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Origin: Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)

GutBucketeer 07 Jul 99 - 11:10 PM
Sandy Paton 07 Jul 99 - 11:51 PM
Wotcha 08 Jul 99 - 05:13 PM
Matthew B. 08 Jul 99 - 05:20 PM
GutBucketeer 08 Jul 99 - 09:39 PM
Barry Finn 08 Jul 99 - 11:13 PM
Boarding Party (KC) 10 Jul 99 - 08:28 AM
GutBucketeer 11 Jul 99 - 12:43 AM
Nogs 12 Jul 99 - 04:05 PM
Jim Rockwell 21 Jul 99 - 03:02 PM
GutBucketeer 21 Jul 99 - 11:07 PM
GutBucketeer 21 Jul 99 - 11:30 PM
GUEST,hans w. gruenthal,ex-seaman from germany 03 Jun 09 - 05:08 AM
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Subject: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 07 Jul 99 - 11:10 PM

Every once in a while we sing Sam's Gone Away at our local shanty sing (D.C. Area). I think it would be a great camp song and would like to learn more about it. None of my shanty books have it (and I have a few Hugill, Doerflinger, Colcord, Huntington, Creighton, ...).

Does anyone know the origins of this song? Is it traditional, modern ??? The version in the DT just has the singer calling out different occupations. Is it sung differently in different places? For reference the DT lyrics are:


I wish I was a cabin boy, aboard a man o'war!

Sam's gone away, aboard a man o'war!
Pretty work, brave boys,
Pretty work, I say!
Sam's gone away, aboard a man o'war!

I wish I was the captain, aboard a man o'war!

I wish I was the bos'n, aboard a man o'war!

I wish I was a gunner, aboard a man o'war!

You'll never be a hero, aboard a man o'war!

filename[ SAMGONE

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 07 Jul 99 - 11:51 PM

Jack Stanesco collected "Sam Gone Away" from fishermen on St. Vincent's Island when he was there in the Peace Corps. He brought it back with him and recorded it on our The New Golden Ring, Five Days Singing; Volume 2 (Folk-Legacy CD-42). Another great song he picked up there was the version of "Shenandoah" called "World of Misery." That one's on Volume 1 (CD-41). CLICK HERE TO SEE THEM LISTED (Hope this works!)

Jack is now back in Colorado and sings in a trio called Grubstake.

In answer to your question: the song is definitely traditional, but it didn't come with your last line (You'll never be a hero...). Someone else has added that one.

Another story: when the album was first released, Tony and Irene Saletan's son was overheard singing to himself, at an appropriate moment, "I wish I was a potty-chair aboard the man o' war..." He was about three at the time.


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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Wotcha
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:13 PM


Funny you should mention it but I ran into some folks in the area who sent their kids to camp (PA I think), the kids did sing "Sam's Gone Away" as a camp song.

By the way how are the sings at the Royal Mile? We just do them after hashes out here in the desert ...

Cheers, Brian

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Matthew B.
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 05:20 PM

My favorite line is Hilary Kelley's:

I wish I was aboard a man Aboard a man o' war

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 09:39 PM


Hi! Paul said you had been shipped off to Kuwait and were now learning songs about camels, the ships of the sea :-).

Hope everything is going ok over there and you are safe.

We miss you at the Royal Mile. Last night's sing started out sort of sparsely attended, but then filled out. The songs went around about 3 to 4 times. Paul led several, I sat next to him and led one. The sings ares starting to get dominated by the profesionals (Ships company, the Pirates Royal, and others). This makes a great show but becomes intimidating for the likes of me. Also, they either carry on when others are singing, or don't join in and look strained. I may try out the Alexandria sight on the third Tuesday of every month instead. Other than that the singing seems to be getting better and better.


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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 08 Jul 99 - 11:13 PM

Another version from the West Indies

Well done, well done for Sam
Sam gone away on bully man-o-war
Hoorow, hoorow, hoorow for Sam
Sam gone away on bully man-o-war

I wish I wsa a bos'n aboard the man-o-war
Sam gone away on bully man-o-war
Hoorow, hoorow, hoorow for Sam
Sam gone away on bully man-o-war

Well done, well done, well done, brave boy
Sam gone away on bully man-o-war
I wish I was the chief mate aboard the man-o-war
Sam gone away on bully man-o-war

Etc,etc,etc. From Horace Beck's "Folklore & The Sea"

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Boarding Party (KC)
Date: 10 Jul 99 - 08:28 AM

Tangential the topic but relating to Jim's post noting "professionals & performance" at DC's Royal Mile shanty sing, I sent the following to my former colleagues in Ship's Company:


Thought I'd pass along some feedback I picked of the Digital Tradition threaded discussion list. I've blanked out the sender and receiver to make it anonymous.

Although I'm not in a position to "contribute" to the success of the Royal Mile "experience" I do have a fondness for it. This is particularly true now that I'm in space where its considered ungentile and impolite to sing on choruses.

IMHO there are less than a handful of singer sessions in this country (Boston being the only other that comes to mind). They are hard to start, brittle to sustain and easy to destroy (Bethesda's Red Fox Inn during the late 70s).

Also IMHO, the Mile shouldn't be a performing venue for anybody. What Ships Company does [or did] is, at its very core, a collegial, participatory art form. The shantyman was a colleage, a mate, who "facilitated" the work - not performer. As a facilitator shantymen aimed to get everyone "envolved" in the "team". He had an extemporaneous verse for every man on the tail and derogatory ones for the common enemy the afterguard, the other watch and anyone who wasn't evening the strain right there and then. I would suspect that his mates weren't much at singing themselves which was why it was all so simple and straight forward.

I would hope we owe it to our community, those who come to concerts and performances and, more importantly, the shantyman - all dead and mostly gone, to pass on the true spirit of participatory music. That means passing the singing around and genuinely respecting singers when its not your turn.

[Dismount soapbox]

On a positive note, it is encouraging to hear that the singing is getting better. I always believed that milage matters.

Full and bye, KC

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 11 Jul 99 - 12:43 AM


I hope you are enjoying your new home in New Orleans. We miss you at the monthly shanty sings at the Royal Mile too.

Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy going to the shanty sings very much. They are much bigger than they were a year ago, and are no longer just a small group of singers in the back of the pub. A lot of good singers are coming. However, the increased size (and noise levels) means you have to be able to sing pretty loud to lead a song and it also helps to stand up. So instead of trying to lead I just come and sing-a-long more.


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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Nogs
Date: 12 Jul 99 - 04:05 PM

I'm glad I'm not a maiden aboard a man-o-war . . .

. . wish I was a cabin boy

. . Jedi Knight

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: Jim Rockwell
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 03:02 PM

Jim, KC and all, Sorry it has taken so long to respond to Jim's & KC's comments in this thread. The confluence of events has prevented it till now. But, it has also allowed a great deal of discussion on the issues of the sing at the Royal Mile.

I would like to start by saying that we "Ship's Company" appreciate any comments positive or negitive on any of our activities. This is how we improve the quality of what we do.

Jim is right when he says that in the last year, things have gotten bigger at the mile. With the advent of some really good press and word-of-mouth advertizing, the sing has be expanded to basically keep the mile filled until about 9:30 or so and about half filled the last 45 minutes of the sing. We also have alot more singers. We are happy with this. The result is that the place is just louder. It has become a place where people come to meet, eat, drink, sing, listen and generally have a good time. Each month we see new faces. But mostly we see alot of people with whom we have developed relationships. I'm sure this and the fact that we stopped taking breaks has added to the amount of disctraction and conversation for everyone. When ship's company first started the Shanty Sing (coming up on 3 years now), this is the kind of comradery that we had hoped to foster. In my mind, the first Tuesday of every month is like gathering night at a dock-side pub where you might find a hand full of chantymen exchanging stories and songs. The big difference is that at the mile we have a little more structure and everyone who wants to, can participate.

In starting the sing, we had three primary goals in mind. 1) A public practice where the newly formed orgainization could get some milage in the public eye.

2) Promote maritime music by providing a venue for people to get together and sing and exchange ideas, songs and history.

3) Have a good time.

I believe that we have succeeded in all three of these goals. But, things can always be improved upon. So, as I have said, comments are always welcome.

With regards to the sing being dominated by professionals, I can only say that ship's company is there because it is part of our mission and in support of that anyone who wants to sing a song is welcome to stand up and do so. The only criteria is that we keep it 99.9% maritime and try to remember that there are families listening. Even with that said, we have never stopped anyone from singing what was on their mind. We have always, and will always, ask/prompt/conjoule/plead/harass people to sing a song. We do not discriminate based on race, sex, .... or musical ability. This should be evident to anyone who has been to the mile. This is not a dig, it is a fact.

As far as people looking strained, I'm sure that there are those who grimace. But, I would wager that most of it is people trying to find a place for their voice in a chorus that is either new, quiet, a little different cadance or a meriad of other circumstances that arive when you have that many people of varying abilities together trying to sing the same song. We would never (and I think that I can speak for SC here) abuse someone for not singing beautifully. There is not a one amoung us who hasn't crashed and burned in the public eye.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not upset. I just want to add another perspective to the issue.

Jim, If you long for the days of the more intimate sings, then I think that you should try the Alexandria sing. It is still in it's infancy. Or perhaps the Annapolis sing when it gets started. You, of course, are always welcome to sing or listen at the mile. I hope to see you there (where ever there is).

Fair wind and following sea...

Jim Rockwell

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 11:07 PM


Sometimes, words on the net have a way of coming across more harshly than intended. I really do enjoy the Royale Mile now as much as ever before. The more singers the better. As the size and noise has grown, however, my ability to get through a song (leading) seems to have gotten worse! Chalk it up performance anxiety and not being able to hear myself sing.

The last sing (see above) I led one song and it seemed like I was suffering from slow death. The person beside me was trying to follow me and was a little slow and a little off the tune. I found myself starting to follow him in this feedback effect and spiraled slower and slower and more off key and more off key (I got through highschool choir by sitting next to the first bass and mirroring everything he sang and this has created bad habits which are hard to break). Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Everyone really appreciates the effort the Ships Company, Yourself, KC King, Mike Bosworth and the others have put in to create the sing and keep it going. Huzzah!

Thanks Jim Bunch

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Subject: RE: Info request on Sam's Gone Away (Shanty)
From: GutBucketeer
Date: 21 Jul 99 - 11:30 PM

I just re-read my post. Again, I really, really do apologize for giving the wrong impression. There have been one or two instances where a group has been noisy while someone was singing to the point of distraction, but it was not members of Ships Company causing the commotion. Nor, in retrospect was it any of the other serious singers. When I posted the message I did not think of the implications or how it would sound to others that have not been to the sing. (Sometimes I forget the public nature of the threads and how things will be perceived).

The Sing at the Royale Mile is one of the most supportive environments that I have ever seen musically. Everyone is encouraged to sing and participate. There are great singers, and not so great singers (me for one) but I have never been passed over or seen others passed over or discouraged by any of the leaders of the sing. In fact, Jim R and the others makes sure to encourage new comers as well as old comers. So new comers please come.

Please cross out what I wrote. I will try to figure out a new way of conveying what I meant sometime in the future.


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Subject: sams gone away as sung by dtan hugill
From: GUEST,hans w. gruenthal,ex-seaman from germany
Date: 03 Jun 09 - 05:08 AM

in an anthologie des chanson de mer/volume 3 is the following remark:
the group stormalong john/stan hugill ont appris cette chanson de
jack staneseen de denver(colorado)qui là collectee a lìle saint vincent.

you will find this chanty on   chants des mrins anglais /discotheque du chasse-maree.....

strike the bell,second mate.....

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