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Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace (C. Fox Smith)

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WHERE THERE'S REST FOR HORSE AND MAN or HOME LADS HOME


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radriano 26 May 00 - 11:36 AM
Charley Noble 01 Sep 05 - 11:08 AM
Bob Bolton 01 Sep 05 - 10:47 PM
Charley Noble 02 Sep 05 - 08:22 AM
Charley Noble 18 Sep 05 - 02:17 PM
Charley Noble 04 Oct 05 - 05:01 PM
Charley Noble 03 Nov 05 - 11:02 AM
Janet Elizabeth 07 Apr 10 - 12:17 PM
Charley Noble 07 Apr 10 - 04:49 PM
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Subject: Lee Fore Brace
From: radriano
Date: 26 May 00 - 11:36 AM

Here's a great sea song I just learned:

Lee Fore Brace

Words by C. Fox Smith; melody by A. Fitzsimmons

There were ten men hauling on the lee fore brace
In the rain and the driving hail
And the mile-long greybeards charging by
In a thundering Cape Horn gale

That dark it was, you scarce could see
Your hands before your face
That cold it was, our fingers froze
Stiff as they gripped the brace

And Christ, said Dan, for a night in port
For a good old fiddler's tune
And just one whiff of the drinks again
In a Calleo saloon

There were ten men hauling on the lee fore brace
When the big sea broke on board
Like streaming spate and a foaming flood
Right fore and aft did pour

And the ship she staggered and lay still
So deep, so dead lay she
Why you think she could not rise again
From such a weight of sea

There were ten men hauling on the lee fore brace
Seven when she rose at last
And the rest were lost to the pitch dark night
To the sea and the ice-cold blast

And one of them was Dago Pete
One was Lars, the Dane
And the third was a lad whose like on earth
I shall not find again

So I'll stand my wheel and I'll heave and haul
And I'll reef and I'll furl with the rest
For the winds and seas they go in the same
When they've took and they've drowned the best

And there ain't no sense to curse the Lord
There ain't no sense to moan
For a man must live with his life the same
And keep his grief his own

So I'll drink me drink and I'll sing me song
And nobody'll know but me
That a lump of me heart, it went down with Dan
That night in the wild Horn sea

From the CD Where Seagulls Dare, by the English shanty group Landlocked


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Sep 05 - 11:08 AM

Many C. Fox Smith admirors such as Bob Zentz and Danny McLeod have wondered if this poem's last verse might have been a personal statement. There are a lot of references to "Dan" in her poems and at the very least he must have been a favorite source of yarns.

Here are the verses from her original poem:

Original poem by Cicely Fox Smith, SEA SONGS & BALLADS ? 1917-1922, © 1924, pp. 92-93

Lee Fore Brace


There was ten men haulin' on the lee fore brace
In the rain an' the drivin' hail,
And the mile-long greybeards chargin' by,
An' a thunderin' Cape Horn gale.

(That dark it was, you scarce could see
Your hand before your face;
That cold it was, our fingers froze
Stiff as they gripped the brace.

An' "Christ!" says Dan, "for a night in port
An' a Dago fiddler's tune,
An' just one whiff o' the drinks again
In a Callao saloon!"

There was ten men haulin' on the lee fore brace
When the big sea broke aboard;
Like a stream in spate, a foaming flood
Right fore an' aft it poured.

The ship, she staggered an' lay still -
So deep, so dead lay she,
You'd think she could not rise again
From such a weight of sea.

There was ten men haulin' on the lee fore brace?
Seven when she rose at last;
The rest was gone to the pitch-dark night,
An' the sea an' the ice-cold blast.

An' one of them was Dago Pete,
An' one was Lars, the Dane,
An' the third was the lad whose like on earth
I shall not find again.

An' I'll heave an' haul an' stand my wheel,
An' reef an' furl wi' the rest?
For winds an' seas go on the same,
When they've took an' drowned the best.

An' it ain't no use to curse the Lord,
Nor it ain't no sense to moan,
For a man must live his life the same,
An' keep his grief his own

An' I'll drink my drink an' I'll sing my song,
An' nobody'll know but me
A lump o' my heart went down with Dan
That night in the wild Horn sea!

The word "spate" in the 4th verse is an uncommon word which means "a heavy rainstorm" as the British used to say.

I would also note that Bob Zentz on his soon to be released CD has an entirely different musical arrangement for this poem than that of Alan Fitzsimmons.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace (C. Fox Smith)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 01 Sep 05 - 10:47 PM

G'day Charlie,

Actually, spate means a 'flood' ... usually said of a river (... the river was in spate ...) - and the poem does say: "Like a stream in spate, a foaming flood".

These days it is used metaphorically, as in: "This prompted a spate of enquiries".

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Sep 05 - 08:22 AM

Thanks, Bob, for the clarification.

In my opinion "spate" is a prime candidate for substitution.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: LEE FORE BRACE (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Sep 05 - 02:17 PM

Well, I tried out a new arrangement of this song at the Press Room Shanty Sing the other night and it seems to hold up. The melody for most of the verses is pretty similar to Alan Fitzsimmon's arrangement, However, what I'm singing is probably closer to Gerry Hallom's musical arrangement for "The Outside Track" and I also use the melody of his chorus for the two break-out verses. I've also done away with "Like streaming spate" and substituted "she shipped it green" from another C. Fox Smith poem. There are several other more minor rewordings that I find helpful (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

Original poem by Cicely Fox Smith, SEA SONGS & BALLADS ? 1917-1922, © 1924, pp. 92-93
From the singing of Danny McLeod, SEA BOOT DUFF & HAND SPIKE GRUEL, © 1995
Adapted by Charles Ipcar, 9/7/05
Key: F (5/C)


The Lee Fore Brace


C-----G----C-------G------------C-------G---C
There were ten men hauling on the lee fore brace
-------F----------------------C
In the rain and the driving hail,
-------------------------F------------C
With them mile-long greybeards charg-ing by
---------------------F------C----G
And a thundering Cape Horn gale ;
------------G7--------C
So dark it was, you scarce could see
----------------F----C----G
Your hand be-fore your face;
---C------F-----------C-------F
So cold it was, your fingers froze,
C-------------G-----------C
Stiff as they gripped the brace.

Bridge:

C-------------F-----C------------------F--C
"Oh, Christ," says Dan, "for a night in port
-----------------------------G
And a good old fidd-ler's tune,
-----C--------F---------------C------F
And just one whiff of them drinks a-gain
----C------G-C
In a Cal-la-o sa-loon."


There were ten men hauling on the lee fore brace
When the big sea broke on board;
She shipped it green, a foaming flood ,
Fore and aft it poured;
And the ship she staggered, then lay still,
So deep, so dead, lay she;
Why we thought she'd never rise again
From such a weight of sea.

There were ten men hauling on the lee fore brace,
Seven when she rose at last;
The rest were lost to the pitch-black night,
To the sea and the ice-cold blast;
And one we knew as Dago Pete.
And one as Lars the Dane,
And the last was a lad whose like on earth
I shall not find again.

And I'll stand me watch, heave and haul,
And I'll reef and furl with the rest;
For the winds and the seas go on the same,
Though they've took and drowned the best;
And there ain't no use to curse the Lord;
There ain't no sense to moan;
For a man must live his life the same,
And keep his grief his own.

Bridge:

So I'll drink me drink, and I'll sing me song,
And none will know but me,
That a lump of me heart went down with Dan,
That night in the Cape Horn sea.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Oct 05 - 05:01 PM

Here's a link to my personal website if you'd like to hear a MP3 sample of how I sing what I posted above: Lee Fore Brace

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: CAPE STIFF (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Nov 05 - 11:02 AM

This seems to to me to be a "sister poem" to the "Lee Fore Brace," describing a similar loss of a good friend in a storm off Cape Horn.

CAPE STIFF
(Poem by Cicely Fox Smith from SMALL CRAFT, by Cicely Fox Smith, George H. Doran Co., © 1919, pp. 105-106
Previously published in SONGS IN SAIL AND OTHER SHANTIES, © 1914)


Cruel is the sea, and the hardest thing of all
Is her taking and her leaving, and the way it seems to fall,
How always it's the best men who have to bear the call?
Ah, Cape Stiff, and the big seas pouring!

And of all good sailormen that use the deep sea
Where would you find a better or a truer lad than he
That we lost in the dirty weather from the fourmast barque Trulee
By Cape Stiff, and the great gale roaring?

It was all hands on deck that night, to heave her to;
The sails were frozen hard, the cold wind bit you through,
You couldn't hear a man beside you speak, so loud it blew,
Near Cape Stiff, and her yard dipping under!
The night was black as hell?I never saw him go?
It wasn't till the dawn broke I'd time to ask and know
The sea that swept us out and back had rolled him far below
By Cape Stiff, in the great seas' thunder.

And fair weather or foul weather it's all one to him,
Though the sea's in the half-deck and the empty bunk aswim,
It's a long watch below for the weary head and aching limb
By Cape Stiff, and the loud wind crying!

And now we're rolling home before the good Trade Wind,
But I'm thinking night and day how we've left him far behind ?
Him that was so merry, him that was so kind,
By Cape Stiff, in the cold deeps lying!

Notes:

"Cape Stiff" is the old sailor's nickname for Cape Horn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace
From: Janet Elizabeth
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 12:17 PM

There's a rather good site called oldpoetry.com which includes a number of Cicely Fox Smith's poems - for example Lee Fore Brace is at http://oldpoetry.com/opoem/45241-Cicely-Fox-Smith-Lee-Fore-Brace

A list of what they have by her is at http://oldpoetry.com/oauthor/show/cicely_fox_smith - hang on a minute, that page has a lot of info in it written by Charley Noble! Well, well well. :-)

It looks like a good site to search - or browse - for other songs which started as poems ...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lee Fore Brace
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Apr 10 - 04:49 PM

Lady Elizabeth-

You're right on all counts!

And the Oldpoetry website is a fine way to access all 626 (at last count) poems composed by Cicely Fox Smith.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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