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Lyr Req: Indian Lass (Nic Jones)


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Lyr Add: Lass of Mohee (13)
Little Mohea - variants from Mississippi (10)
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GUEST,Jane 11 Oct 00 - 03:36 AM
Joe Offer 11 Oct 00 - 04:23 AM
GUEST,Malcolm Douglas 11 Oct 00 - 09:48 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Oct 00 - 02:36 PM
Alan of Australia 15 Dec 00 - 10:38 PM
Lighter 19 Sep 19 - 07:12 PM
Lighter 19 Sep 19 - 10:08 PM
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Subject: Indian Lass - Nic Jones
From: GUEST,Jane
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 03:36 AM

Lyrics to The Indian Lass, as sung by Nic Jones (and others?). Where does the song come from?

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Subject: Lyr Add: THE INDIAN LASS (from Nic Jones) ^^
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 04:23 AM

Take a look at this Nic Jones Site (click). Apparently, the host is sometime Mudcatter Rufus Sargent. He seems to indicate that the lyrics are from the Digital Tradition, but I don't see them here. I'll post the lyrics.
Looks like it's derived fromLITTLE MOHEE and LITTLE MAUMEE
-Joe Offer-

Lyrics: Nic Jones / Digitrad

from Nic Jones

As I was a-walking on a far distant shore
I called at an ale house to spend half an hour
And as I sat smoking, beside me a glass,
It chanced there came by a young Indian lass.

This lovely young Indian on the place where she stood
I viewed her fair features and I found they were good
She was neat, tall and handsome and her age was sixteen
She was born and brought up in a place called New Orleans.

She sat down beside me and she squeezed my hand
"Kind Sir - you're a stranger, not one of this land"
"And if you've no lodging, with me you shall stay,"
"And dearly I'll love you by the night and by the day".

Well we tossed and we tumbled in each other's arms
And all of that long night I enjoyed her charms,
As I embraced her, oh, this was her tongue -
"Oh you are a sailor so far from your home".

"Oh kind Sir", said this Indian, "I pray you to stay"
"And you shall have my fortune without more delay"
"Oh don't go leave me to cross the wide seas"
"For I have enough both for you and for me".

But the day was appointed that we were to sail
To cross the wide ocean and leave her awhile
She says "When you've over in your native land",
"Remember that young Indian that squeezed your hand".

And so early next morning we were going to sail,
This lovely young Indian on the beach she did wail
I took out my handkerchief and wiped her eyes
"Oh don't you go and leave me my sailor" she cries.

But we weighed up our anchor and away then we flew
And a sweet pleasant breeze parted me from her view
And now that I'm over and taking my glass
I'll drink a good health to the Indian lass.

Sung by Nic Jones on "Noah's Ark Trap"

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Indian Lass - Nic Jones
From: GUEST,Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 09:48 AM

The Indian Lass was quite widely published on broadsides of the mid 19th. century.  There are several examples at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads  amongst which are:

The Indian lass  Printed between 1840 and 1851 by Samuel Russell, 24, Old Meeting Street, Birmingham
The Indian lass  Printed between 1858 and 1885 W. Fortey (late A. Ryle), Printer, Monmouth Court, Bloomsbury, London
The Indian lass  Printed c.1860 H. De Marsan, Dealer in Songs, Toy-books &c. No. 54 Chatham St. N.Y.
The Indian lass  Printed between 1863 and 1885 by H. Such, 177, Union Street, Boro', S.E. London
Indian lass         Printer and date unknown.

There are only fairly minor differences between the texts, and even the one printed in New York has "near Orleans" rather than "New Orleans".  Frank Kidson published a version from tradition in North Yorkshire (Traditional Tunes, 1891) with two tune versions (and the "tossing and tumbling" verse omitted, though the omission is indicated), and the Hammond brothers found versions in Dorset in 1906; one text (which does have "New Orleans") and tune (from two different singers) appear in Marrowbones (ed. Frank Purslow, EFDS 1965).  Purslow remarks:  "This fore-castle ditty would help pass away time on a dreary voyage.  Like most British songs it has crossed the Atlantic, where it is sometimes known as "The Little Mohee"."  Both of these traditional texts are very close indeed to the broadside versions.

Others consider the American song to be the original; see the entry at the  Traditional Ballad Index:
The Little Mohee  [Laws H8]

The text Joe has posted is a transcription from Jones' recording; pretty accurate, though "tongue" should be "tone" and "wail", "bewail".  There weren't any sleeve notes with The Noah's Ark Trap, but it looks to me as if Jones collated the Hammond and Kidson texts, and used Kidson's second tune (modified a little), which was noted down for Kidson by a Mr. Lolley (no original source named).  I'll send a midi of the notation from Kidson to Alan for the Mudcat Midi Pages.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Indian Lass - Nic Jones
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Oct 00 - 02:36 PM

Jez Lowe has written a lovely seqeul to this song I heard him sing it at a club but afraid I didn't learn it.
Song of the Indian Lass

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Indian Lass - Nic Jones
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 10:38 PM

Thanks to Malcolm the tune for "Indian Lass" can be found here at the Mudcat MIDI site.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Indian Lass (Nic Jones)
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Sep 19 - 07:12 PM

At Mystic in 1989 I heard Stan Hugill sing "The Indian Lass" in an informal setting. As soon as I realized his words were different from the usual ones, I began jotting down the differences - hastily to be sure.

Later that day, I tried to reconstruct what he'd sung. The sketchy words made sense, but I had to guess at some that I hadn't marked down. The tune, though (not the one sung, for example, by Paul Clayton) was another matter. It completely eluded me!

So I patched together a new one from bits of "Villikins" and something vaguely related that carried a sea song in one of Helen Creighton's books.

Voila, a new version of "The Indian Lass." Ersatz indeed, but it served its turn till Stan's final album appeared with his previously unpublished version of the song. (Naturally I prefer my version ...)

Stan's tune was only vaguely like the one I'd created.

The point is that many song versions must have been adapted by actual trad singers using a similar process, though without a book by Helen Creighton.

From Stan Hugill, "Sailing Days" (1993):

I was a-roving for pleasure one day,
Away from my whale ship through the woods I did stray.
So tired and worn I lay down in the grass,
When who should chance by but a slim Indian lass.

This lovely Kanaka, bare-breasted she stood -
I viewed her sweet features and I found they were good;
She was quite tall and handsome, and her age 'bout sixteen:
She was truly the daughter of some Indian queen.

She sat down beside me and seiz'ed my hand:
Says she, you're a stranger from a far foreign land.
May father's an _ali'i_ and a chieftain he be
Of all this fine island, which is called Kay Mau-ee.

With the flowers in her hair and round her neck twined,
She stood there before me, confusing my mind;
O, do not go sailing across the South Sea,
But stay here forever on the isle of Mau-ee!

O, no, my dear Indian, that can never be,
For I have a sweetheart in my own countree;
And I'll not forsake her, to her I'll return,
Though my heart for my Indian savage does yearn.

Our ship she lay anchored out in the bay,
With her tops'ls half hoisted and her anchor aweigh;
I kissed that girl dearly and left her alone,
Returned to my sweetheart, t'other side of Cape Horn.

Now I'm safely anchored on my own native shore,
With my sweetheart and my family all around me once more;
But of all who pass by me, oh, none do I see,
That compares with the Indian lass of Mau-ee!

As the late Malcolm Douglas observed in 2000 , the Bodleian has eight broadside texts (“The Indian Lass”), nearly identical, one by De Marsan in N.Y., with possible dates between 1840 and 1885.

An _ali'i_, as Stan explained and Wikipedia confirms, was a member of a Hawaiian ruling family. (The arcane word sounds to me like something Stan himself might have added.)

When someone asked why the lass was an (East) "Indian" one minute and a "Kanaka" the next, Stan grumbled good-naturedly, "They were sailors, not bloody ethnologists!"

No other text is quite like this one, which Hugill said he'd learned from a shipmate (Spike Sennit, perhaps, who seems to have sung a number of rowdy songs).

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Indian Lass (Nic Jones)
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Sep 19 - 10:08 PM

I mentioned this tidbit on another thread long ago:

"When he sang [The Indian Lass] at Mystic...somebody said, "That's not in any of your books, is it?" Stan replied, "I know plenty of songs that aren't in my books !"

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