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Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee (A. LeClerq)

Related threads:
(origins) Origin: He Played His Ukulele as the Ship Went... (25)
Lyr Req: He Played His Ukulele as the Ship Went... (24)
Chord Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee (A. LeClerq) (22)
Lyr Add: He Played His Ukulele as the ... (parody) (2)


Raggytash 02 Nov 02 - 02:42 PM
GUEST,Marion in Cornwall 02 Nov 02 - 03:42 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 02 Nov 02 - 07:44 PM
masato sakurai 02 Nov 02 - 08:04 PM
GUEST,Q 02 Nov 02 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Q 02 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Q 02 Nov 02 - 08:38 PM
Raggytash 03 Nov 02 - 04:33 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Nov 02 - 07:37 AM
GUEST,Monty 05 Aug 10 - 04:01 PM
Artful Codger 05 Aug 10 - 06:15 PM
Charley Noble 05 Aug 10 - 08:41 PM
Artful Codger 16 Aug 10 - 04:06 AM
GUEST,reminiscing 23 Aug 10 - 03:36 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Apr 11 - 01:46 AM
GUEST,Mike Chambers 17 May 11 - 04:34 PM
GUEST,Roger Christenson / Lunamation 26 Feb 14 - 07:07 AM
GUEST 16 May 17 - 02:18 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: Raggytash
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 02:42 PM

My Mother has stumped me with this one, she came out with the following lines from a song, but these are all she can recall, she has no idea were it came from and I've never heard it before. Any ideas?
"all the crew were in despair//some rushed here and some rushed there// but the captain sat in his captains chair// and he played his Ukelele as the ship went down"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: GUEST,Marion in Cornwall
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 03:42 PM

This might be what you are looking for

click here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 07:44 PM

RE-reading it says it was originally a different song. HEre's the information:

From that first site

One of the ways I collect the old songs is to write to magazines including Sydney's 'Afloat'. In a issue in 1999 I called for any contributions to my collecting work and whilst I wasn't rushed off my landlubber feet I did get a surprise in that five different people sent me verses from one particular song. 'He Played His Ukulele As The Ship Went Down' appears to be a very popular comic song however its importance to me is that it is actually a popular song from the 1930s (composed by Arthur le Clerq) and every single person who wrote to me had different verses! What had happened was that this popular song had entered the tradition and people had composed new words. Sometimes this process is the result of having forgotten the original words however, in this case, they have all gathered the songs verses from different sources and they all tell of a continuing story.
Mr J D O'Connell of Oatley knew the song as 'The Nancy Lee' and recalled two opening verses from his youthful days that went;

I sing you a tale of the Nancy Lee
A ship that got shipwrecked at sea
The bravest man was Captain Brown
Who played his ukulele as the ship went down.
 
The Captain's wife was on the ship
She thought she'd like the trip
She could swim so she wouldn't drown
So they tied her to the anchor
As the ship went down.
 

Peter Thornton from the NSW south coast said he used to sing the following quite different verse when he was a young tacker:
 
Now the Captain's wife, she couldn't swim
And that wasn't any good to him
And he'd promised her she would not drown
So he tied her to the anchor as the ship went down.
Ray Spinks of Strathfield who is now 73 (and is still working as a volunteer coastguard at Vaucluse) recalled his father singing this verse:
 
All the crew were in despair
Some rushed here and others rushed there
But the Captain sat in the captain's chair
And he played the ukulele as the ship went down.
 

Collector Rob Willis of Forbes sent another variant that also told of the Captain's wife:
 
The Captain's wife was on the ship,
And he was glad she made the trip,
As she couldn't swim. She might not drown,
So he tied her to the anchor as the ship went down.
 
They sprung a leak just after dark
And through the hole came a hungry shark
It bit the Sipper near the water-mark
As he played his ukulele as the ship went down.
 

Finally, Tim Armytage of Cheltenham, said he was fascinated to read in Afloat the mention of the Nancy Lee In 1968, when I was 18, I was at a party where I heard a 78rpm recording of this shanty. I was taken by its ludicrous lyrics and rollicking melody that I played it over and over until eventually the record was wrestled from my grasp and other music put on the phonograph. Several days later I returned to the scene of the party only to find the disc had been broken. Tim has been searching for the lyrics for the past 32 years! He did remember the following:
 

The owner wireless'd to the crew,
Do the best that you can do.
She's only insured for half a crown
So I'll be out of pocket if the ship goes down.
 
He also mentioned that they sang 'Rule Britannia' at the end of the song.
 
These examples show how the folklore jigsaw puzzle comes together and just how important the occasional verse or even single line can be in putting the whole song back together.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE NANCY LEE (A. LeClerq)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 08:04 PM

From THIS PAGE:
^^
THE WRECK OF THE NANCY LEE

I'll tell you the tale of the Nancy Lee
The ship that got shipwrecked at sea
The bravest man was Captain Brown
'Cause he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

All the crew was in despair
Some rushed here and some rushed there
But the Captain sat in the Captain's chair.
And he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

The Captain said to Seaman Jones
"You'd best put on your working clothes
While you stand and spray your hose
I can play me ukulele as the ship goes down."

The owners signalled to the crew,
Saying: "Do the best that you can do.
We're only insured for half a crown
We'll be out of pocket if the ship goes down."

The Captain's wife was on board ship
And he was very glad of it
But she could swim and she might not drown
So we tied her to the anchor as the ship went down.

The crow's nest fell and killed the crow
The starboard watch was two hours slow
But the Captain sang fello-de-oh-doh
And he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

"He Played His Ukulele As The Ship Went Down" seems to be the original title, and is much longer. We can listen to He Played His Ukulele As The Ship Went Down (parts 1, 2) [mp3] (recording date: 30/01/32; Decca F-2798; vocal: Leslie Sarony) (from
Jack Hylton Music Downloads).

~Masato


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WRECK OF THE NANCY LEE (A. LeClerq)
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 08:16 PM

THE WRECK OF THE NANCY LEE

I'll tell you the tale of the Nancy Lee
The ship that got shipwrecked at sea
The bravest man was Captain Brown
'Cause he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

All the crew was in despair
Some rushed here and some rushed there
But the Captain sat in the captain's chair
And he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

The Captain said to Seaman Jones
"You'd best put on your working clothes
While you stand and spray your hose
I can play me ukulele as the ship goes down."

The owners signalled to the crew
Saying, "Do the best that you can do.
We're only insured for half a crown,
We'll be out of pocket if the ship goes down."

The Captain's wife was on board ship
And he was very glad of it
But she could swim and she might not drown
So we tied her to the anchor as the ship went down.

The crow's nest fell and killed the crow
The starboard watch was two hours slow
But the Captain sang fello-de-oh-doh
And he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

Composed by Arthur LeClerc.
Ukulele

These seem to be the original lyrics (many additions). It was a hit for Ray Noble in the 1930s. Composed about 1930.

Not a shanty, but a comic song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 08:19 PM

Sorry for the duplication.

It would be much appreciated if a "clone" would change the thread title to " The Wreck of the Nancy Lee."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 02 Nov 02 - 08:38 PM

There was a thread, 39410 on this song about a year ago, with different lyrics attributed to Leclerc (also more verses). Wreck


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: Raggytash
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 04:33 AM

Many Thanks to one and all, when I wake Mum shortly she will be amazed at the kindness of people out there


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: UNKNOWN SONG
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Nov 02 - 07:37 AM

You're very welcome. Come back anytime.


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Subject: Lyr Add: HE PLAYED HIS UKULELE AS THE SHIP WENT...
From: GUEST,Monty
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 04:01 PM

I have the original "78" record of this song

It was in two parts, one part on each side of the record (over 6 minutes long in total)

This is a transcription from the record. (A few words I could not make out, but the record is almost 90 years old; and very scratchy) The title on the record is "He played his ukulele as the ship went down". The titles in brackets between the verses are instrumental snippets linking to the next verse

Words and music: A. LeClerq 1932

Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho!
I'll tell you the tale of a sailor
Who sailed the Bay of Biscay-o
As the captain of a whaler.
Of his gallant deeds you all should know.
Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho!

I'll tell the tale of the Nancy Lee,
The ship that got shipwrecked at sea.
The bravest man was Captain Brown,
For he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

All the crew was in despair.
Some rushed here and the others rushed there,
But the captain sat in the captain's chair,
And he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

(Rule Brittania)

The owners wirelessed to the crew:
"Do the best that you can do.
She's only insured for half-a-crown,
So I'll be out of pocket if the ship goes down."

The captain answered, "Holy 'C'!
It's all up with the Nancy Lee.
You're all right but what about me?
I shall wet me Ukulele when the ship goes down."

(Sailors Hornpipe)
Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho!

When they heard the news at the admiralty,
They wirelessed to the Nancy Lee:
"We'd like to speak to Captain Brown
If he isn't very busy when the ship goes down."

The captain answered, "What's to do?"
The admiralty said, "At half past two,
We shall all be listening in to you
As you play your ukulele as the ship goes down."

(The girl I left behind me)

The pets on board were all scared stiff.
The cat meowed and the monkey sniffed.
The old green parrot hung upside down
Saying, "Scratch a poll-polly" as the ship went down.

The crow's nest fell and killed the crow.
The starboard watch was two hours slow.
But the captain sang, "Vo-do-de-oh-do"
And he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

(The British Grenadiers)

An Irishman said, "Begorrah! I'll fight
The very next man that comes in sight."
"You can't do that," said Captain Brown.
"You'll have to box the compass as the ship goes down."

The captain issued from the store
A cake of soap to every four
And said, "Now wash yourselves ashore
While I play me ukulele as the ship goes down."

(???????)

"Have faith in me," the captain cried.
To this remark the crew replied,
"You can trust us, Captain Brown,
To finish off the rum before the ship goes down."

The skipper shouted, "No back chat!
I'll do my best, but after that,
Do you mind if I pass round the hat
As I play me ukulele when the ship goes down?"

("Haa haa haa hee hee hee, little brown jug don't I love thee")

The skipper shouted fore and aft
"I'll have no slackers aboard this craft,
So understand," said Captain Brown,
"I want everybody present when the ship goes down.

"The cook's gone mad and the bosun's lame.
The rudder has gone and the deck's aflame.
My G string's flat but all the same,
I shall play me ukulele when the ship goes down."

(Whistle)

He shouted, "Man the rafts!
With chains and a rope you can bind 'em."
The bosun's searched both fore and aft
But dashed if he could find 'em.
At the mercy of the raging sea
Was the good ship Nancy Lee.

They struggled on against the storm.
The cold, cold wind was far from warm,
And all the crew and Captain Brown
Played ring-a-ring-a-roses as the ship went down.

They shouted, "Women and children first!"
The engineer came up and cursed,
Then all of a sudden his boiler burst
As he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

(Hearts of Oak)

The captain's wife was on the ship,
And he was glad she'd made the trip.
As she could swim, she might not drown,
So he tied her to the anchor as the ship went down.

They sprung a leak just after dark,
And through the hole came a hungry shark,
And it bit the skipper near the water mark,
So he played his ukulele as the ship went down.

(Polly Wolly Doodle)

He had sailed the sea, they say,
For twenty-two years come pancake day,
So it's no wonder Captain Brown
Wished he was in the army when the ship went down.

He'd played the part of a bold AB.
He'd played the game on land and sea,
But this was the very first time that he
Had played his ukulele as the ship went down.

(The Minstrel boy)

When they reached the lifeboat, how they cursed!
The second mate had got there first.
The cook said, "Aye, I'll be the last to drown,
'Cause I'm climbing up the rigging as the ship goes down."

Soon it was a total wreck.
The captain stood on the burning deck,
And the flames leaped up around his neck,
And burned his ukulele as the ship went down.

(Woad)

The mate said, "It's OK with me.
The shipwreck suits me to a 'T'.
I owe ten bob to Captain Brown,
And I'll never have to pay him if the ship goes down."

The pessimistic cook said he
Was sure the crew very soon would be
Playing a harp; said Brown, "Not me!
I shall play me ukulele as the ship goes down."

(toreador)
The mate had a saxophone. (Tuba)
The cook had a trombone. (Slide)
The drummer had an old tin, (
And another had a violin. (dowscale)
The bosun had a banjo. (Plink plink plonk)
The stoker had a piccolo. (downscale)
"You can play what you like," said Captain Brown.
"I shall play me ukulele as the ship goes down."

And that is the tale of the Nancy Lee,
The ship that got ship-wreck'd at sea,
And Captain Brown who was in command,
Now plays his ukulele in the Mermaid Band.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee
From: Artful Codger
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 06:15 PM

Sung by Leslie Holmes (not Lesley, as in the clip notes):
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70y7n2tivfY
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYvlrHYzUu0
Leslie Holmes teamed up with Leslie Sarony (who also sang and recorded "He Played His Ukulele") in 1935 to form the act "The Two Leslies".

Your terrific transcription agrees with what I hear, with only a few minor discrepancies:

The lines before "Sailor's Hornpipe" and "The girl I left behind me" have "when the ship" rather than "as the ship".

What they sing after the laughs in the "Little Brown Jug" bit does not appear to be the usual "little brown jug" line, though I can't make out what it is.

I hear the crewman with the piccolo as "the stocker".

Sorry, I can't identify the tune before "Have faith in me".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Aug 10 - 08:41 PM

I've never run across so many verses before. Thanks for your hard work, Monty!

It's a folk opera!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee
From: Artful Codger
Date: 16 Aug 10 - 04:06 AM

Jim Dixon has posted here his transcription from a recording by Leslie Sarony. His message contains a YouTube clip link.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee
From: GUEST,reminiscing
Date: 23 Aug 10 - 03:36 AM

my mother use sing this song to us kids years ago when we had black outs, we use to love it,
i only remembered a few verses tho, ( we use to think she made it up ) just thought i'd look it up and hear it is. :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee (A. LeClerq)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Apr 11 - 01:46 AM

You can hear Leslie Sarony singing HE PLAYED HIS UKULELE AS THE SHIP WENT DOWN at YouTube.

I'm sure it's Leslie Sarony, not Leslie Holmes, because the maker of the video very kindly began with a closeup of the record label.

Of all the versions posted here, the lyrics correspond most closely to those posted by GUEST,Monty above, at 05 Aug 10 - 04:01 PM. However, it can't be the same recording, because the YouTube recording omits several of the verses that Monty posted.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee (A. LeClerq)
From: GUEST,Mike Chambers
Date: 17 May 11 - 04:34 PM

I was amazed to find all this information about a song that my Dad used to sing to me when I was a small boy in the late 1940s. I have sung it from memory to my children and grand children and am pleased to discover from the above that I am almost word perfect despite never having seen the words written down before. I am also very surprised to find, having watched the and listened to the Lesley Sarony clip, that I have the tune right as well.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee (A. LeClerq)
From: GUEST,Roger Christenson / Lunamation
Date: 26 Feb 14 - 07:07 AM

The Nancy Lee is mentioned in Robert A. Heinlein's novel Glory Road (1963):
"What did I want?
I wanted a Roc's egg. I wanted a harem loaded with lovely odalisques less than the dust beneath my chariot wheels, the rust that never stained my sword,. I wanted raw red gold in nuggets the size of your fist and feed that lousy claim jumper to the huskies! I wanted to get u feeling brisk and go out and break some lances, then pick a like wench for my droit du seigneur--I wanted to stand up to the Baron and dare him to touch my wench! I wanted to hear the purple water chuckling against the skin of the Nancy Lee in the cool of the morning watch and not another sound, nor any movement save the slow tilting of the wings of the albatross that had been pacing us the last thousand miles.
I wanted . . ."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Wreck of the Nancy Lee (A. LeClerq)
From: GUEST
Date: 16 May 17 - 02:18 AM

I used to listen to this song in the late 1930s and through the Warin the 1940s it was always on the radio. It began with a few ukulele jangling (finger and thumb) chords, then "...Yo Ho me Lad Yo Ho, Let me sing you the song of a sailor..." and it was purely a ukulele and vocal song. I just can't find out who it was. Iactually have the record, a small 7" shellac old 78 record, but it in storage for yerars many miles away from here.

When I look it up on the internet or youtune I get Lesley Sarony crap or Jack Hylton. But not the ukulele solo and voice. It was the sort of thing that Frank Crumit would have done but he didn't the voice is lower and more ad lib and boisterous, not carefully studied like Crumit. My email is drjmmen@hotmail.com and if anyone has it the way I describe it if they could email me a strip copy I'd be grateful.


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