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Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)

GUEST 12 Dec 07 - 03:57 AM
Charley Noble 12 Dec 07 - 09:09 AM
Emma B 12 Dec 07 - 09:15 AM
MartinRyan 12 Dec 07 - 09:21 AM
Emma B 12 Dec 07 - 09:57 AM
Charley Noble 13 Dec 07 - 09:37 AM
Joe Offer 14 Dec 07 - 04:55 AM
Joe Offer 14 Dec 07 - 05:21 AM
Charley Noble 14 Dec 07 - 09:21 AM
Emma B 14 Dec 07 - 09:26 AM
Charley Noble 14 Dec 07 - 11:31 AM
Joe Offer 14 Dec 07 - 07:00 PM
Emma B 14 Dec 07 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,original poster 14 Dec 07 - 08:20 PM
Charley Noble 14 Dec 07 - 10:22 PM
Joe Offer 15 Dec 07 - 03:23 AM
Emma B 15 Dec 07 - 06:04 AM
Charley Noble 15 Dec 07 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Bob Fulcher 15 Sep 14 - 04:32 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 14 - 04:46 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 14 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 16 Sep 14 - 05:31 AM
GUEST,GUESTFulcher 08 Mar 15 - 08:57 PM
GUEST,Mike Yates 09 Mar 15 - 08:24 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 03:57 AM

I can't catch all the lyrics of this tune and its not in the edition of RC Seeger's book that I accessed.

Oh the sea fowl...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 09:09 AM

May not be enough of a clue to find this one.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Emma B
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 09:15 AM

no 45 here?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 09:21 AM

I think THIS may be the version sought.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Emma B
Date: 12 Dec 07 - 09:57 AM

Best I can do with the lyrics Guest -

Oh the sea fowl she has gone to her nest
While the old beasts are laid down for to rest
Oh the beasts that run over these plains
And those islands that sway over the sea
Oh they're so unaquainted with man
But their tameness seems shocking to me.

Beautiful song and haunting tune!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Dec 07 - 09:37 AM

Here's the reference just in case the link above goes bad: From ANIMAL FOLK SONGS FOR CHILDREN AND OTHER PEOPLE, edited by Ruth Seeger, #45; recorded by the Seegers on CD of the same title by Rounder, Dick 2, track 16, originally released: 01-NOV, 1992.

Charley Noble


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Subject: ADD: The Sea Fowl
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 04:55 AM

Emma B's transcription sounds about right to me, but there are a few things I hear differently:

    The Sea Fowl

    Oh the sea fowl she has gone to her nest
    While the old beasts all lay down for to rest
    Oh the beasts that runs over these plains
    And those islands that sway over the sea
    Oh they're so unacquainted with man
    That their tameness seems shocking to me.



Transcribed by ear from the Mike & Peggy Seeger CD, Animal Folk Songs for Children.

This song is NOT in the Ruth Crawford Seeger book, Animal Folk Songs for Children, and the CD booklet does not give source information for the song. Does anybody know anything about the background of this song?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 05:21 AM

Hmmm. Looks like it might be from a poem by William Cowper.


SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK
DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THE ISLAND OF JUAN
HERNANDEZ.

I am monarch of all I survey,?
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of time fowl and the brute.
O Solitude! where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place.

I am out of humanity's reach;
I must finish my journey alone,
Never hear the sweet music of speech,?
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see;
They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.

Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon nman!
O, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again!
My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth,?
Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheered by the sallies of youth.

Religion! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!?
More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford;
But the sound of time church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Never sighed at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a Sabbath appeared.

Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Some cordial, endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more!
My friends,?do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
O, tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.

How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compared with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-wingèd arrows of light.
When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there;
But, alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.

But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair;
Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair.
There's mercy in every place,
And mercy?encouraging thought !?
Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.

WILLIAM COWPER

from A Library of Poetry and Song: Being Choice Selections from the Best Poets, edited by William Cullen Bryant, 1873


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 09:21 AM

Joe-

Someone did a great job of editing this poem into something that could be sung. I may use a version of this song for one of my long term CD projects, All the Animals at Sea.

Typo alert with regard to the song verses above: "unaquainted" should be spelled "unaCquainted."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Emma B
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 09:26 AM

Sorry Charley - dyslexia rules KO!

It is lovely isn't it.....thanks for the original poem Joe


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 11:31 AM

Emma and Joe-

So this poem is really more about the arctic explorer than the sea fowl.

There's also an evident typo in the 3rd verse unless it's an attempt at some curious dialect:

"How soon would I taste you agaim!"

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 07:00 PM

You're right on "unaCquainted," Charley - I copied from Emma and made corrections where I heard something different, but I missed the spelling problem - but "how soon would I taste" is in several printed versions. What do you think it should be?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Emma B
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 07:10 PM

well - we describe the "taste of freedom" so I suppose the "taste" of "Society, friendship, and love" could be rightly termed "poetic"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: GUEST,original poster
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 08:20 PM

Wow, you people are the best. It was those last two lines which stumped me, but the transcription seems right, and the cowper poem seems to confirm it. Thanks a lot!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Dec 07 - 10:22 PM

Emma and Joe-

Err, I think the line should read like this:

"How soon would I taste you agaiN!"

What's fair is foul, and what's fowl is fare!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 03:23 AM

Damn, Charley, you have sharp eyes. Maybe I should get the name of your optometrist. "AgaiM" would never do. Thanks for pointing it out. I fixed it.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Emma B
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 06:04 AM

ooops - I'm going to have to spell check all my posts Charley :) although it won't seperate fowl from foul!

Wasn't kidding about the dyslexia btw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: seafowl on american animal folk songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Dec 07 - 10:13 AM

;~)

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)
From: GUEST,Bob Fulcher
Date: 15 Sep 14 - 04:32 PM

This is the fragment of the Cowper poem that lived into the late 20th Century through the Hicks family in East Tennessee. I recorded this piece from Dee Hicks and some other fragments from his brother, Joe, in the 1970s and put Dee's version on the County LP that includes many wonderful and rare ballads, Dee and Delta Hicks, Ballads and Banjo Music from the Tennessee Cumberland Plateau. Dee father, Daniel (born 1868) was said to have sung many additional verses, but it's impossible to know the full extent of this remarkable poem's "preservation" through oral history via ballad singing. Dee Hicks could not write his own name. His brother, Joe, could read, and was a preacher.    Mike Seeger was a big fan of Dee's, and recorded Dee's banjo tune "The Lost Gander" a couple times. He would have introduced his sisters to this recording. I was about to introduce to this piece, along with Cowper's poem, to a great young ballad singer, and googled online and found this thread. I've never commented on a web blog in my life, but it's wonderful see such discussions of the once-universal art of balladry.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 14 - 04:46 PM

One more note -- to my knowledge, this is only instance of this poem turning up as folk song. I strongly doubt that Ruth Crawford Seeger had any awareness of this specific conveyance. The lyrics and melody used on the Seeger family project seem directly from my recording of Dee Hicks. I have never seen the Seeger CD. Could someone tell me if Peggy is the singer?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 14 - 05:03 PM

And, to correct the Seeger's transcription of Dee's verses:

Oh the sea fowl she has gone to her nest
While the old beasts have laid down to rest
Oh the beasts that roams over these plains
On those islands that's away out over the sea
Oh they're so all unacquainted with man
That their tameness seems shocking to me

                From the Singing of Clara Dee Hicks

That's from my memory at this moment, I may have a couple words incorrectly note here, compared to the version that was put on the Hicks album.

I don't think that the Seegers had access to the Cowper poem, or knew it existed, and I didn't either, until the world wide web became available and filled up with such texts. Googling lines in the Hicks' ballads turned up so many references that were entirely unknown to me before that day arrived. The Hicks tradition also included the "Sunset and evening star" verse from "Crossing the Bar," hybridized with verses from the Sacred Harp canon. The Hicks were known as the MOST hardcore family of moccasin-clad hunters (devoted non agrarians, in other words)in the Tennessee's most remote region. But they were carrying the poets along with those long guns.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 16 Sep 14 - 05:31 AM

A part of this song - titled "Robinson Crusoe" - was also collected by Mark Wilson from Jim Garland & Sarah Gunning, who were originally from Kentucky. This recording can be heard on the double Musical Traditions CD "Meeting's a Pleasure - volumes 3 & 4" (MTCD507-8). Mark calls it "a true curiosity" and adds that he had no idea how it came into the Garland family repertoire, although he does note that some of William Cowper's poems were set to hymn tunes and that this one could have been included in a shape-note hymnal.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)
From: GUEST,GUESTFulcher
Date: 08 Mar 15 - 08:57 PM

Wonderful to hear that information, Mike, and I am trying to order the set now!

I would be surprised if this particular piece shows up in a shape-note hymnal. I would be less surprised to learn of its existence as a text pirated for a broadside sheet, or an inclusion in a 19th century school textbook or even as poetry reprinted in a 19th Century newspaper. What other examples of "classical" poetry made it into 20th-Century Appalachian balladry?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sea Fowl (Ruth Crawford Seeger)
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 09 Mar 15 - 08:24 AM

Bobby, if you have difficulty getting the Musical Traditions set, please let me know & I will help you get them.


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