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ADD: Nore Sand Light

Richard Mellish 24 Sep 20 - 02:43 PM
Joe Offer 24 Sep 20 - 03:17 PM
Joe_F 25 Sep 20 - 06:15 PM
Richard Mellish 26 Sep 20 - 12:40 PM
Joe_F 27 Sep 20 - 06:00 PM
Richard Mellish 28 Sep 20 - 12:56 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Sep 20 - 02:46 PM
Richard Mellish 28 Sep 20 - 05:09 PM
Steve Gardham 29 Sep 20 - 10:19 AM
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Subject: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 24 Sep 20 - 02:43 PM

In last week's singaround I sang The Nore Sand Light, which I had got donkey's years ago from Bob Roberts. I promised to post the words: sorry for the delay.

I can make the recording, including Bob's introduction, available if people wish.

NORE SAND LIGHT

It's a lonely life at the Nore Sand Light
So me dad caught a mermaid late one night.
Later on he married she
And she bore to him fine triplets three.

CHORUS:
Heave-a-ho it's a dirty old night
We're looking for the flash of the Nore Sand Light.
Heave-a-ho get you main sheet tight
We're looking for the flash of the Nore Sand Light.

My brother he was a porpoise round,
And round the Kentish coast he'd bound.
But me sister she was a half-bred cod.
Oh she was a wicked little sod.

Chorus

One night Mum took Dad for a swim.
And that was the last we saw of him.
Splashing about on a rotten old night
Looking for the flash of the Nore Sand Light.

Chorus

So this is my advice to you
If you're one of a lightship's crew.
Never you marry any fin-tailed fish.
She'll only land you in the ditch.

Chorus


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Sep 20 - 03:17 PM

Thanks for posting the song, Richard. Was it written by Bob Roberts?

Wikipedia says the Nore is a sandbank at the mouth of the Thames Estuary, England. It marks the point where the River Thames meets the North Sea, roughly halfway between Havengore Creek in Essex and Warden Point on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent.

I can imagine it would be a treacherous spot for ships. There's an interesting watercolor of the lightship at the aNational Maritime Museum, and there's a photo of a more recent lightship in the Wikipedia article. I saw a very similar lightship on one of my trips to the UK, but I didn't get a photo of it.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Joe_F
Date: 25 Sep 20 - 06:15 PM

Cf. The Man at the Nore (version of Eddystone Light)


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 26 Sep 20 - 12:40 PM

I also sing that one, which I got from a recording of Cyril Tawney.

I'll see about posting the recording of Bob Roberts, but a lot of my time this weekend is being taken up by the virtual Frank Harte festival.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Joe_F
Date: 27 Sep 20 - 06:00 PM

IRRC, The Man at the Nore came first.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Sep 20 - 12:56 PM

Bob Roberts said something to the effect that the song started in England, went to America, and came back again. That may or may not be accurate. Sorry I haven't yet had time to post the recording.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Sep 20 - 02:46 PM

The first verse is definitely 'The Man at the Nore' by Arthur Lloyd, 1866. I don't think I have the sheet music but I remember it being on EBay at one point. I do have a copy of its companion 'Married to a Mermaid' also by Lloyd.

I'd bet my bottom dollar that Bob had the first verse from somewhere and rewrote it to his own taste.


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 28 Sep 20 - 05:09 PM

Bob was one of the first few traditional singers I ever heard recordings of, and the very first that I ever heard in the flesh. He had loads of (in my opinion) excellent songs, several of which I learnt. Only many years later did I begin to understand that some of his versions were probably his own work. Is it known how many, and to what extent?


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Subject: RE: ADD: Nore Sand Light
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 29 Sep 20 - 10:19 AM

I don't think Bob was that bothered about such things. In his day the folk scene didn't distinguish much between what had come from tradition and what had been altered or was new. We were all very happy and grateful to take his songs and stories. There is no indication in any of his books as to what was altered. He was part of a lively traditional scene in Suffolk. Songs like the Candlelight Fisherman, Stormy Weather, The Fishes were still being developed.

In 1969 we organised a whaling/maritime festival in Hull and the two main guests were Bob and Stan Hugill. I wish we had recorded them! Bob was always a regular guest at the club as was Fred J.

As far as I'm concerned Bob was as much a part of the tradition as anyone and if he wrote some of the songs they are still very much part of that tradition.


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