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Origins: Lukey's Boat

DigiTrad:
LUKEY'S BOAT


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Lukey's Boat (from Fowke/Johnston, Folks Songs of Canada, reprinted in Heritage Songster)


Joe Offer 06 Aug 03 - 09:09 PM
Joe Offer 06 Aug 03 - 09:47 PM
Nerd 07 Aug 03 - 12:11 PM
SeanM 07 Aug 03 - 12:50 PM
GUEST,Q 07 Aug 03 - 01:23 PM
GUEST, GEST 07 Aug 03 - 01:54 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 07 Aug 03 - 08:17 PM
Willie-O 08 Aug 03 - 08:24 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 09 Aug 03 - 01:53 AM
Joe Offer 06 Mar 04 - 07:23 PM
GUEST, mariner 07 Mar 04 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Luke Gautlon (great great grandson) 19 Apr 04 - 11:45 PM
GUEST,GAULTON 19 Apr 04 - 11:48 PM
GUEST,Dale Roberts 26 Aug 04 - 07:09 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 27 Aug 04 - 06:53 PM
GUEST,Jeff2004 31 Aug 04 - 10:25 AM
Nerd 31 Aug 04 - 01:35 PM
GUEST,Virtue Descendent 29 Nov 04 - 05:03 PM
GUEST,Tom 13 Jan 05 - 03:14 PM
GUEST 13 Feb 08 - 09:32 AM
GUEST,Neil D 13 Feb 08 - 01:37 PM
Nerd 14 Feb 08 - 01:50 AM
Nerd 14 Feb 08 - 01:50 PM
Nerd 14 Feb 08 - 06:38 PM
Nick E 14 Feb 08 - 07:47 PM
Snuffy 14 Feb 08 - 07:54 PM
Nerd 14 Feb 08 - 11:57 PM
PeadarOfPortsmouth 15 Feb 08 - 10:27 AM
Nick E 16 Feb 08 - 07:14 PM
Greg B 16 Feb 08 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Dale Roberts 29 Feb 08 - 10:48 AM
Bob the Postman 29 Feb 08 - 11:19 AM
GUEST 29 Mar 08 - 08:36 PM
Nerd 30 Mar 08 - 03:34 AM
Nerd 30 Mar 08 - 11:44 AM
RunrigFan 28 Mar 11 - 04:23 AM
RunrigFan 28 Mar 11 - 04:23 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Mar 11 - 05:43 PM
RunrigFan 29 Mar 11 - 09:36 AM
Willie-O 29 Mar 11 - 09:41 PM
GUEST,Elliott 09 Jan 13 - 11:08 PM
Sandy Mc Lean 10 Jan 13 - 03:21 PM
ollaimh 10 Jan 13 - 08:41 PM
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Subject: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:09 PM

There was another thread asking for a child's song from Canada from the mid-19th century. I see that the Traditional Ballad Index has only two songbook entries, the earlier one dated 1932. Can anybody give more background on this song?
-Joe Offer-
Here's the Ballad Index entry:

Lukey's Boat

DESCRIPTION: A song describing Lukey and his boat. The boat is "painted green... the finest boat you've ever seen," etc. Lukey observes that his wife is dead, but "I don't care; I'll get another in the fall of the year."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1929 (Greenleaf/Mansfield)
KEYWORDS: ship humorous nonballad
FOUND IN: Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Greenleaf/Mansfield 126, "Lukey's Boat" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/Johnston, pp. 46-47, "Lukey's Boat" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doyle2, p. 71, "Lukey's Boat" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doyle3, p. 40, "Lukey's Boat" (1 text, 1 tune)
Blondahl, pp. 44-45, "Lukey's Boat" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-NovaScotia 127, "Loakie's Boat" (1 text, 1 tune)

ST FJ046 (Partial)
Roud #1828
RECORDINGS:
Omar Blondahl, "Lukey's Boat" (on NFOBlondahl05)
Notes: [According to Blondahl, Doyle attributes this to] Mr Roberts, and others, Mrs Ira Yates, Mr Andrew Young, Twillingate, 1929. - BS
Creighton's informants say that the subject of the song lived in Lunenburg. - RBW
File: FJ046

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2008 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Check Barry Taylor's MIDI here (click).


There are three MIDI files (and lots of popups) at this site: http://nfldsongs.tripod.com/01/lukey.htm


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Subject: ADD Version: Lukey's Boat
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Aug 03 - 09:47 PM

LUKEY'S BOAT

1. Oh, Lukey's boat is painted green, Aha, me boys!
Oh, Lukey's boat is painted green,
The finest boat you've ever seen,
Aha me riddle I day.

2. Oh, Lukey's boat has a fine forecutty, Aha, me boys!
Oh, Lukey's boat has a fine forecutty,
And every seam is chinked with putty,
Aha me riddle I day.

3. Oh, Lukey's boat has a high stopped jib, Aha, me boys!
Oh, Lukey's boat has a high stopped jib,
And a patent block to her foremast head,
Aha me riddle I day.

4. Oh, Lukey's boat has cotton sails, Aha, me boys!
Oh, Lukey's boat has cotton sails,
And planks put on with galvanized nails,
Aha me riddle I day.

5. Oh, Lukey's rolling out his grub, Aha, me boys!
Oh, Lukey's rolling out his grub,
A barrel, a bag, and a ten-pound tub,
Aha me riddle I day.

6. Oh, Lukey he sailed down the shore, Aha, me boys!
Oh, Lukey he sailed down the shore
To catch some fish from Labrador,
Aha me riddle I day.


Reprinted in the Heritage Songster from Folk Songs of Canada by Edith Fulton Fowke and Richard Johnston, published by Waterloo Music Company Limited, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.This one is in the database, but I didn't see a tune. This tune doesn't quite sound like some of the recordings I've heard. Anybody know other variations?

ABC format:

X:1
T:Lukey's Boat
M:4/4
Q:1/4=180
K:G
D2G2A2B2|B2G2A2B2|E2D6|E2D6|G2G2A2B2|D2G2A2B2|
G2A2F2D2|A2B2G2D2|D2G2G2GG|A2G11/2||


Click to play

To play or display ABC tunes, try concertina.net


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 12:11 PM

I know some variant verses. For example, in the one I know, she is "planched with copper nails," and Lukey's grub is "one split pea in a ten pound tub." There are also some more verses in which he returns from sea to find his blinds drawn and concludes that his wife must be dead--surely an overreaction!
    Aha says Lukey, the blinds are down
    Me wife she's dead and she's underground.

    Now, says Lukey, I don't care
    I'll marry another in the spring of the year,

    etc.
The first people I heard singing this were Pam Morgan and Anita Best. Everyone in NFLD knows it, though, so if I've heard one version I've heard a hundred...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: SeanM
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 12:50 PM

I've heard one singer at a RenFaire singing a version of it unlike the only two recorded versions I've heard, but given the amount of alcohol that went into both singer and audience, can't recall the exact words. But it seemed to have about 15 verses.

Recorded, the only two I've run across are Great Big Sea, and Great Big Sea with the Chieftans.

M


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 01:23 PM

With guitar tabs and midi it is in GEST, "Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador" (no comments on origin): Songs NFLD
It is listed as traditional in the lyrics of the "Eastern Canada Songbook," Index: Songs Canada

The song is not in Peacock, "Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador," 3 vols. Odd, that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST, GEST
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 01:54 PM

Follow-up to SeanM's post, the Great Big Sea's version is titled simply "Lukey" on their 2002 album, Road Rage on their 1998 album, Rant & Roar and on their 1995 album, UP :-)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 07 Aug 03 - 08:17 PM

Lukey's Boat was recorded by Omar Blondahl 40 or more years ago.
Rodeo Records RBS-1231 16 Songs of Newfoundland. This album also included The Squid Jigging Ground and The Moonshine Can.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Willie-O
Date: 08 Aug 03 - 08:24 AM

Also recorded on what I have argued is the seminal recording of Newfoundland songs, Alan Mills' Folk Songs Of Newfoundland from the fifties. Omar Blondahl is fine too, but I think Mills was first.

This thread could almost go to the boatbuilding discussion. I've sure never heard the "galvanized nails" variant.

Mills' last two verses (after the Labrador one):
    Oh Lukey he looked round and round
    Aha, me byes.
    Oh Lukey he looked round and round,
    "Me wife is dead, for the blinds are down",
    Ah ha-ah-ah me riddle-I-day.

    O now says Lukey I don't care
    Aha, me byes.
    O now says Lukey, I don't care,
    I'll get me another in the fall of the year,
    Ah ha-ah-ah me riddle-I-day.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 09 Aug 03 - 01:53 AM

Willie,
You may well be right about Mills recording it first. I learned the song from early airplay of the Blondahal recording. I later purchased his album and still have it.
There has always been some overlap between the music of my native Cape Breton and our Newfoundland neighbours so their early recordings got plenty of local airplay here.
                Sandy


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Subject: ADD Version: Loakie's Boat
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Mar 04 - 07:23 PM

Loakie's Boat

Old Loakie's boat is painted green—A-ha,
Old Loakie's boat is painted green,
She's the finest boat you ever seen,
A-ha, doodle I dey.

Old Loakie he sailed down the shore—A-ha,
Old Loakie he sailed down the shore
To catch some fish from Labrador.
A-ha, doodle I dey.

Old Loakie he looked all around—A-ha,
Old Loakie he looked all around,
"My wife is dead, the blinds are down."
A-ha, doodle I dey.

Oh," says Loakie," I don't care "—---A-ha,
"Oh," says Loakie, " I don't care
For I'll get another in the fall of the year."
A-ha, doodle I dey.

from Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, Helen Creighton

Creighton's sources said this was composed about a man of the name who came from Lunenburg.
I won't post the tune - it's exactly the same as what's in Fowke/Johnston. Click to play.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST, mariner
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 09:55 AM

Coincidently, I was at a gig last night which featured the Newfoundland group "A Crowd of Bold Sharemen" According to Jim Payne, who sang "Lukey's Boat" with the band last night , it was written by a local NFL. woman (Can't remember her name, but he did mention it, i think) to take a rise out of the above mentioned Lukey. Then Lukey by way of kicking back at the woman, added the last verses.
A couple of years ago I managed to buy both the Omar Blondhal's and Alan Mills' albums, mentioned in the postings above. The Mills album also had a great book on the sources of the songs etc. Alan Mills album was certainly a great collection of songs, but his accent sounded false to me and tended to spoil the overall enjoyment of the album.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat (Jim Payne Correct)
From: GUEST,Luke Gautlon (great great grandson)
Date: 19 Apr 04 - 11:45 PM

Jim Payne is correct in saying it was written by a Newfoundland woman to get a rise out of Lukey. Luke was from Brookfield, Newfoundland. I'm his great great grandson. Hard to believe but in one of the volumes of a collection called "songs of newfoundland" a folklore prof from Memorial University of Newfoundland states the opinion that the song is in fact written about Luke Gaulton of Brookfield.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,GAULTON
Date: 19 Apr 04 - 11:48 PM

there was a typo in the previous message GauLTon


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Subject: Lukey's Boat Art inspired
From: GUEST,Dale Roberts
Date: 26 Aug 04 - 07:09 PM

I've just finished a piece of sculpture inspired by the title "Lukey's Boat" and tonight will give a lecture at the Victoria Art Gallery about the inspiration for the work.

You can email me for the image: daleroberts@shaw.ca

Greetings from BC
D. Roberts


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 27 Aug 04 - 06:53 PM

I love it when people state unequivocally who a well-known song was written by or about, and it's a relative of theirs.
I know of three totally unrelated people for whom John Martyn personally wrote the song May You Never. In each case it was a relative of the person who told me about it.
Mind you, I'm sure Luke Gaulton is absolutely right. I just wonder what evidence he has, other than the statement of a professor - I've known professors who profess to know many things.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Jeff2004
Date: 31 Aug 04 - 10:25 AM

The above mentions about Jim Payne's story behind the origins of Lukey's Boat are 100% true. I live approximately 25 minutes from the place in which Lukey's Boat was written and I will tell you the missing pieces of information.

The lady who wrote the song was the wife of the sealing captain Job Kean. Her name, as she was known in this area, was Aunt Virtue. There was in fact a man named Luke Gaulton and he and Aunt Virtue did not get along very well and Lukey's Boat was written one day as Aunt Virtue was looking at Luke work on his boat, more or less to critize his work. This next little piece of info plays role to the legendary unpublished verse of the song: Aunt Virtue and Job's house was also the boarding house for the doctors in the area. Now one night there was a concert at the Wesley Hall in the town of Wesleyville. And it was on this night that Aunt Virtue sang Lukey's Boat for the first time. And sure enough, Luke was in the audience. He wasn't gonna go down without a fight so he improvised the final verse which goes:

T'was Virtue Kean she wrote this song
A-ha, me b'ys
T'was Virtue Kean she wrote this song
She sleeps with the doctors all night long
A-ha, a-ha me riddle aye day

And there you have it. The 100% true story of Lukey's Boat. I work at a tourist site in the area and I tell that story to every group I take through.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 31 Aug 04 - 01:35 PM

Well, if it comes from the tourist industry then it MUST be true.

What Ewan said above still holds true. Many traditional (and non-traditional) songs have stories about their creation, which are in themselves folklore. They are folklore not necessarily in the sense of not being true (in the parlance of most folklorists, folklore includes both true and non-true stories) but in the sense of being passed on mostly orally and informally. What this means is that usually by the time we hear the story, some details have inevitably been changed, even if the story started out as true. Most often, the story has simply migrated from elsewhere and is not true.

Often there are clues as to whether a story is true or not. For example, the above story has one major hole in it: Lukey's boat is not criticized in the song, but called "the finest boat you've ever seen." So why would Lukey feel the need to retaliate? And how come no one sings the "Doctors" verse? Surely it's not THAT scandalous.

I'm not suggesting there is no truth to the above story, just that testimony from interested parties (a family member and a local tour leader) is often the least conclusive evidence.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Virtue Descendent
Date: 29 Nov 04 - 05:03 PM

The above story is true. Virtue Kean was my great grandmother. I first heard the story about her writing and singing that song when I was five years old. There was actually a local CBC special that aired in the late 1980's recognizing Virtue Kean as the originator of this song. Regarding her calling Lukey's boat "the finest boat you ever did see", obviously you have no inkling of Newfoundland humor. Our humor is built around irony. As in Ireland, it's a form of ridicule in which the victim is never sure whether the ridiculer is joking or serious. With that verse, Lukey knew he was being mocked. Get a clue.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Tom
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 03:14 PM

Here is link I ran across. It supports the story of Aunt Virtue.

http://www.nortonscovestudio.com/history.htm


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Feb 08 - 09:32 AM

I live in 'Aunt Virtue's' house, and i work in her shop. I've taken a great interest in the story of Lukey's Boat because of that connection with her.

I spoke with an elderly woman originally from Greenspond who was Virtue's niece (great niece or great-great)and she told me that when she was growing up, they sang,
"Oh Lukey's Boat is painted green
the prettiest john dominey ever did see"
John Dominey would have been a merchant in Greenspond at the time.

Nerd: you're not reading all the lines...
"one split pea and a ten pound tub" tells how cheaply Lukey feeds his crew members.
"I'll get me another in the spring of the year" shows his immorral attitude about love and marriage.
"every seam is chinched with putty" states that his boat is not in good condition
etc.

And as Virtue died in 1929, the song is older than thought!

There is a picture of Virtue Kean with a church group, and Mrs. Luke Gaulton is sitting right behind her. I wonder if it's the first or second Mrs. Luke Gaulton? She does look kind of sickly! look at it here: www.bonavistanorth.blogspot.com


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 13 Feb 08 - 01:37 PM

I have been a Great Big sea fan for a dozen years and I love this song. I sing it to my grandson Lucas to quiet him down when he's fussy. Many thanks to Luke Gaulton, Jeff2004, Virtue Descendant and Guest from this morning for the fascinating history of this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 01:50 AM

Nothing anyone has said really substantiates the "Aunt Virtue" story. As I have pointed out, the fact that our main sources for the story on this thread are descended from her and from Luke Gaulton makes their beliefs personal rather than objective. Jim Payne, smart and honest as he is, is an advocate for Newfoundland culture and has a bit of a vested interest in believing it's a NL song. The same is true of the unnamed NL folklore professor and TV crew who have reportedly made this claim. This still doesn't prove anything about the truth of the Aunt Virtue provenance.

The fact is, Helen Creighton was the first to collect this song from oral tradition, in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1929 or 1930. She published it in 1932 in a book entitled Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia. Fowke and Johnston used her version in their book on Folksongs of Canada, which is why they're both the same version, as Joe points out above.

Interestingly, the provenance of the song has been controversial since the early 1980s, when a Newfoundlander named J. Anthony Stephenson launched an attack on Edith Fowke and Helen Creighton, accusing them of wrongly attributing the song to Nova Scotia, and publishing it with the wrong tune. Stephenson initiated legal proceedings (Helen received a letter from his lawyer), which stirred Helen to check her notes, in order to defend herself. This she did, and found out that she'd gotten the song between 1929 and 1930, as I stated above.

Helen Creighton then called the brother of the man who had sung her the song, and asked if the singer had had any Newfoundland connections. No, he hadn't. She then asked if their father had sung the song. Yes, he had, many times. Their father had gone away in 1927 (I don't know if by this Helen means he had died, or if he emigrated or moved west at that time and never was able to sing to his sons again), so the son knew the father had sung the song in Nova Scotia before 1927. Satisfied that she could not be found guilty of either a scholarly error or a fabrication, she apparently ignored Mr. Stephenson until he went away.

In the Helen Creighton Fonds at the Public Archive of Nova Scotia, there exists an angry letter from Edith Fowke, defending herself and Helen. But as far as I know it is unpublished.

The above, by the way, is all documented in Clary Croft's Helen Creighton: Canada's First Lady of Folklore, p. 206 (which has a nice long quote from Helen's diary).

If you look at old NF collections, on the other hand, Lukey's Boat is not there. Not in Karpeles, nor in Greenleaf and Mansfield (both collections begun in 1929), nor in the entirety of Peacock's collection (begun in 1922 but continued for many years thereafter). The first citation I've seen of it from Newfoundland is from Gerald S. Doyle's second edition in 1940--at least 13 years after it was being sung in Dartmouth, NS by someone with no Newfoundland connections.

This is all to say that, nobody has shown that this song originated with Aunt Virtue, or even in Newfoundland. The evidence, in fact, points to Nova Scotia. It is not uncommon in folklore for stories about the origins of songs to attach themselves to real people, so just because there was a Luke Gaulton and an Aunt Virtue, which we know there certainly were, doesn't mean the song originated with them.

As Joe mentioned above, the Hartleys, who sang the song for Helen Creighton, had a story about it, too: it was about a real person, living in Lunenburg.

As a folklorist, who investigates such questions for a living, I'd say the strongest possibility is that the song is from Nova Scotia, and developed a legend (possibly true) connecting it to an actual person. That legend became what folklorists call a "migratory legend," which means that it travels around and attaches to actual people and places. The legend traveled with the song, attaching in Newfoundland to Mrs. Virtue Kean and Mr. Luke Gaulton. In that case, we'd absolutely expect to see descendants and local residents and the tourist industry all repeating the legend, which we've seen on this very thread.

If the song was really created in Newfoundland before 1929, on the other hand, I think we'd see it turn up in the collections being done then--especially if it had already gotten so widespread as to make it to Dartmouth and Lunenburg in NS. The fact that it doesn't show up in NL collections of the era is a big red flag that it might not be from there.

There's another possibility too, which would account for the evidence and make the Aunt Virtue story ALMOST true. The song could have originated in Nova Scotia, traveled to Newfoundland, and been adapted by Mrs. Virtue Kean to comment on Luke Gaulton. Note that the so-called critical verses are not in the Nova Scotia version. (By the way, about the insistence that the song is critical, I don't know. For example, caulking--chinching in NL--every seam with putty doesn't imply that the seams are bad, I don't think. Any boatbuilders care to comment?)

By the way, this is just a hypothesis, and I'm happy to be shown to be wrong on this. I have a special fondness for Newfoundland, and for Jim Payne, who has put me up under his roof, and for the guys in Great Big Sea, whom I've sung and danced with and interviewed and written about. Though I love Nova Scotia too, I've spent far more time in Newfoundland. (You hear "Lukey's Boat" in both provinces, by the way.) So if anyone can produce a published sighting of the song from Newfoundland before 1940, please do. I'll look through the materials I have access to at work and post if anything shows up. Next time I see Newfoundland folklorist Martin Lovelace, I'll ask him about the Karpeles notebooks, which he's studied. Karpeles says the published book contained 150 of 191 songs she collected, so it's possible she left Lukey out!

I'll post more if I learn anything...


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 01:50 PM

Correction, for the record.

I missed it. Lukey's Boat is indeed in Greenleaf and Mansfield--I don't know how I missed it in my copy at home!

This significantly increases the likelihood that it is from Newfoundland originally. However, the evidence is still inconclusive, as it turns up in Dartmouth and St. John's at about the same time.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 06:38 PM

One more note. I've just spoken with David Taylor, author of Boat Building in Winterton, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland. (Handily, he happens to be my boss, so I see him every day.)

His take from the verses he knows is that the song is not making fun of the boat. It's the narrator that comes off looking foolish. "Chinched with putty" and "planched with nails" aren't terms out of boatbuilding that he was aware of. Looking them up on the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, I find that they come primarily from housebuilding: "planching" is laying floorboards and "chinching" is sealing the walls of log homes. David says in Trinity Bay they weren't used for boats.

The proper term where he was was "corking" seams on a boat, which indeed means to seal against leakage in the DNE.

Furthermore, David says every seam would normally be corked. So it's not the technique that sounds wrong in this song, it's the description. Specifically, it sounds like a landlubber describing boatbuilding techniques.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nick E
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 07:47 PM

I admit to being a HUGE fan of Great Big Sea, which has in turn led a few years ago to this place.

As for using the incorrect boat building terms, that fits with the tongue in cheek nature of the song. The "prettiest boat that you've ever seen" was built like a house. Lukey's grub? 1 split pea in a ten pound tub, and this is on what must have been intended to be a fishing boat in some of the richest grounds in history.

None of this of course addresses the title of the thread "Origins..."
SO let me do that now...I know it is a song from Newfoundland and I'm pretty sure Alan Doyle wrote it.

Viewing the thread through Cod Colored Glasses (Or Blinders)
Nick


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 07:54 PM

Wikipedia says "Traditional caulking (also spelled calking) on wooden vessels uses fibers of cotton, and oakum (hemp fiber soaked in pine tar). These fibers are driven into the wedge shaped seam between planks with a caulking mallet and a broad chisel-like tool called a caulking iron. The caulking is then covered over with a putty in the case of hull seams, or in deck seams with melted pine pitch in a process referred to as paying."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 14 Feb 08 - 11:57 PM

Yes, Snuffy, the standard English word is "caulking." The NF dialect word is "corking" or "carking." See the Dictionary of Newfoundland English. But we're talking about the same process, and as you point out it uses oakum covered by putty. Every seam having putty in it is perfectly normal, not a symptom of disrepair or bad design.

Nick E., the point isn't that the boat was "built like a house." The point is that the normal operations of boat building are being described in housebuilders' terms. There's no difference between chinching and caulking (or corking)--both are sealing seams between boards or logs. It's just that one is the nautical term and the other the landsman's. So it's the person using the wrong words who looks foolish, not the person who built the boat.

It's like if I looked at a ship and said "wow, it must have lots of floors!" The crew would all roll their eyes, because the ship has decks, not floors. But it would be me that looked dumb, not the ship.

Finally, please read the thread. The song was collected in both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland forty years before Alan Doyle was born. No chance at all that he wrote it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth
Date: 15 Feb 08 - 10:27 AM

As someone who sings this song, I'm watching the thread with great interest. When anyone has ever asked its origins, I've told the "Aunt Virtue" story becauce I understood it was pretty credible. Can't wait to learn more as things are discussed.

In the meantime, can't a case be made that the use of homebuilding terms actually reinforce the Aunt Virtue story? She ran a boarding house and was herself a landlubber. She may have been a captain's wife, but wouldn't it be a big assumption that she would use trade specific terms?

For example:
* A doctor might talk over dinner about how he treated a fractured fibula, but his wife would say broken leg to the other soccer moms. * A stock broker might complain about a collapsing market due to subprime lending practices, but her husband might only say "headed for a recession" while working on the car with his buddy.

I understand the community she lived in would have a maritime culture, but should we assume that Aunt Virtue would use shipbuilding terms rather than house building terms? Does that expectation change if she is singing the song to landlubbers -- like the doctors who were her boarders -- who might be more familiar with landsman terms?

And I don't necessarily agree with the position that the use of the incorrect term isn't supposed to disparage the subject. She could be implying Lukey didn't know what he was doing, as in: "ha-ha, look at that fool...he 'chinked' his boat instead of corking it."

Peter


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nick E
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 07:14 PM

Well... Nerd Said " The NF dialect word is "corking" or "carking."

unless you stay on subject, where in the song discussed it is CHINKED...

OH MY COD! As for who wrote the song...

Nerd Sorry that my irony has escaped your net.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Greg B
Date: 16 Feb 08 - 09:54 PM

Nerd may be in danger of earning a new nick-name:

SPLASH

It's no wonder this 'folklorist' doesn't identify himself
by name.

Bill Doerflinger must be spinning in his proverbial.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Dale Roberts
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 10:48 AM

Here's a link to the crocheted artwork made with netting twine shipped from Clarenville, NL to Victoria, BC. . from the inspired song Lukey's Boat . . the day before the opening I got to meet singer/songwriter Teresa Doyle of PEI who allowed me to use her recorded version of the song to add to the experience of the show.

http://members.shaw.ca/daleandjohn/74.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 29 Feb 08 - 11:19 AM

Dale, my browser can't find the URL you mention but here's a clickie to the Dale Roberts home page.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 08:36 PM

and i forgot to say...

in 1922, george allan england (the greatest hunt in the world) writes that a man by the name of sturge (also a flower's island and brookfield family!) sang lukey's boat for the rest of the crew of the ship.

and the date that gerald s doyle collected the song in twillingate was 1929, not 1940.

by the way, as my father just pointed out to me, people here probably would have pronounced his name as 'lucky'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 03:34 AM

Nick E., you've missed my point. Yes, "chinked" is the word in the song, but it's not the word that would have been used by a boatbuilder in Newfoundland. My source for this, as I said, is David Taylor, author of Boatbuilding in Winterton, Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, whose book and photos became the basis of the Winterton Boat Building Museum. If you think you know better, that's fine. I'm not the expert on that.

Of course, I also missed your point. I see now you were joking about Alan Doyle...sorry!

Peter makes good points--using the wrong words COULD be a way of making fun of the boat builder, or it COULD be because Aunt Virtue ran a boarding house, but it can't be both!

Greg B., it's funny you should mention Bill Doerflinger. I am one of the people to whom Doerflinger's collection of recordings is entrusted, at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. I am working with his collection right now, in fact, and was just quoted at length on it in the magazine English Dance and Song. Many people on this list know my real name...if you don't you can find out pretty easily.

I did make one mistake above, which I myself corrected later. So, shame on me, I suppose, for daring to admit it.

Since Greg B. casts aspersions on my credentials as a folklorist with his obnoxious quotation marks, I might as well say that my PhD in folklore is from the University of Pennsylvania, and my advisor and beloved mentor was Kenneth S. Goldstein, whose importance to the field of Newfoundland folklore is widely recognized. I've been to Newfoundland myself seven times (once with Kenny), and am well known to most of the folklorists in the department at Memorial. I even took the trouble to consult with folklorists trained at Memorial before weighing in on this thread.

As I said above, I have no particular dog in the fight as to where "Lukey's Boat" originated. I merely point out that it was first collected in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in the same year; that when someone tried to legally "prove" that the song came from Newfoundland, by suing Helen Creighton, he failed; and that, as Joe Offer pointed out above, the Nova Scotians also have a story connecting it to local characters. Both stories can't be true.   All the bluster of the Greg Bs of the world won't make either story any truer, so bluster away, Greg!

GUEST provides an intriguing reference to England's logbook--I'll have to check it out. It would lend credence to a Newfoundland origin. Have you got an edition/page number, GUEST?

GUEST's point on pronunciation is also well taken; in fact, as Joe pointed out back up top, Creighton called her Nova Scotia version "Loakie's Boat."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Nerd
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 11:44 AM

On the question of recordings, according to Neil Rosenberg, the now-retired head of Folklore at Memorial University, the first recording of Lukey's Boat was by Art Scammell, sometime in the 40s, after 1943 (the only discography to have included the record, Michael Taft's, apparently got some of the dates wrong, but Rosenberg says it was "not long after" Scammell's first records in 1943). The second was by Alan Mills (1952), and the third by Omar Blondahl, soon after he moved to Newfoundland from his native Saskatchewan in 1955.

This information can be gleaned from the article posted here , and its footnotes.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Lukey's Boat (
From: RunrigFan
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 04:23 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lukey's Boat
From: RunrigFan
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 04:23 AM

Browser jumped

Lukey"

Well oh, Lukey's boat is painted green,
Ha, me boys!
Lukey's boat is painted green,
The prettiest boat that you've ever seen,
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!

Well oh, Lukey's boat's got a fine fore cuddy,
Ha, me boys!
Lukey's boat's got a fine fore cuddy,
And every seam is chinked with putty,
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!

Well I says "Lukey the blinds are down"
Ha, me boys!
I says "Lukey the blinds are down"
"Me wife is dead and she's underground"
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day

Well I says Lukey "I don't care"
Ha, me boys!
I says Lukey "I don't care"
"I'll get me another in the spring of the year"
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!

Oh, Lukey's rolling out his grub,
Ha, me boys!
Lukey's rolling out his grub,
One split pea, and a ten pound tub,
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!

Well, Lukey's boat's got high-topped sails,
Ha, me boys!
Lukey's boat's got high-topped sails
The sheet was planted with copper nails,
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!

Lukey's boat is painted green,
Ha, me boys!
Lukey's boat is painted green,
It's the prettiest boat that you've ever seen,
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!
A-ha, me boys a-riddle-i-day!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Lukey's Boat
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Mar 11 - 05:43 PM

RunnungFan, please check Lyrics and Knowledge Search before you post.

The lyrics are in the DT
The song was posted back in 2003. Joe Offer made a midi.
Thread 4774 has comments on the song, its Newfoundland provenance, and its inclusion in "Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador."

Thread 4774
Lukeys Boat


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: RunrigFan
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 09:36 AM

Oops sorry, I put loakey and couldn't find anything sorry ;(


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Willie-O
Date: 29 Mar 11 - 09:41 PM

wow, this thread has come a long way. Twillingate to Lunenburg and back again, pistols drawn and fisticuffs engaged...the process at its best!

Mariner's point made eight years or so ago is fair enough--Alan Mills was not a Newfoundlander, but a major Canadian folk singer of the early revival period--but fortunately for me, being a poor mainlander myself, I couldn't tell the difference between his accent and a real one, so it never bothered me!

I still prefer the Newfoundland origin, but most of all, I am thrilled that there was someone named "Virtue Kean".

W-O


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: GUEST,Elliott
Date: 09 Jan 13 - 11:08 PM

I am a descendant of Virtue Kean. My grandfather inherited the store and house before it was sold to Janet Davis. I have in my possession the piano that was in the house, that was owned by Virtue. My grandfather Job Kean always said that she would play very often and was educated in music. This adds to the evidence that she had the capability to compose such a song and perform it in front of group of people. I strongly believe that she was the one who wrote the song, and that the nova scotia version is not the true origin of the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 03:21 PM

This has been a very interesting thread with differing opinions without descending into a mudhole, as has happened to other threads of this nature!
I have nothing to add to the song's origin but this:
In early part of the last century fishermen from Nova Scotia and Newfoundland both sailed in Saltbank Schooners to common fishing grounds. Dories lowered from these schooners would fish trawl lines in close proximity to each other and the fishermen often sang to pass the time as they worked. Therefore these men would return to home port with newly learned songs exchanged both ways. No doubt in true folk tradition songs were modified to reflect local places and people. It is not at all surprising that similar folk songs were collected from distant places at about the same time.
The story of Aunt Virtue is fascinating and convincing as to her at least composing a version of the song!
It's because of threads like this that I love the Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Lukey's Boat
From: ollaimh
Date: 10 Jan 13 - 08:41 PM

runrigfans lyrics are the ones i learned so long ago i can't remember where i got them. however he';s missing a couple of verses.

i was long aware helen creighton collected in early, and that may support a nova scotia origion but i think sandy maclean has the real point. this was probably a song shared by the fishermen who frequented the same grounds and the song is of the form that people improvised the lyrics. there were probably many improvised version but after publication the common version became the one most people sang. i have heard many other lyrics over the years. i guess i should have written them down, but i didn't.

multiple origions are possible for a widely sung tune with a basic theme. then the lyrics get sort of standardized when they get published. remember that most of the people singing these things now have never worked in a fish boat, or are even a generation from someone who did. the |neo| folkies can often forget the efferminal nature of popular working class songs.

and ps, i did work in a fish bot when i was 17, and i do not recomend it. let your babies become cowboys anyday


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