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Req:Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales-Herring Croon

DigiTrad:
BELAMENA
BRANDY TREE (Otter's Song)
CAPE ANN
CLEAR AWAY IN THE MORNING
DARK OLD WATERS
DILLAN BAY
DUNA
HEARTH AND FIRE
HERRING CROON
HILLS OF ISLE AU HAUT
HUSH YE MY BAIRNIE
ISLE AU HAUT LULLABY (Hay Ledge Song)
JOHN OF DREAMS
KIRSTEEN/CHRISTINN
LITTLE RIVER
MRS. MACDONALD'S LAMENT
MY IMAGES COME
O-E-DALLAY
OLD FAT BOAT (Mattapoisset Harbor Inventory)
RIGHT SAID FRED (CUP OF TEA)
RORY DALL
THE BAYOU SARA
TUNE FOR NOVEMBER
TURN OVER IN THE MORNING
TURN YE TO ME
TURNING TOWARD THE MORNING
WAYS OF MAN ARE PASSING STRANGE
WEARY OF THE DARNING


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GUEST,Darlodave 02 Jul 10 - 02:40 PM
Don Firth 02 Jul 10 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Songbob 02 Jul 10 - 03:10 PM
Don Firth 02 Jul 10 - 04:10 PM
Joe Offer 02 Jul 10 - 08:35 PM
Don Firth 02 Jul 10 - 10:00 PM
Don Firth 02 Jul 10 - 10:08 PM
GUEST,Darlodave 05 Jul 10 - 10:05 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales
From: GUEST,Darlodave
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 02:40 PM

Looking for the lyrics to the above song, can anyone provide please.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 02:47 PM

Gimme a little time and I'm come up with it. "The Herring Croon," by Gordon Bok.

I think you'll find that's "mare's tails and mackerel skies."

Description of cloud formations. Mare's tales: wispy clouds, long and strung out. Mackerel skies: do look a bit like fish scales. Small, "chunky" looking clouds and lots of them.

Folks from the Maritimes or Down East know more about this than I do, but I think both cloud formations indicate bad weather coming.

I'll get the words and be back in awhile.

Don Firth


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Subject: from DT: Herring Croon (Bok)
From: GUEST,Songbob
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 03:10 PM

From the DT:

HERRING CROON
(Gordon Bok)

Where do you go, little herring?
What do you see, tail-and-fin?
"Blue and green, cold and dark,
Seaweed growing high,
Hills a hundred fathom deep
Where the dead men lie,
Dogfish eyes and mackerels' eyes,
And they hunger after me;
Net or weir, I don't care,
Catch me if you can."

Where do you go, little boat?
(Tar and timber, plank and sail)
"I go to green bays,
Lift them under me,
Cold grey combing seas
Come to bury me,
Rocky jaws and stony claws,
And they hunger after me;
Harbors cold and deep and bold,
Wish that I could see."

What do you see, fisherman?
(Poor old sailor, blood and bone)
"Mackerel skies, mares' tales;
Reef and furl and steer.
Poor haul and hungry days.
Rotten line and gear,
Snow wind and winter gales.
And they hunger after me;
Net or weir, I don't care,
Catch you if I can.

Where do you go, little herring?
What do you see, tail-and-fin?
"Blue and green, cold and dark,
Seaweed growing high,
Hills a hundred fathom deep
Where the dead men lie,
Dogfish eyes and mackerels' eyes,
And they hunger after me;
Net or weir, I don't care,
Catch me if you can."

Words and music by Gordon Bok, copyright BMI.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 04:10 PM

Songbob beat me to it, but here's another, slightly different take on the song:

In the late 1960s, on a local classical music station, from 11:00 to midnight on Sunday evenings, a woman named Margaret Ellsworth (dunno who she was, where she came from, or where she went) played folk music records. She played some pretty good stuff, so I plugged in my open-reel tape recorder and taped her show. I was "trolling" for songs I might want to sing myself. And that was the first time I had ever heard, or heard of, Gordon Bok. He sang "The Herring Croon," as follows:
The Herring Croon
(by Gordon Bok)

Where do you go, little herring?
What do you see, tail-and-fin?
"Blue and green, cold and dark,
Seaweed growing high,
Hills a hundred fathom deep
Where the dead men lie,
Dogfish eyes and mackerels' eyes,
And they hunger after me;
Hook and line, net or weir,
Catch me if you can."

Where do you go, little boat,
Tar and timber, plank and sail?
"I go to green bays,
Lifting under me,
Cold grey combing seas
Come to bury me,
Rocky jaws and stony claws,
And they hunger after me;
Harbors cold and deep and bold,
Wish that I could see."

What do you see, fisherman?
(Poor old sailor, blood and bone)
"Mackerel skies, mares' tales;
Reef and furl and steer.
Poor haul, hungry days.
Rotten line and gear,
Snow and wind and winter gales.
And they hunger after me;
Hook and line, net or weir,
Catch you if I can.

Where do you go, little herring?
What do you see, tail-and-fin?
"Blue and green, cold and dark,
Seaweed growing high,
Hills a hundred fathom deep
Where the dead men lie,
Dogfish eyes and mackerels' eyes,
Oh, they hunger after me;
Hook and line, net or weir,
Catch me if you can."

Words and music © by Gordon Bok (BMI).
I learned it and have been singing it since then (giving proper credit to Gordon, of course), along with other songs of his, such as "Mr Eneos," "Cape Ann," and others. I've stolen a lot of his songs, partly because they're great songs and partly because my voice is deep like his, and people have told me I sound a bit like him (well—when he's having an off day, perhaps). Met him on two occasions, when he sang concerts in this area (Pacific Northwest). Heck of a nice guy.

The words in Gordon's song book, Time and the Flying Snow, and as recorded in DT, are slightly different from the way I first heard it (as above), but not substantially.

If you're not familiar with Gordon's work, check him out.

CLICKY

Don Firth


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Subject: DT Correction: Herring Croon (Bok)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 08:35 PM

Asw long as Songbob posted lyrics from the Digital Tradition above, let me post some corrections, based on what I hear on Bok's Herrings in the Bay album and what I see in the Time and the Flying Snow songbook. Three main things:
  • And oh, they hunger after me - in each stanza but the first
  • Where the fishermen lie - the only difference between the last and first verse
  • "mares' tails" are a cloud formation, as are "mackerel skies" - so "tales" wouldn't make sense

HERRING CROON
(Gordon Bok)

Where do you go, little herring?
What do you see, tail-and-fin?
"Blue and green, cold and dark,
Seaweed growing high,
Hills a hundred fathom deep
Where the dead men lie,
Dogfish eyes and mackerels' eyes,
And they hunger after me;
Net or weir, I don't care,
Catch me if you can."

Where do you go, little boat,
Tar and timber, plank and sail?
"I go to green bays,
Lift them under me,
Cold, grey, combing seas
Come to bury me,
Rocky jaws and stony claws,
And oh, they hunger after me;
Harbors cold and deep and bold,
Wish that I could see."

What do you see, fisherman?
(Poor old sailor, blood and bone)
"Mackerel skies, mares' tails;
Reef and furl and steer.
Poor haul and hungry days.
Rotten line and gear,
Snow, wind, and winter gales.
And oh, they hunger after me;
Net or weir, I don't care,
Catch you if I can.

Where do you go, little herring?
What do you see, tail-and-fin?
"Blue and green, cold and dark,
Seaweed growing high,
Hills a hundred fathom deep
Where the fishermen lie,
Dogfish eyes and mackerels' eyes,
And oh, they hunger after me;
Net or weir, I don't care,
Catch me if you can."

Words and music by Gordon Bok, BMI.


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Subject: RE: Req:Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales-Herring Croon
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 10:00 PM

Good catch, Joe! That'll teach me to proof-read and edit more carefully.

One more from the way I originally heard the song. Third verse, first two lines:
What do you see, fisherman,
Born a sailor, blood and bone?
I'd have to check Gordon's song book to be sure, but I think "Poor old sailor" is a mondegreen. I am sure about the words Gordon sings on my 1960s tape. His enunciation is crystal-clear. A few of the words are a bit different in the song book, but those have to be later changes.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Req:Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales-Herring Croon
From: Don Firth
Date: 02 Jul 10 - 10:08 PM

Oh-oh! Another one!

Second verse, third and forth lines:
"I go to green bays,
Lifting under me,"
Again, from the tape.

I actually like the way he did it on the tape (his earlier recording) than the way he did it later. Not that much difference, really, but. . . .

Maybe because I've been singing it that way for years.

Don Firtn


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Subject: RE: Req:Mare's Tails and Mackerel Scales-Herring Croon
From: GUEST,Darlodave
Date: 05 Jul 10 - 10:05 AM

Sorry guys, these are not the words I'm looking for. It's the words to the song as recorded by The Fisherman's Friends on their cd 'Another Mouthful From'.
So I'm still seeking if anyone can assist.
Thanks


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