Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament (from Burl Ives)

DigiTrad:
MONONGAHELA SAL
QUEEN ANNE FRONT


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Queen Anne Front (Robert Schmertz) (17)
Lyr Req: You Should Read Your Gideon Bible (15)
Robert Schmertz - songs and information? (48)
Lyr Req/Add: Rapidan River / Never Touch Water (13)
Lyr/Tune Req: Monongahela Sal (Robert Schmertz) (29)


Amos 14 Nov 04 - 07:54 PM
GUEST 14 Nov 04 - 08:26 PM
Deckman 14 Nov 04 - 08:42 PM
Amos 14 Nov 04 - 09:14 PM
Deckman 14 Nov 04 - 09:43 PM
Amos 14 Nov 04 - 11:45 PM
Nancy King 15 Nov 04 - 12:32 AM
Micca 15 Nov 04 - 03:43 AM
Joe Offer 15 Nov 04 - 03:47 AM
Deckman 15 Nov 04 - 08:30 AM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 15 Nov 04 - 09:23 AM
Deckman 15 Nov 04 - 05:17 PM
Amos 15 Nov 04 - 08:01 PM
Deckman 15 Nov 04 - 09:47 PM
muppitz 16 Nov 04 - 08:40 AM
Joe Offer 04 Jun 06 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,ron 30 Oct 14 - 08:26 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Amos
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 07:54 PM

I am reconstructing from ancient memory the lyrics to an American ballad called "The Locktender's Lament". It was recorded by Burl Ives, most likely on his album "Songs For and About Men", and there are no lyrics listed anywhere in the DT or on the web for it.

The chorus as he recorde it was lines interspersed by a measure of whistling.

The words I remember are:

Oh, I am the locktender at lock number ten,
And I whistle and sing every now and again.
I will tell you the story about how and when
I once met a mermaid at lock number ten!

CH: Oh, a locktender's life may be happy and gay
(Whistle)
But probably not many see it that way
Whistle

One night as the moon shone on lock number ten
I heard a halloo and I heard it again
And there shining whitely against the lock wall
I spied a young mermaid, her flipper and all.

Alt. CH: Oh, a locktender's life may be happy and gay
(Whistle)
But probably not on the Monon-gay-halee
(Whistle)

"'T is government property, Madame," I said.
She gave me a letter, which drippingly read:
"All rights and all privileges, Lizzie my dear,
Singed General Tom Muskrat, the Chief Engineer".

Cho.

I said to her "Lizzie, you'll soon catch your death!"
She said to me "Guvnor, I 'm catching my breath!
I have swum from the sea to the Monongahalee
Just to find Jackie Swabby, my husband to be."

I said to her "Lizzie, young Jack is me son.
I am sorry to tell you, his family's begin!
And I'm the grandfather of triplets, you see,
His name is Jack Swabby, of the U.S. Nae-veee."



I believe there is another verse or two I have forgotten and I have not been able, after due diligence, to find the lyrics anywhere.

Anyone out there have this recording, know where the song comes from, or have the lyrics? Many thanks.

Amos


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 08:26 PM

Howdy Amos ... I'm delighted to tell you that I do indeed have this album. If you'll PM me with your mailing address, I'll mail it off to you this week. By the way, thank you for your many splended contributions. CHEERS, Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Deckman
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 08:42 PM

Amos, that was me that just posted above. When I posted that note, I didn't realize that I'd lost my cookie. I am Bob(deckman)Nelson. See you at the PM.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Amos
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 09:14 PM

Bob:

Thanks so much! Amazing that this song seems to have no other history than the Ives recording.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Deckman
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 09:43 PM

Amos ... I suspect that you and I run around in our daily lives with probably a couple of thousand songs ringing in our ears. And this song is one of those. It's a great ballad. CHEERS, Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Amos
Date: 14 Nov 04 - 11:45 PM

Yer right about that. As years go by I find that what rings in my ears are shards and parts rather than the whole songs I could once trippingly recite all night!! LOL


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Nancy King
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 12:32 AM

I learned this song many years ago from my college roommate, Lois, and in the last few years have been singing it again. When I reminded Lois of it a couple of years ago, she was delighted to hear it again, but neither of us knew where it came from until someone told us it was from Burl Ives. Glad to have that confirmed!

The words I learned are quite close to those above, except that the fourth verse goes

    I says to her, "Lizzie, you might catch your death!"
    She says to me, "Guv'nor, I'm catchin' me breath!
    I've swum from the Thames to the Monongaheelee,
    To find pretty Jackie, me 'usband to be."

And then continues:

    I met pretty Jackie at Tilbury Lock,
    And sat on the bowsprit a-mendin' 'is socks.
    'E said that 'e loved me and 'e'd marry me --
    'Is name is Jack Swabby, the U. S. Nae-vee."

Chorus

    I says to her, "Lizzie, young Jack is my son.
    I'm sorry to tell you his family's begun,
    And I'm the grandfather of triplets, you see,
    He married Miss Catfish from Lock Number Three."

    Then sadly, oh, sadly, she gazed upon me,
    And says to me, "Guv-nor, oh, 'ow can it be?"
    Then slipped in the water so despondently,
    And flippered her way down the Monongaheelee.

And the last chorus goes:

Oh, a locktender's life can be happy and free,
(whistle)
Though probably not on the Monongaheelee.
(whistle)

I'll have to admit I sing a little la-da-da bit in the chorus instead of whistling, because I've never been able to make the transition from singing to whistling -- and back again -- with any success. Humming or singing really works just as well. It's a fun song!

Cheers,
Nancy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Micca
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 03:43 AM

I seem to vaguly remember that one chorus, maybe the last one went

" Oh a Locktenders lot can be lonesome at times
(Whistle tune)
But probably not if he whistles and rhymes
(Whistle tune)"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 03:47 AM

Bob, are there background notes on the album that give any information?
The only other information I could find about the song was that it was on a 1996 cassette by Don Bille, called From Here on Up. I'm guessing this is a modern composition, not traditional. This page (click) seems to indicate the song was written by Robt. Schmertz. I couldn't find a CD recording of the song - just the two out-of-print recordings by Don Bille and Burl Ives.
-Joe Offer-


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 08:30 AM

I just located my recording of Burl Ives singing "The Locktender's Lament." This is one an extended play 45 record, produced by "Decca." It is # ED2235. I'm guessing it was made in the early 60's. Here are all the notes about this song:

"This song is an inheritance from World War II. It is a bit of lampoon on an English girl who follows an American sailor across the Atlantic to the Monongahela River, and what awaits her there when she meets with his father, the locktender."

The album title is "MEN." On the record itself, it gives credit for the song to "Robert Schmertz."

I'll get this in the mail to Amos later on today. Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 09:23 AM

Micca, you're right -- the chorus does change slightly each time, and that's one of the variations. But I do think the last one is "...but probably not on the Monongaheelee". It rounds out the song rather nicely.

Joe and Bob, that's more information than I ever heard on this song! Thanks!

Nancy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 05:17 PM

Amos, I just returned from the P/O/ where I mailed the record off to you. You should have it in three days. Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Amos
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 08:01 PM

Superbp!!


Thanks so much.

You is goodness incarnate.


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: Deckman
Date: 15 Nov 04 - 09:47 PM

"Goodness Incarnate." What a great name for a new salad dressing! Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: muppitz
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 08:40 AM

Not the song you're looking for but thought it might be worth a mention, Stan Rogers wrote a lovely song called "The Lockeeper".

muppitz x


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Lock Number Ten (Robert Schmertz)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Jun 06 - 04:44 AM

I found this at http://www.robertschmertz.com

Lock Number Ten

(Robert Schmertz)

Oh, I'm the lock tender at Lock Number Ten;
I whistle and sing ev'ry now and again.
I'll sing you a ditty about how and when
I saw a young mermaid at Lock Number Ten.

'Twas night as the moon shone on Lock Number Ten
I heard a "Halloo!" and I heard it again,
And there gleaming whitely upon the lock wall
Saw a young mermaid her flipper and all!

Oh, a lock tender's lot can be lonesome at times,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay
But probably not many see it that way,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay!

"'Tis government property, Madam!" I said;
She showed me a paper which drippingly read
"All rights and all priviledges, Lizzie, my dear!"
Signed General Muskrat, the chief engineer.

I said to her, "Lizzie, you might catch your death!"
She said to me, "Guv'nor, I'm catching me breath.
I've swum from the Thames to the Mongahaylee
To find pretty Jackie, my husband to be!"

Oh, a lock tender's lot can be lonesome at times,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay.
But probably not if he whistles and rhymes,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lay!

"I met pretty Jackie at Tilbury Docks
And sat at the bowsprit a-mending his socks.
He said that he loved me and he'd marry me -
His name is Jack Swabbie, the U.S. Navee!"

And then I said, "Lizzie, young Jack is my son -
I'm sorry to tell you his fam'ly's begun
And I'm the grandfather of triplets, you see;
He married Miss Catfish from Lock Number Three!"

Oh, a lock tender's lot can be joyous and free,
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lee -
But probably not on the Mongahaylee
Tra-la-la-la-la, tra-la, tra-la-la-lee!

Then sadly, oh, sadly she gazed upon me
And said to me, "Guv'nor, oh, how can it be?"
Then slipped to the water so despondently
And flippered her way down the Mongahaylee.


The Schmertz site says the song is called "The Locktender’s Lament" on the Burl Ives recording.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Locktender's Lament
From: GUEST,ron
Date: 30 Oct 14 - 08:26 PM

I purchased this song on a set of 45rpm records "Down to the sea in ships" sometime in the 1950's by Burlington Ives. There were 2 songs on each record


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 16 July 10:43 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.