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Lyr Add: Abalone (George Sterling?)

Jim Dixon 01 Aug 22 - 11:38 AM
Jim Dixon 01 Aug 22 - 11:42 AM
Jim Dixon 01 Aug 22 - 11:50 AM
Jim Dixon 01 Aug 22 - 11:59 AM
Joe Offer 02 Aug 22 - 05:48 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: ABALONE (from Jack London)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Aug 22 - 11:38 AM

From Jack London, The Valley of the Moon (New York: McKinlay, Stone & Mackenzie, 1913)

[ The characters in the novel are said to sing this song; It begins on pages 386-7, without a title:]

[1] Oh! some folks boast of quail and toast,
Because they think it’s tony;
But I’m content to owe my rent
And live on abalone.

[2] Oh! Mission Point’s a friendly joint
Where every crab’s a crony,
And true and kind you’ll ever find
The clinging abalone.

[3] He wanders free beside the sea
Where’er the coast is stony;
He flaps his wings and madly sings—
The plaintive abalone.

[4] Some stick to biz, some flirt with Liz
Down on the sands of Coney;
But we, by hell, stay in Carmel,
And whang the abalone.

[On page 391 of the same book, the song is reprised, with the following verse:]

[5] We sit around and gaily pound,
And bear no acrimony,
Because our object is a gob
Of sizzling abalone.

[And then again on page 392:]

[6] Oh! some like ham and some like lamb,
And some like macaroni;
But bring me in a pail of gin
And a tub of abalone.

[7] Oh! Some drink rain and some champagne
Or brandy by the pony;
But I will try a little rye
With a dash of abalone.

[8] Some live on hope and some on dope,
And some on alimony;
But our tom-cat, he lives on fat
And tender abalone.

[9] The more we take, the more they make
In deep-sea matrimony;
Race-suicide cannot betide
The fertile abalone.


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Subject: Lyr Add: ABALONE (from Carl Sandberg)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Aug 22 - 11:42 AM

From Carl Sandberg, The American Songbag (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1927), page 333.

ABALONE

Monterey is a California town of Spanish streets lined with houses of a time when proud Spain ruled the West Coast. Tourist cars run to the House Where Robert Louis Stevenson Lived. In the harbor one may see Italian fishermen mending nets, putting out to sea, coming home with toll taken from deep waters. And roundabout, the pyramids of abalone shells are stacked high. It is a world capital of abalone. At the lunch counters abalone is a favorite dish, a nutritious mollusk. His shell makes shirt buttons by the carload.... From Monterey we go to Carmel-by-the-Sea, past cypress trees, tough twisted torsos lashed by long winds, shapes of storm transfixed with a momentary peace, a picture for pilgrims.... Then at Carmel we may hear Abalone Song, its stanzas chiefly a bequest of George Sterling of San Francisco.... Beach fire singers have flung it with laughter at goblins of the half moon, the rising full moon, and the waning silver crescent.

Arr. H. F. P. [Musical notation is given here for one voice and piano.]

[1] In Carmel Bay the people say,
We feed the Lazzaroni
On caramels, and cockle-shells
And hunks of abalone.

[2] O, some folks boast of quail on toast,
Because they think it's tony;
But my tom-cat gets nice and fat
On hunks of abalone.

[3] He hides in caves, beneath the waves,
His ancient patrimony:
Race suicide will ne'er betide
The fertile abalone.

[4] I telegraph my better half
By Morse or by Marconi
But when in need of greater speed
I send an abalone.

[5] Some folks say that pain is real
And some say that it's phoney;
But as for me, when I can't agree,
I eat an abalone.

[6] Our naval hero, best of all,
His name was Pauley Joney;
He sailed the seas as he darn pleased,
But he never ate abalone.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE ABALONE SONG (George Sterling)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Aug 22 - 11:50 AM

From Cornel Lengyel (ed.), A San Francisco Songster (1849-1939), (San Francisco: Works Progress Administration, History of Music Project, 1939).

[The version on page 128 contains the same lyrics as Sandburg’s and the bibliography credits American Songbag as the source. However, it gives the title as “THE ABALONE SONG” and credits George Sterling as the songwriter, with no further explanation.

[On page 128A, which follows 128, there is a new heading, new songwriting credits, and the verses are rearranged as five 8-line verses, with a few minor differences as follows:]

ABALONE SONG (version)
Verses by George Sterling, Jack London, Ambrose Bierce, and Gelett Burgess.
Music adapted by Sterling Sherwin.

[1] Oh, some folks boast of quail on toast
Because they think it's toney,
But I'm content to owe my rent
And live on abalone.
Oh! Mission Point's a friendly joint,
Where ev'ry crab's a crony,
And true and kind you'll ever find
The clinging abalone.

[2] He wanders free beside the sea,
Where'er the coast is stony;
He flaps his wings and madly sings—
The plaintive abalone.
By Carmel Bay, the people say,
We feed the Lazzaroni
On Boston beans and fresh sardines,
And toothsome abalone.

[3] Some live on hope, and some on dope
And some on alimony;
But my tom-cat, he lives on fat
And tender abalone.
Oh! some drink rain and some champagne,
Or brandy by the pony;
But I will try a little rye
With a dash of abalone.

[4] Oh! some like jam, and some like ham,
And some like macaroni;
But bring me in a pail of gin
And a tub of abalone.
He hides in caves beneath the waves,—
His ancient patrimony;
And so 'tis shown that faith alone
Reveals the abalone.

[5] The more we take the more they make
In deep-sea matrimony;
Race suicide cannot betide
The fertile abalone.
I telegraph my better half
By Morse or by Marconi;
But if the need arise for speed,
I send an abalone.

[Musical notation for one voice is given on page 128B.]

[The bibliography sources this version to

Sterling Sherwin, Songs of San Francisco (New York: Remick Music Corporation, 1939)

I haven’t seen this book, but you can see the cover here and the table of contents here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Abalone (George Sterling?)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Aug 22 - 11:59 AM

The following additional verse appears in a version published in The Monterey Herald, October 28, 2007:

Oh, some folks think the Lord is fat,
Some think that He is bony;
But as for me, I think that He
Is like an abalone.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Abalone (George Sterling?)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Aug 22 - 05:48 AM

It used to be fairly easy to get abalone here in California, but supplies are dwindling. The taking of abalone is prohibited south of San Francisco, and the overall limit is 12 per year for any individual - no more than three at a time. The meat is firm and tasty, and it used to be a staple in restaurants in San Francisco. I haven't seen it on a restaurant menu for decades. When I arrived in California 50 years ago, it was easy to get abalone at restaurants or from friends who harvested them on the North Coast, mostly around Mendocino. I have a few abalone shells in the garden, the contents eaten maybe 30 years ago. People in California used to be crazy about abalone, but then the supplies dwindled to almost nothing. You just don't see it here anymore.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abalone


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