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'Sammy's Bar' lyrics corrections/interpretations

DigiTrad:
SAMMY'S BAR or THE LAST BOAT'S A'LEAVIN


Related threads:
Meaning of 'daighsoe'?? (46)
Sammy's Bar - which film was it in? (27)
Sammy's Bar-place names (17)
Sammy Bar.. Irish version. (153)
Sammy's Bar - Golden Ring (14)
Tune source: Sammy's Bar (12)
Lyr Req: Sammy's Bar (parody by Les Barker) (22)
Daighsoe? (closed) (4) (closed)
Lyr Req: Sammy's Bar (18)


greg stephens 06 Mar 03 - 04:51 AM
breezy 06 Mar 03 - 05:24 AM
greg stephens 06 Mar 03 - 05:43 AM
alanww 06 Mar 03 - 05:55 AM
greg stephens 06 Mar 03 - 05:59 AM
alanww 06 Mar 03 - 06:27 AM
Hamish 06 Mar 03 - 06:57 AM
breezy 06 Mar 03 - 07:23 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 06 Mar 03 - 07:48 AM
GUEST,Strollin' Johnny 06 Mar 03 - 08:04 AM
belfast 06 Mar 03 - 10:29 AM
greg stephens 06 Mar 03 - 10:31 AM
EBarnacle1 06 Mar 03 - 12:56 PM
Keith A of Hertford 06 Mar 03 - 01:59 PM
Naemanson 06 Mar 03 - 02:41 PM
Skipper Jack 06 Mar 03 - 03:40 PM
toadfrog 06 Mar 03 - 04:55 PM
Mr Red 06 Mar 03 - 05:00 PM
Murray MacLeod 06 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM
GUEST,Skippy 06 Mar 03 - 08:10 PM
Mr Happy 09 Mar 03 - 09:18 AM
Skipper Jack 09 Mar 03 - 09:43 AM
Noreen 09 Mar 03 - 11:54 AM
Boab 10 Mar 03 - 12:19 AM
GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh 28 Apr 04 - 08:00 AM
Dave Hanson 28 Apr 04 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,Raggytash 28 Apr 04 - 10:41 AM
GUEST,Jacqued 28 Apr 04 - 02:20 PM
Mr Happy 28 Apr 04 - 02:34 PM
GUEST,Jacqued 28 Apr 04 - 02:35 PM
Backstage Manager(inactive) 28 Apr 04 - 02:48 PM
GUEST,Reel Brew 28 Apr 04 - 06:14 PM
Eric the Viking 28 Apr 04 - 07:02 PM
Herga Kitty 28 Apr 04 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,Jacqued 29 Apr 04 - 10:09 AM
Herga Kitty 29 Apr 04 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Jacqued 29 Apr 04 - 02:34 PM
LindsayInWales 29 Apr 04 - 08:05 PM
Gurney 30 Apr 04 - 03:42 AM
GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh 30 Apr 04 - 11:24 AM
Strollin' Johnny 30 Apr 04 - 12:21 PM
Joe Offer 24 Jan 16 - 06:19 PM
Jack Campin 24 Jan 16 - 06:36 PM
Joe Offer 25 Jan 16 - 12:09 AM
michaelr 25 Jan 16 - 01:51 PM
EBarnacle 25 Jan 16 - 03:09 PM
Jack Campin 25 Jan 16 - 03:19 PM
JHW 26 Jan 16 - 05:46 AM
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Subject: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 04:51 AM

What is the correct (ie Cyril Tawney) pronunciation of "dyso"? I was just listening to a Martin Simpson recording and he pronounces the "s" as a "z", while I tend to think it's as in the word"so". Anyone got a Cyril record handy. to check? I havent sung the song for years, but have a sudden urge to do so, and I don't want to get it wrong.
   I believe the word dyso is actually spelt dghajsa by yer actual Maltesers, to throw in an extraneous snippet of useless information.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: breezy
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 05:24 AM

Dye -so
Dont lose sleep over it


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 05:43 AM

Thank you breezy, that was prompt.I can relax and sleep now. Mind you, how do I know you're right? I'm starting to worry again.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: alanww
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 05:55 AM

And if we are dealing with the minutia, is it "Haul, All or Call away the daighso"? I've seen it written "Call" or "Haul", most peolpe tend to sing "Haul", but he seems to sing "All" on the recording I have (but its faily indistinct)!

"And my real love she was there ..."!
Alan


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 05:59 AM

Well I am looking at the Cyril Tawney song-book this minute and I can definitely report that it is"Call away".


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: alanww
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 06:27 AM

Thanks Greg!

"Oh Lord, if dreams were only real ...!"
Alan


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Hamish
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 06:57 AM

Well, when I saw and heard Martin perform it recently, he told a long story about this heavy leather-clad biker type who said that his dad used to build these thingummies, and that Martin was indeed pronouncing it wrong. Now, if I could only remember the phonetics of what Martin said this chap said it should be... I think it was "day-ser"


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: breezy
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 07:23 AM

Dye-so and leave it there, my references are from Cyril and Johnny Collins oh and Lyndon all former seamen.Cos until I asked them I didnt know what it was. Its a local boat to take you back to your ship cos you decided to stay on shore late doing what sailors do when in port late at night like drink,shag and if all else fails, fight.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 07:48 AM

Put Martin's pronunciation down to his roots in Sunny Scunny. They all talk queer there. Mind you, it dunt matter 'ow 'E talks - E's the Geezer of guitar-players.

JB


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: GUEST,Strollin' Johnny
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 08:04 AM

And I did of course mean 'Guv'nor', not 'Geezer'. Told you we're a funny lot in Lincolnshire.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: belfast
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 10:29 AM

And am I right in thinking that the song takes place in Malta?


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: greg stephens
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 10:31 AM

Yes, indeed.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 12:56 PM

The locations are definitely in Malta. I have seen dyso, also diso and [what seems to be the Maltese spelling] daighso. As mentioned above, a dyso is a yawlboat that would have to be called for when the sailor had stayed ashore so long that local boat operators had gone home for the night.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 01:59 PM

Malta was the only place matelots were allowed to use the local water taxi to and from ship, and that is the local name for them.
A better man by far,
Keith.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Naemanson
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 02:41 PM

Funny this should come up now. I was singing this to myself just yesterday, trying to remember the words. I haven't sung it since before my disasterous breakup in 2000. My ex- and I used to sing it together.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 03:40 PM

I have heard this song sung by many singers including myself.
The correct version of Verse 4 (according to Cyril's Songbook)
"Been with Johnny all the day,
Hey, the last boat's a-leavin
Out at Inetuffeya Bay.
Call away the dyso."

But I've heard the third line sung thus:
Went to drive round Deal's Bay???

I have heard "St Paul's Square" (and not as it should be: Paula's Sq)

I must confess that I have not adhered to the proper version.

But I aim to put that to rights!

Beautiful song, Cyril!


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: toadfrog
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 04:55 PM

Does anyone know where Tawney got the tune from?


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Mr Red
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 05:00 PM

Cyril Tawney did say that the "Call Away" was asking for the boats to come and fetch the person - call away being away from the ship to the shore where the sailors were re-embarking. He did pronounce "dye so" but the choice is binary and I can't remember locking-on to any mnemonic at the time so no answer on that part.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 07:36 PM

I used to own a Yankee car ....

Muray


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: GUEST,Skippy
Date: 06 Mar 03 - 08:10 PM

Having served on the Nimrod fleet for three years at RAF Luqa, Malta in the mid seventies I can tell you the the word in question is "dghajsa" normally pronounced "dysa" by we non Malteese.
The boats carry a carved eye on both port & starboard at the bow (for the Admiral that is the sharp end, see "Dog Days" threads).
The eyes provide protection for fisherman and are reputed to be the eye of Horus - a pre Christian Egyption god.
Hope that was of some use to you,
Regards Skippy
P.S. go one, go one, go, on, make the extra bit of effort and go to "Dog days"


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAMMY'S BAR (parody by Les Barker)
From: Mr Happy
Date: 09 Mar 03 - 09:18 AM

here's an alternative set of words for 'Sammy's Bar' from Les Barker:

I went down to Sammys bar
Hey the lampposts are leaning
Just went out to have a jar
On my way up Hyde Road

I'd only had a pint or two
When the lampposts started leaning
In the way that lampposts do
All the way up Hyde Road

So I moved on to bottled stout
Hey the lampposts are leaning
The buggers keep moving about
On my way up Hyde Road

Either I'm completely canned
Or the lampposts are leaving
One just stood upon me hand
On its way up Hyde Road

Must find me car its closing time
Me and the lampposts are leaving
But the pavements so hard to climb
Up the north face of Hyde Road

I drove away from Sammy's bar
As the lampposts were leaving
And one jumped out and hit me car
And ran away up Hyde Road

They must have drunk too much light ale
The way the lampposts are leaning
Why is it me thats here in jail
And them thats free in Hyde Road


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 09 Mar 03 - 09:43 AM

Hi Toadfrog!

The words and music to "The Ballad of Sammy's Bar" are written and composed by Cyril, as I believe all of his songs were.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Noreen
Date: 09 Mar 03 - 11:54 AM

Mr Happy, you could have saved yourself the trouble- Mr Barker's version is already posted on the forum.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Boab
Date: 10 Mar 03 - 12:19 AM

Just recently received very courteous permission from Cyril to use his 'Sammy's Bar" and "Sally Free and Easy" on our next c.d. [there were minor conditions---but I'd prefer others to check these out for themselves]. And it is, indeed "call away the Dyso" as has been quoted by one other here who has Cyril's song book. I refer to mine often ---"tae big Rab", and I refuse to put a date on it! In the old days, by the way Cyril really was a LEAN [and unwashed?]tiffy!


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Subject: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 08:00 AM

I've been asked by a friend for the words of 'Down by Sammy's Bar'
I heard it being sung many's the time but never thought of learning it. Can anyone of you Mudcat singer point me in the direction of Sammy's Bar.
          many thanks Eoin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 08:03 AM

It's in the DT database under 'Sammy's Bar '
eric


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,Raggytash
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 10:41 AM

I also have a spoof version where instead of " hey the last boats are a leavin'" it hey the lamposts are a leanin'


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BALLAD OF SAMMY'S BAR (Cyril Tawney)
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:20 PM

Try this:

THE BALLAD OF SAMMY'S BAR
(from the cassette Sally Free And Easy – Cyril Tawney)


I went down to Sammy's Bar, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
By the shore at Pieta, call away the dzisou.

And my real love she was there, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
There was sand all in her hair, call away the dzisou.

How did sand get in your hair? Hey the last boat's a'leaving.
Darling Johnny put it there, call away the dzisou.

Been with Johnny all the day, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
Out at Eyntefia bay, call away the dzisou.

He's a better man by far, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
'Cos he's got a Yankee car, call away the dzisou.

I went out from Sammy's bar, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
Had to hire a Yankee car, call away the dzisou.

Fourteen days I drank no wine, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
Saving for that love of mine, call away the dzisou.

Then one day in Poala Square, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
At a paper I did stare, call away the dzisou.

Johnny tried a hairpin bend, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
For my love it was the end, call away the dzisou.

Going back to Sammy's Bar, hey the last boat's a'leaving.
I don't need no Yankee car, call away the dzisou.
01/03/00


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Mr Happy
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:34 PM

'the dzisou' ?

anyone know what this means?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:35 PM

Yep!   It's a small rowing boat that plies Grand Harbour, Malta - sort of a water taxi.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Backstage Manager(inactive)
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 02:48 PM

THE BALLAD OF SAMMY'S BAR
(Sally Free And Easy – Cyril Tawney)


Jacqued,

I don't know why you've subtitled the song as "Sally Free and Easy."

"Sally Free and Easy" is a completely different Cyril Tawney song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,Reel Brew
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 06:14 PM

Good version of Sammy's Bar available by "Shannyganock" out of NFLD...look it up!...Slainte!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 07:02 PM

Also on the new "Last night's fun" cd. A good version there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 28 Apr 04 - 07:59 PM

Backstage Manager

Jacqued wasn't subtitling - "Sally Free and Easy" is the album on which Cyril recorded the Ballad of Sammy's Bar, as well as SF and E. According to Cyril's website, this is still available on cassette. (http://pages.britishlibrary.net/tawney/enter.htm)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req. Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 10:09 AM

Thanks Herga!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 02:30 PM

IIRC, the chorus means that sailors in port have missed the boat back to their ship, so have to hire a dzisou instead. Were they disciplined for overstaying their leave, though?

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 02:34 PM

Gerda,

As a former crabfat member of the Shore Patrol in Malta (1974 to 1979)
we were known as The Joints Services Police Section then - they were only disciplined if we could catch them!   I have known Jacks leap into Grand harbour and swim to the other side to evade being lifted!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down by Sammy's Bar
From: LindsayInWales
Date: 29 Apr 04 - 08:05 PM

You can buy a wonderful cd called "Guide Cats For The Blind" - the proceeds of which go to a charity for blind people to have access to computers (a cause dear to my heart) - on the cd are various performances by Les Barker, and Cyril Tawney himself doing parodies of his songs including Sammy's Bar...it's available from Amazon.

I particularly like Martin Carthy's "Hard Cheese Of Old England" and June Tabor's "Git Along Little Dogie"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Gurney
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 03:42 AM

Sinking into pedantry.

It was spelled Dghaisa in a book I read, a history, not a novel.
Tawney clearly pronounces it Dyso.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down by Sammy's Bar
From: GUEST,eoin o'buadhaigh
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 11:24 AM

Thanks, I have now passed the lyrics on and Mudcat has now got a possible new member. They love the threads and DT lyrics. Thanks again to all for your help. Oh! by the way, a big CONGRAT'S to Dr. FIBULA MATTOCKS on gaining her PHD.      cheers eoin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Down by Sammy's Bar
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 30 Apr 04 - 12:21 PM

There was a long discussion a few months ago on mudcat about what a dzysou/daighsa/dyso was and how it's spelt. Don't know enough about mudcat to be able to trace it but it's here somewhere!

And Martin Simpson does 'Sammy's Bar' superbly on 'The Bramble Briar'.
Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 06:19 PM

Here's the version from the Digital Tradition. I listened to the Cyril Tawney studio recording. All the verses from the recording are in the DT lyrics, but I have questions about some words. From the discussion above, it seems clear that it's "CALL away the..." In one of the last verses, the DT has "Paula Square." That doesn't sound like what I hear. Can we use this thread to collaborate on a definitive transcription of the song?

Here's the DT Version:

SAMMY'S BAR or THE LAST BOAT'S A'LEAVIN
(Cyril Tawney)

I went down to Sammy's Bar
Hey, the last boat's a'leavin
By the shore at Pieta
Haul Call away the daighsoe

And my real love, she was there
There was sand all in her hair

How did sand get in your hair
Darling Johnny put it there

Been with Johnny all the day
Down at Ghajn Tuffheija Bay

He's a better man by far
Because he's got a Yankee car

I went out from Sammy's Bar
Had to hire a Yankee car

Fourteen days I drank no wine
Saving for that love of mine

Then one day in Paula square
At a paper I did stare

Johnny tried a hairpin bend
For my love, it was the end

Going back to Sammy's Bar
I don't need no Yankee car

Copyright Dick James Music Ltd.
@courtship @death @chorus
recorded by Golden Ring on Five Days Singing
filename[ SAMMYBAR
TUNE FILE: SAMMYBAR
CLICK TO PLAY
SO

Note this message from Malcolm Douglas from another thread:
    Thread #32237   Message #422851
    Posted By: Malcolm Douglas
    21-Mar-01 - 09:33 PM
    Thread Name: Lyr Req: Sammy's Bar
    Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sammy's Bar

    Cyril himself says that he wrote the tune for Sammy's Bar (1958).  There are resemblances to phrases from, for example, Banks of Green Willow (the tune popularised by George Butterworth) and Shenandoah, but that doesn't necessarily imply any conscious (or even unconscious) borrowing; often, such resemblances are just the mark of a successful composition in the traditional idiom, which is what I've always taken this to be.  He also remarked (1990) "Those of my spies who've been lucky enough to revisit lovely old Malta tell me that Sammy's Bar, at the head of Pieta Creek, has been demolished.  In the '50s the Submarine Depot Ship HMS Forth was just around the corner, and the bar sold very cheap, but very strong, white wine.  It was cramped, but the acoustics were marvellous, and it became a favourite venue for me and my guitar.  The tale, though, is totally fictitious."


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' query
From: Jack Campin
Date: 24 Jan 16 - 06:36 PM

Probably here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paola,_Malta

Maltese pronunciation is phonetic but in a very strange way. You will not guess G%C4%A7ajn_Tuffie%C4%A7a unless you try to find something out about the language.


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Subject: DT Corr: The Ballad of Sammy's Bar (Cyril Tawney)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 12:09 AM

A generous Mudcatter sent me a scan from the Cyril Tawney Songbook. Here are the lyrics, with the parts that are different from the Digital Tradition in bold

THE BALLAD OF SAMMY'S BAR
(Cyril Tawney)

I went down to Sammy's Bar
Hey, the last boat's a-leavin'
By the shore at Piétá
Call away the Dyso*

And my real love she was there
There was sand all in her hair

"How did sand get in your hair?"
"Darling Johnny put it there"

"Been with Johnny all the day
Out at Inetuffeya Bay"

"He's a better man by far
Cos he's got a Yankee car."

I went out from Sammy's Bar
Had to hire a Yankee car.

Fourteen days I drank no wine
Savin' for that love of mine.

Then one day in Paula square
At a paper I did stare.

Johnny tried a hairpin bend
For my love it was the end.

Goin' back to Sammy's Bar
I don't need no Yankee car.

Maltese words have been spelt phonetically for ease of pronunciation.
Correct spelling is as follows:

Dyso: Dghajsa
Inetuffeya: Ghajn Tuffheja

Copyright Dick James Music Ltd.
@courtship @death @chorus
recorded by Golden Ring on Five Days Singing
filename[ SAMMYBAR
TUNE FILE: SAMMYBAR
CLICK TO PLAY
SO

for background information, see https://mainlynorfolk.info/cyril.tawney/songs/theballadofsammysbar.html


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' lyrics corrections/interpretations
From: michaelr
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 01:51 PM

It's probably Palace Square.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' lyrics corrections/interpretations
From: EBarnacle
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 03:09 PM

when I do Sammy's Bar I substitute this for the next to last verse:

Johnny tried a hairpin curve
Halfway through he lost his nerve.

I like the element of uncertainty this adds to the ending.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' lyrics corrections/interpretations
From: Jack Campin
Date: 25 Jan 16 - 03:19 PM

Palace Square in Valletta is more often known as St George's Square, and isn't a very likely place for a sailor to hang out buying a paper (it's bare and formal). Paola Square is livelier. But I guess it could be either.

It was restrained of Tawney not to work "The Gut" (aka Strait Street) into his song. When I was there (around 2000, I think) it still had some faded remainders of its days as the entertainment district for the Navy. Some of the women looking out of upper floor windows could have been continuously in the same line of business since WW2 and there were bar signs advertising Watney's Red Barrel. We met two ex-Navy sailors in the street, probably in their 80s, who'd come back there to remember old times. There's a lot about it on the web.


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Subject: RE: 'Sammy's Bar' lyrics corrections/interpretations
From: JHW
Date: 26 Jan 16 - 05:46 AM

Haul away the Dyso - a quick run round the ship with the vacuum before going ashore


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