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Req: The Press Gang (as sung by Ewan MacColl)

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PRESS GANG


Related threads:
Lyr Req: On Board of a Man-of-War (25)
(origins) Origins: Aboard a Man o' War (23)


Roberto 28 Jul 03 - 01:06 PM
Mary Humphreys 28 Jul 03 - 01:14 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jul 03 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,Chris Gilbert 18 May 16 - 02:12 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Ewan MacColl's The Press Gang
From: Roberto
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 01:06 PM

The Press Gang, as sung by Ewan MacColl (in The Manchester Angel). I know it is in the DT, but there's something wrong with the text.

Here's the fifth verse, in the DT:

Now I was married and me wife's name was Grace
'Twas she that led me to shocking disgrace
It's oft I'd curse her ugly face
On board of a man-o-war, boys

It is not what Ewan MacColl sings. He sings:

Now I was married and me wife's name was (...) (? I'm not sure he says Grace. I hear a "t" after the Gr...)
'T was she that led me to shocking (...)(?? I hear "shocking delay, but it makes no sense I'm afraid...)
'T was she that caused me to go away
On board of a man-o-war, boys

Please, please, help. Roberto


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ewan MacColl's The Press Gang
From: Mary Humphreys
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 01:14 PM

I have the same record. Yes - her name is 'Grace' and she does lead him to shocking 'delay', though, again I am mystified as to the meaning.
My good friend Dave Bishop who got the song from that same source sings the same words, so it isn't just me who has heard the words above..
Mary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ewan MacColl's The Press Gang
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jul 03 - 01:56 PM

It may be that MacColl sang it differently on two different records, but I don't recall hearing either. What I can tell you is that the composer E. J. Moeran noted a set from James Sutton at Winterton, Norfolk, in July 1915, which contains the following verse:

Now, I was married and my wife's name was Grey;
'Twas she that led me to shocking delay,
'Twas she that caused me to go away
On board of a man o' war, boys.

The full text and tune appeared in The Journal of the Folk Song Society, vol. VII issue 26, 1922 pp. 11-12. The text is very close indeed to that later recorded by MacColl, and he may well have got it from the Journal. Does he not indicate a source on either record?

There is some further discussion and various texts (most acknowledge no traditional source) in this earlier discussion:  Lyr Req: 'On Board Of A Man-of-war'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Press Gang (Ewan MacColl)
From: GUEST,Chris Gilbert
Date: 18 May 16 - 02:12 PM

I sing this song a lot...that verse about the wife adds nothing to the story, and really doesn't go down well with folks these days (not exactly "PC"). So, I just omit the verse altogether, and the song works fine without it.


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