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Lyr Add: The Mermaid (Shel Silverstein)

DigiTrad:
A BOY NAMED SUE
BEANS TASTE FINE
BOTTOMLESS WELL
DIET SONG
FOLK SINGER'S BLUES
HEY NELLY NELLY
IN THE HILLS OF SHILOH
IT DOES NOT PAY TO BE HIP
LITTLE GREEN BUTTONS
LIVING LEGEND
LONNIGAN'S WIDOW
OUR HOUSE (ALWAYS WELCOME ...)
PLASTIC
QUEEN OF THE SILVER DOLLAR
SINGIN' IN THE KITCHEN
TESTING THE BOMB
THE UGLIEST MAN IN TOWN
THE WAVES ROLL OUT
THE WINNER
THREE LEGGED MAN
UNICORNS (GREEN ALLIGATORS)
VANILLA
VEGEMATIC
WINNER
YOUR TIME'S COMIN'


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Wolfgang Hell 17 Dec 97 - 10:24 AM
Frank in the swamps 19 Dec 97 - 12:14 PM
Mountain Dog 19 Dec 97 - 03:43 PM
Peter Stanley : Alias: Mr. Bojangles 18 Mar 98 - 11:08 PM
Jon W. 19 Mar 98 - 10:49 AM
CharlesCares@earthlink.net 19 Mar 98 - 08:03 PM
Sorcha 11 Jun 00 - 01:42 AM
GUEST,Frank of Toledo 11 Jun 00 - 01:51 AM
Sorcha 11 Jun 00 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,Mark 06 Jul 00 - 07:40 AM
Gypsy 06 Jul 00 - 08:39 PM
Wolfgang 07 Jul 00 - 07:11 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE MERMAID (sung by Hamish Imlach)
From: Wolfgang Hell
Date: 17 Dec 97 - 10:24 AM

The "Women and Sea" thread reminded me of a mermaid song that is not in the DT-database. Like many of the other mermaid songs it is conveniently titled "The mermaid" (just to make the search easy). I know it from the "Murdered Ballads" vinyl record by Hamish Imlach. I'm confident that the transcription is correct except for line 3 in verse 4.

The Mermaid
- as sung by Hamish Imlach

1. When I was a lad in a fishing boat
an old man said to me:
"You can live a life, a jolly life
a sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls
'til your eyes are weak and dim,
but don't go swimming with a mermaid, son
if you don't know how to swim".

Chorus 1: Her hair was green as seaweed,
her eyes were blue and pale,
I'll tell you now before you start,
you'll love that girl with all your heart,
you just gonna love the upper part,
you're not gonna love the tail

2. So I signed unto a whaling ship,
my first very day at sea
I've seen a mermaid in the waves
a reaching out to me.
"Come live with me in the sea said she,
down on the ocean floor
I'll show you a thousand wondrous things
you've never seen before."

3. So over I jumped and she pulled me down,
down to a seaweed bed,
a pillow made of tortoise-shell
she placed beneath my head.
She served me shrimps and caviar
upon a silver dish
she was just my taste to the waist
but the rest of her was a fish.

Chorus 2: Her hair was green as seaweed,
her eyes were blue and pale,
her face it was a work of art
I only gave her half my heart
though I loved the upper part
I could not love the tail.

4. Then one day when I looked up
I saw a sailing ship,
(I met the stare of a millionaire
on a fishing trip.
A diamond ring he tied to a string
throwing it down to the water.
My love divine she went for his line
and that's the way he caught her.

5. Into the tide I sat and cried
sung to the clams and the whales
how I missed her eyes and the seaweed hair,
the silvery shine of her scales.
Just then her sister, she swam by,
set my heart awhirl,
the upper part was ugly fish
the bottom part was girl.

Chorus 3: Her toes were round and rosy,
her knees were slim and pale,
her legs they were a work of art.
I love that girl with all my heart,
don't give a damn for the upper part,
that's how I end my tale.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: Frank in the swamps
Date: 19 Dec 97 - 12:14 PM

I may be mistaken, but I beleive the song was written by Shel Silverstein. I have it on an old vinyl L.P. If I ever get a turntable I'll check the verses, Mr. Imlach's meter doesn't quite register the same to my ears. But it's been a long time since I heard it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 19 Dec 97 - 03:43 PM

Dear Frank,

You're right, the tune was written and sung by old Uncle Shelby. I used to have it on a double album of Silverstein's, "Crouchin on the Outside". It was on Fantasy Records, if memory serves.

Thanks to all for reviving the memory of this cute and bawdy ditty. I was just putting together a list of tunes to bring to a pickin' party this evening and this will fit in beautifully!
Messages from multiple threads combined. Messages below are from a new thread.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: The Mermaid Song
From: Peter Stanley : Alias: Mr. Bojangles
Date: 18 Mar 98 - 11:08 PM

Does anyone know the source, the last verse & final chorus and the title of this song? I heard it at a festive gathering, and when I later tried to write it down I found I had to use the spit'n glue of less effective ,I think, words and phrases to fill in the gaps in my memory.

When I was a lad in a fishing town
an old man said to me,
You can spend your life, your bloomin' life
Sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls
'Til your eyes grow weak and dim,
But don't go chasing those mermaids, son
if you don't know how to swim,

Cho: For their hair is green as seaweed
And their eyes are blue and pale.
And I'll tell you now before you start
You may love that girl with all your heart
But you're just gonna love the upper part
You are not gonna like the tail.

Well, I signed on to a sailing ship
And my very next day at sea,
I spied a mermaid in the waves
Calling out to me:
"Come go with me to the bottom of the sea
And down on the ocean floor,
I'll show you a million wondrous things
That you never have seen before."

So over I jumped and she pulled me down,
Down to her ocean bed.
And a pillow made of tortoise shell
She lay beneath my head.
She fed me shrimp and caviar
All from a silvery dish,
And her upper half was just my taste
But her bottom half was a fish.

(From this point the mermaid levaes, and the sailor laments his loss until he encounters a sea creature whose top half is a fish and whose bottom is a woman. The last line approximates:"I didn't give a damn about the upper half but I sure did love the tail."


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Subject: RE: The Mermaid Song
From: Jon W.
Date: 19 Mar 98 - 10:49 AM

Click here for a thread from several weeks ago with the info you want.


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Subject: RE: The Mermaid Song
From: CharlesCares@earthlink.net
Date: 19 Mar 98 - 08:03 PM

I believe this is the same song I heard a friend sing in a pub in Michigan, and he told me it had been written by Shel Silverstein (the cartoonist author of The Giving Tree, Where the Sidewalk Ends, etc.)

You might search the web under his na


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:42 AM

Bill has been singing this song here in Old Wyoming, and it does not appear it has ever been harvested,so
RE FRESH.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: GUEST,Frank of Toledo
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:51 AM

Shel wrote the song for Bobby Bare's "Lullabies and Legends" allbum in 1973 on Rca Victor Records. Rick Lee does a great live version.....


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: Sorcha
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 01:58 AM

And just a VERY slightly different version HERE


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 07:40 AM

Does anyone have chords for this?


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: Gypsy
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 08:39 PM

And for that matter, does anyone have notation? Have no clue as to the tune, and really like the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Lyr ADD: The Mermaid
From: Wolfgang
Date: 07 Jul 00 - 07:11 AM

At tunes.com you can listen to about 12 versions of 'The Mermaid'. Most of them I guess are not the Shel Silverstein song, but one or two them might be. I can't hear audio at the moment, otherwise I could direct you to the right version. If that doesn't help, I'd mail a tape with Hamish Imlach's version. Give me a note here.

Wolfgang


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