Heave on the Trawl

 

Once I was a schoolboy, on the shores I used to roam

And watch the boats go out to sea, at the setting of the sun

I thought I’d like the seafaring life but very soon I found

It wasn’t common sailing when we reached the fishing ground

 

It was "Heave on the trawl my boys, never mind the storm"

When we get the fish aboard we’ll have another haul

"Heave away the capstan, merrily heave away"

It’s the same old cry in the middle of the night

As it is in the early day

 

It’s the same old cry in winter as regular as the clock

Go and get your sea-boots on, put on your oil frock

When we’ve run in Rye Harbour pull the jib sheets down

We’ll lower away the mains’l lads tie up around the thought*

 

Then heave...

 

        Quite a number of seafaring singers have, or had, a version of this song in their repertoire. Walter Barnes, a fisherman from Brixham in Devon, was recorded singing it for the BBC in 1943. Sam Lamer called it 'The Smacksman', although Charlie Gearing of Hastings, and 'Dinks' Cooper and Ted Quantrill, two Suffolk fishermen, all called it 'Heave on the Trawl'.  (recorded at Camber Sands, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1979 - originally released on VT108)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will Your Anchors Hold

 

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,

When the clouds unfold their wings of strife

When the strong tides lift and the cables strain

Will your anchor drift or firm remain

 

(Chorus) We have an anchor that keeps the soul

Steadfast and sure while the billows roar

Fastened to the rock which cannot move

Grounded firm and deep in the Saviours love

 

Will your anchor hold in the straights of fear

When the breakers roar and the reef is near

While the surges rage and the wild winds blow

Shall the angry waves then your back o’re flow

 

Will your eyes behold through the morning light

The city of gold and the harbour bright

Will your anchor safe by the heavenly shore

When my storms are passed for ever more

 

        This comes from the 'Methodist Hymn Book' with wads were written by Priscilla Jayne Owens (1829-1899) and tune by W. J. Kirkpatrick (1838-1921), who also wrote Away in a Manger' and 'Jesus Saves'. (recorded at Staithes, North Yorkshire by John Howson 1987 - originally released on VT112)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Jennifer Pearson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Topman and the Afterguard

 

A Topman and an Afterguard were walking one day

Says the Topman to the Afterguard I mean for to pray

For the rights of all sailors and the wrongs of all men

And whatever I do pray for

You must answer "Amen"

 

I pray for the bosun with his little stick

He bawls out "all hands" and gives us a lick

Strikes many a brave fellow and kicks him a’main

May the Devil double triple damn him

Says the Afterguard "Amen"

 

I’ll pray for the Purser who gives us to eat

Spewburgle, rank butter and musty horse meat

And weavley old biscuit while he gets the game

May the Devil double triple damn him

Says the Afterguard "Amen"

 

I’ll pray for the officers who hold back our due

We’re owed three years wages and prize money too

"You can’t have it yet Jack try next voyage again"

May the Devil double triple damn ‘em

Says the Afterguard "Amen

 

The next thing I’ll pray for is a pot of good beer

The Lord send good liquor to fill us with cheer

And while we have one pot may we also have ten

And never want for grog boys...

Says the Afterguard "Amen

        In 1911, Cecil Sharp collected a version of the song 'The Mare and the Foal' from John Webb, a 70 year old singer from Warwickshire. Sharp thought that this song - which comprises a dialogue between the two animals - was a forerunner of the song 'The Sailor and the Soldier', which he had previously collected. Walter's 'Topman and the Afterguard' follows the same pattern and is clearly related to these two songs, although which came first is anyone's guess! (recorded at Knapton, Norfolk by Mike Yates, 1980 - originally released on VT109)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rolling Down the River

 

Oh the Arabella set the main tops’l

Oh the Arabella set the main tops’l

Oh the Arabella set the main tops’l

Rolling down the river...

 

A’rolling down, a’rolling down,

A’rolling down the river

A’rolling down, a’rolling down

 

Said the bucko mate to the greasers wife

Oh a pumpkin pudding and a bulgine pie

a pumpkin pudding and a bulgine pie

a pumpkin pudding and a bulgine pie

Aboard the Arabella.

 

Oh the Arabella set the main gans’l etc...

 

Oh the Arabella sets the main roy-al etc...

 

Oh the Arabella set the main skys’l etc...

 

Oh the Arabella set the main stays’l etc...

       
In his 1961 book, 'Shanties of the Seven Seas', Stan Hugill claims, "This merry little jingle is probably negro in origin - and certainly American as the reference to 'Bulgine'shows. 'Bulgine' was an American slang word for a railway engine.... The tune of this shanty, in parts, is similar to 'So early in the Morning, the minstrel song."MT (recorded at Aberdovey, North Wales by Stan Ambrose, 1991 - originally released on VT127)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Tony Molynieux

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pretty Maids of Greenwich

 

You pretty maids of Greenwich of high and low degree

Pray never fix your fancies on the man that goes to sea

For seamen's wives lead careful lives when at their very best

For in my mind in stormy wind they can take but little rest.

 

Beside the many dangers that are upon the sea

When they are on the shore they will ramble where they please

It’s up and down in sea port town the seamen they do trade

And he that boast he spend the most, he’s a jolly blade.

 

I give you this advice now as you may understand

It being at the time when seamen come to land

For up and down in Greenwich town they’ll court both old and young

They will deceive, do not believe the sailors flattering tongue

 

Suppose you have a sailor who sails before the mast

If he’s best of husbands his breath is but a blast

The roaring waves their will have - there’s no man can with stand

And he may sleep in the ocean deep while you are on the land

 

Suppose you have a captain a person of great fame

And yet there is great danger in sailing on the main

For fate unkind and stormy wind might lay his honour low

And then his wife, with care for life laments his over throw

 

Give me an honest tradesman of high or low degree

I’ll never fix my fancies on a man who goes to sea

For a trades mans wife is a happy wife if he’s an honest man

He’ll take a share in all the care deny it if you can


        Pretty Maids of Greenwich, which Bob learnt from his mother, is something of a rarity today. Indeed, Bob's version is the only one to be found in Steve Roud's extensive song and broadside indices although undoubtedly at one time the song did feature on a broadside or in a chapbook collection of songs. (recorded Patcham, Sussex by Mike Yates 1989 - originally released on VT120)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Cromer Stepdance Medley

 

        The fishermen of Cromer in North Norfolk fish mainly for crabs and in the evenings they used to meet in a pub not far from their boats. They would sing songs, but more than anything they would stepdance. Anglia Television made a film of such a gathering, and one after another the fishermen get up in their blue ganseys to out-step the one before. Here Bob plays the sort of medley that would be essential on such an occasion.

Tune notes: John Howson





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bargeman’s Alphabet

 

Now "A" is for the anchor that hangs on our bow

And "B" is for the bowsprit which we ships in our bow

"C" is for the galley where the cook runs around

And "D" are for the Davits which we merrily run round

 

(Chorus) So merrily, so merrily so merrily are we

No mortal on earth like a bargemen at sea

Blow high or blow low as we’re sailing along

Give a bargemen his beer and there’s nothing goes wrong

 

"E" is for the ensign that fly at our peak

And "F" is for the fo’c’sle where the sailors do sleep

"G" is for the galley where the cook runs around

And "H" are the halyards all numbered and told.

 

"I" is for the irons all numbered and told

And "J" is the for the jib that we often let rip

"K" is for the cask at the bottom of our hold

And "L" is for the lamps all numbered and told.

 

"M" is for the mast, so stout and so strong

"N" is for the needle that never point wrong.

"O" is for the oars we all pull in each boat

And "P" is for the pumps that keep us afloat.

 

"Q" is for the quarter-deck where the captain do stand

And "R" is for the rudder that steer us along

And "S" is for the sails that run at our fore

"T" is for the topsail that pull at our fore

 

"U" is for the Union Jack that fly at our door

And "F" is the baying at our fore

And "W" is the wheel, we all take our turn

And "X","Y" and "Z" is the name on our stern

 

        The alphabet song is of considerable antiquity: one version beginning A was for archer' dates back to the reign of Queen Anne. In the nineteenth century there was a comic Cockney alphabet A for 'orses, B for mutton, T for two. It seems many occupations have a similar song, but was particularly prevalent amongst seafarers; the letters of the alphabet explained the parts and working of the vessels. Harold's version is difficult to follow at times, yet he certainly gets the spirit of the song. There are several other recorded nautical versions which have much clearer rhymes, particularly those of Sam Lamer and Johnny Doughty. The final verse of Harold's version, which concludes with the names on the stern fits well with his description of barge names: "Easter Monday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, they were all barge names. There was Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 'cause there's seven names for a start. Then, Old Year, New Year, These Sisters, Three Sisters, Four Sisters. Well, when you'd got a fleet of barge names they had to think of hundreds of names!"
(
recorded at Ipswich. Suffolk by John Howson, 1985 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson




       
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sailor from Dover

 

A sailor from Dover from Dover he came

He courted pretty Sally and Sally was her name

Sweet Sally grew lofty, her portion grew high,

That she, on her sailor, could scarce cast an eye.

 

Till six weeks were over and six weeks were past,

That beautiful damsel she grew sick at last

Her heart was entangled, she knew not for why

She sent for the sailor whom she had denied.

 

"Oh Sally, sweet Sally, oh Sally" said he

"An I the young man whom you sent to sea?"

"Oh yes you are the Doctor who can either kill or cure

For the pain I have to bear love is hard to endure".

 

"But Sally, sweet Sally, sweet Sally"said he

"Don’t you remember when you first slighted me?

When you first slighted me love and treated me with scorn

And now I will reward you for what you have done".

 

"But what is past and done love forget and forgive

And I will prove constant as long as I live"

"Oh no pretty Sally not while I have breath

I’ll dance on your grave love when you lie underneath"

 

        Edwardian song collectors have linked this song with the ballad 'The Brown Girl' (Child 295). According to Maud Karpeles, "The main difference lies in a reversal of the sexes. Here it is the woman and not the man who falls sick and is spurned by a former lover. Otherwise there are many common elements." (Cecil Sharp's Collection of English Folk Songs, Vol. 1, 1974. ). Sets have been collected not only in England, but also in Scotland (by Gavin Greig), in Newfoundland (by Maud Karpeles) and in the Appalachian Mountains of North America (by Cecil Sharp). An American recording, by Archie Sturgill, can be heard on the CD Close to Home (Smithsonian Folkways SFCD 40097). (recorded at Billinghurst, Sussex by Mike Yates 1985 - originally released on VT107)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond the Sea

 

Beyond the sea (beyond the sea)

That rose between (that rose between)

This world of care (this world of care)

And things unseen (and things unseen)

There is a land (there is a land)

Of endless green (of endless green)

Where all our tears (where all our tears)

Are wiped away (are wiped away)

 

(Chorus) Beyond the sea (beyond [the restless rolling sea]) (beyond the sea)

I hear my love (I hear my love)

Gently calling me (gently calling me)

I soon shall live (I soon shall live)

Above the shores of time ( above the shores of time)

And dwell forever (and dwell forever)

In Gods celestial clime (in Gods celestial clime)

 

Beyond the sea (beyond the sea)

Lies heavens fair shore (lies heavens fair shore)

Where all our sins (where all our sins)

And cares are or’e (and cares are or’e)

Where care and toil (where care and toil)

Have passed away (have passed away)

Where weary feet (where weary feet)

No more shall stray. (shall no more stray)

 

Beyond the sea (beyond the sea)

There’s rest and peace (there’s rest and peace)

Where Jesus be (where Jesus be)

His children come (his children come)

Beyond the sea (beyond the sea)

The tempered sea (the tempered sea)

Where angles sing (where angels sing )

Our welcome home (our welcome home)


        This comes from the 'Redemption Hymn Book' and was written and arranged by J. Lincoln Hall and published by Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Co.  (recorded at Staithes, North Yorkshire by John Howson, 1987 - originally released on VT112)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Jennifer Pearson



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stormy Weather Boys

 

Now it’s four -o- clock and out we jump

And we’re heavin’ up the anchor and try the pump

Stormy weather boys, windy weather boys

When the wind blow the barge will go

 

As we got to Orford Ness

The wind flew down from the nor-nor-west

Stormy weather boys, windy weather boys

When the wind blow the barge will go

 

As we got to Harwich pier

Young and old got h’up to steer

Watch us get our cod on deck

And we hit ‘em on the head with a damn great stick

Stormy weather boys, windy weather boys

When the wind blow the ship will go

 

Now we broke our [borstal] level with the stern

And we unstick the stump and we stuck it out again

Stormy weather boys, windy weather boys

When the wind blow the barge will go

 

         Often called 'The Cod Banging Song' or 'The Smacksman's life at Sea', this song is normally associated with the fishing trade, so it is unusual to find the wind blowing a barge. It isa popular song in East Anglia, with recorded versions from Bob Roberts and Bob Hart. Sussex's Johnny Doughty also had a version, but with Orford Ness here in the second verse, there is no doubting that Harold learned it locally. (recorded at Ipswich, Suffolk by John Howson, 1985 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson


  



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Herring’s Head

 

Now what shall we do with the herring’s head?

We’ll make them into loaves of bread

Herring’s heads and loaves of bread

And lots of other things

For all the fishes in the sea

The herring it is the fish for me

Fol - lo- do-rue-da li-do

Fol-lo-da rue da li

 

Now what shall we do with the herrings eyes

We’ll make them into puddings and pies

Herrings eyes and puddings and pies

Herrings heads and loaves of bread

And lots of other things

For all the fishes in the sea

The herring it is the fish for me

Fol - lo- do-rue-da li-do

Fol-lo-da rue da li

 

Now what shall we do with the herrings fins

We’ll make them into needles and pins

Herrings fins and needles and pins

Herrings eyes and puddings and pies

Herrings heads and loaves of bread

And lots of other things

For all the fishes in the sea

The herring it is the fish for me

Fol - lo- do-rue-da li-do

Fol-lo-da rue da li

 

Now what shall we do with the herrings backs

We’ll make them into boys and Jacks

Herrings backs and boys and Jacks,

Etc ....

 

Now what shall we do with the herrings bellies

We’ll make them into girls and Nellies

Herrings bellies and girls and Nellies

Etc..

 

Now what shall we do with the herrings tails,

We’ll make them into ships and sails

Herrings tails and ships and sails

Etc..

       

        This tongue twister seems to have found its way into most country and seafarer's repertoires, although it is not of great antiquity. The earliest version of the song, better known as 'The Red Herring' or the 'Jolly Herring', is a manuscript of 1831. Ritual origins have been suggested but it was more likely to have been sungjust for the fun of it. Ted first heard this song in Redlingfield Crown.  (recorded at Wingfeld, Suffolk by John Howson, 1985 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caroline and her Young Sailor Bold

 

It’s of a rich Nobleman's daughter, uncommon hansom we hear

Who’s father possessed a large fortune, of thirty five thousand a year

He had only the one daughter, Caroline b’name so we’re told

One day from her drawing room window she admired a young sailor bold.

 

His cheeks they appeared like the roses his hair was as black as jet

Young Caroline watched his deportment - walking round until William she met

She said "I’m a nobleman's daughter- possessed of ten thousand in gold

I’ll forsake both my father and mother for to wed with a young sailor bold.

 

Said William "Young lady remember your parents you are bound to mind

On sailors there is no depending when their true loves they’ve left far behind

Be advised stay behind with your parents and do by them as you are told

And never let anyone tempt you for to wed with a young sailor bold".

 

She said "there’s no one shall persuade me one moment to alter my mind

I shall ship and proceed with my true love he never shall leave me behind"

She dressed like a gallant young sailor, forsook both her parents and gold

Three years and a half on the salt seas she’s ploughed with her young sailor bold.

 

Three times with her love she was shipwrecked but always proved constant and true

Her duty she did like a sailor, aloft in her jacket so blue

Her old father long wept and lamented, from his eyes tears in torrents long rolled

Till at last they arrive safe in England, Caroline and her young sailor bold

 

Then Caroline went to her father still dressed in her jacket so blue

He received her then instantly fainted, when first that she hove into view

She said "Dear Father forgive me deprive me forever of gold

Grant me my request I’m contented for to wed with my young sailor bold."

 

With all troubles at sea far behind him and a love that would last throughout life

With her fond parents joy and their blessing Caroline soon became Williams wife

They wedded and Caroline’s fortune was five hundred thousand in gold

And now they live happy together Caroline and her young sailor bold.

 

        One of the best-known, and certainly best-loved, songs from the early Victorian broadside press. Caroline is almost unique in that it is attributed on some sheets to a named composer, J. Morgan, who is known to have been employed as a song-writer at one time by James Catnach. In most versions the words are carried on a tune that is also used for the song 'The Rakish Young Fellow'. This has been a widely recorded song and those of Suffolk's Tony Harvey, Fermanagh's Maggy Murphy, Norfolk's Walter Pardon and Galway's Joe Heaney are particularly worth hearing. (recorded at Pease Pottage, Sussex by Mike Yates and John Howson, 1988 - originally released on VT115)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Captain and the Mate

 

Our captain he knows a lot of fine yarns, I know they must be true

He tells these yarns unto his Mate, while out on the ocean blue

I’ll tell you a yarn about a man - a builder he was by trade

Who built a chimney five miles high - and all of the bricks he made

Along came another who said "I think - I can do better than that

I’ll mix all the mortar and make all the bricks as sure as me name is Pat

He built it up so high, it reached beyond the sky

They had to take a brick or two off to let the moon go by!

 

(Chorus) Oh the captain told the mate, the mate he told the crew

The crew told me so I know it must be true

You hear some funny yarns when your sailing on a trip

And that’s a little yarn I heard aboard of a ship, ship, ship, SHIP, ship!

 

Now our captain went a’fishing once and caught a giant fish

It was so large, oh twice as large as anyone could wish

But when he got it to the shore he received a shock oh lore

It was so large the river swelled some twenty miles or more

Our captain says he begs to state, the crew also the mate

He clean forgot the name of the fish but he used a whale for bait!

 

Now our captain once was in New York , he saw a clever cove

There in the bar upon the floor there stood a red hot stove

Now just to show what he could do - he lifted up his fist

He hit the stove and dented it ‘cause he was a pugilist

When he went out another came in and they told him what had been done

He said that the boys arn’t better than him and I show you a trick for fun

Excitement grew intense, he proved himself immense

He climbed inside of the red hot stove and threw out all the dents

 

Now our captain once he was shipwrecked upon a desert shore

The place was uninhabited and he’d never been there before

Our captain as you all may know he had a nerve of iron

When suddenly he came face to face with such a roaring lion

Oh a beast of a lion, he made a spring, opened it’s mouth so wide

Right down it’s throat he shoved his fist and it went right inside

It’s true without a doubt, he gave a mighty shout

He grabbed the lion by the tail - and turned it inside out

 

Now I’ll tell you a tale about a goat that swallowed a cowboy shirt

The shirt it was a red one and the cowboy he was hurt,

He swore for this he’d kill the goat, but swearing sometimes fails

Though he took it to the railroad and tied it to the rails

Oh poor little goat, wanted to live had an idea so fine

The night shirt gave him pain - so he coughed it up again

And waggled the nightshirt by the tail and quickly stopped the train

 

        'Yarns' or 'The Captain and the Mate' was composed and arranged by W.H. Wallis and was published by Francis Day & Hunter in 1901 when it was sung by George Brooks. John Winter learned it from a local singer called Phil Jarvis and John remembered one particular performance of it: "One night he sung that and he got to the bit about hitting the stove and denting it. He hit the table and his false teeth flew out onto the floor! He picked them up, popped them back in and carried right on singing. " (recorded at Southwold, Suffolk by John Howson, 1987 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Watchet Sailor

 

As I was a walking down Watchet Swing Street

A jolly old ship mate I chanced for to meet

Said I "Hello sailor and welcome to home

In season to Watchet I think you have come

 

You remember once courting a pretty young maid

Well you’ve been so long gone now she’s going to be wed

Well tomorrow at Bristol the wedding’s to be

And I am invited this thing for to see.

 

Jack went a got a licence that very same night

And he walked up to Bristol as soon as t’was light

He sat in the Temple church yard for a while

Till he saw the bride coming which caused Jack to smile.

 

He went and he took that fair maid by the hand

"You’re going to be married so I understand

Well if you’re to marry then you must be mine

So I have come here for to balk your design

 

Now "alas" cried the maiden "now what can I do

Yes I know I was solemnly promised to you

But the sailors my true love and I’ll be his bride

There’s none in the world I can fancy beside

 

Then the sailor he roared like a man who is mad

"I’m ruined, I’m ruined, I’m ruined" he said

Oh you who have sweethearts - get wed while you may

Or else those Jack tars they will take them away

 

        Although Cecil Sharp collected three versions of this song - two in Somerset and one in Sussex - and Helen Creighton found it being sung as far away as Nova Scotia (Traditional Songs from Nova Scotia, 1950), this is not a particularly common song. Freda Palmer, an Oxfordshire singer, sang bits of it, unlike George who, thankfully, knew the song in its entirety.  (recorded at Horton, Somerset by John Howson. 1995 - originally released on VT133)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Live Herrings /Fine Yarmouth

 

Live Herrings, deaf and dumb Bloaters

Cock eyed binkles paralysed shrimps

Stick back whiting, humpback mackerel

All caught fresh today lady

 

I must be known for miles around I’m on the road most everyday

"I hope the herring hawker call"s I hear the women say

There’s scarcely a house upon my round that ever I pass by

And the women they comes out with their plates when I begin to cry

 

(Chorus) Fine Yarmouth, fine Yarmouth, all fresh from the sea

Their bright in the eye and they’re fresh as can be

Grill them over the fire or on the side on the hob

Six herrings a tanner, fourteen for a bob

 

I load my cart up in the morning off the train from Yarmouth town

And when I’ve loaded up me cart I sets off on my round

With a half pint in the Kings Head or maybe in the Volunteer

And I still can go on selling fish while I drinks up me beer

 

I meets all kinds of customers and I treats them all the same

There’s one old girl who wanted trust - I won’t tell you her name

I said I can’t sell fish on trust my dear or surely I’ll go smash

So in God I always put my trust - all others they pay cash

 

             Johnny learnt the cry 'Live Herrings' from fish sellers along the sea front at Brighton. It appears to be unique to Brighton, no other version having been collected elsewhere. (recorded at Camber Sands, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1977 - originally released on VT108)

        Another fish seller's cry from the days when herrings were cheap and plentiful. Fred told me of this song: "I learned that off an old chap, who used to live in Kenton, called Smelters. He used to sing that in Kenton Crown. When I was a kid standing outside, I used to hear him singing that and that's how 1 learned it." It was probably locally penned.  (recorded at Kenton, Suffolk by John Howson, 1985 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates & John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus at thy command

 

Jesus, at thy command

I launch into the deep

And leave my native land

Where sin loves all asleep

For thee I would the world resign

For thee I would the world resign

And sail to heaven with thee and thine

And sail to heaven with thee and thine

 

Now at my quiet wise

My compass is thy word

My soul each storm defies

While I have such a Lord

I trust thy faithfulness and power

I trust thy faithfulness and power

 

To save me in the trying hour

To save me in the trying hour

Come help me wing and blow

the prosperous gale of grace

To offer all below

to help my resting place

Then in full sail my port I’ll find

Then in full sail my port I’ll find

 

And leave the world and sin behind

And leave the world and sin behind

Then in full sail my port I’ll find

Then in full sail my port I’ll find

And leave the world and sin behind

And leave the world and sin behind

 

        This one is in the Primitive Methodist Hymnal of 1889 and was written by Augustustas Montigue Toplady The tune that the choir use is called 'Hollingsworth'. (recorded at Staithes, North Yorkshire by John Howson, 1987 - originally released on VT112)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Jennifer Pearson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early, early in the Spring

 

‘Twas early, early in the spring

I went on board for to serve my king

And leaving the loved one that I left behind

She would now enquire of her sailor boy

 

I built my nest on a little wee boat

And on the winey ocean I’ll do float

And every big steamer that came passing by

She now would enquire of her sailor boy

 

She went straight out And she went on board

Crying captain, captain is my Willy here

What colour is your Willy’s clothes

His trousers white and his jacket blue

His curly locks fill my heart with woe

 

Oh no my darling he is not here

He’s dead and drownded I do declare

For in yonder sea where the wind blows high

That's where I left your young sailor boy

 

She went straight home and she went upstairs

And not a word to her mother said

Her mother followed her behind

And asked what was the matter with her daughter pray

 

Oh fetch me a chair and a pen and ink

A pen and ink and I’ll write it down

And every line I’ll shed a tear

And every verse farewell Willy my dear

 

Her father came home and he went in search

He went in search for his daughter pride

He went upstairs and behind the door

He saw his daughter hanging by a chord

 

He got his knife and he cut her down

And in her pocket this note he found

Dear father dear father dig me a grave

And line it out with lilys brave

And for my tombstone place a turtle dove

To shoe the world wide I died for love

 

        A highly popular song that probably dates from the 18th century. Cecil Sharp noted no less than eleven English versions, usually under the title 'Sweet William', as well as finding a dozen further sets in the Appalachian Mountains of North America. Norman's final verses - where the girl is discovered by her father- are sometimes found as a separate song, entitled 'Died for Love'. Maggy Murphy of Co.Fermanagh also sings a fine version. (recorded Hawkesbury Upton, Avon, by Mike Yates, 1975 - originally released on VT112)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scarborough

 

It was Scarborough in the castle. where a fair young couple dwell.

She dearly loved her sailor boy and he loved her as well.

For they were going to get married when dark deceived the eye.

For instead of getting married they had a watery grave.

 

Now one day as this fair young lass was a’walking from the harbour to the main.

She spied her drownded sailor come a floating by her side.

She quickly step-ped out to it and like a child did cry.

For she knew it was her own true love by the marks upon his eye.

 

She kissed him and caressed him ten thousand times and more.

She said "Now I have found you, I’ll lay down by your side".

But it was there a fair young couple dwelt a tear and a watery grave.

 

Now it was Scarborough, in the churchyard, where this fair young couple lay.

With a tombstone at their head and feet, and on the words are wrote:

Come all you fair young court-ers, don’t let this pass your way,

For it was there a fair young couple dwelt, met a tear and watery grave.

 

        This song is often called the 'The Drowned Lover' or 'The Drowned Sailor'. It has been recorded all over Britain and America but it is generally agreed to be of Yorkshire origin. It is said to tell of an actual event affecting a young girl who lived in Stow Brow near Whitby. However, when Harold sang it to me, he started with the statement: "Now here's a local song!" - and he may actually be right, as the song has antecedents in a ballad of 1673 which deals with a woman's grief at finding the drowned body of the Earl of Sandwich after the Battle of Sole Bay, off the coast of Southwold in Suffolk.  (recorded at Ipswich, Suffolk by John Howson, 1985 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara & John Howson

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Leaky Ship

 

Oh here we come home on a leaky ship

Leaky ship, leaky ship

And here we come home on a leaky ship

And away boys away

 

The old man shouts "the pumps stand by"

pumps stand by, pumps stand by

Oh we can never suck her dry

And away boys away

 

Oh leave her Johnny we can pump no more

pump no more, pump no more

Pump or drown we’ve had full score

And away boys away

 

It’s pump or drown the Old Man said

Old Man said, Old Man said,

Or else damn soon you’ll all be dead

And away boys away

 

Oh heave her round or we shall drown

we shall drown, we shall drown

Oh don’t you feel her settling down

And away boys away

 

Heave her round those pump poles bright

pump poles bright, pump poles bright

There’ll be no sleep for us tonight

And away boys away

 

The starboard pump is like the crew

like the crew, like the crew

It’s all worn out and it will not do

And away boys away

 

Oh leave her Johnny we can pump no more

pump no more, pump no more

It’s time we were upon dry shore

And away boys away

 

        In the 1998 Folk Music Journal, Robert Walser suggests that the only known source of this song is William Fender, who sang it to James Madison Carpenter, the American folklorist, c.1929130. He called it 'Here we Come Home in a Leaky Ship'. MT (recorded at Aberdovey, North Wales by Stan Ambrose, 1991 - originally released on VT127)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Tony Molynieux

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diving Bell

 

I courted a pretty little mermaid and to kiss her was my wish

But like a little eel she slipped away and I never heard from that fish

Till her Mother brought her back a gain she did look so pale

It was a very funny thing to see the old mermaid - she would shake hands with her tail

 

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Down in the diving bell that’s the place for me

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Pretty little mermaid, pretty little mermaid came and courted me.

 

Down in the diving bell you see thing that make you laugh

The clothes I admit were made out of the Atlantic telegraph

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Because it was very wet there t’was a very poor place to dry

 

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Down in the diving bell that’s the place for me

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Pretty little mermaid, pretty little mermaid came and married me.

 

The church that we were married in was built of oyster shell

The crayfish wore a gown of gold and the codfish tolled the bell

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Pretty little mermaid, pretty little mermaid came and married me.

 

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Down in the diving bell that’s the place for me

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Pretty little mermaid, pretty little mermaid came and married me.

 

There was ham and lamb and sugar and jam and spice ball up to date

Poor old father Higgings he sat down to lick the plate

But the plate contained a mustard that made poor father shout

For he got up and jumped about they thought he had gone wild

 

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Down in the diving bell that’s the place for me

Down in the diving bell at the bottom of the sea

Pretty little mermaid, pretty little mermaid came and married me.

 

      This was a popular song in Padstow. Tommy and the legendary Charlie Bate probably learned it from another local singer, Harry Lightfoot. It has it's roots in the Music Hall where it was sung by 'Champagne Charlie' George Leyboume. It was written by Alfred Lee and published by John Brockley in c.1863. (recorded at Wadebridge, Cornwall by John Howson, 1992 - originally released on VT122)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson & John Garrett

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lad and a lass once stood

 

A lad and a lassie they were standing

All alone by that silvery tide

When some of his ship mates were passing

Yes, they stopped and they called him aside

"She’s not good enough for you " some said

She could drag your good name to the ground

But the answer he gave to them all was

"I shall marry this beautiful girl".

 

Although she’s not a lady

Brought up in high society

Don’t you ever tell me she will ruin my life

For I love this little girl

And to all of you I will tell

If she’s good enough o flirt with

Then she’s quite good enough for my wife.

 

She’s more to be pitied than laughed at

She’s more to be helped than despised

She is not a stranger from London

But she was brought up before your own eyes.

So if any of you try to despise her

Or drag her good name to the ground

Come boys stand by and consider

That a man was the cause of her shame

 

Although she’s not a lady

Brought up in high society

Don’t you tell me that she will ruin my life

For I love this little girl

And to all of you I will tell

If she’s good enough o flirt with

Then she’s quite good enough for my wife

 

        When researching this song the first possibility that turned up was 'She's more to be pitied than censured', but that is in fact a completely different song. The actual title for this one is 'She's Good Enough to be my Wife'. It was written by Charles Deane and Harry Castling and published in 1898 by Howard & Co. when it was sung by Milner Verren. (recorded at Lowestoft, Suffolk by John Howson, 1986 - originally released on VT104)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Grey Noddle

 

There was an old sailor came over the seas

Ha-ha but I won’t have him

Came over the seas on purpose for me

With his old grey noddle, old grey noddle , old grey noddle a shaking

 

My mother told me to bring him a chair

Ha-ha but I won’t have him

I brought him a chair, but he sat like a bear

With his old grey noddle, old grey noddle , old grey noddle a shaking

 

Then mother said won’t you bring him a stool ...

I brought him a stool but he sat like a fool

 

Then Mother she said you should cook him some tart

I made him some tart he said "thank you sweetheart"

 

Then mother said will I put him to bed

I put him to bed but I wished he was dead

 

Then mother said would I hurry and wed

I said I’d not wed - so I shot him instead

 

        Many collectors have linked this song with 'The Baillie of Benwick', a song which tells more or less the same story. Alfred Williams found it in the Thames Valley and Robert Bell included a text in his Ballads and Songs of the Peasantry of England (1857). An American traditional version was recorded commercially in 1929 by the Virginian singer and musician A.C.'Uncle Eck' Dunford. (recorded at Billinghurst, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1985 - originally released on VT108)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will man the lifeboat

 

Who will man the lifeboat who is strong and brave

Many souls are drifting, countless on the wave

See their hands uplifted hear their bitter cry

Save us ere we perish, save us ere we die

 

Who will man the lifeboat who will launch away

Who will help to rescue dying souls today

Who will land the lifeboat who will wrest the wave

Whom the dangers braving precious souls to save

 

See amid the breakers yonder vessel tossed

Onward to the rescue - haste or all is lost

Winds that dash around us cannot overwhelm

While our faithful pilot standeth at the helm

 

Who will man the lifeboat who will launch away

Who will help to rescue dying souls today

Who will land the lifeboat who will wrest the wave

Whom the dangers braving precious souls to save

 

Darker yet and darker grows the fearful night

Sound the trump of mercy blush the single light

There the joyful message ore the raging waves

Christ the heavenly pilot come to us to save

 

Who will man the lifeboat who will launch away

Who will help to rescue dying souls today

Who will land the lifeboat who will wrest the wave

Whom the dangers braving precious souls to save

 

        This is an Ira D. Sankey hymn from the Songs of Triumph, Book 1. The tune is that of 'I will work for Jesus' which was written by J. W Van De Venter John Pearson, the choir's leader set this hymn to the tune. (recorded at Staithes, North Yorkshire by John Howson, 1987 - originally released on VT112)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Jennifer Pearson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoals of Herring

 

We shot our nets as the sun went down

Not many miles from old Yarmouth town

We let ‘em drift till the sun was high

And along our nets the gulls did fly.

 

We hauled our nets in one by one

Each net it seemed to weigh a ton

Till the fish holds were full and the decks piled high

While around our heads the gulls did fly

 

Our Skipper looked towards the shore

He said the poor old gal can’t take no more

He shook his head and then he say

The last three nets we’ll have to cut away

 

So we staggered back home with our catch

Sure no other boat had won the match

We tied her up with a final pull

And then we found the market full.

 

Our Skipper said there’s a fine how-d’do

Then turned to us who were the crew

He said there’s only one last chance we’ve got

Is sell ‘em to the Dutch else dump the lot

 

So back again to sea we went

We met our sister boat the "Good Intent"

We tied up in Holland late that night

And there we found the market right

 

We sold our herring catch and we sold it well

And the crossing back was a rough as hell

Two days on the bottle when we’re ashore

Then it’s back again to sea once more

 

        Not the well-known Ewan MacColl song which goes under this name, but an older local song. Fred told me that it was at least fifty years old (in 1985) and it was another learned in Westleton Crown where he said, 'All the fishermen sang it." (recorded at Kenton, Suffolk by John Howson, 1985 - originally released on VT105)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Ladies

 

Farewell and adieu all you fine Spanish Ladies

Farewell and adieu you fine ladies of Spain

For we’ve received orders to sail for old England

And we hope in a short time to see you again.

 

(Chorus) We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors

We’ll rant and we’ll roar the rest of our lives

We’ll drink and be merry and drown melancholy

And here’s a good health to all sweethearts and wives

 

We hove our ship to with the wind at south west boys

We hove our ship to - two strikes soundings clear

We let go our topsails and bore right away boys

And straight up the channel our course we did steer.

 

The signal was made for the grand fleet to anchor

We furled our top sails stuck out tacks and sheets

We stood by our stop as we brailed in our spanker

And anchored ahead of the noblest of fleets

 

Then let every man drink up his full bumper

Then let every man drink up his full glass

For we will be jolly and drown melancholy

And drink a good health to each true hearted lass

        According to Cecil Sharp, "This is a Capstan Chantey (which) is also well known in the Navy, where it is sung as a song, chanteys not being permitted. "Versions have turned up all over England - probably as a result of the popularity of the broadside text printed c.1820 by John Pitts and subsequent printers - and it has proved especially popular along the eastern seaboard of North America, word sets being found repeatedly in both Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Most versions, including that sung by Walter, show little variation from the broadside text.  (recorded at Knapton, Norfolk by Mike Yates, 1982 - originally released on VT108)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yarmouth Hornpipe

 

        This is typical Norfolk step dance tune, related to the Manchester Hornpipe and wide- spread throughout East Anglia. In Suffolk it is often known as the ‘Pigeon on the Gate’. Dick Hewitt spent a lot of time stepping with the fishermen in Cromer and Percy Brown was always a popular visitor to play for the dancing.

Tune notes: John Howson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Windy old Weather

 

As I was a’fishing off Dungeness light

Shooting and hauling all through the long night

 

(Chorus) In this windy old weather

Stormy old weather

When the wind blows

We’ll all pull together

 

When up spoke the cod with his great big head

Hold hard there Skipper I’ll go chuck the lead

 

Then up spoke the herring, the king of the sea,

In this stormy weather you’ll never catch me

 

When up spoke the place with spots on his side

Now look here skipper these sea you can’t ride

 

Then up spoke the mackerel with stripes on his back

Hold hard there Skipper I’ll shift the jib tack

 

Then up spoke the sprat, the smallest of all

Come on there Skipper let’s give the mans trawl

Then up spoke the Skipper - it’s true what they say

We’ll all hump our trawl and we’ll get underway

 

Then up spoke the crew " if these fish are right

We’ll sail in royal harbour and we’ll be alright

        Sam Lamer called this 'Up Jumped the Herring', whilst American singers prefer the title 'The Boston Come All Ye'. Early broadside printers, such as John Pitts, called it 'The Fish's Lamentation -A New Song', although later printers, including Armstrong of Liverpool and Morren of Edinburgh, called it 'The King of the Sea'. MY (recorded at Camber Sands, Sussex by Mike Yates, 1975 - originally released on VT107)

Song transcribed by Jon McNamara

Song notes: Mike Yates

 

               

 


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