was not to work while singing as his job is to sing: "Of course the 'modern' shantyman didn't always pull his weight on a rope, he merely went through the motions, saving his wind for the song. At the capstan he 'rode the bars'". Hugill late goes on on p.32 to state; "Normally in an English-worded shanty the fact that the shantyman improvised, used verses from other shanties, or repeated the solos twice in each stanza, showed that he had an imperfect memory. Of course in a very long hoist the regulation verses would often run out & then stock phrases or verses from such a shanty as 'Handy, Me Boys' would be utilized. The process of repeating the solos was refered to as 'stringing out'. Many shantymen would, of course, improvise even if they knew the real words, perticularly if the ship was a 'hungry bitch', the voyage a tough one, or the afterguard a set of bullies. Improvising, they woukld bring out these tribulations in their solos".

As for my working the large downtown pumps once when leading a shanty I nearly lost my wind & from then after in modern style I only sing lead or work, I don't do both as you may assume.


"I doubt that the 107 year old Cape Horner was making songs up on the spot out to sea, perhaps in a shipyard but not out to sea."

George would've been about 107 if he were still alive today, when I 1st met him he was in his late 70' but he sang the yard up the mast as the rest of us worked the lines.
"I say this is so" & I see you prefered to call me a liar. Good day guest.
"Just because you say it's so don't make it so"

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,STROMNESS HARBOUR
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 10:45 AM

I have just come across a post on here from tattie bogle about the song STROMNESS HARBOUR This song was written by HAGGERDASH together with the children of STROMNESS PRIMARY SCHOOL as part of the Orkney Folk Festival possibly 2007 - the post was in 2007

The post says that Tattie bogle has tried e-mailing us for permission to reproduce the song on Mudcat and I am sorry to say that I never received the e-mail. It would be great though for the song to be put on here as we felt it worked really well.

If anyone would like any information about it please contact me billy.garriongill@gmail.com

I apologise for such a long delay in this


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: goatfell
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 11:11 AM

harry robertson was born in Scotland but moved to Australia


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Subject: Lyr Add: STROMNESS HARBOUR
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 14 Jul 10 - 12:01 PM

Apologies for delay in getting back to this, but here are the words of Stromness Harbour at last! It was 2006 we were up there. Lots of local history in the song.

(I remembered about it after seeing two lots of shanty singers in a week - Danny Spooner in Edinburgh, and Kimber's Men in Stonehaven).

The haul-aways and weigh-haul-aways repeat in lines 2 and 4 of each verse, and the chorus goes after every second verse, according to the wordsheet I have. The tune is a bit like an inversion of S Australia, as I remember it


STROMNESS HARBOUR
Haggerdash + Stromness Primary School

1. Big ships sailed to Stromness Harbour
Haul away Stromness Harbour
Big ships came from all around
Weigh haul away.

2. Vikings came to Stromness Harbour
Dragon ships with many oars.

CHORUS: Haul away Stromness Harbour
Weigh haul away
Haul away Stromness Harbour
Weigh haul away.

3. The Crown she came to Stromness Harbour
With Covenanters sent as slaves.

4. Pirates came to Stromness Harbour
Gow was hanged in London Town.

5. The Prince of Wales came to Stromness Harbour
Taking men to Hudson Bay

6. Whalers came to Stromness Harbour
To hunt the whales off Greenland shore.

7. Franklin came to Stromness Harbour
He was lost in the Arctic ice.

8. Captain Cook came to Stromness Harbour
Took some water from Logan¡¦s Well.

9. Germans came to Stromness Harbour
Sank the Fleet in Scapa Flow.

10. Peedie boats came to Stromness Harbour
With fish and partans and divers too.


Vocab: Peedie = small, partans are crabs


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: stallion
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 07:41 AM

Having stumbled across, and been humbled by the scholarship in this thread, it amused our late and great friend Barry Finn how little I knew about the songs I sing, It has amused me that guest suggested that some of the contributers hadn't actually done the work to the songs! When I think the work came first to them and the level of scholarship to the minute extrordinary! Anyway, my four penneth, I used to pull cables in, big ones, and we used a simple   1 - 2 - 3 -PULL, had I thought about it I could have tried a shanty or two but a) I was pulling and probably wouldn't have the breath for it (the others would have resented me sat on my arse telling them when to pull) and b) if I had been tallented enough to make up some funny lines on the hoof the crew might have laughed too much to pull!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Dead Horse
Date: 15 Jul 10 - 08:57 AM

There is a big difference between singing with work-mates and singing with ship-mates.
If you had to live in close confinement together for months on end, if you shared the dangers and hardships of the voyage together & each man reliant on his shipmate, if you can treat all these things as equal, then you will be a ...... dammit - where the hell was I going with this??????
You get the picture :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 15 Aug 10 - 11:30 PM

BTW has anyone noted this relatively recent recording, Rogue's Gallery? Found this review of this 2 CD set of Sea Songs, Shanties, etc at NPR's web-site. Have a look:

NPR Review of Rogue's Gallery

CD includes Sting, Bono, Richard Thompson, Bryan Ferry, Eliza Carthy, Lucinda Williams as well as Loudon Wainwright & Rufus Wainwright & Kate McGarrigle


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Snuffy
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 10:50 AM

George,

There's a whole thread about Rogue's Gallery. Not many voices in favour: most had a similar opinion to Barry Finn

Subject: RE: Rogues Gallery - Sea songs etc.
From: Barry Finn - PM
Date: 31 Jul 07 - 07:35 AM

Calling that CD crap was being mighty generous of Greg, IMHO. more like shit.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: mikesamwild
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 11:05 AM

have I missed the suggestion of Heal Your Ho Boys sailing homewards to Mingulay


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: IanC
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 11:25 AM

Only trouble is that the Mingulay Boat song (see DT) was written by Hugh S Roberton in the ?1930s for the Glasgow Orpheus Choir.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: mikesamwild
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 11:28 AM

Thanks, I suspectd summat like that it's so naff!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Gutcher
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 12:23 PM

How's about that fine Shetland song:-- "Rou'in Foula Doon"

Oot bi wast the horn o Papa
Rou'in Foula doon.

Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: mikesamwild
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 07:24 AM

Er? Translation please, or is it like Roll the Woodpile Down?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Gutcher
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 01:29 PM

Part of the chorus of a song in the Shetland dialect of the Scots
language.
The fishermen of Papa Stour would row out to the fishing grounds, in
open boats, to a point 60 miles west of Shetland where they could no
longer see the high clifts of Foula which lie 20 miles west of
Shetland.
The Horn of Papa was a high clift and landmark on Papa which fell
into the sea during a storm in 1953.

The full chorus is;---

Out bi wast the horn o Papa
Rou'in Foula doon
Owir a hidden piece o watter ---
Rou'in Foula doon

Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: Gutcher
Date: 24 Aug 10 - 03:08 PM

If the Shetland fishermen had it right and Foula disappeared when
they were 60 miles west of Shetland. I calculate that Foula must be
1200ft. high.
Can anyone confirm if this be correct?
Joe.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: EBarnacle
Date: 25 Aug 10 - 10:57 AM

The Music of the Waters, by Smith, cited above has a chapter devoted to Gaelic and Scottishy sea songs.

Hielan Laddie was referenced last week in the obituary of the piper who famously became known as the D-Day Piper. There is link to the Jacobin version.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST,ddevine
Date: 22 Jun 17 - 02:57 PM

What a fine thread concerning "Scottish Sea Shanties", seem if they entitled it Scottish Maritime Songs, more songs would have come up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Scottish Sea Shanties
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jun 17 - 04:02 PM

"IanC: Only trouble is that the Mingulay Boat song (see DT) was written by Hugh S Roberton in the ?1930s for the Glasgow Orpheus Choir."

I was told the song was written some time after the last residents left the island ergo it was never sung by the fishermen there.


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