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Origin: Sloop John B

DigiTrad:
THE WRECK OF THE JOHN B


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Sloop John B. (28)
Lyr Req: Sloop John A ? (2)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
The John B Sails (Sandburg) (from American Songbag)
The John B.'s Sails (Alan Lomax) (from The Folk Songs of North America)
The Wreck of the John B


GUEST 04 Apr 01 - 06:32 AM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 04 Apr 01 - 06:43 AM
GUEST,Bedridden Barry on Sis's laptop 04 Apr 01 - 07:16 AM
GUEST,Sooze (at work) 04 Apr 01 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Roll&Go-C 04 Apr 01 - 08:51 AM
GUEST,Bruce O. 04 Apr 01 - 11:02 AM
GUEST,JohnB 04 Apr 01 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 04 Apr 01 - 02:42 PM
Abby Sale 04 Apr 01 - 08:30 PM
Amos 04 Apr 01 - 08:37 PM
Abby Sale 04 Apr 01 - 09:05 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 05 Apr 01 - 01:52 AM
GUEST,Fred 05 Apr 01 - 11:00 PM
GUEST,Bruce O. 06 Apr 01 - 05:14 PM
Joe Offer 08 Sep 03 - 01:33 PM
Roberto 08 Sep 03 - 01:42 PM
Joe Offer 08 Sep 03 - 02:10 PM
Joe Offer 08 Sep 03 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Martin Gibson 08 Sep 03 - 02:53 PM
Amos 08 Sep 03 - 07:15 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM
Barbara 08 Sep 03 - 07:47 PM
Snuffy 08 Sep 03 - 07:53 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Sep 03 - 07:59 PM
Charley Noble 08 Sep 03 - 08:15 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Sep 03 - 08:18 PM
Amos 08 Sep 03 - 08:52 PM
Joe Offer 08 Sep 03 - 08:59 PM
syren 10 Sep 03 - 10:53 PM
The Fooles Troupe 10 Sep 03 - 11:18 PM
GUEST,Chris 14 Sep 06 - 07:41 AM
Leadfingers 14 Sep 06 - 07:51 AM
GUEST,Jim 14 Sep 06 - 07:53 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Sep 06 - 08:05 AM
Roberto 14 Sep 06 - 09:10 AM
Don Firth 16 Sep 06 - 01:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Sep 06 - 02:01 PM
Joe Offer 16 Sep 06 - 02:37 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 06 - 04:28 PM
Greg B 16 Sep 06 - 09:09 PM
GUEST 16 Sep 06 - 10:08 PM
Roberto 17 Sep 06 - 02:02 AM
Devilmaster 17 Sep 06 - 03:31 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 17 Sep 06 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 17 Sep 06 - 10:05 PM
toadfrog 17 Sep 06 - 11:16 PM
Mr Happy 01 Jul 08 - 06:15 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 01 Jul 08 - 07:35 AM
SharonA 01 Jul 08 - 09:25 AM
SharonA 01 Jul 08 - 09:36 AM
GUEST,TJ 01 Jul 08 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Greg 06 May 10 - 04:16 PM
Lighter 06 May 10 - 06:37 PM
GUEST,Alan Dean Foster 07 May 10 - 09:30 AM
meself 07 May 10 - 10:45 AM
GUEST 07 May 10 - 11:03 AM
mousethief 07 May 10 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,Steven Strauss in Oakland CA 24 Jun 15 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,Phil the Conch 27 Jun 15 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,Phil the Conch 27 Jun 15 - 12:30 AM
GUEST,Phil the Conch 27 Jun 15 - 12:52 AM
GUEST 27 Jun 15 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Phil the Conch 01 Jul 15 - 03:48 PM
GUEST,Phil the Conch 01 Jul 15 - 03:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Apr 16 - 02:23 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Apr 16 - 02:25 AM
GUEST 12 Jul 17 - 10:42 AM
akenaton 12 Jul 17 - 11:37 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jul 17 - 02:28 PM
akenaton 12 Jul 17 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jul 17 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jul 17 - 07:48 PM
Gallus Moll 12 Jul 17 - 08:22 PM
akenaton 13 Jul 17 - 02:28 AM
Gallus Moll 13 Jul 17 - 06:17 PM
akenaton 13 Jul 17 - 06:35 PM
Roger the Skiffler 14 Jul 17 - 09:17 AM
Gallus Moll 14 Jul 17 - 03:27 PM
akenaton 14 Jul 17 - 03:54 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jan 18 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jan 18 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 Jan 18 - 02:00 AM
GUEST,Emmie 23 Jan 18 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Emmie 23 Jan 18 - 05:55 AM
GUEST,Emmie 23 Jan 18 - 06:10 AM
GUEST,Emmie 23 Jan 18 - 06:41 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 23 Jan 18 - 02:35 PM
GUEST,Emmie 23 Jan 18 - 07:02 PM
GUEST,Emmie 24 Jan 18 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 24 Jan 18 - 11:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 24 Jan 18 - 11:54 PM
Gibb Sahib 25 Jan 18 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,Emmie 25 Jan 18 - 01:42 AM
Mysha 25 Jan 18 - 12:17 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Jan 18 - 02:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 27 Jan 18 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jan 18 - 04:45 AM
Gibb Sahib 28 Jan 18 - 04:51 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 28 Jan 18 - 07:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 28 Jan 18 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,Emmie 28 Jan 18 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 29 Jan 18 - 11:21 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Jan 18 - 01:40 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Jan 18 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Emmie 29 Jan 18 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Emmie 29 Jan 18 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Emmie 29 Jan 18 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Emmie 29 Jan 18 - 06:52 PM
Gibb Sahib 29 Jan 18 - 10:36 PM
GUEST,Emmie 30 Jan 18 - 02:46 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 30 Jan 18 - 02:53 PM
Gibb Sahib 30 Jan 18 - 09:14 PM
Lighter 31 Jan 18 - 09:50 AM
GUEST,Emmie 31 Jan 18 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Feb 18 - 09:50 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Feb 18 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Feb 18 - 10:10 PM
mayomick 04 Feb 18 - 04:39 PM
Lighter 04 Feb 18 - 06:03 PM
Max 05 Feb 18 - 08:04 PM
Dave Rado 06 Jun 18 - 07:01 PM
Dave Rado 06 Jun 18 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 Jun 18 - 09:27 PM
Dave Rado 08 Jun 18 - 04:01 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 08 Jun 18 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 08 Jun 18 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 11 Jun 18 - 11:33 AM
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Subject: Sloop John B
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 06:32 AM

Saw a talented pair of acoustic musicians, King Oedipus, the other night at the Ivyland Coffee House. They closed with Sloop John B, but said that it was authored by Carl Sandburg and Fred Hayes from the Weavers. "Taint true, is it?" I mean it's like the way Dylan 'wrote' House of the Rising Sun, right?


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 06:43 AM

Most of the attributions on the All-music Guide (c 100 versions!)call it Trad (originally Caribbean, surely). But as well as the Hays/Sandburg version there is the Beach Boys' Asher/Wilson attribution.
Lonnie Donegan calls it "I wanna go home" and like most of "his" songs calls it Trad/ Donegan. Change one word or note and get your name on the copyright!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Bedridden Barry on Sis's laptop
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 07:16 AM

I have it on a collection (see Deep River of Song collection-Lomax) from the Bahamas from 1935. It's very, very close to the version by the Beach Boys & it mentions that the crew of this boat was know to be a wild bunch. Barry


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Sooze (at work)
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 07:23 AM

Don't forget Sloop John A which is hilarious and definitely by Les Barker!


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Roll&Go-C
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 08:51 AM

Let me along with Barry also encourage people to listen to the Lomax Deep River of Song CD, for a good listen to how many Caribbean songs were sung before our "folk" community got hold of them; these "field" recordings are really like sitting in on someone else's song party and trying to figure out what's going on (and with a 20-something Alan Lomax asking questions).


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 11:02 AM

It's keeps being collected, slightly differently each time, from the Bahamas. It's still evolving so it's never the same.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 12:44 PM

Who are you calling a sloop! :) JohnB


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 02:42 PM

The version from Nassau in Carl Sanburg's 'American Songbag', p. 22 , 1927 (available as reprint) is of about the same date as one contributed to Robert Gordon, and is #1887 in the Gordon transcripts in the Library of Congress Folklore Archive (noted as sung by Negros of Bahama Island, 1916-19).


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 08:30 PM

I like that record too. Got it recently from a really off -the-wall outfit called Camsco. It's (current, updated) notes go on that this was probably the first sound recording of it - in 1935. But I was startled by Sandburg's notes... He was told that the "weathered ribs of the historic craft lie imbedded in the sand at Governor's Harbor" in Nassau. It's relics were preserved with care. Already by 1927 "Time and usage have given this song almost the dignity of a national anthem around Nassau." Ergo, the loss (or disintigration from age) of the ship and the song must date well before then.

Until reading this it had never occured to me this was a real ship. So much to learn.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Amos
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 08:37 PM

And the first dose of mass pop was probably from the Kingston Trio circa 1962.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Abby Sale
Date: 04 Apr 01 - 09:05 PM

I couldn't help myself.... I hadda go look: Sandburg heard the song from the cartoonist, journalist & "philosopher," John T. McCutcheon (you've seen his stuff, likely - worked a lot with George Ade)

And he has: (I just asked inter-library loan for one but there's plenty of copies. {8})

Title: The island song book : being a small collection of our favorite ballads, anthems, lullabies and dirges of this particular section of the Bahama Islands and also such other ditties as have seemed befitting by reason of their piratical, nautical or sentimental appeal. Together with several local and topical lays relating only to Treasure Island. To which is prefix'd an explanatory and historical introduction. To which is added a number of sketches and photographs illustrative of same.

Author(s): McCutcheon, John T.; 1870-1949. ; (John Tinney), Evelyn Shaw. ;

Publication: Chicago; Privately printed at The Chicago Tribune tower; 1927


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 05 Apr 01 - 01:52 AM

I don't know about that old dating business Abby. I don't think we've seen the last Jacobite song from Scotland yet.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Fred
Date: 05 Apr 01 - 11:00 PM

Alan Lomax, in Folksongs of N. America, says "Recorded and arranged by Alan Lomax from the singing of Bahaman Negroes, Nassau, 1935. See Sandburg, 22."


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Bruce O.
Date: 06 Apr 01 - 05:14 PM

Lomax did a lot of arranging. When his field recordings at LC were made available people finally found out what he really collected.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 01:33 PM

Somebody suggested that I paste this into this thread. Sounds like a good idea.
-Joe Offer-
Thread #2804   Message #678793
Posted By: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
29-Mar-02 - 01:46 AM
Thread Name: The Story BEHIND the song!
Subject: RE: The Story BEHIND the song!

...About John B.: I've heard from one knowledgable source that the bad things that happen on that sloop are all the result of naming the boat "John B." In Afro-Carribean culture, nobody with a surname beginning with "B" (supposedly) will name a son "John," because the result ("John B." sounds too much like "jumby" -- a west african (Wolof/Bambera) term referring to this undead thing we've anglicized to "zombie" -- apparently it won't do to mention these creatures; "speak of the devil," and all that.

"Back to Back/Belly to Belly" is a song that passed for smutty *and* multicultural in middle-class circles in the sixties. It was on an album called "The Big Bamboo" that was sold in swingin' joints with a carribean theme. My parents had a copy, and John Updike includes it in a scene in *Rabbit is Rich*.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Roberto
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 01:42 PM

Guest Bedridden Barry recalls the recording of this song in the first of the two CDs dedicated to the Bahamas, in the Alan Lomax's Deep River of Song collection. Here is the text. I think this is the recording of a folk song, or traditional song, although a recent one.
Roberto

Histe Up the John B. Sails, Cleveland Simmons group, Bahamas 1935 – Deep River of Song (Coll. Alan Lomax), Rounder 11661 – 1822-2

Histe up the John B. sails
(See how) the mainsail set
Then send for the captain 'shore
Let me go home (Let me go home)
O let me go home (Let me go home)
O let me go home (Let me go back home)
I feel so break up
I want to go home

Now the captain and the mate get drunk
Then they broke up the people trunk
I goin' to send for the captain 'shore
Let me go home (Let me go home)
O let me go home
O let me go home
I feel so break up
I want to go home

Grandpa, Ma and me
Was standin'on the railroad block
Go send for the captain 'shore
Let me go home
O let me go home
O let me go home, let me go home
I feel so break up
I want to go home


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 02:10 PM

The "Bahamas 1935" recording has a few more verses, but I can't make them out. There's a pause, then a repeat of the "captain and the mate got drunk" verse, and then some others. The only words I can pick out are:
    Billy gone in town and he leave a lady home...
And that's it. No doubt, the Lomax recordings are a valuable asset, but some sure are a pain to listen to.
-Joe Offer-
Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

John B. Sails, The

DESCRIPTION: A description of a horrible journey on the "sloop John B." Refrain: "Let me go home! I want to go home; I feel so break-up, I want to go home." Among the problems on the voyage: A drunken first mate who is arrested for robbery and a cook who won't
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (Sandburg)
KEYWORDS: ship sailor hardtimes cook Caribbean
FOUND IN: West Indies
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Sandburg, pp. 22-23, "The John B. Sails" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 280, "The John B.'s Sails" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 93, "John B. Sails" (1 text)
DT, WRKJOHNB

RECORDINGS:
Cleveland Simmons Group: "Histe Up the John B. Sail" (AAFS 418 B2, 1935; on LomaxCD1822-2)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Sloop John B.
The Wreck of the John B.
Notes: Although I have yet to encounter a version of this song actually describing the sinking of the John B., the craft is said to lie at the bottom of Governor's Harbor in Nassau, where its remains are considered almost a historic monument. - RBW
File: San022

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: The John B Sails (Sandburg)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 02:45 PM

Here's the version from Carl Sandburg's American Songbag (1927)

THE JOHN B SAILS

O we come on the sloop John B.,
My gran'fadder an' me.
Round Nassau Town we did roam,
Drinking all night, we got in a fight,
I feel so break-up I want to go home!
    REFRAIN
    So hoist up the John B. sails,
    See how de main-s'l set,
    Send for de Capt'n ashore, Lemme go home!
    Lemme go home! Lemme go home!
    I feel so break-up I want to go home!

De first mate he got drunk,
Break up de people's trunk.
Constable come aboard an' take him away.
Mr. Johnstone, please let me alone.
I feel so break-up I want to go home! Refrain

De poor cook he got fits,
Tro' 'way all de grits,
Den he took an' eat up all o' my corn!
Lemme go home, I want to go home!
Dis is de worst trip since I been born! Refrain


    Notes: John T. McCutcheon, cartoonist and kindly philosopher, and his wife Evelyn Shaw McCutcheon, mother and poet, learned to sing this on their Treasure Island in the West Indies. They tell of it, "Time and usage have given this song almost the dignity of a national anthem around Nassau. The weathered ribs of the historic craft lie imbedded in the sand at Governor's Harbor, whence an expedition, especially sent up for the purpose in l926, extracted a knee of horseflesh and a ring-bolt. These relics are now preserved and built into the Watch Tower, designed by Mr. Howard Shaw and built on our southern coast a couple of points east by north of the star Canopus."

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Martin Gibson
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 02:53 PM

Amos

You can call the Kingston Trio's 1962 version mass pop if you want to, but most people found it in the folk music section of where ever they bought records. Their version was the standard known version before the Beach Boys.

I've said it before, thanks to the Kingston Trio for revealing these folk songs to a folk music buying public.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:15 PM

Sure thing, Martin. I am glad someone made it better known, along with all the others. I just have a thing about super-retail outlets.

A


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:36 PM

I actually had a book (acquired secondhand a couple of years ago) with a different longer (twice as long) version. I must have loaned it to someone. All my best stuff vanishes!

This version had "interspersed" verses among the standard ones, eg the one given here about "Break up de people's trunk" was preceeded by one which detiled that the passengers included ladies who had trunks, etc.

Anybody else heard of it? The sheetmusic book approx A4 size was either 1960's or 1970's. I THINK it was a sort of "WOW! New world of FOLKMUSIC!!!" genre of book - it may have been aimed at guitarists..

Of my favourite version is now about the previous sister ship - the Sloop John A!

Robin


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Barbara
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:47 PM

You mean Les Barker's "Sloop John A"?
as in
Where can the John A. be?
Maybe the A.'s at sea...
Like that?
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:53 PM

Lonnie Donegan's version (called "I wanna go Home") was released in May 1960 on a 45 single (Pye Nixa 7N 15267) and the credits state not "Trad/Donegan" as RTS claims, but "Sandburg/Hays/Roberts"

WassaiL! V


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 07:59 PM

Yes,

I just love the cleverness of

may _B_ the _A_'s at _C_

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 08:15 PM

Yes, "The Sloop John A" is certainly an inspired parody. I now have my own folk-processed version, folk-processed so that some future collector may be fooled into believing it is truly a precursor to "Sloop John B."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 08:18 PM

Hey guys!

I'm sorry about the "The Sloop John A" crack...

now anybody got anything useful on what I REALLY wanted to know... :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Amos
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 08:52 PM

Went away on a sloop John Dee,
To get to where we meant to be
Left both the drunken hands alone on the scree;
Just Molly and me
Without the damn family
Just we two single-handing
The sweet old sloop John Dee

We raised up our own damn sail
   We saw her set for ourselves
   We left all the whiners on shore, staying at home
   We're off for to roam
    You can leave us alone!
    Over the horizon,
    Leave the whiners at home!


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Subject: ADD Version: The John B.'s Sails (Lomax)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Sep 03 - 08:59 PM

Here's the version from The Folk Songs of North America (Alan Lomax, 1960).

THE JOHN B.'S SAILS

So h'ist up the John B. 's sail,
See how the mains'l's set,
Send for the captain ashore,
Le' we go home

    CHORUS:
    Le' we go home,
    Le' we go home,
    I feel so break up,
    Le' we go home.

The cap'n an' the mate got drunk,
They broke up the people's trunk,
Send for the captain ashore,
Le' we go home . . . (CHO.)

The cook took runnin' fits
An' broke up all my grips,
Send for the captain ashore
Le' we go home . . . (CHO.)

Click to play


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: syren
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 10:53 PM

Well, in May of this year, Broadside joined with Tom Lewis in Seattle to record a couple of songs with him for his new album and he let us hear some of the cuts that he had done the week before. One of them was the "extended" version of Sloop John B which I had never heard before and since I only recently started checking in here, I didn't know about this thread then......in any case, I asked him where he got it, and he began to tell me about how it was the traditional version, and then a bunch of other folks came in and we didn't finish the conversation and then we all got to playing with the harmonies and we ended up recording a whole new backup for what he had already recorded and he said that if it came out as well in the mix as it sounded, he would use it. And I have no idea if he did, so I guess we will have to wait and see when Broadside joins him in Seattle on Nov. 1st for his album release party. (Gee, see how seamlessly I managed a shameless commercial plug??!) I will ask him again when I see him where he got it.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 10 Sep 03 - 11:18 PM

Ahhh,
thanks syren,

That sounds like what I have been searching for...

I might be able to hang on till then...

That book I mentioned had other gem in it that I suspected may have been "original traditional" .. it also had a version of "House of the Rising Sun" but from the female perspective... it was much clearer just what sort of "fallen woman" (to quote another thread) she was - I never thought the male perspective made much sense...


but let's not get swamped with thread creep...

Robin


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Subject: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Chris
Date: 14 Sep 06 - 07:41 AM

Hi,
Does anyone know the words to the Sloop John b?- I think its the popular version I want- not the wreck of the john b- which i get when i search the digitrad.

Thanks
Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: Leadfingers
Date: 14 Sep 06 - 07:51 AM

The Beach Boys copywrited ?? their recording , but Paddy Roberts recorded it about four years before them ! Will have to look the lyrics out !!


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 14 Sep 06 - 07:53 AM

The "Wreck" song in the Digitrad is probably the one you're looking for (the Kingston Trio version). On the other hand, Tom Lewis (?) says that there's a second part to the song that the Kingston Trio left out. I'm pretty sure that if you search the Mudcat threads for "Sloop John B" you'll find both sets of lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Sep 06 - 08:05 AM

I thought the 'original' was written by Les Barker...



We looked for the Sloop John A;
We looked for it all day;
Round Nassau Town we did roam,
A man on the pier,
Said it wasn't here;
We didn't find it,
And then we went home.

Then we went home,
We had to go home.
Maybe the A's at sea;
We had a good look round,
Then we went home,
Then we went home,
We had to go home.


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: Roberto
Date: 14 Sep 06 - 09:10 AM

It seems the SLOOP JOHN B comes from a traditional song. Here is a 1935 recording.

Histe Up the John B. Sails, Cleveland Simmons group, Bahamas 1935 – Deep River of Song (Coll. Alan Lomax), Rounder 11661 – 1822-2

Histe up the John B. sails
(See how) the mainsail set
Then send for the captain 'shore
Let me go home (Let me go home)
O let me go home (Let me go home)
O let me go home (Let me go back home)
I feel so break up
I want to go home

Now the captain and the mate get drunk
Then they broke up the people trunk
I goin' to send for the captain 'shore
Let me go home (Let me go home)
O let me go home
O let me go home
I feel so break up
I want to go home

Grandpa, Ma and me
Was standin'on the railroad block
Go send for the captain 'shore
Let me go home
O let me go home
O let me go home, let me go home
I feel so break up
I want to go home


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Sep 06 - 01:30 PM

I first encountered this song (before the Kingston Trio's first record came out) in Carl Sandburg's The American Songbag, first published in 1927 and, fortunately, reprinted and currently available.

In the thread George linked to above, Joe Offer posted the words as they appear in The American Songbag   HERE:

That's the way I learned it from Sandburg's book (complete with a sort or Calypso beat). I heard it on a recording of Calypso songs shortly thereafter and I had the rhythm right. Then, the Kingston Trio's recording of it came out.   Shortly thereafter, while I was singing in a local coffeehouse, someone requested "The Sloop John B." and I sang it the way I'd been singing it for three or four years. He griped that I didn't sing it right. "Didn't sing it right?" I said. "What do you mean?" "You didn't sing it like the Kingston Trio," he responded. As if the Kingston Trio were some kind of authorities on folk music. I had to educate him as to the background of the song, and suggensted that the KT probably got from the same source I did (and among other things, I pointed out that there were three of them and only one of me).

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Lyr req: Sloop John B
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Sep 06 - 02:01 PM

A note in thread 32772 (above) cites the Folklore Archive, Library of Congress with a collection of "Sloop John B" from the Bahamas in 1916.
The late Bruce O in the same thread indicated that the song was "still evolving."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: Joe Offer
Date: 16 Sep 06 - 02:37 PM

So, to make this thread complete, can anybody post the Beach Boys version?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 06 - 04:28 PM

Beach Boys version


(from www.lyricsfreak.com/b/beach+boys/sloop+john+b_20013644.html)

We come on the sloop john b
My grandfather and me
Around nassau town we did roam
Drinking all night
Got into a fight
Well I feel so broke up
I want to go home

So hoist up the john bs sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up
I wanna go home

The first mate he got drunk
And broke in the capns trunk
The constable had to come and take him away
Sheriff john stone
Why dont you leave me alone, yeah yeah
Well I feel so broke up I wanna go home

So hoist up the john bs sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, let me go home
Why dont you let me go home
(hoist up the john bs sail)
Hoist up the john b
I feel so broke up I wanna go home
Let me go home

The poor cook he caught the fits
And threw away all my grits
And then he took and he ate up all of my corn
Let me go home
Why dont they let me go home
This is the worst trip Ive ever been on

So hoist up the john bs sail
See how the mainsail sets
Call for the captain ashore
Let me go home, let me go home
I wanna go home, let me go home
Why dont you let me go home


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: Greg B
Date: 16 Sep 06 - 09:09 PM

I happen to have a Beach Boys CD in the rotation in my
car, and heard this the other day.

You know, it's brilliant, just freakin' brilliant.

The Wilsons and Mike Love (to say nothing of the others
who passed through the band) have more talent in their
toenail clippings than most of us have in our whole
beings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Sep 06 - 10:08 PM

'Sloop John B
Arranged by Brian Wilson
The song was a West Indies folk song from around 1927
Most popular version performed by The Beach Boys
It hit #3 on the Top 40 charts in 1966
Group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1988
The song was also recorded by the Kingston Trio in the 1950s
Jimmie Rodgers recorded the song in 1960 under the title "The Wreck of the Sloop John B"'


From the www


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: Roberto
Date: 17 Sep 06 - 02:02 AM

Here are the notes from the booklet in the CD Bahamas 1935, Rounder, from which I've posted the lyrics.

HISTE UP THE JOHN B. SAIL
(AAFS418B2)
Sung by Cleveland Simmons group. Recorded at Old Bight, Cat Island, Bahamas in July, 1935.
A Bahamian ballad made world-famous by the Weavers in the early 1950's. Their Decca recording was based on a version from a collection by Carl Sandburg, The American Songbag, published in 1927. "The John B. was an old sponger boat whose crew were in the habit of getting notoriously merry, whenever they made port," say the notes to an album of Blind Blake, a popular Nassau entertainer who recorded a string band version with the Royal Victoria Calypsos in 1952 (Art ALP-4). The unaccompanied version from Cat Island presented here is perhaps the earliest recording of this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: Devilmaster
Date: 17 Sep 06 - 03:31 AM

Maybe someone has more info on this:

If anyone has the book 'The folksong fake book' by hal leonard publishing, has the song listed as 'Nassau Bound'.

Tom Lewis did this version on his last album 360 degrees.

Nassau Bound
Words and music: Traditional © Hal Leonard Corp.
Arrangement: Tom Lewis
(Recorded by Tom Lewis on 360° All Points of the Compass)

There's no better place than a sailin' ship to get an education,
You learn how to tar the ratlines down and drink up your rum ration.
So, hoist up the John B's sails, see how the mainsail sets,
Call for the Captain ashore, let me go home.
I wanna go home. I wanna go home. I feel so break up, I wanna go home.

We sailed on the sloop John B., my grandfather and me,
'Round Nassau town we did roam,
Drinkin' all night, got into a fight,
I feel so break up, I wanna go home.

We carried the ladies to Nassau town, like other sailin' boats,
There was twenty trunks down in the hold all full of petticoats,
But the First Mate he got drunk, broke up the ladies' trunks,
The constable come on board to take him away,
Sherrif Johnstone, please let me alone,
I feel so break up, I wanna go home.

We eat aboard the sloop John B. food of the very best,
Bur Cookie he never calls it food, he only call it a mess,
Then Cookie took "the fits", throw 'way all of the grits,
Then he took and throw 'way all of the corn,
Let me go home. Won't you let me go home,
I feel so break up, I wanna go home.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 17 Sep 06 - 06:20 PM

Thanks for the reference to "Nassau Bound."
I was aware of the name "John B. Sails" (see Trad Ballad Index) but not of this one.

The collection in the Library of Congress, 1916, seems to be the earliest one, but I don't know the title used.

A 1960 recording by Bud and Travis was the earliest I found under "Sloop John B."
(yes, I tried 'Histe Up...')


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 17 Sep 06 - 10:05 PM

My version is "Beach Boys" however, it includes the corn variation.



Sincerely,

Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sloop John B
From: toadfrog
Date: 17 Sep 06 - 11:16 PM

I sometimes miss stuff on long threads, but no one seems to have mentioned that it was recorded by the Weavers in 1951 and was a popular song a long time before there was a Kingston Trio. I didn't know about the Weavers, but I did know the song because everyone I knew in High School was singing it--in the early 1950's.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Mr Happy
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 06:15 AM

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hkCwY9kdgDg


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 07:35 AM

There is a humerous part in one of Alan Dean Foster's "Spellsinger" SF series when "Jontom" the erratic musical magician sings the song (probably the Beach Boys version). He wants to conjure up some transport and so thinks of a song about a ship but forgets about the lines saying that the crew get drunk and it's the worst trip he's ever been on.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: SharonA
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 09:25 AM

This is a fascinating thread! I learned a lot here -- thanks, everyone!

Mr. Happy's link to YouTube led me to listen and then to check out a clip in the "Related Videos", a 1952 recording by The Travelers which has a variation in the "corn" verse that I didn't see listed here yet:

"This is the worst trip since I been born"


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: SharonA
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 09:36 AM

Here's a brilliant update on the song that someone posted on YouTube: a mix of the Beach Boys version of John B with "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana, entitled Smells Like Sloop John B

Nice to see the young folks keeping traditional songs alive! :-)


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,TJ
Date: 01 Jul 08 - 12:59 PM

If you look and listen carefully the the KT version of this, or any of their songs from the archives, they were careful to alter them just enough to allow for copywriting their version. I don't know if the producer, Frank Werber or Bob Shane was behind that ploy, but it worked well for them.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Greg
Date: 06 May 10 - 04:16 PM

A version of John B Sails (Wreck of the John B)
first verse and chorus from the novel 'Pieces of Eight' by Gallienne and the rest from the Blind Blake Higgs (1915-1985)version.
In the style of The Beach Boys (c.1965)

(?) transcribed from an old recording so unsure of these words of Higgs

G D G G

(G)Come on the sloop John B. My grandfather and me,
Round Nassau Town we did (D) roam
Drinkin all (G) night ve got in a (C) fight (Am)
(G)Ve feel so break up (D) ve vant to go (G)home

(G)H'ist up the John B sails
See how the mainsail set
Send for the Captain - shore let us go (D)home
Let me go (G)home
Let me go (C)home (Am)
(G)I feel so break up (D)I vant to go (G)home

(G)I bought me a brand new pants I started to go to a dance
Too much that darn(?) my pants burst I had to go (D) home
I had to go (G)Home, I had to go (C)home (Am)
(G)Because my pants burst (D) and I had to go (G)home

(G)Hoist up the John B sail
Lets see how the mainsl set
Send for the Captain shore let me go (D)home
I wanna go (G)home
I wanna go (C)home (Am)
(G)I feel so break up (D)I wanna go (G)home

(G)The Capt'n and the mate got drunk
Broke up the people trunk
The police came on board and take him(D)away
And take him to (G)jail without any (C)bail (Am)
(G)I feel so break up (D)I wanna go (G)home

(G)The cook he had the fits
He started pointing(?) out the people grits
The captain peeked(?) and eat up all of our (D)corn
Say Mr John(G)stone please let me (C)alone (Am)
(G)We're gonna sail home (D)high lay to(G)day

(G)Sailboat go by sail and steam boat go by steam
Round Nassau Town we did (D)roam
Been drinking all (G)night and we got into a (C)fight (Am)
(G)I feel so break up (D)I wanna go (G)home

Chorus


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Subject: Lyr Add: SLOOP JOHN B (from Le Gallienne, 1913)
From: Lighter
Date: 06 May 10 - 06:37 PM

Le Gallienne printed an earlier version in "Coral Islands and Mangrove Trees" in Harper's (Dec., 1916):


Come on the sloop John B.,
My grandfather and me,
Round Nassau town ve did roam.
Drinking a11 night, ve got in a fight,
Ve feel so break-up,ve vant to go home.

Chorus
So hoist up the John B. sails,
See how the mainsail set,
Send for the captain ashore—let me go home.
Let me go home, let me go home,
I feel so break-up, I vant to go home.

The first mate he got drunk,
Break up the people trunk,
Constable come aboard, take him away—
Mr. Johnstone, leave me alone,
I feel so break-up, I vant to go home.                  

(Chorus)

The poor cook got the fits,
Throw away all o' my grits,
Captain's pig done eat up all o' my corn.
Lemme go home, I vant to go home,
I feel so break-up, I vant to go home.

(Chorus)

Steamboat go by steam,
Sailboat go by sail,
My girl's hat ain't got no tail.
Lemme go home, I vant to go home,
I feel so break-up, I vant to go home.                  

(Chorus)

Send all the things from ashore,
Let all the breezes blow,
I'm so sorry that I can longer stay,
Good-by to you— Tra-la-la-lu,
This is the vorst trip since I vas born.                  

(Chorus)

Le Gallienne called it "the best known" of Nassau Negro songs, which, he said, "though crude as to words...have a very haunting barbaric melody." His "Pieces of Eight," published in book form in 1918, claims the song was known in 1903.

An arrangement of the song was copyrighted by F. W. Clark in 1921.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Alan Dean Foster
Date: 07 May 10 - 09:30 AM

Yes, the version of the song used in my Spellsinger book was the Beach Boys version...the only one I knew. And now,l thanks to this thread, I know the song's history. My thanks to all who contributed.


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: meself
Date: 07 May 10 - 10:45 AM

I vunder if the Le Gallienne version vas sung by Scandinavians, or Germans?


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: GUEST
Date: 07 May 10 - 11:03 AM

The Bud & Travis version, from the live concert at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, contained an added verse:

"The stewardess, she got stewed,
Ran 'round the poop deck nude
The constable had to come and take her away.
Sheriff John Stone,
Why don't you leaver her alone?
Well, this is the worst trip,
Since she been born."


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Subject: RE: Sloop John B
From: mousethief
Date: 07 May 10 - 11:35 AM

Interesting how the Beach Boys version seems to be closer to the 1916 version than to any of the intermediary ones.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Steven Strauss in Oakland CA
Date: 24 Jun 15 - 04:37 PM

Don't forget Alphonso "Blind Blake" Higgs and his banjo-centric version. This is the oldest recording of the song in my collection, but the 1951 record by the Weavers may indeed predate it.

https://youtu.be/Kk7I_KWkswQ


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil the Conch
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 12:19 AM

"...weathered ribs of the historic craft lie imbedded in the sand at Governor's Harbor" in Nassau..."

FYI:
Governor's Harbor, Eleuthera: 25.194078, -76.251091
Nassau, New Providence: 25.066667, -77.333333

If anybody has any court documents; coast pilots; sailing directions; chartage; whatever to support the later addition of "Wreck" to the title and liner notes please post a ref. here.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil the Conch
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 12:30 AM

"..."John B." sounds too much like "jumby" -- a west african (Wolof/Bambera) term referring to this undead thing we've anglicized to "zombie" -- apparently it won't do to mention these creatures; "speak of the devil," and all that."

Fwiw:
Bahamian (albeit non-native) jumbey trees (L. leucocephala) are considered symbols of the strength and unity of the Afro-Bahamian people. Good spirits as it were. For background look into Edmund Moxey's (R.I.P.) renfairesque "Jumbey Village" inspired by the "Jumbey Festival" on New Providence.

Fwiw2:
In the 1950-60s there was a whole fleet of "Jimbos" (Mama Jimbo; Papa Jimbo; Big Jimbo; ad naseum.) Nada problemo.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil the Conch
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 12:52 AM

"John B" certainly was a Nassau "anthem" but only amongst the Bay Street elite. Both Gallienne's "Pieces-of-Eight" and fellow vagabond-poet Bliss Carman's "A Winter's Holiday" (1898) were required reading in most Bahamian schools right up through the United Bahamian Party days.

Carman gave us the now forgotten poem "On Bay Street" aka: "John Camplejohn."

Gallienne gave us the lyric to Sloop John B in 1916. The 1921 music was by A. Leopold Richard a professional composer based in Chicago (Legters Music Co.)

Both volumes were all but banned after the 1960s Progressive Liberal Party election wins. By 1998's now standard reference "Islanders in the Stream, Vol. II," Craton and Saunders go 550+ pages with but a single semi-complaint about Carman's non-residency. "River of Song," Lomax, Gallienne, Stearns and Charters all get zippo. Sad but true.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Jun 15 - 05:25 PM

Phil, we know little of that of which you speak. If there's a social dynamic about Sloop John B, we'd love to know about it, and as an anonyme like myself, there's no one can call you to account for it. So spit it out, spill the beans, tell us what is the social status of the Sloop, its lyrics, its putative remains, its legacy, in modern Bahamas or wherever else you might be. And tell us why Bay Street is special, because we don't know.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil the Conch
Date: 01 Jul 15 - 03:48 PM

Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947,) The "John B" meme:

He was a romantic poet, author and literary agent born in Liverpool. In the gay, naughty or yellow nineties (depending on your continent) Le Gallienne was hanging with Barrett, Beardsley, Yeats and Wilde and living the good life in London.

In 1903, after the deaths of several friends and associates and the breakup of his second marriage he bought a ticket for America. His poetry, essays and travelogues began appearing in American newspapers and Harper's Weekly (A Journal of Civilization) not long after his arrival. He was a sport fisherman but nobody I know, who ever stood a watch, ever got that "authentic" warm fuzzy reading Le Gallienne.

"...and the Colonel—who has a very winning way with him, and is used to handling negroes—did much to restore harmony by suggesting a song, and starting it himself."

[see lyrics above: 06 May 10 – 06:37 PM]

"A negro, particularly a Bahaman negro, is very much of a child—ready to be diverted by the first sign of any fun of the simplest character, and very susceptible to the humorous aspect of things."

(Coral Islands..., Harper's Dec. 1916, pp.82-83)

"Pieces of Eight" was written at the same time; published the following year and reprinted-translated several times thereafter. But there is no vessel come to grief. It's just a bummer of a cruise. Still no music either for that matter. Not until the third or fifth printing.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil the Conch
Date: 01 Jul 15 - 03:52 PM

A. Leopold Richard (1883-1954,) The "John B" sheet music:

Alonzo Leopold Richard was a vaudeville-theater organist and composer. Born in Ottawa, the son of a professor of languages and emigrated to Chicago by way of Detroit (c.1895.)

Richard provided the music for somewhere over nine hundred songs. All of them published by Legters Music Co in Chicago in a three year span (1919-22.)

As mentioned above, the lyrics were claimed by "F.W. Clark." If anybody has any background-bio on Clark please post it here. Nobody in the Bahamas ever claimed him from what I know.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Apr 16 - 02:23 AM

See the "correct title" question in thread.cfm?threadid=79656&messages=61 and Le Gallienne's claims the song was known since 1903 (above.)

Putting the "John B." reference materials back in the file I couldn't help notice the similarity in the title of the 1935 Lomax field recording "Histe Up the John B. Sail" and the earlier 1915 Bahamas Development Board slogan "Hoist the John B. Sails" from the tourist adverts. Checked the usual sources and up popped this little ditty:

Prouty (Eddy Warren)
Spencer, Mass.
Hoist the John B. sails; two step for piano, by Ed. W. Prouty. 19970
C 46639,Apr.25,1903;2c.Apr.25,1903.

[Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles, Vol. 36 Musical Compositions, Washington: GPO, 2 April 1903, p.452]

Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway & Hotel Co. ("The Flagler System") owned both the Colonial and the Royal Victoria in Nassau. The E.W. Prouty Orchestra and Concert Co., Boston, Mass. provided the lion's share of the music for Flager's ballrooms and steamships and dozens of other venues from the Catskills to Cuba.

The "Great Fire of 1901" ended Prouty's personal eighteen year run at Jacksonville, Florida's old St. James Hotel and he took Flagler up on an offer to open in Nassau for the next few seasons while JAX recovered & rebuilt.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Apr 16 - 02:25 AM

Prouty, Ed. W.; Prouty Music Publishing Co.; Fisher, E.S.
USA, MA, Spencer; Bahamas, New Providence, Nassau
1903
Paper
14 x 10-5/8 in.
        

"Sheet music, "Hoist the John B. Sails", two step for piano; composed by Ed. W. Prouty; published Spencer, Mass., by Prouty Music Publishing Co., 1903; dedicated to the citizens of Nassau, N.P., Bahamas; 2-color (blue on white) lithograph cover illustration by E.S. Fisher of shells and rope motif, with inset photograph of ketch THE JOHN B., and dinghy; 3 pages."

2007.100.6

http://mobius.mysticseaport.org/detail.php?t=objects&type=browse&f=maker&s=Fisher%2C+E.S.&record=1


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 10:42 AM

I remember my aunt gracie coming from Canada with a 78 recording of
sloop john b don't know who was singing it there was a verse which said ""the captain's a wicked man gets drunk any time he can
he don't give a damn about granpappy and me

don't see the word granpappy anywhere in all the info I love the idea of it being carribean and black people singing it way back. My aunt came here to die from cancer wanted to be buried in Scotland this all started in 1947 We used to sing it as children and the words are etched into my brain cant stop singing that verse about the captain being drunk etc so much so that in our karaoke times people in the star bar "old Glasgow pub" call me captain Jim we all get up and pull on imaginary ropes it's a great song with a rich history don't care who sings it Sadly I don't have the original 78 any more Jim Rae p.s. Ironic thing my aunts grandfather "Jimmy Goldie" captained a sailing ship all around the south China sea i'm named after him see my e mail raegoldie.truth@virgin.net My best Captain Jim


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 11:37 AM

First heard the song on a TOP RANK EP by the Reivers(Josh Macrae, Enoch Kent, Rena Swankey....Maybe Norman Buchan?) around 1957.
They had the words "Granpappy and me" Josh also did a great version of "Champion at keepin' em rollin'", "Johnny lad" and "Wark o' the weavers"......I think the EP was titled ...."Work o' the Reivers"


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 02:28 PM

My copy of the Reivers is "....grandfather and me..." (Top Rank International ‎– JKR 8026, trk. B1, 1959.) I don't think Top Rank ever put out 78s.

Lonnie Donegan (I Wanna Go Home) did sing it as "grandpappy" for sure but again, dunno about a Canadian 78.

I don't think he was the only one to sing it that way.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: akenaton
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 04:02 PM

Think your right Phil, my record was a 45.....was norman actually on it or was it just a sleeve picture?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 07:22 PM

Ake:

My Reivers EP looks just like this and sounds like:

YT: The Reivers - The Wreck Of The John B

The B-side was also a single (45-JAR-244, 1959)

All the Top Rank stuff was the trio you mention. I'm not sure Norman Buchan ever recorded for a commercial label.

Bobby Campbell maybe?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 07:48 PM

Sorry, dropped a sentence or two there:

Norman Buchan is mentioned in the EP liner notes. No image or performance.

The Reivers were a quartet at times but I don't remember the fourth or know if they recorded anything.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 12 Jul 17 - 08:22 PM

there's info about The Reivers on Tobar an Dulchuis (which I may not have spelled correctly! Try Kist o' Riches - - -- )

Seems Norman formed the group for a tv programme - perhaps from his school Ballads Club? or from a Glasgo folk club? -- guess I should have read it more carefully - - anyway the original group was:
Josh MacRae   Enoch Kent    Rena Swankie Mona Flannigan

line-up may have changed later on?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: akenaton
Date: 13 Jul 17 - 02:28 AM

Thanks both, I think Bobby may have joined up when Josh and Enoch went on to form the Exiles with Gordon Mc Culloch ?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 13 Jul 17 - 06:17 PM

Ake, did you hear the sad news of Gordon's death?
He had been ill and frail for some time, but it was still a shock to us all to hear he had passed.
I saw him only a few weeks earlier at Ronnie Clark's celebration / commemoration (another unexpected ending)
There was a small family funeral for Gordon, and there will be a concert/celebration of his life a bit later in the year.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: akenaton
Date: 13 Jul 17 - 06:35 PM

Sorry to hear that A. I did see him on TV some time ago and thought that he did not look well.....I loved his rendition of "Waes me for Prince Cherlie" on the Exiles "Freedom come all ye" LP

I always wondered if he was related to the lovely Gordeanna.

Thanks for letting me know....see you aroon the toon suppose Take care A.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 14 Jul 17 - 09:17 AM

To muddy the waters even more and go back to my posting in 2001, I have multiple recordings of this by Donegan. Some have the "Sandburg/Hays" attribution, some just have "Trad", some "Trad/Donegan", some "Trad arr. Donegan" and, in the case of the Belfast Skiffle Sessions, "Trad arr. Donegan/Morrison." so you take your choice!
RtS


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gallus Moll
Date: 14 Jul 17 - 03:27 PM

Hi again Ake --- I used to wonder that too, but as far as I know it is a coincidence. Gordon had much knowledge of a wide range of issues, urban folk tales etc, not just song writing and singing. He was also involved in all the anti nuclear stuff. Were you at the concert in Glasgow a few years ago, might have been anniversary of Ding Dong Dollar (or anither yin!)
We are losing far too many of these folks, canny believe the number of folkies' funerals I've been at in the last two or three years. Always a brilliant ceilidh afterwards - - but it would be so much better to have the main person present and singing with us! So I propose that we should all start having a series of 'wakes' in advance of our deaths, while we are still able to sing / play and remember the fun.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: akenaton
Date: 14 Jul 17 - 03:54 PM

Ach! away wi' ye, yer only a wean......no' a wrinkle in sight....well no' thit a've seen enyweys :0)

See ye in the Coopie hen!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 01:57 PM

ref Emmie's questions in the Brown Skin Girl thread here:
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=137067&messages=63&page=1&desc=yes

"HOIST THE JOHN B. SAILS"

"See how the mainsail sets,
Send for the Captain ashore
I want to go home, I want to go home,
I feel so break-up, I want to go home!"
                        BAHAMIAN FOLK SONG

Ah, but the real charm of these quaintly appealing Bahamian songs, is not one of words at all, but of tropic moonlight, and soft throbbing guitars, and silver bubbles that sweep your bows with a sound like fairy bells. And the memory of these ecstatic nights on tropic seas stay with one always - only lovelier and more insistent each day than the last. It is like a Kipling calling "Come you back to Mandalay!"

NASSAU-BAHAMAS

is Kipling, Stevenson, Herman Melville and Charles Warren Stoddard too. It is tropics de luxe and tropics au naturel, - with a winter climate unequaled even by Madeira or the Cote d'Azur.

But two-and-a-half days from New York, or fifteen hours from Miami, Florida, Nassau, with its surf bathing, sailing, fishing, tennis, golf, riding, motoring and polo in one of the acknowledged sporting centers of the world.

Illustrated booklets and complete travel information will be mailed upon request.

BAHAMAS GOVERNMENT AGENT
450 Fourth Avenue, New York City


[Display Advertisement, The Sun (New York,) 26 Dec., 1915, sec.2, p.13 (Sporting & Automobiles)]



Conchy Notes: The Bahamian government's Tourism Development Board also ran display adverts in the N.Y. Tribune at about the same time.

The man behind the scenes at the Development Board was a very young and just starting out, (Sir) Stafford Lofthouse Sands (1913-1972,) a name familiar to most Bahamians.

Much less familiar, his cousin Charles Lofthouse, The Bahamian composer of the first half of the 20th century.

See my previous posts (above) for your questions re: Bostonian Prouty & the Southern Floridian "Flagler System."


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 02:16 PM

And before the pedants chime in, no, Sands didn't head up the board in '13 at age two. His era came later. Charles on the other hand, had just returned from his musical finishing education in Paris (Ballymena anyone?) and was very much a player at the time.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 02:00 AM

With all the renewed discussion I decided to review what Alan Lomax actually had to say about the origins of John B, as opposed to its 1935 recording location.

A Bahamian ballad made world-famous by the Weavers in the early 1950's. Their Decca recording was based on a version from a collection by Carl Sandburg, The American Songbag, published in 1927. "The John B. was an old sponger boat whose crew were in the habit of getting notoriously merry, whenever they made port," say the notes to an album of Blind Blake, a popular Nassau entertainer who recorded a string band version with the Royal Victoria Calypsos in 1952 (Art ALP-4). The unaccompanied version from Cat Island presented here is perhaps the earliest recording of this song.

[Bahamas 1935: Chanteys and Anthems from Andros and Cat Island, Rounder, CD, 11661-1822-2, trk. 7 (AAFS 418 B2), released 1999]

The Rounder liner notes are credited to Anna Lomax Chairetakis.

Sandburg's Songbag provided zero originality to the narrative. It's verbatim McCutcheon. The arrangement therein is credited to A.G. Wathall of WGN-AM Radio, Chicago (owned by McCutcheon's employer the Trib.)

Art ALP-4 is the product of American Recording Transcriptions, Miami-Nassau (former CBS-AM Radio engineer Hal Doane's one-man-show) and the Royal Victoria Hotel and Gardens (Songs of the Islands Ltd., Nassau.) Doane outrecorded Lomax about 100:1 in the Bahamas, albeit three decades later.

So it would appear, for now, that even the one historically significant off island recording of John B relies entirely on the Bay Street Boy tourist narrative for its backstory and Alan Lomax didn't actually say it.

Still checkin'.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 05:47 AM

I read the American song book and what it says is that they had learn to sing it on their treasure island in the west indies. This means the song already had a melody to it and all A.G Wathall would do was write a piece to fit the melody that already existed.

She did say time and usage has given the song almost the dignity of a national anthem around Nassau. This is a reference to there not being any radio or any means of mass communication, when she says Nassau, she is talking about New Providence or the entire island not Bay Street.

Art label didn't produce any songs they sought out artist in clubs who already had songs. http://www.bsnpubs.com/florida/art/art.html

"The Art label specialized in recording the lounge and club acts that were appearing in South Florida hotels and clubs, clubs across the water in the Bahamas, and by 1955, artists in Panama. Much of the time, these recordings were "live" recordings of their lounge acts, manufactured to be sold by the artists themselves at their club appearances. Because of this, a much, much greater percentage of records on the label are autographed by the artists. In fact, most albums feature a small box on the back of the album with the notation "For Autographs"."


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 05:55 AM

Also in the 1950's and 60's Calypso music is a big market and Bahamians produced some original songs and some came from Trinidad and Jamaica. Lazy man by George Symonette is definitely Bahamian because it is still only found here as it never caught on.

Lazy man however is not by George, Lazy man was a Bahamian ring dance song that Bahamian women would sing. My mama told me 3 years ago, I must not marry no lazy man, no lazy man no lazy man, no lazy man. Another Bahamian folk song, just didn't go international like peas n rice, and John B.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 06:10 AM

For example tony mckays Blue Hill water dry lyrics in Brown Girl in the ring was stolen by Boney. M and I do recall reading that he had attempted or did sue the group but I am not sure what came out of that.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 06:41 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAGjxqjoCko this is long but this will help you to get a good sense of songs like peas and rice.

Miss lucy hang herself in da mango tree at about 16:20, and the Blue Hill water dry part was also native to the Bahamas and was originally from Tony Mckay but from the native songs, also I went up on the hill.

Now I am much to young to tell you when these songs first appeared but I grew up playing them in schools, my mom remember them from her school days and I am pretty sure my granny remembers them also.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 02:35 PM

RE: this thread's song:

"This means the song already had a melody to it and all A.G Wathall would do was write a piece to fit the melody that already existed."

A melody familiar in the Bahamas since 1903 according to Le Gallienne, in a travelogue piece paid for by the Bay Street Boys.

Which dovetails with the Prouty copyright on sheet music dedicated to the People of Nassau as a senior executive of the mainland's Flager System (in Nassau, The Colonial and The Royal Vic.)

No earlier references have been found. Prouty himself is a very recent addition to the discussion.

I say again, there isn't anything currently in the historical record, Lomax liner notes inclusive, that originates from anywhere but the Bay Street Boys tourist industry narrative.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 23 Jan 18 - 07:02 PM

"A melody familiar in the Bahamas since 1903 according to Le Gallienne, in a travelogue piece paid for by the Bay Street Boys"

Do you have links to the actual sources so I can look over them myself?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 02:23 PM

Everytime I ask you to show me references for the claims you make, you change the subject or don't respond.

You made a claim in 2015 That the sloop John B was only widely known among the Bay Street elite. Yet there is no record at all that suggest this to be the case.

As a discographer to make the claims you make, without showing the evidence for them, proves to me you are making up false narratives.

You also stated that Charles Lofthouse was in Paris around the time, but the Charles Lofthouse who was in Paris was born in England and is not the same Charles Lofthouse who was born in Nassau.

So I will ask you again show the sources that created these claims.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 11:52 PM

It looks like everything is already posted except the biographies, see above and here:
https://mudcat.org/detail.cfm?messages__Message_ID=3779899
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=159532

Le Gallienne:
Whittington-Egan, Richard, The Quest of the Golden Boy: the life and letters of Richard Le Gallienne, (Barre, MA.: Barre Pub., 1962)(not online)


Edward Warner Prouty:
Tower, Henry M., Historical Sketches Relating to Spencer, Mass., Vol. II, (Spencer, MA: W.J. Heffernan-Spencer Leader Print, 1902, pp.98-101)
(online)

Published in his third season in Nassau (at The Vic) and one year before the John B. copyright; no mention of the song.

Lofthouse has nothing to do with John B. Different thread(s). Lastly, I'm sometimes away from Mudcat for a minute. It's not about you.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 24 Jan 18 - 11:54 PM

A Prouty closing time:

He was the soundtrack to my grandparents wedding anniversaries, or so I was told, and ended every show with S.F. Smith's My Country 'Tis of Thee (America) which is also God Save the [gender du jour] in the Bahamas. Sneaky 'dem Yanks.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 12:25 AM

Nothing substantial to add, but just to note (for whatever small it may be worth to someone reading this thread in the future) that when I was researching at the Library of Congress last year I kept on running into recordings of "John B."

e.g. (according to my sketchy notes -- I didn't take notes because the song wasn't the subject of my interest...):

- A version with string orchestra recorded "in the Caribbean" by Laura Boulton, 1938

- a 1935 version recorded by Lomax and/or Hurston and/or Barnicle, in Florida, with drums and with women joining the chorus

- June 1935, Bahamians on Lake Okeechobee in Florida, singing what I'll loosely call the "standard version"

- Cat Island, July 1935, which I suppose was the familiar Lomax recorded take


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 01:42 AM

You haven't answered the question.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Mysha
Date: 25 Jan 18 - 12:17 PM

Phil d'Conch: I don't recall a song "God save the female". Is this about Oben am jungen Rhein? (-:

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Jan 18 - 02:27 PM

"(...to someone reading this thread in the future.)"

Are we there yet?

Those WPA project recordings have two names of interest to conchies.

Abraham "Atterly" - the more common spelling is Adderley, as in Nat and Julian. I'm pretty sure America's famous jazz brothers' ancestors hail from Nassau.

Theodore "Tea Roll" Rolle - The third husband Zora Neale Thurston's Their Eye's Were Watching God was "Tea Cake" and the climactic hurricane scene was set in Chosen, Florida, where Stetson recorded Rolle. (WPA was rebuilding the Herbert Hoover Dike.)

Somebody Drowned and/or God Rode a Mighty Storm return bagels in a Mudcat search.(!?!)

Still checkin'


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 27 Jan 18 - 12:12 AM

Thanks, Phil.

I have two (-ish) related questions for you, if you know these recordings well.

In my crappy notes, I have one version marked as sung by Abraham Atterly in Chosen, FL.

I have another one -- the one I mentioned above included drums and women singers -- marked as having been recorded in "Florida." I don't have the specific names of singers. I may have just been negligent in noting, or the information was not given. The cataloging of these items is fabulously mixed up, and I can't locate a coherent listing on-line.

Anyway, that one -- the "drums and women" one -- was annotated as a "launching song." It was recorded along with other confirmed work-songs. Granted, the others have chanty forms, which John B does not.

I wonder if there is anything notable, in any case, about "John B" being sung in that context. (And keeping in mind it's possible that the person labeling these things may have erred.)

Secondly, and unrelated to John B., I'm wondering if by chance you have any of these recordings in your possession, as I'm particular interested in obtaining Atterly and company's rendition of "Fire Down Below."


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 04:45 AM

Gibb:

Here is the one Atterly source I'm aware of:
WPA in Calhoun County (1935)

John B as a "serious" work song I've not seen before but yeah, the WPA notes and the listening can be... challenging.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 04:51 PM

Thanks, Phil. That digitization of the WPA tape is just what I was looking for! It was a lot harder to struggle with the reel-to-reel tape at the LoC!

That said, the LoC notes did label several of those items as launching songs.

And the first rendition of John B strikes me as potentially notable in how different it is from how one might imagine a 1900s-composed pop song to be performed.

Not sure what you mean by "serious" work song.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 07:27 PM

'Serious' - Something, anything, the opposite of Le Gallienne's set & setting. Less play, more work.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 07:57 PM

I wrote,

"And the first rendition of John B strikes me as potentially notable in how different it is from how one might imagine a 1900s-composed pop song to be performed."

Translation: It's very different from Le Gallienne's setting.

Do you disagree?


(Play songs and work songs are overlapping categories in Afro-American culture.)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 28 Jan 18 - 09:50 PM

I finally laid my eyes on the Prouty 1903. He published a song by the name Hoist the John B sails in Spencer Mass. However I don't see the dedicated to the people of Nassau Bahamas.

My response to this is Peas n' Rice was copyrighted in 1931 but the New York Herald had the lyrics posted in a 1921 publication. Also Heilner stated that everyone who visited Nassau has heard the song and suggested it originated during the first World War, this confirms he already knew the song before 1922 and possibly suggest he knew it as early as at least 1918.

My point is a song appearing in the records for the first time doesn't equate the songs origins.

So we can say the documentation shows Prouty as the first to publish said song but it hasn't confirmed that the song originated with him.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 11:21 AM

Emmie

Is the Prouty the same tune as normally heard for the song, and if there are lyrics how do they compare?

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 01:40 PM

Gibb: Audacity will clean that mp3 right up.

377B2's lyrics always seemed grafted onto a beat I've heard somewhere but never placed. I don't hear a work song but then, I get strains of A-Tisket, A-Tasket in Bellamena (377B1.) What would I know from 'serious' or Africana?

"1900s-composed pop song"(?) Chosen, FL, of any era, is certainly a different setting from Bay Street, Nassau and it's sort of given a Euro-American, professional ballroom orchestra would execute differently than Afro-Bahamian migrant workers and drummer, any time or place. It's a song.

All the 1930s WPA John B. recordings lack the commercial credits in their notes. Different branch, but it's the same U.S. Federal government that issued the copyrights in 1902 (Prouty) and again in 1921 (Clark-Richard.)

fwiw: I take the lot of it with a U$600 grain of salt.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 01:42 PM

Me: "As mentioned above, the lyrics were claimed by "F.W. Clark." If anybody has any background-bio on Clark please post it here. Nobody in the Bahamas ever claimed him from what I know."

Update: First name "Ferdinand" and from Chicago in 1921.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 04:27 PM

Mick I have never seen the sheet music with my own eyes, I have only seen the publishing of Hoist the John B sails in a book dating it to 1903.

To me the core lyrics are the most important part to identify a song because the tune can always change a little or a lot in songs but the core lyrics make up the base of the song.

I can only assume that the version by Prouty is lyrically the same song but again I haven't seen it.

For example if I used the peas and rice tune on a different lyric song, at best it would be a song using the peas and rice tune. If I including the peas an rice lyrics on a different tune it would be a new version of the classic peas an rice.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 05:31 PM

He write the lyrics were claimed by Clarke as if we don't already know the lyrics were first transcribe in 1916.

So which lyrics did he create for him to be relevant? Again just because people claim something doesn't make it true. People have been thieves and plagiarism have been active for centuries.

It is interesting that Prouty would dedicate said song to the citizens of Nassau Bahamas as is written somewhere I am sure but I haven't seen the actual document that says it. Where as this Clarke will claim he is the originator of said lyrics?

And we should take that seriously?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 05:45 PM

Now I am not going to claim this narrative as a fact, however it is a possible scenario. We know very well the history of Chicago's gang culture and we know the involvement of Al Capone in the rum running in the 1920's.

If these Chicago men had any relation to the rum running era which is very possible, it is very likely they heard the song in Nassau in the 1920's went back and copyrighted it.

I can't prove this but this is a possible scenario if they weren't aware of the Prouty version.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 06:52 PM

Prouty also never claimed to be the writer of the lyrics he only published the music, two step for piano; composed by Ed. W. Prouty.

Which mean he arranged music for an already existing song.

And we also know the lyrics predates Clarke. So Phil is really desperately trying to hold on to this American origin narrative, for which reason I can not explain.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Jan 18 - 10:36 PM

What would I know from 'serious' or Africana?

I dunno, dude. Sometimes you lose me in your brevity and/or tongue-in-cheek or sarcastic language!

My humble point is: "Listen and consider the possibilities."

People in the Caribbean (which the Bahamas isn't... but I'm taking liberty in grouping it there!) have sung the same songs in both working and playing contexts. The chanties of Grenada discussed in another thread in which we both participated, were "used" as launching songs... and then sung also at wakes in a non-working context. People could tell you that they were launching songs all the while performing them on a social occasion in a somewhat different style.

While I know that any song, for example, composed by a Euro-American composer for stage entertainment *might* be adapted to a quite different Afro-Bahamaian "folk" style -- whether for play or work -- I don't think we know that this was the case here. (Do we?) I am suggesting that if "John B" was sung within a set of items of Afro-Bahamian folk material, several items of which are confirmed work-songs, and if it was labeled as a launching song (one of the types of work-songs relevant to Bahamian boating culture), then maybe it's worth holding out the possibility that it was one of the work/play songs that just as easily can be borrowed by a Euro-American composer!


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 30 Jan 18 - 02:46 AM

Here you can see very clearly that blacks of The Bahamas was not engaged in one style of music. The land of the pink pearl was published in 1888 and show Blacks playing and singing the blue bells of scotland and when the stormy winds do blow. And is noted for playing and singing them quite well.

These songs already being a part of the Black Bahamian musical options could of develop some similar songs in the same character.

I just wanted to post this because there seems to be an belief here that all blacks had not adopted European influences and all of it came by way of America despite the fact that Europeans would have brought with them their musical traditions from Europe when they settled in the Bahamas. Powles actually makes a few references to this, he also mentions that Irish jigs were considered a national dance among many Black Bahamians.

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015009054720;view=1up;seq=246


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 30 Jan 18 - 02:53 PM

Gibb:

I count nothing in or out. The document record is what it is. Speculation is not documentation.

WPA A&R would hardly be an unadulterated sampling of anything. It's pre-selected, sorted and packaged by individuals who were openly hostile to the commercial process but nonetheless part of it and just as lax with the credits as any major record label.

imo the U.S. Government does ballyhoo quite well. Caveat emptor, always.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 30 Jan 18 - 09:14 PM

Phil, I think that both rigor and creativity are necessary components of doing history.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Jan 18 - 09:50 AM

> rigor and creativity

The order is too often reversed.

Especially in folk song studies.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 31 Jan 18 - 03:32 PM

I think Phil is a racist. I bet he is also of the belief that the rhyming spirituals of the Bahamas also has its origins among whites. When clearly all the early folklorist that commented on it believed it was of African Influences and didn't come from European customs.

For one Charles Edwards opinion was that it was unlike anything he has ever seen, entirely unique to Bahamian Blacks.
Henry Edward Krehbiel wrote:
"Relics of ancient ceremonies connected with death and burial have survived amongst the American negroes and have been influential in producing some strangely beautiful and impressive songs. One of these, 'Dig My Grave', from the Bahamas, where the songs, though they have much community of both poetical and musical phrase with them, yet show a higher development than do the slave songs of the States, is peculiarly impressive."


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 09:50 PM

Hoist up the John B Sail

Hoist up the John B Sail,
See how the main sail set.
Send for the Captain ashore,
And let us go home.

Oh let us go home,
To see my darlin'.
Let us go home....

I feel so break-up
I want to make-up [set sail]
And go home....

Captain and Mate got drunk,
Open the people's trunk,
Stole all the people's junk.

The Captain raise Cain uptown.
Up come Policeman Brown.
Who took the Captain down.

The judge he was sorta' kind,
Scold him for drinkin' wine.
"Let you off light this time."

The Captain he told the Mate,
At nine o'clock to lock the gate;
Run, run before it's too late!

Chorus:
Let us go home, oh let us go home,
To see my darlin', let us go home...

Kennedy, Stetson, Grits & Grunts: Folkloric Key West, (Sarasota: Pineapple Press, 2008, pp. 155, 157)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 09:54 PM

Where Bahamian Theodore "Tea Roll" Rolle is singing lyrics at all, it's mostly scat, he's singing the Grits & Grunts version above, sort of. Kennedy also did the recording here.

Library of Congress Catalog: Hoist up the John B. Sail

Library of Congress Audio: Hoist up the John B. Sail


3391 B
Hoist up the John B. Sails
Sung by Theodore Rolle with guitar and trombone.
Key West, Fla., Stetson Kennedy and Robert Cook, Jan, 1940.


Florida Memory Audio: Hoist up the John B. Sail
(starts at 39:00)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Feb 18 - 10:10 PM

I like my creativity clearly labelled:

RECORD 14 3391
A-1 WASTE
B-1 "Hoist Up The John B Sail." (Complete) Sung by Theodore Rolle, guitar, trombone accompaniment, Key West, Florida, January 23, 1940.

[Library of Congress Title List and Related Data for Folk Songs Recorded by the Second Florida WPA Recording Expedition, January 15-31, 1940, pp.8-9.]

Audio at Florida Memory: WASTE
(Starts at 34:30)


A little conchy night music. Enjoy.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: mayomick
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 04:39 PM

Emmie. Is it known if there was a Sherriff or a Constable John Stone or Johnston in Nassau around the time the lyrics would have been written?


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Feb 18 - 06:03 PM

Or Johnstone or even Johnson.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Max
Date: 05 Feb 18 - 08:04 PM

Loosely, I always considered Joseph Spence was as close you could get to the origin. Folk song from the Bahamas by a folk singer, seemingly as old as the ocean itself, from the Bahamas... Hellova version anyway: https://youtu.be/PO0XjbAAso0


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Dave Rado
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 07:01 PM

Having read this thread with great interest, a few things puzzle me:

1) If as has been stated in several posts, the Sloop John B was a real boat and its crew were famous for getting merry when they landed ashore, then surely it should be possible to say roughly when the song originated (as opposed to when it was first published, which was in 1916). Does anyone have any idea when the actual boat would have been sailing? If "time and usage" had "given this song almost the dignity of a national anthem" by 1927, then one would have thought it must have written a lot more than 11 years earlier than that.

2) I understood that traditional Bahamian sloops looked pretty much like large rowing boats with a single sail in them, which could take a crew of 5 fishermen - so they contained no rooms or covered areas and certainly no galley. Given that, how could they have had a cook on board? Or is that poetic licence?

3) Why is the song called (in several versions) "The Wreck of the Sloop John B" when nothing in any of the lyrics I've seen refer to the boat being wrecked, they only refer to the behaviour of the crew?

4) In the Bahamian versions I've heard, and in most other pre-Beach Boys recordings, it says in the chorus: "I feel so break up" (rather than "broke up" or "broken up"). Is it part of Bahamian patois to use the present tense like that, when it's more usual elsewhere to use a past participle (broken up) or the past tense (broke up)?

5) Someone posted above that:
...About John B.: I've heard from one knowledgable source that the bad things that happen on that sloop are all the result of naming the boat "John B." In Afro-Carribean culture, nobody with a surname beginning with "B" (supposedly) will name a son "John," because the result ("John B." sounds too much like "jumby" -- a west african (Wolof/Bambera) term referring to this undead thing we've anglicized to "zombie" -- apparently it won't do to mention these creatures; "speak of the devil," and all that.

If Bahamians considered it to be such bad luck to name a boat John B, and if the John B was a real boat as has been claimed in several posts in this thread, then why would any Bahamians have named their boat John B in the first place?

6) A possible answer to questions 1) and 5) is contained in an article by Clarence H. Bethel , which states:
1647: An enterprising group seeking freedom of religion and self government obtained a charter from Charles I to establish a colony in the Bahamas. Known as "The Company of Eleutherian Adventurers" they were the first permanent European settlers in the Bahamas. They named the 100 mile long island they settled on Eleuthera, The adventurers crossed the Atlantic in a sailing skip called the "William" out of a British port. Some of the pilgrims were from Ireland, among them one, John Bethel, a Welshman, established himself at what is now Governor's Harbour. He captained a sailing vessel in early trading between the Islands of the West Indies and the American Colonies. His crew of Bahaman Negroes sang a folk ballad that was revised and recorded in the 1960's and '70s by several prominent artists, including Percy Faith, The Beach Boys and others. It became a hit record under such names as, "The Wreck of the Sloop John B." and "The John B's Sails".

Does anyone know whether this story has any credence? If so, it would appear that the ship was named after (and presumably by) its Welsh owner, which might explain how it could have been given a name that Afro-Bahamians considered to be unlucky; and it would also mean that both the boat and the song itself date all the way back to the 17th century. Does anyone know if this story has any truth to it?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Dave Rado
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 07:32 PM

PS - Judging from the Bahamian Letting Agent's ad here, the story that I posted about the Sloop John B being named after its Welsh captain, John Bethel, does appear to be commonly accepted as fact in the Bahamas - although confusingly, the ad is about a 19th century house which it says was built by John Bethel - which seems to scupper the idea that Bethel went to the Bahamas in 1647 or that the song could date from that long ago.

Can anyone throw any more light on this?

Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 06 Jun 18 - 09:27 PM

Afaik the “wreck” bit was created as part of a comedy skit/trilogy at the 26 March 1926 dedication of the Watchtower on Treasure Island, Nassau. (25.098333,-77.271111) Event of the season.

It's listed as the “Customhouse Watchtower” in the list of works by Howard Van Doren Shaw. He played the part of the pirate in the skit. The tower is still there.

Dolphin Encounters

I've posted the McCutcheon-Sandburg songbook notes and the McCutcheon family song/toast lyrics here: Lyr Add: Canopus. There's a bit more tongue-in-cheek 'history' in the McCutcheon 1927 songbook.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: Dave Rado
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 04:01 PM

I emailed Matthew Simon, the current owner of the house that the 19th century John Bethel built, and he wrote back and quoted from a post on the "Straight Dope Message Board, as follows (I've corrected some typos that were in the original post):
John Bethel was a sea Captain from Govenours Harbor, Eleuthera, The Bahamas. The "Sloop John B" was an actual boat (sloop) that Captain John Bethel built in the front yard of his house. He then rolled it down hill on logs and launched it into the harbour. Captain Bethel used the Sloop John B for many years in commerce, both in The Bahamas and along the eastern seaboard of the United States, from Key West all the way up to Newfoundland. At some point the boat hit a reef and sunk. Someone wrote a poem, another put that poem to music. That song became a sailors sea song and was adapted widely and sang by many sailors. for many many years, depicting the drama on a typical sea voyage ... In June of 2014, I stayed in the Sea Captains House, which is over 300 years old. This story is common knowledge on Eleuthera.

Go to VRBO and search for The Sea Captains House, Eleuthera. Angelicka Bacchus, a realtor and restaurant owner on Eleuthera can tell you more details.

Matthew then added:
Except that the sloop sank in Governors Harbour (where there are no reefs) and the wreck was a landmark in the harbor for many years. John Bethel lived in the late 19th century. He was perhaps descended from the 17th century John Bethel, but not the same guy : )

So it seems to be pretty certain to me that the Sloop John B (both the boat and the song named after it) was named after its captain, John Bethel, who lived in the mid-to-late 19th century; and that the song dates from around that time.

As the boat was sunk in Governors Harbour, which is on a different island from Nassau, the note in the DT version of the song is probably wrong when it says: "This is a theme song of the Nassau waterfront, telling the story of a little sloop and the wild party which went on the night she was sunk."

I'm beginning to think that the reference to "the wreck" of the Sloop John B in the song's title must just be a reference to the fact that everyone in the Bahamas at the time the song was written knew about the wreck of that boat, as it was a landmark back then - but the song is not actually about the boat being wrecked, (or even about what happened the night before it sank) - but rather, it's just about the behaviour of it's crew, who according to Blind Blake "were in the habit of getting notoriously merry, whenever they made port".

Dave


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 05:31 PM

Dave: “So it seems to be pretty certain to me that the Sloop John B (both the boat and the song named after it) was named after its captain, John Bethel, who lived in the mid-to-late 19th century; and that the song dates from around that time.

"The real estate agent told me..."? The 'source' that convinced the current homeowner, and you, was social media. Even then, not as well sourced as the thread you are posting in now.

fwiw: The salesperson's patter is lifted straight from the McCutcheon fable. The Bahamian process is little different from the hundred-and-eleventeen “Washington Slept Here” roadsides all over New England.

A copy, or even a retrievable reference to, a poem or a song that actually predates Prouty/Le Gallienne oth would be interesting to say the least.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 08 Jun 18 - 06:10 PM

Reposting the known early sources here, with Prouty inserted, just for reference:

Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Apr 16 - 02:23 AM

Prouty (Eddy Warren)
Spencer, Mass.
Hoist the John B. sails; two step for piano, by Ed. W. Prouty. 19970
C 46639,Apr.25,1903;2c.Apr.25,1903.

[Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles, Vol. 36 Musical Compositions, Washington: GPO, 2 April 1903, p.452]



Subject: RE: Songs that surprisingly _are_ trad
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Mar 16 - 08:31 PM
Re: "Sloop John B" and three references (more like 7-8 but anyways…)

Lyrics by romantic novelist-travel writer Richard Le Gallienne (on paid assignment to the Bahamian government) in one of a series of articles for Harper's Magazine. Song title is given as: "The John B. Sails" (Coral Islands and Mangrove Trees, Harper's Dec. 1916)

Le Gallienne recycled and expanded the lyrical meme in his adventure novel "Pieces of Eight: Being the Authentic Narrative of a Treasure Discovered in the Bahama Islands, In the Year 1903 – Now First Given to the Public" (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1918)

The "original" lyrics (credited to F.W. Clark?) were set to music and published by Chicago theater organist-composer A. Leopold Richard. (The John B. Sails, Chicago: Legters Music Co, 1921)

Privately released in songbook form (sans attributions) by Chicago Tribune political cartoonist-author John T. McCutcheon and poet-author Evelyn Shaw McCutcheon. The notes differ from Sandburg's only in the last half of the last sentence "...designed by Mr. Howard Shaw..." &c. This is the first appearance of the "Wreck" meme though the song title remains simply "The John B. Sails" (The Island Song Book, Privately Printed at The Chicago Tribune Tower, Jan. 15, 1927)

Released in songbook form by Sandburg later the same year, with the same song title. Arranged by A.G. Wathall, master-arranger and composer for the Chicago Tribune's WGN radio station. (American Songbag, Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1927)

First audio recording "Histe Up the John B. Sail" was the Cleveland Simmons Group by Alan Lomax in Old Bight, Cat Island, Bahamas in 1935. No mention of Le Gallienne, Richard, or the McCutcheons when finally released over a half-century later. (Rounder CD 11661-1822-2, 1999)

First commercial release by The Weavers as "(The Wreck of the) John B". Credited to Carl Sandburg – Lee Hayes. (b/w: The Roving Kind, Decca 27332, 1950)


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Subject: RE: Origin: Sloop John B
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 11 Jun 18 - 11:33 AM

Heads up, revised & updated to The Weavers first audio release:

Hoist the John B. sails
w&m: Prouty (Eddy Warren,) Spencer, Mass.;
two step for piano, by Ed. W. Prouty. 19970, C 46639, Apr.25, 1903; 2c. Apr.25,1903.
[Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles, Vol. 36 Musical Compositions, (Washington: GPO, 2 April 1903, p.452)]


*Hoist the John B. Sails!
[Advertisement, Bahamas Goverment Agent, (New York: New York Tribune, 5 Dec., p.adv., 1915)]
[Advertisement, Bahamas Goverment Agent, (New York: The Sun, 26 Dec., 1915, p.13)]


The John B. Sails
[Gallienne, R.L., Coral Islands and Mangrove Trees, Harper's Monthly Magazine, vol.CXXXIV, December, 1916, To May, 1917 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1917, pp. 82-83)]
(Reprinted.)


The John B. Sails
[Gallienne, R.L., Pieces of Eight: Being the Authentic Narrative of a Treasure Discovered in the Bahama Islands, In the Year 1903 – Now First Given to the Public" (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1918, pp.30-31)]
(Multiple reprintings.)


The John B. Sails
w: F.W. Clark, m: A. Leopold Richard
[The John B. Sails, sheet music, (Chicago: Legters Music Co, 1921)]


*H'is up the John B. sail
Twelve Bahamian memories; sheet music,
w&m: A.F.F. of U.S.©1c. May 8, 1924; E 590089; Anthony Frank Fiorillo, New Haven Conn. 12186
[Catalogue of Copyright Entries, pt.III, n.s., V.19, (Washington: GPO, 1924, p.12182)]

Renewed:
w&m: ©8May24, E590089. R79U9, 29May51, Anthonv Frank Fiorillo (A)
[Catalog of Copyright Entries, Series 3, v.5, pt.5c, nos.1-2, Renewal Registrations – Music, (Jan.-Dec. 1951)(Washington: GPO, 1951, p.78)]


*H'is up the John B. sail
Native Bahamian memories;
w&m: Esau Wood [pseud, of A. F. F.]; pf. and ukulele acc. First series:© Oct. 3, 1924; 2 c. Oct. 6; E 600328; Anthony Frank Fiorillo, New Haven, Conn. 20401
[Catalogue of Copyright Entries, pt.III, n.s., V.19, (Washington: GPO, 1924, p.1001)]

Renewed:
w&m Esau Wood (pseud. Of Anthony Frank Fiorillo)©3oct24, E600328. R84855, 22oct51, Esau Wood (A)
[Catalog of Copyright, Renewals, (Washington: GPO, 1951, p.136)]
[At Yale - Native Bahamian memories]


Trilogy: The John B. Sails; Canopus & The Watch Tower
[McCutcheon, John T. & Evelyn S, The Island Song Book, (Chicago: The Chicago Tribune Tower, Private printing, Jan. 15, 1927, pp. i, ii, 8, 22, 23)]


*Hice up the John B. sail
Grants' Town Melodies: Four original melodies of Bahamian airs.
Arr: Austin Ira Destoup, Nassau
[musical score, (Nassau: A. Destoup, 1927)]


The John B. sails
Arr: A.G. Wathall, WGN-Chicago
[Sandburg, C., American Songbag, (Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1927, p.22)]


H'ist up the John B's sails
418B2, Sound recording, sung by Cleveland Simmons and group of women. Old Bite, Cat Island, Bahamas, Alan Lomax, Mary Elizabeth Barnicle, July 1935.
[American Folklife Center, Library of Congress, AFC 1935/001; AFS 00418 B02, 1935]
[Commericial release: Rounder, CD, 11661-1822-2, 1999, trk.7)


*'Oist hup de John B. sail
w & melody. © 1 c. Jan. 30, 1939; E unp. 187035;
Osgood Stevens Lovekin & Marion Roads Lovekin, North Tarrytown, N. Y. 4893
[Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 3, Musical Compositions, New Series, v.34, For the year 1939, nos.1-12, (Washington: GPO, 1940, p.4873)]


Note: There are several versions in the unreleased 1940 WPA Florida Recordings (American Folklife Center, Library of Congress.)


(The Wreck of the) John B
w/m: Carl Sandburg, Lee Hayes
[The Weavers, Decca, 27332, 1950, b/w: The Roving Kind]


*Added


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