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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


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
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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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