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Origins: Lloyd's Coast of Peru

DigiTrad:
THE COAST OF PERU
THE COAST OF PERU (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Cruising For Sperm / New Zealand Whales (17)
Lyr Req: Whaling Warning Song / Coast of Peru (9)
Lyr Req: Olde Thomas Harpooners / Coast of Peru (5)
Chord Req: The Coast of Peru (5)
Help: Coast of Peru (5)
Lyr Req: Coast of Peru (Chris Foster version) (2)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The Coast of Peru (Colcord) (from Joanna Colcord, Songs of American Sailormen)
The Coast of Peru (Harlow) (from Frederick Pease Harlow, Chanteying Aboard American Ships)


Lighter 09 Sep 10 - 08:28 AM
Roberto 09 Sep 10 - 08:54 AM
Roberto 09 Sep 10 - 08:56 AM
The Sandman 09 Sep 10 - 09:44 AM
Lighter 09 Sep 10 - 12:28 PM
Joe Offer 09 Sep 10 - 04:33 PM
Gibb Sahib 09 Sep 10 - 06:14 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Sep 10 - 06:38 PM
Lighter 09 Sep 10 - 07:21 PM
Joe Offer 09 Sep 10 - 07:58 PM
Kitty Donohoe 09 Sep 10 - 08:32 PM
Joe Offer 09 Sep 10 - 08:34 PM
Joe Offer 09 Sep 10 - 09:05 PM
Lighter 09 Sep 10 - 09:14 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Sep 10 - 09:20 PM
Anglo 10 Sep 10 - 01:02 PM
Lighter 10 Sep 10 - 01:10 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Sep 10 - 02:10 PM
Joe Offer 10 Sep 10 - 05:41 PM
Lighter 10 Sep 10 - 06:03 PM
Joe Offer 10 Sep 10 - 06:16 PM
Lighter 10 Sep 10 - 10:23 PM
Lighter 11 Sep 10 - 07:20 PM
Steve Gardham 12 Sep 10 - 07:27 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: Lloyd's "Coast of Peru"
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 08:28 AM

Unless I'm mistaken, there's no evidence that Bert Lloyd collected his great version of "The Coast of Peru" from a human being. Though Lloyd worked on a whaling ship for a short time in the 1930s, his album notes to Leviathan and There She Blows! say nothing about hearing the song then or, in fact, at any time anywhere.

He almost certainly learned it from print and added collations and improvements of his own.

But where did he get the outstanding tune? Colcord's is different.
Is it a close relative of a traditional tune?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Roberto
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 08:54 AM

A. L. Lloyd sang the song to two different tunes, one to be heard in the Singing Sailor, available in the 2 CDs Ten Thousand Miles Away, and the other in Leviathan and Thar She Blows! You're right, Lighter, he doesn't say where he got the tunes. I'll search Folk Song in England late in the evening. In case, I'll let you know. R


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Roberto
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 08:56 AM

I was wrong, I've just listened to the songs, the tune is always the same, although differently performed. R


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 09:44 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq76ncXFyAg


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 12:28 PM

Nice work, Dick! And thanks Roberto, for looking.


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Subject: ADD Version: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 04:33 PM

As far as I can tell, we haven't had the A.L. Lloyd lyrics posted here. Reinhard Zierke has an excellent page on this song:

    The Coast of Peru

    [Trad. arr. A.L. Lloyd]

    This song about the early 19th century Pacific whale fishing was recorded in 1956 by A.L. Lloyd for his, Ewan MacColl's and Harry H. Corbett's album The Singing Sailor. This track has been reissued lots of times, e.g. on their albums The Black Ball Line, Shanties and Fo'c'sle Songs (Wattle Records), Haul on the Bowlin' (Stinson Records), as title track of the EP The Coast of Peru, and on the compilations Sea Songs and Shanties (Topic Sampler No 7), Chants de Marins IV: Ballads, Complaintes et Shanties des Matelots Anglais, and Sailors' Songs & Sea Shanties.

    A.L. Lloyd also sang this song on the Riverside LP Thar She Blows!, and recorded it for a third time in 1967 for the album Leviathan! Ballads and Songs of the Whaling Trade. Here, he was accompanied by Alf Edwards, English concertina; Dave Swarbrick, fiddle; and Martin Carthy, mandolin.

    Lloyd commented in the The Coast of Peru sleeve notes:

    The English whaling ship Emilia was the first to inaugurate the Pacific sperm whale fishery in 1788, rounding Cape Horn to fish in the waters of the South Sea islands and the coasts of Chile and Peru. By the 1840s, the days of the South Seamen were numbered, bur they left behind a fine memorial in their songs, of which The Coast of Peru is perhaps the most impressive. Tumbez, mentioned in the last verse, is in the far north of Peru, on the Gulf of Guayaquil, near the equator. Its girls are remembered in several whaling songs.

    and in the sleeve notes of Leviathan!:

    By no means all the oldtime whaling was done in northern waters. In the 1820s, for example, more than a hundred British ships, mostly out of Hull or London, where fishing in the spermwhale grounds round the Horn off the coast of Chile and Peru and taking the long, long run across the Pacific by way of Galapagos Island and the Marquesas, to Timor. The trip would last three years. The Coast of Peru is the most important ballad of the South-Seamen. Possibly it describes the chase of a southern right whale, not a sperm. Sperms were usually harpooned by running the boat close to the whale. Right whales, who tend to fight with their tail, were more often harpooned with the “long dart” from perhaps ten yards away. Mention of the mate in the “main chains” dates the song before the 1840s.

    Ewan MacColl also sang The Coast of Peru on the B-side of the musical score from the film Whaler Out of New Bedford, where he was accompanied on banjo. According to the sleeve notes, the song was “collated from a text in Colcord's Songs of American Sailormen and another in Doerflinger's Shantymen and Shantyboys.”

    Lyrics

    Whaler Out of New Bedford version

    Come all you young fellows who cruise round Cape Horn,
    Come all you young sailormen who follow the sperm,
    For our captain has told us and we hope he says true,
    That there's plenty of whales on the coast of Peru.

    'Twas was early one morning just as the sun rose,
    That a man from the mast-head sung out: “There she blows!”
    “Where away?” cried our captain, “and how do she lay?”
    “Two points on our lee, sir, scarce three miles away.”

    “Then call up all hands and be of good cheer,
    Get your lines in your boats and your tackles fall clear.
    Hoist and swing fore and aft; stand by, each boat's crew,
    Lower away, lower away, as the main-yard swings to.”

    Our waist-boat got down, and of course she got the start.
    “Lay on me, Captain Bunker, I'm hell for a long dart.”
    Now bend to your oars and make the boat fly.
    But one thing we dread of, keep clear of his eye!”

    Now the whale has gone down, to the wind'art he'll lay,
    Whatever he done, boys, he showed us fair play.
    But we fought him alongside and a lance we thrust in,
    And in less than an hour he rolled out his fin.

    We laid him alongside with many a loud shout.
    We began cutting in and then trying out.
    The whale is cut in, tried out and stowed down,
    He is better to us than five hundred pound.

    Now our ship she is laden, for home we will steer,
    Where there's plenty of rum, boys, and plenty strong beer!
    We'll spend money freely with the pretty girls ashore,
    And when it's all gone we'll go whaling for more.

    Leviathan! version

    Come all you young fellows that's bound after sperm,
    Come all you bold seamen that's rounded the Horn.
    Our captain have told us and we hope he says true,
    That there's plenty of sperm whale on the coast of Peru.

    We've weathered the Horn and we're now off Peru,
    We're all of one mind to endeavour to do.
    Our boats they're all ready, our mastheads all manned,
    Our riggin' rove light, me boys, and our signals all planned.

    It was early one mornin' we heard the brave shout,
    As the man on the look-out cried out: “There she spouts!”
    “Where away?” says our captain, “and where does she lay?”
    “Two points to our lee bow, scarce a mile away.”

    Then it's, “Call up all hands, my lads, and be of good cheer.
    Put your tubs in your boats, boys, have your bow-lines all clear.
    Sway up on them boats now, jump in, my brave crew,
    Lower away now, and after her, try the best you can do.”

    Well, the waist-boat run down, and of course got the start.
    “Lay on,” says the harpooneer, “for I'm hell for the long dart.
    Now bend on them oars, boys, and make your boat fly.
    But one thing we dread of, keep clear of his eye.”

    Oh, we give him one iron and the whale he went down,
    But as he come up, boys, our captain bent on.
    And the next harpoon struck, and the line sped away,
    But whatever that whale done, he give us fair play.

    Oh, he raced and he sounded, he twist and he spin,
    But we fought him alongside and got our lance in,
    Which caused him to vomit, and the blood for to spout,
    And in ten minutes' time, me boys, he rolled both fins out.

    We towed him alongside, and with many a shout.
    We soon cut him in and begun to try out.
    Now the blubber is rendered and likewise stowed down,
    And it's better to us, me boys, than five hundred pound.

    Now we're bound into Tumbez in our manly power,
    Where a man buys a whorehouse for a barrel of flour.
    We'll spend all our money on them Spanish gals ashore,
    And when it's all gone, me boys, we'll go whaling for more.

    Acknowledgements

    The lyrics were copied from the Whaler Out of New Bedford and Leviathan! sleeve notes and slightly corrected to the actual singing of Ewan MacColl and A.L. Lloyd.


I listened to the Leviathan! recording and made a number of small corrections to Reinhard's transcription. -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 06:14 PM

This is not very helpful, because I don't have any of my books with me to provide details. But I seem to remember wondering about this once and perusing the print versions...and coming to the idea that one of them was sort of like Lloyd's and perhaps that Lloyd used it as a basic sketch.

I find that when some people try to get tunes from a book, they don't bother to reproduce the tune exactly, but rather get some of it and make the rest go according to their inclination. Mind, I am not saying that they should not do that, however after comparing a lot of "revival" versions of tunes to print versions, I believe that to be the case -- my own sort of "lazy" tendency to *want* to do that is almost "proof" enough. And yes, many will say that of course the tunes differ, because all singers do "folk" music differently and change things here and there etc. -- which is fine, but I don't believe it to be the case in the instances I am referring to. I will leave others to judge the ethics or appropriateness of learning a tune from a book but being careless about accuracy, so that a new tune is spread.

Like I said, not much help, but my 2 cents.

On a different note, I have composed a very pornographic parody of "Coast of Peru," but when I sing it, I do it to the Lloyd/revival/well-known tune. This is essential, as it let people nowadays recognize what is being parodied!

I do hope to learn to sing CoP to one of the "other" tunes some day.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 06:38 PM

To the above references I add
Huntington 'Songs of the Whalemen' p2
New Zealand Folk Songs p8
Harlaw, 'Shanteying aboard American Ships' p222 all 3 with tunes.

I love Bert's tune but I don't read music so I couldn't say for certain which one he based it on.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 07:21 PM

Steve, "There She Blows" (ca1957) antedates all those publications by several years.

Joe and Gibb, Colcord's tune is notably different. Huntington's is essentially the same as Lloyd's, but he tells us that none of the tunes in his book are necessarily connected traditionally with the songs. The evidence suggests that Huntington picked up the tune from "There She Blows!" which was issued a number of years earlier.

Doerflinger doesn't give a tune. The only other tune I'm aware of is the Lomaxes' 1947 adaptation of Colcord's.

My question is whether Lloyd took the tune from another song and, if so, what song? I'm beginning to think he made it up himself.

I also think he made up the dramatic "Leviathan" tune for "Rolling Down to Old Maui." Only two other melodies to that one are known (I believe): Hugill's (which is pretty much "The Miller o' Dee") and Harlow's (reminiscent of "Tenting Tonight").


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Subject: ADD Version: The Coast of Peru (from Harlow)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 07:58 PM

I'll post some of the tunes I've found and we can see how they compare to Lloyd's version. Here's the version from Frederick Pease Harlow, Chanteying Aboard American Ships, (1962) pp. 222-223.

THE COAST OF PERU

Come all ye young tars who are cruising for sperm,
Come all ye jolly seamen who have rounded Cape Horn:
For our captain has told us and we hope he says true,
That there's plenty of sperm whales on the coast of Peru.

The first whale we saw near the close of the day.
Our captain came on deck and thus he did say:
"Now, all my good sailors, pray be of good glee,
For we'll see him in the mornin' p'rhaps under our lee."

It was early next morning, just as the sun 'rose,
The man at the masthead cried out, 'Ere she blows!"
Where away?" cried our captain, as he sprang aloft,
Three points off our lee beam and scarce two miles off."

"Now brace up your yards, boys, and be of good cheer,
Get your lines in your boats, see your box lines all clear;
Haul back the main yard, boys, stand by, each boat crew,
Lower away, lower away! when the main yard swings to!

"Now bend to your oars, boys, just make the boat fly.
But whatever you do, boys, keep clear from his eye."
The first mate soon struck and the whale he went down,
While the Old Man pulled up and stood by to bend on.

But the whale soon arose, to the windward, he lay,
We hauled up 'longside, and he showed us fair play.
We caused him to vomit thick blood for to spout,
And in less than ten minutes we rolled him 'fin out.'

We towed him alongside with many a shout,
That day, cut him in and begin to boil out.
Oh, now he's all boiled out and stowed down below,
We're waiting to hear 'em sing out, "Ere she blows!"


Click to play

To me, this sounds very much like the tune Ewan MacColl used on the film score for Whaler Out of New Bedford


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Kitty Donohoe
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 08:32 PM

I have NO idea if this is what I'm supposed to be doing! I've been archiving info on songs of
Bold Jack Dona/o/hoe/ue, etc. - who most likely is an ancestor of mine - because I'm in the process of putting together material for an Irish American album and am curious about this
Bold Jack fella. I'm going thru what I could find but saw references to collections that I'm
not finding anywhere. Mostly I just want to say 'thanks for doing the homework' and I look
forward to including some version of the song on the new CD. Any thoughts???


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Subject: ADD Version: The Coast of Peru (from Colcord)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 08:34 PM

Here's the version from Joanna Colcord, Songs of American Sailormen , (1938) pp. 194-195.
Colcord's notes:
    Captain Bunker of the next song must have been one of that family which sent forth a long line of noted sperm-whalers. The singer identified the song with a Captain Bunker who had died shortly before in Sailors' Snug Harbor; but this is probably an error, as the song goes back to the early days of offshore whaling.

THE COAST OF PERU

Come all ye young tars who are cruising for sperm,
Come all ye jolly seamen who have rounded Cape Horn,
For our captain has told us, and we hope he says true,
That there's plenty of sperm whales on the coast of Peru!

'Twas early one morning just as the sun rose
That a man from the mast-head sung out "There she blows!"
"Where away?" cried our captain, "and how does he lay?"
"Two points on our lee, sir; scarce three miles away."

"Then call up all hands and be of good cheer;
Get your lines in your boats and your tackle-falls clear.
Hoist and swing fore and aft; stand by, each boat's crew,
Lower away, lower away, as the main—yard swings to."

Our waist—boat got down, and of course she got the start.
"Lay me on, Captain Bunker, I'm hell for a long dart!"
Now bend to your oars and make the boat fly,
But one thing we dread of, keep clear of his eye!

Now the captain is fast and the whale has gone down,
And the first mate lies waiting his line to bend on.
Now the whale has come up, like a log he did lay;
Whatever he done, boys, he gave us fair play.

(Line missing)
But we fought him 'longside and a lance we thrust in,
Which caused the whale to vomit and the blood for to spout;
In less than ten minutes he rolled both fins out.




Click to play

To me, this sounds like the tune Lou Killen used on Steady As She Goes: Songs and Chanties from the Days of Commercial Sail.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 09:05 PM

The versions in the Digital Tradition are from:
Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

    Coast of Peru, The [Laws D26]

    DESCRIPTION: (The captain promises the sailors that they will spot many whales off Peru.) A whaler spots a whale off the coast of Peru. The crew harpoons the whale and renders it. They look forward to seeing the girls at home
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1832 (Journal of William Silver of the Bengal)
    KEYWORDS: sea whale whaler return
    FOUND IN: US(MA)
    REFERENCES (11 citations):
    Laws D26, "The Coast of Peru"
    Doerflinger, pp. 151-152, "The Coast of Peru" (1 text)
    Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 2-4, "The Coast of Peru" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Huntington-Gam, pp. 27-28, "Captain Bunker" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Colcord, pp. 194-195, "Coast of Peru" (1 text, 1 tune)
    Harlow, pp. 222-223, "Coast of Peru" (1 text, 1 tune)
    ThompsonNewYork, p. 194, "The Coast of Peru" (1 text)
    Darling-NAS, pp. 185-186, "The Coast of Peru" (1 text)
    Silber-FSWB, p. 91, "Coast of Peru" (1 text)
    DT 617, CSTPERU*
    ADDITIONAL: Alfred M. Williams, _Studies in Folk-Song and Popular Poetry_, Houghton Mifflin, 1894, pp. 33-35, "The Coast of Peru" (1 text)

    Roud #1997
    RECORDINGS:
    A.L. Lloyd, "The Coast of Peru" (on Lloyd9)
    CROSS-REFERENCES:
    cf. "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning" (floating verses)
    NOTES: A.L. Lloyd notes that "Mention of the mate 'in the main chains' dates the song from before the 1840s." -PJS
    The "Captain Bunker" version in Huntington-Gam is much shorter than most versions of this song, and it doesn't mention the Coast of Peru. But the longer versions sometimes mention Captain Bunker; Roud lumps the two, and I very tentatively do the same. It may be that "Captain Bunker" is a broken-off version of "The Coast of Peru" that picked up some additional material. - RBW
    Last updated in version 4.2
    File: LD26

    Go to the Ballad Search form
    Go to the Ballad Index Song List

    Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
    Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: Coast of Peru (Brady)
From: Lighter
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 09:14 PM

From Cyrus T. Brady's "For the Freedom of the Sea" (N.Y.: Scribner, 1899), pp. 249-50. Sung at the capstan:


THE COAST OF PERU

        Come, all ye bold sailors, who sail 'round Cape Horn,
        Come, all the bold whalers who cruise 'round for sperm.
        The captain has told us and I hope 'twill prove true,
        That there's plenty of sperm whales off the coast of Peru.

        "Now, shipmates, all hands in the chorus:

        Off the coast of Peru,
        Off the coast of Peru,        
        That there's plenty of sperm whales off the coast of Peru.

        The first whale we saw near the close of the day.
        Our captain came on deck, and thus did he say:
        "Now all my bold sailors, pray be of good glee,
        For we'll see him in the morning, p'raps under our lee."

        It was early next morning, just as the sun rose,
        The man at the masthead called out, "There she blows!"
        "Whereaway?" cried our captain, as he sprang up aloft,
        "Three points on our lee bow, and scarce two miles off."

        "Now trace up your yards, boys, we'll fasten anear.
        Get your lines in your boats, see your box lines all clear;
        Haul back the mainyard, boys, stand by, each boat's crew,
        Lower away, lower away, my brave fellows, do."

        "Now, bend to your oars boys, just make the boat fly,
        But whatever you do, boys, keep clear from his eye."
        The first mate soon struck, and the whale he went down,
        While the old man pulled up and stood by to bend on.

        But the whale soon arose, to the windward he lay,
        We hauled up 'longside, and he showed us fair play,
        We caused him to vomit, thick blood for to spout,
        And in less than ten minutes, we rolled him "fin out."

        We towed him alongside with many a shout,
        That day cut him in, and began to boil out.
        Oh, now he's all boiled out and stowed down below,
        We're waiting to hear them sing out, "There she blows!"

Brady does not give the tune.

BTW, Huntington thinks he may have heard one of his elderly in-laws sing "Rolling Down to Old Maui" to a tune much like that of "The Bowery," but "memory plays strange tricks," and he gives Harlow's tune instead.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Sep 10 - 09:20 PM

The Harlow tune is a slight variant of Send Us the Glory (Hallelujah I'm a bum)


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Anglo
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 01:02 PM

The three published versions of this tune I have found are closely related, but not to Lloyd's version. The Harlow tune is similar to the others, but with the opening phrase simplified. I had always thought that the tunes in the Huntington book were simply taken directly from other printed sources, there rarely being tunes found in the logbook journals, but this tune, though similar to the one in Colcord, is different enough IMHO to be classified on its own. And I don't know where it comes from.

I think Lloyd might have amended his text after seeing the Huntington book, eg the second verse in the Leviathan ("We've weathered the Horn...") has been added to the version he recorded earlier.

Roud lists a version called Captain Bunker, from Maine, printed in the Bulletin of the Folksong Society of the Northeast 6 (1933). I do not have access to that; it would be interesting to see it. The same article also reprints a text from J. Ross Browne, Etchings of a Whaling Cruise (1846). This certainly has textual similarity to Coast of Peru, with the line, "Lay me on Captain Bunker, I'm hell for a long dart," yet the chorus recalls The Diamond, "So be cheery, my lads! Let your hearts never fail, while the bold harpooneer is a striking of the whale."

But I can cast no light at all on Lloyd's source for his tune (sung much more slowly and freely on his first recording, BTW, than on Leviathan).


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 01:10 PM

Thanks Joe, Dick, and Anglo. I may be able to dig up the 1933 text. Will report if I find it.

If Huntington had been singing Colcord's "Coast of Peru" for a long time, he might have altered it unconsciously. Of course, if he'd heard one of his old sailor relatives sing "Maui" (or "Mohee" as he spells it), he might have learned the tune from him. It doesn't matter much, really, because the variation is minimal.

The fragment from Browne is quoted by Melville in _Moby Dick_.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 02:10 PM

Joe--Colcord
'The song goes back to the days of offshore whaling' Is there any evidence for this? All of the versions I have are pretty definitely shipboard whaling.

By the way Bert's tune that I know, the only one I know, is the same tune sung by Scots travellers to the broadside ballad 'Duncan Campbell/Erin go Bragh' and probably other Scots broadside pieces.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 05:41 PM

I think that must be a misstatement on Colcord's part, Steve. Too much of the song shows evidence of the presence of a ship.

Note that it was Huntington who dates this song to 1832 (Journal of William Silver of the Bengal)

Can anybody make a MIDI of Lloyd's tune and send it to me for posting?

There's a version of this song in Folk Songs of the Upper Thames, by Alfred Williams (1923). Can somebody post that version?

-Joe-


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Subject: ADD Version: The Coast of Peru (from Williams)
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 06:03 PM

There's this, from Williams's own "Studies in American Folk Song" (1895):

"There is another whaling song, entitled The Coast of Peru, and undoubtedly the work of a forecastle poet, which is worth preserving, despite its homeliness, for its genuine flavor, and as a relic of the old days before steam whalers and bomb lances took so much of the romance out of the fishery.



THE COAST OF PERU.

Come, all ye bold sailors,
Who sail 'round Cape Horn,
Come, all the bold whalers,
Who cruise 'round for sperm.
The Captain has told us,
And I hope't will prove true
That there's plenty of sperm whales
Off the coast of Peru.

The first whale we saw
Near the close of the day.
Our Captain came on deck,
And thus he did say :
"Now all my bold sailors,
Pray be of good glee,
For we 'll see him in the morning,
P'raps under our lee."

It was early next morning,
Just as the sun rose,
The man at the mast-head
Called out, "There she blows!"
"Whereaway ?" cried our Captain,
As he sprang up aloft.
"Three points on our lee bow,
And scarce two miles oft."

"Now trace up your yards, boys,
We '11 fasten anear.   
Get your lines in your boats,
See your box [sic] lines all clear;
Haul back the main yard, boys,
Stand by, each boat's crew,
Lower away, lower away,
My brave fellows, do."

"Now, bend to your oars, boys,
Just make the boat fly,
But whatever you do, boys,
Keep clear from his eye."
The first mate soon struck,
And the whale he went down,
While the old man pulled up,
And stood by to bend on.

But the whale soon arose;
To the windward he lay.
We hauled up 'longside,
And he showed us fair play.
We caused him to vomit,
Thick blood for to spout,
And in less than ten minutes
We rolled him "fin out."

We towed him alongside
With many a shout,
That day cut him in,
And began to boil out.
Oh, now he's all boiled out
And stowed down below,
We're waiting to hear 'em,
Sing out, "There she blows!"


Williams goes on to say,

"It is extremely doubtful if the Dago sailors and foreign 'longshoremen, who now make such a large portion of the crews of the Arctic steam whalers, are capable of even such rude verse as this, and the poetry of the whale fishery is now as extinct as the glory of Nantucket and the sea flavor of New Bedford. Like some greater things it may be regretted, but cannot be recovered."

He gives no source or melody.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Joe Offer
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 06:16 PM

Thanks, Lighter. The bibliography in Huntington was confusing. The song is on pp. 33-35 of Studies in Folk-Song and Popular Poetry, by Alfred M. Williams (1895) - no melody in the book.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Sep 10 - 10:23 PM

Sorry for the inaccurate title, Joe. Same book.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Sep 10 - 07:20 PM

The ref. to the Bulletin of the Folksong Society of the Northeast [U.S.A.] is a little misleading, but the song that actually appears there is of some interest. The article's author, the great Phillips Barry, merely says "Compare _Coast of Peru_" in Colcord's book.

Barry collected this fragment from a lady in Maine. She called it "The Bold Abaneersman":

Squire Ham comes aboard, and he begins to quiver,
Saying, "John, will you pilot us up to Goose River?"
The captain walks his quarter deck, and views his men aloft,
Saying, "Where is the whale, and how far is she off?"

The mate he looks down and he answered with a smile,
"A point on the lee bow, a distant [sic] of a mile."
Be cheerful, my lads, let your heart never fail,
While the bold abandeersman is killing the whale.

Besides noting that "abandeersman" was likely to have been "harpooneersman" originally, Barry connects this song to J. Ross Browne's, mentioned by Anglo. Here it is in full:

                      CAPTAIN BUNKER

Our captain stood upon the deck, a spyglass in his hand,
A viewing of those gallant whales that blowed at every strand.
Get your tubs in your boats my boys,and by your braces stand,
And we'll have one of those gallant whales, hand, boys, over hand!

Chorus:
So be cheery, my lads! Let your hearts never fail,
While the bold harpooneer is a striking of the whale!

"Overhaul, overhaul! your davit-tackles fall,
Till you land your boats in the sea, one and all!"
Our waist boat got down, and of course she got the start,
"Lay ne on, Captain Bunker, I'm h--l for a long dart!"

Our first mate he struck, and the whale he went down;
The captain he stood by, all ready for to bend on;
Which caused the whale to vomic [sic], and the blood for to spout;
In less than ten minutes he rolled both fins out!


Barry notes that "no less than sixteen, perhaps seventeen whaling captains by the name of Bunker are mentioned as having made voyages between the years 1796 and 1858." It seems that "vomic(k)" was once a common New England pronunciation.

Browne's song is remarkable for containing bits of three weel-known whaling ballads: "The Coast of Peru," "The Greenland Whale Fishery," and "The Bonnie Ship the Diamond." It's hard to know what to make of it.

The melody sung by the lady in Maine is hardly a tune at all, just one line of music sung four times to round out the stanza. A chorus is indicated in the transcription, but the stanzas don't seem to admit one. My guess is that the "chorus" refers to the two lines "Be cheerful," etc., everything else being sung to the two repetitive bars.

Those bars are very much like a 4/4 rendition of the first line of "The Mickey Mouse Club March" ("Oh, who's the leader of the club that's made for you and me?") I kid you not. Coincidental of course. The tune of the "chorus" begins like "Hearts of Oak," then more or less reverts to the "Mickey Mouse Club."

Lloyd definitely didn't find his tune here. (BTW, he also recorded it ca1956-57 on one of his Stinson albums with MacColl, either "Haul on the Bowline" or "Off to Sea Once More," both now on CD under a title I've forgotten.)

Steve, the "Erin Go Bragh" I'm familiar with is the tune used by (for example) Dick Gaughan. I don't hear a similarity with Lloyd's.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: Lloyd's Coast of Peru
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 07:27 PM

I think the Erin Go Bragh/Duncan Campbell I have heard would have come originally from Jimmy MacBeath as I heard Ian Manuel sing it often. Will check out both when I get the opportunity.


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