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Versions: The Turkish Reverie/Golden Vanity


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clueless don 05 Nov 21 - 06:20 AM
Stewie 03 Nov 21 - 08:30 PM
GUEST,Lee Gold 03 Nov 21 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 14 Jan 07 - 12:04 PM
GUEST 13 Jan 07 - 07:23 PM
masato sakurai 26 Jul 02 - 12:09 PM
EBarnacle1 26 Jul 02 - 11:56 AM
masato sakurai 26 Jul 02 - 11:48 AM
EBarnacle1 26 Jul 02 - 11:32 AM
Malcolm Douglas 26 Jul 02 - 11:07 AM
GUEST, 26 Jul 02 - 09:22 AM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Turkish Reverie
From: clueless don
Date: 05 Nov 21 - 06:20 AM

The late Margaret MacArthur did an American variant called "The Weeping Willow Tree". One notable characteristic was that the little sailor/boy turned the tables on the treacherous captain.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Turkish Reverie
From: Stewie
Date: 03 Nov 21 - 08:30 PM

Here is a belter rendition of this beaut ballad:

Barbara Dane


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Turkish Reverie
From: GUEST,Lee Gold
Date: 03 Nov 21 - 01:31 PM

Science Fiction author Randall Garrett wrote a song ("The Duke of Normandy") to this melody that continued a plotline from his novel TOO MANY MAGICIANS.
The song appears in Bruce Pelz's The Filksong Manual.
It starts.

There was a ship of the Anglo-French Navy
And the name of the ship was the Duke of Normandy
And they feared she would be taken by the Polish enemy
        As she sailed upon the Northland Northland Sea.
                She sailed upon the Northland Sea

So they took on board a sorcerer who bore a strange machine;
It was flared at the muzzle, of a bright metallic sheen--
A projector of confusion for the Polish magazine
        As she sailed upon the Northland Sea.

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Subject: RE: The Turkish Reverie
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 14 Jan 07 - 12:04 PM

The recently popularized version of the "Turkish Revelry" ( = "Golden Vanity/Willow Tree") sung on the double CD of pirate songs issued in connection with Johnny Depp's Pirates of the Caribbean -- sung by Loudon Wainwright III-- stems from Paul Clayton's version, "The Turkish Revelee," recorded in 1957 on his most popular album, Whaling and Sailing Songs from the Days of Moby Dick, Tradition 1005. The record has been reissued on CD at least twice and last time I looked was still available.

Clayton's notes on the song say "The ballad probably originated about the middle of the 17th century when the Barbary pirates (known as Turks) raided shipping in the English Channel and even looted coastal towns." He transcribed and learned his version from a 1932 aluminum recording of one of the best American traditional singers, Horton Barker of Chilhowie / St. Clair's Bottom, Virginia, in the collection of the Virginia Folklore Society. Barker's repertoire contained many of the finest American versions of the Child Ballads. The song was included in a book Clayton made primary contributions to as a graduate student, Arthur Kyle Davis' More Traditional Ballads of Virginia, UNC Press, Chapel Hill, 1960.

I don't know how far back you want to go toward the fountainhead. For the ultimate sources of the ballad, of course, see Francis James Child's excellent-as-always background notes in The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, where he traces it through three clusters of versions in the Pepys Ballads, Logan's Pedlar's Pack and other sources.

He puts the song in the 17th century, and was apparently unable to find earlier traces. The attribution of one version as "Sir Walter Raleigh Sailing in the Low-lands, etc." (which, to answer another of your questions, was a broadside) is almost certainly fantasy about this popular naval hero of a previous era. Child's two other cited versions are, he believes, traditional variants of the original broadside.

By contrast to some other Child ballads involving at least semi-historical sea incidents (like "Captain Ward and the Rainbow"), no firm historical background could be found by Child, that very knowledgeable student of ballad origins, and no specific historical incident is identified.

As to composition, as with most ballads of its age, it is anonymous. It's always worthwhile to try to look for authors in these circumstances, but rarely can one be pinned down. Broadsides in particular were anonymous productions, the tabloid TV of their day.


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Subject: RE: The Turkish Reverie
Date: 13 Jan 07 - 07:23 PM

Burl Ives did a great version of this song.

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Subject: RE: The Turkish Reverie
From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 12:09 PM

EBarnacle, that's the Carters' version. Listen at the link above.


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Subject: RE: The Turkish Reverie
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:56 AM

Masato, what happened to him swimming along side, drilling holes in their bottoms, etc? Did you miss the middle?

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From: masato sakurai
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:48 AM

Other similar names (not always used as titles) are "The Turkish Reveille," "The Turkish Revelee," "The Turkish Rebilee" and "The Turkish Revoloo," "The Turkish Revelry," "The Turkish Revelrie," "The Kish Rebel Lee," "The Turkish Revelee," "The Turkish Shilveree," and "The Turkish Travelee." All of them, at least those in Bronson, are American. The Carter Family's SINKING IN THE LONESOME SEA (their recording is at the honkingduck site) is also a variant.


There was a little ship and it sailed upon the sea
And she went by the name of the Merry Golden Tree
As she sailed upon the low and lonesome low
As she sailed upon the lonesome sea

There was a little sailor unto his captain said
"Oh, Captain, Captain, what'll you give to me
If I sink them in the low and lonesome low
If I sink them in the lonesome sea?"

"Two hundred dollars I will give unto thee
And my oldest daughter I'll wed unto thee
If you'll sink them in the low and lonesome low
If you'll sink them in the lonesome sea."

He bowed upon his breast and away swam he
Till he came to the ship of the Turkish Revilee
And she sailed upon the low and lonesome low
She sailed upon the lonesome sea

If it wasn't for the love of your daughter and your men
I would do unto you as I did unto them
I would sink you in the low and lonesome low
I would sink you in the lonesome sea

He bowed his head, and down sank he
"Farewell, farewell to the Merry Golden Tree"
For I'm sinking in the low and lonesome low
Foe I'm sinking in the lonesome sea.


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Subject: RE: The Turkish Reverie
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:32 AM

When doing children's [as opposed to Child]sets, it have found it useful to add the following variant verse in:

Oh, some were playing cards, And some were playing dice, And some were doing pirate things That weren't very nice.

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Subject: RE: The Turkish Reverie
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:07 AM

Child #286, Roud Folk Song Index #122.

Those two ships have had an awful lot of names over the years; sometimes, too (as here) the other ship -the Turkish Galley, Turkey Silveree etc.- gives the song its name. In a broadside example of the late 17th century (given by Child as his version A) the ship is The Sweet Trinity, built by Sir Walter Rawleigh, and the enemy is simply "a false gallaly", but The Golden Vanity is the best-known name; the enemy being variously French, Spanish, Turkish and so on. In fact, the name seems to have been mutable for a long time; Child also mentions The Golden Victorie, The Gold Pinnatree and The Golden Trinitie. Other examples include:

The Bold Trellitee (Catskills)
The Gallant Victory (Massachusetts)
The Golden Furnity (Utah)
The Golden Merrilee (Florida)
The Golden Vallady (Nova Scotia)

Often the song has been given the Golden Vanity title by collectors for convenience, where their source actually had a quite different name for the ship, such as:

The Golden Silveree (North Carolina)
The Golden Willow Tree
The Green Willow Tree (Kentucky)
The Mary Golden Tree
The Silver Family
The Bold Trinitee (Virginia)
The Sweet Kumadie (Aberdeenshire)

There are five traditional sets from the Ozarks, recorded in the 1960s, at The Max Hunter Folk Song Collection:

Hunter #61 Turkish Sugarlee
Hunter #393 Turkish Revillie
Hunter #519 Green Willow Tree
Hunter #595 Little Ship
Hunter #747 Golden Willow Tree

As might be expected, there are a good few sets in the DT, mostly from the USA:

THE SWEET KUMADEE Scottish set; traditional source not noted.
THE LOWLANDS LOW (7) 1931 set taken from Randolph's Ozark Folk Songs. The names of the ships are reversed; Turkish (Turkey) Shivaree and Green Willow Tree.
THE LOWDOWN LONESOME LOW Taken from John A and Alan Lomax, Our Singing Country. Includes a Turkish Reveille.
THE GREEN WILLOW TREE 1951 set from McNeil's Southern Folk Ballads. (Turkey Shevelee).
THE GOLDEN VANITY (6) Source unknown, perhaps heard from Pete Seeger. Spanish enemy.
THE GOLDEN VANITY 1950s set taken from Helen Creighton's Folksongs from Southern New Brunswick. Turkish enemy.
THE BOLD TRELLITEE Taken from Cazden's Folk Songs of the Catskills. Turkey Degree.
GOLDEN VANITY No source named. Turkish Revelry.
LOWLANDS (minstrel show) Brief parody.

There's also some material in the Forum, particularly:

THE GOLDEN VANITY Set from The Penguin Book of English Folk Songs, noted by Anne Gilchrist from W. Bolton, Southport, Lancashire, in 1906. Spanish enemy.

Entry at The Traditional Ballad Index:

A broadside copy at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The Golden vanity, or The low lands low Printed between 1849 and 1862 by H. Such, Newsvender, &c. 123, Union Street, Borough, London. (Spanish Galleon.)

A rather long-winded way of answering your questions, but it's more interesting than saying (a) usually (b) probably, but well before it acquired the Turkish Reverie title and (c) nobody knows for sure!

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Subject: The Turkish Reverie
From: GUEST,
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 09:22 AM

Does anybody know the background of the song "The Turkish Reverie?". It tells the same story as that of "The Golden Vanity." Is it an American variant? Did it originate as a broadside ballad? Did it have a single composer, and if so, who? Thanks

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