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Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)

09 Feb 13 - 06:26 AM (#3477456)
Subject: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: JennyO

Does anyone have the lyrics for the Bristol version of Whip (or Whup) Jamboree, as sung by the Bristol Shantymen?

Rob is trying to work something up for a cabaret thingy at the Bude Winter Warmer tonight. We have the recording but it is a bit hard to catch all the words accurately.

(Note to self - when we go away to these things, we really need a printer as well as the computer. It gets pretty tedious copying words out several times ;))

09 Feb 13 - 06:45 AM (#3477461)
Subject: Lyr Add: WHOOP JAMBOREE (from Cecil Sharpe)
From: doc.tom

Don't know the Bristol Shantmen's version - but all the versions around on the folk scene stem from the version collected by Cecil from John Short of Watchet in 1914 - then the Spinners recorded it (and changed the scale!) - then people started thinking it wasn't crude enough and started inventing variations. The other versions, published by the like of Whall were different. So here's John Short's original:

Now, me lads, be of good cheer,
For the Irish land will soon draw near
In a few more days we'll sight Cape Clear
O Jenny get your oatcakes done
Whoop jamboree, whoop jamboree
O you long-tailed black man
Poke it up behind me
Whoop jamboree, whoop jamboree
O Jenny get your oatcake done

Now Cape Clear it is in sight
We'll be off Holyhead by tomorrow night
And we'll shape our course for the Rock light
O Jenny get your oat cake done

Now me boys we're off Holyhead
No more salt beef, no more salt bread
One man in the chains for to heave the lead
O Jenny get your oat cake done

Now me lads we're round the Rock
All Hammocks lashed and chests all locked
We'll haul her into the Waterloo dock
O Jenny get your oat cake done

Now me lads we're all in dock
We'll be off to Dan Lowrie's on the spot
And now we'll have a good roundabout
O Jenny get your oat cake done

The notes from the Short Sharp Shanties page on the website reads: "Whip Jamboree is another shanty published only by Sharp ("I know of no other version of this chantey except one") and Terry ("I have never heard this shanty from anyone save Mr. Short") and, of course, Hugill "many of my verses I had from… a Welsh mate who served in many sailing ships.") Whall prints a version slightly different in structure but with a variant of the same tune. The text is however, distinctly different as is Sharp's other published version (from George Conway). Sharp's second tune is, again, a variant on the same tune as before.

Sharp acknowledges 'a negro influence' on the words of the chorus, and Whall also claims a minstrel origin for the song. The minstrel song Whoop Jamboree (as sung by Daniel Emmett's Virginia Minstrels, circa 1850, and published in 'Christy's Panorama Songster') is an 'imitation of the Mississippi riverboatmen' and bears no textual similarity to collected shanty versions, although it may have some claim to being an influence on the sea song. Both Sharp and Terry comment on the ejaculative 'Whoop' or 'Whup' in the singing of the chorus.

It has sometimes been claimed that 'get your oat cakes done' was a euphemism or substitution for something decidedly more bawdy – it may be a euphemism, like 'fire down below' or 'seeing the promised land' and, if so, would be understood as such and not as alternative - nor bowdlerization. Hugill seems obsessed with the bawdiness, and the camouflage of it, of the chorus of this shanty – and therefore follows Whall – claiming that the words were 'unprintable'. There is no evidence that Short is camouflaging text in his version [see also notes to Hanging Johnny] and, indeed, 'getting your oatcakes done' (or more often ho-cakes) is not uncommon in stage minstrelsy (e.g. American Negro Folk Songs, by Newman I. White). The longer I think about it, the more likely it seems that Jenny getting her oat-cakes done derives from a misunderstanding, a mishearing or (more perversely) a deliberate mis-reading of getting her ho-cakes done. Ho-cakes are in origin, I am informed, corn-bread cakes that were cooked over a fire on a hoe (or similar implement). Whatever the origin, we have no reason to think that Short's version needs 'restoring' in any way – although we have substituted 'sailor' for 'black man' in the chorus in deference to modern sensibilities, and the 'me' has been dropped after 'behind' in the chorus just to get all the words in!

In view of the above, it seems that 'come and get your oats my son', as an alternative last line in the chorus, is solely a modern revival attempt to introduce a more bawdy euphemism. Although there were undoubtedly bawdy and downright filthy versions of many shanties, we cannot go along with the notion that this was the inevitable norm. There are some shanty singers and collectors who seem to be obsessed with 'dirty' versions – and with not publishing them. It may say more about them than the material they deal with.

09 Feb 13 - 07:05 AM (#3477465)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: JennyO

Thanks for that anyway, doc.tom, but that is very different from the one we are looking for. It refers to local places on the Bristol channel and the last line is 'Jenny keep your tailpiece warm'. I couldn't find the lyrics anywhere else on the net. Rob is sending a message to John Shaw from the Bristol Shantymen, but we might not get an answer in time. Can anybody else help?

10 Feb 13 - 09:41 AM (#3477868)
From: GUEST,squeezer

I hope the gig went well despite some uncertainty over a few words. I realised you would not have got hold of John as he is away on holiday, so I phoned the Falcon Hotel and asked for a message to be passed to you to ring me, but evidently that didn't get through to you.

However, as Bristol Channel Jamboree is a great version (from, I think, the repertoire of Eric Illot) I'll post the words and perhaps you will get to sing it again some time. As you say, it mentions various landmarks on the passage up the Channel to Bristol.

1 Now my lads be of good cheer, for the isle of Lundy it draws near,
so dump your bed and stow your gear, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

CHORUS Whup jamboree, whup jamboree, oh you ringtail black man comming up behind,
Whup jamboree, whup jamboree, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

2 Now Hartland Point it is in sight, on the port bow is Lundy's light,
we'll be stoking up the fire tonight, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

3 The pilot cutter is up ahead, to the weather my lads a-heaving of the lead,
tonight we'll sleep in a lovely feather bed, of Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

4 Now we're near the Foreland light and Bridgwater Bay it comes in sight,
we're clear of the Culver Sands aright, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

5 Flat Holm, Steep Holm and Walton Bay, ah soon my lads we'll be drawing of our pay,
we've waited a long time for this day, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

6 Now we're hauling through the locks and the pretty girls to the docks do flock
and there's my Jenny with a brand-new frock, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

7 And now we're safe and on the shore and I don't give a damn how the wavesd do roar,
I'll swallow the anchor, go to ea no more, oh Jenny keep your tailpiece warm.

I suppose we sing the "whup" more as an emohatic HUP noise.

A few words of explanation -
"Dump your bed" - the men slept on straw mattresses which were dumped overboard on the last day of the voyage.
"To the weather" - a bit obscure, but I take it to mean that they go to the weather side of the deck to sound the depth.
"Walton Bay" - might really be Woodspring Bay just to the north of Weston super Mare. Just before the mouth of the Avon they would pass Walton in Gordano, but that isn't on a noticeable bay. So your pick whatever seems best there.
"Hauling through the locks" - the port of Bristol was unusual in being on a river with a huge tidal rise and fall. This reduced the time in which cargoes could be moved, so locks were built to retain high tide water, creating Bristol's Floating Harbour.

10 Feb 13 - 06:26 PM (#3478042)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: GMGough

There's no date on my Saydisc EP (SD-113) purchased from the music shop on Park Street in Bristol from Gef Lucena who was behind the counter in I'd guess late 1965. Title of the EP: "Pill Ferry and Other Folk Songs sung by the Crofters". The Crofters were Martin Pyman and Gef Lucena.

I paid 12/11 for the EP

Track List:
Pill Ferry (Adge Cutler)
Whip Jamboree (trad)
23rd of June (trad)
The Card Song (trad)

The notes say that Whip Jamboree is a "Somerset version".

Please PM if you'd like me to transcribe the lyrics.

29 Mar 13 - 10:30 PM (#3496583)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: GUEST,tracy

My grandad is on the sleeve photo on the crofters record. He was the pill ferry man. I've been looking where to buy a copy of it. Any ideas?

30 Mar 13 - 10:38 PM (#3496918)
Subject: Lyr Add: WHOOP, JAM-BO-REE
From: Charley Noble

The minstrel version of "Whoop Jamboree," referred to above, doesn't seem to share much with the shanty except for the title. It's probably based on a steamboat stevedore song but no tune has surfaced. Here are the original lyrics:


(As sung by Daniel Decator Emmett and the Virginia Minstrels at White's Melodeon in New York City , circa 1850, in imitation of the Mississippi riverboatmen; in CHRISTY'S PANORAMA SONGSTER, published by William H. Murphy, NYC, pp. 135-136);
Tune: jig

I went down to New Orleans, I tink myself a man,
De first place I fotched up was on board de Talleyrann.


Whoop, jam-bo-ree!
Whoop, jam-bo-ree!
Vinegar shoes and paper stockings,
Git up, ole hoss!

When I get on board de boat, de captain look aroun'-
"O put de nigger's heels on shore, dey've got de boat aground." (CHO)

Den I look about de boat, to see what I could see –
When de nigger 'gin to laff, he stopped de she-na-ree (machinery)! (CHO)

Den dey punch de fires up, to make de bilers burn –
De ingineer he went behind to gib her anudder turn. (CHO)

De captain on de biler deck, a-scratchin' ob his head –
An' jawing ob de deck hand, a-heavin' ob de lead. (CHO)

Den dey hoist de dish-cloth, and spread it to de breeze,
It floated like de udder haff ob tudder haff a cheese. (CHO)

De nigger an' de bullgine, dey running in cahoot –
De nigger pass de bullgine gwine through de shoot (chuite). (CHO)

I gits upon de cook-house, I call for glass ob gin,
De nigger nearer heaben den I eber was agin. (CHO)

I've tried several times to work this one up as a revised song but with no success.

Charley Noble

13 Sep 13 - 04:56 PM (#3558726)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: GUEST,Robin

See 'Clear the decks' by the Bristol Shantymen

01 Nov 16 - 02:34 PM (#3817600)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)

Just to throw a little more into the equation - Herman Melville in Ch 99 (The Dubloon)of Moby Dick quotes "Hey Jenny! Hey Hey Jennie get your hoecake done" - so this was probably from a seafaring song in the mid to late 19th century. How this would link in with "Whip Jamboree" I'm not sure...

Alan Donnelly

01 Nov 16 - 10:05 PM (#3817648)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: Rumncoke

Oh whip me oh please whip me
With your big black boots running half way up your thighs
Oh whip me oh please whip me

- - ah - yes - I remember four strapping lads and a riding crop with this most interesting parody... though the words are a bit blurry

17 Sep 19 - 10:49 PM (#4009381)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bristol Channel Jamboree (Whip Jamboree)
From: Lighter

The familiar "Jamboree" tune is applied by Ontario trad singer Stanley Baby to the familiar "Homeward Bound" :