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Origins: Blow the Man Down

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BLOW THE MAN DOWN
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (2)
BLOW THE MAN DOWN (3)
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BLOW THE MAN DOWN (6)


Related threads:
(origins) What does blow the man down mean? (137)
Lyr Req: Blow the Man Down (Phil Beer) (15)
Lyr Req: blow the man down (24)
Lyr Add: Blow the Man Down, Pacific NW version (8)


GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Jun 23 - 01:55 PM
Lighter 19 Jun 23 - 08:40 AM
r.padgett 19 Jun 23 - 08:04 AM
Richard Mellish 19 Jun 23 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 06 Jun 23 - 06:56 PM
Richard Mellish 06 Jun 23 - 05:18 PM
r.padgett 06 Jun 23 - 11:36 AM
r.padgett 06 Jun 23 - 08:24 AM
r.padgett 04 Jun 23 - 05:34 AM
Richard Bridge 04 Jun 23 - 05:17 AM
Lighter 07 May 23 - 11:54 AM
Steve Gardham 07 May 23 - 09:46 AM
r.padgett 07 May 23 - 02:22 AM
GUEST,RJM 06 May 23 - 10:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 06 May 23 - 09:48 PM
Joe Offer 30 Oct 22 - 02:03 AM
Pappy Fiddle 30 Oct 22 - 12:04 AM
Lighter 25 Oct 22 - 10:10 PM
Lighter 19 Oct 22 - 11:50 AM
Lighter 19 Oct 22 - 11:24 AM
Lighter 19 Oct 22 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Oct 22 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Oct 22 - 08:09 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 19 Oct 22 - 08:07 AM
Lighter 22 May 22 - 11:09 AM
BobL 22 May 22 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,Dave Hanson 22 May 22 - 03:06 AM
Steve Gardham 20 May 22 - 04:03 PM
Reinhard 20 May 22 - 03:59 PM
Jeri 20 May 22 - 03:47 PM
Lighter 20 May 22 - 11:17 AM
Steve Gardham 20 May 22 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Lady MacKintosh 20 May 22 - 10:46 AM
Lighter 25 Sep 19 - 10:11 AM
meself 23 Sep 19 - 08:07 PM
Lighter 23 Sep 19 - 07:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 09 Jun 07 - 05:37 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 07 - 03:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 07 - 03:22 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 May 07 - 02:46 PM
DonD 24 Jul 02 - 12:07 PM
greg stephens 24 Jul 02 - 11:55 AM
Gypsy 24 Jul 02 - 11:28 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 23 Jul 02 - 05:07 PM
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Wincing Devil 21 Jul 02 - 10:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Jun 23 - 01:55 PM

Max toxic: The large galley boatswain job title often translates as torturer and/or screamer.

Otoh, Whall's crew watched their language around the guests.

Vessels may also experience gender transition when the English buy Spanish or the other way round. No biggie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Jun 23 - 08:40 AM

"In deconstructing the line through this gloss of the term blow, the collective strength of the sailors would be singing out and pushing/pulling while simulating the force of collectively knocking someone down; namely, this nameless “man.” The collective violence of this reading is interesting; for, it further underscores and supports the popular contemporary construction of the sailor as rough, ready, and prone to altercations."

Translation: "The idea of the sailor as a tough guy comes partly from the truculence of this familiar song's refrain."

Of course, deep-water sailors had to be pretty tough, so....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: r.padgett
Date: 19 Jun 23 - 08:04 AM

The above is what Sam Larner sings and is known as Cruising round Yarmouth ~ full of double entendre of course

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 19 Jun 23 - 05:58 AM

Here's my version FWIW.

As I was a-walking down Paradise Street
Tibby* way, hay, blow the man down
A flash-looking packet I chanced for to meet.
Gimme some time to blow the man down

(2nd and 4th refrain lines omitted below.)

She hove alongside me and hailed me so free.
"Me hold is empty, I'm ready for sea".

(Chorus after every second verse)
Blow the man down, bullies, blow the man down
Tibby way, hay, blow the man down
Blow him right back into Liverpool Town
Gimme some time to blow the man down.

What country she come from I can't tell you which
But by her appearance I'd say she was Dutch.

Her flag wore its colours. Her masthead was low.
She was round in the quarters and bluff in the bow†.

Well I hailed her in English and hailed her in Dutch.
But she says "Me young feller, you're talking too much."

So I hailed her in French and the signal she knew.
She backed her main tops'l and for me hove to.

Well I gave her me hawser and took her in tow.
And yardarm to yardarm together we go.

She lowered her mains'l, maintops'l and all
(Let) her lily-white hand on me reef tackle fall

Well I lifted her hatches, found plenty of room
So into her cabin I stowed my jib-boom.

I entered her holds, both for'd and aft†
And into her harbour I sailed my trim craft.

But at length Jack says "Well it's time to give o'er"
"For betwixt wind and water you've run me ashore."

"Me shot locker's empty, me powder's all spent."
"I can't fire a shot for it's choked at the vent."

Here's health to the girl with the long curly locks.
Here's health to the girl as brought Jack on the rocks.

Here's health to the doctor who cured all his pain.
Now he's squared his main yard and he's cruising again.

* I once heard Stan Hugill state forcefully that it is "tibby", not "to me".
† These lines can be accompanied by gestures.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 06 Jun 23 - 06:56 PM

In deconstructing the line through this gloss of the term blow, the collective strength of the sailors would be singing out and pushing/pulling while simulating the force of collectively knocking someone down; namely, this nameless “man.” The collective violence of this reading is interesting; for, it further underscores and supports the popular contemporary construction of the sailor as rough, ready, and prone to altercations.

Context: Global Maritime History are pleased to announce the conference programme for the Maritime Toxic Masculinity Digital Conference.

More of the same in: Piratical Debauchery, Homesick Sailors, and Nautical Rhythms: The Influence of Sea Shanties on Classical Music, Riedler, P., & Bhogal, G. K. (2017)(Wellesly)

The above are not global maritime history or hard naval science. It's how Euro-American poets, authors & academics have imagined their imaginary sailors down through the years. Reidler, Floyd et al are micro-analyzing their own pop culture fictions, fetishes & fantasies.

I've yet to meet the arts graduate holding forth on work song what can also use the word celeusma in a sentence. Though, exactly one (1) odd soul could define proceleusmatic but had never really considered whence it came.

PS: Africa was... and remains... a continent.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Jun 23 - 05:18 PM

In response to Richard Bridge's enquiry:
I have a version focussing on the encounter with a doxey. I'm not sure how it came about, but I think from half remembering a version and then putting in verses from some other song, maybe The Fireship. I don't feel like typing it out now but I may get round to it in a day or two if no-one else offers a similar one in the meantime.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: r.padgett
Date: 06 Jun 23 - 11:36 AM

"Colcord’s reading of the term blow would actually tie this particular refrain to a song that has been aligned with African American origin and circulated on sailing ships: “Knock a Man Down.” In deconstructing the line through this gloss of the term blow, the collective strength of the sailors would be singing out and pushing/pulling while simulating the force of collectively knocking someone down; namely, this nameless “man.” The collective violence of this reading is interesting; for, it further underscores and supports the popular contemporary construction of the sailor as rough, ready, and prone to altercations." ~ Global Maritime history

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: r.padgett
Date: 06 Jun 23 - 08:24 AM

Doeflinger refers "Blow the man down" had an earlier "knock" the man down ~ from negro origins in place of "blow"

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: r.padgett
Date: 04 Jun 23 - 05:34 AM

Cruising round Yarmouth springs to mind

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 04 Jun 23 - 05:17 AM

I'm compiling a set of words for this shanty. I'm missing a verse that I'm sure I've heard but can only barely and imprecisely remember bits of.

It comes after our hero and the flash packet go to her room - they arrive thus
"It was up in her quarters she piped me aboard
And there on her bed I cut loose with my sword"

Then in some versions a 7 foot tall husband arrives - I don't want that bit. Then the verse I am looking for uses nautical metaphor to describe some of the rude bits - possibly lowering her tops'ls or slackening her mainstays, maybe a reference to bowsprit or bobstays (but not IIRC careening her bottom!)

Has anyone a convincing version of a verse like that?

After that comes the sad ending: -
"Now me shot-locker’s empty, me powder’s all gone,
My ramrod is limber, I cannot fire on."

HELP PLEASE!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 07 May 23 - 11:54 AM

Gibb, I'm without suggestions as to the significance of "roll."

To "roll" (to rob a drunk or sleeping person) appears on the West Coast in the 1860s, but it isn't ordinarily used with "down," and I can't see how it would fit into any known text of the song.

"Blow" appears to be the earliest recorded form (1864), but documentation of nineteenth-century chanteying is so poor that the dates mean little.

Like you, however, I'd expect "knock" to have been the original, merely because it's more obviously idiomatic.

Someone wrote in 1934 that "one book, printed in Boston in 1828, reads 'roll the man down.'"

(Right. Show me the book.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 23 - 09:46 AM

'blow' has lots of connotations and a wide range of meaning when applied to people. 'Look what the wind blew in!' as a newby or someone not seen for a while comes into the tavern. Is the line 'Blow him right back into Liverpool Town' present in early versions? 'Down' also can have lots of meanings in nautical parlance. It occurs just as a geographical direction in a lot of chanties and general nautical speech (Downeaster), so 'Blow the man down' quite possibly does not refer to violence of any sort. Even if you put the 2 words together they don't always refer to violence (knock-down prices for example).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: r.padgett
Date: 07 May 23 - 02:22 AM

Interesting comments ~ but why would Blow the man down be used on board ship? was it just a word filler inner?

within the song "as I was a walking down Paradise St (Liverpool) story unfolds and the sailor's perceived animosity to him as being an unworthy second class citizen leads him to seek retribution by the only way he knows ~ by thumping. striking, blowing his detractor down

But then does Blow the man down have a place at sea?

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,RJM
Date: 06 May 23 - 10:15 PM

"Blow the Man Down" rose above other repertoire in fame and, maybe, got transformed in style to the taste of a different demographic of singers.

Maybe" js the operative word.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 06 May 23 - 09:48 PM

Lighter,
I've run across many references to "roll a man down" (presumably a lyrical variation for "blow the man down"), as in your Oct. 2022 post. Haven't sorted out which are more original and which might be derivative.

"Knock a man down," for comparison, IIRC appears in three sources I'd consider original whereas quotes from either RC Adams or Stephen Luce (who borrowed Adams' work) appear to be the source of additional references. Possibly, "roll a man down" is a more frequently referenced variation.

Anyway, I curious what your interpretation of "roll a man down" might be, in a more literal (as opposed to poetic) meaning. Any insight about this phrase as slang of the time?

I've certainly been inclined to conjecture that "knock a man down" precedes "blow the man", and I'm trying to think how "roll" might fit into that idea. On one hand, we might suppose "blow" was a synonym/substitute for "knock." On the other, "blow" might be a transformation of "roll" because the words *sound* similar. I think "roll" and "blow" were also exchanged in the choral phrases "blow, boys, blow" / "roll, boys, roll".

"Blow the Man Down" is an odd duck. While recognizable as a chanty, the variations of melody that tend to be associated with it are less like the majority of other chanty melodies. (That's one reason, in fact, why I'm inclined to speculate that "Knock a Man" is earlier: I interpret its melody as more consistent with other repertoire.) Somehow, I suspect, "Blow the Man Down" rose above other repertoire in fame and, maybe, got transformed in style to the taste of a different demographic of singers.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Oct 22 - 02:03 AM

I dunno, Pappy Fiddle. I think you're speculating. The most common explanation seems to be "refers to knocking a man down with fist, belaying pin or capstan bar." But that could be speculation. Up above, somebody said the explanation can be found in Shanties from the Seven Seas by Hugill, but I'm not finding it in skimming pp 203-215, the section on this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Pappy Fiddle
Date: 30 Oct 22 - 12:04 AM

Sorry I don't have time to read this thread carefully, but I didn't see it on a quick skim... The phrase "blow the man down" means a sudden gust of wind lays a sailing ship down on her side. Last time that happened to me it was an astonishment. So it's an expression of emotional emphasis.

Ships were colloquially called a 'man'. Hence the phrase 'man of war'. https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/man-of-war#Noun def. 2 confines it to a warship; I think it's more general but whatever


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 25 Oct 22 - 10:10 PM

New Dominion Monthly (Apr., 1876) [with tune: but first line much like "John Kanakanaka"]:

I wish I was in Mobile Bay.
   Way, hey, knock a man down.
A-rolling cotton night and day.
   This is the time to knock a man down.

"The words already quoted will allow a person to sing this and nearly all the songs of this set. He can wish he was in every known port in the world, to whose name he can find a rhyme. If New Orleans was selected, he would 'Where Jackson gave the British beans.' At 'Boston city,' his desire would be, 'A-walking with my lovely Kitty.' At 'New York town,' he would be, 'A-walking Broadway up and down,' or at Liverpool, he would finish his education 'a-going to a Yankee school.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Oct 22 - 11:50 AM

One of these days I'll get my 50 years of notes in order. I hope!


1876 The Valley Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.) (Dec. 1):

O, where are you going,
My own pretty maid?
Chorus - Hi, ho, roll a man down, etc.

Oh, would I were in London town,
   Hi, ho, roll a man down,
I'd get so drunk I couldn't be found.
   Hi, ho, roll a man down.

1885 Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield) (Jan. 4):

Coming home from Callao bay [sic],
   Heave ho! roll a man down!
I thought I heard an old man say,
   Give a man time to roll a man down.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Oct 22 - 11:24 AM

Sorry for the crazy spacing above.
Correct version:

1875 Rutland [Vt.] Daily Globe (Oct. 14):

Give me some time to blow the man down;
I will blow the man down with a big iron club
Give me some time to blow the man down.
Ho Ho Hi Ho Ho
Blow the man down, blow the man down.

I'll blow the man down and pay the fine;
I will blow the man down with a big iron club,
Give me some time to blow the man down.
Ho, Ho, etc.


***************************
And I might have added:

1867 Syracuse (N.Y.) Daily Courier (July 25):

“GLASGOW, Scotland, July 12th, ’67. … [Steamer Caledonia, Anchor Line, N.Y. to Glasgow] In hauling up the sails, the sailors sang to a wild old Boreas air – this impromptu verse, which they varied indefinitely:

                Blow away – blow a man down,
                A bonnie good mate and a captain too,
                A bonnie good ship and a bonnie good crew,
                Give me some time to blow a man down.

                                CHORUS.

                Away, away, blow a man down.”


1882 in Arlin Turner, George W. Cable: A Biography (Duke U. P., 1956) "Hey, Yea, Roll a Man Down."


1884 North American Review (May):

I strained my ears to catch the words, and during a lull they came, clear and distinct, a volume of sound like a flood:

                'O, O, roll a man down!'


1885 Forest and Stream (May 28):

The song is commonly known as 'Roll the Man Down' or 'Blow the man Down,' but we have preferred the original version, 'Roll the Main Down,' as it is the mainsheet shantey [sic] used in hauling in the sheet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 19 Oct 22 - 10:17 AM

1864 The Courier and Argus (Dundee, Scotland) (Aug. 25) : 'Who struck the carpenter?’ … ‘It was the man who sings the song “Blow the Man Down!" '


1868 Hull News (Oct. 10): The words were, 'Give me some time to blow the man down,' and defendant said they were very commonly sung by seamen


1875 Rutland [Vt.] Daily Globe (Oct. 14) :

Give me some time to blow the man down;
I will blow a man down with a big iron club
Give me some time to blow the man down
Ho Ho Hi Ho Ho
Blow the man down, blow the man down.

I’ll blow the man down and pay the fine;
I will blow the man down with a big iron club,
Give me some time to blow the man down.
Ho, Ho, etc."


1876 Adeleine D. T. Whitney, Sights and Insights (Boston: Houghton & Osgood, 1876), [fiction]:

Shall we ever forget the waking, that third bright morning, when the little round port-hole window was all blue with a clear day, and the vessel lay almost quietly on a calm sea, and sailors' voices were singing with a strange, wild thrill of melody, a kind of song-jargon to which at every line the burden was,--'Yea-hey ! Roll the man
down!'?


1880 Yale Record (Oct. 16): Still another shanty, and the most common one, answers:
   
   When you're out on the ocean, you're far from the land
   Cho.: Way-ay, blow the man down.

The verse is repeated with the final chorus:

   Oh, give us some time to blow the man down.


1885 "A Committee of Graduates and Undergraduates" The McGill College Songbook (Montreal: Lamplough) :

As I was going down Paradise street,
   Now away: oh! Blow the man down.
As I was going down Paradise street,
   Give us some time to blow the man down.

[Similarly:]

From larboard to starboard away we did go....


[Two stanzas only - JL]


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Oct 22 - 08:32 AM

State of the Art:
“Contemporary publications and the memories of individuals, in later publications, put the existence of this shanty by the 1860s. The Syracuse Daily Courier, July 1867, quoted a lyric from the song, which was said to be used for hauling halyards on a steamship bound from New York to Glasgow.[2] In 1879, George Haswell was passenger aboard another steamship, from London to Sydney, at which time he noted some of the shanties of the crew. These were published in the ship's own fortnightly newspaper, The Parramatta Sun, and they included a full set of lyrics for "Blow the Man Down." The lyrics take up the theme of a ship of the Black Ball Line, and include the refrains, "Wae! Hae! Blow the man down / Give me some time to blow the man down."[3] Although Haswell's article did not receive wide circulation, it did find its way into the hands of Laura Alexandrine Smith, whose own large collection of sailors' songs, The Music of the Waters (1888), was one of the first to be widely available. Smith reprinted the lyrics gathered by Haswell.[4] She also presented a different version of the song that she herself presumably collected, and which was said to be used for hoisting topsail yards. Its lyrics include reference to a sailor coming home to England from Hong Kong, as well as meeting a girl on "Winchester Street."” [song wiki]
Parramatta (1866)
Devitt and Moore


“The Black Ball Line is mentioned in several sea shanties, such as "Blow the Man Down," "Homeward Bound", "Eliza Lee", "New York Girls", and "Hurrah for the Black Ball Line." [Black Ball Line (trans-Atlantic packet)]

So: Couldn't find the Syracuse Daily or a Kicking Jack Rogers. Smith's notes on Haswell & Parramatta don't line up with the wiki, but I may just be looking at the wrong edition. If it does turn out to be more Pacific in origins, one alternate “Black Ball Liner” might be: James Baines & Co.

PS: Mainsails - Parramatta is the go-to example for a top-o-the-line Blackwall frigate. Check your favorite rigging source.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Oct 22 - 08:09 AM

“The morrow had come, and the ship had started on her voyage to England. And now it was night, and the moon lit up the scene, making it supremely beautiful. But Sir Francis' eyes were turned inward, reading his heart's book; he saw nothing of his surroundings. Elmer was walking with the Captain, and Cubby and Willet were playing their little romance. The sailors were pulling some ropes and singing the musical tar song the words of which were incomprehensible to all save the singer.

        "Blow the man down, bullies, hey, hey!
        Blow the man down.
        Roll him, groll him, hearties, ho,
        Give me some time to blow the man down.”
[Secrets Told, Cooley, 1879]

Note: Fictional passage from Australia to England.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 19 Oct 22 - 08:07 AM

“...Other plans have also been adopted. One of the best known is perhaps that of counterfeiting a missionary ship. A white macintosh coat has done duty for a surplice, the ship's log-book for a Prayer Book; and as no one could sing a hymn, the sailors joined in chanting that impressive ditty, 'Give me some time to blow the man down.' The natives were then invited below to prayers, and a barrel of biscuit left open as if by accident. Many went down to the hold, but on attempting to return found the hatches had closed over them….”
[Two Years in Fiji, Forbes, 1875]

Note: Fijian shanghai.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 22 May 22 - 11:09 AM

I concur with you both.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: BobL
Date: 22 May 22 - 08:56 AM

Amen to that Dave. Greatly enhanced by the fact that HHC did not have, by any stretch of the imagination, a singing voice.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Dave Hanson
Date: 22 May 22 - 03:06 AM

The best version I've heard of this great shanty [ and it's on youtube ] was by the late actor [ famous for Steptoe and Son ] Harry H Corbett]

Dave H


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 22 - 04:03 PM

I thought Wha Hae! was a Morecambe and Wise ejaculation:)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Reinhard
Date: 20 May 22 - 03:59 PM

Wikipedia says:

"Scots Wha Hae" (English: Scots Who Have; Scottish Gaelic: Brosnachadh Bhruis) is a patriotic song of Scotland written using both words of the Scots language and English.

and gives both the original lyrics and its English translation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Jeri
Date: 20 May 22 - 03:47 PM

It's also pronounce "wuh hay". And the song is English, not Scots. And this shouldn't be worth discussing, IMO, but I guess we don't need much provocation.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Lighter
Date: 20 May 22 - 11:17 AM

Scots seem to think "wha hae" means "who have." How could they be so wrong?? : )


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 20 May 22 - 10:58 AM

What are 'proper' lyrics?:)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blow the Man Down
From: GUEST,Lady MacKintosh
Date: 20 May 22 - 10:46 AM

The proper lyrics include ‘Wha hae, blow the mind down’ and you may cross reference with old Scots’ song ‘Scots Wha Hae’ in which ‘wha hae’ is a Gaelic rallying phrase (NOT ‘yo yo’??)


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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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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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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