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Origins: Blow the Man Down

DigiTrad:
BLOW THE MAN DOWN
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (2)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (3)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (4)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (5)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (6)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Blow the Man Down (Phil Beer) (15)
Lyr Req: blow the man down (24)
(origins) What does blow the man down mean? (135)
Lyr Add: Blow the Man Down, Pacific NW version (8)


Celtic.Relics.com 21 Jul 02 - 08:09 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Jul 02 - 08:50 PM
Wincing Devil 21 Jul 02 - 10:53 PM
GUEST 21 Jul 02 - 11:11 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 21 Jul 02 - 11:32 PM
Charley Noble 22 Jul 02 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 22 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM
Mrrzy 22 Jul 02 - 12:37 PM
Dead Horse 22 Jul 02 - 01:42 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 22 Jul 02 - 02:01 PM
EBarnacle1 23 Jul 02 - 11:10 AM
Jon Bartlett 23 Jul 02 - 04:53 PM
Amos 23 Jul 02 - 04:59 PM
Barry Finn 23 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Jul 02 - 05:07 PM
Gypsy 24 Jul 02 - 11:28 AM
greg stephens 24 Jul 02 - 11:55 AM
DonD 24 Jul 02 - 12:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 07 - 02:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 07 - 03:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 07 - 03:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jun 07 - 05:37 PM
Lighter 23 Sep 19 - 07:28 PM
meself 23 Sep 19 - 08:07 PM
Lighter 25 Sep 19 - 10:11 AM
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Subject: Blow the man down (?)
From: Celtic.Relics.com
Date: 21 Jul 02 - 08:09 PM

I'm now looking for a old shanty type song, with a chorus something like this...

"Blow the man down laddie, blow the man down. You'll heave and hoe till ya blow her down."

It was a song my grandfather sang. He was a fisherman on the Bay. Was this a full actual song or just a creation from my eccentric grandfather? What's the background on this song, if any? Anyways, I am sure my fellow Mudcatters will come through once again. Many thanks!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jul 02 - 08:50 PM

Type blow the man in the DT and forum search and up come several versions plus discussions in the threads. All chanty-shanty singers are eccentric.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLOW THE MAN DOWN
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 21 Jul 02 - 10:53 PM

BLOW THE MAN DOWN


I'm a Flying Fish sailor, just home from Hong Kong!"
To me way, hey, blow the man down,
Just give me some whiskey and I'll sing you's a song!
Give me some time to blow the man down.


As I was a-walking down Paradise Street,
A hansome young policeman I chanced for to meet,

Says he, "You're a Black Baller from the cut of your hair;
I can tell by those high red-topped sea boots you wear.

Mister Oh Mister, you does me great wrong,
I'm a Flying Fish sailor, just home from Hong Kong!"

So I spat in his face, and I stove in his jaw;
Says he then, "Young feller, you're breaking the law!"

They gave me six months down in old Walton town,
For kicking and punching and blowing him down.

Oh listen young fellers, and heed what I say!
Steer clear of fat policemen, you'll find it'll pay!

Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow him away,
Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow him to stay.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jul 02 - 11:11 PM

There are three versions in Colcord's 'American Seas Songs and Shanties' called "Black Ball Line", "Blow the Man Down I", and "Blow the Man Down II". I learned a version on Puget Sound, 1943-44 (when Black Ball still ran the ferries), and it was called "Blck Ball Line".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jul 02 - 11:32 PM

Six versions in the DT, including one slightly variant to the one posted by Wincing Devil, "Blow the Man Down (6)". Enter 'blow the man' or 'blow the man down' and all of them come up. Use upper case on 'Blow ...' and only version 3 comes up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 10:06 AM

My brother and I used to have visions of sailors and such "blowing one another down" via lung power, until some well-intentioned and informed adult told us that fists, belaying pins, and other sundry objects were the more likely delivery mode. Just a memory!;~)

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 10:24 AM

It's one of the best occupational songs, by the standard of productivity -- a couple of verses are pretty standard, but then there's a world of variation you never get to the end of. It's for somebody else to judge whether it's legitimate for somebody who's not a sailor, let alone a Black Baller, to compose additional verses. I believe "blow the man down" meant to lower the main sails ("mains'l" or "muns'l"), a complicated and potentially dangerous task requiring a lot of coopreation and coordination. But I don't know what kind of vessel we'd be talking about, or how many main sails it would have.

Best,

Adam


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 12:37 PM

(I'll bite) If you blow most men, they do go down, don't they?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Dead Horse
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 01:42 PM

There's only one mainsail, it,s the main sail on the main mast, dammit!!!Blackballers did sing a couple of versions of the shanty, but they didn't own it, 'twas sung by most crews of other lines on the Atlantic runs. Several other versions were sung on other oceans.
aND nOT aLL ShAnTysinGErs are ECCEntriC, Dicho!!
And Mrrzy is just a prevert. Women are O.K. but not as good as the real thing!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 22 Jul 02 - 02:01 PM

hI, dEaD hOrSe! I rest my case. No by-blows that way, Mrrzzy.
Perhaps the first song I learned in grade school. Along with "A capital ship...." Later, I often wondered where the teacher (she) had picked up seafaring songs; she gave us a lot of them (no, couldn't be!).
Perhaps she used them because chanteys have a beat and are easily remembered by kids.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 11:10 AM

I'm still waiting to hear from my source down in Bequia about the chorus couplet "Way, hay, give us some rum....Give us some rum, we'll haul the boat down."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 04:53 PM

"Blow the man down" means "knock him down" (as in a fist fight).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 04:59 PM

Well, you will find several sails on a full-rigged mainmmast, but only one of them is the actual main's'l. The others are named other things, like t'gallant.

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 05:00 PM

Roger Abrahams collected a version from the West Indian isle of Nevis:

BLOW THE MAN DOWN
Hit him a lick & fetch him a kick
CH: And a yea, yea blow the man down
Blow The man down in the hole below
CH: Low me some time to blow the man down

Allen Lomax also collected a version in 1935 from the town of Nassau, Bahamas:

ROLL HIM ALONG

Le'(Let's) we jerk him along, le we kick him along
CH: Hey-ay pull him along
Give me a little time for to kick him along
CH: Give me some time to roll him along

Deorflinger (Shantymen & Shantyboys) "it is said that packet sailors called the 2nd & 3rd mates 'Blowers & Strikers'. Colcord (Roll & Go) 'The earliest version again celebrates the Black Ball Line, & the hard lives that were lived aboard those ships. It should be noted that in those days, "blow" meant to "knock".
The 2 Island tunes say pretty close to the more common versions with the exception of the slight & lovely differences in their singing of the choruses.
Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Jul 02 - 05:07 PM

Nowadays, to blow the man away means to kill him. A modern upgrade.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: Gypsy
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 11:28 AM

Gee, and i tend to agree with Mrzzzzzzzzy. But i might rearrange the sentance a bit.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: greg stephens
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 11:55 AM

Memories,eh, Mrrzy, memories. Takes you back doesnt it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Blow the man down (?)
From: DonD
Date: 24 Jul 02 - 12:07 PM

Black Ballers didn't sail on the line that ran the Puget Sound Ferries, did they?


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Subject: RE: What does blow the man down mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 May 07 - 02:46 PM

Lyr. Add: BLOW THE MAN DOWN
The Shanty Book I, Terry

1.
Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down.
To me Way-ay, blow the man down.
Oh, blow the man down, bullies, blow him away.
Oh gimmie some time to blow the man down.
2.
We went over the Bar on the thirteenth of May.
To me Way-ay, blow the man down.
The Galloper jumped, and the gale came away.
Oh gimmie some time to blow the man down.
3.
Oh the rags they was gone, and the chains they was jammed,
To me, Way-ay ...
And the skipper sez he, "Let the weather be hanged."
Oh gimmie ...
4.
As I was a-walking dorn Winchester Street,
To me way-ay ...
A saucy young damsel I happened to meet.
Oh gimmie ...
5.
I sez to her, "Polly, and how d'you do?"
To me Way-ay ...
Sez she, "None the better for seein' of you."
Oh gimmie ...
6.
Oh it's sailors is tinkers, and tailors is men.
To me way-ay ...
And we're all of us coming to see you again.
Oh gimmie ...
7.
So we'll blow the man up and we'll blow the man down.
To me Way-ay ...
And we'll blow him away into Liverpool Town.
Oh gimme some time ...

No. 16, Blow the Man Down, (Halliards).
Richard Runciman Terry, 1921, "The Shanty Book I, Sailors' Shanties, J. Curwin, London.
In the introduction by old sailor Walter Runciman, he remarks: "...several shanty collections are in the market, but as a sailor I am bound to say that only one-- Capt. W. B. Whall's 'Sea Songs, Ships, and Shanties' -- can be regarded as authoritative."
"Dr. Terry's qualifications as editor are exceptional, since he was reared in an environment of nineteenth-century seamen, and is the only landsman I have met who is able to render shanties as the old seamen did."
On line, Gutenberg Books.


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Subject: RE: What does blow the man down mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 May 07 - 03:22 PM

I asked in a post 20 May 07 if 'blowers,' 'strikers,' had anything to do with the meaning of 'blow the man down;' The explanation still seems to be to raise sails and make way.

The many variants all stem from the chantey singer singing a story that will keep the crew interested and working in time with the task.

Here is a variant on DT 6 from "Cahiers de chants de marins," no. 2, in both English and French.

Lyr. Add: BLOW THE MAN DOWN

As I was a-rollin' down Paradise Street
Timme way hay blow the man down
I big Irish copper I chanced for to meet
Oh give me some time to blow the man down.

Says he yer a Black Baller by the cut of your hair
Says he yer a Black Baller for the clothes that you's wear

Says you've sailed in some packet that flies the Black Ball
Hey you've robbed some poor Dutchman of boots clothes and all

Oh policeman oh policeman you do me great wrong
I'm a flying fish sailor just home from Hong-Kong.

So I stoved in his face an' I smashed in his jaw
Says he young feller you're breaking the law.

Oh Liverpool ship with a Liverpool crew
A Liverpool mate and a scouse skipper too.

Oh we're Liverpool born and we're Liverpool bred
Big in the arm and thick in the head.

An' blow the man up bullies blow the man down
With a crew of hard cases from Liverpool town.

La Chasse-Marée/Armen, Oct. 1995. With musical score.

French to be posted later.
English John Wright and Paul Adamthwaite


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Subject: RE: What does blow the man down mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 May 07 - 03:56 PM

Lyr. Add: BLOW THE MAN DOWN (French)

En tanguant dans la rue du Paradis
Cogne-lui dessus
Je suis tombé par hasard sur un grand flic irlandais
Donne-moi le temps de lui cogner dessus

Il dit t'es marin de la Compagnie de la Boule Noire d'après
   ta coupe de cheveux
T'es de la Boule Noire d'après les vêtements que tu portes

T'as voyagé dans quelque paquebot qui arbore la Boule Noire
T'as volé les bottes les vêtements et tout à
   quelque pauvre Hollandais

Monsieur le policier vous me faites un grand tort
Je suis matelot sur les long-couriers de l'Est et je rentre
   tout juste de Hong-Kong

Alors je lui ai démoli le visage cassé la mâchoire
Il dit jeune homme tu ne respectes pas la loi

Unnavire de Liverpool avec un équipage de Liverpool
Un second de Liverpool et le patron aussi

Nous sommes nés et nous avons été élevés
   à Liverpool
Avec de gros bras les gars et pas fins de la tête

Cognez-lui dessus mes braves cognez-lui dessous
Avec un é'quipage de durs de la ville de Liverpool.

"Cahiers de chants de marins," p. 7, to be combined with the English translation in the preceeding post. Chasse-Marée/ArMen.
From the gathering at Brest, 1992, with participants from all over.


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Subject: RE: What does blow the man down mean?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 09 Jun 07 - 05:37 PM

Lyr. Add: BLOW THE MAN DOWN
Captain Davis, 1887

1.
Solo
I'll sing you a song, a good song of the sea,
Chorus
To me aye, aye, blow the man down!
Solo
And trust that you'll join in the chorus with me;
Chorus
Give me some time to blow the man down.
2.
Solo
There was an old skipper, I don't know his name,
Chorus
   To my aye, aye, blow the man down;
Solo
Although he once played a remarkable game,
Chorus
   Give me some time to blow the man down.
3.
For his ship lay becalmed in the tropical seas,
   To me aye, etc.
And he whistled all day, but in vain for a breeze*
   Give me some time ...
4.
But a seal heard his whistle and loudly did call**,
   To me aye ...
"Roll up your white canvas, jib, spanker, and all,
   Give me some time ...
5.
I'll bring some good fish to consult, if you please,
   To me aye...
The best way to get you a nice little breeze,"
   Give me some time ...
6.
The first fish to come was a hoary old shark,
   To me aye ...
Saying, "I'll eat you up if you play any lark,"
   Give me some time ...
7.
The next was a whale, aye, the biggest of all,
To me aye ...
He climbed up aloft and he let each sail fall,
Give me some time ...
8.
The mack'rel came next, with his pretty striped back,
   To me aye ...
He hauled aft each sheet and he boarded each tack,
   Give me some time ...
9.
The herring came, saying, "I'm King of the Seas,"
   To me aye ...
"If you want any wind I'll blow you a breeze,"
   Give me some time ...
10.
But the skipper the mackerel ate for his tea,
   To me aye, ...
The herring he salted, the seal harpooned he,
   Give me some time ...
11.
He baited a hook, and he thought it a lark,
   To me aye ...
To catch as he did, that hoary old shark,
   Give me some time ...
12.
Then he killed the old whale, which was no easy task,
   To me aye ...
And soon with sperm oil he had filled up each cask,
   Give me some time ...
13.
Then the breeze it blew gaily, and gaily went he,
   To me aye ...
But what an old rascal that skipper must be,
   Give me some time ...
14.
Blow the man down, Johnny, blow the mab down,
   To me aye ...
If he be white man, or black man or brown.
   Give me some time ...

* During a calm, sailors whistle, believing that a breeze will come in answer.
** Seals are said to be fond of music.

No. 22, p. 42, F. J. Davis and Ferris Tozer, 1887 and reprints, "Sailors' Songs and Chanties," Boosey & Co., Ltd., London.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 07:28 PM

Mark Twain, “The Great Dark” (prob. 1898):

“And now the plaintive notes that told that the men were handling the kites:
                
                If you get there before I do—
                    Hi–ho-o-o, roll a man down!
                If you get there before I do—
                    Oh, give a man time to roll a man down!”


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: meself
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 08:07 PM

Somewhere, in a book, I have a Halifax, NS, version, that has a verse with the line, "We'll teach the Kaiser a lesson he'll never forget" - I don't remember the rhyme.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 10:11 AM

Arthur Morrison, "Johnny," in The Living Age (Oct. 7, 1899):
                       
                   I'm a flying-fish sailor straight home from Hong-Kong--
                                  Aye! Aye! Blow the man down!
                   Blow the man down bully, blow the man down--
                                  O give us some time to blow the man down!

                   Ye're a dirty Black-Baller just in from New York--
                                  Aye! Aye! Blow the man down!
                     Blow the man down, bully, blow the man down--
                                  O give us some time to blow the man down! …

                     Blow the man down bully, blow the man down--
                                  Aye! Aye! Blow the man down--
                     Singapore Harbor to gay London town !
                                  O give us some time to blow the man down !


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