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Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah

DigiTrad:
BE BAW BABBITY
THE BAYOU SARA (2)


GUEST,Charley Temple 18 Nov 04 - 05:17 AM
cetmst 18 Nov 04 - 07:00 AM
Joe Offer 18 Nov 04 - 01:23 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Nov 04 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Charley Temple 18 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Nov 04 - 08:35 PM
Charlie Baum 18 Nov 04 - 09:10 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 18 Nov 04 - 09:48 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Nov 04 - 09:52 PM
wysiwyg 29 Apr 15 - 11:28 AM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: GUEST,Charley Temple
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 05:17 AM

Grey Larsen and Malcolm Dalglish played a song back in the 80's that had some of of these lines:

Bayou Sarah she burn down
(Burn Down, Burn Down)
Bayou Sarah she burn down.

Swim like I never swim before
When the Bayou Sarah she burn down
City of Natchez take me on board...

Anybody remember any more?

Many thanks!

CT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: cetmst
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 07:00 AM

There are two versions in the Digitrad. There are printed versions in Sing Out v. 44 #2, Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society, H. M. Belden, ed., and a book named Songs of Boats about which I have no further information. Recordings in addition to those cited are by Art Thieme on his "On the River" album and Dave Para and Cathy Barton on their CD "Cathy and Dave".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: Joe Offer
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:23 PM

The second version of "Bayou Sara" in the Digital Tradition is from Belden's Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society. It has a number of errors, so it would be nice to get a corrected copy posted in this thread. The first version is apparently a transcription from a Sara Grey & Ellie Ellis recording, but that's a bit unclear - can anybody verify the source of that version?
The Traditional Ballad Index lists the Belden version, and one from Mary Wheeler's Steamboatin' Days: Folk Songs of the River Packet Era (1944), and the recording by Art Thieme. I think Art's recording is the "definitive" recording of this song. I'll never hear this song without hearing Art's voice in my head.
-Joe Offer-
Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Bayou Sara, The

DESCRIPTION: The Bayou Sara (Bicera) is a fine boat, but catches fire and burns down, taking many people with her. The song may mention all the crew she lost, or the singer's own escape and watching for angels to come for him.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1914 (Belden)
KEYWORDS: ship river fire death disaster
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Belden, pp. 423-424, "The Burning of the Bayou Sara" (1 text)
MWheeler, pp. 40-41, "B'y' Sara Burned Down" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, BAYOUSAR* BAYOUSA2

Roud #10010 and 4139
RECORDINGS:
Art Thieme, "Bayou Sara" (on Thieme05)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Burning of the Bayou Sara
The Bicera
Notes: As "The Burning of the Bayou Sara," this song is item dG39 in Laws's Appendix II.
Belden, who collected the version known to Laws, reported that a ship called the Bayou Sara burned at the dock on December 5, 1885. Mary Wheeler, however, reports that the name of the ship was the "City of Bayou Sara," built in 1884; she burned at New Madrid. All passengers were reportedly saved, though a few crew members died.
The versions of this song are extremely diverse in form (apart from the confusion that caused the ship to be called "The Bicera" by Belden's informant), and it's possible that there are two ballads involved. Laws, for instance, failed to identify Wheeler's text with Belden's, and Roud gives the pieces two numbers. But since the texts are all unique, I place them all here without rendering a final judgment on the matter; this may be just a piece that went through a lot of blues metamorphosis. - RBW
File: DTBayous
Also note this entry:

Where Was You Last Night?

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, where was you last night (x3), Under them bilers sleeping." "I wend in the valley, Lord, I didn't go to stay, Under them bilers sleepin, My soul got happy... Under them boilers..." "The head mate hollered and the captain squalled..."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1944 (Wheeler)
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad floatingverses
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (1 citation):
MWheeler, pp. 77-79, "WHere Wuz You Las' Night" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud #10026
Notes: Almost all the lyrics of this song have parallels elsewhere (e.g. from "Down in the Valley to Pray," "The Bayou Sarah," and others), but the "Under them bilers [boilers] sleeping" chorus seems unique, so I have listed the song separately. - RBW
File: MW077

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 01:59 PM

I checked "The Burning of the Bayou Sara," second version in the DT against the text in Belden. Only small errors in verses three and seven.

Verse 3 line 4:
She hadn't but a hundred and ten.

Verse 7 line 4:
Not recorded in the original text (dotted), but the suggested line is fitting.

Note: "'The Bicera.' Secured in 1914 by Professor J. S. Ankeney from the singing of an old negro riverman at Rocheport, Boone County."
Belden noted that Sol Matting [Molting) was probably a roustabout; he was not one of the officers of the vessel (named in a newspaper account published the following Monday).

H. M. Belden, Ballads and Songs collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society, pp. 423-424.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: GUEST,Charley Temple
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM

Aw, there's nothing better than this. I've wondered about those lyrics for twenty years. Y'all are amazing beyond words. Thanks a million!!

CT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 08:35 PM

Have not found Bayou Sara(h) among the Anchor riverboats. Bayou Sara was a river port (Felicianas), so I don't doubt that a riverboat was named for it, but I can't find it listed.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BAYOU SARA
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 09:10 PM

I first heard it from Neal McMillan of Brookline, Mass., and his banjo breaks are an integral part of my memory of the song. His version can be found from Cathy Barton and Dave Para, and their notes state:

"One of the largest boats in the Anchor Line, the City of Bayou Sara was only a year old when she caught fire at New Madrid, Mo., in 1885. A hundred years later, we learned this song from Neal McMillan in Boston while visiting him with Ed Trickett. Neal had learned it from Dillon Bustin at a Pinewoods Camp the year before. The song is from Mary Wheeler's 1944 collection of roustabout songs, Steamboatin' Days, and Dillon added some verses of his own. Another song about this disaster was collected at Rocheport, Mo., in 1914 and published in H.M. Belden's Ballads and Songs Collected by the Missouri Folk-Lore Society."

Their version:

Up the river I could not stay long,
And the Bayou Sara, she burned down.
    for me.
She burned down to the water line
And the Bayou Sara, she burned down.

    Bayou Sara, she burned down
    Bayou Sara, she burned down.

Well, the whistle went "wee,"
    And the boiler went "whomp."
Deck flew off and I had to jump.

All the people got to squeal and squall.
They looked up, and they's about to fall.

I looked over yonder, and what did I see?
Captain and his mate, they were swimming for me

I looked over yonder and what did I see?
Two bright angels, they were swimming for me.

Two bright angels swimming by my side.
I want to go to heaven when I die.

Well I swam 'till I couldn't swim no more.
Arkansas City took me on board.

Who could say it'd be her last trip?
The finest boat on the Missississipp.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 09:48 PM

Well, small world this coming up again now!!

Recently I sent my master tapes for my ON THE RIVER album to Sandy Paton. ("Bayou Sara" is part of that recording.) Sandy is taking a few tracks from my A.T.--Live At Winfield tape (like "The Great Turtle Drive"), and putting those together with the river songs, and they will be on a new CD to be issued by Folk Legacy sometime in the near future. It will be great to have that material in a modern day format.----- And I'm honored that Joe likes my version of this fine old song.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 09:52 PM

"One of the largest boats in the Anchor Line" has been copied, without checking, from the first mention in Belden ("queen" of the Anchor Line, in Belden, p. 423). It is odd that this riverboat is not on the Anchor list. Ownership? Name change?

The Arkansas City, mentioned in the song posted by Charlie Baum, was destroyed by a tornado at St. Louis in 1896.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bayou Sarah
From: wysiwyg
Date: 29 Apr 15 - 11:28 AM

Anchor Line's wiki entry re Bayou Sara:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anchor_Line_%28riverboat_company%29#Boats

Built, 1884. "Said to have been a larger-than-average Anchor Line boat, measuring 300 ft (91 m) x 48 ft x 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m) Commanded by Captain Isaac Baker, her other officers included John E. Massengale, purser; Collin Baker, 2nd clerk; George Murray and Theodore Hall, pilots; and Tobe Royal, mate. Burned on 5 December 1885 while loading corn at New Madrid, Missouri. Eight people died in the fire."

~S~


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