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Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)

DigiTrad:
THE EENSIE-WEENSIE SPIDER
THE MARY ELLEN CARTER


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Fries Again (Rise Again parody) (3)
Lyr Req: Eency Weency Mary Ellen Carter (14)
Lyr Req: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers) (6) (closed)
Tune Req: Mary Ellen Carter Bass tab???? (5)
Help: Mary Ellen Carter? What kind of boat? (34)
Lyr/Chords Req: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers) (7)
Lyr Req: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers) (11) (closed)
Correction: The Mary Ellen Carter (2) (closed)


skw@worldmusic.de 12 Dec 98 - 09:23 AM
Joe Offer 12 Dec 98 - 02:26 PM
Roger in Baltimore 12 Dec 98 - 04:58 PM
rich r 12 Dec 98 - 05:24 PM
DonMeixner 12 Dec 98 - 10:38 PM
Charlie Baum 13 Dec 98 - 01:30 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 13 Dec 98 - 08:07 PM
Dick Wisan 14 Dec 98 - 12:29 AM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 14 Dec 98 - 12:45 AM
Bill Cameron 14 Dec 98 - 10:45 AM
DonMeixner 14 Dec 98 - 11:48 PM
skw@ 15 Dec 98 - 02:45 AM
SeanM 04 Jul 00 - 02:37 AM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 00 - 06:09 AM
Roger in Baltimore 04 Jul 00 - 07:50 AM
kendall 04 Jul 00 - 08:51 AM
Art Thieme 04 Jul 00 - 10:40 AM
kendall 04 Jul 00 - 10:56 AM
Clinton Hammond2 04 Jul 00 - 02:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Jul 00 - 08:33 PM
Barbara 04 Jul 00 - 09:06 PM
Clinton Hammond2 05 Jul 00 - 03:27 AM
Bugsy 05 Jul 00 - 03:43 AM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Jul 00 - 03:15 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 05 Jul 00 - 04:55 PM
Clinton Hammond2 05 Jul 00 - 05:41 PM
Midchuck 05 Jul 00 - 06:12 PM
Bert 05 Jul 00 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,Stan-fan 05 Jul 00 - 11:14 PM
paddyc 06 Jul 00 - 12:34 AM
GUEST,Peter Jones 15 Feb 02 - 11:56 AM
Clinton Hammond 15 Feb 02 - 02:20 PM
McGrath of Harlow 15 Feb 02 - 04:58 PM
Clinton Hammond 15 Feb 02 - 05:24 PM
Wolfgang 18 Feb 02 - 06:55 AM
Gareth 18 Feb 02 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,Ole Bull 18 Feb 02 - 10:12 AM
Clinton Hammond 18 Feb 02 - 12:04 PM
18 Feb 02 - 03:41 PM
Devilmaster 18 Feb 02 - 03:44 PM
GUEST 01 Sep 02 - 02:03 PM
Gareth 01 Sep 02 - 03:12 PM
GUEST,Bruce, Melbourne Australia 02 Sep 02 - 09:17 AM
Charley Noble 02 Sep 02 - 09:27 AM
GUEST,briansheridan@eircom.net 26 Aug 03 - 09:23 AM
Sandy Mc Lean 26 Aug 03 - 02:06 PM
Gareth 26 Aug 03 - 03:45 PM
Jack the Sailor 27 Aug 03 - 09:38 AM
katlaughing 21 Feb 05 - 03:29 AM
Melani 21 Feb 05 - 04:55 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 24 Feb 05 - 09:19 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 22 Apr 09 - 07:25 AM
Willie-O 22 Apr 09 - 08:10 AM
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Subject: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: skw@worldmusic.de
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 09:23 AM

Having learned such a lot about 'Spancil Hill' and 'Barratt's Privateers', maybe the Mudcat community can help me with this one, too. I can't find any background to the song on any Stan Rogers sites but it would be nice to know where the story came from. - Susanne

Click for related thread


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 02:26 PM

Hi, Susanne - Stan's notes on the "Between the Breaks...Live!" CD certainly aren't very helpful He says:
I really like the guy in this song. He's every person who ever had experts tell him what he wanted to do was impossible, then did it anyway. May you always be like the Mary Ellen Carter.
Did it appear on other albums that might have more of an explanation on the liner notes? The Sing Out! Magazine Web site says the song is in Volume 29, #3. Anybody have that back issue? Can you tell us what it says?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 04:58 PM

Just as a few words of encouragement, I believe I heard the story before I heard the song.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: rich r
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 05:24 PM

The STan Rogers "Songs from Fogarty's Cove" songbook doesn't have anything either.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: DonMeixner
Date: 12 Dec 98 - 10:38 PM

Dear Susanne,

I can't give you any background on the Mary Ellen Carter specifically because I don't believe there is any to give. I can tell you about the type of men, and perhaps women, in the song tho'. Until I was forced to quit because of injury and the business going south I was a boat builder. We built fishing boats for the North East waters off New England. The men who worked these boats were, to use a cliche ridden phrase, a bred a part. They would work long hours on decks that were never level or stable. Risk losing fingers or worse in equipment that could tear off a hand as fast as it could pull you overboard. They could be constantly wet and cold and live on coffee and sandwiches and Dinty Moore stew for several days with the only hope of pay being a share in the haul. The largest percent going to the owner of the boat. ( Not always the skipper) Now a days the coastal fishing boat is often owned by a corporation. The crews are often groups of guys who work together well and maybe doing the only job they know or ever knew. They put their faith and lives in boats to get them home and become attached to them. Thats why the crew in this song went after the boat. They went to rescue the boat an return it to shore just as you or I might stand in the door to our burning houses with the garden hose, even if their was no hope. I think the song was as much about not giving up as it was a tribute to this type of person who should know better but is too stubborn to quit even with the bends. I know salvagers who have raise wrecks and fisherman who have pulled up sunken hulls because that was how they made their living. Was there a Mary Ellen Carter? I doubt it but there very well could have been. I can tell you there are people like those in the song. I've worked along side them.

Don Meixner


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 01:30 AM

I saw Stan Rogers give a concert (at the Sounding Board in West Hartford, Connecticut), and I still remember his introduction to "Mary Ellen Carter":

When he was young, he saw the Grand Ole Opry (or some such show) and remembers at the end of the show, Tennessee Ernie Ford looking up and staring into the blinding spotlights and singing with earnestness and large voice, a gospel hymn of great inspiration, of triumphing over all odds with the help of the Almighty. He decided then and there that he wanted to write a hymn of great inspiration, except without god in it.

Then he sang "Mary Ellen Carter" to us. (By george, I think he may have succeeded!)

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 13 Dec 98 - 08:07 PM

There was, however, a true story behind the Blue Dolphin. The last I heard of her she was half-sunk at a dock in or near Detroit.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Dick Wisan
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 12:29 AM

Sorry to hear that; I wondered about the Blue Dolphin. Hoped the song had attracted contributions enough to finish the job.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 12:45 AM

I doubt it, after that amount of time. I'm sure that it would have been in the paper had that been done. Someone accidently unplugged the pumps, which is why it sank. According to the story in one of the Detroit papers, there really was an eccentric man trying to restore her.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Bill Cameron
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 10:45 AM

Don, thanks, great posting, you absolutely captured the essence there. (Here I go plugging Farley Mowat again) Mowat wrote two books, "The Serpent's Coil" and "Grey Seas Under", which chronicle the voyages of the ocean-going salvage tug "Foundation Franklin" and pretty much confirm what Don said about the kind of men who make a living out of pulling half-wrecked ships off rocks in North Atlantic gales. If you are familiar with Stan's song, the Wreck of the Athens Queen, (on Songs from Fogarty's Cove) you will find the true story (the details are a dead giveaway--chasing the farm animals around the deck!) that I believe inspired that song in one of these books, I forget which one. (The weather in Belle Isle Straits got so bad that even the salvagers gave up their attempt to save an old Greek tramp freighter. By international maritime law, this made the ship fair game for anyone--so what should the salvage crew see as their large vessel sought shelter from the near-hurricane, but a bunch of local fishermen heading right out into the storm to board the ship from their little boats!)

I don't know of any factual basis to the events described in Mary Ellen Carter but I know two anecdotes surrounding the song.

1. There's a documentary on video about Stan, entitled "One Warm Line", which was originally broadcast on CBC TV. There's footage of a gruff-looking older guy telling what happened to him: that he was the engineer on an old ship that sank in the North Atlantic at 4 a.m. one freezing morning, and he kept himself awake and alive in the water by singing the "Rise Again" chorus over and over, until he was rescued.

2. If you're more like me, an armchair sailor folkie type, who's ever sung the song, you'll know its difficult to get the lines "plugged her vents, patched her rents, dogged hatch and porthole down" if you've had the slightest bit of a libation. Take comfort--My buddy who happened to be present when Stan taught the song to his band, says he (Stan) blew those lines too!

Bill


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: DonMeixner
Date: 14 Dec 98 - 11:48 PM

Bill,

Thanks for the kind compliment. I get so few these days. As far a patching rented dogs, I blow that line every time I sing the song. Among others.

Don


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: skw@
Date: 15 Dec 98 - 02:45 AM

I'd hoped for more facts, of course, but it's great (as always) to see what people come up with. Thanks a lot! Susanne


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: SeanM
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 02:37 AM

OK... I love this damn song, so...

REFRESH!!!

Amazing what you'll find looking through the archives. Let's see what gets dug up this time...

M


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 06:09 AM

"Plugged her vents, patched her rents, dogged hatch and porthole down" - I've heard those lines sung so many different ways, most of which would probably ensure that the boat never made it to the surface.

While we're waiting in the hopes someone will come up with some more about the background - the name Mary Ellen Carter must come from somewhere, even if maybe it's the name of Stan Rogers' teacher in kindergarten or something like that - could Don or someone out there who knows about this kind of thing explain what we should be singing in that line, and what the terms mean?


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 07:50 AM

Mc Grath,

Sunken ships are raised by pumping them full of air. For this to be effective, the ship must be made as airtight as possible.

Therefore, you plug up the vents because they would certainly let air out. Then you patch the rents (tears) that may be in the hull. These tears are usually the initial cause of the sinking. Finally, you close all the hatches and portholes. Both portholes and hatches may have "doors" that can be swung shut over them and then locked down with a device referred to as a "dog." I'm truly a landlubber, but I think I have it right.

The ship is fatened intoa sort of sling made from cables. The sling is attached to a crane. A hose in run down to a hole in the bottom of the hull and air is pumped in ("we hit the pumps") and the crane begins to haul up the sling with the ship in it as the air makes the ship light enough for the crane to handle it ("and then took up the strain"). With luck it will "Rise Again."

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: kendall
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 08:51 AM

a "dog" or dogging iron is a piece of steel pipe which fits over the handle of the "dog" giving tremendous leverage to insure that the hatch or the door is water tight. I question the truth of this tale, one reason, he refers to some others as..laughing drunken rats.. grounds for slander and libel. To the best of my knowledge, Stan was not a sailor, so, he came close enough to be forgiven. It's a great song in any case.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 10:40 AM

This song is a parody of the song "Tom Dooley". It concerns a daughter of past President Jimmy Carter who was killed by a jilted lover and left for dead (which she actually was already) in a peanut orchard in Georgia. At her funeral, being Christians, the gathered multitude sang this song with hopeful exuberarance. Later, like Bob Dylan, Stan Rogers stole this and rewrote the song about a boat (of all things). How dumb can you get. Then the collector, Peter Blood, put the song in his Book just like the Lomax family did with Frank Proffit's version of the song------and the rest is history. Unlike the song "Dom Dooley" this song has never earned millions of dollars for any stripey-shirted collegiate trio of any kind. If it had, I'm sure Valerie Rogers would've figured out how to sue 'em for four times that amount by now.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: kendall
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 10:56 AM

Thanks for that info Art, you are a well spring of knowledge


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Subject: Itsy Bitsy Spider ^^^
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 02:11 PM

Mary Ellen Carter... Ye gods what a song... rare is the gig that goes by without me lashing this one out... and I've NEVER blown any of the lyrics!! (LOL!!! Ya, RIGHT!) But the above quoted line I have to admit is one of my favorites ever written by Stanly...

Unfortunatly, I have loaned out my copy of "An Unfinished Conversation", the 'official' biograph of Mr. Rogers... So what I can add to this thrad isn't much for now... I'll come back once I get my book back fer sure...

For now I have to fall back on parody.. that's one to this song that give's me a giggle from time to time... and it works great on children stages when uptight parents may be offended by "Smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go"... ( Me thinks they do protest too much...)

^^^

But here goes anyway...

The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

The itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout
Down came the rain, and it washed the spider out.
Out came the sun and it dried up all the rain
And the itsy-bitsy spider climbed again...
She wouldn't let the elements distract her from her goal
The purpose of her struggle was imbedded in her soul;
Now see the sun shine down on beasts, on women and on men
And see that itsy-bitsy spider rise again

Rise again! Rise again!
She never let bad luck keep her from doing what she can.
No matter if your legs are two or four or eight or ten
Be like that itsy bitsy spider, Rise again!

This childhood song's a metaphor: a lesson to us all
We cannot be defeated if we rise each time we fall
And if you think this story's one you learned too long ago
Then think about some other ones you know...
You know the myth of Sisyphus, and you know Jack and Jill
It's such a potent image, going up and down a hill.
So every time you fall,or lose a lover or a friend
Be like that itsy-bitsy spider, rise again

( chorus )

Perhaps you think this allegory goes a bit too far
Climbing up a pipe is not like reaching for a star
But whether it's a water spout or mountain that you climb
You've come this far, indulge me one more time...
It could be said that each of us climbs up a water spout
The downward pull of gravity is not what it's all about
The upward pull of hope is what will save us in the end
Be like that itsy-bitsy spider, rise again

Rise again! Rise again!
You must never let bad luck keep you from doing what you can
And whether your legs may number two
Or four or eight or ten
Be like that itsy bitsy spider, Rise again!

Now I'm not a big fan of parody.. it usually come off sounding cheep and offencive, but even I have to admit, this ones great! LOL!!!!

^^^


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 08:33 PM

I like that. I like that enough to try and sing it. Did you write it, Clinton?


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Barbara
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 09:06 PM

I think it's Bob Blue and some other guys, McGrath.
Blessings,
BArbara


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 03:27 AM

I wish!!!

I really really WISH!!!

LOL!!!!

{~`


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Bugsy
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 03:43 AM

Well as far as I can ascertain, from my research, she went down last October in a pouring driving rain. The skipper, he'd been drinking and the Mate, he felt no pain. Too close to Three Mile Rock, and she was dealt her mortal blow and the Mary Ellen Carter settled low.

There were five of us aboard her when she finally was awash. We'd worked like hell to save her, all heedless of the cost. And the groan she gave as she went down, it caused us to proclaim that the Mary Ellen Carter would rise again.

Mind you I could be wrong.

CHeers

Whojustcouldntmissachancelikethat!


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 03:15 PM

So, is there a candidate for Three Mile Rock?


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 04:55 PM

Clinton, a friend of mine wonders if you ever did that here in Nova Scotia.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Clinton Hammond2
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 05:41 PM

Natch...

I got it in true folk style... off the internet somewhere!! LOL!! I think a buddy of mine may have emailled it to me... Or given me a copy after HE found it online or something... It's origins are lost in the mists of time, but don't try to claim it as yer own... someone out there wrote it...

HEEEEEYYYYYY... maybe if we all start siging it, one of us will trip over the guy somewhere eh?!?!?!

LOL!!

{~`


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Midchuck
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 06:12 PM

Now here's my theory:

The truth is, that Mary Ellen Carter was a lady who plied her trade in the bars in some seaport town, probably Canadian. She was past the best earning years for her business, and very fond of beer, which had caused her to put on quite a bit of weight, but she continued to try to make her living as best she could.

Anyway, one dark rainy night in October, she took on quite a bit of beer in the company of six or eight members of the crew of a small vessel that was in port there, and ended up agreeing to provide for the immediate needs of all of them, for a "bulk rate," as it were. Unfortunately, as they were proceeding back to her rooms, all of them sort of hanging on to one another to keep upright, she slipped on the wet cobblestones and fell heavily. She was uninjured, being well padded, but she was so well padded, and so out of balance from the beer, that it amounted to a distinct challenge for all the crew members with her, even all working together, to get her back on her feet so she could take them home and complete their business.

At this point, the action of the song begins.

Now: Go out and sing the song to an audience, and keep a straight face!

Peter.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 09:39 PM

Marymac here! I noticed the reference to Bob Blue above, and I thought I'd mention that there's an article about him in this season's Sing Out! He's a member of People's Music Network, which I'm also a member of.He's a great songwriter. One of his works is called Erica Levine. It's a little reminiscent of Don't Get Married Girls, told from he young woman's point of view.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: GUEST,Stan-fan
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 11:14 PM

Someone mentioned Farley Mowat and "The Grey Seas Under". The Mary Ellen Carter was not based on a story from that book, but "The Wreck of the Athens Queen" was (Fogarty's Cove, 1977). It's the story of what happens when a ship is lost and there are is no crew to save - the locals pick it clean! It's a fun song, but the story behind that custom often involved scavengers killing the survivors. Just thought I'd throw that tidbit into the mix.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: paddyc
Date: 06 Jul 00 - 12:34 AM

This is all very interesting. Didn't know there was this much behind the song. Cool!


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: GUEST,Peter Jones
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 11:56 AM

A friend of mine once was talking about the CIA and mentioned that many of the CIA subidiaries were named after Mary Ellen Carter, who was Allen Dulles' secretary. The companies had names like the Mary Ellen Carter Paint Company.

My friend had never heard of the Stan Rogers song, but it made me wonder if there was some connection. It does seem suspicious that no one knows anything about the history of the boat :)


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 02:20 PM

There is no history of the MEC, because it's fiction...

From Ariel, on a CBC interview, plugging "From Coffee House To Concert Hall"

She said that The MEC actually started off as Stan trying to write a speculative fiction story about a bunch of guys salvaging a space ship out of a low doangerous ourbit I seem to recall...

Stan was a big fan of hard SF...

Fortunatly for us, the story never got finished, but the song that it grew into did... and what a hell of a song it is...

And the line is

We patched her rents, stopped her vents, dogged hatch and porthole down...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 04:58 PM

The Mary Ellen Carter in space. I rather like the idea of a Star Trek version of the story. (That line cold be used as it stands...)

But since the thread is up again (Rise Again!), has anyone got an answer to my query?

All right, the story is a made up one, not out of line with things that happen in real life. But is the Three Mile Rock a real sea hazard somewhere which is being referred to?


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 15 Feb 02 - 05:24 PM

There McGrath, I cannot help you... I do not know one way or the other...

Maybe check an atlas site??

Just guessing...

;-)


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Wolfgang
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 06:55 AM

Three mile rock off Newfoundland is a likely candidate.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Gareth
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 09:34 AM

Nice one Wolfgang, I must confess that I had visions of spending a Saturday down in the Central Libuary at Cardiff reasearching this with the "Admiralty Pilots".

On the "Stan Rogers Website" Click Here - This is found 64. Three Mile Rock -- "Mary Ellen Carter" -- Not known whether this is a real place or not, but such shipping hazards are plentiful.

As a caveat though :-
1/. Stan Rogers wrote more about Nova Scotia, though this does not signify.
2/. Local names and Charted Hazards may not be the same.

There are still many hazards which have no name untill some poor benighted navigator finds it the hard way.

Leaving, as did the "Richard Montgomery" on Grain Spit between the Medway and the London River, a very prominent marker.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: GUEST,Ole Bull
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 10:12 AM

More to Kendall's explanation above.

A "dog" is an object to hold fast another object and to "dog" something is to therefore hold it in place. Woodworkers have dogs which are metal staples or springy bars and levers to keep the piece from moving as you work on it. I don't know if there is a dog specially designed for nautical use but the most common type was a large forged iron staple that could be hammered on and easily pried off.


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Clinton Hammond
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 12:04 PM

Cool find Wolfgang Ol' bean!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From:
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 03:41 PM

Just thinking out loud.....

Stan's aunt June lived in Canso, Nova Scotia.... Stan himself was born in Hamilton I do believe, as his parents already moved to Ontario. Now he spent many a summer in Canso, just wondering possibly a 'Three Mile Rock' off the coast of Cape Breton.

Just a thought, just trying that silly thing called logic.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Devilmaster
Date: 18 Feb 02 - 03:44 PM

Fer some reason, my cookie is on, but didn't show my name.

Just in case it does it again, its me, Devilmaster.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: GUEST
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 02:03 PM

Thanks for the info from your site. I wanted the story to be based in reality. But then again maybe it's better to just believe as Stan would have encouraged us. Good Luck finding Three Mile Rock


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Gareth
Date: 01 Sep 02 - 03:12 PM

Internet searches of "Lloyds List" and other Marine Casulty spots turn up nothing for the MEC, or an indentifiable " 3 mile rock" - sorry, I've been looking this last 6 months or so.

But lets try and find 3 mile rock - providing no seagoing catter finds it the hard way (Nautical joke)

Gareth

For it's three score and ten, boys and men


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: GUEST,Bruce, Melbourne Australia
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 09:17 AM

Given that the song says that the Mary Ellen Carter was a fishing boat that carried a crew of around five or six, it would make her a vessel of around 30 to sixty feet long depentant on which fishing grounds she worked,

Since the song says that she sank after hitting Three Mile Rock and she lay at a diviable depth, its likely she was working te coastal fishing grounds, In which case the rock was proberly a local reference rather than one that would be found on a navigation chart.

Since the Mary Ellen Carter was a fishing boat around thirty to sixty feet long so that she would have not been listed in any register of shipping. It is a common practice world wide to name fishing boats after a Wife or a Mother.

So to see if she was real do a seach on a "Mary Ellen Carter" as a real name, rather than a boat and that may lead you in the right directions.

BTW also do a backgroung search on Stan to see if a "Mary Carter" was a part of his life.

Bruce D


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Subject: RE: Wanted: background to 'The Mary Ellen Carter'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Sep 02 - 09:27 AM

Last time I checked 3 Mile Rock was precisely between 2 Mile Rock and 4 Mile Rock, Milky Way Galaxy.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: GUEST,briansheridan@eircom.net
Date: 26 Aug 03 - 09:23 AM

First time I heard Stan Rogers song "Mary Ellen Carter" was in Galway, Ireland sung by no less that Tommy Maken. Before he sang, he told the aduience a little ditty about the MEC.... He said the vessel was a small fishing vessel working the fishing grounds off New Foundland and occassionally she would take a trip to the West Indies with a hold full of dried fish and return with rum and spices to New Foundland......he went on about the crew of this mighty vessel and how they had become almost part of her and when she sank, well they just had to riase her from the seabed. Anyway, I believed him. But having read so many responces to this request 'The background to the Mary Ellen Carter' I'm not so sure.

Brian


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 26 Aug 03 - 02:06 PM

Perhaps Tommy could not let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
There was a lot of trade between Newfoundland and Nova Scotia with the West Indies and fish was often exchanged for rum. Today most Newfies just smuggle rum in from St. Pierre , an island belonging to France a few miles of the Newfoundland coast.
In any case the song is fiction but probably influenced from some true events. The salvage methods described by Stan are a more recent technology than the old schooners that would run to the West Indies.
The names Mary, Ellen, and Carter are all common here in Nova Scotia.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: Gareth
Date: 26 Aug 03 - 03:45 PM

Mmmm ! I doubt if you could lift a wooden boat on compressed air, the pressure would blow the decking off and out.

I've helped bring Yachts (GRP) and the like out of the Medway on Air bags or beer keg pontoons and strops and with a tidal lift, if the occasion arose that would be my choice for a wooden hull.

Gareth


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 27 Aug 03 - 09:38 AM

Can't say where exactly but I remember reading or hearing a quote from Stan saying that "The Mary Ellen Carter" was a fictional story about the growing problem of marine insurance fraud.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: katlaughing
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 03:29 AM

Thought I'd add a note to this thread. While watching "Deep Sea Detectives" on the History Channel the other night, they re-ran an episode from last November. It was about a ship called the Marine Electric which went down in 1983. I've included the blurb about it below.

What really struck me was when one of the only three survivors described how several of them were clinging some sort of flotsam, each getting weaker and weaker with the passing of time and the cold of the water. As they dropped off, one by one, he said he kept thinking of, and trying to sing, the chorus of this song. It was an incredibly poignant moment.

The subsequent investigation of this wreck led to some important changes in the Coast Guard and the industry regarding these kinds of ships. The crew was exonerated, esp. due to the efforts of one investigator from the Coast Guard, Capt. Domenic Calicchio. You may read more about him and his courageous stance about this incident here

Here's the blurb from the History Channel:

The once majestic SS Marine Electric lies 134 feet beneath the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia. While hauling coal on the night of February 12, 1983, she suddenly capsized and sank in a savage winter storm. With no time to launch lifeboats, 34 men were hurled into the frozen Atlantic. Only three survived. What caused a veteran merchant ship to plunge to the ocean floor? Survivors blamed the owners for sending an unsafe boat to sea. But the owners charged that one of the survivors caused his crewmates' deaths by failing to observe basic safety procedures. In the shadow of these allegations, the wreck is a potential crime scene. Divers pore over the rusting hulk hunting for evidence in an effort to answer the tantalizing question of what, or who, sent the Marine Electric to her watery grave.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: Melani
Date: 21 Feb 05 - 04:55 PM

My interpretation of "There were just us five aboard her when she finally was aswash," is that the rest of the crew had already abandoned ship, implying a larger crew than five or six. I have always envisioned her as a small to mid-sized cargo carrier. And she wasn't necessarily working the coastal fishing ground to sink in only 60 feet of water; the story also implies that she hit the rock because she wasn't where she was supposed to be, since the officers were drunk and not paying attention.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 09:19 AM

At http://www.sailboatstuff.com/images/AB132077LG.jpg you will see a picture of a porthole. At the opposite edge from the hinges are slots. Engaging the slots are hinged rods, threaded at the outer ends to accept knobs with threaded holes. Those assemblies are the dogs. By turning the knobs on the dogs you tighten them down on the slots, thereby squeezing the porthole against its gasket and making a tight seal. The same devices are used to tighten the lids on pressure cookers; I don't know whether cooks call them dogs.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: A job is a slot in a machine for occupation by a human being who on average would rather be elsewhere. :||


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 07:25 AM

Refresh- what a privilege to be introducing my dear husband to the music of Stan Rogers. We are preparing "Mary Ellen Carter" for the upcoming graduation of his nephew from the CA Maritime Academy- this young man has indeed "risen again" from a very rough start.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Mary Ellen Carter (Stan Rogers)
From: Willie-O
Date: 22 Apr 09 - 08:10 AM

Gads, this thread is so old I was posting under me own name...a habit soon lost.

Stan's legacy is doing pretty well I'd say. Oh, I just posted something on Youtube...a rehearsal of The Skirmish playing Fogarty's Cove.

cheap self-promotion over and out

W-O aka
Bill Cameron


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