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Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come

DigiTrad:
SOON MAY THE WELLERMAN COME


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Covid / Wellerman Shanties (2)
Review: Soon May the Kerryman Come- check it out (9)


dcoffin@cove.com 13 Sep 99 - 10:05 PM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 99 - 10:34 PM
14 Sep 99 - 09:58 AM
bigJ 14 Sep 99 - 12:16 PM
David Coffin 14 Sep 99 - 10:00 PM
Joe Offer 14 Sep 99 - 10:15 PM
BK 15 Sep 99 - 12:29 AM
Stewie 15 Sep 99 - 01:54 AM
Joe Offer 15 Sep 99 - 02:05 AM
bigJ 15 Sep 99 - 03:17 PM
David Coffin 16 Sep 99 - 08:21 PM
Joe Offer 17 Sep 99 - 03:48 AM
harpgirl 17 Mar 00 - 10:23 AM
Billy the Bus 04 Aug 03 - 03:14 AM
Billy the Bus 05 Aug 03 - 05:04 AM
GUEST,StuMarkus1@aol.com 02 Oct 03 - 10:17 AM
Little Robyn 03 Oct 03 - 03:09 AM
GUEST,Jamie Marshall 13 May 10 - 07:44 PM
Charley Noble 13 May 10 - 08:20 PM
Charley Noble 14 May 10 - 08:02 PM
Little Robyn 15 May 10 - 07:00 AM
Charley Noble 15 May 10 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,Juan Zanela 13 Jan 21 - 10:00 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 14 Jan 21 - 05:59 PM
EBarnacle 15 Jan 21 - 12:45 AM
rich-joy 15 Jan 21 - 03:34 AM
vectis 15 Jan 21 - 07:32 PM
vectis 15 Jan 21 - 07:34 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Jan 21 - 07:47 AM
Charley Noble 06 Mar 21 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,LynnH 07 Mar 21 - 04:51 AM
GUEST,LynnH 09 Mar 21 - 03:36 AM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 21 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,# 09 Mar 21 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,phillip 09 Mar 21 - 12:45 PM
Steve Gardham 09 Mar 21 - 01:29 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Mar 21 - 08:41 PM
RTim 16 Mar 21 - 10:16 PM
Gibb Sahib 17 Mar 21 - 03:15 AM
rich-joy 01 Apr 21 - 02:54 AM
rich-joy 03 Apr 21 - 11:29 PM
Long Firm Freddie 04 Apr 21 - 06:27 AM
GUEST,Ant'N'Dec 06 Apr 21 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,Tongers 06 Apr 21 - 03:44 PM
Gibb Sahib 17 May 21 - 09:30 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 May 21 - 02:09 AM
Gibb Sahib 18 May 21 - 02:28 AM
Gibb Sahib 18 May 21 - 03:26 AM
Gibb Sahib 18 May 21 - 04:29 AM
Steve Gardham 18 May 21 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Salty Walt 19 May 21 - 04:27 AM
Steve Gardham 19 May 21 - 08:58 AM
Gibb Sahib 20 May 21 - 12:44 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Jan 22 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,henryp 26 Jan 22 - 09:53 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Jan 22 - 05:47 PM
GUEST 29 Oct 22 - 09:08 AM
Reinhard 29 Oct 22 - 10:06 AM
Steve Gardham 29 Oct 22 - 04:04 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 29 Oct 22 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 29 Oct 22 - 04:23 PM
Chris Maltby 30 Oct 22 - 02:46 AM
Gibb Sahib 31 Oct 22 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 06 Nov 22 - 01:11 PM
GUEST,CJB 13 Nov 22 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 13 Nov 22 - 10:59 AM
GUEST,Mike Harding 13 Nov 22 - 04:46 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 13 Nov 22 - 05:24 PM
GUEST 13 Nov 22 - 10:45 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 14 Nov 22 - 06:08 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Nov 22 - 12:46 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 14 Nov 22 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 04:18 AM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 04:30 AM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 05:10 AM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 15 Nov 22 - 07:05 AM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 08:40 AM
Steve Gardham 15 Nov 22 - 09:45 AM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 15 Nov 22 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Wm 15 Nov 22 - 12:14 PM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 03:14 PM
GUEST 15 Nov 22 - 03:30 PM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 03:31 PM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,CJB 15 Nov 22 - 03:50 PM
GerryM 15 Nov 22 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 15 Nov 22 - 05:08 PM
Sandra in Sydney 15 Nov 22 - 05:10 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 15 Nov 22 - 06:28 PM
Jack Campin 16 Nov 22 - 08:41 AM
GUEST,A.M. 16 Nov 22 - 08:47 AM
Steve Gardham 16 Nov 22 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,CJB 16 Nov 22 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,Robert B. Waltz 16 Nov 22 - 06:24 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 22 - 03:10 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Nov 22 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,CJB 17 Nov 22 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,CJB 17 Nov 22 - 03:12 PM
Steve Gardham 17 Nov 22 - 04:45 PM
GUEST,CJB 19 Nov 22 - 01:38 PM
GUEST,CJB 19 Nov 22 - 02:09 PM
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Subject: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: dcoffin@cove.com
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 10:05 PM

I'm in the process of recording this incredible song. My research has led me to certain beliefs about what "Wellerman" means. Before I tip my hand, I'm wondering if anyone in cyberspace has any ideas. I"d love to hear them. Thanks. P.S. A free cd to whoever corroborates my research.


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 99 - 10:34 PM

From Gordon Bok's notes for the And So will We Yet CD by Bok, Muir, and Trickett:
From a book Chris Morgan lent (Bok), called (he thinks) Folk songs of New Zealand. It's a shore-whaler's song, made by the New Zealanders who went to live on the archipelagos to catch whales from small boats. They got their "stake" from an agent of the big companies (like the Weller Company) - hence, any agent of those companies became a "Wellerman." they were paid in staples, not money, so many of them never made enough to return home, and ended up farming or fishing on the little islands upon which they were "set down."
This is a fanciful tale they put together about big-ship whaling: the picture of a 3-master being towed on some Nantucket sleigh ride by a single whale has some startling implications.
Click here for lyrics and the opinions of others, including the esteemed R. Greenhaus.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From:
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 09:58 AM

Since they were paid in staples, at least they could keep their song books together


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: bigJ
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 12:16 PM

From 'Songs of New Zealand - Songs of a Young Country' edited by Neil Colquhoun p10, notes to the song 'Soon May the Wellerman Come' 'Shore whalers, unlike the whalers on ships, could not return to their native land. Even if there were a ship, they couldn't afford the passage; for they saw no money. Whaling companies such as Wellers' of Sydney, sent agents across the Tasman to collect the bone and oil; and to pay the men in sugar and rum.'


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: David Coffin
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 10:00 PM

Thanks for the input. That's pretty much what I had but the route I had to take was very different. Email me your address and I'll send you a cd if you'd like. (bigJ and Joe Offer) I appreciate it. David.


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 10:15 PM

So, David, now that we've posted what we know, how 'bout telling us what you learned in your research?
BigJ, tell us more about this New Zealand songbook. Is it one we shouldn't be without?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: BK
Date: 15 Sep 99 - 12:29 AM

here's thread creep - sort of; Joe's link song has a note mentioning an american cowboy analog called "High-Chin Bob" it's about a cowboy roping a mountain lion, taken from a poem, "The Glory Trail," by the same poet who wrote "A Border Affair," the source of "Spanish Is A Loving Tongue," Charles Badger Clark, Jr, (who, as it turns out, called himself just "Badger Clark").

Does any body know where to hear a recording of High-Chin Bob? I've got a compilation of Badger Clark's first 2 books, & am nosing abt w/the idea of finding out more abt his other poems reportedly set to music, & maybe setting a few to a tune myself (already got a couple started).

Cheers, BK


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Sep 99 - 01:54 AM

BK

Glenn Ohrlin records 'High Chin Bob' on his album 'Cowboy Songs' Philo 1017.


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Subject: Charles Badger Clark
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Sep 99 - 02:05 AM

Click here for lyrics to "HIGH CHIN BOB" and here for "SPANISH IS THE LOVING TONGUE."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: bigJ
Date: 15 Sep 99 - 03:17 PM

Joe, the songbook by Neil Colquhoun is certainly worth keeping an eye out for. I don't know how many New Zealand songbooks have been published, but this is the only one that I have. It was published by Bailey Brothers And Swinfen Ltd of Folkstone, England in 1972 price £1.35 ($2.10). The layout is very like the Oak Publications of the time, and it contains pertinent illustrations from photographs and engravings. It contains 52 songs with melody lines and it's the first book that I saw with the words of the song Davy Lowston in. SBN 561 00189 8. It's long out of print, of course, but the New Zealand Folklore Society in Auckland might be able to help. Regards


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: David Coffin
Date: 16 Sep 99 - 08:21 PM

I would love to get my grubby little hands on that book. If anyone has info please let me know. dcoffin@cove.com Sorry I haven't posted my research. It really isn't any different than what has been written here. What was inspiring to me was how I discovered it. Not wanting to go look at someone elses recording of the song and steal their research I went search engining (new word) for Wellerman. Somehow I ended up in New Zealand and happened to see an archeological page and niticed Wellers Rock. Wellers Rock was named and inscribed to commerate the whaling outpost in Otakou NZ by the three Weller brothers, Goerge, Edward, and Joseph. They arrived from Australia on the Lucy Ann in Sept. of 1831. The family enterprise included whaling, flax and timber. The plaque was laid by the then Governor Lord Bledisloe. Thanks for your input and interest. The cd release date looks like mid November.


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Sep 99 - 03:48 AM

There are several copies of the book available through www.bookfinder.com, but all through Australian booksellers. I still haven't gotten up the gumption to send credit card numbers overseas (or to pay overseas shipping).
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: harpgirl
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 10:23 AM

...when sung "Wellerman" is only considered a hit if the Halifax mariners cry in their beer...


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 04 Aug 03 - 03:14 AM

G'day from NZ,

A lot's happened since this thread thread started. Music, lyrics, comments and sound-clips for Wellerman are on the NZ Folk Song website. There's a link to the Weller Family website, with more information on Weller's Whaling Station.

To locate the main Weller Brother's base, go to Expedia and type Otakou in the Placename box. They had another station at Tautuku, where I worked from 1976-80. More to come...

Cheers - Sam - Stewart Island (NZ)


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Billy the Bus
Date: 05 Aug 03 - 05:04 AM

Whewww....

If you want a good yarn about a black American who was involved in NZ shore-whaling in the early days, check out Kenneth Gardner's book Rich Man's Coffin. It's the best part of 400 pages, and in PDF format, so 'open in new window' - it may take time to arrive. - Sam


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Subject: RE: Help: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,StuMarkus1@aol.com
Date: 02 Oct 03 - 10:17 AM

I'm a performing chantey-singer, and fell in love with this chantey when I heard David Coffin's recording of it. Some chanteys talk of killing whales, some of the whale killing the sailors, but this is the only one I've seen that talks of a stalemate!
Can anyone tell me what "tounging" refers to? I'm experienced on tall ships and I pride myself in knowing the meaning of everything I'm singing about. Thanks!


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Subject: Lyr Add: COME ALL YOU TONGUERS
From: Little Robyn
Date: 03 Oct 03 - 03:09 AM

The tonguers were part of the shore whaling team that would cut up and boil down the whale. This song, known as "Come all you tonguers" tells some of the story.

"Come all you tonguers and land-loving lubbers,
There's a job cutting in and boiling down blubbers,
A job for the youngster, the old and the ailing,
The Agent will take any man for shore whaling.
Chorus:
I am paid in soap and sugar and rum,
For cutting in whale and boiling down tongue,
The agent's fee makes my blood so to boil,
I'll push him in a hot pot of oil.

Go hang the Agent, the Company too!
They are making a fortune off me and you.
No chance for a passage from out of this place,
And the price of living's a b***** disgrace!"

Some of the rusty old boiling pots can still be seen lying around the beaches where the whaling stations used to be.
Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Jamie Marshall
Date: 13 May 10 - 07:44 PM

It's nice to know that there are still people singing about my ancestors the Wellers. I am the 5th G-Grandson of William Weller, brother of Joseph Weller who's sons established the whaling company in New Zealand. I am also a musician, and have performed this song at festivals.

Thank you one and all! Please don't let this song fade into the history books.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 May 10 - 08:20 PM

Jamie-

Thanks for checking in.

Was Robyn correct about who the "tonguers" were?

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 May 10 - 08:02 PM

refresh for more nibbles!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Little Robyn
Date: 15 May 10 - 07:00 AM

Charley, if you don't believe me, go to the link Sam gave 7 years back and look for the song, or click here.

Robyn


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 10 - 09:49 AM

Robyn-

I certainly do believe you. It's just that the word "tonguing" had seemed so like an enduring mystery ever since I first herd Gordon Bok et al sing the song.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Juan Zanela
Date: 13 Jan 21 - 10:00 AM

Just wow...

Read the tread and came across with this gem

"I went search engining (new word)"

Now makes me wonder, when did the term "googlin'" became common use?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 14 Jan 21 - 05:59 PM

Becoming a trend on TiTok at the moment according to Radio 4 this morning and ITV news tonight.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 12:45 AM

Everybody's getting into the act. Lady Hillary found this about an hour ago.


https://variety.com/2021/music/news/tiktok-sea-shanties-trend-1234884030/

My niece, who a heavy metal buff, told us about this this morning and now it's all over the place.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: rich-joy
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 03:34 AM

And there's this :

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/15/shantytok-how-a-19th-century-seafaring-epic-inspired-a-covid-generation


Cheers, R-J


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: vectis
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 07:32 PM

Neil Colquhoun (Auckland, NZ) collected "Soon May the Wellerman Come" in about 1966 from someone called F. R. Woods.
Mr. Woods, who was then in his 80s, told Colquhoun he had learnt this song and also the song "John Smith A.B.," from his uncle.

"John Smith AB" was printed in The Bulletin Sydney in 1904, where it was attributed to D. H. Rogers (and contributed by F. R. Woods?)

It is possible that D. H. Rogers was the uncle of F. R. Woods' and that it was he who composed "Soon may the Wellerman Come" and "John Smith A.B."

If Rogers had been born around about 1820, then he could have been a teenaged sailor and/or shore whaler around NZ in the late 1830s, settled in Australia, written the shanties in his later years as his composing skills developed, and then taught them to his nephew in his 70s-early 80s, some time between 1890 and 1904.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: vectis
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 07:34 PM

This is considered to be the only English language New Zealand song to be Traditional because its source cannot be confirmed.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Jan 21 - 07:47 AM

@vectis

Nice copy and paste.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Mar 21 - 01:32 PM

Yes, this one is coming around again, and dragging a whole bunch of wantebee shanty singers in its wake.

There's an interesting parody titled "Soon May the Kibbleman Come" sung by three robust fellas, on behalf of their favorite felines.

There's another parody with a labor organizing theme.

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 07 Mar 21 - 04:51 AM

The song crops up almost daily on the local pop channels on the radio here in Germany!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,LynnH
Date: 09 Mar 21 - 03:36 AM

The 'Wellermen' were obviously luckier that Davy Lowston's mates with the sealing on the west coast of the island!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 21 - 07:45 AM

Probably not that relevant, but re 'tonguing' another source might have been something to do with shore whaling in South Australia. I have read that the local orca population had an interesting relationship with the whalers. The orca would drive the whales (can't remember which species) onto shore and their reward was their favoured delicacy, the tongue of the whale, which the whalers cut out and threw to the orca.

Also somebody said earlier that this was the only NZ song to catch on in tradition. I remember 'Davy Lowston' being sung a lot in the 60s, miserable bloody thing that it is, but it came from the same book by Colquhoun.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,#
Date: 09 Mar 21 - 12:41 PM

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/the-legend-of-old-tom-and-the-gruesome-law-of-the-tongue/

Perhaps Old Tom is the orca you're referring to, Steve ??


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,phillip
Date: 09 Mar 21 - 12:45 PM

hey i think i saw it on tiktok


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 09 Mar 21 - 01:29 PM

Don't remember any of the orca having names. I seem to remember it was an old book, possibly 19th century. 'Gruesome'? More gruesome things going on today! At least every bit of the whale was used, whereas today there is no justification because all of those products have been replaced.

Top predator the orca of course. Even great whites afraid of 'em and justifiably so.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Mar 21 - 08:41 PM

I created a different "take" based on "The Wellerman," to explore what might make it sound more "typically" in the the musical style of most chanties (i.e. in light of the recent trend that has presented the song under the rubric of chanties).

Singing "The Wellerman" as a CHANTY

The singing on the solos is poor because the pitch is too low for my voice to project, but I had to go low so as also to sing high parts, in the same key, in the harmony - ha!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: RTim
Date: 16 Mar 21 - 10:16 PM

Gibb...Back to your Roots.....what do you think the TikTok community with think!! Let alone the real Chanty community.......:-)

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Mar 21 - 03:15 AM

Tim,
I think it's too low-fidelity / unpolished to attract attention from the TikTok crowd!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: rich-joy
Date: 01 Apr 21 - 02:54 AM

My YT Algo's just brought up this version, featuring those hard-working herrin' lassies!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4lJbTBvSsY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4lJbTBvSsY
"A Fishwife's Response to The Wellerman Sea Shanty"

**A few of you have taken an interest in the history of the fishwives in the comments below, so here's a link to a National Library of Scotland page which gives a bit more info (and which provided us with inspiration for the lyrics!):
https://scotlands-sounds.nls.uk/index...?    
The 5th paragraph describes how the whole community - men and women - relied upon each other for income. Hyped that this video is making people curious to learn more!**



When you were sleepin' on your pillows,
Dream'd you aught of our poor fellows,
Darkling as they faced the billows,
To fill the willows wove?

Who'll buy our hard-won stock?
We walked on river and hill and rock,
To the market from the dock,
We haul'd through wind and snow.

Who'll buy our hard-won stock?
We walked on river and hill and rock,
To the market from the dock,
We haul'd through wind and snow.

I was not but six stone four,
And on my back was eight stone more,
My hands were numb, my feet were sore,
It never made us slow.

Who'll buy our hard-won stock?
We walked on river and hill and rock,
To the market from the dock,
We haul'd through wind and snow.

On the street with creels and cases,
Ladies, clad in silks and laces,
Gather in their braw pelisses,
Cast their heads and go.

Who'll buy our hard-won stock?
We walked on river and hill and rock,
To the market from the dock,
We haul'd through wind and snow.


Cheers, R-J


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: rich-joy
Date: 03 Apr 21 - 11:29 PM

Western Australian Shanty News :

"Albany Shantymen credited as inspiration for Nathan Evans's TikTok hit, The Wellerman"

ABC Great Southern By Tom Edwards   Posted April 4th 2021

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-04-04/the-wellerman-hit-singer-nathan-evans-credits-albany-shantymen/13286592

"Fairbridge [Folk Festival]'s artistic director, Rod Vervest .... hopes the extra attention brings more people to the International Folk'n Shanty Festival in Albany [WA] in July.


Cheers, R-J


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Long Firm Freddie
Date: 04 Apr 21 - 06:27 AM

I think this might be one of the parodies Charlie Noble referred to:

Trailer Park Boys - The Kittyman Sea Shanty

LFF


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Ant'N'Dec
Date: 06 Apr 21 - 03:30 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_IOf19GY-s


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Subject: Index: Shanties by the Way: a selection of NZ song
From: GUEST,Tongers
Date: 06 Apr 21 - 03:44 PM

Another rare book of NZ songs is "Shanties by the way: a selection of New Zealand popular songs and ballads"

Author:         Rona Bailey; Bert Roth; Neil Colquhoun
Publisher:         Christchurch [N.Z.] : Whitcombe & Tombs, 1967.

https://www.worldcat.org/title/shanties-by-the-way-a-selection-of-new-zealand-popular-songs-and-ballads/oclc/41715619

Contents: Sealers, whalers and traders. David Lowston --
Come all you tonguers --
New Zealand whales --
Whalers' rhymes --
The voyage of the Buffalo --
The settlers. Taranaki song / John Hursthouse --
The lay of the disappointed / Walter Mantell --
Cheer, boys, cheer! --
The steel mill / John Blair --
The new chum / Charles John Martin --
A tract for the hard times / music, Neil Colquhoun --
The abolition of the Provinces --
The New Zealand wars. He Ngeri --
A jeering song --
The fall of Rangiriri / E.J.F. --
The escaped prisoners ; The surrender of the natives / Charles Robert Thatcher --
The inimitable thatcher. The old identity ; The shipping agents ; The bazaar ; Presented at court / Charles Robert Thatcher --
Gold. The rush to Coromandel ; The Southland gold escort / Charles Robert Thatcher --
The Wakamarina / Charles Robert Thatcher ; music, Neil Colquhoun --
The shanty by the way / E.J. Overbury ; Anon. --
The unlucky digger --
The digger's farewell : on the wharf, 1874 / music, Neil Colquhoun --
Waitekauri everytime! / Edwin Edwards ; music, Neil Colquhoun --
The volunteers. Kumara volunteers' song --
The Russian scare / 'Puzzlehead' --
The long depression. The sweater / N.A.A. --
The scab / John Brooks Hulbert --
The exiles of New Zealand / A.D. --
God's own country --
I struck for better wages --
Arthur Desmond. The song of Te Kooti ; Death song for the Huntly miners ; Barr of the Western Chain / Arthur Desmond --
Arthur Desmond / 'An Australian exile'. Prohibition. A Prohibition jingle of 1893 --
Strike out the top line --
Don't strike out the top line --
The young teetotaller --
A lay of the trade --
Members of Parliament. The liberal march / James Adams --
Ma¯ori Joe --
Sir Joseph Ward --
The rival candidate / 'Casual chronicler' --
Vote for Tommy Seddon, boys / Ned McCormack --
An M.P.'s life for me / Ronald L. Meek --
War and conscription. We'll set the children free : the song of the anti-conscripts --
Kidd from Timaru / Barrie Marschel --
The bloke that puts the acid on / Henry Kirk ('The Mixer') --
Work and wages. Cook and shearer : a 'Bulletin' pastoral idyll --
A long time ago --
I've traded with the Ma¯oris --
The windy hills o' Wellington / 'The Exile' --
A meeting / 'Taiwai' --
Song of the gumfield / William Satchell ('Saml. Cliall White') --
Amelia Jane / David McKee Wright --
Shearing's coming / David McKee Wright --
In the morning / Marshall Nalder --
The Ma¯ori's wool / Andrew Barton Paterson --
The embryo cockatoo / 'The Wanderer' --
The gay muttonbirder --
Goodbye to the old pick and shovel / Dennis Hogan --
Old Billy Kirk / 'Cazna Gyp' --
The magpies / Dennis Glover ; music, Neil Colquhoun --
Cargo workers. Out with the jokers. Double-bunking ; A fast pair of skis / Harold William Gretton --
The old gumdiggers' bar / Dennis Hogan --
The passing of the Helvetia : a lament / Louis Magee --
Down the hall on Saturday night / Peter Cape --
Black billy tea / Joe Charles ; music, Les Cleveland --
Lament for Barney Flanagan : licensee of The Covenant Hotel / James K. Baxter ; music, Neil Colquhoun --
By the dry Cardrona / James K. Baxter ; music, James McNeish --
The hunted. The hero of the coast / Jim S. Case --
Down on my luck / A.R.D. Fairburn ; music, Neil Colquhoun --
On the swag / R.A.K. Mason ; music, Neil Colquhoun.

Responsibility:         collected and edited by Rona Bailey and Herbert Roth ; with musical arrangements by Neil Colquhoun.

===


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 May 21 - 09:30 PM

As to the history of this song, I've started to go down the rabbit hole a bit more especially due to a note added recently by Robert Waltz of The Ballad Index.

When this song became an odd internet hit at the end of 2020, a number of commentators observed a similarity to a 1971 recording, "The Lightning Tree," by the Settlers. This is only a year and a bit after Neil Colquhoun reported collecting the song, and a year before he published it. The Tommy Wood recording is from about the same time. Colquhoun usually admitted to making up tunes when he did so, but could his source [...] Frank Woods have heard the song? - RBW

"The Lighting Tree" by The Settlers is performed HERE . Give it a listen, and recall the folk-pop atmosphere of 1971. This was the theme song for the U.K. TV Series _Follyfoot_, which first aired in June 1971. A commenter on this video notes (unconfirmed by me) that The Settlers' song reached #36 in the popular music chart that year. You might agree that the group, and their song, accorded with a "folk" aesthetic.

The idea that "Soon May the Welleman Come" may have been influenced by the _Follyfoot_ theme is not so far-fetched as it might first appear. Commence the rabbit hole dive...

"The Wellerman" bears the hand of NZ musician / songwriter / folkie "song collector" Neil Colquhoun, along, perhaps, with his collaborators in NZ's folkie scene. I can't speak to that scene. I wasn't there. However, a musicologist from Wellington, Michael Brown, who interviewed Colquhoun, provides history and context of Colquhoun's cohort. In a 2015 article in Journal of New Zealand studies, for instance, Brown writes (132-3):

//By the time _Shanties by the Way_ [a NZ song anthology] was published in 1967, “The Sailor’s Way” [a sea song] had already been “reconstructed” for live performance by school music educator Neil Colquhoun (1929-2014) and recorded by his group, the Song Spinners. This adaptation remains a popular item in the local folk revival under the title “Across the Line.”
The reconstruction of “The Sailor’s Way” as “Across the Line” included the creation of a new melody, which was apparently devised by Colquhoun for a schoolroom exercise using “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” ... New lyrics loaded with New Zealand place-names were also written by Delahunty and Colquhoun. Cowan’s fragment [referring here to a 1912 source] was thus transformed into a “New Zealand folk song.”
The degree of reconstruction required of “Across the Line” before it could be taken into the New Zealand revival repertoire was not atypical. As it happened, only a small proportion of the raw collected material satisfied both the collectors’ nationalistic expectations and orthodox criteria for folkloric authenticity.//

Michael Brown's piece on Mustrad in 2006 provides this information:

//Neil Colquhoun, an educationalist and school teacher (now retired), first began collecting local folksongs and verse in the 1950s. None of this material was recorded in the field, but rather learnt by ear or transcribed by hand. Cover picture - New Zealand FolksongsIn the late 1950s he formed The Songspinners, a revival folk group which played the songs he'd found, reconstructed or composed himself.

In 1965 Colquhoun published the collection New Zealand Folksongs (23 pieces) and in 1972 a much expanded 2nd edition New Zealand Folksongs - Song of a Young Country (51 pieces)... It is a populist collection and was principally concerned with presenting singable, 'complete' versions of songs. Many pieces had been assembled from fragments, amended or supplemented, both lyrically and musically, or were poems set to music. This approach did spread a positive message about the existence of a New Zealand folk tradition, but also aroused criticism in some quarters for its supposed inaccuracies. Perhaps most crucially, the collecting notes were extremely brief, which meant it was often difficult to know the nature of the original sources and the extent of reconstruction.//

So we get a sense of how Colquhoun may have worked with sources construct items of NZ folksong, including a liberal and practical approach of setting tunes and editing texts.

Let's take the example of an item "John Smith, A.B." A Twitter user from NZ has posted a 1904 Sydney _Bulletin_ printing of the item HERE

"John Smith" is supposed to have been a second item, in addition to "Wellerman," given to Colquhoun by his mysterious informant, Frank Woods. To me, "John Smith" looks like a piece of poetry; I'm skeptical that any performance of it as a song would have been part of tradition. I'd suspect rather that if anyone had sung it as a song, it would be their idiosyncratic rendering (however, I admit ignorance of the history of "John Smith"). Might the mysterious informant, Frank Woods, have presented this (sung it) as a song to Colquhoun? Or did he offer it in some other fashion and Colquhoun turned it into his own song? Here is Colquhoun's performance of "John Smith"— it may be compared to the 1904 newspaper text at the Twitter link above:
https://youtu.be/MBEH1-MuIp0

This performance by Colquhoun appeared on the 1971 album _Song of a Young Country_. That was the album that first (as far as we know) introduced "The Wellerman" to the wider world.

Not knowing more of the history of "John Smith", yet suspecting it was not a well-known item of folk tradition, only converted idiosyncratically into a song by either the informant Frank Woods or the collector-performer Colquhoun, we can become more suspicious of what either gentleman may have done in creating (*in a sense - more must be said) "the Wellerman."

More on this key moment of the first documented rendition of "The Wellerman" in a following post.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 May 21 - 02:09 AM

(continued)

Narratives of "The Wellerman" circulating in recent media appear to often make the assumption that the subject matter of a song spells its origin. (Extrapolated farther, that's why the unfamiliar audience is wont to take a song that is about the sea [or makes them feel like "sea" somehow!] and connect it with "sea shanty" without much regard for form, time period, etc.) "The Wellerman" being about the Weller Bros. whaling enterprise in the 1830s, narrators want to make it a song sung *by* people engaged in that enterprise, or, something a close as possible to it.

I interpret this tendency in the précis at the folksong.org.nz website, which classifies "Wellerman" under "Shanties; Songs handed down from old times" and dates it as "1860s".

https://folksong.org.nz/shanties.html

How do they get 1860s?

It starts with the (unstated) assumption that the song *must* have been much older than the 1960s folk revival. After all, who would ever write a new song about an historical topic? (*sarcasm*)

They say Colquhoun "collected" the song from Frank Woods. Woods was in his 80s at the time. Implies that Woods was born about 1880-1889. Woods learned "Wellerman" and "John Smith, AB" from his "uncle."

And so, they try to see how old can they make the "uncle" be, so as to (hopefully) make it possible for the uncle to have been an actual whalerman in the 1830s. Working from the other direction, they reason that the "uncle" could have been born in 1820 and still have been a teenager, conceivably working, when the Weller company was around.

(I don't know whose uncle is 60-70 years older than them, especially in the 19th century??? But OK.)

They previously* tried to flesh out details as such: Noting that the 1904 Sydney Bulletin publication of "John Smith, AB" was attributed to "D.H. Rogers," and that Frank Woods learned both Wellerman and John Smith from the same uncle, maybe DH Rogers was the uncle? (This seems an admission of unilinear transmission!)

Thus, DH Rogers, hypothetically born in 1820, working as a whaleman in the 1830s, and at 84 years old singing "John Smith" (and secretly knowing "The Wellerman") in 1904 creates what seems like a solid rationale for dating "The Wellerman" to "old times."

To be fair, the people at folksong.org.nz do not say this, at least not explicitly—their puzzling dating of "1860s" however, I don't understand. Rather, Google'ers (including news article writers) in early 2021 found their site and comfortably concluded it was cool to say "Wellerman" went back to those old times. Wikipedia authors did the same -- this time citing the news article writers who did the "research" of finding the folksongs.org.nz website.

*Am I imagining things, however, or did folksongs.org.nz update their site in the last few months? In January, they included the précis I've been discussing, which was reproduced by user vectis earlier in this thread. Now, however, they have added the find that "D.H. Rogers" (of Sydney Bulletin fame) lived 1865-1933 -- making it impossible for him to have been an original whaleman. I personally don't see how this rules him out as a source for "Wellerman" or as the uncle of Frank Woods. But for a reason I don't understand, they rule out the possibility that he could have composed "Wellerman."
https://folksong.org.nz/soon_may_the_wellerman/index.html

to be continued...


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 May 21 - 02:28 AM

The bottom line at this point is we still only have Frank Woods -- of whom we seem to know nothing about -- as the only source to which at least part of "Wellerman" can be attributed.

When was Frank Woods interviewed by Colquhoun? folksongs.org.nz says 1966. The Ballad Index says 1969. I don't know where either gets that information, and can only guess that some NZ folkies got it through personal communication with Colquhoun.

Maybe that info is in the front or rear notes of Colquhoun's anthology? I don't have the book. I do have the specific page for "Wellerman," which sea music performer John Roberts and others have shared, but that page says nothing of the source.

The timeline becomes important here. Colquhoun published his first anthology of NZ folksongs, _New Zealand Folksongs_, in 1965. It does not contain "Wellerman." Then, Colquhoun evidently contributes to the anthology _Shanties by the Way_ in 1967—the details of which are given by GUEST.Tongers above. It also does not contain "Wellerman." I'd suppose that if Colquhoun got "Wellerman" in 1966, it would have been in _Shanties by the Way_, lending support for 1969 as the year of collection.

Colquhoun adds "Wellerman" to the second edition of his anthology, re-titled _New Zealand Folksongs: Song of a Young Country_, in 1972.

But before that, "Wellerman" appears on the stage on the album created by Colquhoun and his folkie collaborators, _Song of a Young Country_, in 1971.

to be continued...


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 May 21 - 03:26 AM

On the album _Song of a Young Country_ (1971), Tommy Wood is assigned the duty of singing "Wellerman," making his the first recorded performance.

https://youtu.be/aqFMmKXOxE4

Notice that while Tommy Wood follows rough contours of melody, his is significantly different from the one we are now familiar with. It's in a major rather than a minor key.

Where did Tommy Wood get this melody? Colquhoun did not record Frank Woods. We understand from Michael Brown's work that Colquhoun either 1) took down the melody (if Frank Woods indeed sang it as a song) from Frank Woods by hand or else 2) remembered the melody. Colquhoun would either have to have taught the melody to Tommy Wood orally or wrote it down. We'll see in a moment that if Colquhoun wrote it down to be read by Tommy, then Tommy did a terrible job of reading it! That's possible, though it sounds a bit silly to me. It's unlikely, too, that Colquhoun taught the melody to Tommy orally because...

Once the second edition of _New Zealand Folksongs_ is published in the following year (1972), as a sort of companion to the record album, the melody noted by Colquhoun is different.

This suggests to me a third possibility: Colquhoun originally had no melody for "Wellerman." Tommy Wood made up the melody, for the album, and Colquhoun made his own melody for the book. This idea will not sound satisfying, but according to my reasoning it is the *most* likely.

As an aside: The melody in Colquhoun's 1972 book, often republished, would of course be the melody adopted by later singers who engaged the book. So, as earlier noted in this thread, when Gordon Bok chose to perform "Wellerman" in the 1990s, he obtained the book and Bok's melody accords with the book melody.
https://youtu.be/Yzhlu1Dr4KA

It would seem to be only recently -- perhaps through the performance of The Longest Johns, which I believe was the source of Nathan Evans? -- that Colquhoun's book melody morphed into what we're hearing on the airwaves now.

Returning to the earlier melodies: Given the facts I have presented (I may have made a mistake), does anyone think Frank Woods sang a melody for "Wellerman"? If so, how can you explain how Tommy Wood sang one melody in 1971 and Colquhoun noted another in 1972? To be fair, both melodies have a similar contour. If I heard a performance just once and later tried to recall it very imperfectly, I might end up inadvertently creating a "different" melody. Yet Colquhoun had oversight on the album on which Tommy Wood sang; he signed off on it.

I conclude that some kind of hanky-panky was going on. The 1971 album, I believe was in the works prior to that year, perhaps making it unlikely or impossible that Tommy Wood was under the influence of "The Lightning Tree" (TV theme)—though I'd like to know what month in 1971 the album was recorded (before or after June?). That said, Colquhoun's book melody is more similar to "The Lightning Tree" (being at least in minor) and came after its existence on the pop charts. Subjectively, Colquhoun's book melody sounds like a hybrid of Tommy Wood's version and "The Lightning Tree."

I hope I've demonstrated that
1) an influence of "The Lightning Tree" is not far-fetched
2) the possibility that Colquhoun, or an associate, made up or re-invented the melody for "Wellerman" is a real possibility
3) it's possible that Frank Woods did not give "Wellerman" as a song, but rather as a poem -- or even part of a poem that Colquhoun fleshed out with more verses

Is "The Wellerman" a "fakesong"? Maybe, maybe not. If by fakesong we mean largely (not totally) contrived by a folkie, then there's a good possibility. If the song existed prior to the folkie treatment, then not, but still be can much better imagine a limited, unilinear practice of the song (i.e. by only one or a few individuals) that makes it hard to honesty imagine it was a "folk" song (i.e. part of a diffuse tradition in the hands of many people over an extended time).


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 May 21 - 04:29 AM

Additional info / clarifications / corrections:

I now see that "John Smith, AB" was included in Colquhoun's 1965 anthology. If, as it's reported (from where?) he got "John Smith" and "Wellerman" from Frank Woods, and the meeting with Frank Woods was in 1966 or 1969, this would mean someone else was around to offer "John Smith" OR the reportage about Frank Woods is incorrect.

Michael Brown says that Phil Garland (a Colquhoun collaborator) had recorded "John Smith" in 1967. Yet he also notes that the 1972 anthology *says* it was collected from Frank Woods. That would necessitate the Woods interview being in 1966, while Brown's writing elsewhere implies to me that he subscribes to the 1969 date (?). Brown attributes authorship of "John Smith" jointly to DH Rogers and Colquhoun. It also appears as a poem in a 1906 collection. Brown confirms that "John Smith" was collected as an "oral recitation" by Colquhoun, not as a song, and that Colquhoun supplied a melody and turned it to a song. This all suggests that the attribution to Frank Woods is incorrect (unless Colquhoun interviewed him twice?) -- I still don't know who said Frank Woods learned both this song AND "Wellerman" from his uncle. If that was a mistake, then the attempt to trace "Wellerman" back as a partner of "John Smith" has no leg to stand on.

_Song of a Young Country_, the album, was released in December of 1971. "The Lightening Tree" charted at #36 in October 1971. The second/revised edition of Colquhoun's anthology was published in mid-1972.

Much more on Colquhoun's philosophy and practice are in Dr. Michael Brown's M.A. thesis of 2006, "‘There’s a Sound of Many Voices in the Camp and on the Track’: A Descriptive Analysis of Folk Music Collecting in New Zealand, 1955-1975"


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 18 May 21 - 10:44 AM

Great piece of research, Gibb. You've got me convinced. Basically Colquhoun was the New Zealand Bert Lloyd.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Salty Walt
Date: 19 May 21 - 04:27 AM

The NZ Folksong Page has DEFINITELY changed since I looked at it during the Wellerman craze. I'll skip what I remember but cant prove.

Not proof, but your suspicions about Colquhoun playing fast and loose seem to be borne out by this article referring to 'Song of a Young Country' as a "concept Album":
https://www.audioculture.co.nz/scenes/song-of-a-young-country

The "notes" surrounding the song are almost non-existent, but thee are crumbs in different places; Shortly after the LP came out, a double album version (and another 2LP in STEREO)with jacket copy and a booklet of liner notes came out. See nearly illegible pics of them on discogs under "more images."

https://www.discogs.com/Various-Song-Of-A-Young-Country/release/10275165/image/SW1hZ2U6Mzg3NDczNjE=

Finally, I looked in the "New Zealand Folksongs; Song of a Young Country" book and there is no scholarly information you are missing. In fact what is NOT there is made more tantalizing by what is. This edition is old enough that the 2 short paragraphs in John Roberts circulated scan are not in this book. There are NO scholarly notations and in the back of the book, the last two pages are tauntingly titled "references" and "Index and Sources." They are not.

"References" has a list of 27 short numbered entries mostly of an author and a title.
"Index and sources" is little better. The entry for "Soon May the Wellerman Come" tells us Page 10, words and music (coded "PD") "Public Domain with informant (not necessarily the composer) Frank Woods" and "Earliest published source this collection."

Also of interest to you it does NOT include any of the other reference codes which are:
"Arranged by, attributed to, composed by and copyright, collected by, refer to similar published song, (and most interestingly) Reconstructed by the editor from material collected."

Thanks again,
Walt


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 May 21 - 08:58 AM

The next thing to do here is perhaps examine the dodgy content in the song. It's obviously intended as a tongue-in-cheek piece. I know that because I write similar tongue-in-cheek pieces based round maritime themes (including whaling) myself. I have done a lot of research using historical documents, literature on the subject, and where available personal recollection (re trawling industry and inland waterways). I suspect Neil was coming from the same place. If you go back to the late 1960s this sort of thing was common and not an issue. Most performers were accepting Bert's refacimentos without question, and brilliant they were too. There wasn't as much pressure to declare how much of a song was your own invention. the boundaries were much more blurred. From a historian's point of view that is to be deplored, but it was what it was. Performance was much more in the ascendant as opposed to truth and scholarship.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 20 May 21 - 12:44 AM

The entry for "Soon May the Wellerman Come" tells us Page 10, words and music (coded "PD") "Public Domain with informant (not necessarily the composer) Frank Woods" and "Earliest published source this collection."

That's great, Walt, thanks!

Your information about the content of the 1972 anthology, then, tells us that the source for "Wellerman" was only given as F. R. Woods (from what you shared with me), without a date. The information about his first name (Frank), the year of meeting (1966 or 1969), and the the tidbit about learning from his uncle seems to have come from elsewhere. Again, I suppose it is oral information shared with some people in the NZ folk revival scene. Because although Dr. Brown, who interviewed Colquhoun, gives us the first name/Frank and the place of meeting (Wairoa), he doesn't give share the uncle part or the date (1966, quite possibly erroneous) as the folksongs.org.nz site does.

Steve,

That makes sense to me. (Though I'm not the one to do it!) The "blow my bully boys blow" part is reminiscent to me of the aroma of newly-composed nautical songs that mix genres, borrowing this CHANTY trope and sticking it into a ballad.

Additionally, I thought the "tonguing" and "billy of tea" parts are suspicious, and here's a wild hypothesis:

There doesn't (yet, to my eyes) appear to be a robust documented usage of this "tonguing" thing. Where else do we see it? Well, in the song that Colquhoun's circle presented numerous times: "Come All Tonguers." That song originally came to them from a batch of whaling songs shared by a guy from the U.S., Leebrick, who in turn had got the batch of songs from the daughter of a whalerman operating near NZ. "Come All You Tonguers" and others in the batch appear to have formed the core of the most ~authentic~ folk songs that Colquhoun's cohort worked with. The song was a key item. My thought is that if C or a friend were to want to pen a new ballad about whaling out of NZ, then they would feel they definitely needed to work in "tonguers."

"Come All You Tonguers" also includes the line, "I am paid in soap and sugar and rum."

I am stabbing out blindly here because I have not done the work to determine whether "tonguing" was a prevalent thing or, as my casual experience suggests, was more rare. On one of my YT videos, Australian chanty-singer Don Brian writes,
"Having looked at many whaling logbooks from this area and searched New Zealand and Australian newspapers, I can find no reference to tonguing as Whaling related activity, although timber workers (also supplied by the Wellerman Ships) use this term in preparing planks..."
Being skeptical of the prevalence of "tonguers" (let alone "tonguing") I feel as though there's a confirmation bias loop: Someone finds "Wellerman" and asks "What's tonguing?" Someone else says, "Tonguing was XYZ because, for example, see this song 'Come All You Tonguers'." Together, the two songs of supposed historical origin make it look as though "tonguing" was this big thing-- so big, in fact that "several NZ whaling songs sing about it"! Tonguing is "confirmed"!

Unless someone can enlighten us to the contrary, that tonguing was a big deal, then I'm inclined to think a modern song -- "Wellerman" -- cribbed from ideas in "Come All You Tonguers."

The hypothetical writer of such a song may also have observed the multiple appearances of "Billy" (billy-can) in a small body of folk songs ascribed to NZ, and thought it would give the nationalistic "NZ flavor" to include "Billy of Tea" in "Wellerman."

I'm not making a strong argument here to prove that someone in the NZ folk revival composed "Wellerman" from whole cloth. I'm just raising the possibility. Given the (apparent) lack of documentation (and resultant ambiguity) on who "Frank R. Woods" was, there is little more than faith and wishful thinking to recommend the idea that Frank Woods was passing on a traditional song. Can't disprove it, but there are good reasons not to believe it.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Jan 22 - 08:51 AM

I've just come across an amazing performance of Wellerman -Wellerman Community Project | The Longest Johns | 6500 Singers!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 26 Jan 22 - 09:53 AM

BBC Radio 2 The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe 19 January 2020

Bristol shanty singers the Longest Johns talk about surfing the recent wave of online shanties, and recording their new album, Smoke & Oakum.

23 days left to listen on BBC Sounds.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Jan 22 - 05:47 PM

thanks, henryp.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/help/questions/listening-outside-the-uk/international

I was sent to their youtube page by a friend to check out one of their songs, The Last Bristolian Pirate - wot fun!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Oct 22 - 09:08 AM

Building a little on the link to Come All Tonguers, there's also a link to a variant of The Golden Vanity. Here's Wellerman:

> There once was a ship that put to sea / And the name of that ship was the Billy o’ Tea / The winds blew hard, her bow dipped down / Blow, me bully boys, blow

Here's one version of The Golden Vanity:

> There once was a ship, and she sailed upon the sea, / And the name of the ship was the Golden Vanity / She sailed upon the lowland, lowland, lowland / Sailed upon the lowland sea

The question is, which version of The Golden Vanity is this? I checked Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads and these lyrics vary quite frequently, going back into the 19th century. I'm not sure if this information narrows down the possible dates of composition, unless if we can make a strong argument about when the ballad was likely to hit New Zealand.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Reinhard
Date: 29 Oct 22 - 10:06 AM

Peter Seeger sang The Golden Vanity on The Almanac Singers' 1941 album Deep Sea Chanteys and Whaling Ballads with the first verse including the phrase 'put (out) to sea':

There was a lofty ship, and she put out to sea
And the name of the ship was the Golden Vanity
And she sailed upon the low and lonesome low
As she sailed upon the lonesome sea

Anyway, the first verse of Wellerman is cobbled together from borrowed phrases, two lines from The Golden Vanity, one line from Outward Bound, and one line from Blow Boys Blow. Very lazy songwriter.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Oct 22 - 04:04 PM

If it was written c1972 as many of us suppose using the tune of Lightning Tree then 'lazy' is not the word. The writers of most traditional songs did exactly this, patching together bits and pieces from older ballads and utilising existing tunes, and I might add existing themes and formats. Colquhoun was being quite 'astute' here and even though his motives were slightly different he was following in a long-running tradition, or even traditions, those of the broadside writer and those of Bert Lloyd et al.

The only criticism I have of Colquhoun is he didn't put his name to it, if HE wrote it that is. I employ similar methods in my own song writing, and so do many others, but I usually stick my name on the end.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Oct 22 - 04:18 PM

Since I've been cited in this thread, I guess it's my duty to add some information. :-) I wish I had noticed it before; it might have saved people some work. This is just a grab bag of notes on things I saw in the thread.

First off, note that although almost all discussion here is of the SECOND edition of Song of a Young Country, there is now a third edition, much expanded -- and with much better source information.

At least, there is USUALLY better information. But that for "Soon May the Wellerman Come," it says only that it was taken from Frank Woods, of Wairoa, 1969-1970. Hence the Ballad Index date.

The song was clearly popular at New Zealand Folk Festivals in the 1970s. Unlike every recording I've ever heard in the 2020s boom, I learned the melody correctly, EXACTLY as found in the book, c. 1982 -- from Larry Carpenter, in Richfield, Minnesota, who had learned it in New Zealand at pop folk events in the mid-1970s. This of course doesn't prove much, except that someone actually studied the sheet music and sang it correctly, and that it passed through two hands (Carpenter's source and Carpenter) without alteration.

Don't make too much of the fact that Neil Colquhoun contributed to Shanties by the Way. It was not his book; he mostly supplied melodies. But it is stuff Bailey and Roth took from old attics, mostly, not field collected material, and it is Bailey and Roth's, not Colquhoun's. Melodies are few and far between. (Actual folk songs are also rare in the book.) "Wellerman" isn't a particularly great song if you omit the tune, and Bailey and Roth didn't look at tunes in choosing items. Hypothetically, if they had had a text of it, they likely wouldn't have printed it -- it's not New Zealand-y enough. Of course, the Frank Wood "collection" was later anyway.

I said in the Ballad Index that Colquhoun usually admitted to the tunes he made up. There is an interesting point here: There are two songs in "Song of a Young Country" that stand out very clearly among the rest as by far the best. One is "Wellerman," the other is "Davy Lowston."

Both are songs that have been found only once. "Davy Lowston" is based on an actual incident, but -- like "Wellerman" -- it was collected only in an unlikely place, from "John Leebrick" in the United States, supposedly in the 1950s. No one has ever managed to locate "Leebrick" -- I even tried census records once, without success (although that may be because he wasn't in the right place at the right time; I could only search a census from much before the alleged collection). The universal failure to locate Leebrick is not proof by any means, but it's indicative.

But here's my interesting question: Why is it that Colquhoun's admitted songs are mostly not very good, but two songs which cannot be traced beyond his collection, "Wellerman" and "Davy Lowston," are quite good? I incline to accept Steve Gardham's comment that Colquhoun was the Bert Lloyd of New Zealand, but if he could produce two such good songs, why didn't he ever do it under his own name?

(Frankly, if I were going to guess that a New Zealand songwriter produced those two, it wouldn't be Colquhoun. It would be Phil Garland, who was also hanging around with Bailey and Roth and that gang, and who, unlike Colquhoun, was a VERY GOOD songwriter. Witness "The Stable Lad" -- as long as you don't witness the Gordon Bok version. :-) Much as I like Bok, he did bad things to that tune. I think Garland could have produced "Wellerman" and "Davy Lowston." Colquhoun -- nah.)

That again isn't proof of anything. It just shows how little we know.

I will comment that I suffered quite a bit going through the New Zealand material in the Ballad Index, and I have all the books involved. There are many mysteries about those books that we haven't gotten into here. I only skimmed this thread, so there may be questions I missed.

Aside: I'll admit that the popularity of "Wellerman" drove me nuts. Forty years I've been singing that song, and nobody cared, and now they all have the tune wrong. :-p


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 29 Oct 22 - 04:23 PM

A follow-up to my own comment on Phil Garland and Bert Lloyd-esque productions. Since people have been pointing out that parts of "Wellerman" look like mash-ups of folk lines, consider Garland's "Banks of the Waikato." It's "Banks of the Condamine," or at least one of those "Men's Clothing I'll Put On" type songs, rewritten for a New Zealand context and with Garland's own tune. Garland admitted to that one. But who says he admitted to all such things?

I should also note that Garland wrote only the tune, not the words, to "The Stable Lad." But he saw the potential in Peter Cape's lyrics and made it the great song it is.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Chris Maltby
Date: 30 Oct 22 - 02:46 AM

Another possibility for the "tonguing" reference is in the timber/lumber part of the Weller supply business. Cutting logs and finishing the wood into boards would involve cutting tongues and grooves as the last part of the work. The visit of the Weller company ship to a timber camp would be just as eagerly awaited.

The Wellerman song may be a pastiche of an older timber-getters chorus and new verses, possible originating with D H Rogers or Colquhoun himself. It seems likely to remain a mystery.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 31 Oct 22 - 11:16 PM

Thanks for the insight, Robert!

I'm certainly not wedded to the idea of Colquhoun, specifically, being the creator. Phil Garland sounds like a fine idea.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 06 Nov 22 - 01:11 PM

This probably would feel a lot more relevant if Mudcat hadn't gone down, I don't know, about sixteen seconds before I finished writing it. :-)

Realize that I'm not arguing for or against anything here. I do not claim that "Wellerman" is or is not traditional, nor any of the other songs discussed. I'm just arguing possibilities. At this point, we cannot know its history; Colquhoun is several years dead, and had memory problems before that; unless another version turns up, the trail is cold beyond recovery. (And if a new version did turn up today, we'd have to worry about it being tainted.)

Incidentally, if anyone thinks I'm new to this discussion, look at who contributed "Wellerman" to the Digital Tradition, decades ago. :-) And I learned the song orally, not from a recording, and from someone who had learned it orally, in New Zealand in the Seventies, although he had Song of a Young Country to refer to and probably took the words from it. Granted, I didn't know much about the song then, as the DT notes will show....

But to make a position statement: having probably studied New Zealand songs more than anyone alive outside the nation itself, there is only one New Zealand song that I am certain is traditional -- "Bright Fine Gold" -- and even it has some non-traditional verses floating around.

Some background is useful here, perhaps. When the New Zealand Folklore Society was getting organized in the Sixties, it was being built by people like Bailey and Roth and Colquhoun and Garland and Frank Fyte. None of them were folklorists, and only Fyte seems to have been much of a scholar. They didn't have much in the way of models; sure, there were good folklore societies elsewhere in the world, but it was expensive to import people -- or even books.

As a result, they seem to have operated largely on the "It must be a folk song, I've never heard a horse singing it" model. (Garland in particular seems to have had trouble distinguishing traditional from merely non-commercial.)

I would add that I do not consider the fact that "Wellerman" at some points seems to be almost a pastiche can be counted against it -- if anything, it's an argument for traditional status; that's how a lot of songs get started!

Some additional things to point to:

I've already said that I think we have to treat "Davy Lowston" and "Wellerman" together, and I stand by it. That's of some significance, because if Colquhoun (or Garland, or anyone else) wrote "Davy Lowston" and didn't claim it, it was expensive for him. Unlike "Wellerman," "Davy" doesn't suffer any issues about using a commercial tune; if it's based on anything, it's a modified version of "Sam Hall." And it was recorded by Graham Wilson on his album "Billy on the Boil."

Which matters. When my parents travelled to New Zealand in the early Eighties, they were (at my request) seeking to bring back New Zealand folk recordings. They came back with the "Song of a Young Country" LPs, an unremarkable disc of the Canterbury Bush Orchestra, and the Wilson recording. This was not an obvious choice, since "Davy" is the only (allegedly) traditional song on it. But all the New Zealand folkies said they had to have that album. (They were right, too -- great album. "The Gin and Raspberry," "Down a Country Road I Know," and "The Stable Lad" are classics of New Zealand pop folk.) From what I can tell, it's still considered the standard New Zealand pop folk collection. If Colquhoun had been able to put in a claim to authorship of "Davy," he would have earned non-trivial royalties. (Not huge, but non-trivial.) But he didn't.

Another thought: Remember the collection data on "Wellerman." 1969-1970, in Wairoa. We're not talking about some small island off Antarctica that you can only get to once a month, and only in summer. It's a couple of hours' drive from Auckland. Anybody could go and check up on Frank Woods any time they wanted to. Indeed, there must have been a temptation to see if they could get anything else out of him! If I'm going to make up an informant, I'd make up a Leebrick, not a Woods -- Woods was too easy to check on!

None of which is proof of anything, of course. Which is why I don't have an opinion. All I have is a long list of doubts. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 13 Nov 22 - 10:02 AM

Maybe not thread creep - the Charles W Morgan is an old whaler built around 1840. She sailed the world including around Cape Horn. and despatched thousands of whales in her time. She is still afloat., the very last of the 19th c. whalers.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_W._Morgan_(ship)

Of the thousand or so whale men who sailed on her it is recorded that some came from New Zealand.

She’s currently at the Mystic Seaport Maritime Museum in Conn., USA.

I wonder if they know the term ‘tounguers.’


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 13 Nov 22 - 10:59 AM

GUEST.CJB: I wonder if they know the term ‘tounguers.’

If you are referring to the New Zealand whalers, the term was known in New Zealand. Elizabeth & Harry Orsman, The New Zealand Dictionary, second edition, New House Publishers, Auckland, 1995, p. 294 (note the spelling):

tonguer 1. (whaling) Hist. One who, for his work of cutting in whales or abandoned whale carcasses or parts of them, receives the oil of the tongue (also of other parts) in payment.

The second definition is for workers in a "freezing works."

In an interesting sidelight on the question of origins, neither of my dictionaries of Australian English include the term, although that might be because they consider it generic English.

On the flip side: Song of a Young Country has another song, "Come All You Tonguers." This was first printed by Bailey & Roth. And the source was... John Leebrick, the source of "Davy Lowston."


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Mike Harding
Date: 13 Nov 22 - 04:46 PM

Hello from New Zealand with my experience of 'Soon May the Wellerman Come'. The 1972 'New Zealand Folksongs: Song of a Young Country' LP and songbook were the first accessible collection of songs of early European contact, immigration and settlement for young musicians like myself to call on. For Neil Colquhoun it was the culmination of fifteen years of researching, recording, radio programmes and concerts all featuring New Zealand folksong.   
On the recording, 'Soon May The Wellerman Come' was sung by Tommy Wood. In response to the world-wide interest and in preparation for a radio programme on New Zealand folk I contacted Tommy. From the source... 'From memory I came across the poem in a book on NZ sailors and as a folk singer in those days was collecting songs to sing at the clubs. I had mentioned it to Neil Colquhoun, then a fellow club member, who knew about it and hummed a rough guide to the tune. It became my song at the time, singing it at various clubs around until finally singing it on the album 'Songs of a Young Country'...unfortunately I have not got the book anymore. All I can remember was stories connected to whaling, exploring NZ and immigration ships, containing personal letters of life on board these ships, including poems...black and white sketches of ships, sailors etc...it was fairly old then [late 1960s?]! My late wife Margaret was a librarian and she brought it home after it had been removed off the shelves...The Wellerman was an actual poem in the book but not quite in rhyme I had to adjust some of the words to fit the tune that Neil and I managed to put together..'.

There's the mission. Find the book that 'Soon May the Wellerman Come' came from.

Mike


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 13 Nov 22 - 05:24 PM

From Mike Harding: On the recording, 'Soon May The Wellerman Come' was sung by Tommy Wood. In response to the world-wide interest and in preparation for a radio programme on New Zealand folk I contacted Tommy. From the source....

Thank you for this! If nothing else, it explains the curiosity that the tune on the recording does not match the tune in Song of a Young Country: Wood and Colquhoun started with a sketch of a tune, but Wood made it major and Colquhoun Dorian.

I'd looked casually for books on New Zealand whaling, but shipping made it prohibitive for books I'd be buying on speculation. Now I may have to try harder. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Nov 22 - 10:45 PM

Maybe "Whaling in early New Zealand", by A W Reed, 1960.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 14 Nov 22 - 06:08 AM

Maybe "Whaling in early New Zealand", by A W Reed, 1960.

I'm working on it. It is not Robert McNab, The old whaling days: A history of Southern New Zealand from 1830 to 1840. I am awaiting L. S. Rickard, The Whaling Trade in Old New Zealand, 1965. If that isn't it, I'll try for the Reed -- I haven't located it yet. Thanks for the suggestion.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Nov 22 - 12:46 PM

I think we have the actual story now, but as Bob says it would be nice to have the original to knock it dead. Thanks a million, Mike! Hope you're jogging along nicely. Mother-in-law, Eileen Sherburn at Goole, sends her regards.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 14 Nov 22 - 01:49 PM

Steve Gardham wrote: I think we have the actual story now, but as Bob says it would be nice to have the original to knock it dead. Thanks a million, Mike!

I agree, both in the belief and in the thanks -- but I do want to prove it. Apart from finding the book, I'd like to see if that text matches the Song of a Young Country text. And we also have the mystery of exactly what "Frank Wood" of Wairoa had to do with all of this.

I've now added something listed (probably slightly incorrectly) as
New Zealand Journal 1842-1844 of John B. Williams Salem MA American Whaling
to my books to search. Still haven't found an accessible copy of the Reed book.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 04:18 AM

The Reed book was found from Google by searching for “prints New Zealand whaling wellerman” or something like that. Mike says it was in a book of sketches - that’s a moot point. And if it came from a library (school library?) it has to be of an age when it’s been finally discarded as libraries do. There’s quite a few books that come up on Google Books listings. Whilst these are dated in the 2000s they appear to be modern facsimiles of earlier books. I think Google Books is the key. BTW the Charles W Morgan whaler visited New Zealand. I wonder if the folk at Mystic know about ‘Wellerman.’


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 04:30 AM

Somewhat of a definitive explanation …

http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2021/02/the-wellerman-the-cross-cultural-whaling-history-of-new-zealand/

Or is this a muddying the waters of subsequent research?

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 05:10 AM

More than you ever wanted to know about New Zealand shore whaling ….

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00223344.2017.1366820

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 07:05 AM

GUEST.CJB wrote: Or is this a muddying the waters of subsequent research?

More a case of it not really being the issue. There is some detail in that article that isn't in either the second or third edition of Song of a Young Country, but it looks rather speculative. The information about shore whaling is not really relevant. We know what "Soon May the Wellerman Come" is: it's a Flying Dutchman motif applied to shore whaling. It has some shore whaling terminology, but nothing that couldn't be written by an informed person ashore. There is no particular reason to locate it in New Zealand as opposed to Australia.

What interests me, at least, is its age and origin, and whether it is truly traditional. I want to find the book that supposedly contained it; I'm also interested in the source of Colquhoun's tune, since we know that he sometimes "reconstructed" tunes.

So I want to see the book that had the text, and I want to know the source of the version in the book -- and I want to see how it compares to the version in Song of a Young Country.

I have sources on shore whaling. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 08:40 AM

But such websites might have a reference to said missing tome; and I find the links interesting to understand the whole subject if whaling and that some authors have deliberately ignored the influence of Maori extended families. It is these missing influences which bring alive the whole aspect of whaling whether shore or ship based.

https://teara.govt.nz/en/1966/weller-brothers-edward-george-and-joseph

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 09:45 AM

The Oldsalt blog is certainly interesting regarding NZ whaling history and the Maori involvement, and for info on 'tonguing', but we are more interested here in where the song came from. It's not muddying any water. It's just that the thread has now gone beyond that point and the answers appear to lie in A W Reed's book which is mentioned in a few places online and exists in some NZ libraries, as one would expect. However, Bob and I can't find a copy for sale anywhere.

Perhaps we need the assistance of a NZ Catter?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 10:47 AM

Steve Gardham wrote: It's just that the thread has now gone beyond that point and the answers appear to lie in A W Reed's book which is mentioned in a few places online and exists in some NZ libraries, as one would expect. However, Bob and I can't find a copy for sale anywhere.

To be clear, Reed's book is a possibility, but no more. Searching LibraryThing, I find half a dozen books which, based on topic and date, appear to be possibilities. By far the most popular, based on LibraryThing ownership statistics, is Robert McNab's The Old Whaling Days. Happily, that is on Google Books. But I didn't find "Wellerman" in a quick search. (Not quite proof, but I'm almost certain it's not in there.) That leaves five possibilities. All appear to be equally (un)popular (one copy of each). Reed's is one of the five. It is hard to find. So I am starting with L. S. Rickard, The whaling trade in old New Zealand, and New Zealand Journal 1842-1844 of John B. Williams Salem MA, because I could get those. :-) If they aren't it, then I keep looking for Reed and the others.

It does look as if Reed is a better possibility than the others on my list. And neither of them appears to be available outside New Zealand. As Steve says, somebody who is in New Zealand could probably do this better than I can. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Wm
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 12:14 PM

Apart from nine New Zealand copies, Worldcat lists copies of Reed at the State Library of New South Whales in Sydney, Australia, and University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, Hawaii.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:14 PM

Why the Reed tome came up in a search list was because it was mentioned that it included sketches. But typically I can’t regenerate that search. But a keyword is ‘sketch.’ Also really old books can be ruled out, they would not have been found in a school library. A H Reed is well known publisher. Are they still trading?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:30 PM

Here’s the reference to the book …

https://natlib.govt.nz/records/22618171

Scroll down

Frieboe, Conrad, d 1989 :[Life on a whaler. ca 1959-1960]

https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23099643?search%5Bi%5D%5Bsubject_authority_id%5D=-1437&search%5Bpath%5D=items

Date: 1959 - 1960 From: Frieboe, Conrad, d 1989 :[Original drawings for "Whaling in early New Zealand", by A W Reed, 1960. ca 1959-1960] Ref: A-407-007 Description: Illustration shows the occupants of a rowing boat in the foreground, being lashed by the tail of a whale they have harpooned. In the distance is their sailin...

====

Frieboe, Conrad, d 1989 :[Catching and rendering down at sea. ca 1959-1960]

https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23221847?search%5Bi%5D%5Bsubject_authority_id%5D=-1437&search%5Bpath%5D=items

Date: 1959 - 1960 From: Frieboe, Conrad, d 1989 :[Original drawings for "Whaling in early New Zealand", by A W Reed, 1960. ca 1959-1960] Ref: A-407-006 Description: Illustration shows whalers on the deck of a whaling ship, handling whale carcasses and pouring melted whale oil into moulds. The illustration was made in pre...

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:31 PM

Oops - Guest is me.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:43 PM

More details - also it appears to be a book for children, so likely to be in a school library.

https://natlib-primo.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/primo-explore/fulldisplay?vid=NLNZ&docid=NLNZ_ALMA21250492230002836&context=L&search_scope=NLNZ

BOOK

Whaling in early New Zealand / by A.W. Reed ; illustrations by Conrad Frieboe.
A. W Reed (Alexander Wyclif), 1908-1979
Wellington N.Z. : Reed, 1960

Whaling in early New Zealand / by A.W. Reed ; illustrations by Conrad Frieboe.
Available at National Library of New Zealand Wellington, National Children's Collection (send request) (639.2 REE ) and other locations

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:50 PM

Clicky


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GerryM
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:53 PM

"Worldcat lists copies of Reed at the State Library of New South Whales in Sydney, Australia...." A very appropriate typo for the subject under discussion!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 05:08 PM

GUEST.CJB wrote: More details - also it appears to be a book for children, so likely to be in a school library.

This would explain the book that Tommy W. saw, but it doesn't solve the mystery of the song -- in particular, the tune, and Colquhoun's part in it. Were the poem just a poem from the 1950s or 1960s, we wouldn't be having this discussion. :-) If "Wellerman" is an actual song known to Frank Woods in 1969/1970 (note the conditional), then we have to explain where he got it.

One possibility would be that the Reed book is a republication of an older book, or uses an older book, say from the 1920s. One might wildly speculate that a teacher found "Wellerman" in this 1920s book, decided it would be a good teaching tool, and set a melody to it. It happened enough in the United States. Had it happened in America, the tune would likely have been "Yankee Doodle." But New Zealand would use different tunes. Still, this would explain both the existence of a tune and its relative rarity.

Note that I do not advance this theory seriously. It still doesn't explain the similarity of the tune to "The Lightning Tree." We really need to find the source book, whatever it is, and see what its source was.

Either that, or call up the ghost of Colquhoun and find a truth serum that works on ghosts. :-)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 05:10 PM

From: GUEST,CJB - PM
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 03:14 PM ... A H Reed is well known publisher. Are they still trading? ...

from Wikipedia - Reed Publishing ... The Reed firm was founded in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1907 by Alfred Hamish Reed and his wife Isabel as a mail-order Sunday school supply business that became called Sunday School Supply Stores.[2] In 1925 Reed's nephew Alexander Wyclif (Clif) Reed joined the firm.[3] In 1932 Clif opened a branch in Wellington.[4] Also in 1932 the firm expanded into publishing, an activity that grew quickly, taking advantage of the shortage of imported books during World War II.[5] In 1934 the firm, called A. H. Reed, adopted the imprint A. H. & A. W. Reed.[6] In 1941 the firm became a limited liability company as A. H. Reed Ltd.[7]

In the 1950s and 1960s A. H. & A. W. Reed issued a number of bestsellers, including books by Barry Crump, and became New Zealand's foremost educational publisher.[5] In the late 1960s the firm was the largest publisher in Australasia[1] and changed its name to A. H. & A. W. Reed Ltd.[8] In the 1970s Reed had its head office in Wellington and branches in Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney and London.[9] The firm published many popular non-fiction books that "celebrated a distinctly New Zealand way of life",[1] including works in the fields of "back-country tales, books on sport, gardening, cooking and crafts" and illustrated books of "natural history and books of landscape photographs and painting".[5] Books on Maori topics were one of Reed's specialities.

In the 1970s the firm faced growing problems of shrinking markets and increased competition.[5] It was sold to Associated Book Publishers (ABP) in 1983[10] and, with Methuen Publishing also part of ABP, became "Reed Methuen".[11] In 1987 it became Octopus Publishing (NZ) and published under the Heinemann Reed imprint[12] from 1988.[13] In 1992 British firm Reed International (UK) took over Octopus and the New Zealand company was renamed "Reed Publishing (NZ) Ltd".[12][13] In 2006 it won the Thorpe Bowker Award for Outstanding Achievement in New Zealand Book Publishing.[14] In 2007 it changed its name to "Raupo Publishing (NZ)".[15] Raupo is Maori for bulrush (Typha orientalis), a type of reed. Raupo is currently an imprint of the Penguin Group.[16] ...


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 15 Nov 22 - 06:28 PM

Sandra in Sydney wrote, in part (quoting Wikipedia): In the 1950s and 1960s A. H. & A. W. Reed issued a number of bestsellers, including books by Barry Crump, and became New Zealand's foremost educational publisher.[5] In the late 1960s the firm was the largest publisher in Australasia[1] and changed its name to A. H. & A. W. Reed Ltd.[8] In the 1970s Reed had its head office in Wellington and branches in Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney and London.[9] The firm published many popular non-fiction books that "celebrated a distinctly New Zealand way of life",[1] including works in the fields of "back-country tales, books on sport, gardening, cooking and crafts" and illustrated books of "natural history and books of landscape photographs and painting".[5] Books on Maori topics were one of Reed's specialities.

A bit of an "ahem" here, not directed at anyone in particular.

One of the books published by Reed was the second edition of Song of a Young Country. Based on the above, it appears they did not attempt to retain it; the third edition is by Steele Roberts.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Nov 22 - 08:41 AM

That dictionary entry from 1995 doesn't give a dated citation so it doesn't add anything to the other sources quoted here (which are quite likely where they got it).

One person who will have known a lot about early onshore whaling in NZ is the writer Ian Wedde - it's the central historical focus of his novel Symmes Hole written in 1984. He mentions that he got a lot of his background from unpublished manuscripts in the national library in Wellington, things nobody had looked at before. I get the impression he feels he's well and truly through with that but it can't hurt to ask if anyone in Wellington knows him.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,A.M.
Date: 16 Nov 22 - 08:47 AM

I'm the GUEST who originally bumped this thread at the end of October. I'm excited to see some movement here and curious as to whether anyone in NZ will actively proceed to obtain the Reed book. I see it is exclusively in New Zealand libraries and NSW, except for a single copy in Hawai'i. I can attempt to request it from Hawaii, but only if there is no one in New Zealand right now willing to walk down the road to their local library to look at a copy. My own guess is that something resembling a chorus, perhaps a "tonguing" song, appears in Reed's book and that everything else was Colquhoun: Lightning Tree, Golden Vanity, Outward Bound, and Blow Boys Blow.

I'm looking into this now, and I can only link "sugar and tea and rum" to a single shipment in the Weller era, on the Sydney Packet, which arrived on 7 April 1834. As the linked teara.govt.nz site explains, while the Wellers were making some profit in the Sydney market (such as it was), they were forced to pay tariffs in London due to New Zealand being considered sovereign Maori land at the time, and were already wrapping up their whaling business by 1835. Were they really whaling long enough to have songs written in their honor? I am somewhat bemused that despite the flood of instant history lessons on New Zealand whaling, this does not seem to have been mentioned before.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Nov 22 - 04:41 PM

Love this sort of detective work. Like Bob I'm usually doing this on much older songs, but this one is just as intriguing. I think we're all singing from the same sheet but it would be good to nail it.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 16 Nov 22 - 06:06 PM

Searching Google Books for such as "wellerman, sketches, whaling, zealand" does not bring up anything useful. Bearing in mind that Google Books claims to have scanned just about every English book in the world this is surprising.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,Robert B. Waltz
Date: 16 Nov 22 - 06:24 PM

GUEST.CJB wrote: Searching Google Books for such as "wellerman, sketches, whaling, zealand" does not bring up anything useful. Bearing in mind that Google Books claims to have scanned just about every English book in the world this is surprising.

Trust me, they aren't even close to having scanned everything. I have hundreds of books (at least) that they haven't scanned. :-p

But they might have scanned it and it wouldn't show you anything, if it's not a publicly available book -- or just if it scanned "wellerman" as "Weller man." Which is perfectly reasonable, since the wellerman is a Weller man. I've been hunting for stuff about the Weller Brothers, without finding anything that looks promising.

And, remember, Weller Brothers worked in Australia, too; we can't be too fixated on New Zealand.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 22 - 03:10 AM

Try

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-CxTgZJ-CZEC&pg=PA64&dq=New+Zealand+whaling+weller&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&source=gb_m

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Nov 22 - 10:38 AM

Nice one. Very interesting read. No price other than for an e-copy.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 17 Nov 22 - 03:10 PM

Sorry it was me again. My iPhone doesn’t create Clickys very well.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 17 Nov 22 - 03:12 PM

The search above was at Google Books for “New Zealand weller whaling”


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Nov 22 - 04:45 PM

Wellers get plenty of mention and on South Island there is a Wellers Rock.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 19 Nov 22 - 01:38 PM

Thread creep - sorry - from PapersPast …

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers?items_per_page=25&query=Weller+whaling&snippet=true&sort_by=byDA.rev

====


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Subject: RE: Origin: Soon May the Wellerman Come
From: GUEST,CJB
Date: 19 Nov 22 - 02:09 PM

"Whaling in early New Zealand", by A W Reed, 1960. ca 1959-1960]

https://natlib.govt.nz/records/22785769

https://natlib.govt.nz/items?i[collection_any_id]=501881&i[-category]=Groups

List of illustrations:
According to the publication, the scenes depicted are:
1. Whalers in the Pacific
2. Different kinds of whales
3. Why whales are hunted
4. Catching and rendering down at sea
5. Life on a whaler
6. The first callers at New Zealand
7. Jacky Guard catches whales from off shore
8. A day at Jacky Guard's whaling station
9. Early shore whalers and the Maoris
10. More about the shore whalers
11. The whaler at home
12. The value of their catches
13. The harpoon gun
14. Modern whaling
15. Whaling at Tory Channel today


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