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Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty

DigiTrad:
PENCIL SHARPENING SHANTY
THE FAREWELL SHANTY


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Farewell Shanty (Mervyn Vincent) (21)
Lyr Add: Pencil Sharpening Shanty (36)


Tradsinger 20 Feb 13 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,999 20 Feb 13 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,999 20 Feb 13 - 06:16 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Feb 13 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,999 20 Feb 13 - 06:43 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 20 Feb 13 - 06:58 PM
Tradsinger 21 Feb 13 - 02:19 AM
Gibb Sahib 21 Feb 13 - 02:44 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Feb 13 - 05:11 AM
GUEST,999 21 Feb 13 - 07:23 AM
Tradsinger 21 Feb 13 - 10:25 AM
doc.tom 21 Feb 13 - 10:30 AM
Gibb Sahib 21 Feb 13 - 11:34 AM
doc.tom 21 Feb 13 - 01:37 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Feb 13 - 02:30 PM
Tradsinger 22 Feb 13 - 03:01 AM
Acorn4 22 Feb 13 - 04:17 AM
doc.tom 22 Feb 13 - 08:57 AM
doc.tom 22 Feb 13 - 08:58 AM
Jenny S 27 Mar 13 - 05:55 AM
BillE 27 Mar 13 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Derrick 27 Mar 13 - 10:20 AM
doc.tom 27 Mar 13 - 11:42 AM
Gibb Sahib 27 Mar 13 - 04:46 PM
Joe Offer 04 Sep 17 - 09:24 PM
JHW 05 Sep 17 - 05:54 AM
GUEST,Joe 06 Sep 17 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Derrick 06 Sep 17 - 09:06 AM
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Subject: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Tradsinger
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 05:56 PM

What is the origin of this song. I realise that it is not traditional but who wrote it and when?

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 06:10 PM

"My Husband has just told me that Farewell shanty was discovered by the late Mervyn Vincent of Padstow, Cornwall, in Plymouth Library whilst looking up old books about ships and sailing. It was either written in a book or a manuscript within the cover of the book. It is attributed as traditional, and was recorded by Johnny Collins on his album The Travellers Rest. According to the sleeve notes on that record, Johnny Collins learned it from Alan . there is no proof that this is Cornish
Lucy"

That is from

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9W6rXvp7g0


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 06:16 PM

Note: J Collins calls the song "Farewell Dhanty" on the album mentioned in the post before this.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 06:20 PM

There was an old thread on this: Origins: Farewell Shanty (Mervyn Vincent); See the post there by doc.tom, which clarifies that it was Alan Molyneux who discovered the song and then gave it to Mervyn.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 06:43 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Mick.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 06:58 PM

I just noticed in this book Performance, culture, and identity, ed Fine and Speer, a version of this, which appears to have several mondegreens in it, including:

  Haul away yer four sheets

and

  Wave the surgeon under

It's only a snippet view, so I can't tell if they're there deliberately or not. It doesn't look like it from the bits I can see!


Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Tradsinger
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 02:19 AM

Thanks for the info.

Tradsinger.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 02:44 AM

"Old book" or no, it does not sound much at all like a traditional shanty. Either it was only one line in the "old book" which was taken and expanded upon, or else the old book was written by a poet who never came close to a shanty. Now: Somebody present the "old book" and make me eat my words!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 05:11 AM

I'd also wondered why the old book hasn't (as far as I know) come to light.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 07:23 AM

'Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,999
Date: 20 Feb 13 - 06:16 PM

Note: J Collins calls the song "Farewell Dhanty" on the album mentioned in the post before this.'



That should read "Farewell Shanty."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Tradsinger
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 10:25 AM

So not a straightforward picture, then. I wonder if any more will come to light. When was it first being sung? I remember hearing it in about 1975.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: doc.tom
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 10:30 AM

Thanks Mick - saves me saying it all again. I knew Alan well, and Mervyn even better, and was there when it came into the local repertoire (and when we were given the extra 'deep blue ocean' verse on the Isle of Wight). I have no reason to doubt Alan's explanation, Gibb, whatever you think it sounds like.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 11:34 AM

How does Alan's explanation contradict what I think it sounds like?
Did he say he say he found all of it, or just a line or two and made up the rest?
Did he say he found it in an historical context, given, for example, as a "shanty" in a travelogue or diary?
I have no reason to doubt he was inspired by something he saw in a book. But also no reason to believe it was traditional. What am I missing?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: doc.tom
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 01:37 PM

"it does not sound much at all like a traditional shanty. Either it was only one line in the "old book" which was taken and expanded upon, or else the old book was written by a poet who never came close to a shanty."
Why not? - and to answer your other questions:-
1) He found it "complete."
2) Yes. No.
3) see 1)
What makes you think he was inspired by what he found in a book?
Who said it was a shanty (apart from Johnny Collins titling it)?
"no reason to believe it was traditional" - OK but what reason to think it wasn't? (shanty or no).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Feb 13 - 02:30 PM

Tom, thanks for clarification that Alan said he found it complete. That detail was not in your original anecdote, so it had to be asked rather than assumed.

Reason to believe it wasn't traditional? There is simply no evidence (yet) that it was; I can't prove a negative.

That aside, it doesn't sound like a traditional song due to its language. Or rather, the language sounds more like 20th century Folk music language to me, possibly something a poet could write in the late 19th century. The structured listing of "haul away x, y, z" sounds like someone trying hard to refer to nautical stuff in order to manufacture a "sea" song. In fact, the whole *self-reflection* on sailing stuff, in general, speaks to romanticism for maritime culture, whereas traditional songs tended to have other concerns than their "hauling" and their foresheets. To clarify, the traditional songs might refer to (e.g.) hauling, but not in such a consistent way, not dwelling on it. And "Haul away for heaven" is pure romantic rubbish.

I am not so articulate in describing what I feel intuitively about language, but I will say that the text has a sort of "undue weight" on certain things -- which makes me feel that someone modeled it after a few songs they had seen and based it on their perceptions of the genre they were modeling, rather than it emerging from the traditional repertoire. For instance, this sort of sentiment of "time for us to go; it's our sailing time" speaks the language of "Leave Her Johnny." One might feel, in that case, that it is validated as having traditional characteristics. And yet "Leave Her Johnny" is not very representative, in this sense, of the body of traditional song. In this case, it feels more like someone had heard "Leave Her Johnny" and used it as a model. The weight of a certain kind of sentiment is out of proportion to the weight given to that sentiment in the traditional repertoire as a whole.

For someone to suppose it is a traditional song without evidence seems to me a bolder gesture than for someone like me , in the same absence of evidence, to suspect that it is not traditional. I think the burden lies with the former to support his/her belief.

Now, I've tried to answer your question - Can you please answer my question on the Bully in the Alley thread? :-) (re: why John Short's version would be more like a cotton stowing version due to its structure)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Tradsinger
Date: 22 Feb 13 - 03:01 AM

I agree with Gibb Sahib that it doesn't feel like a traditional song, but has a more arty feel to it. I'm not going to go into "what is a folk song" as that debate could lead us into ever-decreasing circles, and we know where that leads. However, there are other issues that point to it not being traditional:

1. there don't appear to be multiple collected copies and different versions, apart from what recent folk revival singers may have done.

2. It doesn't show up in older song collections and so far as I know, it was not sung before the 1970s.

3. And this is a clincher - Steve Roud has made the judgement not to include it in his fabulous index.

All that aside, it is still a very good song and I shall continue to sing it.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Acorn4
Date: 22 Feb 13 - 04:17 AM

We've recently learned the song - it almost seems to have the feel of a spiritual about it rather than a shanty.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: doc.tom
Date: 22 Feb 13 - 08:57 AM

I'm happy to argue that it is (or was) traditional because of 1)the position it was in, 2)the circumstances in which it was sung, and 3)the expectation of the community towards it, when Mervyn started singing it in, I believe, 1965. And that is NOTHING to do with the folk revival. What happened to it after Jim & Johnny took it on is not relevant to my argument - but interesting nevertheless (rather parallel to Rosabella, in fact). Personally, I have never claimed that what has become called 'The Farewell Shanty' was a folk-song (whatever that is), nor traditional prior to its introduction to the extant sining tradition in North Cornwall, nor a shanty.

The argument that there is no evidence it was 'ever' traditional relies on a vision of what is traditional that is foreign to me. In my opinion - and we are all though this dealing merely with opinion - whether a thing is traditional or not is defined by the expectation of the community within which it is extant - it becomes traditional within that community - rather like folk songs, in fact. History, and for that matter community, did not end with the nineteenth century. And certainly not because Thatcher said so! (Sorry, that was irrelevant interpolation).

Gibb - I can't find the Bully thread at the moment - but then, I was only expressing an opinion about what Short's version it felt like!

TomB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: doc.tom
Date: 22 Feb 13 - 08:58 AM

Just found the Bully thread - I'll try again on that one!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Jenny S
Date: 27 Mar 13 - 05:55 AM

So can someone post the 'deep blue ocean' verse here please?


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Subject: Lyr Add: FAREWELL SHANTY
From: BillE
Date: 27 Mar 13 - 08:02 AM

Mervyn's own words at a gig at the Triton Club, Liverpool, 27th October 1975 (recorded on cassette by Doreen Rickart and given to Doc Rowe's Archive) state:

"It's my song in as much as I found it in a book. And I couldn't read the music, so I got some bugger to tell me the tune. And I was hoping that one day they'd put it on a record ' cause it's 'ansome!"

Knowing my own association with Mervyn and Charlie and the 'Old 'Oss in the 1960's Doc asked me to digitise Doreen's cassettes. Her collection of Mervyn spans several gigs from 1975 - 1978. There are three tracks of the Farewell Shanty. The words are consistent:

FAREWELL SHANTY

It is time to go now
Haul away your anchor
Haul away your anchor,
Tis our sailing time.

Put the sails upon her,
Haul away your halliards
Haul away your halliards,
Tis our sailing time.

Set her on her course now,
Haul away your fore-sheets
Haul away your fore-sheets,
Tis our sailing time.

Till the seas run under,
Haul away down channel,
Haul away down channel,
On the evening tide.

When my day is over,
Haul away to heaven,
Haul away to heaven,
Lord be by my side.

EXCEPT that in two of the later of the three examples he started verse 2 and 3 with the same 'Put the sails...' line. Mervyn did not repeat the first verse in these recordings, nor did he sing "God".

See you on Mayday Tom & Barbara!

Bill


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 27 Mar 13 - 10:20 AM

Bills quotation of Mervyn's explanation concerning the way the song was found agrees perfectly with what I was told at Alan Molyneux's club in the late 60's.
Alan was the "bugger" who could read music and was able to teach Mervyn
the tune.
I learned the song at that club where it was used as the finishing song.
I also went to the Stable Loft in Wadebridge which was in fine voice at that time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: doc.tom
Date: 27 Mar 13 - 11:42 AM

'God' and the repeat of the first verse came from Johnny & Jim's adaptation of what they had from Mervyn.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 27 Mar 13 - 04:46 PM

"It's my song in as much as I found it in a book."

He was being ironic, I assume?

Alan was the "bugger" who could read music and was able to teach Mervyn
the tune.


So at least two people saw this book? It's a shame they did not elaborate on what sort of book it was. Evidently it had musical notation, so it probably would not have been just a scribble somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Sep 17 - 09:24 PM

I was going to post a YouTube video link or two, to help me remember to learn this song. When I searched YouTube (click) I couldn't believe how many versions were available. Click the link and listen to a few.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: JHW
Date: 05 Sep 17 - 05:54 AM

I'm pleased to see already noted that Mervyn did not repeat the first verse.
Having heard him sing it thus firsthand (at the Collingwood, Thornaby) on the rare occasions I've sung it I've followed his example though now the fashion is to repeat.
Believer or not I feel Haul Away to Heaven is a better last verse, even a blessing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,Joe
Date: 06 Sep 17 - 04:23 AM

Remember this song from the Edinburgh folk clubs in th 60's. It was always called THE BRISTOL LEAVING SHANY, though?(haul away down channel)?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Padstow Farewell Shanty
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 06 Sep 17 - 09:06 AM

The Padstow farewell shanty as it has become known, has at best a tentative link to Padstow.
That link is through Mervyn Vincent who lived in the area and introduced it to the Padstow singers who adopted the song into the the local repertoire.
The story of it's source is covered by myself and BillE further back in the thread.
As is often the case subsequent "folk experts" have created a mythology around it.
It became widely known through the singing of Johnny Collins who learned
while visiting the west country


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