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C. Fox Smith Sea Poems (PermaThread)

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WHERE THERE'S REST FOR HORSE AND MAN or HOME LADS HOME


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Charley Noble 07 Aug 01 - 11:32 AM
MMario 07 Aug 01 - 11:57 AM
GUEST,Jack 07 Aug 01 - 12:44 PM
Charley Noble 07 Aug 01 - 02:41 PM
nutty 07 Aug 01 - 03:22 PM
Uncle Jaque 07 Aug 01 - 04:11 PM
Sandy Paton 07 Aug 01 - 05:10 PM
Linda Kelly 07 Aug 01 - 05:34 PM
ChanteyMatt 07 Aug 01 - 07:34 PM
John P 07 Aug 01 - 10:50 PM
Charley Noble 08 Aug 01 - 10:18 AM
Charley Noble 09 Aug 01 - 10:27 AM
radriano 09 Aug 01 - 04:49 PM
Charley Noble 09 Aug 01 - 08:06 PM
radriano 10 Aug 01 - 11:48 AM
Charley Noble 10 Aug 01 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,GUEST: Hank Lay 12 Feb 02 - 01:56 PM
Charley Noble 12 Feb 02 - 03:44 PM
lamarca 12 Feb 02 - 03:49 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Feb 02 - 04:29 PM
Madam Gashee 12 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM
Herga Kitty 12 Feb 02 - 05:03 PM
Jeri 12 Feb 02 - 05:06 PM
Jeri 12 Feb 02 - 05:21 PM
Madam Gashee 12 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM
Dave Bryant 13 Feb 02 - 04:40 AM
Madam Gashee 13 Feb 02 - 08:13 AM
Jeri 13 Feb 02 - 08:49 AM
Michael in Swansea 13 Feb 02 - 09:23 AM
Charley Noble 13 Feb 02 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,JohnB 13 Feb 02 - 04:27 PM
Michael in Swansea 14 Feb 02 - 06:48 AM
ChanteyMatt 14 Feb 02 - 03:48 PM
Charley Noble 14 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM
Gervase 15 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Feb 02 - 07:12 AM
Jeri 15 Feb 02 - 09:41 AM
lamarca 15 Feb 02 - 10:45 AM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Feb 02 - 12:25 PM
lamarca 15 Feb 02 - 02:47 PM
Jeri 15 Feb 02 - 03:19 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Feb 02 - 04:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Feb 02 - 04:23 PM
GUEST,Hank Lay 27 Feb 02 - 08:06 AM
Jeri 27 Feb 02 - 09:17 AM
radriano 27 Feb 02 - 12:10 PM
Charley Noble 03 Mar 02 - 04:18 PM
Jeri 03 Mar 02 - 05:00 PM
Madam Gashee 04 Mar 02 - 04:44 AM
Charley Noble 04 Mar 02 - 07:57 AM
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Subject: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:32 AM

Many of us who sing sea songs have had our attention drawn to the fine sea poems of Cicely Fox Smith, primarily by Danny McLeod of Pinch of Salt. She published at least three books of sea poems: A Sailors Delight, Sea Songs & Ballads, and Full Sail in the 1920's. There may be even more sea poems lurking in her many other books of sea stories. Her poems reflect a keen appreciation for the sailor's life and the language that was used aft and forward. Although C. Fox Smith was thoroughly familar with traditional English folk tunes she apparently never set any of her poems to music, something which McLeod and his co-conspirator Alan Fitzsimmons have made efforts to correct in their CD Sea Boot Duff & Hand Spike Gruel. Tom Lewis and William Pint & Felicia Dale have also sung her poems, drawing their tunes from Fitzsimmons. And now (note added in 2009) some 70 of her poems have been adapted for singing and recorded.

I've been reworking three of the poems as songs, Shanghai Passage, Wool Fleet Chorus and Flying Fish Sailor and I'm curious to compare notes with anyone else of similar interest and experience. There are questions of editing to make the poems more singable, adding refrains or choruses, and selecting tunes. I would also love to hear that more of her sea poems have been discovered in her other publications.

I now have access to a time machine and have utilized it to make this upfront post:

If this is the first time you are viewing this thread, you will be interested to know that you can access more than 600 of C. Fox Smith's poems as originally composed, thanks to myself and Shantyfreak (Jim Saville), at the Oldpoetry website: Click here for website

Enjoy the discussion and feel free to contribute,

Charley Noble
      This is an edited PermaThread® to document the sources of the poem-songs of Cicely Fox Smith. This thread will be edited by Charley Noble. Feel free to post to this thread, but remember that all messages posted here are subject to editing or deletion.
      -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: MMario
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 11:57 AM

Would love to hear about it, hear the results etc. Unfortunatly don't have enough knowledge or talent to contribute.


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: GUEST,Jack
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 12:44 PM

I got interested in her poetry through "150 Days Out From Vancouver," one of her poems that Tom Lewis set to music. Through the help of my wife (a librarian) I have determined that she wrote about 16 books of poetry. I've managed to acquire a few: Rhymes of the Red Ensign, Full Sail, Small Craft, and a few others I can't remember right now. Some libraries still have some of her work.


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 02:41 PM

Rhymes of the Red Ensign! Sounds like a promising lead. I'm currently trying out "Limehouse Reach" from Full Sail to a tune adaptation of Archie Fisher's "Witch of the Westmereland."


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: nutty
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 03:22 PM

Wool Fleet Chorus has been put to music by Barry Temple and recorded by Salt of the Earth on the CD TOMORROW'S TIDE


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Uncle Jaque
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 04:11 PM

Ahoy, Charlie;

Isn't that where "Shanghai Brown" came from?

I can't seem to find him on database or forum search, and would like to have lyrics and chords for it (as I may have mentioned at the Observatory gathering). Score would be nice but I think I remember enough of the melody line to fake it pretty well - it's a right nifty piece!

I'd like to experiment with some harmony on O'l Shanghai; I notice you capo your 5-string right up tight, there, perhaps leaving some room for a Bass or maybe even a Baritone to chug along somewhere in the audible space underneath(?) which might be to good effect.

BTW I put up the 2 posters you issued me in the Post Office and Shop-n-Save here in Yarmouth. If you send more or send a graphix file attachment I can print up, can no doubt find a few more spots to tack 'em up. As much fun as we had the last time, an audience might be nice... not to mention helping to pay the overhead!


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 05:10 PM

Bob Zentz has set a number of her poems, often to variants of traditional tunes. Get in touch with him to exchange idea and such at ZENTZFOLK@aol.com.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 05:34 PM

Wool fleet chorus is a great song and it's a great CD. Are Salt of the Earth now defunct? Danny and Joyce were at Warwick. The Keelers are one of my all time favorite groups and the C Fox Smith songs adapted by Fitz are wonderful.


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: ChanteyMatt
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 07:34 PM

I actually found a novel by C Fox in the rubble of a fire. Nothing great but she did try her hand at most forms of writing. I also have a treatise (don't know what else to call it) by her on the Cuttysark.

I've set her poem "London River" to music with mixed results. I'd love to find more.


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: John P
Date: 07 Aug 01 - 10:50 PM

It looks like William Pint has used a few of C. Fox Smith's poems in his songs:

"Tow Rope Girls", with a traditional melody, on the Port of Dreams album.
"Sou' Spain", with a melody by William, on Making Waves.
"The Tryphina's Extra Hand", with a melody by Bob Zentz, on Round the Corner.
"Blue Peter", with a melody by William, also on Round the Corner.

They have all the lyrics of all their recordings posted on their website. You could take a look at what changes, if any, he made to the poems to make them fit the music. You could also communicate with him via the website to see if he has any useful insights for you.

John Peekstok


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Subject: Add: Shanghai Passage (C. Fox-Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 01 - 10:18 AM

Nice feedback! Now when is someone going to collect her sea poems and republish them so that ordinary mortals can access them?

Uncle Jaque - "Shanghai Brown" is more correctly titled "Shanghai Passage" and I'll e-mail my correct edition to you as an attachment; it's a wonderful song that I envision a group of Shanghai's buddies singing at their favorite hangout after a hard night's work.

The tune I use for "Wool Fleet Chorus" is adapted from "The Diamond"; the poem really needs a hard-driving tune.

For "Flying-Fish Sailor" I've been used a varient of the contradance tune "Cold Frosty Morning" which seems to keep that one moving along.

I feel a strong need to pick fast paced tunes for many C. Fox Smith's poems so they don't turn into dirges, but that's a matter of personal taste. I am probably more radical in my word changes, which could also raise questions. Here's an example of what I do with "Shanghai Passage":

SHANGHAI PASSAGE
(Original poem by C. Fox Smith in Sailors Delight Adapted by Danny McLeod as recorded on Seaboot Duff & Handspike Gruel Further adapted by Charlie Ipcar 2001 Tune: adapted from Goin' 'Cross the Mountain/Goin' Where the Chilly Winds Don't Blow G(7/C))
Chorus:

  C        F  C       G      C 
"Shang-hai Brown, Shang-hai Brown!"
G C F C F C F G
The Skipper o' the Har-vest Moon is ramp-in' 'round the town! (2X)
G

C F C G C
Yes, He's lookin' for some sailormen, to beg, steal or borrow –
G C F C F C F G
There ain't no way he can get a crew, an' he wants to sail tomor-row.
C F C G C
"Prime seamen's ve-ry scarce just now, but you've laid your money down,
G C F C F G
I'll send my touts an' run-ners out," says Shanghai Brown.

Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!
I'll send my touts an' runners out, says Shanghai Brown!

He rakes in men both high and low; he gets both black an' white;
He's got the Lauderdale's port watch that only berthed las' night;
He's got a brace of farmhands with hayseed in their hair;
He's got a bridegroom an' bestman, for what does Shanghai care?

Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!
He's got a bridegroom an' bestman, out from 'Frisco Town!


An' he's shipped 'em in the Harvest Moon, the toughest packet goin';
That never gets a sailorman, to sign aboard her knowin';
With a hardcase drivin' skipper, an' a brusin' bucko mate,
By the Shanghai Passage, through the Golden Gate.

Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!
By the Shanghai Passage, out from 'Frisco Town!


Yes, they'll wonder in the mornin', what they drank last night;
An' they'll wonder just what hit 'em, if they show an ounce of fight;
They'll be scoffin' seaboot duff; they'll be suppin' handspike gruel,
An' dodgin' the belayin' pins, an' cursin' Shanghai cruel.

Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!
They'll be dodgin' the belayin' pins, out from 'Frisco Town!


But there's one won't wake nor wonder, nor scoff no grub at all;
Nor drag his achin' bones along, to tally on the fall;
Nor jump to please the toughest mate, New England ever bred;
Nor stand no trick nor look-out, an' for why? – Because he's dead!

Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!
Nor stand no trick nor look-out, out from 'Frisco Town!


"Shanghai Brown, Shanghai Brown!"
The Skipper o' the Harvest Moon is rampin' 'round the town!

An' he's lookin' for some sailormen, to beg, steal or borrow –
There ain't no way he can get a crew, an' he wants to sail tomorrow;
"Prime seamen's very scarce just now!" says Shanghai Brown;
So he's took and shipped a corpse away, out from 'Frisco Town!


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Subject: ADD:Limehouse Reach (C. Fox Smith Sea Poem)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 10:27 AM

Here's another poem with very minor word changes. The tune started as Shady Grove, parts of it changed to Witch of the Westmereland, and then most of it finally morphed into a version of Lady Margaret where I think it'll stick. I like the song as an alternative to Cyril Tawney's Sally, Free and Easy; if you copy and past this back into Word in Times Font the chords should be closer to their correct position:

LIMEHOUSE REACH
(By C. Fox Smith in Full Sail, © 1926 Tune: adapted by Charlie Ipcar from Lady Margaret

G--F-G------------------D7----G-----F
Oh, I fell in love with a Lime-house lass,
----G--------D7-----G--C
But she has proved un-true;
----G--------------------------D7--G
She looked as fresh as a fi-gure-head
-------F----------G----F---G
That's just been paint-ed new;
------F-----G--------------------D7--G----F
Now she's took and married a keel-boat-man,
--------G-------D7-G-C
So it's time for me to go:
-------G----------------------------D7-G
But I would have loved you so, me dear,
--F------------G---F------G
I would have lov-ed you so!


Oh, a shake o' the foresheet pays for all
That a sailor leaves behind,
For an alehouse shot, and a friend forgot,
A sweetheart false or kind;
Now the bloomin' mudhook's off the ground,
And it's time for us to go:
But I would have loved you so, me dear,
I would have loved you so!

It's a long good-bye to Limehouse Reach,
And a last good-bye to you;
A feller's a fool to die for love,
Which I don't mean to do;
There's girls as smart in every port
From here to Cal-la-o:
But I would have loved you so, me dear,
I would have loved you so!

But I would have loved you so, me dear,
I would have loved you so!


Some may object to fitting Southern Appalachian tunes to nautical poems but there is a long tradition of doing that as with "Handsome Molly."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: radriano
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 04:49 PM

Dave Webber wrote a lovely melody for Limehouse Reach - it's on the album Constant Lovers which he recorded with Anni Fentiman.

C.F. Smith books are still around here and there. A copy of one of her books turned up at a used book store near my house with a price of only twelve dollars!


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Aug 01 - 08:06 PM

Thanks, Richard. I'll see if I can track down Constant Lovers.


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Subject: RE: BS: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: radriano
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 11:48 AM

Yes, Ickle, Salt of the Earth have disbanded.

Charlie, there are a couple more C.F. Smith poems set to music on an album by the Keelers whose band members are the same as those of Pinch o' Salt with one additional voice. The album is titled On The North Sea Ground and the two Fox poems are On The North Sea Ground and So Long. As in Pinch o' Salt, Alan Fitzsimmons wrote the melodies which I think are excellent. You can find all the albums I've mentioned at the Chanteycabin website. Click on the link below to get to it:

Chanteycabin

Richard


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Aug 01 - 03:25 PM

Richard, I like many of Alan Fitzsimmons' tunes for C. Fox Smith poems. The real test, however, will be if they survive as these poems circulate among the nautical folk crowd. As I mentioned above I find Alan's tune for "Shanghai Passage" too blues like for a sea song but then what do I do but kick it up to the Southern Appalachians. Still, it's my current favorite song to play with even if the rest of Roll & Go thinks it's too long.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: GUEST,GUEST: Hank Lay
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 01:56 PM

I stumbled on your thread in a Google search on C. Fox Smith, as I'm learning one of her poems set to music, "A Dog's Life" from "Six Sea Songs" by Michael Head (c)1949 by Boosey & Co. Ltd. Sure like to find a biography of her, since of all the sites I've visited, the most I can find is that "Miss Cicely Fox Smith" was "...a fascinating woman." She seems to have written not only poetry but books and magazine articles, descriptions of clipper ships, all sorts of things both nautical and not. Anything further would be most appreciated.

Hank Lay henry.p.lay@boeing.com


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 03:44 PM

Hank - you're right, she's a fiscinating woman and an excellent sea poet. The most biographical information I've seen was pulled together by Danny McLeod in his introduction of SEABOOT DUFF & HANDSPIKE GRUEL, a minibooklet that goes along with a recording of the same name performed by "Pinch of Salt." His mailing address is Elm Lodge Main Road Ryton, Tyne & Wear, NE 40 3AJ UK.

With a little luck you should be able to purchase working copies of some of her three principal sea poem books on the Bookfinder.Com website.

Her sea poems will be featured at a workshop at the Mystic Sea Music Festival in Mystic, CT, in early June.

What are the titles of the poems you have found in the book you have?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: lamarca
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 03:49 PM

Hank, one of your best bets for info on Cicely Fox-Smith would be to email Bob Zentz at the address Sandy Paton gave above: zentzfolk@aol.com

Bob has really gotten into collecting Fox-Smith's poetry and prose books and is trying to learn about her background - there is evidently no biography of her, and there are chunks of her life while she was off at sea that no-one knows about. She actually sailed on working boats, and worked as an ambulance driver on the front during WWI (as did Robert Service).

She was a very prolific writer, and it's a shame that her work hasn't been re-published - it's beautiful!


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 04:29 PM

And no one's mentioned Home Lad's Home which never fails to crack me up, by which I mean bring me to tears. I don't think I'd dare sing it.

And thanks to Dave Bryant for setting me right about the author of it being a woman. Sarah Morgan who put the tune to it also appears to have assumed Fox-Smith was a man, and I made the mistake from her sleeve notes. People forget about the women ambulance drivers in the Great War.

One interesting point about that song is that the first line in the original, and on the record Sarah made says "Overseas in India" - but nowadays everyone seems to sing it as Flanders, which is far more powerful. What a difference a change of place name makes.

The only song I know to put beside it is Dancing at Whitsun


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Madam Gashee
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM

My partner & I are avid CFS fans.
We currently have in excess of 30 books between us that Cicely has written & also some she edited.
There are at least another 20 out there!
Truely a remarkable lady, not really appreciated in her own time.
I often wonder what she would of made of our appreciation now?


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 05:03 PM

McGrath

This probably belongs on a separate thread, but there are several more songs by more recent songwriters about WW1, all with specific local roots, which crack me up, including The Antelope (Mick Ryan), 13 Florins on the Bar (Mike Sparks), "The Sergeant said 'Son'" (Steve Thomason). And there's Les Sullivan's "Menin Gate", which reminds us that the number of sailors killed on land in Flanders exceeded those lost at sea.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 05:06 PM

I could have sword I'd posted the words to the C.F. Smith poem "Homeward" that became "Home, Lads, Home." Will keep looking to see if I can find it.

Madam Gashee, if there were a way to go back in time and meet people, C.F. Smith would be at the top of my list.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 05:21 PM

Found it!
(Note Danny said the chorus was actually the third verse in the poem, but it was second in the version he sent me.)

One day, I want to learn the song...well, I can't remember the name, and the CD's in the car, but it has the line "Hard, hairy sailormen with weathered, tanned faces." (And yes, I like the whole song, not just that line.)
Jeri forgot a closing quote on the link. I fixed it. --JoeClone


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Madam Gashee
Date: 12 Feb 02 - 05:52 PM

I'm with you Jeri.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 04:40 AM

If anyone manages to publish a collection of Fox-Smith poetry, I'd be first in the queue to buy it. As I've posted before, she had that skill of telling the story in the style and vernacular of the (fictional) narator - rather like Kipling managed in some of his poems. When did she die - wasn't it in the 1950's ? Doesn't that make her material out of copywright by now ?


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Madam Gashee
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:13 AM

She died 8th April 1954.

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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 08:49 AM

Same year I was born.

Old and New Tradition features Danny & Joyce McLeod, Dave Webber & Anni Fentiman, Johnny Collins, Lou Killen and Brian Watson.

Should a biography of C.F. Smith and/or a collection of her poetry become available, I'd buy it/them in a flash!


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Michael in Swansea
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:23 AM

I now have 17 of her books in my possession, 2 more arrived this morning. "A Sea Chest" came from Iowa and "Adventures and Perils" from Connecticut. There's another 6 on order and then, in the words of Del Shannon, I'll have to "Keep Searchin'"
My credit card bill is due, something I'm not looking forward to. These books can COST!!!

Mike


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 09:39 AM

While I was recently in Oz, I made my way to the All at Sea nautical bookshop in Sydney and was told by the propriator there that he had recently sold a manuscript of C. Fox Smith sea poems, some not included in her books, with notes by her sister, to some collector; hopefully it was to a collector who will do something with it other than file it away. A pity that I hadn't arrived a month sooner.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: GUEST,JohnB
Date: 13 Feb 02 - 04:27 PM

I have a friend with a collection of approx 18+/-1 C Fox Smith books. He reckons she published about 27. There is one which he has called "Lancashire Hunting Songs and Other Moorland Lays" he has found no other reference to it anywhere. It was published in Manchester somewhere about 1905. Well being from Manchester, which is in Lancashire if you don't know your English geography. I sat down fascinated by this book, several times over a couple of days last September. I then came up with tunes to 4 of the poems. Something I have never done before. I guess where I am leading is, if I can do it anyone who wishes to probably can too. JohnB


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Michael in Swansea
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 06:48 AM

I counted 48 books with another couple where she just did the foreword. Lancashire Hunting Songs was first published in 1909.

Mike


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: ChanteyMatt
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 03:48 PM

Capt. Chris Flavel who operates "Sea Ocean Book Berth" here in Seattle, claims that all of the C.Fox Smith books can be had if you're willing to pay. Ain't that always the truth!


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Subject: ADD: Flying-Fish Sailor (C. Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Feb 02 - 04:51 PM

Here's another reworking of the C. Fox Smith sea poem "Flying Fish Sailor"; the tune is a variant of "Cold Frosty Morning", just one A-part and one B-part for you contradance fans (copy & paste into WORD/TIMES/12):

FLYING-FISH SAILOR
(By Cicely Fox Smith in Sea Songs & Ballads, © 1924; words slightly adapted by Charles Ipcar, © 2001; tune adapted from Cold Frosty Morning by Charles Ipcar, © 2001)

Dm-------------------------C----Dm
The Western Ocean roars and rolls
------C---------------------Dm-C
With all its deeps and all its shoals,
-----Dm-----------------------C---Dm
And many a thundering win-try gale,
-------------------------------C---Dm
And many a storm of sleet and hail;
--------------------------------C---Dm
But let who likes have rain and snow,
-----------G—C—G—Dm-F--C
And driv-ing fog and drift-ing floe,
----Dm---------------C---------Dm
For South away and Eastward Ho!
---------------------C-----------Dm
Is the road for the flying-fish sailor.

In Blackwall Dock our ship is moored,
Her hatches on, her stores aboard,
In Blackwall Dock she lies today,
And she'll sail out with the morning's grey –
For Sunda Strait and Singapore,
Palembang and Kuala Lumpur,
And many a swarming Eastern shore
That's known to the flying-fish sailor.

The girls they'll cry and the lads'll shout
As the sidewheel tug warps her out;
We'll drop the pilot off the Nore
With fond farewells to those ashore –
To mothers, wives and sweethearts too –
Love to Sally and love to Sue –
And that's the last for a year or two
You'll hear from the flying-fish sailor.

We'll slip the tow and bear away,
Down the Channel, across the Bay;
The Western Isles we'll leave behind
And cross the Line with the Trade Winds kind;
Then we'll watch the dolphins sport and play,
And haul our yards ten times a day,
While South'ard still we beat our way –
The way of the flying-fish sailor.

At Forty South when she swings past,
Her easting down she'll run at last,
Where the great whales swim in the far South Sea,
And the Westerlies blow full and free;
Those good old winds they bluster and blow
The same as they did years ago,
And the good old stars that we all know
Look down on the flying-fish sailor.

The darned old hooker will log sixteen,
She'll ship it heavy and ship it green,
She'll roll along with her lee-rail under,
While the big seas break aboard like thunder;
The pots and pans they'll carry away,
And the cook'll go down on his knees to pray,
But let the seas roar as they may,
All's one to the flying-fish sailor.

Next, old Sydney's Heads we'll see,
And greet a pal on Circular Quay;
We'll wave at Java Head as we go,
And Fuji's crest of frozen snow;
Then black-eyed girls in far Japan,
Wun Lee, Wang Ho and little Yo San,
With shining hair and twinkling fan,
Will smile on a flying-fish sailor.

When at last the day comes round,
We'll yank the mudhook from the ground,
And to old England we'll return,
Our pockets filled with pay to burn;
With a painted fan and an ivory comb
From foreign lands beyond the foam,
And a golden ring for the girl at home
That waits for the flying-fish sailor.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Gervase
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 06:06 AM

Here's the words to "Homeward" on which "Home, Lads Home" was based...

HOMEWARD

Behind a trench in Flanders, the sun was dropping low,
With tramp and creak and jingle I heard the gun teams go;
And some thing seemed to 'mind me, a-dreaming as I lay,
Of my old Hampshire village at the quiet end of day.

Home, lad, home, all among the corn and clover!
Home, lad, home when the time for work is over!
Oh, there's rest for horse and man when the longest day is done,
And they go home together at setting of the sun!

Brown thatch and gardens blooming with lily and with rose,
And the cool shining river so pleasant where he flows,
Wide fields of oats and barley, and elderflower like foam,
And the sky gold with sunset, and the horses going home!

Old Captain, Prince and Blossom, I see them all so plain,
With tasselled ear-caps nodding along the leafy lane,
There's a bird somewhere calling, and the swallows flying low,
And the lads sitting sideways, and singing as they go.

Well, gone is many a lad now, and many a horse gone too,
Of all the lads and horses in those old fields I new;
There's Dick that died at Cuinchy, and Prince beside the guns,
On the red road of glory, a mile or two from Mons!

Dead lads and shadowy horses --- I see them just the same,
I see them and I know them, and name them each by name,
Going down to shining waters when all the West's aglow,
And the lads sitting sideways and singing as they go.

Home, lad, home…with the sunlight on their faces !
Home, lad, home…to the quiet happy places!
There's rest for horse and man when the hardest fight is done,
And they go home together at setting of the sun!

Somehow the line "Going down to shinging waters" seems nicer than "While riding down to Swanmore" in the now well-known song.
Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman have covered a number of C Fox Smith's poems - if anyone wants their email address, just ping me and I'll pass it on.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 07:12 AM

So apparently "Home Lads Home/ Homeward" started out with "Flanders" in the first line, and was rewritten with "India" by some unknown person, who was probably a soldier stationed out there, and put in a magazine in that form. Then found by Sarah Morgan and made into a song still with "India".

And then moved back to Flanders by the people singing it? Either from instinct, or because someone went back and checked with the original?

Fascinating stuff. One thing I've wondered is whether "India" here actually means India itself, or whether it might possibly be a reference to some sector of the Western Front which was manned by Indian troops, and could have been given that as a nickname.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 09:41 AM

McGrath, no one sings the song with "Flanders" except Danny McCleod as far as I know.

The story from Danny and well as the words to the original poem, are in the thread I previously linked to.

Here it is again: Homeward


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: lamarca
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 10:45 AM

Jeri, Dave Webber and Anni Fentiman have started singing it with the Flanders line, too, now that the correct attribution is known - it makes it a more powerful piece, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 12:25 PM

I've think I've probably heard it with Flanders more often than with India, most recently last weekend when Dave Bryant gave us a powerful rendering during Stony Stratford.

It certainly seems to make a lot more sense that way, rather than starting with India, and then going to Flanders later on. It'd be intersting to find out how India came into it, and whether my speculation about it not actually being geographical India at all has anything in it.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: lamarca
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:47 PM

McGrath, my understanding is that the poem was reprinted in a magazine or newpaper for British foreign service or military personnel stationed in India (something like the USA's Stars and Stripes?) with the line changes that seemed to make it fit the audience better and without attribution. Sarah Morgan saw it there and did the tune setting; it was only fairly recently that someone actually traced it back to the C. Fox Smith original.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 03:19 PM

Danny speculated on how Flanders got replaced by India, and I posted that, as well as the name and date of the magazine in the thread about the song which I linked to a couple of times. There's stuff in there - trust me.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:20 PM

I did read that thread, with great interest - but I noticed that the reference to the rewriting (including India) was given as "possibly", and there was no indication of where the soldier in question might have been stationed that I saw.

Incidentally, here is an article about Indians who fought and died in Flanders.

I notice that the text gives Cuinchy as the place where "Dick" died, whereas it often seems to be sung as Givenchy, and the DT has it that way. Either would have ben quite possible, given their location - maybe is better known or something.

But Cuinchy deserves to be remembered. Here is a link to a site listing Victoria Cross winners - and there were four won at Cuinchy in 1915.

Here is a page with a photo of one of the Victoria Cross winners, Corporal O'Leary, a Canadian Irishman serving in the British Army, with an account of what happened:

"Lance-Corporal O'Leary was one of the storming party which advanced against the enemy's barricades. He rushed to the front and killed five Germans who were holding the first barricade, after which he attacked a second barricade 60 yards further on. This he captured after killing three of the enemy and taking two more of them prisoner. The lance-corporal thus practically took the position by himself and prevented the rest of the attacking party from being fired upon."


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:23 PM

Here is the link to the article in "The Hindu" about Indians in Flanders. My clicky went astray in the last post.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: GUEST,Hank Lay
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 08:06 AM

To Charley Noble:

Sorry it's taken me so long to answer your question; I've been out of town & off the Net. Your Q: What are the titles of the poems you have found in the book you have? ANS: Mine is "A Michael Head Song Album Volume III/Songs for Male Voices" (c1985,Boosey&Hawkes) and it contains only the one CFS work, "A Dog's Life", saying it's "from 'Six Sea Songs'. I've tried unsuccessfully to find that volume, to see if he'd set any more CFS poems to music. Don't know if it's out of print or if I've just not dug deep enough. Head (1900-'76) was almost a contemporary of Smith, and he wrote rather difficult but beautiful "art songs" as well as liturgical music. (Go to http://www.wargrave.net/stmarys/t2bcd.html and click on "The Singer" to hear a wonderful example.) He taught piano at the Royal Academy for most of his life, giving many recitals and concert tours, and composing mostly songs but also a few orchestral works. Surely he was familiar with much more of Smith's work, and probably wrote music for many poems, but I've yet to find it. HPL


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 09:17 AM

I mentioned a poem/song up above that I wanted to learn. I have the Pinch o' Salt CD, and I have the booklet that comes with it - I just can't find it!
(The booklet - I suspect I carefully separated it from my other music books so I could get at the words, and the booklet got sucked into the black hole that roams around my property. I'll find it again when I don't need it.)

If anyone has it in a book and could help me out...please?

It starts out:

Tall, rakin' clipperships, drivin' hell for leather
Swingin' down the forties in the eastern weather
.........
Bound for greater Frisco, not to be denied,
(more missing from brain) Those were the ships like Murphy used to sail in
Those were the ships he'd weathered many a gale in
.....
In the old days, the hard days
The done with mast and yard days
And ah, but they were grand days
The days when he was young.

...and the verse I referred to in my above post:

Hard, hairy sailormen with weathered, tanned faces
Hands bent from haulin' on sheets, tacks and braces
Brawn forearms tattered with strange devices
....
Those were the men like Murphy used to be with
Those were the sort of blokes he used to be with
...

Sorry there's so much missing from my head. I'll try to transcribe it from the CD at some point, but there are still words - mostly place names - I can't make out.

I don't know if I'll ever manage to sing the song because the tune has quite a wide range. I don't necessarily want to change it. The tune on the CD is perfect for the song. I listen to both words and tune and can vividly imagine the salt spray and wind, and feel the excitement of a way of life gone by, eloquently and passionately described by someone who had been there to experience it.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: radriano
Date: 27 Feb 02 - 12:10 PM

Jeri, here's the poem as it appears in the "Pinch 0'Salt" booklet:

Sailor's Delight

Tall raking clipper ships driving hell-for-leather,
Swinging down the Forties in the easting weather,
Old wooden Indiamen leaking like baskets,
With half their ratlines missing and rotten slings and gaskets;
Big fourposters out of Mersey and Clyde,
Bound for grain to 'Frisco, not to be denied,
Thrashing to the westward through the great Horn seas,
With a crowd of husky reefers and a dozen A.B.'s.

Those were the ships Mike Murphy used to sail in,
Those were the sort he weathered many a gale in,
Handed, reefed and furled in from Timor to the Tongue
In the old days, the hard days, the done-with mast and yard days,
(And 'ah, but they were grand days, them days when he was young!)


Seal oil, whale oil, ivory an' grain,
Lumber out of Puget Sound, an' wine out of Spain,
Deer's horns and jaggery they used to load at lost,
God-forsaken ports on the Coromandel coast..
Copra from the South Seas, coal out of Wales,
Copper ore, cinnamon, monkey nuts and nails:
Sweet cloves from Zanzibar, beans from Peru,
And a young white elephant consigned to the Zoo...

Those were the freights he sailed the world around with,
Those were the things he's been everything but drowned with,
Scorched an' soaked an' frozen from Cork to Chittagong,
In the sail days, the old days, the hungry days, the cold days,
(And 'ah, but they were fine days, them days when he was young!')


Hard hairy sailormen with weather tanned faces,
Hands bent with hauling on sheets, tacks, and braces,
Brawny forearms tattooed with strange devices,
And tough fingers skilled in cunning knots and splices...
Full of rum yarns and superstitious notions,
And odd bits of lingo from half a dozen oceans,
And many an old shanty, and old sailor song,
To while away a dog-watch, twenty verses long...

Those were the blokes Mike Murphy went to sea with,
Those were the sort of chaps he used to be with,
Shared his trick and whack with, laughed and swore and sung,
In the old days, the tough days, salt junk and leathery duff days,
(And 'ah but them was great days, them days when he was young!')



I hope I got all the codes right on this.
Cheers,
Richard

Fixed bold commands. (Changed to <b> and </b>) --JoeClone


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 04:18 PM

Well, I now have MP3 files of my adaptations of three C. Fox Smith poems:

Flying-Fish Sailor
Limehouse Reach
Shanghai Passage

Each one is about 1 mg in size, at a modest 32 kbts. I've recorded them directly into the computer via a Spirit Folio Notepad by Soundcraft – a new and exciting experience for myself, my partner, and our cat; the recording software is Cool Edit 2000. I've accompanied myself on 5-string banjo. I've also done a modest amount of adaptation with the lyrics, primarily to make them more singable.

I've already e-mailed copies to Danny McLeod and Bob Zentz but would be willing to do the same for a few other VERY interested people.


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Jeri
Date: 03 Mar 02 - 05:00 PM

Radriano, somehow I missed it when you posted the words I'd requested. Thank you VERY much! (Sheesh, did I ever Mondegreen 'em!)


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Madam Gashee
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 04:44 AM

I'm willing to be one of the few VERY VERY interested people!
If there's any chance? Please! Pretty please!


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Subject: RE: C. Fox Smith Sea Poems
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Mar 02 - 07:57 AM

Madam Gashee-

Send me a PM with your e-mail address. I'll have to send you 3 separate e-mails because as I've said above each file is about 1 mg, and tends to clog vulnerable internet lines, such as the one I send things through.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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