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Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba

Charley Noble 30 Jun 02 - 11:33 AM
masato sakurai 01 Jul 02 - 09:04 AM
Charley Noble 01 Jul 02 - 10:18 AM
Charley Noble 01 Jul 02 - 09:09 PM
Charley Noble 03 Jul 02 - 08:48 AM
Charley Noble 05 Jul 02 - 03:06 PM
MMario 05 Jul 02 - 03:09 PM
Barry Finn 05 Jul 02 - 11:36 PM
Charley Noble 06 Jul 02 - 10:57 AM
Dead Horse 07 Jul 02 - 06:25 AM
Charley Noble 07 Jul 02 - 10:03 AM
Charley Noble 12 Jul 02 - 06:52 PM
Barry Finn 14 Jul 02 - 08:51 PM
Charley Noble 15 Jul 02 - 08:57 AM
radriano 15 Jul 02 - 12:05 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: RUNNING DOWN TO CUBA (from Johnson Girls)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Jun 02 - 11:33 AM

In the DT is a version of this newly popular shanty which runs:

RUNNING DOWN TO CUBA

To Cuba's coast we are bound, me boys,
'Way, me boys, for Cuba!
To Cuba's coast, now don't you make a noise,
And we're running down to Cuba.

The captain he will trim the sails
Winging the water over the rails.

Oh my God! How the wind do blow
Running south from the ice and the snow.

Give me a gal who can dance the 'dango
Round as a melon and sweet as a mango.

To Cuba's coast we are bound away
To Cuba's coast at the breaking of the day
.
(I've got a gal about nine feet tall etc. etc._)
@sailor
filename[ CUBARUN
RG

Apparently there is no further discussion of this song although I know it's one of Barry Finn's favorites. The Johnson Girls have recorded another version on their splendid CD which runs:

RUNNING DOWN TO CUBA-2
Running down to Cuba with a load of sugar,
'Way, me boys, for Cuba!
Make her run, you lime-juice squeezers,
Running down to Cuba.

'Way, me boys, for Cuba!
Running down to Cuba;
'Way, me boys, for Cuba!
Running down to Cuba.

Running down to Cuba with a press of sail?
Flinging the water all over the rail...

Oh, I've got a gal about nine feet tall?
She sleeps in the kitchen with her feet in the hall?

Oh, I've got a gal, her name is Jane?
You can guess where she gives me a pain?

Give me a gal who can dance Fandango?
Cheeks like a melon and sweet as a mango?

Load the sugar and homeward go?
Mr. Mate, he told me so?

It's curious that anyone would be running down to Cuba "with a load of sugar" rather than "for a load of sugar" and in the last verse they are loading up sugar for their return voyage. The Johnson Girls explain in their notes that the point of the song was a protest against meaningless work. Any other versions or thoughts?

I've also heard a more complex refrain sung which I tend to prefer; for the first verse this would run:

Running down to Cuba with a load of sugar,
'Way, me boys, for Cuba!
Make her run, you lime-juice squeezers,
Running down to Cuba.

'Way, me boys, for Cuba!
Make her run, you lime-juice squeezers,
Running down to Cuba.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: masato sakurai
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 09:04 AM

Shanghaied on the Willamette's recording (sound clip, with lyrics) can be heard HERE.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 10:18 AM

Masato-

Thanks for the link to "Shanghaied in Willamette." I'm planning to visit Portland, Oregon, in September and the contact could prove a delight.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 02 - 09:09 PM

BARRRRRRYYYY!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Jul 02 - 08:48 AM

Blub,blub...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jul 02 - 03:06 PM

blub...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: MMario
Date: 05 Jul 02 - 03:09 PM

maybe you'd better PM Barry, charley - before you go down for the third time!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Barry Finn
Date: 05 Jul 02 - 11:36 PM

Hi Charley
You're right as far as I see. You could run down to Cuba "for" sugar or run from Cuba "with" a load of sugar. The middle passage of the slave trade would have slavers running down to Cuba with slaves, running to New England with sugar or molasses then running to England (or elsewhere) & then completing the circle by running back down to Africa. This would be the North Alantic circle route, following the trade winds (& the gulf stream) or running before the (trade)winds or running downwind with the wind at your back. The other triangle route was Europe (or England, hence limejuice squeezer) to Africa to West Indies & finally back to Europe. Even if this is not refering to any leg of the slave trade, Cuba along with the many other islands of the area were the producers of sugar so the verse with "load the sugar & homeward go" would make more sense to me than the rest. Unless they're (the ship) loaded with sugar & running down though the next leg of the circle that would eventually bring them back to Cuba (not likely I think). Musically Running down "FROM" Cuba would be as singable as "TO". Not much help as far as clearing this up for you, maybe someone with a better grasp of the running down or the song's history will do you better.
Better luck Charley, Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jul 02 - 10:57 AM

Thanks, gasp, Barry! You came back just in time. Now maybe someone from The Johnson Girls will tune in and explain how they came up with their "anti-chantey" or nonesense explanation for "Running down to Cuba WITH a load of sugar." Quoting from their CD notes:

"sung by the sailors when they felt they were being made to do unnecessary or meaningless work. Instead of hauling on a line, they would stomp three times on deck. It was one of the rare instances when sailors voiced their grivances in active protest and within earshot of officiers."
I like the explanation but I'd like to know who should be credited with it.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Dead Horse
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 06:25 AM

It's in Hugill, Shanties from the Seven Seas.
He quotes Rex Clements book "A Gipsy of the Horn"(1924)
"There was even a shanty for doing nothing at all. It was like the others with solo and chorus and was sometimes started by a discontented crowd who felt they were having their old iron worked up unnecessarily. One of the men would begin: "I've got a sister nine foot high" and was taken up by the chorus, "Way down in Cuba" but instead of heaving, the words were followed by three short jumps. It was very infrequently heard and always came to an abrupt end after the first line, in obedience to an angry order from the mate - "Stop that!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jul 02 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for the citation, Dead Horse, which if I wasn't so lazy I might have found myself, a good story.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Jul 02 - 06:52 PM

Dead Horse's citation is not so easily found; it's on pp. 27 of SHANTIES OF THE SEVEN SEAS, in the introduction.

However, I'm still not sure where the above verses in this thread came from. I haven't found more than fragments in any of my shanty books.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Jul 02 - 08:51 PM

Hugill recorded a tape with this on it, "A Salty Fore Topman" with Stormalong John. It's on tape but I don't know how it's available & (&I can no longer remember where I got it). The notes about are the same as above. The notes about the recording says it was recorded at the studios of BBC Radio, Merseyide by "Folk Scene (no dates).
Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 08:57 AM

Thanks, Barry. My personal interest in this song is that Maine captains and crews in the mid 19th century would often make a run down to Cuba with a cargo of lumber, load up with sugar and rum for London, and then bring back a variety of goods to the states. Many of these captains were in the early twenties when the rose to command their family built ships and barks. Unfortunately, I haven't run across any references to any sea shanties in the diaries I've had access to. I may try reworking this one.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Running Down to Cuba
From: radriano
Date: 15 Jul 02 - 12:05 PM

Hi everyone,

Stan Hugill's recording "A Salty Fore Topman" can be obtained through the Chanteycabin website. Originally it was a cassette but it's now available as a CD as well. Click on the link below for the website.

The Chanteycabin is a clearing house run by Ken and Jan Lardner. After cruising their site you can e-mail a message to them saying what you wish to buy. They'll e-mail you back with info on how much the item(s) will cost in any country's currency. They're very friendly and the site is also user friendly.

Chanteycabin website

Richard


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