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Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)

DigiTrad:
BONEY
KINMONT WILLIE


Related thread:
Song Challenge: Bushie Was a Warrior (11)


DavidHannam 10 Sep 05 - 10:46 AM
Sorcha 10 Sep 05 - 10:52 AM
GUEST,David Hannam 10 Sep 05 - 10:55 AM
CET 10 Sep 05 - 11:01 AM
Le Scaramouche 10 Sep 05 - 11:49 AM
Dead Horse 10 Sep 05 - 03:49 PM
Dead Horse 10 Sep 05 - 03:50 PM
el_punkoid_nouveau 10 Sep 05 - 04:43 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Sep 05 - 05:40 PM
GUEST 10 Sep 05 - 06:14 PM
Peace 10 Sep 05 - 06:42 PM
Leadfingers 10 Sep 05 - 06:54 PM
CET 10 Sep 05 - 07:31 PM
SINSULL 10 Sep 05 - 07:38 PM
Dead Horse 10 Sep 05 - 08:36 PM
Dead Horse 10 Sep 05 - 08:59 PM
dick greenhaus 10 Sep 05 - 09:20 PM
CET 10 Sep 05 - 11:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Sep 05 - 11:33 PM
Gurney 11 Sep 05 - 12:34 AM
Dead Horse 11 Sep 05 - 04:55 AM
Roberto 11 Sep 05 - 05:16 AM
CET 11 Sep 05 - 07:29 AM
CET 11 Sep 05 - 11:27 AM
Lighter 11 Sep 05 - 01:13 PM
Lighter 11 Sep 05 - 01:15 PM
Dead Horse 11 Sep 05 - 01:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 11 Sep 05 - 02:49 PM
Peace 11 Sep 05 - 03:24 PM
Le Scaramouche 11 Sep 05 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Dave Hannam 12 Sep 05 - 04:14 AM
GUEST,Robin Madge 12 Sep 05 - 07:42 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 05 - 02:08 AM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 05 - 02:33 AM
dick greenhaus 13 Sep 05 - 09:32 PM
The Walrus 14 Sep 05 - 05:18 AM
Snuffy 14 Sep 05 - 08:59 AM
Gurney 15 Sep 05 - 05:34 AM
The Walrus 15 Sep 05 - 06:40 AM
GUEST,charlie pearson 14 Sep 09 - 02:10 PM
RTim 14 Sep 09 - 03:21 PM
Dead Horse 14 Sep 09 - 07:04 PM
RTim 14 Sep 09 - 07:32 PM
Gibb Sahib 14 Sep 09 - 09:29 PM
Barry Finn 14 Sep 09 - 11:02 PM
Dead Horse 15 Sep 09 - 12:40 PM
Jim Dixon 16 Sep 09 - 11:27 PM
GUEST 02 Aug 10 - 11:22 AM
Lighter 02 Aug 10 - 12:55 PM
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shipcmo 16 Nov 10 - 08:46 AM
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Lighter 31 Jan 14 - 12:01 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: DavidHannam
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 10:46 AM

Anyone got lyrics to Boney was a Warrior? There is a french adaptation and an english adaptation. Preferably the english would be good.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Sorcha
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 10:52 AM

In the DT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: GUEST,David Hannam
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 10:55 AM

Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: CET
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 11:01 AM

I think this is the first folk song I ever heard. I can remember my sister singing it, when I was about 5 or 6. Where she learned it, I have no idea.

Thanks for the thread and the lyrics. I think I'll try to learn this for the Getaway.

Edmund


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 11:49 AM

A piece of trivia. In the English translation of Asterix in Corsica, their Corsican friend is named Boneywasawarriorwayayix.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 03:49 PM

French version is called Jean Francois de Nantes, & tells a different story about a sailor too posh for the rest of the crew, but ends up with the pox anyhoo....:-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 03:50 PM

....and the version in DT is to be deplored (Old Misery Guts again)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: el_punkoid_nouveau
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 04:43 PM

I learned it from that wonderful fount of all things traditional, the BBC! It appeared in Singing Together in 19something-or-other (when I was still in short trousers - the first time around!), from which I culled the following:

Boney was a warrior
Way ay ah
Boney was a warrior
John France wah

Boney beat the Prooshians

Boney beat the Rooshians

Boney went to Mossycow

Boney he came back again

Boney went to Elbow

Boney went to Waterloo

Boney he was sent away

Boney broke his heart and died

Boney was a warrior


From the Beeb, it must be authoritative!

epn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 05:40 PM

Dead Horse: Quit bitching abut the darkness and light a goddam candle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 06:14 PM

I am sure that shantymen would extemporise so there would not be a definitive version.

Most that I have heard differ between the first and third lines of each verse.

Boney was a warrior
A warrior a terrier

Boney beat the Prussians
The Austrians and Russians

Boney went to Waterloo
Met the boy who put him through

He met the Duke of Wellington
Then his downfall was begone

I used to know several other verses but haven't sung it for over 25 years and the senior moments are becoming senior half hours


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Peace
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 06:42 PM

Boney was a Warrior
Boney was a warrior
Away, a-yah!
A warrior and a terrier
Jean Francois!

Boney fought the Russians
Away, a-yah!
The Russians and the Prussians.
Jean Francois!

Moscow was a-blazing
Away, a-yah!
And Boney was a-raging.
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Elba
Away, a-yah!
Boney he came back again.
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Waterloo
Away, a-yah!
There he got his overthrow.
Jean Francois!

Then they took him off again
Away, a-yah!
Aboard the Billy Ruffian.
Jean Francois!

He went to Saint Helena,
Away, a-yah!
There he was a prisoner,
Jean Francois!

Boney broke his heart and died
Away, a-yah!
Away in Saint Helena
Jean Francois


Google Boney was a Warrior, lyrics

Lots of sites with the words, some of which differ slightly from that in the DT.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Leadfingers
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 06:54 PM

Isnt there a verse that goes :-

He beat the prussians fairly
He beat the British nearly

But indeed there are all sorts of variations of ALL the shanties !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: CET
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 07:31 PM

I think the version in the DT is just fine. If you know another one, add it.

CET


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: SINSULL
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 07:38 PM

Paul Clayton sings Peace's version on his Whaling Songs LP. Dead Horse have a bug up his ass? Or have I missed something?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 08:36 PM

Ive always had a bug up me ass. Its just that as I gits older, it peaks out now and agin!
You axed fer it Dick, so here goes..

Boney was a warrior, way hey ya
A warrior a terrier, John Francois.

Boney went ta school in France,
He learned ta make them Rooshians dance.

For Boney fought the Rooshians,
The Oostrians & Prooshians.

Boney marched on Moscow,
He lost his army in the snow.

Moscow was a blazin,
He had ta turn around agin.

We met him in Trafalgar Bay,
Carried his top-mast away.

Boney went to Elbow,
There he got an overthrow.

Boney marched to Waterloo,
The big-nose Duke, he put him thru.

He beat the Prooshians fairly,
He beat the English, nearly.

He met the Duke of Wellington,
That day his downfall had begun.

Boney went a cruisi-in,
Aboard the Billy Ruffi-in.

Boney went to Saint Helen,
He never did come back again.

They put poison in his food,
Didn't do him any good.

Boney broke his heart and died,
In Corsica he wished he'd stayed.

For Boney was a Corsican,
A rortin snortin Corsican.

Boney was a general,
A randy dandy general.


There are more verses, but I tend to stick with the ones that tell the story in chronological order.
Now then, what about the froggy version, huh?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 08:59 PM

I dont read it or speak it, but I does it fony-ettikly, OK?

Jean-Francois de Nantes, Oue oue oue
Gabier sur la frigante mes boues, Jean-Francois

Debarqu'en fin d'compagne,
Fier comma un Roi d'Espagne mes boues.

En vrac dedans sa bourse,
Il a vingt mois de course mes boues.

Une montra, une chaine,
Valant una baleine mes boues.

Branl'bas chez son hotesse,
Bitte et boss et largesses mes boues.

La plus belle servante,
L'emmene dans sa soupente mes boues.

De conserve avec ella,
Navigue sur mer belle mes boues.

Et vidant la bouteille,
Tout son or appareille mes boues.

Montr' et chaines s'envolent,
Mais il prend la verole mes boues.

A l'hopital de Nantes,
Jean-Francois se lamente mes boues.

Et les draps de sa couche,
Dechirent avec sa bouche mes boues.

Il farait de la peine,
Meme a son capitaine mes boues.

Pauvr' Jean-Francois de Nantes,
Gabier sur la frigante mes boues, Jean-Francois.

Mebbe some froggy spikkin person can do it justiss, huh?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 09:20 PM

Dead Horse-
Thanx! Nice bright candle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: CET
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 11:28 PM

Thanks, DH. I like your version too. As for the French song, it doesn't seem to be a French version of Boney. Is the tune at all similar? The lines don't scan the same way. About the only similarity I can see is the two line structure, which isn't uncommon, and the name Jean-Francois. Where did you find it?

CEt


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Sep 05 - 11:33 PM

"Jean Françoié de Nantes" is a Breton (sailors) drinking song. The tune is not the same. No relation to 'Boney.'

Jean Francois
A midi linked in this thread and here:
Jean Francois


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Gurney
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 12:34 AM

Bony was a warrior.
way-ay-yah,
A warrior, a terrier,
John Francois.

Bony beat the Prooshians
Then he fought the Rooshians.

Bony went to Moscow
Lost his army in the snow.

Bony he came back again
Moscow was a-blazing then.

Bony went to Elbow
They couldn't keep him there you know.

Bony went to Waterloo
There he met his overthrow.

'Twas on the plains of Waterloo
He met the lad to pull him through.

Bony's gone a-cruising then
Aboard the BillyRuffian.

Bony went to Saint Helen'
and he never came back again.

Bony broke his heart and died
Bony broke his heart and died.

Bony was a warrior
A warrior, a terrier.

Been singing that for 30 years, but I can't remember where I got it. Probably selected verses from SftSS by Stan Hugill.

There aren't any definitive versions of shanties, of course. Anything is legitimate as long as you sing it to some version of the tune.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 04:55 AM

I got the French version from a tape by a group called Djiboudjep. Tape is full of shanty music. As far as I can see the tune is ALMOST same as Boney, and I often start singing J-F then switch to Boney after second verse. Been burnin my candle at both ends for a while, Dick. bg.
As for scanning, that surely depends upon how you sing it. A hell of a lot of shanties dont scan at all, then ya hear 'em sung, and ya eyes is opened, fer sure!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Roberto
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 05:16 AM

7 recordings of Boney

Boney
James Forman, Leith, on Shanties & Sea Songs recorded by James M. Carpenter (1928-29), Archive Shanties & Sea Songs, volume 1, Folktrax 141

Johnny was a warrior
Away, hey, yah
Johnny was a warrior
John Fran-swar

Said he would conquer all the world
Away, hey, yah
He said he would conquer all the world
John Fran-swar

But when he went to Moscow
Away, hey, yah
When he went to Moscow
John Fran-swar

Moscow was on fire
Away, hey, yah
Moscow was on fire
John Fran-swar

[*] he come back again
Away, hey, yah

Johnny [far?] he kneeled down
Away, hey, yah
Johnny [far?] he kneeled down
John Fran-swar

He went to St Helena
Away, hey, yah
He went to St Helena
John Fran-swar

[Bury?] his body, his bones lie low
Away, hey, yah
[Put?] him in [France city?]
John Fran-swar



Boney Was A Warrior
Brian Pearson, in The Critics Group, Waterloo:Peterloo, English Folk Songs and Broadsides 1780-1830, Argo ZDA 86 1968

Boney was a warrior
Weigh-hey-yah
A warrior a tarrier
Jean François

Oh Boney beat the Rooshians
Weigh-hey-yah
And Boney beat the Prooshians
Jean François

Oh Boney marched to Moscow
Weigh-hey-yah
He lost his army in the snow
Jean François

He marched his army back again
Weigh-hey-yah
And Moscow was a-blazing then
Jean François

We licked him in Trafalgar Bay
Weigh-hey-yah
We carried his main-top-mast away
Jean François

'T was on the plains of Waterloo
Weigh-hey-yah
He met the boy that put him through
Jean François

Boney went a-cruising
Weigh-hey-yah
Aboard the Billy Ruffian
Jean François

And Boney went to St.Helen
Weigh-hey-yah
And he never come back again
Jean François



Boney
Alan Mills and The Four Shipmates, Songs of the sea, Folkways F-2312, 1951

Boney was a warrior
Way-ay-yaw
A warrior and a tarrier
John Françwah

Boney fought the Prooshians
Way-ay-yaw
Then he fought the Rooshians
John Françwah

Boney went to Moscow
Way-ay-yaw
Boney went to Moscow
John Françwah

Moscow was a-blazin'
Way-ay-yaw
Boney was a –ragin'
John Françwah

Boney went to Elbow
Way-ay-yaw
Boney went to Elbow
John Françwah

Boney went to Waterloo
Way-ay-yaw
There he got his overthrow
John Françwah

Bonny he was sent away
Way-ay-yaw
Away to Saint Helena
John Françwah

Boney broke his heart and died
Way-ay-yaw
Boney broke his heart and died
John Françwah

Boney was a warrior
Way-ay-yaw
Boney was a warrior
John Françwah



Boney Was A Warrior
Paul Clayton, Whaling & Sailing Songs, Tradition TCD 1064 (original LP release: Whaling & Sailing Songs from the days of Moby Dick, Tradition Records TLP 1005, 1956)

Boney was a warrior
Away-ay-ya
A warrior, a tarrier
Jean François

Boney fought the Prussians
Away-ay-ya
And Boney fought the Russians
Jean François

Boney went to Moscow
Away-ay-ya
Across the Alps in frost and snow
Jean François

Moscow was a-blazing
Away-ay-ya
And Boney was a-raging
Jean François

Boney went to Elba
Away-ay-ya
And Boney he come back again
Jean François

Boney went to Waterloo
Away-ay-ya
And there he got his overthrew
Jean François

Boney he was sent away
Away-ay-ya
Away in St. Helena
Jean François

Boney broke his heart and died
Away-ay-ya
Away in St Helena
Jean François

Oh, Boney was a warrior
Away-ay-ya
A warrior, a terrier
Jean François



Boney
Dan Aguiar - The X-Seamen's Institute, on Classic Maritime Music from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, SFW CD 40053; from Sea Songs Favotites, Folkways 37325, 1981

Boney was a war-rye-or
Away-aye-yah!
A war-rye-or, a ter-rye-or
Jonny Franswor!

Boney beat the Prussians
Away-aye-yah!
The Osstrye-ans an' the Rooshye-ans
Jonny Franswor!

Boney went to school in France
Away-aye-yah!
He learnt the Rooshians how to dance
Jonny Franswor!

Boney marched to Moscow
Away-aye-yah!
Lost his army in the snow
Jonny Franswor!

We licked him in Trafalgar's Bay
Away-aye-yah!
Shot his main topm'st away
Jonny Franswor!

'Twas on the Plains of Waterloo
Away-aye-yah!
He met the boy who put 'm through
Jonny Franswor!

He met the Duke of Wellington
Away-aye-yah!
An' then his downfall wuz begun
Jonny Franswor!

Boney went a-cru-sye-in
Away-aye-yah!
Aboard the Billy Ruf-fye-an
Jonny Franswor!

They sent him into exile
Away-aye-yah!
He died on St Helena's Isle
Jonny Franswor!

Boney was a war-rye-or
Away-aye-yah!
A war-rye-or, a ter-rye-or
Jonny Franswor!



Boney
Peter Marston, The Revels, Blow Ye Winds in the Morning, A Celebration of the Sea including traditional sea songs dances and chanteys, Revels Records CD 1084, 1992

Boney was a warrior
Way-aye-yah!
A warrior and a terrior
Jean Francois!

Boney fought the Russians.
Way-aye-yah!
The Russians and the Prussians
Jean Francois!

Boney marched to Moscow
Way-aye-yah!
Lost his army in the snow
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Waterloo
Way-aye-yah!
There he got his overthrow
Jean Francois!

Away in St. Helena
Way-aye-yah!
Boney broke his heart and died
Jean Francois!



Boney
Maddy Prior, Ravenchild, Park Records, PRKCD49 (1999)

Boney was a warrior
Wey, hey, ah
A warrior, a terrier
John François

He planned a distant enterprise
Wey, hey, ah
A great and distant enterprise
John François

He is off to fight the Russian bear
Wey, hey, ah
He plans to drive him from his lair
John François

They left with banners all ablaze
Wey, hey, ah
The heads of Europe stood amazed
John François

He thinks he'll beat the Russkies
Wey, hey, ah
And the Bonny Bunch of Roses.
John François

Boney was a warrior
Wey, hey, ah
A warrior, a terrier
John François


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: CET
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 07:29 AM

DH:

I was wrong. Listening to the midi you can tell that the tune of Jean-Francois is closely related to Boney. Of course, like most midis it isn't very helpful in actually putting words to music. I would imagine that English sailors borrowed the French tune and liked the refrain "Jean Francois" which they butchered into variations on "John Franswar." It's fascinating to see how the memory of Bonaparte being transported on HMS Bellerophon remained in the folk memory on both sides of the Atlantic. There's a good history of HMS Bellerophon called "Billy Ruffian: The Bellerophon and the Downfall of Napoleon" by David Cordingley.


CET


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: CET
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 11:27 AM

PS:

I didn't mean my remark above as an insult to whoever went to the trouble of making the midi file available. I just find it difficult to make sense of midis.

I find that I have Jean-Francois de Nantes in my own library in a collection called "Traditions de la Marine: Chansons de Marins", editions Jean-Paul Gisserot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 01:13 PM

Maddy Prior appears to have written those unusual and memorable verses herself.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 01:15 PM

Dead Horse, did you add that bit about "poison in his food" ? Seems to me that was a 1970's discovery (or assertion).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 01:46 PM

Garnered from gawd knows where. Musta heard it an liked it, so it got added. Despite the name, I am a living tradition :-)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 02:49 PM

Other than being a reference to a Frenchman, how Johnny Franswar (John France-O, Jean-François), joined into the song "Boney" is a matter of speculation; perhaps from sailors who were familiar with the traditional Breton "Jean-François of Nantes," or from French shipmates, or onshore.

In some versions of "Jean-François of Nantes," he is compared with a landsman, "un terrien." This may be the source of Boney being compared with a terrier in one version of "Boney."

As CET says, the memory of Bonaparte lingered. Gale Huntington reproduced several songs about him from old journals in "Songs the Whalemen Sang," 1964 (reprints inc. Mystic Seaport). None is related to "Boney" or "Jean-François."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Peace
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 03:24 PM

Re Napoleon I and murder/poison.

http://www.napoleonguide.com/naparsenic.htm

http://www.didyouknow.cd/napoleon.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 11 Sep 05 - 04:50 PM

Oh yes the old myth of Who Murdered Napoleon.
Anyway, there was lots of contact between Nantois sailors and British counterparts for centuries.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: GUEST,Dave Hannam
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 04:14 AM

Many thanks to all you sent in versions. all much needed and neccessary.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: GUEST,Robin Madge
Date: 12 Sep 05 - 07:42 AM

I sing almost the same words as the BBC "Singing together" version and my late father said it seemed the same as he remembered his Uncle singing to him in the 1920's.
Uncle was ex-clipper ship captain Phil Tyrer!

Robin Madge


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 02:08 AM

The Digital Tradition says its version is from Joanna Colcord's Songs of American Sailorman. I checked Colcord, and I'd say the DT transcription is a good one. The DT does put phonetic spellings of some words in the last two or three verses, and explains the phonetic spellings in the notes. The DT tune is exactly the one used in Colcord (but the tune I know for "Boney" is much closer to the one for "Jean-Francois de Nantes" at Robokopp.
-Joe Offer-
There's not much in the entry at the Traditional Ballad Index:

Boney

DESCRIPTION: Napoleon's story in the space of a shanty: "Boney was a warrior, Way up! A warrior and a tarrier, John Francois!" He fights the Russians, comes to Waterloo, is defeated, goes to Saint Helena, and dies
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1909
KEYWORDS: shanty Napoleon exile battle
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1812- Napoleon's Russian campaign
1815- Battle of Waterloo
1821- Death of Napoleon on Saint Helena
FOUND IN: US(MA)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Doerflinger, pp. 6-7, "Boney" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, p. 310, "Boney" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 88, "Boney Was A Warrior" (1 text)
DT, BONEYNAP*

Roud #485
ALTERNATE TITLES:
John Francois
File: Doe006

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2005 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


There are two versions in Doerflinger, but I didn't see significant differences from what's been posted already. The version in Darling's New American Songster is a five-verse version transcribed from a Folkways recording by Sam Eskin.
Nothing really unusual in Silber & Silber's Folksinger's Wordbook, either.


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Subject: ADD Version: Boney
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 02:33 AM

Here's the version from Hugill.

Boney

Boney was a war-ri-or,
(Chorus: Way-aye-yah!)
A war-ri-or, a ter-ri-or,
(Chorus: Johnny Franswor!)

Boney beat the Prussians,
The Osstrians an' the Rooshians.

Boney went to school in France,
He learnt to make the Rushians dance.

Oh, Boney marched to Moscow,
Across the Alps through ice an' snow [Lost his army in the snow].

Boney wuz a Frenchyman,
But Boney had to turn agen.

So he retreated back agen,
Moscow wuz in ruins then.

Boney went to Elbow
There he got his overt'row
[or: Boney went to Elba,
Wisht he'd niver bin there.]

He beat the Prussians squarely,
He whacked the English nearly.

We licked him in Trafalgar's Bay,
Carried his main topm'st away.

'Twas on the Plains of Waterloo,
He met the boy who put him through.
[The big-nosed Duke he put him through.]

He met the Duke of Wellington,
That day his downfall had begun.

Boney went a-cruisin',
Aboard the Billy Ruffian.

Boney went to Saint Helen',
An' he never came back agen.

They sent him into exile,
He died on Saint Helena's Isle.

Boney broke his heart an' died,
In Corsica he wisht he styed.

He wuz a rorty general,
A rorty, snorty general.

from Hugill, Shanties from the Seven Seas

tune available on request.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 13 Sep 05 - 09:32 PM

I've always thought that the transmogrification of Belepheron to Billy Ruffian was one of the great triumphs of the folk process.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: The Walrus
Date: 14 Sep 05 - 05:18 AM

I'm not sure that Belerophon to Billy Ruffian is 'The folk process'.
It has been recorded (can't remember where I read it) that many sailors (without the benefit of a "Classical" education) had problems with Ships' names, which were often either "Classical" or, in the case of captured ships "bought into service", foreign; and so they "translated" them into phrases that they could easily shout and understand as rallying cries in the heat of action, thus:-

Belloerophon - Billy Ruffian
Aggememnon   - Eggs and Bacon
Furieuse    - Furry Arse

Regards

W


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Snuffy
Date: 14 Sep 05 - 08:59 AM

By the same process on the racecourse Empedocles became "empty bottles"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Gurney
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 05:34 AM

Walrus, I think the 'Furry Arse' translation is from the novelist Adam Hardy in one of his 'Fox' sea stories. That's where I read it, anyway. Maybe I should Google it to see.   
Nah, can't be bothered.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: The Walrus
Date: 15 Sep 05 - 06:40 AM

"...Walrus, I think the 'Furry Arse' translation is from the novelist Adam Hardy in one of his 'Fox' sea stories..."

Possibly, but I don't remember ever having read one.

Q


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: GUEST,charlie pearson
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 02:10 PM

your all fuckin idiots it go's like this

boney was a warrior
way-ah-ya
boney was a warrior
jon-fronz-wa

boney went to waterloo
way-ah-ya
boney went to waterloo
jon-fronz-wa

boney he was sent away
way-ah-ya
sent to saint el-ee-nas
jon-fronz wa

boney broke his heart and died
way-ah-ya
boney broke his heart and died
jon-fronz-wa


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: RTim
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 03:21 PM

I have a version, collected in Portsmouth (Hants. UK) Workhouse Infirmary by Dr. Gardiner in 1907, that I think is very English, that goes like this:

Boney - from James G. Bounds, ex-seaman aged 52

Oh, Boney was a warrior,
        Oh, weigh heigh ya
A warrior and a terrior (sic),
        John BrownÕs war.

Boney went a cruising, etc.
In the Channel of Old England, etc.

And Nelson also went also a-cruising
He fought with noble Boney

And Boney got taken prisoner,
And Boney got taken prisoner

He got sent to St. Helena,
There he died a prisoner.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 07:04 PM

It is my belief that any verse that has repeating lines, rather than rhyming lines, is a mistake or momentary lapse
on the part of the singer which was then written down by an uninformed collector.
You will find it occurs in many collected shanties, and I try to avoid repeating the repetition, if you see what I mean?
The version above looks very suspect as well.
More like some old seaman making up a vaguely remembered shanty on the spot for the price of a pint,
and to my mind, not worth the price of a glass of tap water.
A shanty for a shandy - bah humbug!

Disgusted of Strood    X (His mark)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: RTim
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 07:32 PM

Repeating the verse line is called - Stringing Out, and is what a not very good shantyman would do. The better singers always rhymed and made up verses.
So - who are you to say that something collected 100 years ago is suspect!!

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 09:29 PM

I have to disagree with Dead Horse and RTim here. I guess my main reason would be because I see no grounds to assume that there is something wrong with stringing out like that. I do see how a rhymed couplet would appear to indicate more sophistication or cleverness, but I'm not convinced that it was necessarily better or more authentic.

Come to think of it -- another reason why I think that is because SO MANY of the early collected examples of chanteys have repeated lines. It's unlikely, I think, that this was all uninformed collectors or beggars in the pub.

I guess I'd agree if you stood two chanteymen side by side, one rhyming, one not, and asked "Which one is the better chanteyman?"...and for want of other criteria I'd cede that the master of rhymes was a pro. But to generalize about the one line thing......hmm, I dunno

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Sep 09 - 11:02 PM

During the Viet Nam conflit an old singing partner of mine served on the
USS BON HOMME RICHARD also known as & called the BONNY DICK

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior
From: Dead Horse
Date: 15 Sep 09 - 12:40 PM

All the collectors were uninformed, unless they knew the words before collecting :-)
I would think that the most common form of "stringing out" would be to repeat a whole verse, forgetting that you had already sung it.
But you wont find the shanty written down that way by the collector.
As for who I am?
I am me, and will suspect anything that doesnt appear to ring true, no matter who sung it or who collected it.
"Which one is the better chanteyman?"
The one who got the job done.
A shanty is a tool. The shantymans job was to pick the right tool for that job, no more, no less.
At sea it didnt matter if he sang the same line over and over again ad finitum - but ya wouldnt wanna to see it collected that way, would ya?
So why do you accept repeated lines so easily???


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Subject: Lyr Add: BONEY (chantey)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 Sep 09 - 11:27 PM

From "Corbiestanes: Chronicle of a Fishing Village" by Mrs. Charles Garnett, in The Sunday Magazine, Volume 9 (London: Isbister and Company, 1880), page 39:

Out away in the North Sea the "top-sel" was being hoisted on board the Bonny Betsey, and as the sailors strained at the ropes, over the water rang in doleful measure, rising and falling in unison with the surrounding waves, the time-keeping song of "Boney." A finely-made man, the first on the line, his golden ringlets blowing about his beautiful Saxon face, led in a clear tenor, the men joining in the pulling chorus which came every alternate line:—
    "You've heard of Napoleon Boney-party—
    Why, ha, har! Why, ha, har!
    Boney was a warrior—
    Why, ha, har! Why, ha, har!

    He fought the Danes and Prüssi-ans,
    Also he fought the Röö-shians.
    Now Boney went to Moscow—
    Moscow was a-burning;
    Now Boney went a-cruising
    In the Channel of Old England,
    Nelson also went a-cruising,
    And thus they chanced to meet;
    And Boney got took up,
    And Nelson shipped him in a packet
    All to Saint Helena."
And after every line—
    "Why, ha, har! Why, ha, har!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Aug 10 - 11:22 AM

My friend, I don't wish to open that can of worms, and alarm you. Suffice to say that the "Beeb" can indeed be authoritative, but can also be skewed, slanted and downright mischevious at times -       especially when it comes to . . . "Empire" !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Aug 10 - 12:55 PM

The earliest unquestionable reference I can find to "Boney" is from 1868, but in 1888 a writer asserted that it had been a "favourite capstan song forty years ago in Green's India fleet began as follows:

        Old Boney was a warrior,
                Yo-ho, my lads, yo-ho;
        He beat the Rooshians,
                Yo-ho, yo-ho.

The writer wanted to "find out the rest of it, and, if possible, the tune." That suggests the likelihood that the quoted fragment was heard second-hand. The dating to the time of the Gold Rush is perfectly plausible - though unconfirmed.

If "He" is changed to "Boney" the words will fit the familiar tune with just a little musical adjustment. A forty-year-old memory, however, is not always perfectly reliable. (Trust me on that one, whippersnappers.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 02 Aug 10 - 01:04 PM

James Forman of Leith sang the following for James M. Carpenter around 1929. Forman, born in 1844, went to sea in 1856:

                Johnny was a warrior,
                        Away, ay, yah!
                Johnny was a warrior,
                        John François!

                He said he would conquer all the world…. [2x]
                        With John François!

                When he went to Moscow…. [2x]

                Moscow was afire…. [2x]

                When he come back again…. [2x]

                Johnny boy he nailed 'um…. [2x]

                Johnny went to Sant Hele-ena…. [2x]

                There his body and his bones lies low….   
                Now they've got 'em in France City….

Note the repeated lines and the absence of "Boney." Forman was in his mid 80s when he sang into the machine Nobody who's listened to Carpenter's recordings would say that Forman could ever have been a second-rate shantyman!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: shipcmo
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 08:46 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 09:11 AM

>boney was a warrior
way-ah-ya
boney was a warrior
jon-fronz-wa

boney went to waterloo
way-ah-ya
boney went to waterloo
jon-fronz-wa

boney he was sent away
way-ah-ya
sent to saint el-ee-nas
jon-fronz wa

boney broke his heart and died
way-ah-ya
boney broke his heart and died
jon-fronz-wa<

This is the one that I learned at school in music lesson, at the time I thought it was the most repetitive dirge I've ever sung and I am still unispired by it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 01:59 PM

Patsy --

It beats "1,2,3, PULL!" over and over again!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: Mrrzy
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 02:10 PM

In the French version, what you are hearing as "mes boues" is actually "mes boucs" (no difference in pronunciation).

It's like the captain or his lieutenants calling the rigging-skippers "me hearties" aboard a pirate ship, as in, "corne-de-bouc" (ram's horn--technically he's calling them rams), which is a slang and liikely derogatory if used by the honest seafaring, term for pirate, when giving them orders.

Everybody should read Tintin. You learns SO much from Capitaine Haddock's swearing!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 10 - 03:11 PM

@ Dick, et al: "I've always thought that the transmogrification of Belepheron to Billy Ruffian was one of the great triumphs of the folk process." Yes, that's a good one, but it's a common practice in most navies. A partial list is here-- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_warships_by_nickname


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 07:09 AM

There's a letter printed in New York Times (22 September 1918) from an ex-sailor called William W. Urquart. As a youngster on his first voyage, sailing to France, the ship hit bad weather and the African American sailors aboard got in a huff because the cook had spoilt their food. Storm over, Urquart needed them to set the mainsail and topgallantsails. But they wouldn't sing, and it wasn't going well. In desperation he began to sing for them, "and made my debut in one of the chanteys I had heard them sing. As we were bound to France the song was rather Frenchy, and ran this way:

Boney was a warrior
Chorus - Whay aye aye yar,
Boney was a warrior
Chorus - John Francois

Boney went to Moscow
Chorus - Whay aye aye yar,
Boney went to Moscow
Chorus - John Francois

Boney never sulked they say
Chorus - Whay aye aye yar,
Boney never sulked a day
Chorus - John Francois,&.'

His improvisation amused the crew so much they stopped sulking. According to Urquart, black sailors 'were generally the best singers, and kept the best time.' He doesn't say when he began his career, but mentions working on the Black Ball line and appears to be the William W. Urquart (b. 1838 d.1920) listed in the 1910 census as living in New York. If so, he probably sailed first in the late 1850s?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Boney Was a Warrior (chantey)
From: Lighter
Date: 31 Jan 14 - 12:01 PM

Nice find.

"Mid-1850s" is just as likely. Sailors tended to go to sea as cabin boys or apprentices at about 13 or 14.

Once again (except for the improvised stanza) the solo line is repeated each time. Hugill writes that that was the general rule, and most early recordings of chanteymen go to back him up.


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