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Origin: Harbo and Samuelson

DigiTrad:
HARBO AND SAMUELSON


Related threads:
Tune/CHORDS: Harbo and Samuelson...? (12)
Harbo and Samuelsen Rowing Record Falls (7)
Tarbo and Samuelson (13)
Harbo & Samuelson (9)


Rita64 21 Jun 99 - 09:52 PM
Winters Wages 21 Jun 99 - 10:08 PM
Rita64 21 Jun 99 - 10:14 PM
Frank of Toledo 21 Jun 99 - 10:24 PM
Barry Finn 22 Jun 99 - 02:12 AM
Roger in Baltimore 22 Jun 99 - 05:53 AM
dick greenhaus 22 Jun 99 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,spndrft@earthlink.net 22 Jun 00 - 09:13 AM
GUEST,spndrft@earthlink.net 22 Jun 00 - 11:33 AM
Margo 23 Jun 00 - 01:36 AM
GUEST,Mary Harboe 29 Dec 07 - 03:49 AM
Barry Finn 29 Dec 07 - 11:29 PM
GUEST,Tatiana Rezva, Ocean Rowing Society Interna 14 Mar 08 - 09:52 AM
Charley Noble 14 Mar 08 - 10:11 AM
GUEST,iancarterb 15 Mar 08 - 01:28 AM
Haruo 12 Dec 11 - 04:04 AM
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Subject: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: Rita64
Date: 21 Jun 99 - 09:52 PM

I accidentally found the song below in the Mudcat Database and since then have marvelled at the similarity between "Samuelson" and my great-great-grandfather's life (his surname also being Samuelson, though he came from Sweden, not Norway). I feel compelled to do some detective work. Can anyone give me information about this song and the man who composed the lyrics?


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: Winters Wages
Date: 21 Jun 99 - 10:08 PM

Fair Youngmaid: According to the group "Forbitter" it was written by their friend Jerry Bryant Copyright 1988 and recorded by them on their album "On The Ran Tan" The song is reported to be a true story of the first succesful attempt to row across the Atlantic...Hope this helps Winter Wages


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Subject: Lyr Add: HARBO AND SAMUELSON (Jerry Bryant)
From: Rita64
Date: 21 Jun 99 - 10:14 PM

Whoops, forgot to post the song. Here 'tis:

HARBO AND SAMUELSON
(Jerry Bryant)

In Brooklyn, New York, at the turn of the century,
Lived two young Norwegians so brave and so bold:
Frank Samuelson only half way through his twenties;
George Harbo had just become thirty years old.

Now Harbo had spent all his life on the water.
He shipped in square-riggers when only a lad.
His partner likewise was no stranger to working.
No matter the task, he gave all that he had.

That year a rich publisher offered a challenge,
That men in a vessel, no matter the size,
Couldn't cross the Atlantic without steam or canvas.
Ten thousand dollars he named as a prize.

Now, dredging up oysters by hand is no picnic,
And these two Norwegians were tough as a whip.
Says Frank, "If we row only four miles an hour,
In fifty-four days we could finish the trip."

CHORUS: "We'll see you in France or we'll see you in Heaven!"
Cried Harbo and Samuelson out on the bay--
Two hardy young oystermen after adventure
And no one believed they could row all the way.

Obtaining a sponsor, they started their training.
They ordered a dory of cedar and oak,
Just eighteen feet long with a draft of eight inches,
And Fox was the name of their cockleshell boat.

On the sixth day of June, eighteen-ninety-and-six,
Messers Harbo and Samuelson started to row.
They took food and water to last until August,
And the newspapers said they were foolish to go. CHORUS

From the slips of Manhattan they rowed through The Narrows,
Out onto the Gulf Stream and over the deep.
Each day they would row eighteen hours together.
At night, they took turns getting three hours sleep.

Their stove wouldn't light so they ate cold provisions.
Their arms and their legs became swollen and cramped.
The odd passing vessel that took them on board
Was their only relief from the cold and the damp.

Then out on the Grand Banks the weather attacked them.
The wind humped the water into mountainous waves.
They lashed down their oars and tied on their lifelines
And prayed they were not going straight to their graves. CHORUS

Then out of the dark came a monstrous wave
Capsizing the Fox and her terrified crew.
Their lifelines held fast but they lost half their water,
And most of their food it was swept away too.

They carefully rationed the little remaining,
Praying for help as they rowed o'er the brine.
Then out in the distance they spied a tall ship
With the colors of Norway a-floating behind.

The captain could not be convinced they weren't crazy,
But he gave them supplies and they went on their way.
By the lines on the charts, they were halfway to Europe,
But now they must row sixty miles every day. CHORUS

The weather held fair and the two men kept pulling,
All through each long day and far into each night.
Then early one morning before the sun rose,
Out on the horizon they spotted a light.

On August the first, they made land off St. Mary's,
On the south coast of England, just by Bishop's Rock.
In amazement the townsfolk gathered down by the water
Where Harbo and Samuelson barely could walk.

Most men would have stopped then and basked in the glory,
After having been sun-beaten, capsized and starved,
But they were both back in the boat the next morning,
And in less than a week they arrived at La Havre. CHORUS

So, those of you listening who yearn for adventure
Like Harbo and Samuelson so long ago,
Like them be prepared for the task you are facing.
They were not only brave but, by God, they could row! CHORUS

Copyright Jerry Bryant
Recorded by William Pint and Felicia Dale on PORT OF DREAMS
Note: A true story. For a followup, see the Ballad of Lewis Mills
@sailor @row
filename[ HARBOSML
EGH
OCT98


Copied from the Digital Tradition Folk Song Database at Mudcat


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 21 Jun 99 - 10:24 PM

It has since been recorded by Pint & Dale on their Waterbug Album "Port of Dreams", and also quite recently by Rick Lee on his Waterbug album "There's Talk About A Fence". In the liner notes on Rick's CD he quotes Jerry Bryant, the composer, "I had to write this song (1985) because it was astounding to me that these two men had accomplished such a feat over 100 years ago and NO ONE REMEMBERED. I am amazed at the perseverance, guts, and stamina it took for them to cross the ocean in an 18 foot open boat, without the benefit of freeze-dried food, GPS navigation systems, radios, flashlights, nylon, aluminum, and everything else modern adventurers take for granted. My hope is that my song will allow an awareness of Harbo and Samuelsen's achievement to reach a wide audience, and will provide an inspiration for folks to keep trying no matter what the obstacles confront them."--JB Both of these versions are 6 min long and worth the time....


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: Barry Finn
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 02:12 AM

You can do a fourm search on H&S, there were 2 threads on this awhile back. Those of you who'd wish could get this on the CD called The Ballad of Harbo & Samuelsen (& other true stories) by Jerry himself. He's got a bunch of other great songs on the CD too. Jerry read about this in the Old Farmer's Almanac (required reading for all young Downeast Maniaces - those that come from Maine's seacoast, which is where Jerry's from) & then I believe further found Harbo's log at Mystics Seaport Museum. Jerry's been known to write the long haul of things, though recently he found a 40 verse song in another log book written by a crew member & paired it down to a meger 7 verses. Barry


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 05:53 AM

Here's one of the threads from the past Harbo and Samuelson

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 22 Jun 99 - 10:41 AM

If you want a magnificent (IMO) follow-up , check out Dwayne Thorpe's "Ballad of Lewis Mills", about an attempt to beat the record of H&S in 1967.


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: GUEST,spndrft@earthlink.net
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 09:13 AM

A recent book, Daring the Sea, by David Shaw covers the H&S trip very well and has many of the photographs from the NY Herald in 1896. Spindrift recorded the song in 1998.


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: GUEST,spndrft@earthlink.net
Date: 22 Jun 00 - 11:33 AM

Another thought. Samuelsen is the right spelling.


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Subject: RE: Harbo and Samuelson - info required
From: Margo
Date: 23 Jun 00 - 01:36 AM

You can give this song a listen here at Shanghaied on the Willamette. Margo


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Subject: RE: Origin: Harbo and Samuelson
From: GUEST,Mary Harboe
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 03:49 AM

I was hunting for the words to Jeremy Taylor's poem "All Along the South Coast" since first hearing it on a recording with Spike Milligan back in the 70's. Was thrilled to find them on your site and then -looking around - discovered the Harbo and Samuelson piece. I am especially interested in their true story because of my name.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Harbo and Samuelson
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Dec 07 - 11:29 PM

Hi Mary
I'm not sure of what you'd be looking for but you can find Jerry Bryant author of Harbo & Samuelson at this site:
http://www.filbert.com/PVFS/artists/JerryBryant/Default.htm
>
As far as I remember Jerry used old news paper accounts as a base to his song but you shouldn't rely on my memory, contact him, he's a very personable fellow & I'm sure he'd be thrilled to hear from any decendants.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Harbo and Samuelson
From: GUEST,Tatiana Rezva, Ocean Rowing Society Interna
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 09:52 AM

In the ocean rowing community you would not find a single oceanrower who doesn't know about the epic journey of Harbo and Samuelson, and any time when anybody is attempting a West to East row across the Atlantic, they would dream to beat their still unbroken record (the oldest standing record in oceanrowing).
Have a look at the statistics of ocean rows on our website www.oceanrowing.com ,you may find it interesting. Or enter the names into SEARCH on our website and you will see that Harbo and Samuelson are well remebered.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Harbo and Samuelson
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Mar 08 - 10:11 AM

"By God, they could row!"

And there is hope for the loooong ballad.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origin: Harbo and Samuelson
From: GUEST,iancarterb
Date: 15 Mar 08 - 01:28 AM

The loooong ballad is not in danger, but the memory cells of those who learn them to sing in public past the age of 35 or so, Charley- aye, there's the rub.:) I've given up on that particular one, tho' I do seem to remember what's coming next every time I hear William and Felicia sing it so well!
Carter


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Subject: RE: Origin: Harbo and Samuelson
From: Haruo
Date: 12 Dec 11 - 04:04 AM

Wikipedia

The song (probably not the whole thing but maybe) was sung by half of Sänger & Didele as the first piece in last night's memorial song circle for friends of the late Teresa Morgan, at Seattle's Center for Wooden Boats.

There is much uncertainty (reflected in inconsistency in the Wikipedia article) concerning the spelling of Samuels(s)o/en's last name (plus he allegedly switched first names, too), so I suppose it is possible he really was Swedish as Rita's ancestor, she says, was.


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