To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=1720
26 messages

Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs

31 May 97 - 02:18 PM (#5991)
Subject: Homicidal dove
From: Bob Schwarer phidea@cris com

O Lord above, send down a dove with beak as sharp as razors. To cut the throat of them there blokes, what sell bad beer to sailors.

That's the chorus. What is the rest of the song? Who performed(performs) it? Who wrote it?

Bob Schwarer


31 May 97 - 03:51 PM (#5999)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: Barry Finn

Originally "with wings as sharp as razors" Tom Lewis took the traditional verse and used it for the chorus of the song he then wrote around itthe "Lords Prayer". Tom is an ex submariner from England (retired after 20 ? yrs.), now living in Brittish Columbiaand tours often. If you need info for buying copy from him let me know I'll check back later. Tom will be at Mystic this year.


31 May 97 - 06:42 PM (#6003)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: Bob Schwarer

Yes, I'd be very interested. Thanx,

Bob S.


31 May 97 - 07:12 PM (#6004)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: Barry Finn

Bob Sorry that's the "Sailor's Prayer" the words are in the DT, to order from Tom this is the address; Tom Lewis Self Propelled Music PO Box 1095 Salmo, B.C. Canada. VOG 1ZO


02 Jun 97 - 05:38 PM (#6081)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: LaMarca

There is a novel that Tom Lewis mentioned in connection with the song. "Send Down a Dove"(the novel) is about life on board a submarine during WWII.


08 Jul 08 - 08:37 AM (#2383685)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: GUEST,Aulenback

Ahoy folks. Less folk musician [except in kitchens and galleys] and more nautical re-enactor. I was wondering if folks here could help source the origin of the chorus - Tom Lewis has claimed to have found it cited as "traditional" in the book "Send Down a Dove" by Charles MacHardy which was first published in 1968, but... IS it "traditional?" And if so, to when? Or does it only go back to 1968?

Any help tracing it is much appreciated.


08 Jul 08 - 05:22 PM (#2384151)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: Barry Finn

I first heard of, what George Herbert, from West Geelong, Victoria, Austrailia called a ditty "Lord above send down a dove with wings as sharp as razors" back in 78' or 79' when I 1st met George. (wings always made more sense to me, when I talked to Tom about this, Tom said he's a song writer & he changed it he wanted to, it's his song, good enough for me) He (George) called it an "old ditty" & when I asked him if he knew more he said that's all he ever knew, didn't know if there was more. George did sing it a little close to Tom's tune & Tom did difinitlty write the tune but I can't ask George about that now. George went to sea around the age of 12 or 13 some time just prior or just after WWI. He started out as a cabin boy in the Baltic Trades & ended up in the Cape Horn Trade. He quit the sea when he got married (in his late 20's) & ended his days as a master rigger, he was a great singer & player of the harmonica, concertina & alto uke. I don't know when or where George actually picked this up, he just told me it was an "old ditty". It may have been around for a good few years & someone finally put some ink to it, again, I can't ask George now, he won't answer me anymore.
Hope this helped.

Barry


08 Jul 08 - 05:29 PM (#2384159)
Subject: Lyr Add: SAILOR'S PRAYER (Tom Lewis)
From: beardedbruce

Sailor's Prayer
Words & Music by Tom Lewis (Chorus: Trad.)
(Recorded by Tom Lewis on Surfacing!)
This dirty town has been my home since last time I was sailing,
But I'll not stay another day, I'd sooner go out whaling,

Chorus:
Oh lord above, send down a dove with beak as sharp as razors,
To cut the throats of them there blokes what sells bad beer to sailors!

Paid off m' 'score' and then ashore, m' money soon was flying,
With Judy Lee upon my knee and in my ear she's lying.

With m' new-found friends, m' money spends, just as fast as winking,
But when I make to clear the slate the landlord says: "Keep drinking!".

With m' payoff gone, m' clothes in pawn and Judy set for leaving,
Six months' of pay's gone in three days but Judy isn't grieving.

When the crimp comes round I'll take his pound and his hand I'll be shaking,
Tomorrow morn' sail for The Horn just as the dawn is breaking.

For one last trip from port I'll ship but next time back I'm swearing,
I'll settle down in my home town, no more I'll go seafaring.


08 Jul 08 - 07:41 PM (#2384250)
Subject: RE: Homicidal dove
From: Leadfingers

Offered to Tony day (Middle Bar Singers , Sidmouth) at the time there was a thought they were watering the beer in the Anchor - JUST the chorus (Soort your own verses out)

'Oh Lord Above , send down a dove
In its beak a Red Hot Poker
To burn out the eyes of tyhe Anchor Staff
Who sell bad beer to the Folker'


19 Apr 17 - 02:49 AM (#3851140)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)
From: Joe Offer

Here's a fun performance of this song by the Sheringham Shantymen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvvC0ldtfmI

And one by Seamus Kennedy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvcHtooK1wA


19 Apr 17 - 07:02 AM (#3851193)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)
From: FreddyHeadey

[not 'folk' but just for the record]
an orchestrated version by Ilan_Eshkeri for the Swallows and Amazons film, 2016.
The London Metropolitan Orchestra
YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcNVnyKxNlI (n.a. UK)

Spotify
https://open.spotify.com/track/0i4y1BA0yaeJnML3Cf3NLz

itunes
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/swallows-and-amazons-original-motion-picture-soundtrack/id1139420719

Swallows & Amazons thread
thread.cfm?threadid=160444


21 Apr 17 - 10:10 PM (#3851762)
Subject: Send Down a Dove - various songs?
From: Joe Offer

So, I started singing this song this afternoon during my weekly Scrabble game with Sr. Anne, an 85-yr-old Sister of Mercy from County Kerry. She started singing along, but the words she learned as a child in Ireland were different:

    O Lord above, send down a dove
    Unto of us poor craters (creatures)
    Send us mate (meat) that we can ate (eat)
    And send us plenty praters.

    O God above, send down a dove
    Unto of us poor craters
    To cut the throats of the English dogs
    That murdered our brave Sinn Feiners

And I'm guessing that the Tom Lewis song may be a parody of this, and that Sr. Anne's song may be a parody of yet another song.

Anybody know other versions?

-Joe Offer-

P.S. She also recalled riding in the family car when they came upon a slow-moving car ahead with a "GB" oval on it. Anne, about ten years old, shouted out, "You Brits get off our roads and go home to your own country." Anne's father didn't say anything until they got home, and then he took her to the parlor and talked to her softly. He said, "Those people weren't the ones who did terrible things to Ireland. The people who did those things are dead." And that's all he said. Anne learned a good lesson that day.

But she still plays a very wicked game of Scrabble.


22 Apr 17 - 02:36 AM (#3851783)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan

The good sister's Kerry connections may not be totally coincidental. There are lots of snatches of such doggerel that fit the rhythm of Kerry polkas - a form of heavily accented dance tune played mostly on squeeze boxes of various types. They're often used as mnemonics to remember the tune - or as dandling songs for children.


Regards


22 Apr 17 - 07:56 AM (#3851835)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: FreddyHeadey

A James Joyce page mentions a verse
"... May the God above 
    Send down a dove
    With teeth as sharp as razors 
    To slit the throats
    Of the English dogs 
    That hanged our Irish leaders.


The original verse parodied here can be traced back to 1830, when it was used as a toast:

May God above, send down his love,
With swords as sharp as sickles,
To cut the throats of gentlefolks,
Who grudge poor men their victuals!!!

"To the Editor of The Bristol Mercury" (1830 Bristol Mercury 7December)
" "
http://www.jjon.org/joyce-s-allusions/irish-leaders 


~~~~~
And on a navy forum mentions : "... old gunnery manual.." & ".. flyleaf of a WW2 naval novel called 'Send down a dove',.."[as mentioned here 2008 But that was published 1969
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10498656-send-down-a-dove]

https://www.navy-net.co.uk/community/threads/poem.46382/ 


22 Apr 17 - 09:59 AM (#3851865)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan

Thanks for the Joyce titbit, FreddyHeadey! "leaders" would, of course, be pronounced "lade-ers" in Hiberno-English!

Regards


04 Mar 18 - 06:51 PM (#3909468)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: GUEST

Does anyone have the chords for this? I've been trying to work them out from https://youtu.be/8Is3vE6FxDM, and have figured out:

    G                                 C               G
This dirty town has been my home since last time I was sailing
    C             G      Em      D             ?
But I'll not stay another day I'd sooner go out whaling
   G                               C                G
Oh Lord above send down a dove with wings as sharp as razors
   C                  G          ?          G         ?       G
To cut the throats of them there blokes what sells bad beer to sailors

but nothing I try for the question marks sounds quite right...

Thanks


05 Mar 18 - 02:49 AM (#3909486)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: Bruce D

I have heard variations of the chorus

"Oh lord above, send down a dove with beak as sharp as razors,
To cut the throats of them there blokes what sells bad beer to sailors!"

for many years, mainly through, singers that have association with Navy (RN or RAN) and also those who sailed on Sailing Ships and shanties singers. Well before I first heard Tom Lewis sing it.

The subject verses always varied, often on how drunk the singer was or where the crew was at the time.

Bruce D


18 Jan 19 - 09:30 AM (#3972002)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: voyager

Tom Lewis rendition of Sailor's Prayer

Years back to performed this at an FSGW DC Folkfest.
Still playing this tune in my jukebox.

voyager


18 Jan 19 - 10:27 AM (#3972011)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: Lighter

O Lord above,
Send down a dove
With wings as sharp as razors,
To cut the throats of them there blokes
bad beer to sailors

Guy's Hospital Gazette (1916):

"One of our men in billets...deserted, leaving his clothes...with the following...pinned to his tunic:

Oh, Lord above
Send down a dove
With wings as sharp as razors;
To cut the throats
Of the ugly goats
They call the Sergeant -Majors."

John R. Kemble, Four Hundred Laughs (N.Y., 1902):

"May the Lord above send down a dove,
With wings as sharp as razors.
To cut off the head of anyone.
Who lowers the poor man's wages.

A toast from the San Bernardino chapter of the International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers and Iron Ship Builders (1901):

"May the God above send down a dove with wings as sharp as razors, to cut the throats of all the bloaks that try to cut down the Boilermakers' wages."

The Reflector (London) (1888):

"The following inscription was copied verbatim from a banner used in a procession which recently took place in County Limerick:

May God above send down a dove
With wings as sharp as razors,
To cut the throats of all rogues
Who won't become Land L[e]aguers"


18 Jan 19 - 11:41 AM (#3972023)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: Senoufou

Oh the number of times we've watched the Sheringham Shantymen perform this! (We live quite near Sheringham) The original group were mostly lifeboatmen and seamen (eg fishermen, ex-Navy) and they raise money for the RNLI (lifeboat charity).
They usually sing at the Sheringham Potty Festival on Lifeboat Plain, and the audience always joins in with the chorus. They're absolutely brilliant!


18 Jan 19 - 06:00 PM (#3972093)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: GUEST,Teribus

First heard it in 1967

Oh Lord above send down a dove
With beak as sharp's a razor


18 Jan 19 - 07:07 PM (#3972098)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: Lighter

The source of the first example (with "bad beer to sailors") was . "Shipbuilding & Shipping Record" (London) (1937).

So Charles MacHardy, author of the novel "Send Down a Dove"could easily have heard it in the RN in WW2.


22 Jun 19 - 10:56 AM (#3997381)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: GUEST,Graham Fellows

THere is a pub called \The Ship in Gillingham by the side of the Medway. It is reported to have been built from timber taken from old prison hulks and one of the beams in the pub has this verse carved out. Seen in the 1980's.


29 Jan 20 - 10:32 PM (#4031085)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: GUEST,naviguessor

ive sussed it


G                   C       G
this dirty town has been my home
      C         Em    G
since last time i was sailin'
      C       Em    G    Em
but i'll not stay another day
    Am    C    D
i'd sooner go a-whalin'
    G               D      G
oh lord above send down a dove
      C       Em      G
with beak as sharp as razors
    C       Em       G          Em
to cut the throats of them there blokes
      Am       D       G
what sells bad beer to sailors


30 Jan 20 - 02:02 AM (#4031095)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: Haruo

FreddyHeadey, thanks, the 1830 version is awesome!

May God above, send down his love,
With swords as sharp as sickles,
To cut the throats of gentlefolks,
Who grudge poor men their victuals!!!


30 Jan 20 - 02:55 AM (#4031098)
Subject: RE: Sailor's Prayer (Tom Lewis)-Send Down a Dove Songs
From: The Sandman

tom lewis is appearing at www.fastnetmaritime.com