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Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus (C Fox Smith)

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Charley Noble 03 May 01 - 09:15 AM
MMario 03 May 01 - 09:42 AM
nutty 03 May 01 - 11:08 AM
Charley Noble 03 May 01 - 11:21 AM
MMario 03 May 01 - 11:25 AM
Charley Noble 03 May 01 - 11:31 AM
MMario 03 May 01 - 11:35 AM
Charley Noble 03 May 01 - 11:40 AM
MMario 03 May 01 - 11:47 AM
Charley Noble 03 May 01 - 12:59 PM
MMario 03 May 01 - 01:08 PM
wysiwyg 04 May 01 - 02:57 AM
Snuffy 04 May 01 - 08:32 AM
Charley Noble 04 May 01 - 08:47 AM
Jeri 04 May 01 - 05:10 PM
nutty 04 May 01 - 05:47 PM
Charley Noble 04 May 01 - 05:54 PM
Charley Noble 06 May 01 - 06:31 PM
MMario 06 May 01 - 06:35 PM
Charley Noble 06 May 01 - 07:04 PM
Charley Noble 07 May 01 - 08:26 AM
radriano 07 May 01 - 11:20 AM
nutty 07 May 01 - 01:38 PM
radriano 07 May 01 - 01:40 PM
Charley Noble 07 May 01 - 05:05 PM
Barry Finn 07 May 01 - 08:35 PM
Charley Noble 03 Aug 07 - 10:24 AM
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Subject: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 01 - 09:15 AM

OK, what's going on here is a shanty adaptation in progress of C. Fox Smith's fine poem about a tall ship's winning race to bring back to England a cargo of wool from Australia in the 1920's. We're (Roll & Go) currently using a slow version of "The Diamond" as a working tune but we're not entirely satisfied. We've added a chorus with a refrain last line which seems to work great, but we're still tinkering with minor wording changes for clarification or other "improvement." Looking for serious feedback from other nautical wool gatherers and shanty singers. We're not aware of anyone working on this particular poem but it seems a dandy. Note, the "January sales" are the wool market back in England; the first ship in for the season got the best price and that was the only prize.

Pinch O' Salt deserves a lot of credit for refocusing our attention to Cicely Fox Smith's nautical poems and adapting them to music.

A WOOL FLEET CHORUS (2)
(Words by C. Fox Smith In Full Sail: More Sea Songs & Ballads, © 1926 Tune: varient of traditional The Bonny Ship the Diamond Adapted by Roll & Go 2001)

Now fare you well, you Sidney gals,
It's time for us to go!
Blue Peter's at the fore truck,
An' there's five thousand bales below;
We've a dozen shellbacks forrard,
And a skipper hard as nails,
And we're bound for dear old England
And the January sales!

Chorus:

Oh, the January sales, me boys,
The January sales,
We're bound for dear old England
And the January sales.

Soon we'll leave the Snares behind,
Blusterous and strong;
Up'll come the Westerlies,
And hustle her along;
Running like a driven deer,
Through the thundering gales,
Racing under royals
For the January sales!

Oh, the January sales, me boys,
The January sales,
Racing under royals
For the January sales!

Old Cape Stiff'll drop astern,
Like a blinking dream;
Sleet and snow and crashing seas,
Fog and ice a-beam;
Snoring through the tropics
Where Tradewinds never fail,
Norrard on a bowline
For the January sales!

Oh, the January sales, me boys,
The January sales,
Norrard on a bowline
For the January sales!

Then the gals'll get her towrope,
And she'll smell the land again,
And she'll reel the knots off steady
As a blessed railway train;
Seventy days from Sydney Head
The Lizard Light she hails –
First back to the Channel
For the January sales!

Oh, the January sales, me boys,
The January sales,
First back to the Channel
For the January sales!


Here is the original poem, before shanty processing:

A WOOL FLEET CHORUS (1)
(Words by C. Fox Smith In Full Sail: More Sea Songs & Ballads, © 1926)

Fare you well, you Sidney girls,
Time for us to go!
The Peter's at the fore truck,
And five thousand bales below;
We've a dozen shellbacks forrard,
And a skipper hard as nails,
And we're bound for old England
And the January sales!

Soon we'll leave the Snares behind,
Blusterous and strong;
Up'll come the Westerlies,
And hustle her along;
Running like a driven deer,
Through the thundering gales,
Racing under royals
For the January sales!

Old Cape Stiff'll drop astern,
Like a blinking dream;
Sleet and snow and crashing seas,
Fog and ice'll seem;
Snoring through the tropics
With a Trade that never fails,
Norrard on a bowline
For the January sales!

Then the girls'll get her towrope,
And she'll smell the land again,
And she'll reel the knots off steady
As a blessed railway train;
Till seventy days from Sydney Heads
The Lizard Light she hails –
First to the Channel
For the January sales!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: MMario
Date: 03 May 01 - 09:42 AM

well - I'm having trouble with the chorus (my fault I'm sure)- but the rest sings great!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: nutty
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:08 AM

I have heard this song sung by Barry Temple ( one half of Barry and Ingrid and ex member of Salt of the Earth ) but don't know if the tune was written by him - I will try to find out.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:21 AM

Nutty – love to know what tune Barry Temple used; I was also thinking about the tune Ken Stevens used for his "Herzogin Cecilie."

Charley


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: MMario
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:25 AM

Maybe could get his version of lyrics as well?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:31 AM

By the way, does anyone have a clue to the reference to "Snares"? I can guess but Australian waters are somewhere west of the Gulf of Maine...The "Lizard" at the England end is a more familar reference.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: MMario
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:35 AM

Those would probably be the Snares Islands, 100 km south of Stewart Island and home of the Crested Snares Penguins


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:40 AM

Now we know where them Snares are! MMario, can you also navigate?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: MMario
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:47 AM

not if you want to get where you are going! (I can get lost going home from work - and I've been driving the route for over twenty years now!)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 May 01 - 12:59 PM

By the way The Snares and Stewart Island are off the Southwestern end of New Zealand (which more folks have heard of), a major turning point for sailing ships leaving South Australia and then running East with the Westerlies for Cape Horn.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: MMario
Date: 03 May 01 - 01:08 PM

New Zealand? You mean those two Islands a bit north of the Snares?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: wysiwyg
Date: 04 May 01 - 02:57 AM

I dunno what you are talking about but it sounds so interesting!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Snuffy
Date: 04 May 01 - 08:32 AM

We haven't heard from Billy The Bus recently - he lives on Stewart Island


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 May 01 - 08:47 AM

Wool and grain from Australia were among the last commercial cargoes that sailing ships could carry and still compete successfully with steamers. The "grain races" of the 1930's involved the last dozen survivors of the vast fleets of major sailing ships which had dominated the trade routes for centuries. A recent republication of Alan Villiers photographs, "The Last of the Windships," provides a breathtaking overview of what happened on these runs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Jeri
Date: 04 May 01 - 05:10 PM

I've got the CD by Salt Of The Earth somplace, as well as the booklet. I'm used to hearing that tune. The tune to "The Diamond" seems to scan well. Took me a while to grok the chorus, but I think I've managed.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: nutty
Date: 04 May 01 - 05:47 PM

Just checked the Salt of the Earth CD and the song is recorded on there under the title of A Wool Fleet Chorus and credits Barry Temple with the tune.

It was Danny McLeod (of Salt of the Earth and Pinch of Salt) who did much of the research into the Cicerly Fox-Smith poems.

Sadly Salt of the Earth have now split.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 May 01 - 05:54 PM

Well, now that everyone's reminded me to check through my piles of sea music CD's I've "discovered" (and I'm not trying to pull "the wool" over anyone's eyes) my copy of Salt of the Earth, purchased when Joyce and Danny McLeod flew through Maine last year, and, sure enough, #3 is their version of "A Wool Fleet Chorus." Amazingingly enough, they've made some of the same modest words changes that I have and decided on the same kind of chorus/refrain. I think their version runs too slow but I also wouldn't want to have my version run as fast as some folks sing "The Diamond." I've actually turned this song over to Dick Dufresne of Roll & Go for further abuse, and we'll see what he comes up with.

When is someone going to republish all of C. Fox Smith's nautical poems? She had a great ear for nautical life at the end of the great era of commercial sail.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 May 01 - 06:31 PM

Refresh!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: MMario
Date: 06 May 01 - 06:35 PM

Spent some time web-surfing re: C. Fox Smith. Pint and Dale have recorded a number of her nautical poems.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 May 01 - 07:04 PM

Pint and Dale, along with Tom Lewis, also acknowledge their debt to Joyce and Danny McLeod (and their co-conspirators) for reviving C. Fox Smith's poems and putting them to music.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 May 01 - 08:26 AM

Just a note to those who would like more background on the great "Wool Races", "Grain Races" and "Guano Runs" of the last commercial sailing ships.

My favorite currently available book is one by Eric Newby called "The Last Grain Race"; I love his sense of humor as he describes his grueling experience as an apprentice sailor; there's now a new follow-up edition of his photos called "Learning the Ropes." Another current favorite is Frank Brookesmith's "I Remember the Tall Ships" which includes vivid descriptions of one grain run and one run for lovely guano. Then there's also the new edition of Alan Villers' photographs of the grain ship races "The Last of the Windships" which pulls together photos from several of his books – a visual feast.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: radriano
Date: 07 May 01 - 11:20 AM

Good job Charlie!

The first C.F. Smith song I learned was "The Lee Fore Brace" off of a cd by the English shanty group "Landlocked." The poem was set to music by A. Fitzsimmons who has recorded an entire album of Fox poems he set to music. I think you can find it at the "Shanty Cabin" website.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: nutty
Date: 07 May 01 - 01:38 PM

Alan Fitzsimmon together with Danny Mcleod and Pete Wood were all part of the group PINCH OF SALT who's preformances dealt entirely with the works of Cicerly Fox- Smith.
The rest of the time they were members of a shanty group called THE KEELERS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: radriano
Date: 07 May 01 - 01:40 PM

C. Fox Smith books can still be found. I found one of her books at a used bookstore in San Francisco. She was a prolific writer.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 May 01 - 05:05 PM

So difficult to keep these shanty groups sorted out. Anyone designed a chart? ;-)

Actually, I'm only too aware of how difficult it can be to keep a group together in the lucrative business of shanty singing. I'm just happy that good folks are reworking C. Fox Smith's poems for singing, and I'd like to think she'd be pleased to hear what we're coming up with.

Yes, I too managed to secure one of her books Full Sail: More Sea Songs & Ballads from the internet booksellers, a dangerous site to browse.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Barry Finn
Date: 07 May 01 - 08:35 PM

Hi Charlie, Like to hear you do this next time we cross, sounds like a charmer. BTW what's the meaning of "Norrard on a bowline"? Can't imagine a bowline (knot at this point in time & not a useful line) getting so much air play. Another book you may find interesting is "The Last Tall Ships" by Georg Kahre. Georg was (1899-1969) an Alander Islander himself, closely tied to the merchant sailing vessels of the 20's 40's. This book is more of a history of Gustaf Erikson's sailing fleet spanning from 1872 to 1947. His was probably the major fleet along with just a few others that lasted beyond WW1. Some of the more famous ships were at one time or another under his house flag were, the Renee Rickers/Aland, Grace Harwar, Lawhill, Herzogin Cecilie, Pommern, Albert Rickmers/Pommern, Mable Rickmers/Winterhude, Viking, Passat, Pamir, Ponape, Moshulu. All of these & many more he owned after the turn of the last century, he was also a major share holder in many other ships belonging to other fleets of the time. He engauged it the wool, grain, timber, Saltpeter, Coal/Coke, Guano trades well into the 30's, with grain seemingly to be one of the last trades to be a steady profit maker. Anyway his history almost reads like a swan song of the merchant sailing fleet, very interesting. Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Wool Fleet Chorus-Adapting
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Aug 07 - 10:24 AM

I was just rechecking this old thread and realized that I had more recently channeled a different traditional tune for it, "Doodle Let Me Go (Yellar Gals)," which I think works better.

Getting back to Barry Finn's old question about what CFS means with the phrase "Norrard on a bowline," I've been think it refers to a bearing rather than a knot, or in other words sailing straight North. Of course, when a sailing ship rounds Cape Horn heading East, it would most likely be running a zigzag course rather than a straight one.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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