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Origins: Sebastopol

In Mudcat MIDIs:
Cheer Boys Cheer
Sebastopol


Gibb Sahib 25 May 09 - 01:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 25 May 09 - 01:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 25 May 09 - 01:30 PM
Paul Burke 25 May 09 - 03:16 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 09 - 04:44 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 09 - 05:16 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 09 - 05:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 09 - 05:55 PM
Joe Offer 25 May 09 - 06:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 25 May 09 - 06:22 PM
Little Robyn 26 May 09 - 04:01 PM
Gervase 26 May 09 - 05:34 PM
Gibb Sahib 26 May 09 - 10:16 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 26 May 09 - 11:31 PM
MartinRyan 27 May 09 - 02:25 AM
Cool Beans 27 May 09 - 09:12 AM
PoppaGator 27 May 09 - 03:17 PM
Mark Ross 27 May 09 - 11:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 May 09 - 12:47 AM
Steve Gardham 28 May 09 - 05:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 May 09 - 10:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 May 09 - 10:17 PM
mikecardenas 20 Jul 10 - 02:02 AM
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Subject: Origins: Sebastopol (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:15 PM

I am seeking to inform my interpretation of this capstan chantey, "Sebastopol."

Stan Hugill prints melody and lyrics in SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS (1961), although he doesn't clearly indicate from where he learned it.

The other version in print that I know of is Masefield's in A SAILOR'S GARLAND (1906). Lyrics only. The three verses he give are almost identical to the first 3 of Hugill's 4.

It is an adaptation of an 1850 song, "Cheer, Boys, Cheer." Music of this was by English composer Henry Russell, the text by Charles Mackay. Here are the lyrics

"Sebastopol" relates to the Siege of Sebastopol, of the Crimean War, dating it to circa 1855.

("Cheer, Boys, Cheer" was also later adapted, with new lyrics, as a song of the American Civil War)

Now here is the thing: "Sebastopol" seems to borrow just part of the chorus of "Cheer, Boys, Cheer"; the rest of its melody, lyrics (of course) and form are different. Hugill's book is the only source I've been able to locate for a melody, and I suspect the notation suffers from a common problem in that book -- a sort of shifting of meter, the value of notes being suddenly doubled or halved without warning.

The "origins" of this song seem pretty clear -- adaption of a snatch of a very popular, recent chorus, probably by English sailors in the Crimean War. It would be interesting to a hear what anyone might add to that, though.

I am most interested in getting a better sense of how to reconstruct the actual melody, so any other sources for that, recordings, personal renditions, etc., would be most welcome. Thanks

Gibb


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Subject: Lyr Add: SEBASTOPOL
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:25 PM

SEBASTOPOL
(Capstan Chantey)

1. The Crimea War is over now
       Ch: Sebastopol is taken!
The Crimea War is over now
       Ch: Sebastopol is taken!

Full Chorus:
So sing cheer, boys, cheer
Sebastopol is taken!
And sing cheer, boys, cheer
Old England gained the day!

2. The Russians they've bin put to flight [*they was put to flight]
The Russians they've bin put to flight

3. Our soldiers they are homeward bound
Our soldiers they are homeward bound

4. We'll drink a health to all our men
We'll drink a health to all our men

from Stan Hugill, SHANTIES FROM THE SEVEN SEAS (1961, 1994 abridged)
*Variant lyric from Masefield, A SAILOR'S GARLAND (1906)

Click to play (from Hugill)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 May 09 - 01:30 PM

Looking closer, Hugill indicates, "(From F. Shaw)," by which I presume he means (?) he has lifted it wholesale from Captain Frank Shaw, SPLENDOUR OF THE SEAS (1953). I don't have access to that book. Can anyone confirm?

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Paul Burke
Date: 25 May 09 - 03:16 PM

Pergaps based on Babylon Is Fallen?


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Subject: ADD: Cheer Boys Cheer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 09 - 04:44 PM

I can't find a recording of "Sebastopol" anywhere. Are you going to post a video of it, Gibb?

I think it's a good idea to post the lyrics to "Cheer Boys Cheer" here. Then we're sure we have the information if the link dies. Source: http://www.pdmusic.org/russell/hr50cbc.txt

CHEER BOYS CHEER
(c1850)
Words by Charles Mackay, 1814-1889
Music by Henry Russell, 1812-1900

[Source: 046/063@Levy]

1.
Cheer, boys, cheer, yield not to idle sorrow;
Courage! true hearts shall bear us on our way;
Hope points before, and shows the bright to-morrow;
Let us forget the darkness of to-day;
So farewell! England; much as we adore thee,
We'll dry the tears that we have shed before;
Why should we weep to sail in search of fortune?
So farewell, England! farewell forevermore!
Cheer, boys, cheer, for country, mother country,
Cheer, boys, cheer, the willing strong right hand,
Cheer, boys, cheer, there's wealth for honest labor,
Cheer, boys, cheer, for the new and happy land!

2.
Cheer, boys, cheer, the steady breeze is blowing,
To float us freely o'er the ocean's breast;
The world shall follow in the track we're going;
The star of Empire glitters in the West,
Here we had toil and little to reward it,
But there shall plenty smile upon our pain;
And ours shall be the prairie and the forest
And boundless meadows ripe, rip with golden grain.
Cheer, boys, cheer, for England, mother England;
Cheer, boys, cheer, united heart and hand,
Cheer, boys, cheer, there's wealth for honest labor;
Cheer, boys, cheer, for the new and happy land!


Here's the entry on "Sebastopol" from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Sebastopol (Old England's Gained the Day; Capture and Destruction of Sebastopol; Cheer, Boys, Cheer)

DESCRIPTION: "Cheer lads, cheer! the enemy is quaking ... our foes we did defeat, ... Sebastopol is taken." Pellisier and Simpson lead the French and English "their cannons loud did rattle ... and the flags of France and England waved on Sebastopol."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1940 (Smith/Hatt)
KEYWORDS: army battle war England France Russia shanty
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Sep 9, 1855 - Fall of Sevastopol following an 11 month siege
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Smith/Hatt, p. 31, "Old England's Gained the Day" (1 text)
Hugill, pp. 428-429, "Sebastopol" (1 text, 1 tune) [AbEd, pp. 322-323]

ST SmHa041 (Partial)
Roud #8293
BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Firth b.26(215) , "Capture and Destruction of Sebastopol" ("Cheer lads, cheer! the enemy is quaking"), A. Ryle and Co. (London), 1855?; Firth b.25(586), "Capture and Destruction of Sebastopol"
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Newfoundland and Sebastopol" (subject, theme)
cf. "Cheer, Boys, Cheer!" (tune, per broadsides Bodleian Firth b.26(215) and Bodleian Firth b.25(586))
Notes: Bodleian, Harding B 26(95), "Cheer, Boys Cheer, for the Fall of Sebastopol" ("Cheer lads cheer, for Brittannia's sons none bolder"), J. Moore (Belfast), 1846-1852 [not possible] is a similar broadside.
Smith/Hatt has this fragment as a capstan shanty. - BS
Hugill also has it as a capstan shanty, and calls it a "broken-down version of the original march, or rather of its chorus. The original march tune was known as the 'Loth-to-depart.'" - [RBW, BS]
There are quite a few other broadsides floating around called "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," celebrating other events. I haven't seen any evidence that they're traditional. Similarly, Charles Mackay wrote "Cheer Boys! Cheer! No More of Idle Sorrow," with music set by Henry Russell, but it never seems to have escaped from the straitjacket of sheet music. - RBW
File: SmHa041

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Also see Roud (click)


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Subject: ADD Version: Old England's Gained the Day
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:16 PM

As shown above, the earliest version indexed by the Traditional Ballad Index was 1940, from the Smith/Hatt collection.

Here is that version, found in sea Songs and Ballads from Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia: The William H. Smith and Fenwick Hatt Manuscripts, edited by Edith Fowke (Folklorica Press, 1981), page 31 (no tune).

William H. Smith's Collection

OLD ENGLAND'S GAINED THE DAY

Sebastapol is taken;
Cheer, boys, cheer;
Sebastapol is taken;
Old England's gained the day.

Did ever you hear those cannons roar?
Cheer, boys, cheer.
Did ever you hear those cannon roar?
Old England's gained the day.

Notes:

    Heard this sung aboard an English ship in Barbadoes. Did not hear sailors out of here sing it, though some might have heard the words and have sung it. It was a song that required a large crew to give it a good effect.
    Hugill notes that this capstan shanty was adapted from the chorus of a march, "Sebastopol," and that Masefield gives it in his Sailor's Garland. He says it was popular from the Crimean War onwards. but it has not been reported very often. I have found it only in Hugill. p. 428.


I gather the first paragraph of the notes are from Smith, the second from Fowke.


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Subject: ADD: Cheer Boys Cheer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:34 PM

The only recording I can find that seems to "Sebastopol" similar is Cheer, Boys, Cheer! (click to listen), a song of Confederate soldiers from the U.S. Civil War.

I found lyrics and a MIDI at http://www.civilwarpoetry.org/confederate/songs/cheer.html

CHEER, BOYS, CHEER!
Lyricist Unknown

CHORUS: Cheer, boys, cheer! We'll march away to battle!
Cheer, boys, cheer, for our sweethearts and our wives!
Cheer, boys, cheer! We'll nobly do our duty,
And give to the South our hearts, our arms, our lives.

Bring forth the flag, our country's noble standard;
Wave it on high till the wind shakes each fold out.
Proudly it floats, nobly waving in the vanguard;
Then cheer, boys, cheer! with a lusty, long, bold shout.

CHORUS

But as we march, with heads all lowly bending,
Let us implore a blessing from on high.
Our cause is just, the right we're defending,
And the God of battle will listen to our cry.

CHORUS

Tho' to the homes we never may return,
Ne'er press again our lov'd ones in our arms,
O'er our lone graves their faithful hearts will mourn,
Then cheer, boys, cheer! such death hath no alarms.

CHORUS


Click to play



There's another version, almost exactly the same, from an online copy of this book:
    Southern War Songs Camp-Fire, Patriotic & Sentimental 200+ Song Lyrics Collected, Arranged & Illustrated, By W. L. Fagan
    Published By M T. RICHARDSON & CO New York, circa 1890
    http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/southern-war-songs/southern-war-songs%20-%200344.htm

    song title: MORGAN'S WAR SONG.

    The opnly part different is a bit of the wording from the third verse:
      But as we march, with heads all lowly bending,
      Let us implore a blessing from on high;
      Our cause is just—the right from wrong defending;
      And the God of battle will listen to our cry.
      Cheer, boys, cheer! etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 09 - 05:55 PM

Music setting of "Cheer, Boys, Cheer" by Henry Russell, 1846. According to the Library of Congress brief bios, Russell spent the "most fruitful part" of his career in the U. S., playing and singing many of his own compositions.
"Cheer, Boys, Cheer" was published also in a volume of collected poetry of Charles Mackay, 1855.

In the 1850s-1860s it also was printed without attribution on song sheets by several American printers including Andrews and Harris.

The music by Russell was used in the Confederate song "Cheer, Boys, Cheer," 1861, with new lyrics arranged and printed by Hermann Schreiner in Macon and Louisville.
The air was also popular in the North, used for the "March of the New York Volunteers," and "Our Glorious Union."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:06 PM

I added the MIDI from Hugill to Gibb's post above. Doesn't sound anything like the Civil War song, but the first part of it does sound like something I should know.



Click to play (from Hugill)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 25 May 09 - 06:22 PM

An English song sheet of 1855, tune "Cheer, Boys, Cheer."

"Capture and Destruction of Sebastopol."
1
Cheer lads, cheer! the enemy is quaking,
Chewer boys, cheer, our foes we did defeat,
Cheer lads, cheer, Sebastopol is taken,
Cheer boys, cheer, see the Russians now are beat
On the ...... day of September, the allied guns did rattle,
We ever shall remember that great & glorious day
When valorous and courageous on the field of battle
They fought the boastful Russians and made them run away.

Cheer lads, &c.
(more verses)

Firth b.26(215), Ballads Catalogue, Bodleian Collection, A. Ryal & Co., London.
Ryal also printed variants, "Cheer Girls, Cheer, for Our Merry Wedding Day," etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Little Robyn
Date: 26 May 09 - 04:01 PM

I believe Cheer, boys, cheer has also been used for a gold mining song in NZ but I haven't managed to find it.
I did, however, find a political version in Bailey and Roth's 'Shanties by the way', dated 1858.

Cheer, boys, cheer, the polling day's before us,
Head of the poll we'll have our hero brave,
Onward, brave hearts, to victory attaining;
Where is the man that would be a Wakefield slave?

There were 3 other verses but the chorus for this one is:

Cheer, boys, cheer, we'll crush the Wakefield faction,
Cheer, boys, cheer, the craven rads shall run,
Cheer, boys, cheer, the little Saint we'll spurn, boys,
Cheers, boys, cheer, for gallant Featherston.

However, the other faction also used the same song with different words - their chorus went:

Cheer, boys, cheer, a fig for frown or favour,
Fear no more the greedy crew that storm;
Cheer, boys, cheer, we will have land for labour;
Cheer, boys, cheer! for RADICAL REFORM!


It was an election for Superintendent of the Wellington Province and Ashton St Hill was opposing Isaac Featherston. (Featherston won the election.)
But obviously it was a song that was well known in NZ, not long after Sebastopol and before the Civil War.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Gervase
Date: 26 May 09 - 05:34 PM

Not quite the same song, but another bit of shameless Sebastapol jingoism is in the George Gardiner collection at Cecil Sharp House. Collected by Frank Purslow from James Neil of Winchester in March 1906, we have this.
And heartfelt thanks to the EFDSS for finally getting round to digitising some of its remarkable collection.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 26 May 09 - 10:16 PM

Thanks for the help, guys. Interesting to hear about those broadsheets. I imagine they'd just say "Sing to the air of Cheer, Boys, Cheer" (i.e. by Russell). Hugill may very well have been the only person to document a melody for the unique, chantey adaptation of the theme.

It's interesting to read what Masefield wrote "Sebastopol." I am quoting from a web page, here.

One of the best, and most popular, capstan chanties is that known as "Sebastopol." The words are, if anything, rather better than most. The tune is excellent and stirring. It moves to quicker time than most capstan chanties.

(The version of Masefield I have, which appears to be a 1908 second edition, does not have this passage.)

Anyway, surprising that it was "most popular," yet we are hard pressed to locate one now!

I am going to try out recording a version of it, within the next few days, to see what the tune "feels like" in practice. One thing I am puzzled by is why, with such an adamant rhythm to the phrase "cheer, boys, cheer" --all driving downbeats-- the chantey version would have a dotted rhythm there. Seems weak.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 May 09 - 11:31 PM

Hugill took his version from Frank Shaw (noted following the chantey in his 1961 original).
Masefield did not print the 'health to all our men' verse in "A Sailor's Garland."

Shaw, Captain Frank, 1953, "The Splendour of the Seas," Stanford, London. Hugill says it has a chapter 'Ship Savers' with shanties.
Not seen.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 May 09 - 02:25 AM

Not a shanty, of course, but another example of how Sebastopol entered the public consciousness was:

You may strain your muscles to brag of Brussels, of London, Paris or of Timbuctoo
Constantinople or Sebastopol,Vienna, Naples or Tongtaboo
Of Copenhagen, Madrid, Kilbeggan or the capital of the Russian Czar
But they're all inferior to that vast superior and gorgeous city of Sweet Mullingar


Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Cool Beans
Date: 27 May 09 - 09:12 AM

Is it the same tune that Elizabeth Cotten called "Vastapol," her guitar solo played in what has come to be known as Vastapol tuning? (Don't ask me what the tuning is.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 May 09 - 03:17 PM

Cool Beans: I've been thinking along the same lines, wondering whether the sea shantie(s) under discussion here have any connection to the open-tuning instrumental piece that gave "Vastapol" tuning its name.

I can supply a little info, if I recall all this stuff correctly:

The tune is not Libba Cotten's original work; it was widely popular as a "parlor-guitar" piece in the mid-to-late 18th century.

The "Vastapol" guitar tuning is either Open-D (DADF#AD) or Open-E (EBEG#BE), which are essentially identical in terms of relative pitch and use the same fingerings, chord shapes, etc., except that one is two half-steps higher than the other. From standard tuning, you can either tune down to Open D or up to Open E. Among contemporary blues players, up-to-E is most commonly used on electric guitars, while down-to-D is more popular with acoustic intruments, which are a bit more fragile and are generally strung with heavier-guage strings, making it safer to decrease than to increase string tension.

The other common open tuning for the blues is "Spanish," named for a similar parlor-guitar favorite from the same era, "Spanish Fandango." For Spanish tuning, you have a similar pair of options to use either of two keys: tune down to Open G or up to Open A.

Back to the subject at hand: I would guess that the sea-shanty songs about Sepastapol might be completely different from the guitar-piece intrumental, if only because shanties are generally conceived and performed without instrumental accompaniment. Just my hunch...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Mark Ross
Date: 27 May 09 - 11:39 PM

The Vastapol tuning comes from a popular instrumental piece written after the crimean campaign that was played on guitar in that tuning.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 May 09 - 12:47 AM

The tuning (my son-in law guitarist calls it an 'open d') is said to come from the piece, "The Siege of Sevastopol,"
but others cite older occurrences. Can any be cited?

A "Siege of Seb(v)astopol Polka" was written in 1855, piano, but I have not found any guitar or other music with the title "The Siege of Sev(b)astopol" except the reference: "a mood piece found in 19th century instructors for parlor guitar" (Mark Wilson). Entry in Fiddlers Companion. AKA Vasapol, Vestapol. Anyone have one of these old 19th c. instructors?

There is a Sebastopol Hornpipe, widely used by many fiddlers, but its origin not stated in the Fiddlers Companion. Assumed Crimean War vintage.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 May 09 - 05:15 PM

FWIW I have a fairly comprehensive collection of shanty anthologies and Hugill and Masefield are the only sources I have for it under 'Sebastopol'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:02 PM

Well, I gave it a try. YouTube link.

I am by no means certain that Hugill's published melody needed "correcting," as I have done, but some things are suspicious enough about it that I decided for it.

Specifically, I believe that the grand chorus is notated at twice-as-fast the value it should have been (i.e. it should start with a dotted half note instead). Basically, the ratio of notes per beat seems to be out of whack in places (I have found this to be pretty common in this book). The verse was at one ratio, while the start of the grand chorus shifted to another, and then back again at the last measure of the song. Hugill's notation has 13 bars. I've normalized it to 16.

Again, I could be wrong, but this way made the most sense to me -- not that chanteys always necessarily make conventional sense.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 May 09 - 10:17 PM

Does anyone posting here have Hugill's source, Captain Frank Shaw, "Splendour of the Seas"? Did Hugill copy accurately?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sebastopol
From: mikecardenas
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 02:02 AM

I'm curious if the guitar's Open D tuning "Vastapol" D A D F♯ A D has origin or evidence in America or elsewhere earlier than Henry Worrall's 1856 solo guitar work “Sebastopolâ€쳌.


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