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 Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger

DigiTrad:
LOWLANDS
LOWLANDS (2)
LOWLANDS (3)
LOWLANDS (4)


Related threads:
'Lowlands Away' - origins. (143)
Lowlands Away Question in Lords (20)
Version of Lowlands (3)
Lyr/Tune Add: Lowlands, Mobile Bay version (1)
Lyr Req: Lowlands (6) (closed)


GUEST,Doxy 19 Aug 09 - 04:08 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Aug 09 - 04:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Aug 09 - 05:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Aug 09 - 05:58 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Aug 09 - 07:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Aug 09 - 08:10 PM
ClaireBear 19 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM
Lighter 19 Aug 09 - 08:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Aug 09 - 09:28 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Aug 09 - 10:05 PM
ClaireBear 19 Aug 09 - 10:27 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 09 - 12:23 AM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 12:58 AM
Peace 20 Aug 09 - 01:02 AM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 01:06 AM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 01:09 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 09 - 12:59 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 01:28 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 09 - 02:24 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Georgina Boyes 20 Aug 09 - 02:40 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 02:42 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 09 - 02:57 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 03:01 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 09 - 03:07 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 03:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 09 - 03:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 09 - 03:51 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 09 - 04:09 PM
ClaireBear 20 Aug 09 - 04:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 20 Aug 09 - 04:42 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 09 - 05:07 PM
BB 20 Aug 09 - 05:35 PM
Mick Tems 21 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM
Lighter 21 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM
BB 21 Aug 09 - 09:37 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,Doxy
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:08 PM

Hi guys
Anyone got the lyrics to this please?
Cheers
Doxy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 04:59 PM

I assume this is Grainger's setting of the chantey? The chantey often also goes by the name "Lowlands Away". Roughly, it appears to be an older Scots or Northern English song that was refashioned by stevedores in the Southern U.S., most likely through African-American influence, into a work-song (chantey). Many verses are on hand. If Grainger got it from Cecil Sharp, that version can be found in ENGLISH FOLK-CHANTEYS (1914), pg 21 (available free on-line).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 05:25 PM

Grainger's "Dollar and a half a day" is in a Hyperion cd of his (and Grieg's) choral music, "At Twilight. Couldn't find a sound clip.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 05:58 PM

Found a short clip; doesn't sound like anything I know (slow and dull) but it is also labeled Sea Chantey No. 2, so Gibb Sahib may be right. The notes on a cat. of Grainger works:

"Dollar and a half a day
Sea Chantey Settings Nr. 2
"Two versions of a Capstan or Windlass Chantey, by kind permission of Charles Rosher, C. E.,FRGS and H. E. Piggott.
"Mr Perring said this was a 'tipical' ('ti' rhymes with 'my') Negro Chantey, sung by Negro sailors in the East India trade, in complaint at their being harder worked and lower-waged than white seamen. The vowel a in alf was sounded as in the usual American pronunciation of half, i. e., like the first vowel sound in hair (standard English pronunciation).
"For other variants of these chanties, for notes upon them and for a description of Mr. Perring's singing see "Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 12."

From "A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger," Thomas P. Lewis.
Grainger Guide


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 07:27 PM

The version in question was collected by Grainger and H.E. Piggott. It was published in JFS 3, 1908, pp235-236. (Source: Roud index). The version published in Sharp's English Folk-Chanteys was from a different source (in fact two sources, according to the end notes).

I can't help with the words I'm afraid. However, if you have a recording already and just want to check the words have a look at the links to various versions in this thread: Lyr Req: Lowlands; many of the versions have similar lyrics.

Mick


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 08:10 PM

Mike, thanks for identifying the specific source. I'll go ahead and give the details.

There's actually 3 versions of "Lowlands" in that article. One is collected by Grainger and H.E. Piggott, but, surprisingly, that does not appear to be the one his arrangement is based on. The one Grainger's piece corresponds to, as far as I can tell, was collected and sung by Charles Rosher and "noted" by Grainger, 1906. It's called a windlass chantey.

Note that I have not herd the whole piece, only a sample on iTunes, but that the sample exactly corresponds to the words and melody of this version. There is only one verse given:

A dollar and a half is a poor man's pay.
Lowlands, lowlands away, My John.
A dollar and a half, it won't clear my way.
My dollar and a half a day.

Since I haven't heard the rest of it, I don't know if it goes on to other verses, which may have been culled from other versions from the article. For what it's worth, I'm with Q in thinking this recording is pretty dull! Not to be rude, but I'm also not sure why one can't just listen to the song to get the lyrics, Doxy? ;)

This particular version of "Lowlands (dollar version)" is peculiar in that all other versions I've seen make racial references "black man's pay" /"nigger's pay" / "white man's pay." I wonder, idly, if Grainger sought to avoid that in his selection.

It may be notable that, though it is common in text collections, the "dollar and a half" version of "Lowlands" seems to be infrequently recorded by recent performers. The vast majority of performances nowadays follow the "I dreamed a dream" theme, as popularized e.g. through several recordings by Stan Hugill. Again I wonder if it may be the racial tone of the former that have influenced that (speculating only). At the risk of being tacky, here's a link to a quick recording I made of the "Dollar" form.

Gibb


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM

Interesting discussion.

Joan Baez recorded a version of the "dollar" version on "Folksingers Round Harvard Square," her first record (?). It was very slow and, indeed, a bit dull, much as Q describes what he heard. I used to have a copy of that LP, and I loved this chanty, slow & dull or not...

The way it's shown in the DT is not quite representative of how Joan Baez sang it, which was sort of like the below (from memory, so may not be enirely complete). This version mentions "white man's pay" but doesn't as I recall say anything about "black man's pay":


LOWLANDS

Lowlands, lowlands,
Away, my John
Five dollars a day is white man's pay
My dollar and a half a day

My old mother wrote me
She told me to come home from sea
On my dollar and a half a day

Lowlands, lowlands
Away, my John
Five dollars a day is white man's pay
My dollar and a half a day

Cheers,
C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 08:22 PM

When William Fender sang "Lowlands" for Carpenter in 1928/29, he too sang "A dollar a day is a poor man's pay."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr. Add: Lowlands (Joan Baez)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 09:28 PM

I found these lyrics for "Lowlands," Joan Baez. Not in chanty form.
Not the song sought.

Lyr. Add: Lowlands
Trad., Joan Baez

We sailed out of Dunmore, Michelmass gone by
Cowhides and wool and live cargo
Twenty young Wild Geese ready fledged to fly
Sailing for the lowlands low.

Cho-
The lowlands low, the lowlands low
Sailing for the lowlands low

Sean Rouse the skipper, from the Church of Crook
Piery keeps log for his father
Crew all from Bannow, Fethard and the Hook
Sailing for the lowlands low.

Ready with priming, we'd our galliot gun
Muskets and pikes in good order
We should be riddled, captives would be none [?]
Death or else the lowlands low

The lowlands low, the lowlands low
Death or else the lowlands low

A pirate approached us, many leagues frtom shore
We fought and sunk him in good order
He'll go a-roving, plundering no more
Sailing for the lowlands low.

We smuggled out the Wild Geese, weapons safe ashore
Then we unloaded our cargo
A fair wind blowing, we're headed for Dunmore
Sailing from the lowlands low.

The lowlands low, the lowlands low
Sailing from the lowlands low
Sailing from the lowlands low.

From several sites. Possible errors.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 09:55 PM

Oops, I obviously didnt read Q's post very closely, where he quotes something about the TWO chanteys versions that were sources (including the Piggott one). So hey, here's the lyrics on that one:

Sung by John Perring, 1908. Called a capstan chantey.

(1)Five dollars a day is a white man's pay
Way....
Five dollars a day is a white man's pay
My dollar and a 'alf a day

(2) But a dollar and a half is a nigger's pay

(3) The nigger works both day and night

(4) But the white man, he works but a day

As also noted in the article, these sort of verses were also common in the chantey "Roll the Cotton Down."

The other version of "Lowlands" in this article is a quotation from another source. It is marked "windlass chanty, 1862" and "American chanty." It is vague, but it seems to have been culled by some article in YACHTING MONTHLY.

Lowlands, Lowlands, away, my John
O my old mother she wrote to me
My dollar and a half a day
She wrote to me to come back from sea.

Reference is also made Alden's article in HARPER'S (1882), and its lyrics quoted:

I dreamt a dream the other night.
Lowlands, Lowlands,Hurrah, my John.
I dreamt I saw my own true love.
My Lowlands aray (SIC).

Quoting from Alden's orginal article, he says also:

Much care was evidently given to "Low-
lands" by the shanty-men. It has often
been improved. In its original form the
first chorus was shorter and less striking,
and the words of the second chorus were,
"My dollar and a half a day." It is to
be regretted that no true idea can be given
on paper of the wonderful shading which
shanty-men of real genius sometimes gave
to this song by their subtle and delicate
variations of time and expression.


LA Smith's (1888) version is plagiarized from Alden.

So it looks like the Baez version quoted by Claire ended up using all the verses in this article!

Gibb


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 10:05 PM

Here's Joan Baez's version of the chantey we're talking about. She mentions both "white man's" and "black man's". Her melody, most likely, is somewhat contrived.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: ClaireBear
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 10:27 PM

Gibb Sahib, that could be the recording I remember, but I don't recognize some of those words. I would have thought I'd remember the dream verse, which would tie it into the "I dreamed a dream the other night" Lowlands -- the one I sing.

The tune in the recording is about the same as what I remember, although there are some decorations that make me almost sure it's a different recording.

Thank you for finding it anyway, and demonstrating that it is indeed the same chantey and not the completely different song she evidently recorded later on.

C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 12:23 AM

Neither "Lowlands" is on the listing for Joan Baez at ASCAP, but sine she used the designation 'trad,' they wouldn't appear.

I would like to know the dates of recording or performance. I can't find that she recorded the chantey. The "Lowlands" I posted appears on her early Harvard Square album (1959).

She also sang "The Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands," I think a Dylan song, but I don't know the content.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 12:58 AM

The album I actually owned was a reissue -- unauthorized, but I didn't know that until tonight -- of the 1959 recording called "The Best of Joan Baez." It contained all but four cuts from the 1959 "Harvard Square" LP, including at least approximately the version of "Lowlands" that Gibb Sahib located on YouTube. It did not contain the other version, although I suppose the 1959 original issue could have had a different version (no source online mentions such a thing, and I'd certainly have my doubts). Where did you find the information that the version you posted was the one on the album?

You can find information on both the original album and the reissue here.

The reissue had a pen and ink line drawing of Joan Baez on the front. I found a picture of it online earlier today from my other computer at work, but can't unearth it now.

C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Peace
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 01:02 AM

This is off topic, but if I can get the answer anywhere it'll be here. Years ago I heard a song I loved: "The Golden Vanity". In the song is the line ". . . and sailed upon the lowland sea."

WHAT is a lowland (or the lowland) sea?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 01:06 AM

I have always assumed it was the sea off the coast of The Netherlands -- "the low countries."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 01:09 AM

Back to the LP, I found a photo of the cover at this site:

http://www.shopwiki.com/_The+Best+of+Joan+Baez

(Not bothering with a clicky, as I doubt it will be there long.)

It's pencil or charcoal, not pen -- otherwise as described.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 12:59 PM

A listing of the tracks, and the listing of re-issues of the album, "Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square," (original- Veritas XTV-62202/3 vinyl) at this Baez website:

Discography

My statement that the verses I posted were in this album are based on website statements- and the fact that I can't find a chantey version in the lyrics sites. (OK, there is doubt since I don't have the original).
This site gives lyrics to all songs on the Harvard Square recording; the "Lowlands" lyrics ascribed to Baez are those I posted. Lyrics are given for all 18 songs on that vinyl. Are they correctly given?

http://www.sing365.com/music/Lyric.nsf/Lowlands-lyrics-Joan-Baez/B7B03BA92F0B397148256C9C001FF78F
I hope I copied that correctly- Perhaps easier by googling "Folksingers 'Round Harvard Square" and scrolling down a few listings to the sing365 entry.

I wish I could give a better answer, but I lack the recording. I hope we can find it.

The "Lowlands" by Baez (says 1960) on youtube- www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dq9xeofCyQ0- is not a chantey and not the lyrics I posted. (Linked by GibbSahib). ?? A very slow, dreamy song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 01:28 PM

Well, you are certainy correct that the lyrics you found are posted as being from that album, but honestly it's not the same song.

Two other lyrics I checked on that album (Astrapsen, Kitty) were accurate, but then I've never heard those recorded anywhere else, so I can't imagine where else the lyrics could have come from but by listening to it. (I could be wrong -- no time to research here at work.) However, another (Twelve Gates to the City) is actually the Rev. Gary Davis version, not what was on the Baez/Wood/Alizevos album.

I'm thinking that, given Joan's socio-political convictions, it's rather unlikely she would sing a song about weapons-smuggling and piracy on any recording, so I am guessing that the person who submitted those lyrics got them from some other source.

Anyway, about whether it's a chantey -- you don't think so? There are some weird, slow, odd-rhythmed chanteys out there, like one I sing that starts "Have you ever seen them wild geese sailing cross the ocean?" (not Kate Rusby's tune). I think that, if you sped this one up, you could work to it. Rowing comes to mind.

Gotta run...
C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:24 PM

I'm confused about what you guys are talking about now :(

There was a chantey, with the chorus "Lowlands Away, my John". Some texts talk about dreaming a visit from a lover. Some are more gritty, about working conditions and low pay. All versions I've seen have a similar melody, albeit since it is a flowery and rubato sort of thing, the transcriptions look superficially different.

[Side note: The same melody has appeared in different modes, major and minor. I am very curious about this, something I wonder may have stemmed from a transcription error.]

Grainger set a concert choir arrangement of the chantey, culled from two collected interpretations. IMHO this a a weird place to start an inquiry into the trajectory of this chantey, but it happened to be what the OP was interested in :)

Claire brought up Baez's version, which is interesting so far as it has us think about what sort of sources she was using. Textually, she is without doubt singing the chantey. Melody-wise, she probably took a lot of artistic license with the customary tune, however, and she has sung it in a way that is decidedly not chantey-like. Big whoop, people do that all the time. Plus, the song has/had life as a non-chantey, anyways (although not sung to the "dollar" lyrics).

Q brought up another "Lowlands" song that has no bearing on this discussion. I see a common methodology in your discussions, Q, which is to stick to particular words and search the hell out of them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it dont.
Other chanteys with "Lowlands" phrase are "Lowlands Low" (a rare piece collected by Hugill and Sharp), the "Golden Vanity" (an older English ballad that has given birth to many forms), and "The Five Gallon Jar" or "Larry Marr," which seems to borrow the "lowlands" phrase ~I think~ from a minstrel tune (I don't remember off the top of my head).

The "other" song by Baez that Q originally mention, WHOEVER sang it, based on the lyrics, looks like a version of "Golden Vanity" -- a ballad about pirates, related to "Turkish Revelry" etc. In any case....completely unrelated....

Where am I off?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:34 PM

Don't think you are off, but it is in our nature to digress -- thread drift! Sorry.

Is there, somewhere that I missed, a link to a sample of the Grainger? I'd like to hear his take on it, to add to my Lowlands education. (BTW of the two primary versions of the chantey this thread is actually meant to be about, I sing the minor one at a quite fast pace.)

C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: GUEST,Georgina Boyes
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:40 PM

Coope Boyes & Simpson recorded the Grainger/Perring version of "Dollar and a Half a Day" on their last solo album, "Triple Echo". They used the version Grainger published in the Folk-Song Journal in 1907.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:42 PM

Thank you, Georgina! I shall hunt it up sharpish.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 02:57 PM

Oops! OK thanks, Claire, got it :)

Is it OK if I digress and talk about the minor versus major "issue"? I've been jonesing to do that!!

Gibb


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:01 PM

Yes please! I'm particularly intrigued by how the major key one (basing my knowledge on Shirley Collins) is sung at a languorous pace while the minor one is fast and furious -- sorry, but I can't remember who I first heard do that one. Backwards from ehat one would expect..


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:03 PM

Here's a link to a sample of the Grainger
link


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:07 PM

Gibb Sahib, you are not 'off'; I am trying to find out what Baez sang and where recorded.
The lyrics I posted for "Lowlands" are those of more than one website. I would guess that in it, Joan Baez put together material from more than one song. At the time there was much interest in the history of the 'Wild Geese' and their exile and they are included in the song.

Is it the song from that Harvard Square album? I don't know, although the sing365.com site says it is. Also, it is the only Baez "Lowlands" with lyrics that I can find on the net, with the exception of the youtube cut you linked- and the album cover shown is not of the 1959 Harvard Square album (reissued in 1963), in which two other singers are included.
The 1960 Joan Baez album's 16 tracks do not include "Lowlands," so I have questions about where the youtube cut came from.
See Joan Baez Discography

In the complete Joan Baez discography (linked above), only one "Lowlands" is listed, and the album is the Harvard Square album (and re-issues).

Someone here may have the Harvard Square recording. That would settle the question. I have only one of the Baez songbooks; it may be in one of the others; another place to check.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:25 PM

I beg your pardon, Q, but that album cover is from the 1963 reissue of the 1959 album. It's the cover of the LP I owned, and the song on that album was the one in the YouTube. Absolutely, no question. The album feaured Baez, Wood, and Alizevos, but by 1963 when it was reissued, Baez had become well enough known that the record company doubtless wanted to convey the impression that the album was entirely hers (my speculation).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:48 PM

I hope no one else minds this digression, then! (anyways the OP seems to have gone AWOL)

So I am intrigued, Claire, with your experience of a "fast and furious" minor tune. To see if we are on the same page: is the minor tune you're familiar with the same tune as the major....only minor? i.e. exact same contour, etc, just using the minor scale degrees?

This "issue" started bugging me when I heard two women (Bonnie Milner, and Denise of the chantey staff) perform, separately, 'Lowlands" at Mystic Seaport earlier this summer. They sang in minor mode. The lyrics they used were drawn by Stan Hugill's book.

Background: Basically, Hugill presents 2 tunes and 3 sets of texts for Lowlands. The first two texts are "I dreamed a dream," but the difference is that one is from a male perspective, the other from a female's. These are meant to correspond to the same tune.

The 3rd set of text Hugill gives has the "Dollar and a half a day." He prints up a fresh musical notation for the tune to go with that. However, it is essentially the same tune already done for the other texts......except, the first one is in minor, and the "dollar" one is in major.

Here's the kicker (well, kickers): Stan's own performances of "Lowlands" (as in the link I put up thread) use the major mode, but they use the "dream" text. Sure, chantey lyrics get switch and re-set to melodies all the time. However, other renditions, such as this non-chantey one by the Corries , also use the "dream" text with the major tune, as did other versions I've heard.

My assumption, when first seeing Hugill's text, was that the notation of the tune to his "dream" text was in error (note: there are many many transcriptional errors in the book). The error, I thought, is simply that an incorrect key signature was added to the "dream" tune. It is in the key of C, and 2 flats are in the key signature, making it appear like a C Dorian mode. The "dollar" tune is written out in the key of Bb, with also 2 flats, i.e. Bb major. Having assumed based on recordings that the minor/Dorian mode was in error, I rationalized this by thinking those two flats in the key signature were accidental, migrated over from the other tune or something.

hearing those two ladies at Mystic, however, I wondered if they were taking the text literally ("error" and all) or whether a minor tune was really traditional.

I've found a minor tune in one other source, LA Smith's 1888 book, with a key signature of F minor (Aeolian). As I mentioned earlier, she surely plagiarized it from an 1882 article by Alden, the original of which I dont have, however. It's not the ~exact~ minor tune as in Hugill ; Hugill's requires no accidentals apart from the key signature, while Alden/Smith's uses the raised seventh as a leading tone.

I'm quite torn, because I think the Smith texts shows evidence that a minor tune existed, however uncommon, but Hugill's performances and "general performance practice" (vague, I know) suggest it the one major tune gets both texts.

Colcord present both "dream" and "dollar" versions to the major tune. Other collectors, Harlow, Doerflinger, Terry, and Bullen, all give only the "dollar" version coupled with the major tune.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 03:51 PM

Ok, ClareBear, that helps clear it up.The youtube poster dated it as the 1960 album, which it is not (different content altogether).

It looks like you and GibbSahib are right. But where did the song I posted come from?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 04:09 PM

Hi Q,

OK, I'm back with you now, thanks.

I'm not sure how the song you mentioned got linked up with Baez in the mixed up mishmash of the Internet, but anyway, I find it as a composition of an Irish writer, PJ McCall, whom I don't know much about, but I recognize the names of a lot of songs he wrote as "standard" Irish music fare. Words are his, the tune is supposedly traditional (according to a casual Google search). Here's an example of someone performing the song.

example

I'm still under the assumption that McCall would have based this off the "Golden Vanity" strain of ballads.

Gibb


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: ClaireBear
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 04:15 PM

Q, one site ("The Balladeers") attributes the words to P.J. McCall, who (another site says) also wrote "Follow Me Up to Carlow."

Again, sorry, at work, no time to take this further right now. Maybe tonight.

Gibb Sahib, I have a question out to my singin' partner about where we first heard the fast, minor-key version. That was maybe 30 years ago, and I just can't recall. Hope Jon has a better memory! Funny how clearly I remember Shirley Collins singing the slow, major one. Maybe because it was such an odd take on the chantey form.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Graing
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 04:42 PM

Thanks, Claire, I would be really interested to hear that. One of my main interests would be trying to determine if the minor version had been handed down strictly orally, or if at some point along the chain it was a work-up of one of the printed versions.

The tune is an "odd take on the chantey form" indeed -- "Shenandoah" is the only other chantey that comes immediately to mind as something so slow and lacking regular rhythm as to seem tricky to work as a chantey -- my rationalization for that has always been that it was just for really slow work (e.g. breaking the anchor loose) which can't really be done to any regular beat. However, the historical sources do confirm that it was "always" sung very slowly and, judging by the irregularities of transcription, in a very drawn-out and irregular way.
The menhaden chanteys, which are real slow and drawn-out (the nature of the work was different) also provide a model for imagining this sort of chantey. I imagine that if they originated with cotton-screwing, then songs like "Lowlands" could have been the same.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 05:07 PM

Odd that a McCall song got Joan Baez attached to it.
Also the Corries sing it (a few differences).

Thanks. I'm straightened out now (I think).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: BB
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 05:35 PM

Callenig from South Wales recorded this on their 'Trade Winds' CD in '94 under the title 'Lowlands'. Their notes say, "William Fender brought this song back to South Wales from Valparaiso, Chile, where he learned it in 1885 when he shipped there aboard the Ingomar. Carpenter sub-titles it 'A Dollar and A Half" in his notes; it certainly caries widely from the better known versions of Lowlands ('I Dreamed A Dream The Other Night')."

Barbara


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Mick Tems
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 05:32 AM

William Fender (16 Sydenham Street, Barry Docks, South Wales, first shipped in 1878, last voyage 1900) was on a ship called the Ingomar when she docked in Valparaiso, Chile in October 1885. It was there that he learned Lowlands (A Dollar And A Half), and James Madison Carpenter noted him singing it:

I wish I was in Mobile Bay
(CHORUS) Lowlands, Lowlands away my John
Screwing cotton all the day
(CHORUS) My dollar and a half a day

I thought I heard our old man say            
That two pound ten won't pay my way   

I courted a girl called Minnie Grey
But a yellow guy stole her away

Stole here away, left me in pain
I`ll never see my love again

I wish I was in sunny Spain
I would go on the spree again

A dollar a day is a poor man's pay
A dollar a day is a poor man's pay

Then rise her up from down below
Then shake her up where the cold winds blow

In Mobile Bay I heard them say
Tomorrow you'll be on your way

Carpenter said: "It is to be regretted that no true idea can be given on paper of the wonderful shading which shanty men of real genius sometimes gave to the song by their subtle and delicate variations of time and expression."

Mick Tems


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 08:29 AM

Fender's recording for Carpenter is a little different:


I thought I heard our old man say,
        Lowlands! Lowla-ands, away, my John!
I thought I heard our old man say,
        One dollar and a half a day.

A dollar a day is a poor man's pay,
        Lowlands! Lowla-ands, away, my John!
A dollar a day is a poor man's pay,
        My dollar and a half a day.

So shake her up from down below,
        Lowlands! Lowla-ands, away, my John!
So shake her up from down below,
        One dollar and a half a day.


Virtually all the shantymen on the Folktrax discs sang the solo line in each stanza twice.

The rest of Dr Price's transcription may be correct, but I'd double-check the phrase "yellow guy."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: dollar and a half a day: Percy Grainger
From: BB
Date: 21 Aug 09 - 09:37 AM

"caries" - sorry, that should of course have been 'varies'. Mick has of course expanded on the CD notes with his posting.

Barbara


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: 18 June 6:07 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.