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Two Shanties in 'Treasure Island' (1934)

GUEST,Lighter 13 May 11 - 08:54 PM
GUEST,Coyote Breath as guest 14 May 11 - 12:23 AM
GUEST,henryp 14 May 11 - 02:35 AM
MGM·Lion 14 May 11 - 05:01 AM
GUEST,Lighter 14 May 11 - 07:18 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Two Shanties in 'Treasure Island' (1934)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 13 May 11 - 08:54 PM

I just noticed that bits of two well-known shanties are sung the classic 1935 film of "Treasuer Island," with Wallace Beery as Long John Silver, Jackie Cooper as Jim Hawkins, and an uncredited parrot star as "Cap'n Flint."

The accompaniment of a lute-like instrument, one pirate sings as follows - in the pirate's boozin' ken:

The anchor is weighed and the sails they are set,
Goodbye, fare you well, goodbye, fare you well;
The gitls we are leaving we'll never forget,
My boys! We're homeward bound!   

Later, on board the Hispaniola, Long John converses with Jim while off-duty pirates sing,

The blackbird sang unto the crow!
Hilo, boys, hilo!
It's up aloft this yard must go! [I think]
Hilo, somebody! Hilo!

I believe they repeat the same satnza, then laugh heartily. It's all off camera.

It must be folklore 'cause it sure ain't history!

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Subject: RE: Two Shanties in 'Treasure Island' (1934)
From: GUEST,Coyote Breath as guest
Date: 14 May 11 - 12:23 AM

Good ear, Lighter.

Here's a trivia Q. There was a movie (I think it was Billy Budd) but in the movie someone sang "...They call me hanging Johnny, They say I'll hang for many..." I can't remember the movie but I can still "hear" the words and tune! Maybe someone "out there" knows what I'm talking about. I sure don't.

I just got back on line after two years of ...absence.

I like Mudcat for threads like this.

Well its my bedtime.

Night all.


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Subject: RE: Two Shanties in 'Treasure Island' (1934)
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 14 May 11 - 02:35 AM

Good-Bye, Fare You Well
Lyrics from Iron Men & Wooden Ships by Frank Shay

Our anchor's aweigh and our sails they are set,
Good-bye, fare you well; good-bye, fare you well!
And the gels we are leaving we leave with regret.
Hurray, my boys, we're homeward bound!

Roll Her Down the Bay sung by Bert Lloyd

Blackbird sang unto the crow
Roll her down the bay to Juliana
Wish I had that girl in tow
Roll her down the bay to Juliana

Another version has;

The blackbird said unto the crow:
I think it's time we roll and go

It seems to be related to The Bird Song which appears in Songs from the Hills of Vermont (1919). According to Southern Mountain Folksongs, this song is probably derived from the Child Ballad The Three Ravens. (From

In Treasure Island, Stevenson wrote;

Fifteen men on the dead man's chest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

According to Wikipedia, Dead Man's Chest is one of the British Virgin Islands. Stevenson said, "Treasure Island came out of Kingsley's At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies (1871); where I got the 'Dead Man's Chest' - that was the seed."

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Subject: RE: Two Shanties in 'Treasure Island' (1934)
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 May 11 - 05:01 AM

The account of the singing of '15 Men' as the men work at the capstan, with Silver as shantyman, at the beginning of Ch X of Treasure Island accords precisely with Whall, Hugill et al's descriptions; tho of course the date is rather early for the 1810s onwards generally given by such as the dates of shanty-singing. TI is set about midC18, not that long after the Battle of Fontenoy, 1745, in which Dr Livesey, still a youngish man at the time of the novel's action, had served.


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Subject: RE: Two Shanties in 'Treasure Island' (1934)
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 14 May 11 - 07:18 AM

While they were manning the capstan in the movie, they were singing "Yo ho! Yo Ho! Yo ho!" etc. followed by inaudible words. It became slightly more tuneful and may have turned into "Yeo, Heave Ho!" but I wouldn't bet on it. It didn't sound like "Fifteen Men" to me.

The lack of the "Hurrah!" in the second chorus of "Goodbye, Fare You Well" was surprising.

At any rate, as I hinted and MtheGM observes, "modern" shanties are anachronistic in the "Treasure Island" era.

And they weren't sung for diversion to the accompaniment of a lutelike instrument.

CB, my notes tell me that Terence Stamp (or a voiceover) actually led the singing of "Hanging Johnny" in Billy Budd (1962) one of the finest Hollywood screen adaptations ever. He could have sung the equally anachronistic "Reuben Ranzo," but that wouldn't have foreshadowed his own hanging.

"HJ" is also audible in the background of Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).

(I knew those notes would come in handy!)

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