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Songs about Women Impersonating Men at Sea

GUEST,Maritime Heritage Network 21 Sep 06 - 10:57 AM
Wolfgang 21 Sep 06 - 11:26 AM
Susan of DT 21 Sep 06 - 11:32 AM
Susan of DT 21 Sep 06 - 11:41 AM
Dan Schatz 21 Sep 06 - 12:11 PM
CeltArctic 21 Sep 06 - 12:16 PM
Saro 21 Sep 06 - 01:05 PM
Liz the Squeak 21 Sep 06 - 03:09 PM
Den 21 Sep 06 - 03:36 PM
MartinRyan 21 Sep 06 - 05:40 PM
GUEST,Rev 21 Sep 06 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Rev 21 Sep 06 - 06:18 PM
Ref 21 Sep 06 - 07:39 PM
Matt_R 21 Sep 06 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,Pelrad 21 Sep 06 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,MoneyPenny 22 Sep 06 - 04:47 AM
Bat Goddess 22 Sep 06 - 07:45 AM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 22 Sep 06 - 07:56 AM
Greg B 22 Sep 06 - 08:19 AM
harpmolly 22 Sep 06 - 02:10 PM
Severn 22 Sep 06 - 05:50 PM
JenBurdoo 10 Mar 17 - 05:05 PM
michaelr 10 Mar 17 - 11:18 PM
BobL 11 Mar 17 - 02:50 AM
Acorn4 11 Mar 17 - 03:42 AM
GUEST,henryp 11 Mar 17 - 04:53 AM
EBarnacle 11 Mar 17 - 11:44 AM
GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery 11 Mar 17 - 02:25 PM
JenBurdoo 12 Mar 17 - 12:41 AM
GUEST,henryp 12 Mar 17 - 04:24 AM
GUEST,John Moulden 12 Mar 17 - 11:56 AM
mayomick 12 Mar 17 - 01:14 PM
Mysha 14 Mar 17 - 01:30 PM
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Subject: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,Maritime Heritage Network
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 10:57 AM

I'm doing some research in preparation for a pilot podcast on maritime music and I'm looking for any recordings of ballads or shanties with the theme of women who go to sea pretending to be men in order to follow lovers or simply to challenge the male order. Songs about heroic women are welcome, too. I'm interested in primarily pre-20th century compositions, but I'd welcome suggestions from later periods.

Examples I have so far include "When I was a Young Maid," "The Female Rambling Sailor," "The Fair Maid," "The Handsome Cabin Boy," and "Grace Darling." Any obvious songs I've missed? Any books on the subject you know of?

I'd also like to find modern recordings with either traditional or non-traditional arrangements. Your suggestions on this are welcome.

Many thanks in advance.

Joe Follansbee, Project Manager
Maritime Heritage Network
info@maritimeheritage.net


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Wolfgang
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:26 AM

Female smuggler

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Susan of DT
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:32 AM

Try searching the digital tradition for the keyword "Transvestite". Not all are nautical to be sure, but several of the 30+ hits are.

recordings:
When I was a Fair Maid
    All Hands Round, Folk Legacy
    Sally Rogers, Unclaimed Pint
    Linda Rice-Johnson, Bird in the Wood
Handsome Cabin Boy
    Gordon Bok, Tuen for November, Folk Legacy
    AL Lloyd, Blow Boys Blow
    Lou Killen, Sailors, Ships, & Shanties
Female Rambling Sailor
    Martyn Wyndom Read, Song Links 2
Female Sailor Bold
    John Kirkpatrick, Song Links 1
Willaim Taylor
    John Roberts & Tony Barrand, Heart Outbursts
    Cilla Fisher & Artie Trezise, For Fair Day and Foul
    Dave Burland, Voices
Short jacket & White Trousers
    Lou Killen, Sailors, Ships, & Shanteys


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Susan of DT
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 11:41 AM

More
Jackaroe
    Joan Baez, Ballad Book
    Pete Seeger, Dangerous Songs
Silk Merchant's Daughter
    Dellie Norton, Far in the Mountains, Vol 4
    Sheila Kay Adams, My Dearest Dear


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:11 PM

The definitive study on these was made by Dianne Dugaw, Warrior Women and Popular Balladry, 1650-1850. Interestingly, some of the more popular variants of this theme with revival singers (ie, "The Handsome Cabin Boy") appear to have been less popular in the tradition - though measurement of this is problematic at best. It would be interesting to know if there are many recordings of some of the more obscure songs Prof. Dugaw deals with.

Dan Schatz


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Subject: Lyr Add: TARRY TROUSERS (from Frankie Armstrong)
From: CeltArctic
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 12:16 PM

Frankie Armstrong recorded a ballad called "Tarry Trousers" in which a young girl dreams and fantasizes about joining her love and fighting in battles.

TARRY TROUSERS
As recorded by Frankie Armstrong on "Lovely on the Water" (1972)

As I walked out one midsummer morning
The weather being both fine and clear,
Who should I hear but a tender mother
Talking to her daughter dear.

"Daughter I would have you marry
And live no longer a single life."
But she says, "Mother, I'd rather tarry
For me sailor boy so bright."

"But daughter, they are given to roaming;
Into foreign countries they do go.
And then they'll leave you broken-hearted
And that will prove your overthrow."

"I'll dress myself in sailor's clothing,
No foreign dangers will I fear.
And when we are in the height of battle,
Then I'll protect my Jamie dear."

"Hark! How the big guns, they do rattle,
And the small guns, they do make their noise--
And when we are in the height of battle
I'll cry 'Fight on, me jolly boys!'"

"Me mother would have me wed a tailor
And rob me of me heart's delight;
But give me the lad whose tarry trousers
Shine to me like diamonds bright."

Moira


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Subject: ADD: Fare Thee Well My Dearest Dear
From: Saro
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 01:05 PM

How about Fare Thee Well My Dearest Dear - lots of people have recorded it including Craig Morgan Robson on "Peppers and Tomatoes". Here are the words:

Fare Thee Well My Dearest Dear

Fare thee well my dearest dear, fare thee well adieu
For I must go to sea for the sake of you
Love, have a patient heart, for you must bear the smart
Since you and I must part, my turtle dove.

You'll have silver and bright gold, houses and land
What more can you desire, love? Don't complain.
And jewels to your hand and maids at your command
But you must think of me when I am gone.

Your gold I'll count as dust when that you have fled
Your absence proves me lost and strikes me dead
And when you are from home, your servants I'll have none
I'd rather live alone than in company.

And so nimbly then she's dressed all in man's attire
For to go to sea was her heart's desire.
She cut her lovely hair and no mistrust was there
That she a maiden were all at the time.

To Venice we were bound with our hearts content,
No thought of ship being wrecked, away we went.
From London but one day, our ship was cast away
Which caused our lives to lay in discontent.

Our ship was cast away, misfortune it did frown,
For I did swim to shore but she was drowned
Now she lies in the deep in everlasting sleep
Which causes me to weep for evermore


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 03:09 PM

OOh... thanks, that was a version of Tarry Trowsers that I wasn't aware of... consider it snaffled!

LTS


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Subject: ADD: William Taylor
From: Den
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 03:36 PM

William Taylor
CD: No. 2 Patrick Street

William Taylor was a brisk young sailor
Full of heart and full of play
Till his mind he did uncover
To a youthful lady gay

Four and twenty British sailors
Met him on the king's highway
As he went for to be married
Pressed he was and sent away

(chorus)
Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae
Folleri-de-dom, de- daerai diddero
Folleri-de-dom, domme daerai dae

Sailor's clothing she put on
And she went on board of a man-o-war
Her pretty little fingers long and slender
They were smeared with pitch and tar

On the ship there was a battle
She amongst the rest did fight
The wind blew off her silver buttons
Breasts were bared all snowy white

(chorus)

When the captain did discover
He said Fair maid, what brought you here?
Sir, I'm seeking William Taylor.
Pressed he was by you last year.

If you rise up in the morning.
Early at the break of day.
There you'll find young William Taylor
Walking with his lady gay.

(chorus)

She rose early in the morning
Early at the break of day
There she spied young William Taylor
Walking with his lady gay

She procured a pair of pistols
On the ground where she did stand
There she shot bold William Taylor
And the lady at his right hand

(chorus)


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: MartinRyan
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 05:40 PM

"Female tars: Women aboard ship in the age of sail" by Suzanne J. Stark, may be worth a look, if you haven't already come across it.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,Rev
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 06:14 PM

Dianne Dugaw , who wrote the definitive study on this topic (see Dan Schatz above) also recorded a CD of her favorite ballads from this family. It's called Dangerous Examples - Fighting and Sailing Women in Song. It's available for $10 at cdbaby. The tracks are:
1. The Female Sailor Bold
2. Doralee-My-Laddie
3. Susan's Adventures
4. The Larks They Sang Melodious
5. Polly and Jack
6. The Female Warrior
7. The Cruel War
8. Mary Ambree
9. The Female Drummer
10. The Bristol Bridegroom


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,Rev
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 06:18 PM

BTW, Dianne teaches at University of Oregon in Eugene, and is a native of Washington state. I see from the link posted that the Maritime Heritage Network is in Seattle. i'm sure you could get her up there to Seattle for a concert or podcast. She's a very entertaining speaker and performer.
Rev


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Ref
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 07:39 PM

Try "Canada-I-O" Nic Jones does a great version on his Penguin Eggs album.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Matt_R
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 07:41 PM

^ That was the first song I though of when I saw this thread


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,Pelrad
Date: 21 Sep 06 - 10:43 PM

"Loos Mina Loos," recorded by Kat yn't Seil/Liereliet is another. It's not in English, but it's very catchy!
http://woodenshipsmusic.com/htdocs/at051.html

For a modern, ultimate parody of this genre, "For the Love of Her Willy-O" can't be beat.
http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2082


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,MoneyPenny
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 04:47 AM

There's a lovely song about a "Lady Pirate" which I've heard performed by Leeds-based Duncan McFarlane (He wrote it too.)Not sure if it's on any of his recordings but it's called "Mary Read" and I found the lyrics for it on his website duncanmcfarlane.co.uk - worth checking out - it's a lovely haunting melody and from a slightly different perspective - Duncan gives an explanation of background together with the lyrics on website. May be of interest to you.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Bat Goddess
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:45 AM

"William Taylor" has also been recorded by Frankie Armstrong, alas on one of her LPs that hasn't made the migration to CD -- "Out of Love, Hope and Suffering".

(The other LPs not available on CD are "And the Music Played So Grand" and "Songs and Ballads". I, for one, would REALLY like them on CD!!!)

Linn


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 07:56 AM

Sailed with a few. I don't think some were doing it on purpose, just came naturally ;-)


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Greg B
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 08:19 AM

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't believe Grace
Darling in fact impersonated a man or ever claimed to be
one.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: harpmolly
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 02:10 PM

This may be redundant, but the song Pentangle recorded as "I Am A Maid That's Deep In Love" is a fun example of this. Even though the meter seems really weird to me and the song ends kind of abruptly, I still really like it (I based the melody of my "Wiser Maid" song loosely on the melody they use).

Cheers,

M


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Severn
Date: 22 Sep 06 - 05:50 PM

Pelrad, your link doesn't work for me, but is the parody you mention the same as Brian Bedford's "Willy Went To Sea" as recorded by Hillary Spencer on her CD "Afterimage" (Strawberry Music SMSCD02)?
If not, then here's another good one.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: JenBurdoo
Date: 10 Mar 17 - 05:05 PM

Is "When I Was a Young Maid" a traditional song? I've also heard an army variant of it, by Robin Laing.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: michaelr
Date: 10 Mar 17 - 11:18 PM

It's certainly a popular theme in song, but is there any evidence for this sort of thing actually taking place? It's hard to imagine a woman impersonating a male sailor on board and not being found out shortly.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: BobL
Date: 11 Mar 17 - 02:50 AM

Not exactly a traditional song, but W.S. Gilbert's "Bab" ballad The Bumboat Woman's Story also comes into this category, as does the ballet "Pineapple Poll" loosely based on it.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Acorn4
Date: 11 Mar 17 - 03:42 AM

William Taylor - the True Story


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 11 Mar 17 - 04:53 AM

Roy Palmer - in The Rambling Soldier - writes;

It is possible that The Female Drummer is partly based on incidents in the life of Mary Anne Talbot, whose autobiography appeared in 1809 under the title of Life and surprising adventures of Mary Anne Talbot in the name of John Taylor, related by herself.

Her book, if it be hers, may be partly or wholly fictional. In its defence, one can say that there do appear to be reasonable well-authenticated instances of women serving in the army and navy in men's attire.

[He then gives some examples, including Hannah Snell of Worcester.]

She would have had no shortage of ballads to fit her theme, starting with a group dating from the seventeenth century: The Gallant She-Soldier, The Famous Woman Drummer, The Soldiers Delight, Or the She Volunteer, and The Maiden Warrior (Roxburghe Ballads).

The last female warrior - that is, masquerading as a man - I have come across is Dorothy Lawrence, who served with the Royal Engineers during the First World War until she was exposed.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Mar 17 - 11:44 AM

I believe Dan Milnar, aka Liam's Brother, does a version of William Taylor that carries the song a few verses after the shooting and has a more positive outcome.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,Henry Piper of Ottery
Date: 11 Mar 17 - 02:25 PM

The famous female Pirate Anne Bonney apparently served in the British Army for several years and got away with it, so it seems to have been a not unknown occurrence,..........Don't know of any songs about her though.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: JenBurdoo
Date: 12 Mar 17 - 12:41 AM

There were thousands of occurrences in the American Civil War alone. Molly Bean is known to have served in the 47th North Carolina at Gettysburg but was not at all unique. There was also a Union woman who enlisted, and even disguised herself further as a black man to spy behind Confederate lines - Emma Edmonds.

I expect it would be far less likely at sea, there being even less privacy, but not impossible. At least one woman in the Napoleonic Prussian army lasted long enough to be promoted to sergeant before she was wounded and found out. I'm not sure Dorothy Lawrence should count, since she was a journalist, not a soldier. Women can't have actually served beyond the late 1800s as men simply because medical examinations eventually became far more stringent. (Elisha Hunt Rhodes described acting as a doctor's clerk during the enlistment of the 2nd Rhode Island; men simply paraded fully clothed past him and Rhodes quietly signaled the doctor if he recognized an applicant who was unfit. The doctor would then make up an excuse to reject him.)


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,henryp
Date: 12 Mar 17 - 04:24 AM

And the subject of women serving as soldiers and sailors remains topical today.

US servicemen from all parts of the military use a message board on an anonymous image hosting website to share nude images of their female counterparts.

The Pentagon is making a song and dance about it.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: GUEST,John Moulden
Date: 12 Mar 17 - 11:56 AM

My article about a real female sailor from 1835 whose life generated two songs is: "Anne Jane Thornton" (Irish Folk Music Studies, Eigse Ceol         Tire vols. 5-6 (1985-2001) (Folk Music Society of Ireland, Dublin). She was repatriated to Ballyshannon in Donegal and there is more to the story. The newspapers report that she was granted a pension of £10 pa by the King, William IV, and was granted the lease of a farm in the vicinity of Donegal Town, some miles to the north of Ballyshannon. Early in 1836 a young man from Ballyshannon whom she had been courting went to visit her in Donegal and found a group of young men dragging her off to church to be married to one of their number who would then control her fortune. The Ballyshannon lad rescued her, they were married the following day and the following year she bore a son, whom she named after the king, William. I searched but, not knowing her married name, have been unable to trace any descendants.


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: mayomick
Date: 12 Mar 17 - 01:14 PM

The practice of taking women to sea on Royal Navy ships seems to have been quite common , even encouraged at one time by the British authorities :
"I am now happily laid up in matrimonial harbour, blest in a wife and several children," wrote one old sailor who had done his time in the Royal Navy, "and my constant prayer to heaven is, that my daughters may never set foot on board of a man-of-war."

Dr Linda Grant de Pauw wrote in "Seafaring Women"


"One might expect a common sailor to be insensitive to the indignities forced on the poor women of certain seaside towns by the arrangements that were not merely tolerated but actually encouraged by the Royal Navy. But this one was not. "These poor unfortunates are taken to market like cattle," William Robinson, using the pseudonym Jack Nastyface, wrote with feeling in 1836, "and, whilst this system is observed, it cannot with truth be said, that the slave-trade is abolished in England." The lawful wives and daughters of sailors were, in the eyes of officers, virtually indistinguishable from common prostitutes, and when a man-of-war put into port the "needs" of the men were met by bringing females aboard by the boatload."

http://www.navyandmarine.org/ondeck/1800seawomen.htm
I remember reading somewhere that at the Battle of Trafalgar women comprised an estimated ten percent of the average ships' company ? if not its official crew .


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Subject: RE: Women Impersonating Men at Sea
From: Mysha
Date: 14 Mar 17 - 01:30 PM

Hi,

Daar was laatst een meisje loos!

Bye
                                                                Mysha


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