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Lyr Add: Mother Carey (John Masefield)

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Charley Noble 04 Apr 04 - 01:28 PM
Charley Noble 05 Apr 04 - 04:33 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 09 - 02:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 09 - 07:47 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 09 - 11:08 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 Jun 09 - 12:06 AM
Charley Noble 05 Jul 09 - 09:16 PM
Anglo 06 Jul 09 - 03:41 AM
Charley Noble 06 Jul 09 - 07:31 AM
Charley Noble 09 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM
Charley Noble 01 Aug 09 - 09:25 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Aug 09 - 03:28 PM
Charley Noble 02 Aug 09 - 08:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Aug 09 - 10:06 PM
Charley Noble 03 Aug 09 - 05:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 03 Aug 09 - 06:07 PM
Jim Dixon 06 Aug 09 - 08:18 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 09 - 01:56 PM
Charley Noble 06 Aug 09 - 09:12 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Aug 09 - 08:29 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Apr 04 - 01:28 PM

There was another thread revived recently that discussed the nautical character Mother Carey, and there were several poems mentioned that describe her in vivid detail, some of which have been put to music. The John Masefield poem runs as follows:

From Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield,
The MacMillan Company, Publishers, New York, 1913, pp. 46-47

MOTHER CAREY
(As told me by the bo'sun)


Mother Carey? She's the mother o' the witches
'N' all them sort o' rips;
She's a fine gell to look at, but the hitch is,
She's a sight too fond of ships;
She lives upon an iceberg to the norred,
'N' her man he's Davy Jones,
'N' she combs the weeds upon her forred
With pore drowned sailors' bones.

She's the mother o' the wrecks, 'n' the mother
Of all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it storms, or sleets, or snows;
The noise of the wind's her screamin',
'I'm arter a plump, young, fine,
Brass-buttoned, beefy-ribbed young seam'n
So as me 'n' my mate kin dine.'

She's a hungry old rip 'n' a cruel
For sailor-men like we,
She's give a many mariners the gruel
'N' a long sleep under sea;
She's the blood o' many a crew upon her
'N' the bones of many a wreck,
'N' she's barnacles a-growin' on her
'N' shark's teeth round her neck.

I ain't never had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But I knows 't ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly two;
You're young, you thinks, 'n' you're lairy,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
'N' that there Davy Jones.

Here's what I've done to adapt the poem for singing, using the fine dance tune "Cherochee Shuffle" and adding a refrain line(copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):


MOTHER CAREY-2

(From Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield,
The MacMillan Company, Publishers, New York, 1913, pp. 46-47
Adapted and set to music by Charles Ipcar 2004
Tune: After "Cherochee Shuffle")


C---------------------G----------C-------Am
Now Mother Carey, she's the mother o' witch-es
---C---------------Am
'N' all them sort o' rips;
--------F---------------------C
She's a fine gal to look at, but the hitch is,
------G-C------------------Am
She's a sight too fond of ships;
---------C--------G-------C
She's a sight too fond of ships;
-----F---------------------C
She lives on an iceberg to the nor-red,
--------F-----------------C
'N' her man he's Davy Jones,
--------F-----------------------C
'N' she combs the weeds up-on her for-red
---------------------------------Am
With pore drowned sail-ors' bones;
------C---------------G--------C
With pore drowned sailors' bones.

She's the mother o' the wrecks, 'n' the mother
Of all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it storms, or sleets, or snows?
In the big winds you can hear her screamin',
'I'm after a plump, young, fine,
Brass-buttoned, beefy-ribbed young seam'n
So me 'n' my mate kin dine?'

She's a hungry old rip 'n' she's cruel
To sailor-men like we,
She's made many mariners her gruel
Down beneath the sea?
She's got the blood o' them she's lured
'N' the bones of many a wreck,
'N' she's got barnacles a-growin' on her
'N' shark's teeth round her neck?

Now I ain't never had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But I knows 't ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly two?
You're young, you thinks, 'n' you're wary,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
'N' that there Davy Jones?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Apr 04 - 04:33 PM

Still tinkering with this one. The 3rd line of the 3rd verse is easier to sing if it's changed:

She's a hungry old rip 'n' she's cruel
To sailor-men like we,
She's made mariners her chosen gruel
Down beneath the sea?
She's got the blood o' them she's lured
'N' the bones of many a wreck,
'N' she's got barnacles a-growin' on her
'N' shark's teeth round her neck?

And here's some rewording for the last verse:

Now you know I've never had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But I knows 't ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly crew?
You're young, you thinks, 'n' you're wary,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
'N' that there Davy Jones?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 09 - 02:34 PM

Well, I've been revisiting this nautical ditty and have come up with a different musical setting and some more rewording (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

From Salt-Water Poems and Ballads, by John Masefield,
The MacMillan Company, Publishers, New York, 1913, pp. 46-47
Adapted and set to music by Charles Ipcar, 2009
Tune: after Matty Grove
Key: Dm (7/Gm)

Mother Carey-3


Dm------------F---C-------------Dm--------F----Dm
Now Mother Car-ey, she's the mother o' witch-es
-----C--------------F-C
An' all them sort o' rips;
---------Dm-------------------------Dm7/Dm
She's a fine gal to look at but the hitch is ?
---------C----------------F-C
She's a sight too fond of ships,
F----C-Dm--C---Am-C-Dm
She's a sight too fond of ships;
-------------------------F--C---Dm----F---Dm
Now she lives on an ice-berg to the nor-red,
-----------C---------------F-C
With her flashman Dav-y Jones,
---------Dm----------------------------Dm7/Dm
An' she combs the weeds up-on her for-red
------C---------------------F---C
With pore drowned sail-ors' bones;
F/C-Dm---C---------Am-C---Dm
With pore drowned sail-ors' bones.


She's the mother o' wrecks, an' the mother
Of all big winds as blows;
She's up to some deviltry or other
When it storms, or sleets, or snows; (REF)
As the big winds blow you can hear her call,
"I wants a young man fine ?
A brassbounder, beefy-ribbed an' all,
So me an' my mate kin dine." (REF)


She's a hungry old rip an' she's cruel
To sailor-men like we,
Mariners are her chosen gruel
Down beneath the sea;(REF)
She's got the blood o' them she's lured
An' the bones of many a wreck,
An' she's got barnacles a-growin' on her,
An' shark's teeth round her neck. (REF)

Now you know I've ne'er had no schoolin'
Nor read no books like you,
But it just ain't healthy to be foolin'
With that there gristly crew; (REF)
Now you're young an' you thinks you're wary,
But if you're to make old bones,
Steer clear, I says, o' Mother Carey,
An' that there Davy Jones. (REF)

Maybe this one's a keeper!

I'm still looking for a graphic of Mother Carey and can't find any except one from Disney. If anyone could suggest one, I'd certainly appreciate it.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 09 - 07:47 PM

Mother Carey by Masefield has received musical settings.

Frederick Keel, 1919, for voice and piano, "Three Salt-Water Ballads." The operatic baritone, Bryn Terfel, sang this setting on CBC Radio, 1908. The sheet music published by Boosey & Hawkes (boosey.com).
Terfel used this song frequently in concerts, and has sung it from Carnegie Hall NY to venues in New Zealand and Australia.

Marshall H. Barnes, arranged for orchestra of 13 players and SATB chorus. Sheet music not found.

Tom Lewis sings "Mother Carey" on his cd, Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Singer," (not heard), Borealis label.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 09 - 11:08 PM

Q_

There is some confusion here. "Mother Carey" as sung by Tom Lewis is based on the C. Fox Smith poem, not Masefield's poem. There is also reference to Mother Carey by Kipling in his "Anchor Song," which may have inspired Smith's poem.

It would be interesting to hear the melody of what Keel came up with.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 Jun 09 - 12:06 AM

I should have caught that Tom Lewis reference, since he is a Canadian resident. The other two are Masefield.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Jul 09 - 09:16 PM

Well, I've cobbled together a graphic for Mother Carey and recorded a MP3 sample of how I sing the song. Here's a link to the file: Click here for lyrics and MP3!

This has been a fun project and I think I'll add this song to my forthcoming CD.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Anglo
Date: 06 Jul 09 - 03:41 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Jul 09 - 07:31 AM

Anglo-

I thought it might be one that would catch your attention.

Nice banjo tune as well!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM

With my mother's help I think I've tracked down the tune (at least the A-part!) that I've adapted for this poem. It's evidently Johnnie o' Breadisley as sung by Ewan MacColl on English and Scottish Popular Ballads (Child Ballads), Volume 1, Folkways FG 3509, 1961. That tune's been rattling around in my head for almost 50 years; it's about time I put it to use!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Aug 09 - 09:25 PM

Well, this one is definitely going to be on my forthcoming CD. Give it a listen (link above) if you think it might be interesting.

And if you have some inside info on Mother Carey, I'm still collecting leads.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 03:28 PM

Mother Carey's chickens have been around for some time. One can write about the subject forever and never get an answer!

This from the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, John Fenno, a political fable, April 13, 1793; excerpt:

"The ocean has always been infested by certain ominous birds, known to the American sailors by the name of Mother carey's Chickens. Previous to a storm, they often surround a ship, with the most discordant accents, chattering, screaming ...."

Mother Carey's Jacobin Chickens, Peter Kyle McCarter, "Early Ameerican Literature, vol. 14, 1979.
In www.questia.com

Several Mother Carey's !
-18th c. sailors' name for the storm petrel' Procellaria pelagica or Oceanites oceanicus (earlier name).
Supposedly storm petrels were named for St. Peter, because they seemed to walk on water when feeding.
-sailors' name for snowflakes.
-a synonym for Mother Nature.
-perhaps from Mater Cara, (Blessed Mother, or Mary).

-a sailors' name for the seas-
The "Anchor Song" from Kipling's "The Seven Seas," 1896, p. 87, answers this well:

Solo-
Heh! Walk her around.
Heave, ah heave her short again!
Over, snatch her over, there,
And hold her on the pawl.
Loose all sail, and brace your yards aback and full-
Ready jib to pay her off and heave short all!

Chorus-
Well, ah fare you well;
We can stay no more with you, my love-

Down, set down your liquor and your girl from off your knee;
For the wind has come to say:
You must take me while you may,
If you'd go to Mother Carey,
(Walk her down to Mother Carey!)
Oh we're bound to Mother Carey
Where she feeds her chicks at sea.!
Jour. American Folklore, v. 19, no. 72, Mar. 1906; P. A. Hutchison, "Sailors' Chanties."
Hutchison notes that this song is too ornate and artificial, not a genuine capstan chantey.

Thwere are Mother Carey's in some old nursery rhymes, but probably unrelated.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 08:29 PM

Q-

The origin of "Mother Carey" is obscure. Obviously if there are "Mother Carey's Chickens" there must first have been a "Mother Carey" or is it the other way around?

I have run across "Mater Cara" and that name goes back a long long way and it could be that early sailors considered her a patron saint of the sea. But somewhere in the process she acquired an association with the less than savory Davey Jones, and she began to be perceived as malevolent.

C. Fox Smith also composed a poem titled "Mother Carey": Click here!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Aug 09 - 10:06 PM

Which came first, the Mother or the Chicken? Both seem to be later 18th c., but I can't get anything definite. 'Obscure' might be the best way to leave it.

You might enjoy the poem, "Ode to Mother Carey's Chicken," by Theodore Watts-Dunton.
http://www.bartelby.net/246/491.html

Mentioned before, but have you heard the music that Tom Lewis set to C. Fox Smith's "Mother Carey? A clip is at his website, http://www.tomlewis.net/albums.htm
Sounds pretty good.
Mention at http://Victoria.tc.ca/Culture/Vnsc/prev/mother_carey.html

Another poem, Mother Carey's Hen: http://www.ohioswallow.com/extras/9780804011129_sample.pdf


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 05:19 PM

Q-

I hadn't run across "Ode to Mother Carey's Chicken." The poem has a nice theme, returning caged Mother Carey's Chicken to the sea.

I am familiar with Tom's singing of C. Fox Smith's "Mother Carey." He does his usual excellent job.

So how did Mother Carey and Davy Jones get together? Did they meet with the assistance of the E-Harmony Website or its mythological equivalent? Inquiring minds would love to know and John Masefield provides no additional notes.!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 03 Aug 09 - 06:07 PM

Who is spreading that foul rumor that they got together? Probably some sheets to the wind chantey singer made that up.

Smollett, 1751, in his novel "Peregrine Pickle," was the first to mention Davy Jones. "I'll be damned if it was not Davy Jones himself. I know him by his saucer eyes, his three rows of teeth, and tail, and the blue smoke that came out of his nostrils." This same Davy Jones, according to the mythology of sailors, is the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep.

Dibdin, 1790, "I'oor Jack," "And if to old Davy I should go ..."

J. Willock, "Voyage...," ca1790, "The great bugbear of the ocean is Davie Jones. At the line ...[they call] out that Davie Jones and his wife* are coming on board and that everything must be made ready."

Now someone may have started calling his *wife Mother Carey, although the two characters were never associated in the beginning.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 08:18 AM

These are the oldest references to Mother Carey I can find:


(1) From An Historical Account of All the Voyages Round the World Performed by English Navigators (London: F. Newbery, 1773), page 121:

During this time they saw abundance of sea birds, among which were two sorts, one like a pigeon, which the seamen called the Cape of Good Hope Hen; and the other Mother Carey's Chickens; but the true name of these latter is the Peterel.


(2) From A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean by James Cook (London: W. and A. Strahan, 1784), page 86:

The Cape petrel, or Pintado bird; the small blue one, which is always seen at sea; and the small black one, or Mother Carey's Chicken, are not here in great numbers. But we found a nest of the first with an egg in it, about the size of a pullet's; and the second, though scarce, was met with in some holes like rabbit-burrows.

Another sort, which is the largest of all the petrels, and called by the seamen Mother Carey's Goose, is in greater numbers; and so tame, that at first we could kill them with a stick upon the beach. They are not inferior in size to an albatross, and are carnivorous, feeding on the dead carcasses of seals or birds, that were thrown into the sea. Their colour is a sutty brown, with a greenish bill and feet; and, doubtless, they are the same that the Spaniards call quebrantahuessos, whose head is figured in Pernetty's Voyage to Falkland Islands.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 01:54 PM

There are secondhand references to Mother Carey's appearance in old rhyme books, but I haven't been able find them.
The Cook and "Historical Account" (Jim Dixon, above) and the reference below suggest that there was a prior use of Mother Carey.
Carteret, 1767, in Hawkesworth's Voyages (1773): "The petrels, to whom the sailors have given the name of Mother Carey's chickens..."
Marryat (1836) and others spelled it 'Cary'. OED
Where did they get the name Mother Carey?

In 1864 an article in Athenaeum, 558/2, noted that Mother Cary's chickens was a sailors name for snow, and that the 'Mater cara' of Levantine sailors, but the OED entry gives no further data, so I dunno.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 01:56 PM

-Correction-
and that the 'Mater cara' of Levantine sailors was Mother Carey.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Aug 09 - 09:12 PM

Well, Masefield is really the only reference that I've run across that described Mother Carey as Davy Jones' "wife." That's pretty thin evidence but I'm convinced that Masefield heard the story from one of his mentors when he was a cadet aboard the training ship HMS Conway.

Thanks for the additional research!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 08:29 PM

'N her man he's Davy Jones- nothing as formalized as 'wife' in the verse.
The Masefield poem slanders both Mother Carey and Davy Jones. My, what a rant!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 09:41 PM

Q-

You're correct that Masefield does not identify Davy Jones and Mother Carey as "husband and wife." However, he does mention Davy Jones as "her man" and elsewhere refers to him in "so me and my mate can dine" leading me to believe that they were at least POSSLQs.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 09 - 11:24 PM

I've searched, Charlie, but can't find any Admiralty reports of a brass-buttoned seaman being eaten by her.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Mother Carey (Masefield)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Aug 09 - 04:54 PM

Q-

It's an obvious cover-up! Why just yesterday I saw an illustrated report of a well-nibbled young brassbounder (we never sing "seamen" and more in our concerts) as I passed through the supermarket tabloids.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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