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Origins: Big Bow Wow

DigiTrad:
BOSTON HARBOR


Related thread:
Origins: Boston Harbour/Boston Harbor/Big Bow Wow (55)


1979 29 Nov 99 - 09:00 AM
Metchosin 29 Nov 99 - 11:33 AM
Marc 29 Nov 99 - 04:26 PM
1979 30 Nov 99 - 08:38 AM
Peace 09 Feb 10 - 04:48 PM
Leadfingers 09 Feb 10 - 05:55 PM
GUEST,999 09 Feb 10 - 06:01 PM
Charley Noble 09 Feb 10 - 06:06 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 10 - 06:19 PM
Artful Codger 09 Feb 10 - 06:53 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 09 Feb 10 - 06:56 PM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 10 - 07:41 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 09 Feb 10 - 08:12 PM
Bob the Postman 09 Feb 10 - 09:29 PM
Bob the Postman 09 Feb 10 - 09:33 PM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 10 - 07:52 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Feb 10 - 08:01 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 10 Feb 10 - 08:32 AM
Charley Noble 10 Feb 10 - 08:51 AM
Steve Gardham 10 Feb 10 - 02:10 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Feb 10 - 02:15 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 10 Feb 10 - 02:36 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Feb 10 - 02:43 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Feb 10 - 02:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Feb 10 - 02:55 PM
Brian Peters 10 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 10 Feb 10 - 03:25 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Feb 10 - 06:52 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Feb 10 - 06:59 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Feb 10 - 07:24 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Feb 10 - 07:32 PM
CET 10 Feb 10 - 08:28 PM
Artful Codger 10 Feb 10 - 11:37 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Feb 10 - 12:48 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Feb 10 - 12:54 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Feb 10 - 10:54 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Feb 10 - 11:19 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 11 Feb 10 - 11:51 AM
Steve Gardham 11 Feb 10 - 12:45 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Feb 10 - 01:21 PM
Charley Noble 11 Feb 10 - 03:51 PM
GUEST,999 11 Feb 10 - 04:11 PM
Joe Offer 11 Feb 10 - 04:20 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Feb 10 - 04:23 PM
Charley Noble 11 Feb 10 - 04:39 PM
GUEST,999 11 Feb 10 - 05:09 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Feb 10 - 07:03 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Feb 10 - 07:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Feb 10 - 08:49 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 01:26 AM
Charley Noble 12 Feb 10 - 07:44 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 07:47 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Feb 10 - 10:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Feb 10 - 01:31 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 02:25 PM
Charley Noble 12 Feb 10 - 02:28 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Feb 10 - 04:00 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Feb 10 - 04:26 PM
Charley Noble 12 Feb 10 - 04:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Feb 10 - 04:49 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Feb 10 - 02:32 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Feb 10 - 03:18 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 13 Feb 10 - 03:25 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Feb 10 - 06:32 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Feb 10 - 03:58 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Feb 10 - 04:36 PM
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Subject: Who Wrote: Big Bow Wow!
From: 1979
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 09:00 AM

The first verse starts off
From Yarmouth Harbour we set sail
The wind was blowing the devil of a gail
All our ring tails set and our baflin is in peak

The chorus goes
    With a Big Bow Wow
    Tow Row Row Row
    Fall der al der I do day

The Ow's are all prononuced like you hurt yourself

If anyone could tell me who wrote it or even where it originated I would be very happy.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote: Big Bow Wow!
From: Metchosin
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 11:33 AM

Hi 1979, The song is on the Digitrad under the title of Boston Harbour but the only way you seem to be able to access it, is by typing in the words "Bow Wow" it doesn't seem to want to come up by the title name. Don't know who wrote it, would seem to be traditional just place names changed to suit who was singing it.


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote: Big Bow Wow!
From: Marc
Date: 29 Nov 99 - 04:26 PM

According to Stan Hugill it was a popular chantey onboard American vessles during the mid 19th century.

Marc


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Subject: RE: Who Wrote: Big Bow Wow!
From: 1979
Date: 30 Nov 99 - 08:38 AM

Excellent, all good news, all useful news, thanks!


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Subject: DT Version: Big Bow Wow
From: Peace
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 04:48 PM

Digital Tradition Version
BOSTON HARBOR

From Boston harbor we set sail
And the wind was blowin' the devil of a gale
With the ring-tail set all about the mizzen peak
And the dolphin striker plowin' up the deep

cho: With a big bow wow, tow row row
Fal dee rall dee di do day.

The up steps the skipper from down below
And he looks aloft, boys, and he looks alow
And he looks alow and he looks aloft
And it's tighten up your ropes, boys, fore and aft.

cho:

Then it's down to his cabin he quickly falls
To his poor old steward then he bawls
"Fix me a glass that will make me cough
'Cause it's better weather here than it is up aloft."

cho:

While it's we poor seamen that are up on the decks
With the blasted rain falling down our necks
And not a drop of grog will he afford
For he damns our eyes with every other word.

cho:

Now there's just one thing we all do crave
That he will find a watery grave
We will heave him down into some dark hole
Where the sharks'll have his body and the Devil have his soul.

cho:

Now the old bugger is dead and gone
And damn his eyes, he's left a son
And if to us he doesn't prove frank
We'll very soon make him walk the plank.

@sailor
filename[ BSTNHRBR
TUNE FILE: BSTNHRBR
CLICK TO PLAY
RG


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 05:55 PM

I seem to recall reading that the Big Bow Wow bit was borrowed from a popular music Hall song , but dont ask me which one .


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: GUEST,999
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 06:01 PM

From the excellent GEST site.

Big Bow Wow (Jim Payne)
See also: Big Bow Wow (The Punters)

From Yarmouth Harbour we set sail,
The wind was blowin' the devil of a gale;
All our ring tails set and our bafflin' was in peak,
And our dolphin striker is a-ploughin' up the deep.

With a big bow wow,
Tow row row,
Fol dee rol dee ride all day.

Our captain comes up from down below,
He looks aloft and he looks alow;
He looks alow and he looks aloft,
Sayin' coil those ropes boys, fore and aft.

With a big bow wow,
Tow row row,
Fol dee rol dee ride all day.

Then back to his cabin he quickly crawls,
Unto his steward he loudly calls;
Go bring me a glass that will make me cough,
For it's better weather here than it is up aloft.

With a big bow wow,
Tow row row,
Fol dee rol dee ride all day.

It's we poor sailors standin' on the deck,
With the blasted rain pourin' down our necks;
Not a drop of grog will he to us afford,
But he damns our eyes with every other word.

With a big bow wow,
Tow row row,
Fol dee rol dee ride all day.

Now there's one thing we sailors crave,
For him to find a watery grave;
We'll shove him down in a dark deep hole,
Where the sharks will have his body, and the devil take his soul.

With a big bow wow,
Tow row row,
Fol dee rol dee ride all day.

####.... With a chorus borrowed from an influential music-hall song of the mid-nineteenth century, this is a fo'c's'le shanty or forebitter popular between the years 1860 and 1870, first printed by Captain W. B. Whall, Master Mariner [1837-1925?] Sea Songs And Shanties (Brown, Son and Ferguson, Glasgow, 1910) ....####
Arranged and recorded by Jim Payne of Notre Dame Bay, NL (Wave Over Wave: Old & New Songs Of Atllantic Canada / Jim Payne & Fergus O'Byrne, trk#9, 1995, SingSong Inc., St. John's, NL, 1997 ECMA Roots/Traditional Artist Nominee).

See more songs by Jim Payne.

A variant was also arranged and recorded as Big Bow Wow by The Punters (Fisherman's Blues, trk#14, Avondale Music, 2003).

See more songs by The Punters.

A fo'c's'le (forecastle) shanty or forebitter was usually sung by resting sailors gathered about the forebitts, a structure near the bow where crew quarters and anchor chains were located


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 06:06 PM

"With a chorus borrowed from an influential music-hall song of the mid-nineteenth century"

This makes sense to me but what circa 1860 music hall song?

Charley Noble


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Subject: ADD Version: Boston Harbour (Big Bow Wow)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 06:19 PM

I would suppose a good many of us know this song from the Watersons recording. Here are their lyrics, from Reinhard Zierke's Watersons Website.

BOSTON HARBOUR (BIG WOW WOW)

From Boston Harbour we set sail
When it was blowin' the devil of a gale,
With the ring-tail set all avast the mizzen peak
And Rule Britannia ploughin' up the deep.

Chorus (after each verse):
With a big bow wow, tow row row,
Fal dee ral dee ri do day

Then up come the skipper from down below,
It's “Look aloft, lads, look alow,”
And it's “Look alow and it's look aloft,”
And “Tie up your ropes, lads, fore and aft.”

Then down to his cabin well he quickly crawls,
To his poor old steward bawls,
“Go and mix me a glass that will make me cough
For it's better weather here than it is on top.”

Now there's one thing that we have to crave:
That the captain meets with a watery grave.
So we'll throw him down into some dark hole
Where the sharks 'll have his body and the Devil have his soul.

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by Garry Gillard.



Looks like the earliest version was found in Whall's book. Anybody have that version?
Note: the Watersons call this song "Boston Harbour" on their recordings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Artful Codger
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 06:53 PM

Q posted Whall's version already in this thread: http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=20991


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 06:56 PM

The tune Bow Wow Wow was given for many songs - you can find several at the Bodleian eg here's one dated 1770-1800:

Bow Wow Wow

Chappell - PMOT (ch.Queen Anne and George II) - mentions it for a Guy Fawkes song (see: Lyr Add: Prince of Sinisters Parody bow wow wow1 ), though with the comment that he's lost the words and gives different words to the tune.

I don't know offhand the earliest reference to it, and I haven't time to look now, but it shouldn't be too hard to find info on it.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 07:41 PM

Thanks, Artful Codger -
And I think Q's post clarifies the "music hall" reference, that perhaps Lloyd misinterpreted Whall.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 08:12 PM

George Gardiner also collected a version of the song with the title From Sweet Dundee in Hampshire in 1906. You can see it at EFDSS - Take Six Site; search for Reference Number GG/1/7/385. (I must ask EFDSS to make references to individual items possible; I can't see a way to do it at the moment).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 09:29 PM

With the ring-tail set all about the mizzen peak
All our ring tails set and our bafflin' was in peak
With the ring-tail set all avast the mizzen peak

WTF?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 09 Feb 10 - 09:33 PM

Never mind, sorry, ring tails are thoroughly explicated in the other thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:52 AM

"The tune Bow Wow Wow was given for many songs"

That's not the same tune as the one I know for 'Boston Harbour', or for the Gardiner 'Sweet Dundee' - but thanks for the link.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 08:01 AM

Here is Sir Walter Scott writing of Jane Austen some 7-8 years after her death:—

"[Miss Austen] had a talent for describing the involvements and feelings and characters of ordinary life which is to me the most wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-Wow strain I can do myself like any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the description and the sentiment, is denied to me."
Walter Scott, Journal entry, 14 March 1826

This seems to me worth recording on this thread, as use of caps seems to suggest that 'Big Bow-Wow' was some sort of commonplace of the time. Not clear how it might have drifted into music-hall & thence into the shanty; but this entry seems to predate citations so far ~ except the C18-looking Bodleian broadside cited above by Mick Pearce, which is about the dogs that various professions resemble, and has a similar chorus except that the 'Bow Wow' in it is not 'Big': "Bow wow wow, fal lal lal, addi addi Bow wow wow" {Harding B14(9)}, for which a stage origin is cited at the top: which may be significant, as Scott himself was much into folksong, compiler of famous Minstrelsy Of The Scottish Border, and might well have been quoting from some ballad. This broadside wasn't the sort of ballad included in Minstrelsy, certainly; but Scott might have come across it, or a related version, in his researches. The ref, it should be noted, is in his Journal, so presumably not necessarily intended to be understood by anyone other than himself?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 08:32 AM

Brian - sorry I didn't make it clear that the tunes were not the same, but I was thinking more of the Bow Wow phrase (and I think tow row row also appeared elsewhere). Despite Whall's comment (quoted in the other origins thread) that It is evidently the work of a seaman it sounds to me more like the work of a stage songwriter to me and I feel there should be some antecedent that's findable (though where Mordaunt's royals free chorus fits in I can't imagine - but apart from A Ship Of Solace (source for that version), he also had another book called Royals Free).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 08:51 AM

Mick-

I couldn't agree with you more. And let's hope that this discussion of where the "Big Bow Wow" came from is resolved before this thread is curtailed.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:10 PM

Sorry to put a damper on proceedings but the vast majority of nonsense choruses are just that, nonsense choruses, but we sing 'em with just as much gusto anyway.

With a tow, row, row, row, row, row To the British Grenadier.

'Bow, wow, wow' at any rate is a blind alley as far as 'Boston Harbour' goes.

Or alternatively if you are the sort that likes to put meanings into everything, here's my best shot....

'With a big bow wave, to tow yer to the grave
If you fail to roll and ride today.' (Makes just as much sense)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:15 PM

Steve - but see my post of 0801 re Walter Scott's description of his novel writing as being in the 'Big Bow-Wow strain' ~ do you not agree that suggests it as some sort of recognised or commonplace phrase for going for a big effect?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:36 PM

I don't think anyone was particularly looking for a meaning in the words of the chorus Steve. I was more interested in a likely stage origin for the song.

(Bow-wow from late 18C was a dog and gave rise to some derivatives derived from dog-like behaviour: bow-wow shop, where a servant might greet you at the door like a dog; also in mid 19C used for a lover, from dog-like behaviour. Perhaps Scott's Big Bow-Wow derived from that).

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:43 PM

... except that Scott's was not mid-C19, but much earlier ~ 1826


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:47 PM

... also Scott's phrase was not regarding lover-like doggie-tail-wagging behaviour, but the BIG AND EMPHATIC sort of writing ~ explicitly contrasted with the more miniaturist everyday perfection of detail achieved by Jane Austen, whom he much admired but whose style and milieu he was particularly contrasting with his own.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 02:55 PM

Steve may be correct about Bow Wow Wow being a blind alley, but several American song sheets have verses that use a tune by that name.
I can't find the original song, but one of those using the tune Bow-Wow-Wow is That's What's the Matter No. 3, c. 1860s, as sung by the popular entertainer, Tony Pastor.

The chorus includes the nonsense line "That's just so; ri fol too ral too- that's just so."

The first part of Dixie's Land is questionably traced to "an 18th c. English song called "Bow Wow Wow""


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Brian Peters
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 03:09 PM

At the risk of further distraction from the original question, here's what I recognize (from some very distant childhood memory) as Bow Wow Wow . Lyrics on this site here if anyone's interested.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 03:25 PM

MtheGM - I didn't mean Scott derived it from puppy-dog behaviour, but rather the oxymoronic Big bow-wow behaviour you suggest.

I don't want to drag anyone down a blind alley with Bow Wow Wow, but I did think that the use of Big bow wow, tow row row was indicative of a professional songwriter as source (not my only reason for thinking so) - I can't think offhand of non-professional uses of these phrases - though Steve may be able to correct me on this.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 06:52 PM

No Mick, I totally agree with you. That was my immediate response. Probably from the Tow,row,row, very Hook, Dibdin, Arneish.
Michael,

The Scott description certainly ought to be followed up. I presume the other bow wow wow referred to was 'The Drummer and the Cook' which we sang at school.

Have you tried Googling and all the slang dictionaries?

Yes, I've often come across refs to 'Bow, wow, wow' as a designated tune. Have you checked Simpson? It certainly crops up in the Universal Songster 1825 a lot.

I have 3 references to an actual song of this title in my broadside indexes.

First is in Notes and Queries 7.6.483 FL Sit down neighbours all, and I'll tell a merry story' 17 double stanzas (got copy)

Second: 'York Publications BL 99a FL 'AS Johnny and Mary were snoring one day' (no copy)

Third: Madden Collection M3 2118 'I'll sing you a song, faith I'm singing it now' 7 double stanzas (got copy)

Don't think they are related. I have no songs with this title in my large general song index.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 06:59 PM

Too late for Simpson and too early for Kilgarriff. Next time I come across an early reference to it I'll make a note. Once again the lack of 18thc material stumps us. I'm in the BL next week looking at 18thc stuff. Might spot something.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:24 PM

Michael, it shouldn't be too difficult to trace Scott's exact meaning. I would guess the 'big' doesn't really link closely to the 'bow-wow'. I'm not a big fan or an avid reader of Scott but to me it would mean something similar to today's 'WOW!' factor. He seems to be referring to his own historical novels and their dashing romantic characters. We should perhaps be looking for alternate meanings for 'bow-wow'. Even if we interpret the 'Bow-wow-wow' in the songs as meaning something like 'Crash, bang, wallop!' where does it get us with 'tow, row, row,' or the ubiquitous 'Fol de rol de ri do day'?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 07:32 PM

Any ideas as to the 19th c.(?) song "Bow-wow-wow" used for "That's What's the Matter" and others of that century?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: CET
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 08:28 PM

I was echoing Bob the Postman's WTF. I could never make sense of that line and apparently neither could lots of others: "our bafflin was in peak" and "avast the mizzen peak"! I am therefore grateful for the link to the other thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Artful Codger
Date: 10 Feb 10 - 11:37 PM

Could Tony Pastor's "That's What's the Matter, No. n" be additional verse sets for Stephen Foster's song, "That's What's the Matter"?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 12:48 AM

Yes, Steve, I did try gooogling & Partridge's Slang Dict. Partridge had nothing to the purpose, & google predictably just took me back to Scott's Journal.

As far as I can see the only precedent to 'Big Bow-wow' as in the song under discussion ~ as distinct from the widespread 'Bow Wow Wow' which is, surely, not the same thing at all ~, is that very Scott's Journal entry.

Now, how did the seamen get hold of that for their source? And why? That is surely the question.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 12:54 AM

... and, for that matter, where did Scott get the phrase from — as I have said, the fact that he capitalised it suggests it as some kind of commonplace to describe a heroic or inflated kind of writing & description, as distinct from Jane Austen's more delicate 'scenes of everyday life'; but we don't seem to have found any earlier citations of it, do we?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 10:54 AM

Okay, will keep looking. Have now checked my biggest slang dictionary, Jonathan Green (Cassels)and it doesn't help much. The only 18thc meaning of 'bow-wow' is the dog connection, but mid to late 19thc has 'lover' which doesn't help really. No 'big-bow-wow' at all. Don't suppose we can trace 'the wow factor' back. I could imagine Scott describing his work as having the wow factor.

Has anyone got access to one of those Shorter Oxford Dictionaries, or even the Longer?

Just out of curiosity I decided to check out 'Tow-row' and this is 'drunk and disorderly, a hubbub, a din' It also adds militarily a 'tow row' equals a grenadier but one would presume this comes from the song itself rather than the other way round. It can be verb (tow- row) or adjective (tow row). In fact the whole phrase probably comes from the song 'The British Grenadier'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 11:19 AM

Yes, I have the penultimate full Oxford Dict. Not helpful — gets the date of the Scott Journal quote wrong [says 1830 when it was 1826], & leaves out the caps and the word 'strain'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 11:51 AM

I've just had a look in my copy of Farmer & Henley - Slang and its Analogues Past and Present (1909) and one of the meaning of Bow-Wow is given as: 2. (old).- A Bostonian: in contempt.

In the context of the song, this is a possible meaning for it.

Although listed as old it doesn't specify how old; perhaps an American can find us a date for that.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 12:45 PM

Mick,
This one was in the Cassels. '19thc. A native of Boston, US.' Can't see how that would connect to Scott's usage, but definitely it would fit with 'Boston Harbour' unless the other versions from England have a similar chorus and predate the Boston version which is the impression I get from the rest of the thread.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 01:21 PM

The two harbours mentioned are Yarmouth and Boston ~ any indication which the older? The 'Big Bow-wow' usage appears in the Yarmouth versions also, but could have been repeated from the 'Boston' variants if they were older. Agree that 'Bow Wow' meaning a Bostonian is suggestive if the latter is the ur-version — but still don't see whence that 'Big' crept in, for which the only analogue we have found, as I say, is the Scott Journal entry; which seems however in no way related, unless Big Bow-wow, as he used it, was some sort of commonplace phrase for inflatedly heroic writing. Were Bostonians particularly known as pompous, wordy sorts of people? Was that why they were called 'Bow Wows', I wonder?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 03:51 PM

Searching for the term "Big Bow Wow" via Google is discouraging given the Snoopy Musical which also featured a song by that title. I'm get tired of sifting through all the doggy doo for the vintage music hall song.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:11 PM

http://books.google.ca/books?id=V5gwAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=%22Tow+row+row%22,+music+hall+song&source=bl&ots=IfXjfMVLFJ&sig


Don't think that's it, but it's from 1868 and it's a music hall song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:20 PM

Well, Charley, you made me wonder whether Big Bow Wow from Snoopy the Musical might be in some way related to the song we're discussion. A click will prove it ain't.

Up above, Brian Peters made mention of another "Bow Wow" song, The Drummer and the Cook. Lyrics are in the Digital Tradition here if anyone's interested. We should discuss that song in another thread some day.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:23 PM

Old phrases:
"Go to the bow-wows"- go to the dogs, become dilapidated. 1839 and later in print. Applied to both people and buildings or other objects.
Lighter, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, vol. 1.

American 19th C. songs with the air, "Bow Wow Wow"

That's What's the Matter No. 3 (Unrelated to Foster song)
Cho-
That's just so
ri fol too ral too
That's just so.

The War is Now Over (Mexican War)
H. De Marsan, NY
Cho-
That's just so
The stars and stripes in triumph wave
From Maine to Mexico.

Joseph Tuck
H. De Marsan, NY
Cho-
Fol lol lol etc.

Know Nothing Song (Politics)
H. J.Kehr (Boston?)
Cho.-
I don't know
Nor you don't know
Then don't you ask me anything
For I don't know.

Come Shut the Door
Harrigan drama, "The Old Barn Door (1887)
Cho-
With a bow wow wow wow wow wow wow
Come in and shut dat door
Ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh
white man knows no law.

(Bodleian Library)
Tune Bow wow wow
A Song of the Present Time
Printed Philadelphia PA, nd. 19th c.
Cho-
Change, change, change
All the world is crazy
With this change, change, change.

Old 18th c. UK songs Bow Wow Wow
One about dogs; one about politics.

What was the tune for the 19th c. American printings of songs with "air Bow Wow Wow"? Same or different from those of the UK song(s) with title "Bow Wow Wow"? There is a gap in dates, the American songs 1840 or later.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 04:39 PM

999-

Your Punch link while amusing is more commentary than the real thing. But one can turn up a lot by searching Punch on-line.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: GUEST,999
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 05:09 PM

Yeah. Sonuvagun to find that MH song. Sheesh.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 07:03 PM

Q
Is your 18thc song about dogs the one by O'Keefe in Universal Songster Vol 2 (1826) p391 FL 'Now listen, my friends, to an old dog's new story'? the chorus is almost exactly the same as 'The Drummer and the Cook'

Bow, wow, wow,
fal, lal, de idy ody,
Bow, wow, wow.

The song is actually presenting different human characters using 'doggy' cliches to describe them 'A rake is a jolly dog whom all women fancy' etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 07:07 PM

This would be John O'Keefe, Irish comic dramatist 1747-1833.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Feb 10 - 08:49 PM

This is pretty much off the subject, but since no one asked-

No, not the 'same' as the O'Keefe, but definitely 'based' on it.

Bodleian, Performer John Edwin,, no date, Harding B 21(53); Harding B-14(9), between 1790-1800.
Just a bit of it-
Bow Wow Wow
I'll sing you a song, faith I'm singing it now,
Here I don't mean to affront either small or big, bow wow,
Here's the subject I've chosen, it is the canine race,
To prove like us two legg'd dogs, they are a very fine race.

Bow, wow, wow; Fal, lal, lo, ad-di, ad-di,
*See O'Keefe chorus.

Like you and I, other dogs may be counted sad dogs,
As we won't drink water, some might think us mad dogs,
A courtier is a spaniel, a citizen's a (dull?) dog,
A soldier is a mastiff, a sailor's a bull dog.
etc.

Bodleian, Harding B 22(26)
Bow Wow Wow
Sung by Tony Johannot, nd

Come listen awhile to an old dog's new story,
Concerning a race with some pretensions to glory;
etc.
Cho-
Bow wow wow.

The lover is a wretched dog without his pretty dear, sir,
The bully is a swaggering dog I neither love nor fear, sir,
The miser is a stingy dog that saves an inch of candle,
And the coxcomb is a lap dog for pretty maids to dandle.

The cockold is a common dog, as many a wife will tell ye,
The glutton is a greedy dog, he loves you for his belly,
The soldier is a noble dog in ev'ry rank and station(?),
And the sailor is a hearty dog as any in the nation.

Bow Wow Wow
O'Keefe
(Universal Songster, vol. 2)

Chorus
Bow wow wow, fal lal de idy oddy, Bow wow wow


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 01:26 AM

These are all very interesting, but only relevant in terms of 'drift', because that essential 'BIG' is present in none of them; but only in the Scott & in Boston/Yarmouth Harbour {+ later Snoopy which qwe can discount for present purposes}, which is the real question surely? Oh if only those seamen had simply sung 'Bow wow wow' instead of 'Big Bow Wow'!

So, to summarise: the 3 ?s as I see the matter are

i Where did Scott get the phrase?

ii Was there or was there not a music-hall song that incorporated it, as Bert Lloyd said Whall claimed {but might have got it wrong as, looking back at Whall, it appears his ref to music-hall was a slighting one as a pejorative comparison ~ see Q's post on that other thread}?

iii How did these elements cohere in the song as we have it?

All these 'Bow wow wow' songs are lovely, but distractions from the main point, are they not?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 07:44 AM

MtheGM-

You seem to be suggesting that we are barking up the wrong tree?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 07:47 AM

In an o-so-Noble BIG way, Charley —

Cheerily right back 2U   ~   Michael


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 10:25 AM

Distraction yes, but still interesting and may even still prove to have some bearing.
I'm doggedly sticking with the 'wow factor' until something better comes up!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 01:31 PM

Gee! None of these Bow Wow Wow's is big enough to suit?

Or is one of them the big kahuna? (To mis-use the Hawaiian word).

Other songs with "Bow wow wow" as the tune- Tom the Bodice Maker, England, 1793; The Barking Barber, England, 1785; The Dog Tax, England, c. 1796. Nat Lib. Australia.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 02:23 PM

But none of these has the actual words quoted in the thread title ~ so, charming & wow-factory as they may be, they don't answer the question, do they?

You can bow·wow·wow till you're blue in the face ~ but without the big 'big' ~ no go...

Woof!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 02:25 PM

,,, likewise

G·R·R·R·RRRRR


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 02:28 PM

must you shout?

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 03:02 PM

I wasn't shouting, silly ~ I was GRRROOWWWWWLLLing .....

grrrr··· woof...

Happy now?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:00 PM

Old song from childhood-

Old Captain Bob had a dog and a cat
With a big bow wow and a little meow.
They all lived together with never a spat
How in the world did they ever do that
With a big bow wow and a little meow
Meow, bow wow, meow bow wow etc.

Does that help?

"Big bow wow has been an expresson for some time, but can't find it in the 19th C. so far. An expression for a big winner, or top dog.

Perhaps Steve Gardham will tell us about Aird's "Big Bow Wow"-

BIG BOW WOW, THE. AKA and see "The Beardless Boy,""The Dissipated Youth [1]," "Giolla na Scriob," "Kate Kearney," "Priest avourneen," "Seanbhean Chrion an Drantain," "Stagger the Buck," ...... finds the first part of Aird's "Big Bow Wow" (Selections of Scotch, English, Irish and Foreign Airs, vol. 1, 1782, (104) to be the same as that of "An Cailin Deas Donn/The Pretty Brown Girl."

http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/BI_BILE.htm


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:26 PM

Have you a source for that 'childhood song', Q? Or a date?

You might not find phrase in 19C, but it's there in C18 in The Fiddlers' Companion ref to an Aird collection of 1782 including a tune called The Big Bow Wow: most fascinating - a tune which went, it appears, under other names, but including that one. Is that a collection Scott would have known? He was a ballad man, but was he a musician - would collections like Aird's have been known to him? Still, certainly suggests the phrase was 'in the air' in 1782 and before.

If it had been a commonplace folk=music phrase/title for so long, then Scott & the Boston/Yarmouth Harbour seamen might independently have cited/used it. & no need for all these Bow Wow Wows which have been obscuring the issue.

It doesn't however appear to have been widespread - tho the Captain Bob song is a delightful further example, if one could but establish some date/provenance for it. & whence can you cite it, Q, as 'expression for big winner or top dog'?

Steve - do you agree with any/all of this?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:34 PM

Q-

"Old Captain Bob" is a nice one, worth at least two ears and a tail.

Tell us more about your childhood!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Feb 10 - 04:49 PM

The reference to Aird "Selections......" and his inclusion of "Big Bow Wow" is the only serious suggestion in my post.

The Captain Bob (also Commodore Gray, Commodore Bob) was part of a 1950s song suggesting that we should all get along, regardless of race. Dunno origin, but 'struggle for civil rights time in the U. S.'; too late.

As a phrase, "Big Bow Wow" meaning a top dog can be found by googling, but nothing earlier than late 20th C. So many similar in meaning, like "Big Kahuna," "Big Boss," "Big Cheese," etc. that no one bothers with firsts.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Feb 10 - 02:32 PM

My only comment here is that the Aird reference would appear to be at least a clincher for Scott's reference. There are other suggestions for the sea song but it's certainly a possibility. If the phrase 'BBW' is a meaningful phrase which it appears to be now we have several references to its use then it would be quite a coincidence for it to exist in 2 unconnected spheres independently.

To get back to the sea song here's a summary of the chorus what we have. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Line 1: Big Bow Wow, may be connected to Scottish same phrase, or may be connected to Bostonians being nicknamed 'Bow Wows' (easily dismissed if the Yarmouth version is earlier and uses the same chorus.)

Line 2: Tow Row Row, well known phrase seems to have originated in 'British Grenadier' probably late 17thc and has become a phrase used to describe a row or a hubbub, or drunk and disorderly.

Line 3: Fol de rol de ri-do day, A pretty standard nonsense chorus.

We can't get away from the fact that it could be just the writer stringing together a lot of stirring nonsense.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Feb 10 - 03:18 PM

Do we know how long Bostonians have been given that nickname? & was a 'Big' ever appended to it? & did it mean they were dogs [acc to OED, the term 'Bow Wow' for the noise a dog makes long preceded any written record of its being used attributively to mean the animal making it - dogs said 'Bow Wow' long before they were actually called 'Bow Wows'] in any figurative sense, or just people liable to make loud noises?

I agree it is clearly a nonsense chorus, rather than one in which the Bow-Wow element is appropriate because the song is about dogs, like the broadside cited above: but the 'Big' does seem, as you say, to connect it with Aird & Scott. But I remain intrigued why, nonsense chorus or not, it goes with the Aird/Scott 'Big Bow Wow' motif, rather than with the equally available & much more widespread simple 'Bow Wow Wow', which would fit the rhythm just as well.

Don't suppose we'll ever crack it at this time of day, mind; but I remain intrigued.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 13 Feb 10 - 03:25 PM

Steve - I don't know when Yarmouth entered into the song - that may be a modern addition (ref: Yarmouth, NS?); the version on GEST says arranged by Jim Payne of Notre Dame Bay, NL, 1995, so it's possible he changed Boston to Yarmouth for more local interest. Roud does not list any version without Boston apart from the Hampshire one with Dundee.

The Hampshire version collected by Gardiner, btw, has a complete nonsense chorus, with neither bow-wow not tow-row: To my He ri ro, to my he ri ro, to my he ri ro, rite fal de ral de day.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 06:32 AM

Bit of drift ~ Googling this

~YouTube May Morning Oxford 2008 - British Grenadiers~

will get you a delightful morris called Skirmishes Bledington to tune of British Grenadier — To me towrowrowrowrow...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 03:58 PM

This may or may not be relevant, but looking at Michael's post the BG chorus starts with 'To me' or sometimes 'With me' and the way The Watersons sing BH 'With me'. I know this is a common way to start these nonsense choruses, especially in shanties but it may be relevant. For instance, did BH at some point, or a variant of it, have a chorus....' With me tow row row, tow row row, fol de etc.? And then some local wag in Boston thought he'd make the line more appropriate to Boston or have more meaning. Just a thought.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Big Bow Wow
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Feb 10 - 04:36 PM

Nice thought, Steve. We are of course getting more & more speculative. But it passes the time (tho as it sez in the only line that makes any sense to me in that load of pseudy old bum Waiting4Godot — "it would have passed anyway!").


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