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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
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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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