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Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bugbee)

Lighter 13 Dec 06 - 09:31 PM
Charley Noble 13 Dec 06 - 10:27 PM
Lighter 13 Dec 06 - 11:16 PM
Charley Noble 14 Dec 06 - 10:26 AM
Charley Noble 16 Dec 06 - 10:07 AM
Bob Bolton 16 Dec 06 - 10:18 PM
Lighter 18 Dec 06 - 02:23 PM
shipcmo 08 May 10 - 10:21 AM
Charley Noble 09 May 10 - 12:20 PM
Charley Noble 09 May 10 - 08:05 PM
Charley Noble 15 May 10 - 09:42 AM
Nancy King 15 May 10 - 09:54 AM
Charley Noble 15 May 10 - 11:02 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: PASSING OF THE CHANTEY (George C. Bugbee)
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:31 PM

Fans of C. Fox Smith may be interested in these little known verses by an American, George C. Bugbee, published in 1916 in the Attleboro (Mass.) Sun.

Bugbee would undoubtedly be surprised and delighted to know that every one one of the shanties he mentions (assuming "Lee braces!" is an order and not a title) has found a new lease on life among 'Catters and others. Bugbee's poem is especially interesting for connecting the shanties with some typical jobs they were used for.

All I've done is to modernize punctuation and spelling:


THE PASSING OF THE CHANTEY, by George C. Bugbee (1916)

Memory tonight is busy
With those hell-bent packet days,
When the Seven Seas were vibrant
With hoarse-throated chantey lays.
Whether down the Roaring Forties,
Off the Plate, or 'round the Horn,
Those wild nights the chantey lightened
Our black marches up to morn.
Through the whale belt's weary doubles,
Or Antarctic's white-webbed lanes,
To the lilt lift of the chantey,
We forgot our aches and pains.

"Stormalong" and "Way, O Rio!"
Pounded out a measured pace
When all hands tailed down to business,
Hiked the big yards up to place:
"Sacramento" greased the halyards
With its cheery hoodah-ho!
When we straightened out the leaches
Of our tops'ls years ago.
"Whisky Johnny" kept up steady,
Sheeting home the lagging clew,
When those pitiless sea bullies
Thrashed things fairly black and blue.

"Boney" rove the weather earring.
While we pulled down inch by inch,
The great reef bands arched above us
In a savage-fighting clinch.
"Sally Brown" and "Johnny Boker"
Gripped us sternly by the throat,
Chased us round the midship capstan
At a pace which rocked the boat.
With a good grip on both oceans,
"Ranzo, Boys!" and "John Francois!"
Set the stuns'ls in fine weather
To the trade wind's steady snore.

Oft our "Bully Ship a-Rolling"
Rove the bowline for the main,
And with "Paddy Doyle" we harnessed
Gaskets round the bunts again;
"Mobile Bay" and then "Lee Braces"
Walked the yards hand over hand,
Taking up the slack to windward
With a stave of "Rio Grande."
The big towing hawse came ending
To "The Plains of Mexico,"
From a long twist up the Hoogley,
Or the Gates of old Frisco.

How oft "Rolling Home" set pawling
The great windlass clank and din,
And our hearts warmed to its music
As each shackle tumbled in.
Then with "Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her,"
Bow spring, warp, and hawser fast,
Down the gangway with his duffle,
Old Jack zigzags home at last.

Now "Oh, Shenandoah's" forgotten,
And "The Dreadnought" but a dream;
Dear old "Homeward Bound" is buried
In this age of coal and steam;
Just a few old codgers humming
In their beards a roundelay:
With the passing of square riggers,
Passed the chantey, too, away.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'The Passing of the Chantey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 10:27 PM

Lighter-

I certainly think this poem is an interesting find, and I'll have to check and see if George C. Bugbee turns up in any of the books I have. What book did you find the poem in?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'The Passing of the Chantey'
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 11:16 PM

Hi, Charley! I found it reprinted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 13, 1916, p.6.

Turns out Mystic Seaport Museum owns Bugbee's poetic notebooks, and two of them are online:

http://www.mysticseaport.org/library/manuscripts/coll/coll143/coll143.cfm#head36894688

Unfortunately, the scan quality is so poor that most of the pages are barely legible.

Somebody should tell 'em.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: 'The Passing of the Chantey'
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 10:26 AM

Lighter-

I'll give it a try:

"HEY, MYSTIC, THE SCAN QUALITY OF YOUR GEORGE BUGBEE MANUSCRIPTS IS REALLY POOR!"

Seriously, Bugbee may be one of a dozen or so nautical poets in the early 20th century that focused on the final days of commercial tall-ship sailing, along with Harry Kemp and Bill Adams. I'm surprised not to find this poem in Robert Frothingham's SONGS OF THE SEA & SAILORS' CHANTEYS, Houghton Mifflin, © 1924.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bugbee)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 10:07 AM

Lighter-

Any more thoughts on this sailor poet? I was wondering if you had decoded any of his other poems from the challenging Mystic Seaport scan.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bugbee)
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 10:18 PM

G'day Lighter and Charlie,

The images of ther letters are excellent - saved as 256 colour GIFFs (and taking up about 400 - 500 kb per page).

The poems are something else ... although now saved as 256 colour GIFFs, they are actually 2 colour "dithered" images reduced from better-range scans... something we used to live with back when we were all at the end of a system better than a couple of tin cans at the opposite ends of a string! We must hope that Mystic have better originals scans ... and someone knows how to present the best compromise between readable image and the best use of modern bandwith.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bugbee)
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Dec 06 - 02:23 PM

Haven't had a chance, but may give it a try. Just skimming them put a hurtin' on the old eyeballs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bug
From: shipcmo
Date: 08 May 10 - 10:21 AM

refresh


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: THE PASSING OF THE CHANTEY (Bugbee
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 May 10 - 12:20 PM

George-

Thanks for refreshing this great poem. I'd forgotten who well fashioned it was and what a fine overview it provides of how the old work songs were used.

Here's a reworking of the poem for singing with some rearrangement of verses and some rewording (copy and paste into WORD/TIMES/12 to line up chords):

By George C. Bugbee (1916)
Adapted for singing by Charles Ipcar 5/9/10
Tune: after some variant of "The Yellow Rose of Texas"

THE PASSING OF THE CHANTEY


C-----F---C--------F-----C
Now my mind to-night is busy
--------------F---------------G---C
With those hell-bent pac-ket days,
--------G--C-------------G-C
When the Seven Seas re-sounded
--------------------G--------C--G
With full-throat-ed chan-tey lays.
G7--------C
Whether down the Roaring Forties,
----------F-----------------G---C
Off the Plate, or 'round the Horn,
---------G----C----------------G---C
Those wild nights the chan-ties lightened
-------------G--------C--G-C
Our black marches up to morn.
------F
Oh, "Stormalong" and "Way, O Rio!"
------------C
Pounded out a measured pace
--------F--C--------------F-----C--F----C
When all hands tailed down to busi-ness,
------------------G--------C--G
Hiked the big yards up to place:
G7------C-------F--------C
"Sacra-mento" greased the halyards
-----------F---------------G--C
With its cheery "Hoo-dah-ho!"
---------G-C------------------G--C
When we straightened out the leaches
---------G------C----G-C
Of our tops'ls years a-go.


"Whisky Johnny" kept us steady,
Sheeting home the lagging clew,
When those pitiless sea bullies
Thrashed us fairly black and blue.
"Boney" rove the weather earring,
While we pulled down inch by inch,
The great reef bands arched above us
In a savage-fighting clinch.
"Sally Brown" and "Johnny Boker"
Gripped us sternly by the throat,
Chasing round the midship capstan
At a pace which rocked the boat.
"Ranzo, Boys!" and "John Francois!"
Rolling down to old Rio,
Set the stuns'ls in fine weather
To the trade wind's steady blow.

Oft our "Bully Ship a-Rolling"
Rove the bowline for the main,
And with "Paddy Doyle" we harnessed
Gaskets round the bunts again;
"Mobile Bay" and then "Lee Braces"
Walked the yards hand over hand,
Taking up the slack to windward
With a stave of "Rio Grande."
The big towing hawser was hauled in
To "The Plains of Mexico,"
From a long twist up the Hoogley,
Or the Gates of old 'Frisco.
Through the whale belt's weary doubles,
Or Antarctic's white-webbed lanes,
To the lilt lift of the chantey,
We forgot our aches and pains.

How oft "Rolling Home" set pawling
The great windlass clank and din,
And our hearts warmed to its music
As each shackle tumbled in.
Then with "Leave Her, Johnny, Leave Her,"
Bow spring, warp, and hawser fast,
Down the gangway with his duffle,
Old Jack zigzags home at last.
Now "Oh, Shenandoah's" forgotten,
And "The Dreadnought" but a dream;
Dear old "Homeward Bound" is buried
In this age of coal and steam;
Just a few old shellbacks humming
In their beards a roundelay:
With the passing of square riggers,
The roaring chantey fades away.

I expect there will be some more changes before I try to record it. So I would welcome suggestions.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bug
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 May 10 - 08:05 PM

I'm puzzling over the meaning of this line:

"Through the whale belt's weary doubles"

I've not a clue what Bugbee means.

With regard to:

"To the lilt lift of the chantey,"

That's got to go. Just try to sing it!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bug
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 10 - 09:42 AM

Still re-working this one. The tune keeps morphing.

I do wonder what else Bugbee composed.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bugbee)
From: Nancy King
Date: 15 May 10 - 09:54 AM

Love the imagery in this! "Antarctic's white-webbed lanes" -- great stuff!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Passing of the Chantey (George C. Bug
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 May 10 - 11:02 AM

Nancy-

I do love the imagery but "Antarctic's white-webbed lanes" is another line that is difficult to sing without babbling.

Charley Noble


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