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DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)

Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 12:35 AM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 01:04 AM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 01:32 AM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 01:51 AM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 02:05 AM
Joe Offer 19 Apr 17 - 02:43 AM
Joe_F 19 Apr 17 - 06:32 PM
Steve Shaw 19 Apr 17 - 08:29 PM
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Subject: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod McDona
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 12:35 AM

This is an edited DTStudy thread, and all messages posted here are subject to editing and deletion.
This thread is intended to serve as a forum for corrections and annotations for the Digital Tradition song named in the title of this thread.

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Here are the lyrics we have in the Digital Tradition for this song. Any corrections? Any source or background information?

THE SAILOR'S PRAYER
(Rod MacDonald)

Though my sails be torn and ragged and my mast be turned about
Though the night wind chill me to my very soul
Though the salt spray sting my eye and the stars no sight provide
Give me just enough morning light to hold

I will not lie me down, this rain a-raging
I will not lie me down in such a storm
And if this night be unblessed, I shall not take my rest
Until we reach another shore

If the only water's salt and I cannot quench my thirst
I will drink the rain that falls so steady down
If night's blindness be my gift, if there be thieves upon my drift
I will praise the dark that shelters me from them

If my friends be drained and weary and it seems their hopes are
lost
There's no need for their bones on this blackened bottom
And if death wait just off the bow, we need not answer to him now
We'll stand on and face the morning light without him


Rod MacDonald is a New York songwriter, and this is a hell of
a song.

@sailor
filename[ SAILPRA2
JN


Don't confuse this song with the Tom Lewis Song with the same title:
    Oh Lord above, send down a dove,
    With beak as sharp as razors
    To cut the throat of them there blokes
    Who sells bad beer to sailors


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 01:04 AM

THE SAILOR'S PRAYER
(Rod MacDonald)

Though my sails be torn and tattered
And the mast be turned about
Let the night wind chill me to my very soul
Though the spray might sting my eyes
And the stars no light provide
Give me just another morning light to hold

CHORUS
And I will not lie me down, this rain a-raging
I will not lie me down in such a storm
And if this night be unblessed, I shall not take my rest
Till I reach another shore

Though the only water left
Is but salt to wound my thirst

I will drink the rain that pours so steady down
And though night's blindness be my gift,
And there be thieves upon my drift
I will praise this fog that shelters me along.
CHORUS

Though my mates be drained and weary
And believe our hopes are lost
There's no need for their bones on that blackened bottom
And though Death waits just off the bow,
They shall not answer to him now
He shall stand to face the morning with them.
CHORUS

By Rod MacDonald
©1982 Blue Plate Music

Notes: Rod sings this accapella song on his own record due out this summer. It's a favorite of Gordon Bok's. Our's too. It's been recorded three other times: Lisa Neustadt and Jean Redpath did it on their Philo album, Free hot Lunch did it on "Wa-Ha Music" on Mountain Railroad and Happy Traum just recorded it for Homespun Tapes.

Copied (uncorrected) from Sing Out! Magazine, Volume 29, Number 3, July/Aug/Sept 1983, page 25.

from Joe Offer: I put the parts that are different from the Digital Tradition in bold. Some things from Sing Out! seem better than what's in the DT, but the last line in Sing Out! just seems wrong, very wrong. The Fast Folk magazine has it "face the morning without them," and then it makes sense.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod McDonald)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 01:32 AM

SAILOR'S PRAYER
(Rod MacDonald)

Though my sails be torn and ragged
And my mast be turned about,
Though the night wind chill me to my very soul,
Though the salt spray sting my eye
And the stars no sight provide,
Give me just enough morning light to hold.

CHORUS
I will not lie me down,
This rain a-raging,
I will not lie me down
In such a storm.
And if this night be unblessed,
I shall not take my rest
Until we reach another shore.

If the only water's salt
And I cannot quench my thirst,
I will drink the rain that falls so steady down.
If night's blindness be my gift,
If there be thieves upon my drift,
I will praise the dark that shelters me from them.

If my friends be drained and weary
And it seems their hopes are lost,
There's no need for their bones on this blackened bottom.
And if death wait just off the bow,
We need not answer to him now;
We'll stand on and face the morning light without him.


NOTES: It was a year or so ago that Gordon first heard this powerful song sung by Margaret MacArthur who had learned it from Jim Couza. The month was February, and Gordon, always on the lookout for comforting songs to help us (and himself) through the long New England winter, decided that this was a fine and fitting addition to his store of "February songs." (Caroline Paton)


Source: CD booklet from the album All Shall Be Well Again, by Gordon Bok, Ann Mayo Muir, and Ed Trickett.

Folk-Legacy Record #FSI-96, 1983

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raB_dK4NA8Y

Oh, hey, this is exactly the same as the Digital Tradition. In general, it seems to be a far more satisfactory set of lyrics than what's in Sing Out!


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 01:51 AM

THE SAILOR'S PRAYER
(Rod McDonald)

Though my sails be torn and tattered and the mast be turned about
Let the night wind chill me to my very soul
Though the spray might sting my eye and the stars no light provide
Give me just another morning light to hold

CHORUS
And I will not lie me down, this rain a-raging
I will not lie me down in such a storm
And if this night be unblessed, I shall not take my rest
Till I reach another shore

Though the only water left is but salt to wound my thirst
I will drink the rain that falls so steady down
And though night's blindness be my gift and there be thieves upon my drift
I will praise this fog that shelters me along

And though my mates be drained and weary and believe their hopes are lost
There's no need for their bones on that blackened bottom
And though death waits just off the bow, they shall not answer to him now
He shall stand to face the morning without us.

Source: Rise Up Singing Songbook, page 206
© 1988, 1992, 2004 by the Sing Out Corporation


from Joe: this version is a mix between the Sing Out! and Digital Tradition versions.

I wish I could find a version from MacDonald himself.


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Subject: ADD: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 02:05 AM

Well, gee, I found it on YouTube. I guess this would be the definitive transcription. My transcription is from the Fast Folk recording.


THE SAILOR'S PRAYER
(Rod MacDonald)

Though my sails be torn and tattered and the mast be turned about
Let the night wind chill me to my very soul
Though the spray might sting my eyes and the stars no light provide
Give me just another morning light to hold

CHORUS
And I will not lie me down, this rain a-ragin'
I will not lie me down in such a storm
And if this night be unblessed, I shall not take my rest
Till I reach another shore

And though the only water left is but salt to wound my thirst
I will drink the rain that falls so steady down
And though night's blindness be my gift, and there be thieves upon my drift
I will praise this fog that shelters me along.
CHORUS

Though my mates be drained and weary and believe their hopes are lost
There's no need for their bones on that blackened bottom
And though Death waits just off the bow, they shall not answer to him now
He shall stand to face the morning light without us.
CHORUS


by Rod MacDonald ©1982 by Blue Flute Music
from The CooP: The Fast Folk Musical Magazine November 1982

http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/fast_folk/FFSE108.pdf (notes are slightly different from the recording)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoLs-uwV1R4

Lyrics that are different from the Digital Tradition are bold.
And here's a recording of the song on an album titled rod macdonald: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iiSW353Gd1s

Looks like the transcription in Rise Up Singing is almost exactly what the songwriter sings. The DT and Bok-Muir-Trickett version is a bit "folk-processed."


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 02:43 AM

Rod MacDonald is an interesting songwriter. Here's his YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_d2qvL6wtRlagBWDrhgIGw


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 06:32 PM

Pretentious diction gives me the fantods.

What does it mean for a mast to be turned about?
The spray "might"? A bare possibility?
"Lie me down" is a pointless mixture of "lay me down" & "lie down".
Unblessed?
If the only water left is but salt, etc., then it is not raining.


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Subject: RE: DTStudy: The Sailor's Prayer (Rod MacDonald)
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Apr 17 - 08:29 PM

An irrelevant post, and I won't blame you for deleting, but I met Rod at our folk club in Bude about 23 years ago. He was having an issue with his harmonica and, listening to his playing, I recognised the issue straight away. During the interval I offered to open it up and fix it, a two-minute job. He didn't trust me to do it!! Hardly a claim to fame, eh?


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