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Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?

DigiTrad:
SEA LION WOMAN


Related threads:
Seela Woman she drink coffee (12)
Lyr Req/Add: See-Lye/Sea-Lion/She Lye Woman (14)
sea lion woman (8)


GUEST,dmarynik 28 Apr 01 - 10:30 PM
Sorcha 28 Apr 01 - 11:51 PM
Jim Dixon 30 Apr 03 - 02:06 AM
Malcolm Douglas 30 Apr 03 - 03:30 AM
Charley Noble 30 Apr 03 - 08:17 AM
open mike 30 Apr 03 - 10:44 AM
GUEST,Rampant Reader 21 Jan 07 - 03:26 PM
Azizi 21 Jan 07 - 07:49 PM
Charley Noble 21 Jan 07 - 08:08 PM
Azizi 21 Jan 07 - 08:16 PM
Azizi 21 Jan 07 - 08:27 PM
Azizi 21 Jan 07 - 08:37 PM
Charley Noble 22 Jan 07 - 08:42 AM
wysiwyg 22 Jan 07 - 02:01 PM
GUEST,Sharon from North Carolina 04 Mar 07 - 09:06 PM
GUEST 14 May 07 - 08:40 PM
dick greenhaus 15 May 07 - 02:49 PM
GUEST 15 May 07 - 02:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 May 07 - 04:39 PM
Jack Campin 15 May 07 - 07:59 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 May 07 - 11:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 15 May 07 - 11:30 PM
Sorcha 15 May 07 - 11:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 May 07 - 12:20 AM
Jack Campin 16 May 07 - 05:36 AM
GUEST 27 Aug 07 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,a guest 27 Aug 07 - 10:37 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Aug 07 - 11:35 AM
Azizi 28 Aug 07 - 07:32 PM
GUEST,Another Guest 14 Sep 07 - 12:20 AM
Azizi 14 Sep 07 - 08:33 AM
GUEST,AveMaria22 21 Jan 09 - 11:38 PM
Azizi 21 Jan 09 - 11:55 PM
Azizi 22 Jan 09 - 12:31 AM
GUEST,AFSC 16 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM
GUEST,Orff guy 15 Jul 09 - 09:55 PM
Azizi 15 Jul 09 - 10:15 PM
GUEST,Antonio dall' Italia 26 Sep 09 - 03:33 AM
Azizi 26 Sep 09 - 03:59 PM
GUEST 08 Nov 10 - 11:20 PM
VirginiaTam 09 Nov 10 - 02:47 AM
GUEST,Bree 15 Nov 10 - 02:29 AM
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GUEST,south texas 20 Apr 11 - 03:33 PM
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Subject: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,dmarynik
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 10:30 PM

Anyone know anything about the Ship(p) sisters? They are on a movie soundtrack (forgot title of movie) performing Sea lion Woman. Any short bio or info about subject is appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Sorcha
Date: 28 Apr 01 - 11:51 PM

Click me and read! And it's Shipp sisters.

link fixed
joe clone


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 02:06 AM

The song you're looking for is called "See-Lye Woman (Sea Lion)" on the album "Field Recordings, Vol. 4: Mississippi & Alabama (1934-1942)" released 1998 on the Document label. There it is sung by Katherine & Christeen Shipp, who sound very young. In fact, the song has the flavor of a girls' jump-rope rhyme with a sort of African beat. In fact, the whole album looks very interesting. You can hear sound samples of all 44 cuts at Yahoo! Music.

By the way, I doubt that African-American girls in Mississippi or Alabama in the 1930s or 40s would be singing about a "sea lion" woman anyway. They seem awfully far removed from the "selkie" legends. And they are definitely pronouncing it "see-lye" or maybe "seal-eye." "Sea lion" sounds like a rationalization to me. Do you suppose the song has been handed down from some African language?

Anyway, the same song, under the title SEE LINE WOMAN, and gussied up a bit to make it sexier, became a hit for Nina Simone, who recorded several versions. I pieced the following together from various sound samples:

See line woman (see line) she drink coffee (see line)
She drink tea (see line) then she go home (see line)
See line woman (see line)

See line woman ... dressed in green ...
Wear silk stockings ... with golden seams ...
See line woman ...

See line woman ... dressed in red ...
Make a man ... lose his head (or "wear a rag ... on her head") ...
See line woman ...

See line woman ... dressed in black ...
Sleep all day ... on her back ...
See line woman ...

[And in what sounds like a studio outtake, I also heard this:]

See line woman ... dressed in white ...
Sleep all day ..., bonk all night ...
See line woman ...


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 03:30 AM

In the DT: SEA LION WOMAN

Further discussions in the Forum, both before and since the original request here, with some useful comments on the title (evidently nothing to do with marine mammals) and information on film, song and performers:

sea lion woman (aka see lye woman)
she lye woman lyrics
Seela Woman she drink coffee
sea lion woman


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 08:17 AM

Well, I followed all the links and there really wasn't an explanation on what "sea lion", "she lye", "seela", "seela", "seal-eyed" or whatever means.

I wish someone would dig up an early version with "seal-eyed". Then we might be on to something.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: open mike
Date: 30 Apr 03 - 10:44 AM

sorcha your clicky did not work...
try again??


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Rampant Reader
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 03:26 PM

As a native of the southeast, we learned this as a child's song, but it is my understanding (through word-of-mouth in Gullah circles) it originated as an underground railroad song. The runaway slaves made up all sorts of little songs with homonym words used as directions for safe passage, an oral roadmap. "Rock Island Line" (a mighty fine line) referred to a rail line used by the slaves, as did "C-Line", which became Sea Lion (the Woman part may have referred to a woman who assisted the runaways board the C-Line in the underground railroad). Many whites as well as blacks offered assistance. Perhaps the woman sat at a particular place and drank tea or coffee as a signal to those needing help... in spy-like fashion.
"Wade in the Water" is another Und.RR song...if you wade, n footprints to follow and it confuses tracking dogs.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 07:49 PM

Here's another possible meaning for "sea lion" in African American secular songs, including African American rhymes:

In my opinion, when used in African American secular songs, "Sea Lion" is folk etymology for the Hebrew word "Selah".

See this information about the word Selah from http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/faq/selah.html :

"As we know, this word is extensively used in the Psalms. And the reason is because the psalms are a prayer book, divinely-inspired songs of the people of Israel, often messianic, allegorical, and historically parabolic. That is to say, history, replete with spiritual meanings. The Selah is there to signal the believer to 'measure' carefully the meaning of what has been said. i.e., here is wisdom, reflect and understand. Just as the Hebrew word Amen [amen] is an exclamation of confidence or truth and certainty of what has been said, so Selah [celah], is an exclamation that we should measure and reflect upon what has been said.
Psalms 4:4

"Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah."

Psalms 9:20
"Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah."

Psalms 57:6
"They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah."

Psalms 62:8
"Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."

Psalms 89:3-4
"I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah."

Whether of urging our meditation upon our sinfulness, declaring God is our refuge, or speaking in 'types' about Christ, this word is an exhortation for us to be wise and measure or weigh what has been said that we understand. It is used in the Psalms seventy-three times, and is also used in Habakkuk three times. Each time it is illustrating that we should measure wisely or 'weigh' solemnly what is said."

-snip-

There's no question that religous African Americans were [are]much more familiar with the word "Selah" than they were [are] with "Sea Lions".

And, with all due respect to Rampant Reader's theory posted that Sea Lion could mean the C-Line on the underground railroad, I believe that it's become a widely accepted myth [or, perhaps I should say an it's become a widely accepted rural legend] that every or most 19th century African American religious or secular songs contained coded messages which referred to the underground railroad or which would alert enslaved people to safe routes, or opportunities to flee slavery, or which would identify persons who would help them escape slavery.

I'm definitely not a believer in the coded message school of African American spirituals.

In my next post, I'll share what I believe to be an example of Selah {Sea Lion} in an African American children's rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 08:08 PM

Azizi-

Remind me to re-read your post when I am more sober!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 08:16 PM

SEA LION

Nina Millen, editor "Children's Games From Many Lands"{Friendship Press, New York,1965; Revised Edition pps.161,162}

Listed as a game from the Untied States with words set down by Thelma Moorer, Christine Steward; and Music by Gertrude Smith Jackson; Southern Christian Institute, Edwards, Mississippi.


Chorus
Hey hey hey! Sea Lion *
Won't you be mine?
You won't do nothin,
Sea Lion,
But starch and iron! Sea Lion!

Verse 1
Way down yonder, Sea Lion!
about the sun, Sea Lion!
my mother called me, Sea Lion,
a sugar plum, Sea Lion!

Chorus

Verse 2
Old rabbit hip. Sea Lion!
Old rabbit hop. Sea Lion!
Old rabbit bit, Sea Lion!
my turnip top!, Sea Lion!

Chorus

Verse 3
If I live, Sea Lion!
to get 21, Sea Lion!
I'm gonna marry, Sea Lion!
somebody's son. Sea Lion!

Chorus

Verse 4
See that man, Sea Lion!
with the blue shirt on. Sea Lion!
You'd better leave, Sea Lion!
that man alone! Sea Lion!

Chorus
                
-snip-

* I believe that the words "Sea Lion" came from the word "Selah" that is found at the end of sentences in the [Christian] Old Testment book of Psalms. But this fact could have been forgotten over time, and the words could have been thought to mean a real Sea Lion. If this game song had survived {which unfortunately, I'm not sure it has],over time I could see "Sea Lion" being changed to the girl's name "Shiela", or some other more familiar subsitute for the relatively unfamiliar term "Sea Lion."

All of the verses in this game song are similar to other floating verses found in numerous African American folk songs. True to African American traditions regarding folk songs of that time, I would expect that this song is open ended {meaning more verses can be added until people tire of the song}.

Unfortunately, this book does not include any play directions. However, also true to African American traditions, I would expect that children {and other age groups?} clapped, and stomped their feet, and imitated the movement of the rabbit.

For what it's worth, apart from this song's inclusion in this book, I've never found another mention of it by anyone [Black or non-Black]who has shared game songs and rhymes with me, or in any other reading. Nor have I ever seen this game song performed.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 08:27 PM

Charley,

What, you're not sober?? And on Sunday too?!

I pmed you. So consider that a reminder.

:o)


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Jan 07 - 08:37 PM

By the way, when I wrote, "fwiw [I have no other knowledge of this song], I know it aint worth much-meaning it means doodly squat that I don't know this game song. It could have been or still could be very well known among Gullah people etc.

**

As to Nina Simone's "See Line Woman", my sense is that this was a folk etymology for "see that woman dressed in red" and "see that woman dressed in black" etc], similar to the verses in the "Wade In The Water" spiritual and other spirituals.

However, I stand by my theory that the "see line" at the end of the Nina Simone song came from folk's take of the Biblical word "Selah".


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 08:42 AM

Azizi-

Sorry, I can't find any reference to "Selah" or "sea Lion" in my favorite literary references, including THE MUSIC OF BLACK AMERICANS by Eileen Southern. That doesn't mean a whole lot, of course, since there is scarce mention of any musical children's games.

What you suggest makes sense to me but it would be nice to run across some corroborative research.

I'll keep looking. Maybe Barry Finn can dig up something from his experience with the Georgia Sea Islands songs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 22 Jan 07 - 02:01 PM

Interesting discussion.

If any of you think this material or this topic should be included with other topics under study in the African American Spirituals permathread, would you please post a notation there to that effect so I can include it in the index. I can't make the judgment call based on what I've seen above, lacking the knowledge of those of you above, but I'd be happy to trust your gut on it whenever you want to submit this one.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Sharon from North Carolina
Date: 04 Mar 07 - 09:06 PM

The movie sound track I heard this song on was The General's Daughter to help answer someones question above. There were 2 other songs from the "A Tresury of Library of Congress Field Recordings" on that same sound track which I found interesting...the movie was filmed on location in Savannah, GA. It definitely has an African rhythom and struck me as something with Gulla roots actually. I used to live in the "Low Country" (SC) myself and remember the sea grass basket weavers along ocean highway (17) before hurricane Hugo blew their little side road shack/shops away...hence they lost their rights to the "right of way" on the road side...very sad and unfair.
I do believe that I have heard it, Sea Lion Song, before and that is why it got my attention and why I wrote the credits down at the end of the movie for further research/reading....thus now here. And I heard the same version by the same artists, Christine & Katherine Shipp. Does anyone know where I might have heard the song besides there? I am really curious...LOL! I really think it might have been on another movie sound track, but am not sure. I knew the song as soon as I heard it and at first thought maybe I had seen the movie before, but I had not as it turns out. I am just a curious novice, nothing more, but am very curious if anyone else has heard this song on another movie perhaps.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST
Date: 14 May 07 - 08:40 PM

Where can one buy this song and music from? Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 May 07 - 02:49 PM

Dunno about the music, but you can buy a recording from CAMSCO Music (800/548-FOLK <3655>). BTW, Nina Simone recorded a version of it, too.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 07 - 02:53 PM

I was guessing that seeline woman might have come from see the lyin' woman?


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 May 07 - 04:39 PM

The last guest could be right. On the other hand I found a Georgia Sea Islands song in which 'shilo' is used in meaningless fashion. 'Selah' (Azizi, above) could be one of those, used to fill in the meter.

Sometimes it serves no purpose to attach meaning to every word (words) in an old song.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 07 - 07:59 PM

While we're on "Shilo", anybody recognize this?
From a Scottish manuscript of 1702 (James Thomson, for the recorder).
Sounds ballad-like to me.
There is much more ornamentation in the original.

X:5
T:My Daughter Shilo
S:NLS MS.2833
M:3/4
L:1/8
Q:1/4=80
K:Gdor
Ac|d2 d2   cA |f2 e2 d2    |(cd) (cA) GA    | F3   G A2 |
   d2 (fd) (cA)|f3 g a2    | F3    G (A/G/F)|~G4
Ac|d2 d2   c>A|f2 f2 ef    | g2   g2   fg    | a2 (ba)(gf)|
   d2 (fd) (cA)|fg g2 (f/g/a)| F3    G (A/G/F)|~G4       |]


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 May 07 - 11:11 PM

'see line' Thread 24719: See line woman


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 15 May 07 - 11:30 PM

My Daughter Shilo- In this book:
John, "Twenty-one Scots Tunes," 19pp. $17.80. Orpheus Music.
www.orpheusmusic.com

It might help to start a thread called My Daughter Shilo.

Sounds familiar, but my memory provides me with no clues. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Sorcha
Date: 15 May 07 - 11:47 PM

I just always thought it meant 'she lyin' woman'. Don't know for real of course.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 May 07 - 12:20 AM

As good as any.

Since the Library of Congress has it as Sea Lion Woman, maybe that is the best way to leave it. Thread 11696, linked above in Malcolm's post.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 May 07 - 05:36 AM

Johnson's book is just an edition of part of the MS I quoted, not a different source. I've never seen it anywhere else.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 09:40 PM

I am one of the relative of the shipp family, I found that my aunt chrsiteen and Katherine are singing on this recording of 1939, all of the Shipp family did some singing. We are located in the Library of
congress. I feel that the song has been stolen from the family, but having trouble proving it. My grandlmother and aunt wrote the song.

Like most things that happen, it must be proven. The movie was call the generals daughter. (Travoltra) stared in this movie. I am glad to see intrest in it, it lets me know that it is still alive. o
Nina Simon did not write the tune, however she did cover some of words
and added some as well, thereby selling as her own (talk about stealing or covering a record.) Others have did this same thing, it is called cover records. My grandmother was a songwriter


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,a guest
Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:37 PM

See Lye Woman, because of African dilect most Blacks could not speak english good. so instead of Sea Lion Woman, the words were Sea Lye Woman or see the lying Woman. Look at history such words as Whaca, gonna, getca, seya, due to language and culture, lots of blacks were not educated so a lot of words were made short. This is due to slavery and trying to learn the language. Remember African people did not speak the language. It is a culture thing, and it is still reflected
into the society today. As Blacks-learned more and got educated then they began to learn the language. You can still some of this type of
spoken words on the Streets of the larger cities in America.

If you study the various cultures in this country you always find a language barrier. Yesome, yall, halla, jeest not just. Some people call a third language. But, as we say in the hood, we still have to learn the queen's english (smile )


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 11:35 AM

If you want to hear the recording, it's on Rounder 1500--"A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings". IMO it's the best single CD introduction to American folk music I've ever encountered. $12.98 at CAMSCO.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 28 Aug 07 - 07:32 PM

GUEST,a guest 27 Aug 07 - 10:37 PM,

I very much disagree with your comments about why some African Americans spoke/speak English in certain ways.

The subject of African American Vernacular English is very complicated. Imo, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_Vernacular_English is a good beginning for those who are interested in learning more about this subject.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Another Guest
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 12:20 AM

I first heard "Sealion" in the Travolta movie 'General's Daughter' and it stuck in my head to the point of 1. Buying the soundtrack and 2. Researching the song further.
What I found were many variations such as above in this thread. But my conclusion was this: 'Sealion' is apparently slang or coloquial for 'She's Lying' and is a "she said-she said" conversation (to a musical tune) between two young girls or two rivalrous women.
In my readings, 'She's Lying' comes from a ery old work song sung by southern field hands to pass the toiling hours – similar to the chain gang practices such as depicted more recently in the Clooney Movie 'Oh Brother, Where Art Thou' and others.
The two girls or women mentioned could have been house servants at a time when coffee and tea were well off limits to all servants. And when you think of the lyrics as a juvenile tattle tail incident, it becomes clearer.
"She drank (some of your) coffee" ==>   <== "(No I didn't) She's lying"
"She drank (some of your) tea"    ==>   <== ""(No I didn't) She's lying"
Like many, the lyrics, such as Nina Simone's variation referring to prostitution, have branched.
And I'm sure there are more. Never the less, this music is more than just a song. I feel it to be a piece of African-American culture that has become a precious and significant piece of the whole American experience. Thanks go out to the Library of Congress for recognizing and treasuring several original recordings for all of us to appreciate on several levels.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Sep 07 - 08:33 AM

Thanks for posting your theory, Another Guest. Your theory does sound very pausable.

I don't think we have any way of really knowing whether any of the theories about what "sealion" means in these songs. Perhaps "sealion" could have meant different things with different uses. For instance, in some songs, it could have meant "she's lyin" as you suggest. Or maybe it just means an actual "sealion", though it seems strange that sealions would be included in such songs. And maybe-sometimes-the word "sealion" could have come from a folk etymology modification of the Biblical term "Selah", as I theorized upthread.

In any event, another guest, I hope you stick around Mudcat and join us in sharing examples and discussing African American folk cultures and other folk cultures!

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,AveMaria22
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 11:38 PM

I grew up in the deep south and I believe what the girls are saying is a form of "she lying woman." "She drink coffee, she drink tea, she lying...." Drinking coffee and tea are not necessarily something "religious and upright women did way back when"... I believe the woman is lying about drinking coffee, tea...and a rooster crow she lie...Attica is possibly a man who did not commit something the lying woman accused him of doing...."attica no lie, she lie...the rooster was a predictor of "island justice"...meaning she would get her just dues. ....just an opinion from my limited experience.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 21 Jan 09 - 11:55 PM

Guest AveMaria22, thanks for sharing this information.

I'm an African American from New Jersey with no Southern relatives {that I know of}. I didn't visit the South until an adult, and at that only visited Atlanta. Does Atlanta still count as being in the South? :o)

All this to say that I know doodlysquat about the language patterns of the deep South.

I hereby withdraw my theory that the word sealion woman meant the Biblical word "selah". And I now support your idea and Another Guest 14 Sep 07 - 12:20 AM's idea that the word Sealion woman means "she's lyin'" are very likely what the original singers of this song meant.

By the way, we need your voice and your knowledge & opinions on Mudcat. Membership is free and easy. Just click on the word "membership" on the top right hand corner, and follow the steps that come up.


If you choose not to join, please continue posting to Mudcat discussions on a variety of subjects about songs, and culture, and just about everything else under the sun.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 22 Jan 09 - 12:31 AM

I see that in addition to his or her speculations about why some Black people talked like they did, GUEST,a guest - PM Date: 27 Aug 07 - 10:37 PM also suggested that "...instead of Sea Lion Woman, the words were Sea Lye Woman or see the lying Woman.

[Italics added by me for emphasis]


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,AFSC
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:24 PM

We are looking for the person identified as "Rampant Reader" who wrote about this song's possible origin as an underground railroad song in January 2007. We are the creators of the American Folk Song Collection website http://kodaly.hnu.edu which includes this song and would like to know more about how you discovered this connection. You can contact us through our website--thank you!


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Orff guy
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 09:55 PM

This has been an interesting and valuable thread in my research about this folk song. Thanks for all the ideas! I love the reference to island justice! About the RR, though. Sometimes people get carried away with finding hidden meanings about escape. Even Freud admitted that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Jul 09 - 10:15 PM

GUEST,Orff guy, please share your research with us-if not now, then at the point when you are ready.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Antonio dall' Italia
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:33 AM

Intrigued by the song "Sea Lion heard in the film" The General's Daughter "I was just looking for some other piece of the Shipp sisters as" singers ", and I came across this fascinating forum.
I congratulate you for the passion with which he addressed the "doubts" about the origins of opera.
Excuse my blunders, I'm Italian (from Italy) fascinated by American traditions (African and Indio)

Hello everyone

Antonio

carcarinus@inwind.it


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: Azizi
Date: 26 Sep 09 - 03:59 PM

Hello, Antonio dall' Italia,

Thanks for your comment.

Your English is much better than my Italian. I don't speak or read Italian at all.

But I think you should say "song" instead of "opera".

Best wishes to you,

Ms. Azizi


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 10 - 11:20 PM

I am one of the realtives of the ladies that sang "sea Lion Woman"
My father Isaac Shipp, my grandmother, Mary, and Grandfather Walter Shipp was known in the South as the singing shipp. My aunts are
catherine, christine, they both are on the recording of 1939. My grandmother use to write songs and make up tunes of various songs.
she passed away in 1966.

LaVern Shipp


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 09 Nov 10 - 02:47 AM

Wonderful... Why don't you join us LaVern... Perhaps you have some stories to tell of your Aunts? Or maybe others here on the forum will have some experiences to share with you.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Bree
Date: 15 Nov 10 - 02:29 AM

I just heard this song on the TV when I was watching. I was listening to is while on my laptop and before I knew it I was humming and clapping along with it. I was shocked at myself because I had never heard it before! My granny and I were trying to figure out what in the word they were saying so I looked up the lyrics and the song then I became increasingly interested in what it could mean.

At first I thought they were saying "C Line Woman, C Line" and I didn't get it and then I heard something about "coffee" and all of this so I listened along with the lyrics only to think I was crazy for hearing such things but now I beg to differ and I am fascinated by this song now! So, I went to search this history of it and I came across this forum and now I see that I am not the only one with these ideas. Thank you SO SO SO much! This has bee QUITE helpful and I'm so excited now.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Guest-Kasia
Date: 29 Nov 10 - 09:45 PM

Hearing "Sealion" all these years, I thought that I was probably wrong (like when I used to hear "hold me closer Tony Danza" instead of "tiny dancer"- Elton John, ha ha ha). One day I thought maybe they were singing "Ceylon woman, she drink tea"... since Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) has much tea. Anyway, that is probably incorrect, but I love learning about the different theories people have come up with.

I like the idea of a coded message for runaway slaves. I mean, it would be the perfect way to disseminate a subversive message.

Anyway, the other theories are good too. Perhaps more likely, even if less exciting.

Thanks for the food for thought everyone!


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,south texas
Date: 20 Apr 11 - 03:33 PM

Well I have to say this has been a very interesting thread. I love nina, and her song was one of my favs. Then when i saw the general's daughter, it hit me like bricks. I did a little prelim research and figured out about the field recordings and that that was the genesis for her song. I've been all around the web and this has been one of the most informative and interesting stops. there is just something about that haunting afro, voodoo sound or whatever. gets in my bones.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Jun 11 - 10:32 PM

This is an old field song. They are singing "she lie" not sea lion. It is possible to imagine all kinds of back stories but I imagine a young white woman who had been a childhood friend of the writers of the song and as she grew to drink coffee and tea she began to distance herself from her former playmates who were now slave field workers. She began to lie, she lie.
The rooster crows as it did when Peter denied Jesus and as "she" denies her former friends.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,jmcgilroy
Date: 10 Jun 11 - 01:13 AM

Ok, so Christine and Katherine Shipp were teenagers in Byhalia, MS in the 1930's. Byhalia is about 370 miles from the ocean. It's doubtful that they traveled there to ever see a sea lion. So how about this;

This song is about some woman who has a difficult time telling the truth.

She lyin' woman. She drinks coffee (in the morning)- she lie. She drinks tea (an afternoon drink) - she lie. The rooster crows (the sign of a new day) - she's still lying.

That's my take on it.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,justsomebloke
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 10:48 AM

Ok here's a different take: What if it's 'C-line Woman' - ie Line of cocaine? Perhaps it refers to a prostitute using coke. Puts a different light on it.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 22 Oct 11 - 12:00 PM

I bet the "C-line woman" was a woman named Celine.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Guest KM
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 10:37 AM

After reading many of the posts and listening to the song many times, I also believe it is about a lying woman. She drank coffee "she lie" she drank tea "she lie". But the rooster crowing I feel is the Bible connection. When Jesus was betrayed, He told Peter before the the rooster crows twice though shalt deny me 3 times. Which deny was to lie about knowing him.


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,KM
Date: 31 Oct 11 - 11:03 AM

Also it kept sounding to me like "yellow" but I think the words are "tell no lie" insinuating that when she says that "she tells no lies" she lies


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,Guest - Rogg
Date: 01 Nov 11 - 09:37 AM

That rooster crowing refers to betrayal fits perfectly with the theme of THE GENERAL'S DAUGHTER. "What's worse than rape?" Travolta's character asked of James Woods's character. "Figure that out, and you've got the whole story."


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Subject: RE: Help: ship sisters?sealion woman?
From: GUEST,wepa55
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 11:07 AM

Very interesting discussion here...have been listening to Nina Simone's "See Line Woman" for the past few days and trying to figure out the reference. Upon beginning my search on line for the lyrics I ended up here and glad to know others share the same interest in the song. Don't know the Ship sisters but will certainly research. My initial take {aside from the fact that I found myself dancing to the tune in my studio with wild abandon} is that it's merely about a "siren"...often associated with the sea and their ability to lure men towards them resulting in the wrecking of ships against the rocky shores.


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