Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (John Masefield)

Related threads:
John Masefield-Songs from Poems (PermaThread) (31)
Lyr Add: Cargoes (John Masefield) (4)
A letter from John Masefield (19)
Lyr Add: Mother Carey (John Masefield) (24)
Lyr Add: Pier-Head Chorus (John Masefield) (1)
Poetry: The West Wind (John Masefield) (9)
Lyr Add: Hell's Pavement (John Masefield sea poem) (9)


Charley Noble 03 Oct 07 - 02:25 PM
Charley Noble 03 Oct 07 - 03:02 PM
Charley Noble 05 Oct 07 - 05:01 PM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 07 - 08:30 PM
Mysha 24 Nov 07 - 12:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 24 Nov 07 - 05:18 AM
Charley Noble 24 Nov 07 - 04:23 PM
open mike 24 Nov 07 - 05:16 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Nov 07 - 06:38 AM
Mysha 25 Nov 07 - 10:17 AM
Charley Noble 25 Nov 07 - 10:26 AM
GeoffLawes 25 Nov 07 - 11:11 AM
Big Al Whittle 25 Nov 07 - 12:24 PM
Charley Noble 25 Nov 07 - 06:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 30 Dec 07 - 09:21 PM
Charley Noble 30 Dec 07 - 09:54 PM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 07 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,Edthefolkie 31 Dec 07 - 05:52 AM
Big Al Whittle 31 Dec 07 - 07:56 AM
Big Al Whittle 06 Jan 08 - 02:58 PM
EBarnacle 07 Jan 08 - 12:43 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jan 08 - 01:28 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jan 08 - 05:29 PM
Big Al Whittle 07 Jan 08 - 06:20 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jan 08 - 08:01 PM
EBarnacle 07 Jan 08 - 09:03 PM
Big Al Whittle 09 Jan 08 - 01:23 AM
Charley Noble 25 Aug 08 - 04:13 PM
Big Al Whittle 25 Aug 08 - 05:06 PM
Charley Noble 25 Aug 08 - 08:26 PM
Charley Noble 09 Nov 08 - 09:30 PM
EBarnacle 10 Nov 08 - 10:44 AM
Jim Dixon 11 Nov 08 - 06:58 PM
Charley Noble 12 Nov 08 - 08:58 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Nov 08 - 01:51 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Nov 08 - 06:45 PM
Charley Noble 13 Nov 08 - 08:24 PM
FreddyHeadey 13 Feb 18 - 10:50 AM
Big Al Whittle 13 Feb 18 - 02:24 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 14 Feb 18 - 12:43 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 02:25 PM

I'm sure someone else has set this pirate poem by John Masefield to music but I'm unable to turn up any suspects. I find it a curious mixture of grim reality and wistful thinking. Here's the original poem which Harpgirl posted on Mudcat back in 1999:

From SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, edited by John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Company, New York, US, © 1921, pp. 64-65.
^^
A Ballad of John Silver
(John Masefield)

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
And we sailed the Spanish Water in the happy days of yore.

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
But we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank,
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

O! then it was (while standing by the taffrail on the poop)
We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken-coop;
Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.

O! the fiddle on the fo'c's'le, and the slapping naked soles,
And the genial "Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!"
With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead,
And the look-out not a-looking and his pipe-bowl glowing red.

Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop-to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south the sunset in the Islands of the Blest.

Here's my current draft of how it might be sung. I'm still puzzling over which "come-all-ye" tune I'm working with but it seems to be holding up (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

From SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, edited by John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Company, New York, US, © 1921, pp. 64-65.
Adapted by Charles Ipcar, 10/3/07
Key: Dm

A Ballad of John Silver

Dm-C---Dm----------------C---Dm----C------Dm----------C-----Dm
We were schooner-rigged and ra-kish, with a long and lis-some hull,
----------------------------C--Dm-----------------------------C--Dm
And we flew the pretty co-lours of the cross-bones and the skull;
---------------------------C--Dm-----------------------C--Dm
We'd a big black Jolly Ro-ger flapping grimly at the fore,
------C--Dm--------------C---Dm----------C--Dm----------C-Dm
And we sailed the Span-ish Wa-a-ters in the happy days of yore.

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored,
For we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank,
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

Then, having washed their blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance a quiet hornpipe as the old salts taught us to.
O! the fiddle on the fo'c's'le, and the slapping naked soles,
And the genial "Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!"

Ah! the pig-tailed, feisty pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop-to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and their merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south the sunset in the Islands of the Blest.

I have edited out four lines and did some minor rewording and, alas, there is not yet a chorus.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Oct 07 - 03:02 PM

Scrap the chords above! The tune is really more like this and, trust me, it's really stabilized now (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

Dm-------------------------------Gm------------Dm-----------C-----Dm
We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lis-some hull,
---------------------------------------------Am-------------------Dm
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
---------------------------------------------Am------------Dm
We'd a big black Jolly Roger flapping grimly at the fore,
-------------------------------Gm----------------Dm----------C-Dm
And we sailed the Spanish Wa-a-ters in the happy days of yore.

Sounds something like "The Range of the Buffalo" which is not too surprising.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Oct 07 - 05:01 PM

Well, here's some more tweaking of the words but the tune is pretty much holding firm (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

From SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, edited by John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Company, New York, US, © 1921, pp. 64-65.
Adapted by Charles Ipcar, 10/3/07
After "On the Range of the Buffalo"
Key: Dm
A Ballad of John Silver

Dm-------------------------------Gm------------Dm-------------Am-Dm
We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and slend-or hull,
-------------------------------------------------Am--------------------Dm
And we flew the fearsome colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
----------------------------------------------Am------------Dm
We'd a big black Jolly Roger, flapping grimly at the fore,
-------------------------------Gm-------------------Dm---------Am-Dm
And we sailed the Spanish Wa-a-ters in those happy days of yore.

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which tells against us, and a fact to be deplored –
That we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's brains,
They were boarded, they were looted, they were scuttled till they sank,
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance a lively hornpipe, as the old salts taught us to;
O! the fiddle on the fo'c's'le, and the slapping barefoot soles,
And the genial ("Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!")(Spoken)

Ah! the pig-tailed, feisty pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop-to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and their merry crews are laid away to rest,
A lit-tle south the sun-set in the Islands of the Blest.

I should have a MP3 sample in a week or so that I'll link to.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 07 - 08:30 PM

Here's the link to the MP3: click and go to MP3 sample

I still haven't got this one quite right. It's too nostalgic and it should be more of a brag, as if the old pirate were regaling his exploits with some old shipmates.

Arghilly,
Charley noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: The Times of John Silver
From: Mysha
Date: 24 Nov 07 - 12:50 AM

Hi,

Well, to make it more of a boast, I'd drop the hornpipe verse, as it's too gentle. Also, unless you actually play a hornpipe there the images will clash.

And you might want to change the first verse a bit: As a flag enthousiast I don't like: "We'd a big black Jolly Roger, flapping grimly at the fore" much, for various reasons, but also, it's a repeat from the sentence before it and it doesn't actually sound "grim". And of course, once a pirate flag is mentioned, there's no going back to leasure "sailing the Spanish water": You'd be "prowling" or some other agressive form of movement. And lastly, you might want to try calling the ship "she".

She was schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and slend-or hull,
And she flew the fearsome colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
She'd on board such a fierce crew as was never seen before
And she prowled the Spanish Wate-ers in those happy days of yore.

Second verse would also start "She", and of course, it's not the pirates who hold their pirating against them:

She'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
Each mate had a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip.
'T was a point some held against us, though by none of us deplored:
That we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.

If you do need the number of verses, make the dance verse more like:

Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance old sailor's dances, as the old salts taught us to.
A-and as a further pastime, we'd be on the hunt once more
Prowling o'er the Spanish Wate-ers, and be running up our score.

(Sorry, for the awkward one-and-a-half. If it bothers you, some further tinkering will probably fix it.)

Well, the final verse is fairly gentle, but you knew that beforehand, so apparently you accepted that John Silver has grown mellow in his old age. (John Silver mellow? I wouldn't believe that if I'd seen his dead body (which I probably would have found because he sent me a treasure map to his coffin to begin with).)


Not the final word, but some suggestions about making it more boastful.

                                                                Mysha


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 24 Nov 07 - 05:18 AM

Wow! a labour of love!

I love Treasure Island. I think the account of Billy Bones singing songs at The Admiral Benbow was at the back of my contribution to the Tabu folksongs thread. Surely that's how trad folksong was in the 18th century.

I think John Silver was a jovial villain, I'd have given it a bit more of jaunty rhythm, and how about a chorus - I think we'd all like to be members of his Silver's crew along with Black Dog (as ever was!), Israel Hands, George Merry etc. and sing along.

What a great idea though! Well done Charles!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Nov 07 - 04:23 PM

Mysha and weelittledrummer-

I think the composer was being ironic when he was using such phrases as "pretty colours", "quiet hornpipe", and "pretty pranks." That kind of irony makes the brutality of the 3rd verse more powerful. I'm still working out how to sing this one and it will change but probably not as a consistently tough-worded pirate song; I'll probably speed it up some and maybe raise the key a bit if I can, a bit of a jaunty rhythm is really what is needed. It would also with some word changes make a fine rough and tough pirate song, and the current modal tune lends itself to that quite well.

I was also thinking that it could use a chorus or a refrain but so far I haven't come up with one.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: open mike
Date: 24 Nov 07 - 05:16 PM

There is, on the other hand, a character named Silver John, or John the Balladeer who comes from the Appalachian writings of Manly Wade Wellman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_John. We produced a play featuring these stories a couple of decades ago. A hillbliiy musical.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 06:38 AM

Charles, I'd love to have a bash around with it and send you my flailings around on a cd, if you wouldn't mind.

If what I do detracts from the piece, just chuck it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Mysha
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 10:17 AM

Hi Charley,

Sure, the writer and Long John Silver would be ironic using those words. And now that you mentioned it, I do think "pretty colours" works much better than "dearsome colours". I had no intention of changing those; I just took them from your last post above mine, so you'd better check your working copy to see if it does say "pretty" there.
"Pretty pranks", as you can see I didn't touch either. My problem with the quiet hornpipe verse is not the "quiet", but the verse. If John were bragging with his mates: "I remember one time we had this skooner-rigged ...", I don't think he's going to talk at length about having nothing to do but dance a hornpipe. That's not to say he couldn't talk about that, but the context would be quite different, more a few-excuses-made story of his life.

Now, the tune I didn't mention, as you wrote that was pretty much certain. But if you speed it up a bit, you could use the first verse as the chorus. Especially the she-version, given a bit more major key, could be set against the we of the other verses.

But whatever you do, drop the Jolly Roger line; in this context it just doesn't fit.

                                                                Mysha


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 10:26 AM

Mysha-

It is confusing to scroll through the versions of this song in this thread. However, the original poem is presented in the first post.

But I think your general criticisms have merit and I'll certainly consider them in the next revision of this song. With a little more help we might even make a "folk song" of it!

Weelittledrummer-

I'd be delighted to hear what you come up with. Do consider sending a MP3 file as an attachment if you can manage that; dumb it down so the file isn't too large. My e-mail address should be available from my website.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: GeoffLawes
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 11:11 AM

Here's a Treasure Island 'prequel'song which I wrote a couple of years ago as an introductory, ghost song for a play performance of Treasure Island. Owing to it's very specific performance reference it has only ever had one outing but maybe someone else might find a use for it ?


Treasure Island –The Prequel

Tune- Captain Kidd



Oh my name was Captain Flint,
As I sailed, as I sailed,
Oh my name was Captain Flint,
As I sailed,
My name was Captain Flint,
But my money was all spent,
So a-pirating I went,
As I sailed, as I sailed.

Other pirates joined my crew,
As I sailed, as I sailed,
Other pirates joined my crew,
As I sailed,
Other pirates joined my crew,
Long John Silver and Blind Pew,
Billy Bones and Ben Gunn too,
As I sailed, as I sailed.

When a merchant ship went by,
As I sailed, as I sailed,
When a merchant ship went by,
As I sailed,
When a merchant ship went by,
With my cannon I'd let fly,
Saying Give up now or you die,
As I sailed, as I sailed.

With my pistol and my sword,
As I sailed, as I sailed,
With my pistol and my sword,
As I sailed,
With my pistol and my sword,
I soon gained a treasure hoard,
Far too much to keep on board,
As I sailed, as I sailed.

So I searched to find an isle,
As I sailed, as I sailed,
I searched to find an isle,
As I sailed,
I searched to find an isle,
There to hide my treasure pile,
Safely buried for a while ,
As I sailed, as I sailed.

I'd a map to mark the spot,
As I sailed, as I sailed,
I'd a map to mark the spot,
As I sailed,
I'd a map to mark the spot,
But my crew, the scurvy lot,
Stole the map and left me shot,
As they sailed, as they sailed


Now good people lend an ear,
As I sail, as I sail,
Now good people lend an ear,
As I sail,
Now good people lend an ear,
And the sequel you shall hear,
While my ghost will disappear,
As I sail, as I sail.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 12:24 PM

I thought Flint 'died a rum in the Dry Tortugas' or somewhere equally painful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 06:54 PM

GeoffLawes-

Very nice!

Never enough pirate songs.

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 09:21 PM

Okay I've had a bash at this one. Got to admit I'm well outside my comfort zone (DADGAD guitar and rustic English accent).

But I hope you'll enjoy this stab at it. I will re-record it as soon as I can - get it a bit more snappy. But I think I've got down the essence of what I wanted to do with it.

Many thanks Charlie for bringing this remarkable poem to my attention!

http://bigalwhittle.co.uk/id24.html


happy new year everybody!

big al whittle


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 09:54 PM

Al-

Why not post your lyrics as well.

I've enjoyed listening to a different take on adapting this poem for singing.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 03:09 AM

Good idea!
song: http://bigalwhittle.co.uk/id24.html

lyrics:
A Ballad of John Silver

(John Masefield with ammendments and a chorus from Alan Whittle)

We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and lissome hull,
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
Yes our Jolly Roger flapping, gamely at the fore,
We sailed the Spanish Waters, in the jolly days of yore.
We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We each had, a brace of pistols and a cutlass at our hip;
Oh we were such naughty pirates,   you will certainly deplore
We chased   goody goody merchant-men and laid their ships aboard.
horus
Oh cut and let rip!

Was the way on Flints old ship

Cos dead men tell no tales

Oh Me and Billy Bones

We sent 'em down to Davy Jones

Weren't we the jolliest gang o' cutthroats under sail



Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's brains,
She was boarded, she was looted, she was scuttled till she sank,
And the pale survivors left us by walking of the plank.
Then while standing by the taffrail, lounging on the poop)
We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken-coop;
Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance a jolly hornpipe, like pirates tend to do
Chorus
O! the fiddle on the fo'c's'le, and the slapping naked soles,
And the genial "Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!"
With the silver seas around us and the pale moon overhead,
And the look-out not real looking, but his pipe-bowl glowing red.
Ah! the pig-tailed, quidding pirates and the rotten tricks we played,
They've all been put a stop-to, by that nasty Board of Trade;
The schooners and the merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south of sunset, in the Islands of the Blest.

So every setting of the sun

I fills me glass right up with rum

We as survived – our beards are old and grey

But we remember plain as print

Our dear Old Captain Flint, and his very genial orders of the day
Chorus twice


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: GUEST,Edthefolkie
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 05:52 AM

Shiver me timbers, me hearties - well done all for them fine pirate songs! And to quote the mighty Robert Louis Stevenson hisself:

All of a sudden, out of the middle of the trees in front of us, a thin, high, trembling voice struck up the well-known air and words:

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-- Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"

"It's Flint, by ----!" cried Merry.

"Come," said Silver, struggling with his ashen lips to get the word out; "this won't do. Stand by to go about. This is a rum start, and I can't name the voice, but it's someone skylarking--someone that's flesh and blood, and you may lay to that."

His courage had come back as he spoke, and some of the colour to his face along with it. Already the others had begun to lend an ear to this encouragement and were coming a little to themselves, when the same voice broke out again--not this time singing, but in a faint distant hail that echoed yet fainter among the clefts of the Spy-glass.

"Darby M'Graw," it wailed--for that is the word that best describes the sound--"Darby M'Graw! Darby M'Graw!" again and again and again; and then rising a little higher, and with an oath that I leave out: "Fetch aft the rum, Darby!"

The buccaneers remained rooted to the ground, their eyes starting from their heads. Long after the voice had died away they still stared in silence, dreadfully, before them.

"That fixes it!" gasped one. "Let's go."

"They was his last words," moaned Morgan, "his last words above board."

I lost a lot of sleep after reading that for the first time at the age of nine - which no doubt was Stevenson's intention!

Happy New Year everybody.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 07:56 AM

Many thanks Ed! have you checked out Masefield's Jim Davies, which is a very well written steal of Treasure Island and RF Delderfield's The Adventures of Ben Gunn, which is sort of prequel.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 06 Jan 08 - 02:58 PM

There is rumoured to be a brilliant production of Treasure Island on at Birmingham Rep at the moment which is going on national tour this year.

Meanwhile I've had another stab at the song this time adding a few Arrgh!s and hopefully cutting down on the hesitations, digressions, mispronunciations and repetitions!

http://www.bigalwhittle.co.uk/id24.html


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 12:43 PM

Consider using the verse which begins: "O! the fiddle and the hornpipe..." as the chorus. It makes a nice contrast to the rest of the song, Jim lad, indeed it do!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:28 PM

Eric-

Well, here's another stab at a chorus:

Chorus:

Oh the fiddling on the fo'c's'le, I can still recall,
And the clash of sword and cutlass, and the roar of cannon ball;
How I miss those feisty pirates with that black flag at the fore,
When we cruised the Spanish waters in those happy days of yore!


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM

Not sure about 'feisty' - sounds a bit Jewish or something - this is a pastiche of an 18th century folksong we're trying for, with what the late Robert Bolt called a fair degree of 'gadzookery'. It where my version falls down a bit - there are real anachronisms in my use of language - some which I'm using for comic effect - like pirates 'having a tendency' to dance hornpipes. but on the page they definitely jar a bit.

where would you put that verse Charlie?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 05:29 PM

I was taking "feisy pirates" from the original poem.

With regard to placement, it's probably best for only the last two verses like this (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

From SALT-WATER POEMS AND BALLADS, edited by John Masefield, published by The Macmillan Company, New York, US, © 1921, pp. 64-65.
Adapted by Charles Ipcar, 10/3/07
After "On the Range of the Buffalo"
Key: Cm (3/Am)

A Ballad of John Silver


Dm-------------------------------Gm------------Dm-------------Am-Dm
We were schooner-rigged and rakish, with a long and slend-or hull,
---------------------------------------------Am--------------------Dm
And we flew the pretty colours of the cross-bones and the skull;
----------------------------------------------Am------------Dm
We'd a big black Jolly Roger, flapping boldly at the fore,
-------------------------------Gm-------------------Dm---------Am-Dm
And we sailed the Spanish Wa-a-ters in those happy days of yore.

We'd a long brass gun amidships, like a well-conducted ship,
We had each a brace of pistols and a cutlass at the hip;
It's a point which weighs against us, and a fact to be deplored –
That we chased the goodly merchant-men and laid ourselves aboard.

Then the dead men fouled the scuppers and the wounded filled the chains,
And the paint-work all was spatter-dashed with other people's brains,
They were boarded, they were looted, they were scuttled till they sank,
And the pale survivors left us by the medium of the plank.

Then, having washed the blood away, we'd little else to do
Than to dance a lively hornpipe, as the old salts taught us to;
Oh the fiddling on the fo'c's'le, and the slapping barefoot soles,
And the genial "Down the middle, Jake, and curtsey when she rolls!"

Chorus:

Oh the fiddling on the fo'c's'le, I can still recall,
And the clash of pike and cutlass, and the roar of cannon ball;
How I miss those feisty pirates with that black flag at the fore,
When we cruised the Spanish waters in those happy days of yore!


Ah! the pig-tailed, feisty pirates and the pretty pranks we played,
All have since been put a stop-to by the naughty Board of Trade;
The schooners and their merry crews are laid away to rest,
A little south the sunset – in the Islands of the Blest. (CHO)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 06:20 PM

strangg isn't how one's perception of words can be quite wrong. It was obviously in wide usage at the time of writing.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 08:01 PM

Well, this really is a strange little ditty with regard to ironic wording and I'm definitely going to have another go at recording it. However, I really need to sing it a step higher, which means learning new finger work for the concertina. Ugh! I mean, argh!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 09:03 PM

Not Arrrgh, Peee!--it's like Arrrgh but 'is missin' a leg.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 01:23 AM

I was thinking about 'feisty'.

You know I got through all my childhood and three years at college without knowing that word at all.

The first place I went to teach was in Birmingham - England's second city, and there were lots of 1st and 2nd generation Jamaican kids at my school. They used the word a lot. They pronounced it 'face-ty' and with them it meant: having a lot of cheek, a lot of 'face' - so much, you were likely to get it smacked!

Then suddenly the word started to get into common parlance, meaning gutsy and determined. But I believe it was a Jamaican thing that it suddenly grew VERY popular as a word.

Anyway; there's John Masefield using it, in this poem, in 1921.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 04:13 PM

We had a lot of fun rendering this song at a pirates festival this weekend in Maine. One of the other members of Roll & Go led it, Jeff Logan accompanied by his guitar. I was able to concentrate on concertina, and Nor did a hornpipe break on the whistle after the 4th verse (we still need to tighten up the transition). We didn't try my chorus above, as it doesn't work with each verse. Anyway, we got a rousing response from the assembled pirate wannabees.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 05:06 PM

2 things to tell you

1) Bob Deckman Nelson got in contact and he's interested in usin my setting of the LJS poem on an an album to raisemoney for musical instruments that were lost in the floods in New Orleans in the schools . I haven't heard from Bob for a while - so I don't know if its still on. but I got the clearance to use my recording for this from the John masefield estate.

2) I caught up with Birmingham Rep version of Treasure island in Nottingham last week and there is a tear your heart out version of Lowlands away in there - fabulous stuff!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Aug 08 - 08:26 PM

weelittledrumer-

Excellent!

Please PM me the contact information to the John Masefield Estate.

We will probably be recording our version of this poem as well and we'd like to secure a release and pay appropriate royalties.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Nov 08 - 09:30 PM

Here's a new rendition of this fine song: clink here!

I think this song has legs and will warm the cockles of pirates around this wide world. But don't blame me if you're held hostage and your captors sing this ditty, in three part harmony.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Nov 08 - 10:44 AM

All comments about Long John Silver have to take into account his tendency to dissemble at need. Was Jim Hawkins a friend or merely a catspaw. We will never know. Sequels to the book, such as Dead Man's Chest and The Curse of Silver use this ambiguity to drive the story. The important thing to remember is that Silver is for Silver, first, last and always!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Nov 08 - 06:58 PM

I don't understand the line:
"We could hear the drowning folk lament the absent chicken-coop."

Can anyone explain?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Nov 08 - 08:58 AM

Jim-

It is a confusing line but some nautical types think it refers to the practice by victims of a sinking ship to look for any flotsam, such as a chicken-coop or hatch cover, to help keep them afloat until rescue.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 01:51 PM

I went Googling for "chicken coop" and "drowning" and I found this in a 1948 edition of Punch:
    Then one morning, by a happy miracle, they saw the chicken-coop of "Sans Souci" come floating up to their roof, for on the roof they were now sitting miserably, and crying in vain for...

    Alas, the drowning man pulled Mr. Pout off the coop into the water. A happy thing it was that Mr. Pout was a strong swimmer, and, banging the man on the ...
This can't be the source, since it was written after the poem, but it makes me think there might have been a famous incident in which someone avoided drowning by clinging to a chicken coop.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 06:45 PM

I always took it to mean the hapless victims were sort of like turkeys - there for the taking - unable to take care of themselves.

And the pirates - they were the foxlike predators of the high seas. Just like a fox they murdered quite purposelessly and aimlessly, because it was in their nature.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Nov 08 - 08:24 PM

Jim-

"some nautical types think it refers to the practice by victims of a sinking ship to look for any flotsam, such as a chicken-coop or hatch cover, to help keep them afloat until rescue."

I was seriously addressing your question, and there are many examples in the nautical literature to back up my answer, in addition to Punch Magazine.

Weelittledrummer-

Well, I hadn't considered that but let me ponder!

Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (John Masefield)
From: FreddyHeadey
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 10:50 AM

The Big Al Whittle song is now on SoundCloud

...link on
/mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=163608


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (John Masefield)
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Feb 18 - 02:24 PM

thanks for that Charley


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of John Silver, A (John Masefield)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 14 Feb 18 - 12:43 PM

RE: The chicken coop. Go ask Tattie Bogle.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 20 April 2:57 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.