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Who sang 'Hearts of Oak?'

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HEART OF OAK


Related threads:
Heart of Oak (18)
Lyr Req: Heart of Oak (13)
Hearts of oak (Music group) (6)
Lyr Req: Heart of Oak parody (5)


29 Oct 98 - 12:20 PM
Bruce O. 29 Oct 98 - 12:29 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 29 Oct 98 - 08:40 PM
Jennifer Burdoo 29 Oct 98 - 10:08 PM
alison 29 Oct 98 - 11:06 PM
dick greenhaus 30 Oct 98 - 12:55 AM
Bob Schwarer 30 Oct 98 - 01:21 PM
Mo 30 Oct 98 - 02:44 PM
03 Nov 98 - 08:24 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 03 Nov 98 - 10:15 PM
03 Nov 98 - 11:01 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 04 Nov 98 - 08:15 AM
Bob Schwarer 04 Nov 98 - 12:59 PM
Barry Finn 04 Nov 98 - 01:35 PM
Mo 04 Nov 98 - 07:31 PM
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Subject: Who sang
From:
Date: 29 Oct 98 - 12:20 PM

A friend says that sailors on board British ships sang"Heart of Oak". I don't believe that it was a forebitter, but instead a "popular song" sung by the people on shore, probably as a drinking song. Does anyone know how that song was actually used, and can anyone provide a source for that info? thanks


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Bruce O.
Date: 29 Oct 98 - 12:29 PM

According to Wm. Chappell's PMOT the song was written by the playwright David Garrick, and the tune by Mr. Boyce, and it was sung in 'Harlequin's Invasion', 1759. [Boyce was later Dr. Boyce.] Some other 'sea' songs were later written for the tune.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 29 Oct 98 - 08:40 PM

Boswell sang it to the Corsican rebels, in English and Italian, after playing them "Corn Riggs Are Bonnie" on his flute.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Jennifer Burdoo
Date: 29 Oct 98 - 10:08 PM

"Hearts of Oak" makes a number of appearances in the historical novels of Douglas Reeman, who is known for doing realistic fiction and probably knows more about the Royal navy than any other author I can think of. He indicates that it was often sung prior to battle, usually encouraged by the officers in order to raise morale. I would not be surprised if this was actually the case.

Jennifer


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: alison
Date: 29 Oct 98 - 11:06 PM

Hi,

I remember being taught at school that it was sung by the navy before battles.

Slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Oct 98 - 12:55 AM

Considering the number of parodies that appeared in the late 18th century, somebody sang it.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 30 Oct 98 - 01:21 PM

I've got a recording of "Heart of Oak" from the album of the same name by The X Seamens Institute. (Bernie Klay, Frank Woerner, John Townley, And Dan Aguiar.

It's an old Folkways recording; FTS 32419. May still be available. If no takers I'll transcribe it, but it will be next week.

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Mo
Date: 30 Oct 98 - 02:44 PM

It's certainly the Royal Navy's "Anthem" now - always played when the field-gunners take the arena in the Royal Tournament (be still my beating heart!) - and is played at the Remembrance day Muster in the Albert Hall.

Cheers Mo.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From:
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 08:24 PM

Iwant to thank everyone who contributed to this question. As I understand the general consensus, while the Navy may have used the tune before a battle, the song would not fit into a program called "songs the sailors sang as that title implies chanties and forbitters. If someone disagrees, I would be very interested to hear from you. again, tanks for your ideas Scott


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 10:15 PM

No, sailors sang it. They sang plenty of songs that weren't shanties, and danced plenty of dances that weren't hornpipes.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From:
Date: 03 Nov 98 - 11:01 PM

Tim,

I agree that sailors sang songs other than shanties, as they drank booze other than rum. I am VERY interested to learn from where you learned that they sang THIS song on their own , so that I can learn more info. Thanks for your contribution Scott


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 08:15 AM

I'll look it up. Given the above qualifications though I am not sure what exactly are the songs your program needs. Do you mean "songs sailors sang without any prompting"?


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 12:59 PM

"Heart of Oak" from Folkways liner notes.

Come cheer up, me lads,
Tis for glory we steer
To add something new
to this wonderful year.
To honor we call you,
not press you like slaves.
For who are so free
as the sons of the wave?

Chorus:
Heart of Oak are our ships,
jolly tars are our men.
We always are ready.....
steady, boys, steady.
We'll fight and
we'll conquer, again & again.

We ne'er see our foes
but we wish them to stay.
They never see us
but they wish us away.
If they run why we follow
and run them ashore.
But if they won't fight us,
we cannot do more.

Chorus:

They swear they'll invade us,
these terrible foes.
They frighten our women,
our chidren and beaux.
But should their flat bottoms
in darkness get O'er
still Britons they'll find
to receive them on shore.

Chorus:

We'll still make them fear
and we'll still make them flee.
We'll drub them on land
As we've drubbed them atn sea.
So cheer up, me lads
With one heart let us sing.
Our soldiers, our sailors,
Our statesmen our King.

"unofficial of the British navy through the eighteenth and into the nineteenth century."

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 01:35 PM

Sailors took many parlor songs or shore songs to sea & made them their own. Around the 1770's Charles Dibden wrote a number or songs (Rose of Allendale is only one of his many), some that enticed young men to enlist in the Royal Navy which earned him a metal. Our Jack's Come Home Today, T'was On The Briny Ocean, Lights Along The Shore, Rose Of Allendale (4 versions) are a few of many that stared life on shore & were carried off over blue water. They wouldn't have been sung to work but they would've been sung for their own enjoyment. The 4:00 - 6:00 & the 6:00 - 8:00 watches (dog watches) would've spared some men some singing time while sailing in the tropics or the trades (happy hours on todays yatchs). The lonelyness of some of these songs I can see as being sung during the midnight to 4:00 watch. A fair warm breeze humming as it passes over the waves dancing crests, no horizon just a blending where sea & stars meet, the closest land a mile or so below or maybe 1500 miles away, not a bloody soul or boat to be seen for perhaps weeks or months & the crisp lights of all the heavenly bodies that have ever shone, shining down on you in all your smallness, this is when the wind, waves & water will sing, where the imagination conjure up visions of sirens, silkies & mermaids (Columbus & Henry Hudson both reported seeing them), where you might want to whale out a blue water blues song. OK, that's enough to drive me crazy never mind what it'd do to some solo sailor (were we talking about single handers, imagine being stuck with the likes of me out there & no escape?), someone toss a bucket of salt brine over my head & slap the sense into my silly little soul. Thanks, I needed that. Barry, who's been left out in the burning sun to long.


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Subject: RE: Who sang
From: Mo
Date: 04 Nov 98 - 07:31 PM

Okay, according to my Oxford Companion to Ships & the Sea (a mighty tome). "H. of O. was written, as we know, by David Garrick. It was set to music by William Boyce in 1759 and first performed in the pantomime Harlequin's Invasion. It commemorates the achievements of 1759 (...)during the 7 years War when the army had triumphed at Minden, the navy at Lago and Quiberon Bay and both together at the capture of Quebec. It was later traditionally played on board British Ships of the Line when they sailed into battle (see also Britons strike Home) and when the drums on board beat to quarters they did so to the rhythm of H. of O." So there we go.....

Mo


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