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Lyr Req: Sailor Town (Cicely Fox Smith)

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captainbirdseye 21 Jun 06 - 08:11 PM
Charley Noble 21 Jun 06 - 10:56 PM
captainbirdseye 22 Jun 06 - 04:00 AM
Crane Driver 22 Jun 06 - 04:27 AM
stallion 22 Jun 06 - 04:31 AM
GUEST,Blowz at work 22 Jun 06 - 04:58 AM
captainbirdseye 22 Jun 06 - 05:49 AM
Charley Noble 22 Jun 06 - 08:47 PM
Charley Noble 23 Jun 06 - 05:49 PM
GUEST,Pelrad 24 Jun 06 - 10:03 AM
Charley Noble 24 Jun 06 - 10:19 AM
GUEST 24 Jun 06 - 03:19 PM
Charley Noble 24 Jun 06 - 10:57 PM
captainbirdseye 25 Jun 06 - 08:25 PM
GUEST 26 Jun 06 - 03:53 AM
Charley Noble 26 Jun 06 - 08:34 AM
GUEST 26 Jun 06 - 10:02 AM
captainbirdseye 26 Jun 06 - 06:14 PM
McGrath of Harlow 26 Jun 06 - 06:24 PM
Charley Noble 26 Jun 06 - 06:26 PM
captainbirdseye 27 Jun 06 - 05:56 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 06 - 07:12 PM
captainbirdseye 28 Jun 06 - 02:15 PM
captainbirdseye 28 Jun 06 - 03:22 PM
Charley Noble 28 Jun 06 - 10:36 PM
captainbirdseye 29 Jun 06 - 05:00 AM
captainbirdseye 29 Jun 06 - 11:19 AM
captainbirdseye 30 Jun 06 - 05:31 AM
Charley Noble 30 Jun 06 - 09:45 AM
captainbirdseye 01 Jul 06 - 04:25 AM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jul 06 - 07:24 PM
Charley Noble 01 Jul 06 - 10:27 PM
captainbirdseye 02 Jul 06 - 05:49 AM
McGrath of Harlow 02 Jul 06 - 05:24 PM
captainbirdseye 02 Jul 06 - 06:25 PM
Charley Noble 02 Jul 06 - 08:13 PM
captainbirdseye 03 Jul 06 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Brewhouse Music 03 Jul 06 - 02:48 PM
captainbirdseye 04 Jul 06 - 05:18 AM
GUEST,guest 04 Jul 06 - 05:56 PM
Charley Noble 04 Jul 06 - 08:21 PM
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Subject: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 08:11 PM

there are two songs called sailortown one written by john connoly and bill meek,the other by c fox smith and music by dick miles,dick was in fact the first person to set any of c fox smiths poems to music and recorded it on around the harbourtown, available from brewhouse music,the song was subsequently recorded by johnny collins,dick accompanies himself on concertina with richard grainger on guitar.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Jun 06 - 10:56 PM

Welcome to Mudcat, captainbirdseye!

Yes, there are at least two sailor town songs/poems, one by Cicely Fox Smith. Here is a link to her page at the Oldpoetry website where I and Shantyfreak have posted over 390 of her poems: Click here

I don't really have a date for when Dick Miles did his adaptation for singing and would appreciate the information. I do have a CD of Johnny Collins singing his slightly different version of the song.

Bob Roberts, tlast of the sailing barge skippers, is also credited with having been one of the first singer to adapt C. Fox Smith poems for singing. Of course C. Fox Smith also commissioned a friend of hers to set five of her poems for singing back in the 1920's and published the set as a small songster; search for "Rosario" on the Oldpoetry website for more info if you're interested.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 04:00 AM

Dear charley noble,DickMiles did his adaptation between 1985 and 1989.Imet bob roberts on a number of occassions and never recall him mentioning c fox smith,neither do I recall him singing or recording any of her material,of course that doesnt mean he didnt,I just think it would have come up in conversation if he had.Captain Birdseye


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Crane Driver
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 04:27 AM

Bob Roberts used to sing "The Race of Long Ago", which came originally from CFS's poem "Racing Clippers". However, according to Dave Webber, Bob maintained that he got the song from 'an engineer he worked alongside', so he may not have realised it was a CFS song.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: stallion
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 04:31 AM

Hi Charley, we are now doing "Race of long ago", we call it "The Robin Adair" (with a banjo backing!)


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: GUEST,Blowz at work
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 04:58 AM

Hello Dick! Hope you're well
Blowz x


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 05:49 AM

I thought I was incognito,am very well thanks,i was quite enjoying talking about myself in the trhird person.Captain Birdseye


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Jun 06 - 08:47 PM

It's easy to get nailed in this small community, even when we're spread around this wide, wide, world!

Yes, it was "Race of Long Ago" that was mentioned as being one of the songs that Bob Roberts sang. I'm reviving Bob's rendition of "Waiting for the Day When We Get Our Pay" which out buddy in Bristol, Chez Watts, used to sing.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: Lyr Add: SAILOR TOWN (Cicely Fox Smith)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jun 06 - 05:49 PM

Here's the original poem as composed by C:

From SAILOR TOWN, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by George H. Doran Co., © 1919, pp. 11-12

SAILOR TOWN

Along the wharves in sailor town a singing whisper goes
Of the wind among the anchored ships, the wind that gently blows
Off a broad, brimming water, where summer day has died
Like a wounded whale a-sounding in the sunset tide.

There's a big China liner gleaming like a gull,
And her lit ports flashing, there's the long gaunt hull
Of a Blue-Funnel freighter with her derricks stark and still;
And a tall barque loading at the lumber mill.

And in the shops of sailor town is every kind of thing
That the sailors buy there, or the ship' crews bring:
Shackles for a sea-chest and pink cockatoos,
Fifty-cent alarm clocks and dead men's shoes.

You can hear the gulls crying, and the cheerful noise
Of a concertina going, and a singer's voice -
And the wind's song and the tide's song, crooning soft and low
Rum old songs in sailor town that seamen know.

I dreamed a dream in sailor town, a foolish dream and vain
Of ships and men departed, of old days come again -
And an old song in sailor town, an old song to sing,
When shipmate meets with shipmate in the evening.


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: GUEST,Pelrad
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 10:03 AM

Charlie, I recently heard Bob Walser sing C. Fox Smith's "Shanghai Brown." Have you heard him perform it? Is he using your setting or Alan Fitzsimmons'?

Kim


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 10:19 AM

Kim-

Bob Walser uses Fitzsimmons' musical setting which is a perfectly fine alternative. I started with that, and then evolved to an entirely different one, recorded on UNCOMMON SAILOR SONGS Iin 2004, which can be sampled from my personal website: Click here and search for lyrics!

I think it's a great song. Roll & Go members thinks it's much too long. But no song, in my opinion, does a better job of describing the "shanghai trade."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 03:19 PM

Charley ... is the first line of the last verse definately 'I dreamed a dream IN sailor town?' I've also heard it sung '.. OF sailor town' and have never been sure which is correct.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jun 06 - 10:57 PM

According to my notes Dick Miles, Johnny Collins, and C. Fox Smith all agree that the line reads "I dreamed a dream in sailortown." "Of" works fine, until it runs into the "of" in the line which follows. I've only listened to Johnny Collins recording so I'm really not aware of what others actually sing. But "in" is probably what should be sung.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 25 Jun 06 - 08:25 PM

Igo along with that Charley, but you know how it is sometimes with live performances, its possible I have sung both.I rember once forgetting a couple of lines of adieu sweet lovely nancy,and ad libbing them perfectly.and nobody batted an eyelid,Ijust wished somebody had recorded it at the time.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 03:53 AM

Thanks to both of you, Charley and Captain Birdseye. I can sing 'in' with confidence now.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 08:34 AM

And who was that "Guest" stranger?

Oh, we're rolling down to Sailortown,
Yes, we're rolling down to Sailortown;
Now we'll have our run ashore,
For them flashgirls we adore;
And we're rolling down to Sailortown!


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 10:02 AM

Someone who should have already known the answer and has been singing the song for so long it's become too embarrassing to ask the question except anonymously!


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 06:14 PM

In the penultimate verse I sing a Concertina playing,cant remember whether its in the original but I think it is an improvement. CaptainBirdseye


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 06:24 PM

Stan Hugill used the term "Sailortown" for the title of his book about the sailortowns of the world during the days of sail, published in 1967. And he pays tribute to C. Fox Smith on the opening page of the book:

That great Tusitala of sailor life C.Fox Smith, gives us, in two lines, the outlook of the windbag man:

"An' Christ," says Dan, "for a night in port, an' a Dago fiddler's tune
An' just one whiff of the drinks again, in a Callao saloon."

This new angle, the difference in outlook between shore-composed and sailor composed sea songs, I, the compliere of the shanty book, had failed to notice.


This difference being that sailor composed songs were generally about being in port, and most especially about living it up in whatever sailortown might be at hand.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 26 Jun 06 - 06:26 PM

Dick-

The original is posted above and there is a concertina featued in 4th verse. However, it's not specified whether it is an English or Anglo concertina.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 05:56 PM

Maybe it was a duet Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 06 - 07:12 PM

In my opinion "concertina playing" is a poetic improvement over the original "concertina going."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 28 Jun 06 - 02:15 PM

this poem was writtenin1914.captain birdseye


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 28 Jun 06 - 03:22 PM

This was recored first by myself and is on the c d Around the Harbourtown BREWHOUSE MUSIC, IT ORIGINALLY CAME OUT ON VINYL AND CASSETTE,On My Little Concertina 1989 Ithink      withguitar Richard Grainger.Dick Miles on concertina.DickMiles


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Jun 06 - 10:36 PM

Captan Birdseye-

When did you first run across this C. Fox Smith poem? I recall mention of C. Fox Smith as a sea shanty collector and as an authority of the great age of sail from Hugil and Colcord but I wasn't aware of her nautical poetry until Danny McLeod made a concert tour here in Maine back in 2000.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 05:00 AM

I was doing a Folk club in Barnstaple Devon england.The organiser was JohnParker,who had a Shanty group called Hearts of Oak,Before I did the gig I called at his house and he showed me abook of C fox smith poems,AS IOPENED THE BOOK IT FELL OPEN ON SAILORTOWN.It must have been divine inspiration, as I looked at the words a tune came.It was wonderful.I would say it was 1987,THE FIRST TIME I performed it in public was Shrewsbury folk festival I ONLY DID THE FESTIVAL ONCE, SO IF THERE ARE ANY RECORDS OF PERFORMERS FOR THAT FESTIVAL THAT WOULD SORT IT.jim mageaan was there,he might be able to verify it.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 29 Jun 06 - 11:19 AM

It was 1987,SHREWSBURY FESTIVAL WAS JULY 1987 ,SO IT MUST HAVE BEEN PUT TO MUSIC, MAY .JUNE 1987.I REMEMBER ON THE WAY TO BARNSTAPLE FOLK CLUB,LISTENING TO CRICKET ON THE WIRELESS . THE TEST MATCH.june 1987 probably. dick miles


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 05:31 AM

sailortown as perceived by seamen survived virtually intaact until the advent of television.twenty first century sailortown is ashadow of its former self,.Felixstowe is a very good example.cargoes are turned around so fast that the jolly jack tar hardly has time to get his trousers off before his outward bound again.CAPTAIN BIRDSEYE


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 30 Jun 06 - 09:45 AM

So true! And as C. Fox Smith phrased it back in the 1920's in her poem "Mariquita":

...there's nothing left but change,
And the ships I knew all going, and the ports I knew grown strange...

Another book on Sailortown of interest is the one put together by Stan Hugill, titled SAILORTOWN. It's still out of print but generally available from the used book websites. He provides an overview and an earthy description of the ones he was more intimately familiar with.

John Masefield also composed a short poem about Sailortown entitled "Hell's Pavement" which I've set to music, adding a chorus. It's available for sampling on my personal website: Click here and search for lyrics!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 01 Jul 06 - 04:25 AM

At the periphery of these ports there usually lay an agriculural hinterland,.Vessesls embarking from liverpool were suppliedwith a huge range of farm produce from the great lancashire plain.In short these great ports provided everything and everybody necessary to supply the needs of the whole waterfront world. Sailortown the song can be heard on BHCD20037 Around The Harbourtown.Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jul 06 - 07:24 PM

As an indication of changing ways and changing days, Stan Hugill winds up that book with a quote from an article by Edward Behr about what had once been the Sailortown in Shanghai:

I asked Mr Li, the Director of the (Shanghhai Foreign Seamen's Home), whether foreign seamen ever misbehaved in Shanghai..."I am most distressed to have to say that occasionally some seamen...come here under the impression that women can be procured. One German sailor came to me the other day, blatantly demanding where he could find a woman. I took him into my office and explained to him that we were no longer living in the old society...I then took him by the hand to the games room and suggested a game of ping-pong. Every night the German came back for a game."


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 01 Jul 06 - 10:27 PM

Another book that I've found interesting is THE BARBARY COAST by Herbert Ashbury. Lacking a working time machine, Ashbury does a good job of recreating San Francisco's old sailortown, and without the risk of being bumped on the head, plundered, and dumped in the harbor.

C. Fox Smith did several books on sailortown, including SAILOR TOWN, ANCHOR L and SHIP ALLEY. They are full of wonderful detail, but lack a level of Hugill's participant observation generally unavailable to even an adventurist female of the 1920's.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 02 Jul 06 - 05:49 AM

Dear Mcgrath of Harlow, I love your post.I then took him to the games room and suggested a game of ping pong, Every night the german came back for a game. Is this double entendre or should I say Doppeltes zu horen.It reminds me of the German Musicianer, or the Game of all Fours.lets hope it didnt Impair thier vision.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Jul 06 - 05:24 PM

It rather reminded me of the Village People's song YMCA...


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 02 Jul 06 - 06:25 PM

I remember my Father pointing out to me a pub called the Bombay Grab I think it was on what used to be Ratcliffe Highway, not far from Mile End, in east london. The pub apparantly got its name,because unwitting sailors wandered in there looking for something more exciting than PingPong, and got knocked over the head and woke up next morning on board a ship for Bombay. Hence the name the Bombay Grab,Another hazard for poor jack tar whilst vising Sailortown.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Jul 06 - 08:13 PM

We're rolling down to Old Bombay,
Yes, we're rolling down to Old Bombay;
Of the pox you needn't worry,
If you use a little curry –
And we're rolling down to Old Bombay!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 03 Jul 06 - 08:39 AM

To Shanghai,to force a man by kidnapping and or drugging to serve on board a ship bound for china.so poor jack if he didnt hurry his curry,when wandering around Sailortown,he could be Shanghaied for the china run, or grabbed for the Bombay. If it had have been me I would have steered clear of Sailortown altogether.CaptainBirdseye


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Subject: RE: Sailortown
From: GUEST,Brewhouse Music
Date: 03 Jul 06 - 02:48 PM

Dick Miles Sings 'Sailortown'on our CD 'Around The Harbour Town'. We wrote an article for Sea Breezes Magazine called 'SAilortown'-The SAilors Joy. Sea BReezes August 2003, Vol 77 -Issue 692. Pages 287-288. Some of you clearly either read it or the short version in the sleeve notes of the Dick Miles Album. If anyone is really interested we can send a photocopy.
Eric and Ray Cowell (Brewhouse Music).


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: captainbirdseye
Date: 04 Jul 06 - 05:18 AM

Thankyou Eric and Ray,hope your both well.Sorry I didnt acknowledge your article ,my apologies, Ihope to be performing Sailortown at the Scarborough sea fest july 23weekend. best wishes your old mate. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 04 Jul 06 - 05:56 PM

what awonderful poem.


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Subject: RE: sailortown
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Jul 06 - 08:21 PM

It's a damn fine poem and Dick deserves a lot of credit for channeling an appropriate tune. Now if I can only get the damn tune out of my head. My concertina is also infected. Nothing to do but learn it, I suppose.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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