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"Wild Goose Shanty" background


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Bert 09 Dec 98 - 05:25 PM
Jon W. 10 Dec 98 - 11:09 AM
Jon W. 10 Dec 98 - 01:55 PM
Barry Finn 10 Dec 98 - 04:26 PM
Abby Sale 10 Dec 98 - 04:42 PM
Barry Finn 10 Dec 98 - 05:04 PM
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Subject: "The Wild Goose Shanty"
Date: 09 Dec 98 - 04:31 PM

Hello All,

I have a cut of Colin Wilkie et al doing a fine job singing "The Wild Goose Shanty" ("We'll Ranzo Way") There's no liner notes. It's essentially the same text as in DigTrad. I don't see any similarity of the tune or text to my other sea-song books. Hugill, mostly, has nothing similar.

Does anyone know where this text & tune may come from? Any other verses? Colin sings only the same three verses as in DT.


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Subject: RE:
From: Bert
Date: 09 Dec 98 - 05:25 PM

Don't know where it came from but Lionel Bart used it in his musical "Maggie May"
It's a lovely tune that some days just won't go away.


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Subject: RE:
From: Jon W.
Date: 10 Dec 98 - 11:09 AM

From the liner notes of "Blow Boys Blow" by Ewan MacColl & A.L. Lloyd:

One of the great halyard shanties is "Wild Goose Shanty," seemingly better known in English ships than American ones, though some versions of it have become crossed with the American song called "Huckleberry Hunting." From the graceful movement of its melody it is possible that this is an older shanty than most. Perhaps it evolved out of some long-lost lyrical song.

By the way, does anyone know the meaning of the word "Ranzo"? I've heard it in several shanties.

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Subject: RE:
From: Jon W.
Date: 10 Dec 98 - 01:55 PM

The MacColl/Lloyd version is slightly different than the version in the DT but has no other verses.

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Subject: RE:
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Dec 98 - 04:26 PM

Jon, I'm not familar with the MacColl/Lloyd version but it may be one aslo called Huckleberry Hunting which both Hugill & Doerflinger have as the Wild Goose Shanty, even though the wild geese reference doesn't appear at all but Ranzo (Hilo me Ranzo R(w)ay) does gets in on the chorus. The tunes are also very different, at least from what I've heard. I've only heard one tune used for the Wild Goose Shanty that starts off "Did you ever see a wild goose sailing over the ocean".

Abby, if I had to guess as to the origins of the words & tune I'd say with its high hitches there's some bit of Arfo American influence but I'd lean more to it coming out of the British tradition. It doesn't lend itself in a great way for improvising & harmonies, there's not much change within the same versions, the words & phrasing ( and the fair maid replys, "she said none the better for the seeing of you"). But put me on a witness stand, Abby, & I'd deny all & say 'I don't know for sure'. Good Luck. If you find more would you post it here. Barry

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From: Abby Sale
Date: 10 Dec 98 - 04:42 PM


As you say, Barry. Colin does it a little different but not significant. But they _do_ get up a nice bit of harmony on the refrain & drag it out as long as they like.

Jon, Thanks for the advance. Huckleberry Shanty begins:


Oh, I'm shantyman of the workin' party
Timme way, timme hey, timme he ho hay
So sing lads, pull lads, so strong and hearty
An' sing Hilo, me Ranzo Ray!

I'm shantyman or the Wild Goose nation,
Got a maid that I left on the big plantation,


Oh, the boys an' the gals went a huckleberry huntin'
The gals began to cry an' the boys they dowsed their buntin'

It's seemed to me (just to keep it confused) that "We'll Ranzo Way" is a very different song from "Ranzo Ray" even though both are sometimes called "Wild Goose Shanty."

So---- I just ordered both the MacColl/Lloyd CD ($10) & the Killen ($13) wotthehell.

(I like the song.)

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Subject: RE:
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Dec 98 - 05:04 PM

Abby, what'd ya 'spect, those Ranzos' are a disfunctional family. You gots ya Reubens, Robins & ya Rays, then thars the wild ones a berry pickin & a chasin little gals that like those by the name of Jackie Miller & they're all forever goin off to some place called Tummy Hilo Away Hey. Happy! to see hanging around here Abby. Barry

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