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Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'

Bill Brown 03 Aug 14 - 10:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Aug 14 - 12:20 PM
Bill Brown 04 Aug 14 - 06:53 PM
GUEST, GUEST, Betsy 04 Aug 14 - 07:11 PM
Jeri 04 Aug 14 - 07:15 PM
Bill Brown 05 Aug 14 - 12:13 AM
Jeri 05 Aug 14 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,# 06 Aug 14 - 11:21 AM
Bill Brown 07 Aug 14 - 11:21 PM
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Subject: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: Bill Brown
Date: 03 Aug 14 - 10:53 PM

Anybody know of this? I've got a set of lyrics "to the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'" I've found "I'm off for Baltimore" online, but only the lyrics, not the tune. It's a minstrel song - cringe-worthy - written in the 1850s.

The lyrics are "The Pirates Serenade," written in the same era.

Thanks,

Bill Brown


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 12:20 PM

Not in Lester Levy collection. four copies in American Memory, but only lyrics, no notes. Google can't find it. Maybe it was never written down.

It's a nice little story. Scrape off the condescension and it would be worth learning. Why not make up your own tune?


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: Bill Brown
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 06:53 PM

I suppose I could, but where there's a "to the tune of" notation, it's often possible to track it down.

Here's something I've noticed. The chorus of both lyrics start off with "come, love, come . . ."

Come, love, come, you must not fear,
My boat lies ober on de oder shore,
And all I want is my Sally dear,
Den I'll be off for Baltimore.

Come, love, come, come away with me,
My bark is on the glossy sea;
The moon is bright, on ocean's breast,
All, save the Pirate, is now at rest.

Strongly reminiscent of "Nancy Till" (or "Nancy Dill" or "Down in De Canebrake") which was published (or so I read) in 1851, around the same time. In fact the song would work to that tune.

Unfortunately, I don't like that tune very much.

It's possible that this is the tune, however. Or else the writer cherry-picked the phrase from the chorus and set to a new tune.

I suppose another track to explore is - are there alternative tunes to "Nancy Till/Dill/Canebrake?"


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: GUEST, GUEST, Betsy
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 07:11 PM

Bill ,
Sorry for the previous..........
You might be referring to a lusty song which went something like....
I touched her on the toe and the crew began to roar
Way, hay, up me lads, - we're off TO Baltimore.

A bit like a few songs which words work it's way up the lady's body in a bawdy sort of way.

Cheers
Betsy


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Subject: RE: ADD: 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: Jeri
Date: 04 Aug 14 - 07:15 PM

Possibly here at youtube.

At that site:
The Dan Meyer Choir performs "Off for Baltimore" for "The Baltimore Songbook: 1850-1930" at The 2640 Space on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Written in 1852 by William Donaldson and arranged for a cappella choir by Dan Meyer. Here are the lyrics:

It was one evening in the month of June,
The stars were bright and the sky was clear,
The lover sang his good old tune
As a serenade for his Sally dear.
He lightly touched the banjo string
Beneath her window that she might hear.
At length the shutter back did swing
And there he saw his Sally dear.

Then come, love, come, you need not fear,
My boat lies on the other shore,
And all I want is my Sally dear
Then I'll be off for Baltimore.

I shan't forget till the day I die
The words my Sally spoke to me,
"I will come to you by and by
If you will wait by the old pine tree."
It was not long and she did come,
Her hand box filled with all her store.
She said, "For you I'll leave my home
And go with you to Baltimore."


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: Bill Brown
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 12:13 AM

BINGO!! Jeri, I owe you a beer - at the very least!

Boy, did they clean those minstrel lyrics up. Not even a suggestion of the "n" word. lol

Thank you thank you!

Bill Brown


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: Jeri
Date: 05 Aug 14 - 06:28 AM

Glad I could help, Bill.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: GUEST,#
Date: 06 Aug 14 - 11:21 AM

I wrote to the LoC. The response:

'We have four slightly different publications of the text only for "I'm off for Baltimore." These are found in the American Memory site, located under the title. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any sheet music for that title.'


Very helpful people there.


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Subject: RE: Tune Req: the tune of 'I'm off for Baltimore'
From: Bill Brown
Date: 07 Aug 14 - 11:21 PM

I wrote to Dan Meyer - whose choral group can be seen singing an arrangement of the song in the youtube link above.

Mr Meyer was kind enough to send a link to the sheet music!

http://levysheetmusic.mse.jhu.edu/catalog/levy:023.015


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