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Is High Barbaree a traditional song?

DigiTrad:
BARBAREE
HIGH BARBAREE


Related threads:
Lyr Add: The Coasts of Barbary (29)
Tune Req: High Barbary (The Three Bums - Kent) (13)
Folklore: How Barbary Pirates Learned Their Trade (44)
Lyr Req: Lily of Barbary (Pete Scrowther) (4)


Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM
doc.tom 22 Apr 11 - 02:31 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:37 PM
Don Firth 22 Apr 11 - 02:38 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:46 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 02:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 11 - 03:12 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 04:28 PM
GUEST,Lighter 22 Apr 11 - 04:32 PM
Steve Gardham 22 Apr 11 - 04:46 PM
Arthur_itus 22 Apr 11 - 04:48 PM
Tootler 22 Apr 11 - 05:30 PM
Charley Noble 22 Apr 11 - 05:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 22 Apr 11 - 05:48 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM
Brian Peters 23 Apr 11 - 11:12 AM
doc.tom 24 Apr 11 - 08:11 AM
Charlie Baum 24 Apr 11 - 08:53 AM
Arthur_itus 24 Apr 11 - 10:58 AM
Steve Gardham 24 Apr 11 - 11:46 AM
MGM·Lion 24 Apr 11 - 11:55 AM
GUEST 24 Apr 11 - 02:04 PM
Brian Peters 24 Apr 11 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,I winters 13 Dec 19 - 11:51 AM
Steve Gardham 13 Dec 19 - 03:00 PM
EBarnacle 13 Dec 19 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,JeffB 15 Dec 19 - 12:25 PM
Steve Gardham 15 Dec 19 - 03:58 PM
GUEST,JeffB 16 Dec 19 - 02:29 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 19 - 04:22 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 19 - 04:52 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 19 - 05:02 PM
Steve Gardham 16 Dec 19 - 05:29 PM
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Subject: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:17 PM

I am having trouble finding out if the above song is a traditional song. If not, who wrote it. I am referring to the one sung by Bob Roberts. Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: doc.tom
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:31 PM

Yes, it is. And there are lots of other versions of it.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:37 PM

Thanks doc.tom, thats all I needed. That was very quick :-)

Les


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Don Firth
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:38 PM

All I've been able to come up with is somewhat conflicting information. I first heard the song sung by Pacific Northwest folk singer Walt Robertson in the early 1950s. I subsequently found the words in the paperback "Burl Ives Song Book." Ives attributes the song to Charles Dibdin, who wrote a number of such songs.

But there's a small problem with the Dibdin attribution. Dibdin lived in the latter half of the 1700s and into the early 1800s.
A listing in the Stationers' Register for January 14, 1595 and tells the fate of two merchant ships, the George Aloe and the Sweepstake both sailing to Safee. While the George Aloe was resting at anchor the Sweepstake sailed on, then a French ship attacked the Sweepstake and threw the crew overboard. The George Aloe chased and defeated the French ship whose crew were shown no mercy because of the fate of the crew of the Sweepstake.

The most common lyrics may refer to the problems, European and North American trade have had with the North African pirates in the last half of the 18th century and the early 19th century which was the reason of the barbary wars.
It may be that Dibdin "borrowed" the rough outline of the story of the George Aloe and the Sweepstake and constructed High Barbaree from it. This is just a guess on my part, however.

Many traditional songs do have this kind of family tree. Taking an existing song and reconstructing it to fit new circumstances. Traditional songs didn't just spring full-blown into existence. They came from somewhere, often in this manner.

Good hunting.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:46 PM

Very interesting Don and thanks. Isn't Mudcat amazing. This when Mudcat is at it's best.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 02:49 PM

Oh, just for clarification. I am currently making a compilation CD of various songs and needed to either credit the correct artist or say it was Trad. MCPS will be paid (UK) for making the CD.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 03:12 PM

Thread 122653 might be of interest.
High Barbary

Also see Traditional Ballad Index


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:28 PM

Ta Q


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:32 PM

Bronson, Vol. IV, denies that Dibdin had anything to do with "High Barbaree."

The evidence shows he's right. There's no "High Barbaree" among Dibdin's works. The confusion seems to have arisen from the fact that Dibdin wrote a song called "Blow High, Blow Low" in the mid 18th century:


Blow high, blow low, let tempests tear
The main-mast by the board;
My heart with thoughts of thee, my dear,
And love well stored,
Shall brave all danger, scorn all fear,
The roaring winds the raging sea,
In hopes on shore
To be once more
Safe moor'd with thee.


Aloft while mountains high we go,
The whistling winds that scud along,
And surges roaring from below,
Shall my signal be
To think on thee,
And this shall be my song:
Blow high, blow low, &c.


And on that night, when all the crew
The mem'ry of their former lives
O'er flowing cans of flip renew,
And drink their sweethearts and their wives,
I'll heave a sigh, and think on thee;
And, as the ship rolls through the sea,
The burthen of my song shall be—
Blow high, blow low, &c.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:46 PM

I think you have chapter and verse there, Les.

You can find 17th century versions under the title 'The Sailor's Onely Delight', 18th century printings under 'The Salcombe Seaman's Flaunt to the Proud Pirate' and a 19th century rewrite on broadsides under the title 'Coast of Barbary' which most of the oral versions are based upon.

Someone will be along shortly to tell you it was written by 'ignorant peasants'.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 04:48 PM

LOL Steve :-)


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Tootler
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:30 PM

It was written by ignorant peasants who then recited it to a broadside hack who in turn wrote it down and sent it in to a printer.

There you have it.


Oh, and the broadside hack was paid one groat which he spent on gin.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:39 PM

Lighter has provided a much clearer statement of Dibdin's role in this song, essentially minimal.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:48 PM

The 19th C. rewrite Coast of Barbary is on a sheet at American Memory, along with two other songs, Constitution and Guerriere and Days of Absence. "Sold wholesale and retail, by L. Deming,.....Boston."


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Apr 11 - 05:53 PM

I've heard you sing that song, Don. I think I have it on a tape here somewhere. I know my Dad used to sing it (so we kids also sang it!)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 23 Apr 11 - 11:12 AM

Might also be worth looking under Child 285...


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: doc.tom
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 08:11 AM

Quite so, Brian


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 08:53 AM

From the Traditional Ballad Index (http://www.csufresno.edu/folklore/ballads/C285.html):

High Barbaree [Child 285; Laws K33]

DESCRIPTION: (Two) ships meet a pirate man-o-war. In the ensuing battle, the pirate is sunk, disabled, or taken.
AUTHOR: unknown (the "High Barbaree" recension is by Charles Dibdin)
EARLIEST DATE: 1670 (the title is mentioned 1611; a fragment is found in 1634)
KEYWORDS: battle navy ship pirate
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South,West),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland US(MA,NE,NW,SE)
REFERENCES (23 citations):
Child 285, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake" (1 text)
Bronson 285, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake" (15 versions)
GreigDuncan1 38, "The Coasts of Barbary" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #12}
Laws K33, "High Barbaree"
Shay-SeaSongs, pp. 91-92, "The High Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Colcord, p. 153, "High Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Harlow, pp. 161-162, "High Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hugill, pp. 419-4212, "High Barbaree" (3 texts, 3 tunes) [AbEd, pp. 320-321]
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 413-418, "High Barbary" (1 text plus 2 songster and 1 broadside version)
BrownII 118, "High Barbaree" (1 short text)
Chappell-FSRA 25, "The Queen of Russia and the Prince of Wales" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #14}
Flanders/Brown, pp. 229, "New Barbary" (1 fragment, 1 tune) {Bronson's #8}
Flanders-Ancient4, pp. 176-187, "The Coast of Barbary" (4 texts plus 3 fragments, 5 tunes) {F=Bronson's #8}
Leach, pp. 665-667, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake"; pp. 777-778, "High Barbaree" (2 texts)
Friedman, p. 399, "The George Aloe and the Sweepstake"; p. 407, "High Barbaree" (2 texts, 1 tune)
OBB 131, "The 'George-Aloe'" (1 text)
Warner 142, "Barbaree" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 79, "The Salcombe Seaman's Flaunt to the Proud Pirate" (1 text)
Sharp-100E 12, "The Coasts of High Barbary" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Darling-NAS, pp. 100-101, "High Barbaree" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 91, "High Barbaree" (1 text)
BBI, ZN953, "The George-Aloe and the Sweep-stake too"
DT, HIGHBARB* HIGHBRB3*

Roud #134
RECORDINGS:
Almanac Singers, "The Coast of High Barbary" (General 5017B, 1941; on Almanac02, Almanac03, AlmanacCD1)
Bob Roberts, "High Barbaree" (on LastDays)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, 4o Rawl. 566(183), "The Saylors Only Delight; shewing the brave fight between the George-Aloe, the Sweepstake, and certain Frenchmen at sea" ("The George-Aloe, and the Sweep-stake too"), F. Coles (London), 1663-1674; also Douce Ballads 2(196b), "The Seaman's Only Delight: shewing the brave fight between the George-Aloe, the Sweepstakes and certain French men at sea"
LOCSinging, as102370, "Coast of Barbary," L. Deming (Boston), n.d.

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Sailor's Joy" (tune, broadsides Bodleian 4o Rawl. 566(183) and Douce Ballads 2(196b))
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Blow High, Blow Low
NOTES: Scholars continue to debate the relationship between Child's text "The George Aloe..." and the better-known "High Barbaree." Laws considers them separate, as does Roud (listing "The George Aloe" as #6739 and "Barbaree" as #134, which will give you some idea of their relative popularity); Coffin, in Flanders-Ancient4, reports that "High Barbary" retains "little of [its] model beyond the plot outline and the Barbary refrain."
I, obviously, think them the same. (Or, more correctly, regard them as separate recensions, but see no point in separating two songs so often filed together, particularly given the rarity of "The George Aloe.") Bronson doesn't even note the difference.
Frank Shay and Coffin, among others, reports that "High Barbaree" was written by Charles Dibdin (1745-1814), who wrote a number of songs for the Royal Navy (including "Blow High Blow Low"). If so, it seems likely that he was inspired by "The George Aloe..."; I do not consider this by itself reason to separate the two (again, most especially since certain publications do not distinguish them).
For more on author Charles Dibdin, see the notes to "Blow High Blow Low." - RBW
The first known text of "The George Aloe..." is found in the Shakespeare/Fletcher play "The Two Noble Kinsmen" (perhaps written c. 1611; printed 1634), Act III.v.59-66 (a section generally attributed to Fletcher):
The George Alow came from the south,
From the coast of Barbary-a;
And there he met with brave gallants of war,
By one, by two, by three-a.
Well hail'd, well hail'd, you jolly gallants!
And whither now are you bound-a?
O let me have your company
Till [I] come to the sound-a." [The word "I" is missing in the quarto print; conjectured by Tonson.]
Child can find no historical records of a voyage of these ships, particularly in the vicinity of Barbaree. But it is noteworthy that, in the 1540s, Henry VIII had a ship called the Sweepstake. According to N. A. M. Rodger, The Safeguard of the Sea, p. 181, this ship and three others were set to patrolling Scotland in 1543 (?). And the enemy ship in "The George Aloe" was French, and the English squadron kept a French fleet from joining with the Scots.
We also find a ship called the Sweepstake in commission in the 1580s, commanded by Captain Diggory Piper; she was a privateer who took at least a couple of Spanish ships. This is interesting because Piper seemed to inspire music; there is a "Captain Diggory Piper's Galliard" mentioned on p. 343 of Rodger.
I won't say that either event inspired this song, but it might have influenced the name of the ship. - RBW
Last updated in version 2.4
File: C285

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

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


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 10:58 AM

Great feed back from everybody and very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 11:46 AM

The fact that the Roud Index uses 2 different numbers usually means one song has been substantially rewritten from the text of another, which in broadside evolution often happens. Where this occurs I generally also count them as 2 separate songs.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 11:55 AM

Peter Bellamy's recording on Both Sides Then does nor appear on above entry.

~M~


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 02:04 PM

Peters Bellamy used the same version as that recorded by Jeff Warner and Jeff Davis on the wonderful 'Wilder Joy' LP (Flying Fish, 1987), i.e. that recorded from 'Tink' Tillett of the Outer Banks of North Carolina by Frank and Anne Warner, which appears in their 'Traditional American Folk Songs'. The printed melody shows significant differences from the version recorded from Mr Tillett several years previously, which appeared in Bronson under Child 285. Also, both PB and Warner & Davis seem to have made identical tweaks to the later Tillett melody, which suggests that W & D were influenced by the PB version - they were comparing notes with him at the time.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 24 Apr 11 - 02:05 PM

That anonymous GUEST was me.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST,I winters
Date: 13 Dec 19 - 11:51 AM

I need to flavor me book with High Barbaree. Most a’ the crew on this pirate ship be thinkin’ Oscar Brands version wins hands down - aye includin’ them versions tha’ be goin back to the1600s and none ud be caught dead singin any a these other versions.
   So   Brand did his own version of it - does this mean i would need permission from the co. That owns the recording rights to his version or would i not because of it being a traditional shanty. Thanks


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Dec 19 - 03:00 PM

YES there is copyright in a substantially altered version. Why not select a version from Public Domain and alter it to your own taste?


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: EBarnacle
Date: 13 Dec 19 - 04:34 PM

Oscar notoriously made minor changes in Trad songs so he could copyright them.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 15 Dec 19 - 12:25 PM

I made this note for my personal songbook (under the title The Coasts of Barbary) a few years ago. Much of the information was from a previous Mudcat thread.

" The song has apparently evolved from two related ballads. The records of the Stationers’ Company, where publishers had to register their broadsides, has this entry for 31st July 1590, apparently recording the composition of the first part of the original song, “A Dittye of the fight upon the seas the 4 of June last in the Straytes of Jubraltare betwene the ‘George’ and the ‘Thomas Bonaventure’, and viij Gallies with three Freggates”. According to a note in The Roxburghe Ballads (volume 6 at page 408) the song seems to have been current early in the 17th century.

Although the ballad is lost, Roy Palmer tells us that a fragment was quoted in The Two Noble Kinsmen of 1613. It begins

The George Alow came from the south, / from the coast of Barbary-a, / and there he met with brave gallants of war / by one, by two, by three-a.

The second ballad involved was based on that of 1590. The Stationers’ Company records that in March 1611 a publisher registered “Captayne Jenninges his songe, which he made in the Marshalsey [a prison in Southwark] and songe a little before his death; Item. The seconde part of the ‘George Aloo’ and the ‘Swiftestake’, being both ballads.”

John Jennings knew very well the brutal business of piracy. He had been a pirate himself, hunting from the Mediterranean to Ireland for slaves and cargoes for the beys and sultans of the Barbary Coast until he was captured and hanged with sixteen others at Execution Dock at Wapping in 1609. Exactly what he composed is unknown, as the ballad which eventually emerged some time between 1663 and 1674 (The Sailors’ onely Delight: Shewing the brave fight between the George-Aloe, the Sweep-stakes and certain French-men at Sea), and then (as it seems) evolved into our song, is a continuous story of twenty-three verses with no apparent break. However, it does have two distinct strands, the first being the capture of the Sweepstake and the second the defeat of a French ship by the George Aloe. It was collected by Child (no. 285), who tells us that a ship called The Swepstacke belonged to Henry VIII in 1545, and another, The Sweepstakes, to Charles II in 1666."


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 15 Dec 19 - 03:58 PM

The fact that 2 songs tell the same story or are based on the same event would hold no water in legal terms. To be recognised as the same song they would have to have substantial text/syntax in common. I'm not sure High Barbaree and George Aloe do have that. I could easily check. Or some sort of line of evolution would have to be demonstrated as with a piece like 'The Wild Rover' which almost word for word can be traced back to the 17th century. Ballads that tell the same story but have little text in common are Child 7 'Earl Brand' and 'The Douglas Tragedy', or another example 'Bruton Town/Bramble Briar' and 'The Constant Farmer's Son'.

However this is all irrelevant as 'The Coast of Barbary (High Barbary) is easily demonstrated as over 2 centuries old.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 16 Dec 19 - 02:29 PM

I'm afraid I don’t quite catch your drift Steve. I mean only to say that it seems probable to me that our modern ‘High Barbary’ was inspired by, or was a conflation of, two related ballads, one of 1590 and the other of 1609 (but not published until 1611). To repeat my post in different words - the first, based on a real event (according to the publisher) has apparently not survived: the second (by Capt Jennings)was written as a continuation of the story. We do not know what he wrote, but we do know that later in the century a broadside of 24 verses on the same subject was published under the title ‘The Saylors Only Delight’. This might be the ballad of 1590 possibly combined with Jennings's composition, or it might be something else entirely. I should have said that some of its verses are very close to the modern song. It can be seen on the Bodleian Ballad website.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 19 - 04:22 PM

I have copies of TSOD. I'll have a look. It won't take me long and I'll compare it with 'The Coast of Barbary' from about 1800.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 19 - 04:52 PM

Okay
Whilst TCOB is very likely inspired by some version of TSOD they have little text in common as one might expect with almost a couple of centuries between them. The lines of narrative they have in common are what we would call commonplace to these maritime skirmish encounters, though I would hazard a guess in this case there is a direct descent. The most obvious connection is the second refrain 'along the coast of Barbary'.

TSOD is a ballad of 2 encounters between a French Man-o-war and 2 English merchant vessels. The Sweepstake is captured by the Frenchmen and The George Aloe then sinks the Frenchmen.

TCOB again we have 2 English ships King of Prussia and Prince of Wales and they have a battle with a pirate ship and sink it.

There are similarities here with the numerous adaptations of Phil Saumarez's encounter between the Nottingham and Mars of 1746; at least
half a dozen versions give different encounters between different sets of ships right into the mid 19th century, using basically the same wording.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 19 - 05:02 PM

Ebsworth has plenty to say on the early history of TSOD, particularly on various registrations. He seems to imply that the Jennings composition (1594/5) was a continuation of the earlier ballad (1590) in which the George Aloe had an encounter with 3 French frigates in the Straits of Gibraltar. If the George Aloe was taking on 3 frigates and then sank another French ship later on it must have been a very heavily armed merchantman.


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Subject: RE: Is High Barbaree a traditional song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 16 Dec 19 - 05:29 PM

He is convinced that TSOD is the same ballad by Captain Jennings registered in 1594/5 to Richard Jones. The title of the earlier ballad is a bit misleading 'A Dittye of the Fight upon the Seas the 4th June last in the Straytes of Jubraltaire between the 'George' and the 'Thomas Bonaventure' and viii Gallies with three Friggates.'

It isn't clear what numbers of vessels there were on both sides.

However the song in 'The Two Noble Kinsmen' obviously referring to the same event, gives the 'George Aloe' coming from the south and falling in with 3 brave gallants of war, to whom he askes for escort to 'The Sound'.

Putting the 2 pieces of info together it would seem that the George Aloe with the 3 frigates take on in the first battle the 'Thomas Bonaventure' and her accompanying 8 galleys.


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