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Lyr Req: Goodbye America (Phil Colclough)

Richard Mellish 31 Aug 15 - 05:25 PM
cnd 31 Aug 15 - 06:40 PM
Richard Mellish 01 Sep 15 - 04:20 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Sep 15 - 04:50 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Sep 15 - 04:52 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Sep 15 - 04:59 AM
cnd 01 Sep 15 - 06:15 AM
Richard Mellish 01 Sep 15 - 09:55 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Sep 15 - 09:41 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Sep 15 - 09:49 PM
Jim Dixon 07 Sep 15 - 12:32 AM
Richard Mellish 07 Sep 15 - 11:35 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 31 Aug 15 - 05:25 PM

Once upon a time I had a recording (either my own or copied from a friend, I don't remember which) from a folk club (possibly Edinburgh University Folk Song Society) of a chap giving a long introduction about being on a ship with a cargo of monkeys, and then singing a song, the chorus of which ran roughly thus:
Goodbye America, farewell New York Town
Your hard streets and concrete have surely done me down.
You courted me with tinsel, you spent my money blind,
But adios America, I'm leaving you behind.

I half learnt the song and intended to finish learning it one of these decades. But now I've consulted my indexes and there it isn't.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GOODBYE AMERICA (Phil Colclough)
From: cnd
Date: 31 Aug 15 - 06:40 PM

I think I found the song you're asking about. Here's a Youtube video of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Rnc6NV1GQ

I've transcribed (by ear) the lyrics as he sings it, though one of the singers probably switched around some lyrics to make it more relatable. I also got the writer from the link above.

GOODBYE AMERICA
(Phil Colclough)

Walkin' down the gangway, the lads on shore for thee
We made her nice and fast at the foot of Brooklyn Pier

Goodbye America, and farewell London Town
Your hard streets and concrete, they surely brought me down
You courted me with tinsel and spent my money blind
Adios, America, you're leaving me behind

I'd read about America in a thousand magazines
My mind was filled with images from a hundred picture screens
She seemed like a fairyland, as bright came falling down
Riding in a taxi to the heart of New York Town

Goodbye America, and farewell London Town
Your hard streets and concrete, they surely brought me down
You courted me with tinsel and spent my money blind
Farewell, America, I'm leaving you behind

The ropes are singled up and the weight loaded down
With flour, and we're taking Pepsi-Cola to the port of ?Callavine?
Making down the Hudson, we didn't seem to mind
So adios, America, I'm leaving you behind

It took sixteen days to cross from the Cape Sierra Leone
And sailing out of London we were sixty days from home
Watches, they were ended, and the lads, they went for beer
We made it nice and fast at the foot of New York Pier


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 04:20 AM

Hm! Tried posting this and it disappeared. Fortunately I had done a CTRL-C.

Yep, that's the song, albeit with some lyrics switched around, as you say. Many thanks! The 'Cat delivers again.

Between that and what I remember I can (re)construct something close to that original recording.

If anyone who reads this is in contact with Phil himself, please point him to this thread and ask him whether he remembers singing the song in Edinburgh. It would have been around 1970, give or take a few years. The story about the monkeys would be worth repeating too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 04:50 AM

I have now cobbled a version together from the above and from my memory, but I think there was another verse about buying trinkets for a girl.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 04:52 AM

Further thinks! That verse may have been about her giving him trinkets. I've got one phrase in my head: "the presents that she gave me".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 04:59 AM

Problem solved -- probably. Ordered CD from Amazon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: cnd
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 06:15 AM

Would you mind adding your version here for others to see?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 09:55 AM

I think what I have at present is incomplete. When the CD has arrived, and if we have not heard from Phil himself in the meantime, I think it would be reasonable for me to post what I then have.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 09:41 PM

Surely that should lyric would actually make more sense as either Farwell New York Town or Hullo to London Town?

Of course lyrics don't always make sense, which normally suggests they've been adapted from an earlier version that did makebsense, but only partly.

Actually I read the heading first time as "Goodby America, Hullo to New York Town", which might make quite an interesting first line to a different kind of song. I've heard someone's remark that when they went to America they just saw New York responded to by "So you've never really been to America then?"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America, Farewell New York Town
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Sep 15 - 09:49 PM

Surely that first line should have "Farewell to London Town", or "Hullo to London Town" to make sense. Couuld suggest it's a variant on a version that did make sense.

Actually the heading of this thread with "Goodbye America, Hullo New York Town., which could make for a different kind of song. I've known people in England say they'd been to New York, and getting a response like "So you've never really been to America?"


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Subject: Lyr Add: GOODBYE AMERICA (from Hughie Jones)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 12:32 AM

GOODBYE AMERICA
As sung by Hughie Jones on "Maritime Miscellany" (2013)

1. It took sixteen days to cross from the Cape Sierra Leone.
Sailing out of London we were sixty days from home,
And the watch and the day being ended, the lads ashore for beer,
We made her nice and fast, my lads, at the foot of Brooklyn pier.

CHORUS: So it's goodbye, America; farewell, New York town.
Your hard streets and concrete surely brought me down.
You courted me with tinsel, spent my money blind.
Adios, America, I'm leaving you behind.
Adios, America, I'm leaving you behind.

2. Well, I'd read about America in a thousand magazines,
And my mind was filled with images of a hundred TV screens.
You looked just like a fairyland as nighttime came down,
Riding in a taxi in the heart of New York town.

3. Your fairy lights were neon strips, cold to the touch.
Your castles in the air, they were really not so much.
The presents that I bought cost a lot of dough.
When the color faded, the plastic it showed through.

4. Now our ropes are singled up; we're loaded down with flour.
We're taking Pepsi Cola to the port of Calabar.
While sailing down the Hudson, no one seemed to mind.
Adios, America; I'm leaving you behind.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Goodbye America (Phil Colclough)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 07 Sep 15 - 11:35 AM

I do now have the CD, though I have not yet had time to listen to it. Given the two versions already posted here, I hope Phil wouldn't object to my posting the authoritative (?) words from the CD booklet.

It took sixteen days to cross from Cape Sierra Leone,
Sailing out of London we were sixty days from home,
Watches they were ended, the lads ashore for beer,
We made her nice and fast at the foot of Brooklyn pier.

Goodbye America, farewell New York town.
Your hard streets and concrete, they surely brought me down,
You courted me with tinsel and spent my money blind,
Adiose (sic) America I'm leaving you behind.

I'd read about America in a thousand magazines,
My mind was filled with images from a hundred picture screens,
She seemed like fairyland as night came falling down,
Riding in a taxi to the heart of New York town.

Goodbye America, farewell New York town.
Your hard streets of concrete surely brought me down,
You courted me with tinsel and spent my money blind,
Adiose America I'm leaving you behind.

Her fairy lights were neon strips, their warmth it wasn't much
Her castles in the air were cold to the touch,
Presents that she gave me they cost a lot of dough,
When the colour faded plastic it showed through.

Goodbye America, farewell New York town.
Your hard streets of concrete, they surely brought me down,
You courted me with tinsel and spent my money blind,
Adiose America I'm leaving you behind.

The ropes are singled up, we are loaded down with flour,
We're taking Pepsi-Cola to the port of Calabar,
Making down the Hudson we didn't seem to mind,
Adiose America I'm leaving you behind.

Goodbye America, farewell New York town.
Your hard streets of concrete, they surely brought me down,
You courted me with tinsel and spent my money blind,
Adiose America I'm leaving you behind.

It's remarkable how the folk process has been at work over a fairly short timescale.

Although I couldn't remember all of the words from the recording that I used to have, hence starting this thread, I am fairly sure of some of them, and those too have a few differences from the version in the CD booklet. This means either that that recording was of someone other than Phil or (I think more likely) that he himself made slight changes between that time (1970-ish) and the 1991 date of the CD. The most significant is "Sailing out of London" where I think the old recording had "On a voyage out of Liverpool".


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