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Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo

DigiTrad:
FIRE MARINGO


Related threads:
What is 'Fire Maringo' about (16)
(origins) Origin: Fire Maringo (chantey) (6)


Skipper Jack 21 Sep 03 - 06:39 AM
Roberto 21 Sep 03 - 07:18 AM
mack/misophist 21 Sep 03 - 10:58 AM
Charley Noble 21 Sep 03 - 11:16 AM
Jeri 21 Sep 03 - 12:05 PM
Skipper Jack 21 Sep 03 - 01:25 PM
Charley Noble 21 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM
Jeri 21 Sep 03 - 04:40 PM
MartinRyan 21 Sep 03 - 06:30 PM
MartinRyan 21 Sep 03 - 06:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 03 - 06:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Sep 03 - 07:15 PM
Jeri 21 Sep 03 - 07:49 PM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Sep 03 - 08:11 PM
Jeri 21 Sep 03 - 09:19 PM
Barry Finn 21 Sep 03 - 10:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Sep 03 - 11:39 PM
MartinRyan 22 Sep 03 - 03:16 AM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Sep 03 - 09:30 AM
GUEST 22 Sep 03 - 10:12 AM
GUEST,belter 22 Sep 03 - 01:03 PM
GUEST,MMario 22 Sep 03 - 01:15 PM
Dead Horse 22 Sep 03 - 03:13 PM
Charley Noble 22 Sep 03 - 07:38 PM
GUEST,AR282 22 Sep 03 - 10:16 PM
Skipper Jack 23 Sep 03 - 05:41 AM
GUEST,Gibb 13 Feb 09 - 09:43 PM
Lighter 13 Feb 09 - 11:25 PM
Charley Noble 14 Feb 09 - 09:18 AM
squeezebox-kc 14 Feb 09 - 09:44 AM
Lighter 14 Feb 09 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Gibb 14 Feb 09 - 12:36 PM
Charley Noble 14 Feb 09 - 06:18 PM
JWB 14 Feb 09 - 06:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Feb 09 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,Gibb 15 Feb 09 - 12:54 AM
Howard Jones 15 Feb 09 - 06:35 AM
Reinhard 15 Feb 09 - 06:39 AM
Charley Noble 15 Feb 09 - 09:44 AM
GUEST 15 Feb 09 - 06:54 PM
Charley Noble 15 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM
The Borchester Echo 16 Feb 09 - 02:30 AM
GUEST,Gibb 16 Feb 09 - 09:58 AM
Marc Bernier 19 Feb 09 - 08:15 AM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 01:35 PM
Gibb Sahib 23 Nov 09 - 05:57 PM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM
Charley Noble 04 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM
shipcmo 26 Mar 10 - 04:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 08 Apr 10 - 01:45 PM
Joe Offer 08 Apr 10 - 03:07 PM
Charley Noble 09 Apr 10 - 07:59 AM
Dead Horse 09 Apr 10 - 08:37 AM
Jim Dixon 11 Apr 10 - 06:50 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Apr 10 - 03:09 PM
Lighter 12 Apr 10 - 07:50 PM
Charley Noble 12 Apr 10 - 09:02 PM
Joe Offer 23 Nov 10 - 08:33 PM
Charley Noble 23 Nov 10 - 09:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Nov 10 - 09:53 PM
Charley Noble 24 Nov 10 - 09:04 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:39 AM

I have a recording of Fire Maringo by "Young Tradition" from back in the 70's. More recently, I have heard the "Shipping News" version.

But I am uncertain of the lyrics.

What I currently have is:

Lift him up and carry him along
Fire Maringo, fire away.
Put him down where he belong
Fire Maringo, fire away.

Stow him in the hold below.
Stay he must and then we'll go.

When I get back to Liverpool Town,
I'll pass the line to little Sally Brown.

Sally, she's a pretty little craft,
Cut sharp to the fore with a rounded aft.

I'll haul her high and I'll haul her low.
I'll bust her blocks and make her go.

Screw the cotton, screw him down.
Let's get the hell from this Hilo Town.

Any ideas on the origin and if there are any more verses?

Dave R.


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIRE MARINGO (from Young Tradition)
From: Roberto
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 07:18 AM

Stan Hugill doesn't have Fire Maringo in his Shanties from the Seven Seas, but in the Introduction, where he inserts a text and the following note: "Doerflinger seems to think that "Fire, maringo" is of Negro origin, but I feel that Ireland is as like as not its birthplace. The word "maringo" is the clue. This quaint word is found in many Irish folk-songs (etc)."

Here is the Young Tradition's text as I have it. Roberto


Fire Maringo, Young Tradition, E.P. Chicken On A Raft, 1967, in Young Tradition, Galleries / Royston Wood & Heather Wood, No Relation (Two albums on One CD), Transatlantic ESMCD 461


FIRE MARINGO

Lift him up and carry him along,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
Put him down where he belong,
Fire Maringo, fire away!

Ease him down and let him lay,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
Screw him in and there he'll stay.
Fire Maringo, fire away!

Stow him in his hole below,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
Stay he must and then he'll go.
Fire Maringo, fire away!

When I get back to Liverpool Town,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
I'll pass a line to little Sally Brown.
Fire Maringo, fire away!

I'll haul her high and haul her low,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
I'll bust her blocks and I'll make her go.
Fire Maringo, fire away!

Oh, Sally, she's a pretty little craft,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
Hot shot to the fore and a rounded aft.
Fire Maringo, fire away!

Screw the cart and screw him down,
Fire Maringo, fire away!
Let's get the hell from the Hilo town.
Fire Maringo, fire away!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: mack/misophist
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 10:58 AM

The Battle of Marengo (1800 - French Revolutionary Wars) was fought on land, but the name is interesting. Could it be that Irish soldiers in the French army liked the rhythm of the word so much that they used it as a burden in other songs?


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Subject: ADD Version: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 11:16 AM

I've been leading this version with Roll & Go, which is similar to what's listed above. We first heard it from Forebitters of Mystic, CN:

FIRE MARINGO-III

(Primarily from the singing of Forebitter
Unmooring CD, © 1995 Mystic Seaport Museum.
Tune by Royston Wood of the British folk revival group Young Tradition, 1967
Traditional Cotton Stowing Shanty
Singing Key: Cm)

Am----C----G-------Am
Lift 'im up an' carry 'im a-long,
---------G-Am-----G--Em
Fire, Ma-rin-go, fire 'im a-way, Yah!
Am---------------------Dm
Lay 'im in the hold where he be-long,
Am---------G—Am-G-Am
Fire, Ma-rin-go, fire 'im a-way!


Lay 'im down in the hold below...
It's time for us to roll and go...

Ease 'im down and let 'im lay...
Screw 'im in and there he'll stay...

Shift that bale, an' screw it down...
Let's get back to Liverpool Town...

When I gets to Liverpool Town...
Gonna pass a line to little Sally Brown...

Sally Brown, she's a handy little craft...
Sharp up forward, rounded in the aft...

Haul 'er high an' haul 'er low…
Bust 'er blocks before I go…

One more turn an' that'll do...
We's the bullys to kick 'er through...


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 12:05 PM

Obviously, Forebitter added in dialect [7] which wasn't there to begin with. Hugill in Shanties from the Seven Seas says, "Doerflinger seems to think that Fire, maringo is of Negro origin, but I feel that Ireland is like as not its birthplace."

only has:
Lift him up and carry him along,
Fire maringo, fire him away.
Put him down where he belongs,
Fire maringo...
Ease him down and let him lay,
Fire maringo...
Screw him in, and there he'll stay,
Fire maringo...
Stow him in his hole below,
Fire maringo...
Say [4] he must and then he'll go,
Fire maringo...

[4] "Stay" makes more sense to me
[7] Intentional dialect drives me nuts. Adding dialect other than your own to a song that didn't have it before is just too 'minstrel show' for me.

Royston Wood took the verses in Hugill, wrote the tune and thus made a song. I believe he added the Sally Brown verses.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 01:25 PM

According to the sleeve notes on the "Young Tradition Sampler Album"
The group feature a selection of sea shanties including Fire Maringo. It states that they are traditional with arrangments by Royston Woods. So it is possible that in this case he could have written the tune to the one in question. But could there have been an original tune noted down somewhere

I am inclined to agree that the song could well have been used as a cotton screwing shanty.

Thanks for the interesting theories on the origins of the word "Maringo".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 03:00 PM

Jeri-

"Dialect" is an interesting discussion on its own. You should start a thread, or revive one.

As for me I probably go back to Hugill's dialect wording for most traditional sea songs, or modify things that I pick up elsewhere in the fashion of C.Fox Smith's sea poetry, what I take to be late 19th century "sailor talk." Maybe we should start a Paddy West School of Shantying.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 04:40 PM

Charley, I guess I'm just practicing to be a curmudgeon. (Some might say I don't need any more practice. Fie!) I think the dialect discussions in the past have probably covered just about everything. I really wonder how dialect (dropped h's, 'gets', etc) got in there - unless it's your interpretation of Forebitter trying to immitate Peter Bellamy's singing.

I can GUESS the line about 'Shift that bale and screw it down' came from 'Screw the cotton, screw him down'. 6 or 7 audience members per performance "Who's that Cotton guy, and why does everybody want to screw him. You sure have a lot of nerve to sing that!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:30 PM

Can't say I've ever heard "marengo" or "maringo" in Irish song, Gaelic or English - not even in nonsense choruses. Anyone think of examples?

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:35 PM

While I think of it, didn't the estimable Hugill get confused between "shebang" and "shebeen" also? I think his knowledge of Hiberno-English and Anglo-Irish may have been less encyclopaedic than of ships and sailors!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 06:45 PM

The only example I can think of is in The Green Linnet, where it's a foreign reference in any case. On the face of it, Stan looks like he may have been up a gumtree on this one.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 07:15 PM

Six cities or towns, five in the USA and one in western Canada, are named Marengo. The towns in Alabama, Indiana and Illinois are named after the Battle of Marengo (1800) in which the French defeated the Austrians.
The Alabama town was named specifically in honor of French expatriates who settled there about 1816.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 07:49 PM

Martin, the example Hugill gives is:
As I was going along the road,
As I was going a-walking,
I heard a lassie in the shade;
To a young man she was talking,
ch.
With a maringo do-a-day,
With a maringo do-a-daddy-o


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 08:11 PM

Did he say what song that was from?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 09:19 PM

Malcolm, no. I wondered about that too. He just said, "This quaint word is found in many Irish folk-songs, such as the following:" then gives the example I quoted in my post above.

In my opinion, 'maringo' doesn't seem to be a nonsense word in the context of the shanty - it seems more like a name. 'Skinny-ma-rink-a-doodle' is nearly 'skinny-maringo-doodle' though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 10:05 PM

Hugill reefer's to 4 examples of capstan or cotton songs from Nordhoff's "The Merchant Vessel, A Sailor Boy's Voyages". I'd side with Martin & Malcolm assessment of Hugill's guess work here. Aside from Nordhoff there's also Doerflinger (though he states no reason why) who considers this to also be of "Negro" origin (Doerflinger was a very respected researcher by Hugill among many others). Hugill's example for his clue, the word Maringo, seems (IMHO) to me to be in a song closer to British in origin except for the word Maringo that seems to be stuck in the middle of a semi quasi British structure by mistake. I can't think of any examples of American, Irish or British sailor's bodies being stowed below unless their name was Nelson. It's usually over the side unless the ship was moored close to land or along dockside. I would also be inclined to see more of a possibility of it coming from a gulf or southeastern port & picked up in cotton screwing trade where the trading of the songs between stevedores & sailors was more like a shanty swap meet. White sailors taking songs of black origin to sea & stevedores doing just the opposite. If I had to "GUESS" (which seems to be all that anyone's done with this so far except that the original tune is lost) I'd guess that this was an export from the cotton ports rather than a sailor's import from the sea. Johnny Collins also does a nice version of this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Sep 03 - 11:39 PM

What is the earliest date for this song?
Seems to be a mixture of Sally Brown roll and go and what could have been a song about cotton screwing, except it seems to be a song for the deck, not connected with the screwing job.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: MartinRyan
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 03:16 AM

Skinny-malink-melodeon-legs... is a children's expression in Dublin, at least. That's the nearest I can think of.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 09:30 AM

There's a similar expression in Scotland. It would be a bit of a stretch to get to maringo from there, I think. Perhaps there are other examples; it begins to look a bit unlikely, though.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 10:12 AM

I agee, Malcolm. Its just that the sound is so un-Irish! I was hunting for anything like it. The "skinny-malink" element, BTW, turns up in that seriously strange "Jimmy Murphy" song.

Rehgards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,belter
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:03 PM

does anyone have abc notation for this song?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 01:15 PM

Thanks to Snuffy - the ABC was poster here


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Dead Horse
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 03:13 PM

Paddy West School of Shantying?
Not bloody likely, mate!
I aint a-gonna stand on no bloody stage, singin' me guts out, while some higgorant bleeder slings a bucket o' water at me & shoutin' out
"She's takin' on the spray".
No, not me. Not likely.
On the other hand, I aint a-gonna posh-up no shanties just for the likes of some folk club. Just imagine:-
As I was perambulating along Paradise Street.
To me, oh, gosh, blow the man down.
An overweight Irish person who had joined the constabulary I perchanced for to meet.
In a little while I shall attempt to blow the man down.........


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 07:38 PM

No use thrying to beat a "Dead Horse"!;~)

It's always made sense to me that this was a cotton stowing shanty that went to sea. I always assumed "Maringo" was a common name of a stevedor and "Fire, Maringo" simply meant send another bail of cotton to the screw press.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,AR282
Date: 22 Sep 03 - 10:16 PM

Johnny Collins lists it as "Fire Marengo."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Skipper Jack
Date: 23 Sep 03 - 05:41 AM

Charley - I think you have hit the nail on the head! I agree with you entirely.

I notice that there aren't any additional verses to the ones transcribed here.

With all the information on this thread one could write a thesis on "Fire Maringo"!

Thanks one and all!

Dave R.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,Gibb
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 09:43 PM

Maybe of some interest to some of the chantey buffs out there...

I came across a recent (2008) article in the journal Archives of Natural History, vol. 35(2), drawing attention to a text, predating Nordhoff, that gives lyrics to "Fire Marengo." (Not to sound discourteous, but IMHO the analysis by the author, Williams, who doesn't seem to have much of a background in chanteys, doesnt offer much. Its chief value is in drawing attention to the text.)

Anyway, the text is "Letters from Alabama" by the naturalist Philip Henry Gosse. The "letters" were written during an 1838 visit to Alabama, during which he observed cotton screwmen at work on the Alabama river. The letters were first published in a periodical in 1855, then published in book form in 1859 -- you can find it as a free PDF download on Google.

Gosse renders the chorus of the chantey as "Fire the ringo.":

I think I heard the black cock say,
*Fire the ringo, fire away!
They shot so hard, I could not stay;
*Fire the ringo, fire away!
So I spread my wings and flew away
*
I took my flight and ran away
*
All the way to Canaday
*
To Canaday, to Canaday
Ringo! ringo! blaze away!
*

AND:
Gin'ral Jackson gain'd the day
*
At New Orleans he won the day

I had thought from Nordhoff that this "Fire Marengo" smacked of one of the "Stormalong" themed chanteys. Now, with these added lyrics, its not hard to imagine setting it to the "General Taylor"/"Walk Him Along, John" form of Stormy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 11:25 PM

Gosse and Nordhoff afford the only known authentic versions of this early shanty. If memory serves, the familiar modern text and the fine tune come ultimately from the Young Tradition, perhaps from Peter Ballamy in particular.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 09:18 AM

Gibb-

Nice to have access to your time machine so we can see what someone else transcribed for this loading cotton worksong.

As I recall from previous discussions it was Nordhoff who first identified the leader of this worksong as the "Chant-man" which may have morphed to "chantyman."

This is still one of my favorite shanties, always good for shaking the dust down from the rafters.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: squeezebox-kc
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 09:44 AM

look up Kimbers Men or Joe stead on the web , good version by John Bromley there


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Lighter
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 10:09 AM

Charley, Nordhoff used "chanty-man."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,Gibb
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 12:36 PM

Hi Charley, Lighter,

Yes the honor still goes to Nordhoff for "first" reference to "chanty-man." (Gosse does refer to the songs by any particular name.) My chief interest in the Gosse text is to supply more clues on what Fire Marengo might have been like.

For reference: Nordhoff heard it sung sometime between 1845 and 1853 (those were the years he was at sea -- perhaps someone can be more precise). Gosse heard it in 1838.

Nordhoff seems to be a much more reliable source. Still....I know the whole "What is 'Marengo'?" thing reached the beating a dead horse phase long ago. But this "the ringo" bit gives it some more life, at least for obsessed crazies like me. For example, did Nordhoff hear "Fire MY ringo" (i.e. making "ringo" still the operative word)? Unfortunately, I am not coming up with anything related to "ringo" (or variations) in slang/jargon dictionaries.

In any case, I'm going to try singing a version of it with the "Walk him along" tune -- if I'm going to sing a contrived melody, I'd rather it be my own contrivance :) Just kidding, of course.

On a different note-- and if this is an inappropriate thread for this please tell me-- Does anyone have a good sense of the nature of the action of the cotton screwing? I don't mean the process of doing it, I mean the actual action where one exerts energy. Even with the 3-4 19th century descriptions I've come across, I havent fully understood it.

Granted it required very heavy exertion, but was it a heaving or pulling action? I assume the latter. Was it fairly quick (not the interval between pulls, but the course of the pull itself) or very slow? Gosse, for example, says that the workers kept "perfect time" with their songs, but I would imagine either the solo verses were held out/rubato or else the overall tempo had to be very slow indeed. Thanks for your insights.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 06:18 PM

From Hugill's reading of Nordhoff (Bosun's Locker, p. 203) he describes the work gang as "heaving these screws around." But then later on the same page Hugill describes the gang "tugging" from morning till night at the screws. Take your pick!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: JWB
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 06:28 PM

Gibb,

I googled "cotton screw cargo" and came up with a Google Book named "Handbook of the Bombay Presidency" By John Murray (Firm), Edward B. Eastwick. On page 128 there is a description of various types of cotton screws used in India in the late 18th and early 19th centuries to produce bales. Unfortunately there is no mention of screwing the bales into a ship's hold. But there is reference to a cotton screw which after 1806 used a capstan powered by 240 men! Picture that.

On the previous page of this book is an interesting section on British ships built in India of teak, and the superior qualities of that wood over English oak.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Feb 09 - 08:27 PM

Nordhoff's word was 'chaunty-man'. "Seeing the World: A Young Sailors Own Story." In the same book, he referred to "Old Stormy" (he gives 7 verses solo and response, burying ground version) as a 'chant.'

In another thread, 118540, Nordhoff Chantey, We're Going Away, I was trying to find more of the chantey that he quoted in part and that was sung as they were leaving Liverpool.
Going Away

In the same book, he described, "The men who yearly resort to Mobile Bay to screw cotton are, as may be imagined, a rough set. They are mostly English and Irish sailors, who, leaving their vessels here, remain until they have saved twenty or thirty pounds, then ship for Liverpool ... Screwing cotton is ...the most exhausting labour that is done on shipboard. Cooped up in the dark and confined hold of a vessel, the gangs tug from morning till night at the screws, the perspiration running off them like water, every muscle strained to its utmost. But the men who follow it prefer it to going to sea. They have better pay, better living, and above all, are not liable to be called out at any minute in the night, to fight the storm, or work the ship against a head-wind. Their pay is eight shillings per day, and their provisions furnished. They sleep upon the coton bales in the hold, but few of them bringing beds aboard with them. Those we had on board, drank more liquor and chewed more tobacco than any set of men I ever saw elsewhere, the severe labour seeming to require an additional stimulus. Altogether, I thought theirs a rough life, and one not at all to be envied."
"Four weeks sufficed to load our barque; and the last key-bale was scarce down the hatchway, when 'Loose the topsails, and heave short on the cable,' was the word, ....."

Although Nordhoff completed formal education at age 13 and added 3 years as a printer and typesetter before taking off for the sea, his prose is polished, clear and fresh as an ocean breeze. He was still in his twenties when his first book was published.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,Gibb
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 12:54 AM

Charley, yes, there is surely some ambiguity in the wording! Along these lines, Hugill (in S from SS) gives two of his West Indian chanteys, both with "Heave Away, Boys, Heave Away." He says that in spite of saying "heave," they were both halyard chanteys. He goes on to speculate a reason for "heave" -- that they were originally used in cotton screwing!

Jerry, thanks for the cool reference. Quite amazing...

Q, thank you for forcing me to read closer. So in the passage you quoted, it does say "tug." And a bit earlier,
"Singing, or CHANTING as it is called, is an invariable accompaniment to working in cotton, and many of the screw-gangs have an endless collection of songs, rough and uncouth, both in words and melody, but answering well the purposes of making all PULL together, and enlivening the heavy toil. The foreman is the CHANTY-MAN, who sings the songs, the gang only joining in the chorus, which comes at the end of every line, AND AT THE END OF WHICH AGAIN COMES THE PULL at the screw handles. "
That's from The Merchant Vessel (1855).

So, tugging/pulling.
Moreover, it sounds like, from the description, that one would sing, "Fire, maringo, fire, a-WAY!" In other words, it is different from the typical halyard chantey way of coordinating the action, where the emphasis would be on "fire" (both times).

Another writer to mention cotton screwing, in New Orleans, in 1850-51, is Whidden, "Ocean Life in the Old Sailing-Ship Days":

"Each gang possessed a good 'chantie' singer, with a fine voice. The chorus would come in with a vim, and every pound in the muscles of the gang would be thrown INTO the handle-bars of the cotton-screws..." To me, this makes it sound like heaving, but again it is ambiguous.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Howard Jones
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:35 AM

The Bellowhead version on "Burlesque" seems to derive from the familiar Young Tradition version, but with a mondegreen - they've got the words as "Screw that cart and screw him down". This makes no sense, and they've clearly failed to understand what the song is about.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Reinhard
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:39 AM

The liner notes of the Young Tradition's EP "Chicken on a Raft" say sbout "Fire Maringo":

Royston was cruising through Hugill's fine book of sea songs and shanties when he found a fragment of an old cotton screwing worksong. There was no tune attached, and only four verses, so he added some floating verses and made a tune for it. Cotton screwing was about the hardest shipboard task there was: the bales of cotton were forced into the hold until they were packed solid. The men who worked at this would be shorebound sailors, working in the South American harbours till they had saved themselves some money; all nations were represented, so the songs they sang would perhaps contain references to Sally Brown's counterpart in all parts of the world; for the purposes of this song, the sailor came from Liverpool.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 09:44 AM

The only operation aboard ships that I'm familiar with in which the crew both "heaved and hauled" was while working at the Downton Pump, with some hauling on the "bell- ropes" while others heaved on the pump handles; see Hugill's discussion of the shanty "Rolling King" in SHANTIES OF THE SEVEN SEAS.

The operations described for "screwing bales of cotton" into the hold sound more to me as if some form of capstan were being used, and that the appropriate effort would be "heaving" but I suppose "bell-ropes" might also have been used. Where were the industrial artists when they were needed?

The baling of the cotton in the cotton press was an entirely different operation, and at a later stage was powered by steam.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 06:54 PM

Just noticed that Hugill again refers to the screwing action as heaving (twice) in his SHANTIES AND SAILORS" SONGS (1969)...though that doesn't tell us much because I doubt if he ever saw the operation himself!

Perhaps the screw (how many handles? 2? 4, for each member of the "gang"?) were situated in such a way that the men stood on either side of it. Either it went 'round like a capstan (parallel to the ground) or like a vault/safe door handle (perpendicular to ground). Either way, if men stood on opposite sides, some would be heaving while others would be hauling.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Feb 09 - 09:53 PM

Gibb-

Do a search for some engineering diagrams. They must exist on the web somewhere. Inquiring minds would like to know and you'll get all the glory!

I thought I heard the Old Man say,
Roll the cotton down!


Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 02:30 AM

Re: Bellowhead's version of Marengo, Jon Boden talks about the uncertainty of whether this is is "hauling" or "cotton screwing" song and settles for a "disco shanty". He has also remarked that the brewery of the Colpits pub in Durham has banned it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: GUEST,Gibb
Date: 16 Feb 09 - 09:58 AM

Charley, as you no doubt know, the stuff is few and far between! Incidentally, I took a little tour of Mobile once -- who knows what I thought I'd find, ha ha! The run-down waterfront...where I closed my eyes and tried to imagine...something! They have a museum there, in which I kept thinking around the next corner an exhibit of cotton screwing would pop up! :) The only thing of note was a little model of the ALABAMA, where nearby you could push a button and hear the chantey.

Anyway, my meager findings are:

Two patents for ~improving~ the cotton screws.

The first one is from 1878

In the diagram, I ~think~ B and C represent traditional jackscrews.

The second one is from 1881

It seems like 'J' in that one is supposed to be the traditional jackscrew.

I also found this photo (!) of one. Don't get too excited; it's not being used, and really hard to see. Go to page 34 of this thesis

Through my previous reading (OK, browsing) I've learned two things. 1) The screw gangs were usually segregated into black or white crews. 2) Cotton screwing was one of the best paid kinds of labor, and also considered quite specialized, and screwmen were thus viewed as an elite class of dock laborers.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 19 Feb 09 - 08:15 AM

I'v just been reading this thread, and though I have nothing in the way of information to add. At the beginning of the discussion Jeri and Charley appear to be speaking critically of Forbitter's use of dialect in their recording. I don't know which performance you heard but I'v known those guy's for 20 years or more, and of the 4 of them I'v never heard anyone singing in a fake or phony accent or dialect.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 01:35 PM

Marc-

I don't think I was speaking "critically" of the dialect I was hearing in Forebitter's rendition of "Fire Maringo." But I was making an effort in the lyrics I posted to transcribe what I heard on their recording.

Gibb-

With regard to cotton screw presses, I have run across a vintage print of a crew of stevedores in Australia "screwing" bales of wool into the hold. In this case the screw press was braced against one of the ceiling beams, the effort being directed down, with two pairs of men heaving the screw wheel around. Perhaps, a similar arrangement was done for screwing cotton bales.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 05:57 PM

Interesting, Charley. The men were gripping bars or handles, right? Or? And by "heaving". should I assume you mean pushing? Thanks

Oh, and for anyone is coming across this thread for the first time, I'd like to re-link to this cool photo of cotton screwers in Galveston, scroll down to page 33/34 of this document The gangs were segregated by that time.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM

Gibb-

To "heave" at the bars is to "push" at the bars.

No handles were in evidence. No doubt some vandal had made off with them.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Here's a link to a great pictures of a work gang screwing cotton in the hold of a ship from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery: Click here for website!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo
From: shipcmo
Date: 26 Mar 10 - 04:22 PM

refresh


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Subject: ADD Version Fire Away (Fire Maringo)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 01:45 PM

I've a new (crackpot?) "theory" about "Maringo." Could it be that the song was one of a few that, at least after 1846, eulogized the US army artillery officer Samuel Ringgold? He died that year whilst serving with General Taylor's forces in the Mexican-American War in the Battle of Palo Alto, on the Rio Grande. The time period, events, geography, and characters all seem to come together with what was popular in other songs of cotton-screwers and early chanties.

And here is a song:

///
The following song, published in several of the newspapers before the recent events on the Rio Grande, will be read or sung with a melancholy interest—a just tribute to the gallant artillerists, and to their lamented leader.

[From the Boston Daily Times.]

"FIRE AWAY."
THE SONG OF RINGGOLD's ARTILLERISTS.


The Mexican bandits
    Have crossed to our shore,
Our soil has been dyed
    With our countrymen's gore;
The murderer's triumph
    Was their's for a day:—
Our triumph is coming—
So fire—fire away!
Fire away!

Be steady—be ready—
    And firm every hand—
Pour your shot like a storm
    On the murderous band.
On their flanks, on their centre,
Our batteries play—
    And we sweep them like chaff,
    As we fire—fire away!
             Fire away!

Lo! the smoke-wreaths' uprising!
    The belching flames tear
Wide gaps through the curtain,
    Revealing despair.
Torn flutters their banner—
    No oriflamme gay:
They are wavering—sinking—
So fire—fire away!
Fire away!

'Tis over—the thunders
    Have died on the gale—
Of the wounded and vanquished
    Hark ! hark to the wail!
Long the foreign invader
    Shall mourn for the day,
When Ringgold was summoned
To fire—fire away !
Fire away!
////

More on Ringgold here.

He died May 11, 1846. Eulogies all over the country gave a significant boost to the morale of the West Point cadre. Ballads, stage plays, poetry, and songs were all made in his honor.

The only problem I see with this theory is that in Gosse's 1859 reference to the cotton song "fire the ringo", he claims to have heard it in 1838.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Apr 10 - 03:07 PM

Not much in the Traditional Ballad Index. Here's their entry:

    Fire, Maringo

    DESCRIPTION: Shanty. "Lift him up and carry him along, Fire maringo, fire away. Put him down where he belongs, Fire maringo, fire away"
    AUTHOR: unknown
    EARLIEST DATE: 1884 (Charles Nordhoff's _The Merchant Vessel, a Sailor Boy's Voyages_ 1884)
    KEYWORDS: shanty worksong
    FOUND IN: US
    REFERENCES (2 citations):
    Hugill, p. 16. "Fire, Maringo" (1 text, quoting Nordhoff's _The Merchant Vessel_)
    DT, FIRMRING

    ALTERNATE TITLES:
    Fire, Marengo
    Notes: Some dispute on the origin; Hugill says that Doerflinger mentions this as being of Negro origin (but I couldn't find any mention of it in Shantymen and Shantyboys [nor could I - RBW]); however, Hugill himself thinks it is Irish, citing the use of the word "maringo" which he says is found is many Irish folk-songs. - SL
    File: Hugi016

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

    The Ballad Index Copyright 2009 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.

I found nothing under Marengo or Maringo in the Roud Index.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 07:59 AM

Gibb-

An interesting historical note with regard to Ringgold but I'm not convinced that cotton-screwers would have picked up the reference from a popular song, and the earlier references to "Fire Maringo" remain unsettling.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Dead Horse
Date: 09 Apr 10 - 08:37 AM

An idea here,
Marin is Johnny Crapoo for 'sailor', non?
So could it be "Marin, go fire him away"?
This shanty certainly appears to me to be of Gulf Port origin with no sign of any Irish influence whatever.
Not that it matters to me at all, I just sing 'em, I dont dissect 'em. :-)


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Subject: Lyr Add: FIRE MARINGO (from Nordhoff, 1866)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:50 PM

From Nine Years a Sailor by Charles Nordhoff (Cincinnati: Moore, Wilstach & Baldwin, 1857), page 42:

Lift him up and carry him along.
  Fire, maringo, fire away.
Put him down where he belongs.
  Fire, maringo, fire away.
Ease him down and let him lay.
  Fire, maringo, fire away.
Screw him in, and there he'll stay.
  Fire, maringo, fire away.
Stow him in his hole below.
  Fire, maringo, fire away.
Say he must, and then he'll go.
  Fire, maringo, fire away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 03:09 PM

Charley--

Nor am I convinced! However, no one yet has explained "maringo" or "the ringo" (or "my kingdom"!), and I think the coincidences are striking.

Why do you think the cotton-stowers would not be influenced by a popular song? (Mind, there were supposed to have been numerous songs eulogizing Ringgold, not just this one.) Given that the other songs from that area and time period eulogized, first, General Jackson (Battle of New Orleans) and then --on that model?-- Mexican-American War characters Santa Anna & General Taylor, along with "the Plains of Mexico," the precedent is there. And given that the "fire away" part has also not been explained in relation to cotton-screwing, one must admit that the "fire away" in the song I've cited --related to Ringgold's profession-- is conspicuous. (Were Ringgold's artillery advancements known before the Mex-Am War?)

As I said, I too am bothered by the alleged hearing by Gosse of "fire the ringo" in 1838 (i.e. before Ringgold's death in 1846). However, to play Devil's Advocate: Gosse's text was not *published* until 1859, as were the other references to ma/ringo not appearing until after '46.

In the least, this discussion might suggest that the "fire away" chorus originally had something to do with artillery fire.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 07:50 PM

If gunfire is meant, why not a reference to the newsworthy Battle of Marengo in 1800? It was a big win for Napoleon.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 09:02 PM

Gibb-

"Fire" does imply action, as in artillery, and I certainly have a firm concept that when the cotton screwing gang were ramming a bale home within a tier of bales it was somewhat analogous to what an artillery team would have been doing when they were ramming a ball into a cannon.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that "Maringo" was a reference to a popular Mexican War hero, especially when versions of the song were transcribed before the Mexican War.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall that one of the prominent West African tribes, Liberians, were the "Mandingos." That might also be the source of "maringo." "Maringo is actually quite a common West African as well as East African name.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 08:33 PM

"Fire Marengo" is the song for 24 November on Jon Boden's A Folk Song a Day.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 09:39 PM

We've really reached the point in this thread where access to a "Tardis" might provide clarification, or maybe just a lot of work in a dark dingy hull where the job at hand was "screwing cotton."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Nov 10 - 09:53 PM

Should be a Marengo Day.

Battle of Marengo fought June 14, 1800. Napoleon against Austrians, Italy.
The song stems from this battle near Marengo, Italy, also some of the towns (Marengo also is a surname).

Marengo, Illinois- don't know month or day, but dates from 1835.
Marengo, Iowa, August, 1845
Marengo, Ohio
Marengo, Wisconsin
Marengo, Illinois
Marengo, Louisiana
Marengo, Saskatchewan- date?
Marengo County, Alabama
Marengo Cave, Indiana
Marengo, Italy

Lyr. Add: Marengo, Sakatchewan
By Jeremy Fisher.

Here I am in Marengo, Saskatchewan,
The world looks big from here you know,
And that's what I want.

One pool, one pump and a cheap hotel
Are the only landmarks that I can tell in Marengo
At the centre of town.

The kids in the park stop to shoot the breeze
They're gettin' out of this town before they get too deep
Down in Marengo, Saskatchewan.

I talked to some folks in the bar
They said not many people even come this far
Just for God's sake Saskatchewan.

She keeps puttin' her coins in the slot
And her old man don't seem to care a hell of a lot
You know the straight grain on the elevator is set to fall
And in the big city they don't talk about a prairie town too much
If they talk about it at all.

I fell asleep down in Marengo, Saskatchewan
The stars look big from here you know
So you can tell dear Marengo
I wish her well.

Marengo Resorts, southern Europe.
Marengo Mining, Australia, Papua-New Guinea

Chicken a la Marengo.

Marengo, the horse Napoleon rode at Waterloo and previous battles.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Fire Maringo / Fire Marengo
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Nov 10 - 09:04 AM

Q-

There certainly are all the elements identified here for a Grand Marengo Festival. I'd be happy to help if you agree to chair the committee.

I'd also like to have a slice of Lemon Marengo Pie.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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