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Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)

GUEST,Kristoffer Ross 15 Oct 19 - 09:26 PM
Jeri 15 Oct 19 - 09:53 PM
GUEST,Starship 15 Oct 19 - 10:41 PM
Gibb Sahib 16 Oct 19 - 12:39 AM
Howard Jones 16 Oct 19 - 07:44 AM
Lighter 16 Oct 19 - 12:22 PM
Lighter 16 Oct 19 - 12:48 PM
Jeri 16 Oct 19 - 12:57 PM
GUEST,Kristoffer Ross 17 Oct 19 - 07:35 AM
GUEST 17 Oct 19 - 07:37 AM
Lighter 17 Oct 19 - 10:02 AM
Gibb Sahib 18 Oct 19 - 04:37 PM
Charley Noble 19 Oct 19 - 10:09 AM
Jeri 19 Oct 19 - 10:19 AM
GUEST,Kristoffer Ross 27 Dec 19 - 08:09 PM
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Subject: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: GUEST,Kristoffer Ross
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 09:26 PM

Hello, Mudcat!

In composing some album notes, it occurred to me that I am unsure where "Vallipo Bay" is, if anywhere. I have been unable to find my copy of "Shanties of the Seven Seas," so am asking here for information.

To Whit:
"We're outward bound for Vallipo Bay
Get cracking me lads 'tis a hell of a way."

Best,
~Kristoffer


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 09:53 PM

Valparaiso


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 15 Oct 19 - 10:41 PM

https://thelongestsong.fandom.com/wiki/Randy_Dandy-O

Lyrics and some notes about the song. Jeri nailed it in one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 12:39 AM

"Vallipo Bay," however, probably has nothing more than incidental to do with the song, I think. Like nearly all chanties, the verses can be open-ended and improvisatory. Maybe it was a verse that Hugill heard someone sing once in the context of the song—once. More likely, I think, it was something he just "improvised" when going through the process of providing multiple verses in his collection.

Hugill says he learned the song from the Barbadian named Harding. I dunno... I have a hard time picturing Harding singing,
"we're outward bound for Vallipo Bay
Get crackin' m'lads 'tis a hell o' a way"
When Hugill says he learned the song from Harding, we can't assume he meant that he memorized a specific set of lyrics from Harding.

Since the other person who published the song (in a sailor related context) was Robinson (1917), and since Robinson ascribed it to the guano/saltpeter ships of the South American coast... and since Hugill read Robinson and was keen to narrate about this era/place of shipping... and since Hugill liked to construct narratives in his versions... I can see Hugill sitting there wanting to fit the song into the "South American guano" picture, and fleshing out a set of lyrics (as good as any other set) on that coherent theme.

The song would have been *laundered through the **Folk Music process.

(*Laundering: When folk music people obscure the known histories of songs, to leave more room to interpret them as "authentic products.")

(**Whereas people around talk about "the folk process" -- changes to songs, through selection and forgetting, in an oral transmission -- I refer to the "Folk Music process": freezing the form of songs, which were potentially fluid in tradition, through new publishing, recording, and performing them as fixed entities. Each new repetition [from The Young Tradition to Assasin's Creed] inscribes a deeper mark and creates the impression that a particular song or a rendition is common.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Howard Jones
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 07:44 AM

Your point about the "Folk Music Process" is a very good one. Of course it doesn't prevent mondegreens. Bellowhead's version of "Fire Marengo", which I suspect was taken from the Young Tradition, has the nonsensical "screw the cart and screw him down" instead of "screw the cotton... I suspect Bellowhead's will now become fixed as the standard version.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 12:22 PM

Great points, Gibb. (The "folk music process" is antithetical to "tradition.")

There might ne a better word than "launder," however. That's established as a synonym for expurgating, censoring, or "camouflaging" the "naughty bits.

I see the similarity, but still.

How does "obfuscation" grab you?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Lighter
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 12:48 PM

Plus I've always felt that "get crackin'" sounds anachronistic.

OED: 1937.

Maybe this suggests that Stan was still tinkering with his chanteys in the PW camp in WW2.

Twenty years later he might well have forgotten precisely which words he heard at sea, which he made up and sang at sea, and which he made up later.

Sadly, only us pedants (I mean, of course,"we pedants") worry about that stuff.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Jeri
Date: 16 Oct 19 - 12:57 PM

It's not obfuscation, nor bowdlerization. It's generification, to turn it into a "plug and play" song.

...And having looked up "generification", I find it's already in use to describe the use of a brand-name product name for any similar product. Like "Kleenex" for tissue.

We'll have to invent our own word. Maybe nonspecificationary. Or there are "zipper" verses that fit into numerous songs, so maybe it's a zipper song.

And perhaps the worst lyrical mess I've ever heard was when a guy sang "Willin'". "Tucson to Tucumcari, Tehachapi to Tonapah" - what a glorious mess can be made of those place names. (When I talked to him, he just said he couldn't tell what the guy had been singing, so he made it up.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: GUEST,Kristoffer Ross
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 07:35 AM

Thank you, Jeri, Valparaiso, of course! Should have occurred to me before (especially with the starting line mentioning Cape Horn, but such are mental blocks...
~Kristoffer


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 07:37 AM

Thanks everyone!
    Gibb, I agree with your view of the difference between the oral Folk Process and Folk Music Process, though I'm hesitant to always take a negative view of such tinkering. For instance, I personally like the change of tone in "Pat Murphy of Meagher's Brigade" by swapping "Irish" to "immigrant" in the final stanza. Going through the whole song and chopping it up, however, I would have objection to.
    Regards,
~Kristoffer


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 10:02 AM

I think it's usually impossible (without research) to confirm minor "FMP" tinkering.

Its result is often indistinguishable from the "folk process" (well, at least to some of us).

Except for pedantic textual/historical concerns, they're inconsequential.

Many FMP changes, however, are gratingly out of character with the original source.

Well, at least to some of us.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Oct 19 - 04:37 PM

Hi Kristoffer,

Thanks for your comment! To clarify my footnote: I emphasized not tinkering but rather FREEZING of form as part of the Folk Music Process.

The process began with Hugill putting down verses. Now, some writers, and certainly those with academic background, would only put down the words they heard sung. But Hugill was not an academic; he was writing a "popular" book. Fair enough.

Hugill wrote down verses, at times, as one might be performing. I see him as though "performing" his written text.

I can relate to Hugill through my own experience as a performer. When I begin to sing a chanty in an informal context, I usually don't know where I am going with it. The first verse is likely to be some verse commonly linked to the song...
Oh roll the cotton down my boys
    roll the cotton down
yeah roll the cotton down my boys
    oh roll the cotton down!

Then my mind starts searching for what verse my mind might hit on. Having recently read this thread, I might sing,
We're outward bund for Vallipo Bay
    roll the cotton down
Get cracking lads, it's a helluva way
   oh roll the cotton down!

Then, pressed to produce the next verse, I might fall into something related and easy,
Have you been to Vallipo?
Around Cape Horn through the ice and snow?

Having already known where I was going with that by the end of the first half, my brain is free to be more daring, to make up something more from scratch...
Oh folk song books are good for some
But I'd rather the talking came from rum

Cheesey and cringey? Yes. Anachronistic? Well, I'm not presenting an historical artifact; I'm singing in the moment. And, before you can cringe, I'm on to the next:

Come on, come over you, Sally Brown
And help us roll the cotton down

Now my audience is wondering what book I read that in. Of course, I didn't read it in any; it's just a randomly constructed verse that fits, stylistically. Suddenly, my prior line is a little less cheesy.

I suggest there was something of this "performer's process" that Hugill went through when he fleshed out his book. In subsequent drafts, he edited out, I imagine, some of the really cheesy ones, but he left in verses that pointed to topics he was interested in addressing (e.g. the guano trade).

So Hugill's popular book is really something created by a performer and designed for performers to play with. It's not something to go to to get firm historical information or to see documented songs as-performed.

The Folk Music process takes over when the medium (Hugill's book) is taken up by many, all of whom reproduce its song verbatim. And maybe a few audio-record their verbatim reproduction, which inspires more verbatim reproduction. Even without these media, in a direct oral-transmission situation, new learners will attempt verbatim reproduction. Few are modelling anything different. (I've been asked, "What version is that you sang?" Me: What do you mean by "version"? I just sang what I just sang.)

I have no problem with the verse about Vallipo Bay in a performance (i.e. a performance that is not trying to represent an historical artifact). What I tend to tire of is the *performances* that will ask me to hear about Vallipo Bay every time I hear about Randy Dandy. That's just my personal, aesthetic issue. As an academic issue, I notice more that the freezing of Vallipo Bay into Randy Dandy does exactly what Hugill may have hoped -- to make us connect Randy Dandy with the Chile/Peru trade. BUT at the same time the deep freeze, through so many reproductions, makes it hard to think, to interpret, songs like this in any other way. I'm aware I am coming on ridiculously strong here in a simple clarification post ! Where this is coming from is the belief that all these minor instances, song by song, add up to a BIG picture that becomes difficult to view alternatively.

Was Hugill responsible for including the verse (tinkering?)? Or were we responsible for reproducing it verbatim?

Either way, I really wonder what Harding the Barbadian's singing sounded like!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Oct 19 - 10:09 AM

Amazing what some people sing:

"Bellowhead's version of "Fire Marengo", which I suspect was taken from the Young Tradition, has the nonsensical "screw the cart and screw him down" instead of "screw the cotton..."

Having researched a bit on how cotton bales were actually screwed into a ship's hold, I came up with "Shift that bale and screw it down..." Actually, screwing the bale "in" would be more accurate, given that the tiers of bales lined along a ship's side were horizontal rows. The 4-person cotton-screwing team would use one jack-screw to form a gap between bales, and another jackscrew to shove a new bale into the gap. Too bad we can't post an illustration of the process here.

Cheerily,
Charlie Ipcar


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: Jeri
Date: 19 Oct 19 - 10:19 AM

At least you didn't say "TOTE that bale".
Seriously, it had to in get there some damn way. (Just being a PITA)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Where is Vallipo Bay? (Randy Dandy o!)
From: GUEST,Kristoffer Ross
Date: 27 Dec 19 - 08:09 PM

God Jul & Happy Mudcat back, everyone!

The CD ("Low Lie the Fields," by The Men o' War Balladeers, Pencil Brook Music) is out, I noted the discussion in my brief liner notes. Gibb, let me know if you'd like a copy.

Thanks again for your help,
~Kristoffer Ross


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