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Origins: Cork Harbour - on Dan Milner CD.

DigiTrad:
BY THE LIGHTNING WE LOST OUR SIGHT


Related thread:
Origins/Tune: By the Lightning We Lost Our Sight (15)


MARINER 04 May 04 - 03:50 PM
Big Mick 04 May 04 - 04:16 PM
bbc 05 May 04 - 06:34 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 05 May 04 - 12:50 PM
MARINER 05 May 04 - 01:10 PM
Steve in Idaho 05 May 04 - 01:14 PM
Liam's Brother 05 May 04 - 05:27 PM
David Ingerson 05 May 04 - 07:41 PM
Liam's Brother 05 May 04 - 10:51 PM
Liam's Brother 06 May 04 - 07:50 PM
David Ingerson 06 May 04 - 09:06 PM
Just another Dave 07 May 04 - 08:20 PM
Liam's Brother 07 May 04 - 08:28 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 May 04 - 09:18 PM
Just another Dave 08 May 04 - 07:12 PM
Anglo 09 May 04 - 03:01 AM
Malcolm Douglas 09 May 04 - 02:46 PM
Liam's Brother 09 May 04 - 10:41 PM
Malcolm Douglas 09 May 04 - 11:01 PM
Liam's Brother 11 May 04 - 06:57 PM
Anglo 13 May 04 - 02:08 AM
Anglo 13 May 04 - 02:14 AM
bbc 13 May 04 - 07:00 AM
Liam's Brother 13 May 04 - 09:53 PM
Anglo 14 May 04 - 09:44 AM
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Subject: Dan Milner CD.
From: MARINER
Date: 04 May 04 - 03:50 PM

Two nights agoI heard a song called ,I think "Cork Harbour", on Aine Hensey's "Late Session" on R.T.E Radio 1. The singer was Dan Milner and I'm sure she said that he was part of the shanty crew at South Street Seaport, New York. As it happens i will be in New York at the end of next week and would like to know where to buy this recording. Can antone tell me if it is available at South St?.(I'll be staying not far from there for a few days before heading upstate.)


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 May 04 - 04:16 PM

I will send Dan an email and he will likely respond in this thread.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: bbc
Date: 05 May 04 - 06:34 AM

The cd it's on is "Dan Milner & Friends--Irish Songs from Old New England." It's Folk Legacy cd #124. Order at www.folk-legacy.com.

best,

bbc


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 05 May 04 - 12:50 PM

Mariner, Dan's a Mudcatter, so if he doesn't see this thread you could try PM-ing him. He operates here as Liam's Brother.

I'm not sure where you are, but there'll be lots of opportunity to catch Dan at Warwick Folk Festival this year - 23-25 July. I think he's billed for all three nights - Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: MARINER
Date: 05 May 04 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for advice folks. I'm in the south east of Ireland but as i said I'll be in N.Y.at the middle of next week, enroute to the Catskills for a "Funky Ceili Weekend" Sadly I won't make the Warwick Folk Festival, I'll be long time back in Wexford before then. Guess I can get the cd at South Street Seaport.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Steve in Idaho
Date: 05 May 04 - 01:14 PM

And Dan is more than worth hearing - superb individual and a superb performer. I had the pleasure of seeing him in concert while In DC a couple of years ago.

Many thanks to Ferrara and BillD for that one - and a host of other Mudcatters for taking the time to ferry me around.

Steve

Here's their web site


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 05 May 04 - 05:27 PM

Hi Mariner!

I've sent you a "PM" so you'll know how to get in touch when you reach NYC.

Glad you enjoyed "Cork Harbor." "Irish Songs from Old New England" has 16 Irish and Irish-American ballads altogether sung by Gordon Bok, Martin Carthy, Bob Conroy, Len Graham, Frank Harte, Louis Killen, Jim McFarland, Bonnie Milner, Deirdre Murtha, Robbie O'Connell, Caroline Paton, Sandy Paton, Ian Robb and myself. Bonnie, Deirdre and I sang "Cork Harbor" as a trio.

You can read a little about the CD here.

Look forward to meeting you. I have a funny Wexford story for you.

All the best,
Dan Milner


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: David Ingerson
Date: 05 May 04 - 07:41 PM

Dan,

I enjoyed Cork Harbor, too, so much so that I am starting to learn it. However, there are a few words that don't make a whole lot of sense to me. I'm wondering if an accurate transcription is posted anywhere.

Now that I think about it, the words might be in one of Flanders books. If so, which one, and might it be available anywhere other than rare book stores?

Thanks for any info.

David


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 05 May 04 - 10:51 PM

Hi David!

"Reef loose..." for example?

Send me a PM with the lines in question.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: Lyr Add: CORK HARBOR (Laws K6)
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 06 May 04 - 07:50 PM

CORK HARBOR (Laws K6)

Come all of you bound o'er the deep, I pray you will attend
Attention pay to these few lines that I have lately penned
I was a hardy a seaman as ever unfurled a sail
By the lightning bright, I lost my sight, in a tremendous gale.

When I was young and in my prime, my age was 22
I fell in love with a charming girl the truth I will tell you
I courted her for 2 long years till her parents came to know
They swore they would make me plough the deep where the stormy winds do blow

It was on the 24th of March from Cork Harbor we set sail
Bound down for Gibraltar with a sweet and a pleasant gale
The winds was fair, our course we steered right straight before the wind
But my heart was in Cork Harbor with the girl I left behind

When we got to Gibraltar we lay a few days there
Our orders read to Liverpool and still the winds blew fair
The very day we put out to sea on her we crowded sail
The winds came on; the eclipse (came) o'er the sun; it blew a heavy gale

The thunder fell tremendous loud, the lightening wild did flash
The heavy seas broke o'er our decks and along our side did lash
The winds they kept increasing till it blew a tremendous gale
The captain cries, "Go aloft, my boys, reef loose your 2 topsails."

He scarcely had spoken when along our yards we lay
Like jolly tars through storms and stars his orders to obey
Our main topmast was split, my boys, by a ball of rolling light
I being one of that hearty crew by the lightning lost my sight

Then early the next morning we were dismissed a few
Our captain was swept overboard with the first mate and 2 of our crew
But Providence kind to me and landed me safe on shore
Safe back into Cork Harbor with the girl that I adore

To me she proved most loyal, most truehearted and kind
And in a short time afterwards in wedlock we were joined
We now live happy together in peace and unity
I now can hear her gentle voice, though her face I cannot see


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: David Ingerson
Date: 06 May 04 - 09:06 PM

Thank you, Dan. I'm at work so I don't have my transcription in front of me, but I think I have "release" for "reef loose" and there are probably several others like that. But the phrase "we were dismissed a few" is what I heard but I'm still puzzling over its phraseology. I've never heard that usage before. Can you shed any light on it?

By the way, your CD is inspiring and very well done, especially in your choice of performers. Nice job!

David


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Just another Dave
Date: 07 May 04 - 08:20 PM

Some other versions in print have that line as "we were a sight to view".... I wish I could remember exactly where I found that... but I am reasonably sure it was from information I found on-line somewhere.

Sorry,

Dave


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 07 May 04 - 08:28 PM

David, I think you can read "dismissed" to mean "extinguished."

Dave, this is a very rare ballad, Laws K6. I'm only aware of 1 other version collected from tradition - "By The Lightening We Lost Our Sight" in W. Roy MacKenzie's Ballads and Sea Songs from Nova Scotia. I would be delighted if you could point me to other traditional versions. Thanks in advance.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 May 04 - 09:18 PM

Roud lists two examples at present (no.1894): that in MacKenzie, and a further text in Fowke, Sea Songs and Ballads from Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia, where it is called The Blind Sailor. It's quite close to the one you quote, though longer. Fowke suggests a broadside origin, and in turn refers to a New Brunswick example printed by Phillips Barry, presumably in The Maine Woods Songster (about which I know nothing).

Where did your set come from? So far as I know, no tunes were recorded for any of those three published texts, though Fowke does say that Barry thought that it was probably intended to be sung to some form or other of Erin's Lovely Home.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Just another Dave
Date: 08 May 04 - 07:12 PM

You're in luck, Dan!! I found my notes... I got it here on the DT.
Do a search on "By the lightning" (no 'e'). It quotes MacKenzie, and references Laws.
I, personally, prefer the "we were a sight to view" over the "we were dismissed, a few" in that I think it makes more sense to modern audiences, and also provides an additional play on the blindness theme.

Dave


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Anglo
Date: 09 May 04 - 03:01 AM

It's not in the Maine Woods Songster. And that's the only Phillips Barry entry in the bibliography of Edith Fowke's book, so I don't know where this New Brunswick text was published.

Fowke also refers to Helen Creighton's Songs & Ballads From Nova Scotia - in the song "Captain Burke" some sailors are lost, and four surviving seamen are rendered lame and blind by lightning while reefing the fore topsails.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 May 04 - 02:46 PM

Roud lists Captain Burke at number 834 (Laws K5). Beside Creighton (in the DT at Captain Burke), examples appear in Healy, Irish Ballads and Songs of the Sea (The Ballad of the Blind Sailors) and Ranson, Songs of the Wexford Coast (The Blind Sailors).

That Barry reference is a bit of a mystery.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 09 May 04 - 10:41 PM

Hi Malcolm!

Thanks for the Edith Fowke reference. I have never seen Sea Songs and Ballads from Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia but I will look forward to coming across it now. The text above is almost word-for-word from the Flanders Ballad Collection. The melody is in 4/4 time, major key and it is not unlike (though not the same as) "Erin's Lovely Home."

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 May 04 - 11:01 PM

Thanks for that. Is the Flanders set published? John seems to have tracked down the Barry example (just now confirmed via the Ballad-L list) and will doubtless get back to us about that one a little later.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 11 May 04 - 06:57 PM

No, Malcolm, the Flanders text is not published. The song appears once in the collection. The singer lived in Bridgewater, Maine and was involved in the lumbering industry in a variety of ways.

All the best,
Dan


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE LIGHTNING FLASH
From: Anglo
Date: 13 May 04 - 02:08 AM

THE LIGHTNING FLASH

Sung by the late Mr John P. A. Nesbitt, St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Text recorded by Miss Mary W. Smyth; melody recorded by Mr. George Herzog.

1. When I was young and in my prime, my age twenty-two,
I fell in love with a pretty girl; the truth I'll tell to you.
I courted her for seven years, till her father came to know,
He says: "I'll have you cross the seas, where the stormy winds do blow."

2. On the 14th day of September last, Queen's Harbor we sailed away;
Bound down to Gibraltar in a sweet and a pleasant gale,
The wind blew fair, our course we steered, our ship before the wind,
But still my heart was filled with love for the girl I left behind.

3. When we got to our distant port, we stopped a short time there,
Our orders run to Milliger ["Malaga"] the weather being fair;
The very next day we sailed away, all with a cloud of sail,
When the storms arise, eclipsed the sun; they blew a tremendous gale.

4. The wind it ris to a hurricane, it blew a tremendous gale--
And the captain says, "My brave boys, go reef the main topsail!"
No sooner when his order was given, up aloft we lay,
Like hearty tars to lay these yards, his orders to obey.

5. When we got to the main topsail, a horrid flash came on--
Oh, God! How I remember the last eclipse of the sun!
The thunder rolled tremendously, and the lightning round us flash,
The heavy sea rolled over us, and sand on deck did dash.

6. Early next morning wasn't we a sight to view!
Our captain was washed overboard and three men of the crew;
The thunder rolled tremendously, and by that veil of light,
I and three of those sailors, by that lightning we lost our sight.

7. But thanks be unto kind Providence that carried us back on shore,
Back to dear old Ireland, to the girl whom I adore;
To me she did prove loyalty,--constant and kind to me,
We join our hands in wedlock bands, but her face I ne'er can see.

[From the Bulletin of the Folksong Society of the Northeast (No.3, 1931, p.14)]


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: Anglo
Date: 13 May 04 - 02:14 AM

I just posted the text of the version from the Phillips Barry reference. Ed Cray sent me a rather difficult to read lo-res scan of the tune. It's not mensurated and would be awkward to render as ABC. If anyone really wants to see it, PM me and I'll send you the scan.

And if anyone wants it, I could also post the text from Fowke.

Since this has become a thread discussing this song, with little reference to the subject line apart from the fact that the song is on it, I wonder if the thread title should be changed.


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Subject: RE: Dan Milner CD.
From: bbc
Date: 13 May 04 - 07:00 AM

Very nice cd. I just picked it up at Folk Legacy & am really enjoying it! Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

bbc


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Subject: Lyr Add: PAT O'BRIEN (from Flanders collection)
From: Liam's Brother
Date: 13 May 04 - 09:53 PM

Glad you enjoyed the recording Barbara.

Thanks John for the text above. I'd love to see the Fowke text whenever you have a few minutes to type it in. About the thread title, I would point out that 13 other singers also took part in the recording and two other singers did a nice job with this song.      

In any case, perhaps some people are interested in another Irish song from the Flanders Ballad Collection. Each of the singers on the CD got a few songs from which to choose. No one picked the one below. Any thoughts? Is there a Latin scholar with the proper spelling?

PAT O'BRIEN

Now Pat O'Brien, a friend of mine, on board a Broadway car did ride
To Harlem where he did reside when his daily work was done
The reason that he had to ride, he couldn't walk for he had tied
A pick and shovel to his side and he'd a turkey that he'd won

He laid the turkey on the seat himself took one beside
With pick and shovel to his feet he settled down to ride
And when the car got overcrowded the conductor to him said,
"You'll have to remove your turkey, sir, and let a man sit down instead."

"Ah, not on your life," said Pat O'Brien, "that bird belongs to me.
That lovely bird's not saying a word he owes no odds t' ye"
So down in his seat went Pat O'Brien, his words I will repeat,
"You cannot disturb the turkey, sir, for I'll pay for the turkey's seat."

A lady soon came in and sat directly opposite of Pat
She wore beneath her opry wrap a dress ???????*
The car got warm so much that the lady soon removed her wrap
Exposing to the gaze of Pat a lovely neck to see

And while Paddy was admiring her neck and shoulders fair
The lady soon got angry at Paddy's ardent stare.
And when she couldn't stand it longer and she replaced her wrap
'Twas then she shouted "rubberneck" and looked right straight at Pat

"Ah, not on your life" says Pat O'Brien, "it's a dollar to a dime.
Begorra," says he, "I should have thought your neck was gen-u-wine   
But if it's not," says Pat O'Brien, "as sure as me name is Pat
It's a damn good imitation; you can bet your life on that!"

Two ladies who sat next to Pat were much amused and decided that
To have a little fun with Pat so one of them she said,
"To ride in the cars I never care; you meet so many Irish there
They're enough to drive you to despair; they have such vulgar ways."

"It's true," said lady number two. "They're always in the way
For where the Irish do resort I always stay away
You'll meet them at the seashore, the opera or the ball
You meet the dirty Irish now anywhere at all."

"Ah, not on your life said Pat O'Brien," you could see that he was mad
"To rid ye'selves of the Irish now to tell ye's I'll be glad."
So he took his turkey by the neck; he blustered like a bear.
"The pair of ye's can go straight to hell, you won't find any Irish there!"

*Latin, something like "kep beck-a-la" for a meaning of "plunging neckline."


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLIND SAILOR
From: Anglo
Date: 14 May 04 - 09:44 AM

From Edith Fowke: Sea Songs & Ballads from 19th Century Nova Scotia (Fenwick Hatt's Notebook)

THE BLIND SAILOR

Come all ye jolly seman bold
I hope you will atend
And lissen unto those few lines
That I so late have pend
I was once as braw and hardy a tar
As ever unfurled a sail
Untill by lightning lost my sight
In that tremendeous gail

When I was young and in my prime
My age scarce twenty two
I fell in love with a handsom girl
The truth I will tell you
I corted her for three long years
Untill her father came to no
He said he would send me to plow the sea
Where the stormy wind do blow

Her father being a noble man
In the town where I was born
He said his gold and riches
I never should addor
He sent a press gang for my love
And I was forsed to go
Conveyed me to a ship was bound
Where the stormy wind do blow

Twas the first day of october
From Cork harbor we set sail
We was bound down to giberalter
With a sweet and plasant gail
The wind blew fair our corse to stair
Our ship she flew before the wind
My love seemed to be warmer still
For the girl I left behind

When we reached our distant port
A short time we layed their
For the news right hom to England went
And the winds they still blew fair
We put to sea the very next day
With a horad press of sail
The wind come on and eclipse the sun
And blew a horid gail

Oh early the next morning
It was dismal for to view
Our mit he was washed overboard
With for more of our crew
The thunder pealed tremendeously
And the lightning wild did flash
The swelling waves roled over us
And against our sides did dash

The wind it still kept arising
Unto a horid gail
Our Captin says we must try my boys
To reef our main topsail
His words was scarcely spoken
When up aloft we laid
Like hardy tars through wind and storm
His orders to obey

When we reached our mainmast head
A mor heaveyer flash came on
My god I will remember
The last eclips of the sun
Our main topgalent mast in pieces split
All by a belying light
And me and foure more seaman bold
By lightning lost my sight

Now if providence proves kind to me
And I get safe on shore
It is back into Cork Harbor
To the girl that I ador
She apears to be good natured
Both loving kind and free
To gather we will live in unity
All thoug her I cannot see

Notes: This is another ballad that has been reported only from the Canadian Maritimes. Mackenzie called it "By the Lightning We Lost Our Sight."

It may have had a factual basis, but its combination of elements suggests that it was a broadside. This text is three stanzas longer than the one Mackenzie noted: his lacks stanzas 2, 3, and 9, which add a romantic element to what is otherwise a realistic narrative. A New Brunswick version that Barry prints retains stanzas 2 and 9 but lacks 1 and 3. Barry notes that "the opening line is lifted from 'Erin's Lovely Home,' to some tune of which, we suspect, it was meant to be sung."

While this particular ballad is rare, there are others with the same theme. Creighton gives one called "Captain Burke" (Laws K5) in which four seamen on a slave ship are blinded by lightning; it seems to be a variant of a Wexford ballad, "The Blind Sailors," which Ranson collected. Blind and crippled sailors and soldiers sometimes had ballads like these printed and sold them in the streets as a means of collecting alms.
References: Laws ABBB, K6, 143 (Mackenzie, 226; Bulletin No.3 [1931], p. 14). Cf. Creighton SBNS, 109; Ranson, 24.





Source: Sea Songs and Ballads from Nineteenth Century Nova Scotia: The William H. Smith and Fenwick Hatt Manuscripts, edited by Edith Fowke (Folklorica Press, 1981), pp. 76-77


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