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Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)

DigiTrad:
A PRESENT FROM THE GENTLEMEN
ENGLAND HAS TAKEN ME
ENGLAND SWINGS
GENTLEMEN-RANKERS
OAK, ASH, AND THORN
THE BASTARD KING OF ENGLAND
THE FRENCH WARS
THE LADIES
THE SONG OF THE BANJO
THE YOUNG BRITISH SOLDIER
WHEN 'OMER SMOTE 'IS BLOOMIN' LYRE


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Charley Noble 06 Jul 12 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 06 Jul 12 - 01:37 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jul 12 - 01:41 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Jul 12 - 02:26 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jul 12 - 05:26 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jul 12 - 10:13 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Jul 12 - 03:51 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jul 12 - 06:30 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jul 12 - 06:38 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jul 12 - 07:55 PM
Charley Noble 07 Jul 12 - 08:48 PM
Charley Noble 09 Jul 12 - 08:36 AM
Charley Noble 19 Jul 12 - 01:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Jul 12 - 04:40 PM
GUEST,sciencegeek 20 Jul 12 - 12:49 PM
Charley Noble 20 Jul 12 - 12:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jul 12 - 04:00 PM
CET 20 Jul 12 - 07:31 PM
Charley Noble 20 Jul 12 - 08:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Jul 12 - 08:57 PM
GUEST 20 Jul 12 - 09:23 PM
CET 21 Jul 12 - 10:05 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Jul 12 - 10:56 AM
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Charley Noble 23 Nov 12 - 10:27 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 08:56 AM

This ballad by Rudyard Kipling has periodically caught my attention as a possible song. However, it's rhyme scheme shifts between AABB and ABAB which presents a bit of a challenge. I've elected to resort some of the stanzas and drop a few others to make the song a more manageable length. Here's the original poem:

Rudyard Kipling, 1880
From Rudyard Kipling Complete Verse, Anchor Books Doubleday, New York, © 1989, p. 134

The Ballad of Bolivar

Seven men from all the world back to Docks again,
Rolling down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk and raising Cain;
Give the girls another drink 'fore we sign away —
We that took the Bolivar out across the Bay!

We put out from Sunderland loaded down with rails;
We put back to Sunderland 'cause our cargo shifted;
We put out from Sunderland — met the winter gales —
Seven days and seven nights to The Start we drifted.

Racketing her rivets loose, smoke-stack white as snow,
All the coals adrift adeck, half the rails below,
Leaking like a lobster-pot, steering like a dray —
Out we took the Bolivar, out across the Bay!

One by one the Lights came up, winked and let us by;
Mile by mile we waddled on, coal and fo'c'sle short;
Met a blow that laid us down, heard a bulkhead fly;
Left the Wolf behind us with a two-foot list to port.

Trailing like a wounded duck, working out her soul;
Clanging like a smithy-shop after every roll;
Just a funnel and a mast lurching through the spray —
So we threshed the Bolivar out across the Bay!

'Felt her hog and felt her sag, betted when she'd break;
Wondered every time she raced if she'd stand the shock;
Heard the seas like drunken men pounding at her strake;
Hoped the Lord 'ud keep His thumb on the plummer-block.

Banged against the iron decks, bilges choked with coal;
Flayed and frozen foot and hand, sick of heart and soul;
'Last we prayed she'd buck herself into judgment Day —
Hi! we cursed the Bolivar knocking round the Bay!

O her nose flung up to sky, groaning to be still —
Up and down and back we went, never time for breath;
Then the money paid at Lloyds' caught her by the heel,
And the stars ran round and round dancin' at our death!

Aching for an hour's sleep, dozing off between;
'Heard the rotten rivets draw when she took it green;
'Watched the compass chase its tail like a cat at play —
That was on the Bolivar, south across the Bay!

Once we saw between the squalls, lyin' head to swell —
Mad with work and weariness, wishin' they was we —
Some damned Liner's lights go by like a grand hotel;
Cheered her from the Bolivar swampin' in the sea.

Then a greybeard cleared us out, then the skipper laughed;
"Boys, the wheel has gone to Hell — rig the winches aft!
Yoke the kicking rudder-head — get her under way!"
So we steered her, pully-haul, out across the Bay!

Just a pack o' rotten plates puttied up with tar,
In we came, an' time enough, 'cross Bilbao Bar.
Overloaded, undermanned, meant to founder, we
Euchred God Almighty's storm, bluffed the Eternal Sea!

Seven men from all the world back to town again,
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road drunk and raising Cain:
Seven men from out of Hell. Ain't the owners gay,
'Cause we took the Bolivar safe across the Bay?

Here's how I've adapted the poem for singing (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

Rudyard Kipling, 1880
Adapted for singing by Charlie Ipcar 7/4/12
Tune after Home with the Girls in the Morning
Key: Dm (7/Gm)
The Ballad of Bolivar-2

Dm-----------------C-------------Dm--------------C
Seven men from all the world, on the Docks a-gain,
Dm-----------------C------------------------G--Dm--F--Dm
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk and rais-in' Cain!
---------------------C--------------Dm-------------C
"Give the girls a-nother round 'fore we sail a-way!"
Dm-----------------C-----------G--Dm--F---Dm
We that take the Bolivar, out a-cross the Bay!
F--------------C---------Dm-----------F--------C----------Dm/C
We steamed out from Sunderland, loaded down with rail;
F--------------C---------Dm-------------G-F-G-Dm-F-Dm
We steamed out from Sunderland — in-to a ris-in' gale!
F---------C-----Dm----------F-------C-----Dm/C
Leakin' like a lobster-pot, steerin' like a dray —
F-------------C---------Dm------F--G--Dm--F---Dm
The day we took the Bolivar, out a-cross the Bay!

One by one the Lights came up, winked and let us pass;
Met a blow that laid us low, heard a bulkhead smash!
Just her funnel and her mast lurchin' through the spray —
As we thrashed the Bolivar, out across the Bay!
Skidding 'cross the iron decks, bilges choked with coal;
Flayed and frozen foot and hand, sick of heart and soul!
How we prayed she'd buck herself into Judgment Day —
How we cursed the Bolivar, knockin' round the Bay!

Achin' for an hour's sleep, dozing off between;
Heard the rotten rivets draw, when she shipped it green!
Watched the compass chase its tail like a cat at play,
As we snaked the Bolivar, south across the Bay!
Once we saw between the squalls, lyin' head to swell —
Some damned Liner's lights go by like a grand hotel!
Mad with work and weariness, wishin' they was we,
Cheered her from the Bolivar, swampin' in the sea!

Then a greybeard cleared us out, how our skipper laughed,
"Boys, the wheel has gone to Hell! — Rig the winches aft!
Yoke the kickin' rudder-head! — Get her under way!"
We pulley-hauled the Bolivar, out across the Bay!
Just a pack o' rotten plates, puttied up with tar,
In we came, an' time enough, 'cross Bilbao Bar!
Overloaded, undermanned, meant to founder, sure;
Let's give a cheer for the Bolivar, lashed up and secure.

Seven men from all the world, back in town again,
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk and raisin' Cain!
Seven men from Hell and back! – Ain't the owners gay,
'Cause we took the Bolivar, safe across the Bay!
Seven men from all the world, back in town again,
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk and raisin' Cain!
Seven men from Hell and back! – Ain't the owners gay,
'Cause we took the Bolivar, safe across the Bay!

I was a little puzzled by the geography of this poem. They leave south from Sunderland, a port in Northeast England with a load of iron rail for Bilboa, evidently a port in Spain. The "Bay" in question would then be the Bay of Biscay. Have I got this right?

I've fit the words to several tunes, both major or minor. So far this one is my favorite, with its driving pace, reminiscent of "The Herzogin Cecilie."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 01:37 PM

Bilbao is in northern Spain in the Basque region. It is the capital of the province of Biscay - Mike


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 01:41 PM

Thanks, Mike!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 02:26 PM

There is a ferry service from Portsmouth to Bilbao, which is on the Nervion River, which empties into the Bay of Biscay (Estuary of Bilbao). The ferry terminus is in the Puerto de Bilbao, which is at Getxo, on the Bay of Biscay.
The port area is protected by several bar-like structures; whether any of these were originally natural features or man-made, I don't know.
These barriers can be seen on google maps of Getxo.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 05:26 PM

Q-

Portsmouth makes sense in terms of a regular route to Bilbao. But why then does the poem begin with "We put out from Sunderland loaded down with rails"? I can't find a Sunderland anywhere near Portsmouth.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 10:13 AM

Still awaiting an answer to the evident geographical confusion in this poem. I suppose "East is West" and "West is East" might pull Sunderland and Portsmouth together. Grumble...

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 03:51 PM

Sunderland was (and to some extent still is) a source of steel (and 'rails'), as well as coal' shipping. It was a very important port in the 19th C.

What is wrong with shipping from the Wear and Sunderland to Bilbao (or anywhere else for that matter)?. The poem only mentions Sunderland; nothing is said about Portsmouth.

The ferry from Portsmouth has nothing to do with shipping from Sunderland. I mentioned the Portsmouth ferry because it is popular with trippers for a short cruise to a Spanish port, and uses the port facilities at Getxo for Bilbao; the maps of the harbo(u)r are good if one googles Getxo. I was looking for a possible location of the "bar."

(Charley, I excuse myself for losing my grasp because of my age. What is your excuse- he, he, he)?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 06:30 PM

Q-

The run from Sunderland to Bilbao just doesn't work for me as a quick turn-around run. Kilpling doesn't really mention any North Sea landmarks. Most of the references have more to do with the Channel and the Bay of Biscay.

But I suppose I'll just have to respect Kipling's judgment on where the voyage began.

Is there a "Ratcliffe Road" in Sunderland? Yes, I'm familiar with the one in London.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble, the ancient mariner


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 06:38 PM

Well, here's what I've harvested from Kipling.org:

The Theme

Some sailors celebrate their safe return from a perilous voyage from Sunderland in northern England to Spain, in bad weather, in an ill-found, unseaworthy and over-insured vessel, by getting drunk and creating a disturbance. It is not clear if the owners intended them to be scuttled or overwhelmed by the storm, but they survived and brought the Bolivar safely into Bilbao.

The story is told with great verve and is neatly encapsulated by Lieutenant-Commander A.D. Roake writing in KJ 312/48. This is an extract:

Kipling's "The Ballad of the 'Bolivar' " is a poem for which I have a great "fellow feeling". He had done his homework as always. He knows his navigation too, going down-Channel past 'Start' [Srart Point in Devon – Ed.] and 'The Wolf [Wolf Rock,off Cornwall – Ed.], then south across the Bay of Biscay to Bilbao in Spain.

His reference to 'pully-haul' in emergency steering, the hogging and sagging as she pitches, and the 'plummer-block' (which takes the thrust) are all real technical terms. The 'greybeard' sea is also a term used in particular by "Cape Horners". 'Bluffed the Eternal Sea' also has meaning for me, and many other seamen. And there is the lovely bit of irony in the last two lines;

'Ain't the owners gay,
Cause we took the Bolivar safe across the Bay?'


Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 07:55 PM

Here's a hot link to excellent notes on this poem (excerpt above): click here

It's nice to see that someone has done their homework, in this case John McGivering.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 08:48 PM

The notes above are by John McGivering. It's nice to see that someone has done their homework.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jul 12 - 08:36 AM

Kipling does mention a number of landmarks consistent with a 7-day run from Sunderland to Bilbao, such as "The Start" and "The Wolf." So most everything does make sense in terms of navigation. Somehow, the crew ends up in London, "Ratcliffe Road," for their spree; I can't find one in Sunderland but that's not a major problem.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jul 12 - 01:34 PM

Done some more tweaking of the tune and lyrics as I've been learning this one. Here's what it looks like now (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

Rudyard Kipling, 1880
Adapted for singing by Charlie Ipcar 7/4/12
Tune after Home with the Girls in the Morning

The Ballad of Bolivar-3


Dm----------------C--------------Dm---------------C
Seven men from all the world, on the Docks a-gain,
Dm----------------C-------------------------G---Dm-F--Dm
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk an' rais-in' Cain!
---------------------C--------------Dm-------------C
"Give the girls a-nother round 'fore we sail a-way!"
Dm-----------------C-----------G--Dm--F---Dm
We that took the Bolivar, out a-cross the Bay!
F--------------C----------Dm-C---Dm--F------C-----------Dm/Am
We steamed out from Sun-der-land, loaded down with rail;
F--------------C---------Dm-C---Dm--------G-C-G--Dm-F---Dm
We steamed out from Sun-der-land — in a ris-in' win-t'ry gale!
----------C-----Dm--C-Dm--F--------C-----Dm/Am
Leakin' like a lob-ster-pot, steer-in' like a dray —
F----------C---------Dm-C-Dm-F-G-Dm---F--Dm
When we took the Bol-i-var, out a-cross the Bay!


One by one the Lights came up, winked and let us pass;
Met a blow that laid us low, heard a bulkhead smash!
Just her funnel and her mast lurchin' through the spray —
As we thrashed the Bolivar, out across the Bay!
Skidding 'cross the slimy decks, bilges choked with coal;
Flayed and frozen hand and foot, sick of heart and soul!
How we prayed she'd buck herself into Judgment Day —
How we cursed the Bolivar, knockin' round the Bay!

Achin' for an hour's sleep, dozing off between;
Heard the rotten rivets draw, when she shipped it green!
Watched the compass chase its tail like a cat at play,
As we snaked the Bolivar, south across the Bay!
Once we saw between the squalls, lyin' head to swell —
Some damned Liner's lights go by like a grand hotel!
Mad with work and weariness, wishin' they was we,
Cheered her from the Bolivar, swampin' in the sea!

Then a greybeard cleared us out, how our skipper laughed,
"Boys, the wheel has gone to Hell! — Rig the winches aft!
Yoke the kickin' rudder-head! — Get her under way!"
We pulley-hauled the Bolivar, out across the Bay!
Just a pack o' rotten plates, puttied up with tar,
In we came, an' time enough, 'cross Bilbao Bar!
Overloaded, undermanned, meant to founder, sure;
Give a cheer for the Bolivar, lashed up and secure.

Seven men from all the world, back in town again,
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk and raisin' Cain!
Seven men from Hell and back! – Ain't the owners gay,
'Cause we took the Bolivar, safe across the Bay!
Seven men from all the world, back in town again,
Rollin' down the Ratcliffe Road, drunk and raisin' Cain!
Seven men from Hell and back! – Ain't the owners gay,
'Cause we took the Bolivar, safe across the Bay!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Jul 12 - 04:40 PM

"The M.V. Bolivar was launched at Oslo, Norway in 1940. She was not completed until 1946. She was damaged by an explosion and fire while nearing completion. She set off on her maiden voyage to South America at the end of 1946. She broke in two on the Kish Bank, 13 kilometres off Dalkey Island on Tuesday, 4th March 1947.

A later Bolivar than the one memorialized by Kipling; the author introduces his story with two lines from Kipling's ballad, 1892 (1890):
Leaking like a lobster-pot, steering like a dray,
Out we took the Bolivar, out across the Bay.

The Wreck of the M.V. Bolivar on Kish Bank 1947, Liam Clare, Dublin Historical Record, v. 51 no. 1, Spring 1998, pp. 51.

The first page is available at jstor.org.

A glossary and discussion of the poem by Kipling: John McGivering, http://www.kipling.org.uk/rg_bolivar1.htm.
(It should be noted that the pronunciation stress is on the second syllable, Bo liv' ar, but how an English sailor would pronounce it...

Percy Grainger, 1901, set the poem for male voices and orchestra. Bardic Edition Music Publishers.
Has anyone found a recording?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 12:49 PM

(It should be noted that the pronunciation stress is on the second syllable, Bo liv' ar, but how an English sailor would pronounce it...

I suspect much the same way that the residents of western New York do... "baa' li ver" ... of course, they are the same folks that manage to add the invisible "r" in Wa"r"shington. LOL


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 12:51 PM

Pity that Kipling couldn't sing on pitch.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 04:00 PM

Digression-
sciencegeek should note that nearly all of the regional American pronunciations hark back to uses brought to North America by the early colonists from UK and Irish areas.
"Warsh" for wash is one example, generally considered to be Scotch-Irish in origin.
One reference:
http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/americanvarieties/pittsburghese


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: CET
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 07:31 PM

Stress on the second syllable? How'd you figure that? Not in ordinary speech and not in the poem. The stress is clearly on the first syllable. I


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 08:47 PM

CET-

Thanks, CET.

I'm in that delicate process of figuring out how to voice this song, and it's not set in concrete yet. It really doesn't work as well when one encounters multiple choice.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 08:57 PM

The name is Spanish. The stress is on the second syllable.
Bolívar.

Hence my question as to how an English sailor would pronounce it (my guess is Bawl' i var with the stress on the first syllable).

Since the name has three syllables, either works in the original poem, but I would guess Kipling would use the English sailor's mispronunciation.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Jul 12 - 09:23 PM

I already emailed you this in response to your geographical misgivings, but re-posting here as it seems to complement Q's post above:

"Portsmouth is one logical place to have a passenger ferry to Bilbao - which is why the modern service operates from there.

Steel rails have to be brought from the manufacturing source, in this case the steel works near to the coastal port of Sunderland (actually, the bulk of steel rail production in Britain came from Workington in Cumbria, just round the North-West coast from Carlisle, originally using locally-produced steel, later raw steel was brought overland [by rail!] from the north-east [latterly Consett, Co Durham]. Rail production now centres on Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire. The remains of what used to be the nationalised steel industry in Britain was operated after privatisation mainly by Corus, and now by the Indian-owned Tata company [http://www.tatasteelrail.com/en/products/rail_products/ ])

Steel-production in Britain historically centred on coal-fields and iron-ore deposits (so Midlands, north of England, Central Scotland and South Wales). Expense of transportation of raw materials and finished product by road/rail is one reason why the historical inland production centres became uneconomical as local resources ran out. So getting stuff to Portsmouth would not be an economic option. Sorry if that spoils your imagined logistics."

If no onward cargo from Bilbao could be found, the ship would quite likely be ordered back to London. I imagine crossing Biscay twice might well induce a thirst, which numerous establishments on the Ratcliffe Highway would be happy to assuage.

If you ever get back to London, Wilton's Music Hall is just around the corner from The Highway as it is now known. The oldest music-hall in the world, it survives as a working theatre. Not far away from The Prospect of Whitby which I think you found on a previous trip.

Ross


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: CET
Date: 21 Jul 12 - 10:05 AM

Of course the name is Spanish, but the stress is still not on the second syllable - more on the third. An English sailor would pronounce it the way every other English speaker normally does, with the stress on the first syllable.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jul 12 - 10:56 AM

Biographia

Note accent on second syllable.
http://tierra.free-people.net/personajes/personajes-simon-bolivar.php


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Jul 12 - 11:10 AM

Ross-

Excellent notes. Thanks!

And "Wilton's Music Hall" is one of the few survivors from London's sailortown. I have a photo of it in my Facebook album of Cicely Fox Smith associated graphics. And the "Prospect of Whitby" is still a fine place to assuage a thirst.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Ballad of the Bolivar (Kipling)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 12 - 10:27 PM

Finally got around to recording this hard-driving ballad: Click for lyrics and MP3 sample!

There's been a few more wording changes and chord corrections from what I posted above but that's all included on my website.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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