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Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..

Will Fly 16 Nov 09 - 04:11 AM
Jack Blandiver 16 Nov 09 - 04:27 AM
Will Fly 16 Nov 09 - 04:37 AM
GUEST 16 Nov 09 - 05:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Nov 09 - 06:01 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Nov 09 - 06:12 PM
TheSnail 16 Nov 09 - 08:14 PM
curmudgeon 16 Nov 09 - 08:50 PM
BB 17 Nov 09 - 04:10 PM
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Subject: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:11 AM

Humming to myself in the shower this morning (as you do), I was mentally going over the tunes we'd been playing recently in between dances at a series of ceilidh gigs. "La Grande Chaine" sprung to mind and I suddenly started singing "The good ship sails in the alley alley-oh, the alley alley-oh" - which was all I could remember. This was a song that my sister used to sing in the playground - ooh - 50 years or so ago. I then hummed the "A" part of "La Grande Chaine to She Who Must Be Obeyed, and she immediately thought of "the good ship".

"La Grande Chaine is a French-Canadian tune - so I'm wondering: is it pure coincidence that the two tunes are so similar (there are, after all, only 13 notes in the scale) - or is there some link between the two? I don't have an Opie book to hand to check the origins of the playground song.

And if anyone has the whole words to "the good ship", SWMBO would be interested as she's forgotten the words... :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:27 AM

We always sang it as The Big Ship Sails on the Alley, Alley-o - a search on YouTube reveals a version by Kate Rusby...


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: Will Fly
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 04:37 AM

Thanks SO'P. In my playground days, it was always the girls that did the singing/clapping,skipping/ball games, and the boys went tearing around shouting and beating each other up. So tunes like The Big/Good Ship are only hazily brought to my mind.


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 05:44 PM

Memories are made of this..

As far as mine go, Caythorpe County Primary school early 1960's. The playground was split into a girls and a boys half but the infant class played in the girls' half. You all joined hands and the child nearest the wall made a half arch against the wall and the child the other end of the line led the line through the arch with the wall end child turning under so their arm was crossed in front of them. That child and the next one then made an arch and we all passed through and so on down the line until everyone was in line with their arms crossed at which point the line was led back through to unwind it.

As I remember it the chant was -

"The big ship sails through the Alley, Alley O,
The Alley, Alley O
The Alley, Alley O.
The big ship sails through the Alley, Alley O
On a cold September morning.

The Captain....

The mate he...

The sailors..."

All the best

Steve


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:01 PM

Iona and Peter Opie, 1985, Oxford Univ. Press, give the song as "The Big Ship Sails," with musical score.
Its origin is obscure; they point to the opening in 1894 of the Manchester Ship Canal (an 'alley-like channel') but also note its possible occurence in New Zealand in 1870 ('recollection' only), and some slight similarities to some other arch games.
Noted in Hampshire (1909) as "sailing thro' the Holly, Holly O!
Some other local variants are noted.


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 06:12 PM

Verses in Opie-

The Big Ship Sails

The big ship sails on the alley alley oh,
The alley alley oh, the alley alley oh;
The big ship sails on the alley alley oh,
On the last day of September.

We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea
The deep blue sea, the deep blue sea;
We all dip our heads in the deep blue sea,
On the last day of September.

The captain said, "This will never never do,
Never never do, never never do";
The captain said, "This will never never do,
On the last day of September."
With musical score, pp. 50-52.

The Opies note that the song was unknown to Alice Gomme in 1898.


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: TheSnail
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:14 PM

I've had a play through and, as far as I can tell, the rhythm of the first bar is the same (dum dum didi didi) but apart from that there is no resemblance between the tunes at all.


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: curmudgeon
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 08:50 PM

The Quebecois tune is titled "Le Grand Chien," the Big Dog - Tom


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Subject: RE: Origins: La Grande Chaine & The Good Ship Sails..
From: BB
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 04:10 PM

I remember the first and last verses of the Opie version from my primary school days in Wiltshire, and GUEST's description of the actions, or something very similar to them.

Barbara


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