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The British Grenadiers

DigiTrad:
FREE AMERICA
LORD CORNWALLIS' SURRENDER
THE BRITISH GRENADIERS


Related threads:
British Grenadiers-why is tune called Sheffield? (28)
Lyr Add: Free America / Free Americay (3)


Ringer 25 Mar 03 - 06:41 AM
IanC 25 Mar 03 - 07:25 AM
Pied Piper 25 Mar 03 - 07:26 AM
GUEST,Train Guard 25 Mar 03 - 12:34 PM
IanC 25 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM
okthen 25 Mar 03 - 01:14 PM
masato sakurai 25 Mar 03 - 01:49 PM
Malcolm Douglas 25 Mar 03 - 05:35 PM
nutty 25 Mar 03 - 05:55 PM
nutty 25 Mar 03 - 05:59 PM
nutty 25 Mar 03 - 06:12 PM
McGrath of Harlow 25 Mar 03 - 07:39 PM
masato sakurai 25 Mar 03 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Boab 26 Mar 03 - 03:26 AM
nutty 26 Mar 03 - 03:53 AM
clueless don 26 Mar 03 - 10:51 AM
Ringer 26 Mar 03 - 01:10 PM
Joe Offer 23 Mar 05 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Pikey 23 Mar 05 - 05:06 PM
Bunnahabhain 23 Mar 05 - 05:24 PM
Boab 24 Mar 05 - 12:47 AM
Joe Offer 24 Mar 05 - 01:07 AM
GUEST 24 Mar 05 - 03:32 AM
IanC 24 Mar 05 - 03:45 AM
IanC 24 Mar 05 - 03:45 AM
Amos 24 Mar 05 - 05:14 AM
The Walrus 24 Mar 05 - 05:38 AM
Snuffy 24 Mar 05 - 08:47 AM
GUEST,Pikey 24 Mar 05 - 09:20 AM
Ringer 24 Mar 05 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Mr Happy 02 Nov 05 - 09:32 PM
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Subject: The British Grenadiers
From: Ringer
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 06:41 AM

My wife, in a rather forlorn attempt to improve my foreign language skills, records a 30-minute TV program, "C'est ca, la vie", from a German satellite channel for me to watch each week. It's an "Improve your French" program for Germans; from German TV because it's better than anything on British TV, says my wife. They're very thorough these Germans: even the credits are given in French, though the names of cameramen, etc, are all Teutonic. The program was dated 1996 so presumably it's on its second or third broadcast in Germany.

This week's program was from Lille and was mainly based round talking to workers at the pyramid-shaped flag-factory there (don't ask). However, in the introductory minutes, we were shown views of Lille, including a quartet busking in the street. They were playing a tune recognisably similer to, though slightly different from, "The British Grenadiers", on (what sounded to my untutored ears like) renaissance instruments: the woodwind had that oboe-like reediness that I associate with "serpent". Thereafter the tune re-emerged from time to time during the program as musical background was thought to be necessary.

My question is about the history of this tune: has it any known French or Germanic connections (I couldn't see the buskers in the program's credits -- for all I know they could have been The English Mummerset Country Dance Band)? Were any musicians reading this, or known to anyone reading this, busking in Lille in 1996?


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: IanC
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 07:25 AM

Previous threads don't seem to have much about the song or the melody, so here's some info to start us off.

From here.

The Redcoats are known to have played "The British Grenadiers" on the battlefield at Brandywine in September of 1777, so presumably it was played on many other occasions. Its origins can be traced back to a song entitled "The New Bath" found in Playford's dance books from the 1600's. It is first found in America in William Williams' 1775 manuscript, printed in Pawtucket RI. Today it is one of the most recognizable regimental marches and is still a much-loved patriotic British song.

:-)


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Pied Piper
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 07:26 AM

Hi Ringer.

There's a tune in Playfords English Dancing Master called Prince Rupert's March
MIDI, ABC, Score

This tune is in a minor mode but clearly closely related.

All the best
PP


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: GUEST,Train Guard
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 12:34 PM

The lyrics of the song are interesting. They refer to 'grenadiers'. These were companies of soldiers that started to appear in English regiments towards the end of the seventeenth century, usually distinguished by special hats that looked a little like ecclesiastical mitres. They carried 'pouches' in which hand grenades were kept, and wore tunics or coats with looped (or embroidered) button holes - all described in the song.

   The song also comments upon tactics. Grenadiers were employed, usually in sieges, to attack fortified positions. Of course, they employed hand grenades - small bombs that could be held in the hand and thrown. In those days, this meant utilising a lighted fuse.

   Consequently, the attack was organised in a way described in the song. The front rank or 'leaders' comprised the best (or most foolhardy) throwers, equipped only with a number of slow burning fuses. The rear ranks passed the grenades to them as required, the 'leaders' inserting a burning fuse before throwing them at the enemy position.

It was a job for brave men, and the grenadiers distinguished themselves in the Flanders campaign against the army of Louis XIV and the fortified positions constructed by Vauban (it was mostly siege warfare). It is thought by some that the song was written to commemorate their valour at the siege of Namur.

Could it be that a tune going the rounds in Flanders at the time attached itself to this song?

      Regards,
       Train Guard


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: IanC
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 12:51 PM

I've read that the earliest surviving published version of the song is dated 1700. The tune, as noted above, goes back a little earlier. "The Bath" appears in the 1651 edition of Playford and is replaced by "The New Bath" in 1689. The latter is a different dance, with a different tune.

Quite a lot of tunes had currency across much of Europe anyway, so who knows where it originated. Certainly some unknown 20th Century buskers in Lille aren't likely to give a good provenance for a tune that's been around over 200 years. I was in North Italy last year and a hurdy-gurdy player in the mountains was playing what sounded like an English tune. Turned out it was. He got it (directly) from the hurdy gurdy player in Blowzabella.

:-)


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: okthen
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 01:14 PM

Don't know why, but I get a little nervous when I hear of Germans learning French.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: masato sakurai
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 01:49 PM

See The Fiddler's Companion: BRITISH GRENADIERS, THE.

~Masato


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 05:35 PM

Chappell (Popular Music of the Olden Time, I, 1859, p.152, comments:

"The correct date of this fine old melody appears altogether uncertain, as it is to be found in different forms at different periods; but it is here placed in juxtaposition to Sir Edward Noel's Delight, and All you that love good fellows, or The London Prentice, because evidently derived from the same source. The commencement of the air is also rather like Prince Rupert's March, and the end resembles Old King Cole, with the difference of being major instead of minor."

Claude M. Simpson (The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, 1966, pp. 13-16) discusses All you that love good fellows in some detail, including its association with The Honour of a London Prentice, and its appearance under the names Nowells Delighte (Welde MS Lute Book, c.1600), Nancie (Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, arranged by Thomas Morley), and so on.

X:1
T:A true discou[r]se of the winning of the towne of Berk...1601.
S:Shirburn MS, 1585-1616
B:Claude M. Simpson, The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, 1966, p.14
N:Original is unbarred.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:4/4
K:C
z4 G4|c2 G2 c2 d2|e4 d4|c2 G2 GFED|
C8|z4 G4|c2 G2 c2 d2|e4 d4|c2 G2 GFED|
C8|d4 d2 d2|d6 d2|d2 c2 B2 A2|G4 e4|
d2 B2 d2 c2|B2 G2 G2 A2|G3 F E2 D2|c8|]

The tune was taken up by a number of 17th century Dutch songbooks, so it was current outside England from that time.

X:2
T:Sir Eduward Nouwells Delight
S:J.J. Starter, Friesche Lust-Hof, 2nd edition, 1621.
B:Claude M. Simpson, The British Broadside Ballad and Its Music, 1966, p.15
N:Original is unbarred and, though pitched in C, contains key signature of one sharp.
L:1/8
Q:1/4=100
M:4/4
K:C
c2|c2 G2 c2 d2|e2 e2 d2 B2|c2 G2 GFED|C6 G2|
c2 G2 c2 d2|e2 e2 d2 B2|c2 G2 GFED|C6 c2|
d2 e2 d2 A2|d2 d2 d2 e2|d3 c B2 A2|G2 G2 a3 f|
e2 c2 e2 d2|c2 G2 G2 G2|(AB) c2 c2 B2|c2 c4 G2|
A2 G2 A3 G|A2 G2 A3 G|F4 E4|D6 c2|
d2 e2 d2 c2|d3 e d2 (gf)|e2 (dc) d3 c|c6|]

"The British Grenadiers", says Simpson, "clearly descends from this old tune."


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: nutty
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 05:55 PM

I've always thought of Grenadiers as soldiers, but this early broadside in the Bodleian Library points to them being seamen.
There is also an interesting spelling ...... GRANADEER



The Granadeers Loyal Health

Info regarding the above ....
Printer: Back, J. (London)

Date:      between 1682 and 1703
   
Imprint: Printed for J. Back, at the Black-Boy, on London-bridge.
License note: This may be Printed, R.P.

Illus. Ballads on sheet: 1   
   
Copies: Don. b.13(16)
         
Ballads: 1.The couragious seamens loyal health. Or, an Answer to   Dub, a dub, a dub, a dub, &c
             ("Shall the Granadeer-boys proclaim ...")
To the tune of: The Granadeers loyal health
Subject: Naval; James, II, king of England, 1633-1701


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: nutty
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 05:59 PM

Correction about the seaman bit .... I had mis-read the song


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: nutty
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 06:12 PM

Putting the new(old)"Granadeers" spelling into the "browse - titles, first lines and tunes etc" brings up an interesting broadside of both words and music for A NEW ROYAL MARCH, dated circa 1696

Bodleian Library


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 07:39 PM

A lot of those those Redcoats at the Battle of Brandywine would have have been German Hessians rather than British anyway (IanC) One of the generals on the British side was called Baron Wilhelm von Knyphausen.

It's such a good tune for marching on parade I'd imagine there'd be versions in the repertoire of army bands in all countries.

"Granadeers" came up blank when I just tried doing what nutty suggested.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: masato sakurai
Date: 25 Mar 03 - 08:15 PM

There's a 1623 edition of Good newes from Virginia, sent from Iames his Towne ... March, 1623, which was sung "To the tune of: All Those That Be Good Fellows," at Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 03:26 AM

Good marching tune; but I can't find merit in the lyrics---never could. It seems to have literary merit at about the level of "there's nae team like the Glasgow Rangers". [No---I'm not a Celtic fan!]


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: nutty
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 03:53 AM

Sorry McGrath ..... my fault.
You need to set to the second option in the Browse Index "words in sheet titles , ballad titles etc".


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: clueless don
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 10:51 AM

Never one to shy away from thread creep ...

Whenever I hear "British Grenadiers", I automatically say to myself "Oh, that's ' 'cause I got me a pretty woman's love'." This is a reference to a song called "Wringle, Wrangle" that appeared in a 50s Walt Disney movie called "Westward Ho the Wagons", starring Fess Parker among others. The melodies are not exactly the same, but one of the lines of "Wringle, Wrangle" ends (as I recall) with the words "'cause I got me a pretty woman's love", sung to virtually the same tune as the last few bars of the "A" part of "British Grenadiers."

I wonder if anyone else remembers the song, and has noticed the similarity. This would have been one of the very first movies I ever saw.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Ringer
Date: 26 Mar 03 - 01:10 PM

Thank you all very much. I've enjoyed this.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 01:45 PM

There's another song being discussed about grenadiers returning to France (click), and that led me to this one. I've known the tune all my life, but not the lyrics. It's an interesting song, and I think it might be fun to add it and its American counterparts to my repertoire. Here's what the Traditional Ballad Index says about it and the American songs that use the same tune:

British Grenadiers, The

DESCRIPTION: "Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules... And such great men as these..." but none can compare, "with a row- row-row, row-row-row To the British Grenadiers." The prowess of the Grenadiers is praised, and toasts are offered to them
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1838 (Chappell)
KEYWORDS: soldier drink battle nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Logan, pp. 109-112, "The British Grenadiers" (plus parody, "Aitcheson's Carabineers")
Chappell/Wooldridge I, pp. 262-264, "Nancy; or, Sir Edward Noel's Delight; or All You That Love Good Fellows" (3 tunes, reputed to be ancestor of these tunes)
Silber-FSWB, p. 279, "The British Grenadiers" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 153-154+, "The British Grenadiers"
DT, BRITGREN*

Roud #11231?
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Lord Cornwallis's Surrender" (tune)
cf. "Free America" (tune)
SAME TUNE:
Free America (File: Arn014)
Lord Cornwallis's Surrender (File: SBoA088)
Notes: That this song is old is obvious. Logan argues that the words must date from between 1678 (when the Grenadier companies were formed) and the reign of Queen Anne (died 1714), when Grenadiers ceased to carry grenades and became simply elite troops. The earlier date is fairly solid; the latter, of course, has the problem that a songwriter might not know that grenadiers had become a general term.
The same problems attend the tune. Fuld reports on various prints from around 1750, and the various parodies and adaptions categorically date it before 1780. It appears the tune is much older (and may not even be British), but no precise data can be offered. - RBW
File: Log109

Free America

DESCRIPTION: "The seat of science, Athens, And earth's proud mistress Rome, Where now are all their glories?" The writer advises Americans to "guard their rights" and fight back against European tyranny.
AUTHOR: words: Joseph Warren?
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: political patriotic freedom derivative
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Arnett, pp. 14-15, "Free America" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 14-16, "Free America" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-NEFolklr, pp. 537-538, "Free America" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 337-338, "Free America(y)" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 284, "Free America" (1 text)
DT, FREEAMER*

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The British Grenadiers" (tune) and references there
File: Arn014

Lord Cornwallis's Surrender

DESCRIPTION: "Come all you brave Americans, The truth to you I'll tell, 'Tis of a sad misfortune To Britain late befell." Cornwallis and his British troops, cut off by Washington on land and de Grasse by sea, are forced to surrender
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: war battle rebellion derivative
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
Oct 19, 1781 - Cornwallis surrenders his forces at Yorktown to General Washington
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Scott-BoA, pp. 88-90, "Lord Cornwallis's Surrender" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, LRDCRNWL*

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The British Grenadiers" (tune) and references there
Notes: The Revolutionary War in the north did not go well for Britain. Although their only severe defeat was at Saratoga, they were unable to capture and subdue the countryside.
The British command therefore decided to concentrate on the south in 1780. In that year, Charles Cornwallis (the second-in-command in America and the most aggressive of the British generals) was to invade the Carolinas and Virginia.
The results were typical of the Revolutionary War: Cornwallis won most of his engagements against the Colonials, but never managed to pin them down and suffered occasional losses at the hands of a rebellious countryside.
Then came disaster. Cornwallis was facing Washington at Yorktown with only a fraction of the British colonial army. Suddenly a French fleet led by Admiral de Grasse, which had been expected to attack New York, instead appeared outside Yorktown. De Grasse could not hope to hold off the British fleet forever, but he held on long enough. Cornwallis, surrounded and cut off from supplies, had to surrender.
It was the effective end of the Revolutionary War. The peace would not be signed until 1783, but the British no longer had the troops to fight the rebels, and were unwilling to send more.
Among the other revolutionary figures mentioned in this song are:
Burgoyne -- John Burgoyne, who surrendered at Saratoga (see "The Fate of John Burgoyne").
Hessians -- German mercenaries employed by the British. They were generally despised.
Greene -- Nathaniel Greene, who commanded a detached force in the Carolinas against Cornwallis. He was the best officer the Americans had at harassing the enemy. - RBW
File: SBoA088

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: GUEST,Pikey
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 05:06 PM

There was a brave old Scotchman at the battle of Waterloo
the wind blew up his petticoat and he didn't know what to do.....


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 23 Mar 05 - 05:24 PM

Thank you Joe. Those derivitives are fascinating. Mudcat comes up with these interesting, and sometimes almost useful things so often.

Bunnhahbhain.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Boab
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 12:47 AM

Guest Pikey's posting has literary merit just as great as the lyrics of "The British Grenadiers" in my opinion.A pompous set of near-nonsensical words bringing the same message as "There's no Team like the Glasgow Rangers"! [ Nought against the "Gers"--but the anthem is crap----]


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 01:07 AM

I'd sure agree with you, Boab. Pikey, do you have any more of that song?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 03:32 AM

Another variant:

Some die of drinking whisky
And some of drinking beer,
Of excess masturbation
Or creeping diarrhoea,
But of all the world's diseases
There's none that can compare
To the drip drip drop of the septic cock
Of the British Grenadier.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: IanC
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 03:45 AM

Guest - for the rhyme (and for accuracy) it's normally "Syphilitic Dick".

;-)


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: IanC
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 03:45 AM

& drip, drip, drip.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Amos
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 05:14 AM

The reference nutty points too way up thread does not imply Granadeers are seamen but rather compares Seamen to Granadeers in a contest of greatest loyalty to the Crown.

A


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: The Walrus
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 05:38 AM

The version (of the variant) I heard was:

Some die of drinking whisky
And some of drinking beer,
Of die of constipation
And some of diarrhoea,
But of all the world's diseases
There's none that can compare
To the drip drip drip of the septic prick
And they call it Gonorroea.

By the bye.
Does anyone have any ideas why the tune changed in the mid 19th Century?

Regards

Walrus


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 08:47 AM

Some die of constipation
And some of diarrhoea,
Of die of masturbation
And some of gonorrhoea,
But of all the world's diseases
There's none that can compare
To the drip drip drip of the syphilitic prick
Of the British Grenadier.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: GUEST,Pikey
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 09:20 AM

Nope. That's all there is I think. It's from the British comedy Dad's Army.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: Ringer
Date: 24 Mar 05 - 10:47 AM

Is it only 2 years since I started this thread? It seems like half a lifetime.

My French hasn't improved much, I'm afraid.


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Subject: RE: The British Grenadiers
From: GUEST,Mr Happy
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 09:32 PM

& a flick,flick,flick of a septic dick & a touch of gonorrhoea!


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