Archivi tag: Short Sharp Shanties

Hurrah For the Black Ball Line!

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At the beginning of the nineteenth century the commercial demands of ships always faster and less “armed” compared to the previous century (era of massive galleons, vessels and frigates): so the Clipper was born, ships for the transport of goods, without frills and with more sails. They are the latest models of sailing ships, the apogee of the Age of sailing, then soon the engines will take over .. and the repertoire of the sea shanties will end up among the curiosities of antique dealers (or in the circuits of Folk music).

THE CLIPPER

Clippers traveled the two most important trade sea routes: China – England for tea and Australia – England for wool, they were competing with each other to reach maximum speed and arrive first, because the higher price was fixed by the first ship that reached the port. (see more)
The ships were famous for the harsh discipline on board and for the brutality of its officers: but the recruitment of the sailors was constant given the brevity of the engagement. The ships with the most terrible name were called “bloodboat” and its crew (mostly Irish sailors) “packet rats“.

“BLACK BALL” LINE

The Black Ball Line was the first shipping company to offer a transatlantic line service for the transport of passengers and goods. Born in 1817 from the idea of Jeremiah Thompson, with four clippers covering the route between Liverpool and New York, the Black Ball remained in business for about sixty years. The Black Ballers, were also postal and derived the name from their flag (the company logo) red forked with a black disk in the middle.

In addition to the red flag, the Black Ball were distinguished by a large black ball also designed on the bow sail

The Company was renowned for its scrupulous organization of departures that took place on the first of the month, with any weather; it had very fast ships and the journey from England to America, mostly against the wind, lasted generally “just” four weeks, while the return, with the wind in its favor, could last less than three weeks. The business was profitable despite the competition, in fact in 1851 the company James Baines & Co. of Liverpool adopted the same name and the same flag of the Black Ball Line! The Black Ball Line of James Baines & Co. also operated on the route between Liverpool and Australia.

Given the premises it could not therefore miss a sea shanty on the Black Ball line (probable origin 1845): the text versions are many, compared to few recordings on YouTube

W. Symons. – Patterson, J.E. “Sailors’ Work Songs.” Good Words 41(28) (June 1900) Public Domain

 “Hurrah For the Black Ball Line”

Peter Kasin  with  introduction and demonstration of the type of work combined with the singing
 Ewan MacColl – The Blackball Line 0:01 (Rare UK 8″ EP record released on Topic Records in 1957)

I served my time in the Black Ball line
To me way-aye-aye, hurray-ah
with the Black ball line I served me time
Hurrah for the Black Ball Line
The Black Ball Ships are good and true
They are the ships for me and you (1)
(For once there was a Black Ball Ship
That fourteen knots an hour could clip
You will surely find a rich gold mine(2)
Just take a trip in the Black Ball Line)
Just take a trip to Liverpool (3)
To Liverpool, that Yankee school
The Yankee sailors (4) you’ll see there
With red-top boots (5) and short-cut hair
(At Liverpool docks we bid adieu
To Poll and Bet and lovely Sue
And now we’re bound for New York Town
It’s there we’ll drink, and sorrow drown)

NOTES
1) even if it seems an advertising spot, the reality for the crews boarded on the Black Ballers was harder: the first officer was usually ruthless and violent to maintain discipline and keep the speed standard of the crossing high
2) this verse refers, at the time of the gold fever that broke out in California in 1848
3) between the beginning and the mid-nineteenth century the majority of British immigrants boarded from the port of Liverpool
4) even if the captain was American (the ships were equipped with the best captains money of the time could buy), the sailors were not only American but often English, Irish and Scandinavian
5) red was the dominant color of sailors uniform also in the cuffed boots

Foc’sle Singers & Paul Clayton (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 1959) 


In the Black Ball line I served my time
Hurrah for the Black Ball line
In the Black Ball line I had a good time
Hurrah for the Black Ball line
The Black Ball Ships are good and true
They are the ships for me and you
For once there was a Black Ball Ship
That fourteen knots an hour(1) could clip(2)
Her yards were square(3), her gear all new,
She had a good and gallant crew
One day whilst sailing on the sea,
They saw a vessel on their lee,
They knew it was a pirate craft,
All armed with guns before and aft,
They did not fear as you may think
But made the pirates water drink

NOTES
(text from here, see also an extended version here)
1)1 knot is worth 1 mile / h, so 14 knots means 14 miles per hour
2) To clip it = to run with speed
3)  “in seamens language, the yards are square, when they are arranged at right angles with the mast or the keel. The yards and sails are said also to be square, when they are of greater extent than usual. “

Roger Watson from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor (Vol 1)

Tozer calls this shanty an anchor song, Whall gives it for windlass, Colcord for halyard. Hugill says that he disagrees with the collectors who attribute shanties to specific jobs. Short, who gave it to Sharp as a capstan shanty, gave only one verse (“In Tapscott’s Line…”) and the words Sharp published are, frankly, unbelievable (e.g. “It was there we discharged our cargo boys” and “The Skipper said, that will do, my boys”). Both Colcord and Hugill also comment on Sharp’s published words. We have utilised fairly standard Blackball Line verses, slightly bent towards Short’s Tapscott Line theme. There is a degree of cynicism in this text—Tapscott was a con-man: he advertised his ships as being over 1000 tons when, in reality, they were 600 tons at the most!” (from here)


In Tapscott (1) line we’re bound to shine
A way, Hooray, Yah
In Tapscott line we are bound
to shine
Hooray for the Black Ball Line.
In the Black Ball line I served my time
in the Black Ball I wasted me prime.
Just you’ll take a trip to Liverpool
To Liverpool, a Yankee school.
Oh the Yankee sailors you’ll see there
With red-top boots and short-cut hair.
Fifteen days is a Black Ball ride(2)
but Tapscott ship are a thousand
ton.
At Liverpool docks we bid adieu
for Tapscott ship and golden crew.
In Tapscott line we are bound to shine
In Tapscott line we are bound to shine

NOTES
1) William and James Tapscott were brothers who organized the trip for immigrants from Britain to America (the first based in Liverpool and the second in New York) often taking advantage of the ingenuity of their clients. Initially they worked for the Black Ball Line and then set up their own transport line that provided a very cheap trip to the Americas, so the conditions of the trip were terrible and the food poor. In 1849 William Tapscott went bankrupt and was tried and convicted of fraud against the company’s shareholders.  see more
2) legendary racing competitions were hired between the American and British companies: under the motto “play or pay” two ships left New York on February 2, 1839, it was the first challenge between the Black baller Columbus, 597 tons, Captain De Peyster and the Sheridan of the Dramatic Line 895 tons; Columbus won the race in 16 days, while Sheridan arrived in Liverpool two days later
“England, frankly confessing herself beaten and unable to compete with such ships as these, changed her attitude from hostility to open admiration. She surrendered the Atlantic packet trade to American enterprise, and British merchantmen sought their gains in other waters. The Navigation Laws still protected their commerce in the Far East and they were content to jog at a more sedate gait than these weltering packets whose skippers were striving for passages of a fortnight, with the forecastle doors nailed fast and the crew compelled to stay on deck from Sandy Hook to Fastnet Rock.” ~ Old Merchant Marine, Ch VIII. “The Packet Ships of the Roaring Forties”

LINK
https://hubpages.com/education/Legends-of-the-Blackball-Line
http://shantiesfromthesevenseas.blogspot.it/2011/12/74-hooraw-for-blackball-line.html
http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/LxA489.html http://warrenfahey.com/fc_maritime8c.html http://www.well.com/~cwj/dogwatch/chanteys/Black%20Ball%20Line.html http://www.oceannavigator.com/October-2011/Nov-Dec-2011-Issue-198-Hurrah-for-the-Black-Ball-Line/ http://www.contemplator.com/sea/blkball.html http://anitra.net/chanteys/blackball.html
http://warrenfahey.com/ccarey-s13.html
http://www.folkways.si.edu/the-focsle-singers/songs-and-shanties/american-folk-celtic/music/album/smithsonian
http://media.smithsonianfolkways.org/liner_notes/smithsonian_folkways/SFW40053.pdf
http://www.exmouthshantymen.com/songbook.php?id=61

Billy Riley sea shanty

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The halyards shanties were very common on nineteenth-century ships (postal, merchant or whaler).

National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
“Blackwall frigate” National Maritime Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

OLD BILLY RILEY

The song “Billy Riley” is considered one of the first sea shanties, probably born of a cotton-hoosiers song sung by black slaves. The vessels on which it was sung were of the “Blackwall frigate” type, a three-masted ship built between the end of 1830 and the mid-1870s.
The sea shanty “Billy Riley” fits the rhythm of fast pulling and quick breathing.
Stan Hugill writes in his Shanty Bibble “They used Jackscrews to pack the cotton into the holds of vessels, to ram them up tight and so get more in the cargo hold. Lots of negroes were used in this labour, and their chants turned into shanties when the sailors used them for other jobs, often the tune remained and the words were changed to suit Sailor John. Negroes formed a large part of the crew of some vessels, and took their chants to sea with them, and a hell of a lot of ‘white mans shanties’ had negro origins.”

Stevedores (un)loading a ship in the late 19th century. There may have been some steam-driven winches but most of it was brute strength from man and beast using ropes and pulleys. from the Library of Congress collection

THE SARCASM

The shantyman plays on the words and teases Billy the commander of the ship, the degree of “master” is compared to that of a “dancing master”, but certainly captain is a rude and authoritarian kind and certainly not a dandy!
The term “master” is however little used in the sea songs in which the name “Captain” prevails or as in the sea shanty that it’s preferred “Old man”. What about unchaste thoughts that come to mind to the crew, addressed to Billy Riley’s wife (or daughter), while they were loading the ship?

Assassin’s Creed

Johnny Collins

AC Black Flag version
Old Billy Riley was a dancing master(1).
Old Billy Riley, oh, Old Billy Riley!
Old Billy Riley’s master of a drogher(2).
Master of a drogher bound for Antigua.
Old Billy Riley has a nice young daughter(3).
Oh Missy Riley, little Missy Riley.
Had a pretty daughter,
but we can’t get at her.
Screw her up(4) and away we go, boys.
One more pull and then belay, boys
Johnny Collins version
Oh Billy Riley, Mister Billy Riley
Oh Billy Riley oh
Billy Riley, Mister Billy Riley
Oh Billy Riley oh
Old Billy Riley was a dancing master(1).
Oh Billy Riley shipped aboard a droger(2)
Oh Billy Riley wed the skipper’s daughter(3)
Oh Mrs Riley didn’t like sailors
Oh Mrs Riley had a lovely daughter
Oh Missy Riley, pretty Missy Riley
Oh Missy Riley, screw her up to Chile(4)

NOTES
Droger1) it’s referred to the captain in an ironic sense
2) drogher was a slow cargo ship for transport along the West Indies coast, more properly a triangular fishing boat. More generally, the West Indies for Europeans of the fifteenth century were one with the American continent, so even in 1507 Amerigo Vespucci sensed that the Europeans had “discovered” a new continent the term remained in use for many centuries. Thus the drogher is located in the Caribbean and sails to Antigua, the island of the Lesser Antilles, where sugar and cotton are produced. I think the term is used in a derogatory sense always against the commander because his is not really a ship that plows the oceans !!
3) droger- daughter word games for assonance
4) “screw her up to Chile” is probably a modegreen for “screw her up so cheerily”. Cheerily is a typical seafaring expression for “with a will” or “quickly.” The word screw though two-way has the primary meaning of “tighten up” (compress). “Cotton was” “screwed”. Cotton was “screwed” into the hold of a ship using a kind of enormous horizontal jack. Stan Hugill says: “They are used to pack the cotton into the vessels of vessels.”

JOHN SHORT VERSION

Jeff Warner from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 3

Both Sharp and Terry comment that they have not come across any version other than Short’s – although Fox-Smith and Colcord (who published later) both give versions.  Hugill notes the “remarkable resemblance between Billy Riley and Tiddy High O!” and feels that “it probably originates as a cotton-hoosiers song.” It may be that it was an early shanty that became less and less used, for Fox-Smith states that: “I have come across very few of the younger generation of sailormen who have heard it. All versions seem fairly consistent and what words there are in Short’s text fit the usual pattern and so have been augmented from the other sources.  Sharp’s notes, after the text, say: “and so on, sometimes varying ‘walk him up so cheer’ly’ with ‘screw him up etc”. (from here)

Oh Billy Riley, little Billy Riley
(Oh Billy Riley oh)
Oh  Billy Riley walk her up so cheerily
Oh Billy Riley, little Billy Riley
Oh  Billy Riley screw her up so cheerily
Oh Mister Riley, oh Missy Riley.
Oh Missy Riley screw her up so cheerily
Oh Billy Riley was a boardinghouse master
Oh Billy Riley had a lovely daughter
Oh Missy Riley how I love your daughter
Oh Missy Riley I can’t get at her
Oh Missy Riley, little Missy Riley
Oh Missy Riley, screw her up so cheerily
Oh Billy Riley hauling and hung together
Oh  Billy Riley walk her up so cheerily

LINK
http://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/oldbillyriley.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46593 http://www.exmouthshantymen.com/songbook.php?id=92

Blow Boys Blow (Banks of Sacramento)

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“Blow Boys Blow” or “Hoodah Day Shanty” but also “Banks of Sacramento” is a popular sea shanty with several versions.

JOHN SHORT VERSION

With the title “Blow Boys Blow” the version of John Short mixes the verses of “Banks od Sacramento” with the minstrel song “Campton Races” written by Stephen Foster in 1850. But some scholars are inclined to believe that it is the sea shanty on Golden Rush in California, to precede the minstrel song for a few years
Tom Brown Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 1  
The authors write in the project notes “Neither Sharp nor Terry published this shanty.  All the other collectors give it as a capstan song, Hugill, in particular, says it was a favourite for raising the anchor.  Short gave it as a capstan shanty, and sang Sharp one verse only – straight from Stephen Foster’s Camptown Races which was written in 1850.  Doerflinger credits the Hutchinson Family, a famous New England concert troupe with the song Ho For California!, the chorus of which ran: “Then Ho Brothers Ho! To California go, There’s plenty of gold in the world, we’re told, On the Banks of the Sacramento” and dates it to the 1849 gold rush when, between 1849 and 1852, over ninety thousand emigrants shipped ‘round the corner’ (Cape Horn) in the hopes of finding riches in the gold fields. It was Sharp’s editorial policy that made him omit this shanty from his publication: as he said in the introduction to English Folk-Chanteys, “I have omitted certain popular and undoubtedly genuine chanteys, such as ” The Banks of the Sacramento”, ”Poor Paddy works on the Railway”, “Can’t you dance the Polka,” “Good‑bye, Fare you Well,”,etc.,… on the ground that the tunes are not of folk-origin, but rather the latter‑day adaptations of popular, “composed” songs of small musical value.” Doerflinger quotes three different sets of words that have been used for this shanty: we have expanded Short’s verse with others that relate to the message of the chorus. It is another of the many shanties that ultimately derive from contemporary song-writing for the stage in concert-troupe and minstrel show – and this is reflected in our use of fiddle and banjo.”


I
I went out with my hat caved in
Hoodah(1), to my hoodah,
I went out with my hat caved in
Hoodah, hoodah day,
It’s round Cape Horn(2) in the month o’ May
now around Cape Horn
we are bound to straigh
Blow boys blow,
For California O,
There’s
plots of gold
so I’ve been told
On the banks of Sacramento (3).

II
It’s to Sacramento we ‘ll go
For we are the bullies (4) who kick ‘er through.
Round the Horn an’ up the Line
We’re the bullies for to make ‘er shine.
III
Around Cape Stiff (2) in seventy days
it’s two thousand miles or so they said
Breast yer bars (5) an’ bend yer backs,
Heave an’ make yer spare ribs (6) crack.

 NOTES
1) or Doo-dah! From  “Who da hell is dat?” Who-Da…hoodah
2) Cape Horn said by the sailors “Cape Stiff”, is often mentioned in the sea shanties, it’s the black cliff at the end of South America, where the masses of water and air from the Atlantic and the Pacific collide, causing winds that they range from 160 to 220 km / h and an almost prohibitive ascent to the west. Several factors combine to make the passage around Cape Horn one of the most hazardous shipping routes in the world (cemetery of numerous unlucky ships): strong winds, waves and wandering icebergs.
3) the Californian gold rush began in January 1848 right on the banks of the Sacramento
4) “bully” has many meanings: in a positive sense a “very good” sailor, or “first rate”, but “bully” is also the troublemaker always ready to fight.
5) Breast the bars: leaning deeply so as to push the weight of the body at the chest against the capstan bars.
6) “spare ribs” are pork ribs

LINK
http://www.umbermusic.co.uk/SSSnotes.htm
https://mnheritagesongbook.net/the-songs/addition-song-with-recordings/banks-of-sacramento/
http://www.jsward.com/shanty/sacramento/index.html
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/shanty/singandh.htm
http://cazoo.org/folksongs/BanksOfSacramento.htm
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14644
https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=497

Sweet Nightingale from Cornwall

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In Italy, the nightingale returns in mid-March and leaves in September. His song, melodious and powerful, presents a remarkable variety of modulations and phrasings, by able songwriter, so that one can speak of a personal repertoire different from bird to bird.
In the folk tradition the nightingale is the symbol of lovers and their love meeting, immortalized by Shakespeare in “Romeo and Juliet” he sings at the pomegranate and the only choice is between life and death: to stay in the nuptial thalamus and die or to leave for exile (and perhaps salvation)?

Romeo and Juliet, Heather Craft

JULIET
Wilt thou be gone?
It is not yet near day.

It was the nightingale,
and not the lark,

That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear.
Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree.
Believe me, love,
it was the nightingale.

ROMEO
It was the lark,
the herald of the morn,

No nightingale. Look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east.
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

Thus the song of the nightingale has assumed a negative characteristic, he is not the singer of joy as the lark but of melancholy and death.

CORNISH NIGHTINGALE

usignolo-pompei
Fresco detail Casa del bracciale d’oro, Pompeii

The fresco in the House of the Golden Bracelet, in Pompeii, dated between 30 and 35 AD. depicting scenes taken from a wooded garden, portrays a lonely nightingale among the rose branches.
And it is precisely for his nocturnal hiding in the thick of the wood that in the traditional songs he has approached to trivial kind with double meanings alluding to the erotic sphere and his sweet song is an invitation to abandon oneself to the pleasures of sex.
The folk song was probably born in Cornwall with the titles of”Sweet Nightingale”, “My sweetheart, come along” or “Down in those valleys below”.

“The words of Sweet Nightingale were first published in Robert Bell’s Ancient Poems of the Peasantry of England, 1857, with the note:“This curious ditty—said to be a translation from the ancient Cornish tongue… we first heard in Germany… The singers were four Cornish miners, who were at that time, 1854, employed at some lead mines near the town of Zell. The leader, or captain, John Stocker, said that the song was an established favourite with the lead miners of Cornwall and Devonshire, and was always sung on the pay-days and at the wakes; and that his grandfather, who died 30 years before at the age of a hundred years, used to sing the song, and say that it was very old.” Unfortunately Bell failed to get a copy either of words or music from these miners, and relied in the end on a gentleman of Plymouth who “was obliged to supply a little here or there, but only when a bad rhyme, or rather none at all, made it evident what the real rhyme was. I have read it over to a mining gentleman at Truro, and he says it is pretty near the way we sing it.”The tune most people sing was collected by Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould from E.G. Stevens of St. Ives, Cornwall.” (from here)

The song also includes a version in cornish gaelic titled “An Eos Hweg“, but it is a more recent translation from the folk revival of the Celtic traditions.  It is a popular song often sung in pubs today in repertoire of the choral groups.

Sam Lee & Jackie Oates from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 2 
Jackie Oates – The Sweet Nightingale (Live)

Alex Campbell – ‘Live’ 1968

THE NIGHTINGALE
I
“My sweetheart, come along!
Don’t you hear the fond song,
The sweet notes of the nightingale flow?/Don’t you hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below?
II
My sweetheart(1), don’t fail,
For I’ll carry your pail(2),
Safe home to your cot as we go;
You shall hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below.”
III
“Pray let me alone,
I have hands of my own;
Along with you I will not go,
To hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below”
IV
“Pray sit yourself down
With me on the ground,
On this bank where sweet primroses grow;
You shall hear the fond tale
Of the sweet nightingale,
As she sings in the valleys below”
V
This couple agreed;
They were married with speed(3),
And soon to the church they did go.
She was no more afraid
For to walk in the shade,
Nor yet in the valleys below.

NOTES
1) Pretty Bets or Betty or Sweet maiden
2) the girl was a milkmaid and the young man offers to take home the bucket with fresh milk
3) certainly the girl had become pregnant

third part

LINK
http://www.an-daras.com/cornish-songs/Kanow_Tavern-Sweet_Nightingale.pdf
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=120955
http://www.efdss.org/component/content/article/45-efdss-site/learning-resources/1541-efdss-resource-bank-chorus-sweet-nightingale
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/english/mysweeth.htm

Whip Jamboree sea shanty

Le versioni folk (in primis gli Spinners) di questo sea shanty sono state modellate sul testo raccolto nel 1914 da Cecil Sharp dal marinaio John Short di Watchet .
Si ritiene che lo shanty derivi dalla minstrel song Whoop Jamboree (cantata da Daniel Emmett circa 1850).

ASCOLTA Robert Shaw Chorale

ASCOLTA United States Navy Band live su arrangiamento di Robert Shaw e Alice Parker

ASCOLTA Roger Watson, Tom Brown in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 2 (su spotify) seconda parte della traccia Santy Anna / Whip Jamboree

Versione Short Sharp Shanties
I
Now my lads be of good cheer
For the Irish land will soon draw near
And in few more days
we’ll sight Cape Clear (1)
Oh Jenny get your oatcake (2) done
[Chorus:]
Whip Jamboree
Whip Jamboree
Oh you long- tailed sailor(3)
poke it up behind
Whip Jamboree
Whip Jamboree
Oh Jenny get your oatcake done
II
Cape Clear it is in sight
We’ll be off Holyhead
by tomorrow night
And we’ll shape our course (4)
for the Rock Light
Oh Jenny get your oatcake done
[Chorus]
III
And my boys we’re off Holyhead
No more salt beef or weevily bread (5)
One man in the chains for to heave the lead
Oh Jenny get your oatcake done
[Chorus]
IV
And now my lads we’re round the Rock,
All hammocks lashed and sea-chests all locked
And we’ll haul her into the Waterloo Dock
Oh Jenny get your oatcake done
[Chorus]
V
And now my lads we’re all in dock
We’ll be off to Dan Lowrie’s (6) on the spot;
And now we’ll have a good roundabout,
Oh Jenny get your oatcake done
[Chorus]
Traduzione italiano  Cattia Salto
I
Ora ragazzi state di buon umore
perchè la terra irlandese presto si avvicinerà e in pochi altri giorni avvisteremo Cape Clear
Oh Jenny ha preparato il tuo biscotto
Coro
Whip Jamboree
Whip Jamboree
oh tu marinaio dalla lunga coda
spingilo dietro
Whip Jamboree
Whip Jamboree
Oh Jenny ha preparato il tuo biscotto
II
Cape Clear è in vista
supereremo Holyhead
entro domani notte
e terremo la rotta
per Rock Light
Oh Jenny ha preparato il tuo biscotto
Coro
III
E ragazzi miei quando saremo lontano da Holyhead, niente più carne salata o pane secco, un uomo nelle file per tirare la drizza
Oh Jenny ha preparato il tuo biscotto
Coro
IV
E ora ragazzi miei stiamo doppiano il Faro
tutte le brande fissate e le casse tutte chiuse
e la porteremo nel molo di
Waterloo
Oh Jenny ha preparato il tuo biscotto
Coro
V
E ora ragazzi miei siamo sulla banchina
andremo al Dan Lowrie per divertirci
e poi faremo una bella baraonda
Oh Jenny ha preparato il tuo biscotto
Coro


NOTE
1) Cape Clear Island è una isoletta a 8 miglia dalla costa occidentale del Cork il luogo abitato più a sud dell’Irlanda.
2) tipici dolcetti scozzesi e chi vuol fraintendere, fraintenda
3) la versione di Short “black man” è stata rivista secondo il politicamente corretto
4 anche scritto come courded
5) oppure more salt bread
6) teatro di Liverpool in in Paradise Street vicino al Waterloo Dock

FONTI
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=149468
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/whipjamboree.html
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/whip-jamboree.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=46744
https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=7862

Lucy Long sea shanty

Derivata da una minstrel song in voga nel 1842, la versione sea shanty è al contrario piuttosto rara. La versione di John Short come sempre è particolare, Short sembra mettere insieme una verie di versi non correlati. Così scrivono i curatori del progetto: Indeed, Short’s text for Won’t You Go My Way, feels more like deliberate positive reworking of the Minstrels’ original than this set. It wasn’t until we started selecting shanties for each CD that we realised that Short’s tune for Lucy Long is actually closely akin to So Early in the Morning although it’s deceptive!
Ovviamente Miss Lucy è una “signorinella allegra” e l’incontro con il marinaio appena sbarcato è squisitamente carnale.

ASCOLTA Tom Brown in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 2 (su spotify)


To my way-ay-ay ha, ha
My Johnny, boys, ha ha
Why don’t you try for to wring[1]
Miss Lucy Long?

I
When I was out one mornig fair
To view the views
and take the air.
II
‘Twas there I met Miss Lucy fair,
‘Twas there we met I do declare.
III
Oh, I raised my hat and I said “Hello”
Hitched her up and I took her in tow
IV
Well, I wrung her all night and I wrung her all day
I wrung her before she went away
V
Oh she left me there upon the quay
Left me there and went away
VI
Now Miss Lucy had a baby[2] ,
She dressed it all in green-o
VII
Was you ever on the Brumalow[3] ,
Where the Yankee boys are all the go?
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
A me ay-ay ha, ha
mio marinaio, ragazzi ha, ha perchè non provi a “corteggiare”
la signorina Lucy Long?
I
Sono uscito un bel mattino, per ammirare il panorama
e prendere il fresco
II
Ecco che t’incontro la bella signorina Lucy, fu là che c’incontrammo così dico
III
Oh sollevai il cappello e dissi “Ciao”
l’afferrai e la presi a rimorchio
IV
La corteggiai tutta la notte e la corteggiai tutto il giorno,
la corteggiai prima che se ne andasse
V
Mi lasciò là sulla banchina
mi lasciò là e andò via
VI
Ora la signorina Lucy ha avuto un bambino e lo veste tutto in verde.
VII
Sei mai stato a Broomielaw? Dove i marinai americani sono tutti a passeggio?

NOTE
1) un eufemismo molto esplicito: Hugill dice “ring” trovato anche “woo”
2) mettere incinta la ragazza con cui si è fatto sesso era un tempo sinonimo di grande virilità maschile, così nelle canzoni del mare i marinai parlano con noncuranza delle loro paternità!
3) Broomielaw è il vecchio pontile di Glasgow sulla sponda settentrionale del fiume Clyde

FONTI
http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/lucy-long–see-also-rock-the-cradle-lucy-.aspx
http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/miss-lucy-long–version-2-stan-hugill-.aspx
https://www.paddlesteamers.org/scottish/last-paddle-steamer-at-the-broomielaw/
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/miss-lucy-long.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=119975

Bulgine run

Bulgine Run (Let the Bulgine Run) è una sea shanty meno conosciuta di Eliza Lee con la quale condivide la frase “Let the bulgine run.”
Secondo Stan Hugill “bulgine” o “bullgine” e un termine gergale americano  per  “locomotiva”, su Mudcat leggiamo “Bullgine is, indeed a term applied a small steam loco- motive which runs on short tracks and is usually used to haul ships through locks and canals. A donkey engine is a stationary engine which might be used on board ship to power a winch or to run a pump; it has no tracks, tending to be portable, if not mobile. A pony engine is a similar small locomotive built to use regulation-gauge railroad rails, and used for moving cars in a railroad switchyard. The earliest entry I could find for the word in a quick search was 1846; it was in use as late as 1939.” (da qui)
Stan la classifica tra le pumping shanty per non annoiarsi durante il lungo lavoro di pompaggio dell’acqua di sentina.

JOHN BULL

Robert Stevens era il figlio del colonnello Stevens, considerato il padre delle ferrovie americane. Infatti, già nel 1815 John Stevens aveva richiesto, senza successo, l’autorizzazione di costruire una ferrovia nel New Jersey. Aveva riprovato nel 1823 nello Stato di Pennsylvania, ma con uguali risultati.
Nel 1824 il colonnello Stevens costruì a sue spese un circuito dimostrativo a Hoboken, nel New Jersey, dove fece circolare una piccola locomotiva con caldaia verticale e un solo cilindro. Questa macchina, che pesava appena 450 kg e raggiungeva i 20 km/h, fu, di fatto, la prima locomotiva americana, ma non raccolse il successo sperato.
Il figlio del colonnello, decise di seguire le orme paterne. Riuscì a farsi assumere dalla giovane compagnia Camden & Amboy, ma invece di cimentarsi in esperimenti con prototipi, consigliò saggiamente l’acquisto di locomotive in Inghilterra, presso la ben nota ditta Stephenson. Organizzò così un viaggio d’affari, durante il quale ebbe anche tutto il tempo necessario per inventare una nuova forma di binario che, disegnato successivamente dall’inglese Charles Vignoles, diventò il binario più utilizzato di tutto il mondo.
Ritornato negli Stati Uniti nel 1831 con una locomotiva smontata, Stevens cominciò a farla riassemblare dal meccanico della rete, Isaac Dripps. Sembra però che mancassero le istruzioni e, in assenza di precise indicazioni, Dripps fece di testa sua. La locomotiva venne assemblata con una forma del tutto diversa da quella prevista dal fornitore. La macchina viaggiava con una traiettoria piuttosto imprecisa a causa degli eccessivi giochi laterali degli assi, dovuti al montaggio improvvisato. Dripps pensò allora di dotare la locomotiva di un terzo asse supplementare posto in avanti, montato su un piccolo telaio articolato rispetto a quello principale, inventando così il carrello-sterzo anteriore, ma per far questo dovette smontare le bielle di collegamento tra gli assi lasciando così la macchina con un solo asse motore anziché i due previsti.
Su questo carrello-sterzo collocò anche un cacciapietre a forma di cuneo per eliminare tutto ciò che poteva depositarsi o ingombrare i binari delle linee mal custodite: pietre, rami, alberi, animali, ecc. Questo “cowcatcher” (scaccia mucche) diventò la caratteristica delle locomotive americane.
Successivamente alla locomotiva fu montata una cabina in legno per proteggere le squadre di guida dalle intemperie e anche il tender fu chiuso per avere sempre legna asciutta da ardere.


La locomotiva entrò in servizio solo nel novembre del 1833, dovendo attendere che la breve linea Camden-Bordentown, lunga 42,5 km, fosse ultimata. Rimase in funzione fino al 1866, poi venne parcheggiata in uno dei depositi della Pennsylvania Railroad che, nel frattempo, aveva acquistato la linea. Dimenticata, la locomotiva rimase intatta e, nel 1885, la Pennsy la regalò allo Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History di Washington, dove si trova tuttora. (tratto da qui)

LA VERSIONE DI JOHN SHORT: BULGINE RUN

“John Short called two of his shanties Bulgine Run – this capstan shanty is better known as Run, Let the Bulgine Run to distinguish it from Clear the Track, Let the Bulgine Run also known as Liza Lee.  Short gave this to Sharp as a capstan shanty although, given the elaborate second shantyman’s line, its structure is that of a halyards song.” (tratto da qui)
In effetti nel testo riportato nel “The Advent and Development of Chanties” richiama più un canto salpa ancora che una pumping shanty.
We’ll run from Dover to Calais.
We sailed away from Mobile Bay.
We gave three cheers and away we went.
Now up aloft this yard must go.
We’re homeward bound for Liverpool Docks.

ASCOLTA Barbara Brown in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 1 (su spotify)


We’ll run from night till morning.
O run, let the bullgine (1) run.
Way yah, oo-oo oo-oo-oo, (2)
O run, let the bullgine run.
We’ll run from here to dinnertime
We’ll run from Dover to Calais
We sailed all day to Mobile
Bay.
Pump me bullies pump
or drown
Oh we’ll run down south round the Horn
From Liverpool to Frisco
we’ll pump her dry and away we’ll go
she is a dandy clipper(3) and a bully crew
The captain (?make her hosenose clear?)*
so we’ll rock and roll her over (4)
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
Correremo notte e giorno
Oh correre, fai correre il motore
Way yah, oo-oo oo-oo-oo,
Oh correre, fai correre il motore.
Correremo da qui all’ora di pranzo
correremo da Dover a Calais
Navighiamo tutto il giorno per Mobile Bay
Pompate miei bravacci pompate o annegate!
Correremo verso Sud per doppiare l’Horn
da Liverpool a San Francisco
pomperemo e poi la lasceremo
è un dandy clipper e una ciurma di sbruffoni
il capitano ??
così ce la metteremo tutta

NOTE
* ho ancora delle difficoltà nella trascrizione del testo non riuscendo a individuare bene la pronuncia di alcune parole
1) scritto anche come Bull John
2) una tipica frase delle halyard shanty
3) Dandy è il nome di uno specifico modello di nave del 1825, un vascello a due alberi
4) rock and roll over  assume molti significati a seconda del contesto

FONTI
http://www.goldenhindmusic.com/lyrics/LETTHEBU.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=16554
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/eliza-lee/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/letthebulginerun.html
http://www.kbapps.com/lyrics/sailor-shanties/OhrunlettheBullginerun.php
http://www.boundingmain.com/lyrics/bulgine.htm

Blow Boys Blow (Banks of Sacramento)

Read the post in English

Anche con il titolo “Hoodah Day Shanty” ma anche “Banks of Sacramento” è una sea shanty che presenta svariate versioni dovute alla sua vasta popolarità.

LA VERSIONE JOHN SHORT

Con il titolo “Blow Boys Blow” la versione di John Short mescola i versi di “Banks od Sacramento” con la minstrel song “Campton Races” scritta da Stephen Foster nel 1850. Ma alcuni studiosi sono propensi a credere che sia la sea shanty sulla Golden Rush in California, a precedere di qualche anno la minstrel song
Tom Brown Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 1  
Nelle note del progetto gli autori scrivono “Né Sharp né Terry hanno pubblicato questa sea shanty. Tutti gli altri collezionisti la danno come una canzone all’argano, Hugill, in particolare, dice che era per l’alzata dell’ancora. Short la classifica come capstan shanty, e ha cantato a Sharp solo un verso- direttamente dalla Campbell Races di Stephen Foster che ha scritto nel 1850. Doerflinger l’accredita alla famiglia Hutchinson, una famosa compagnia concertistica del New England con il titolo “Ho For California !”, con il coro  che recita “Then Ho Brothers Ho! To California go, There’s plenty of gold in the world, we’re told, On the Banks of the Sacramento” e la data alla corsa all’oro del 1849 quando, tra il 1849 e il 1852, oltre novantamila emigranti navigarono” round the corner “( Capo Horn) nella speranza di trovare la ricchezza. È stata la politica editoriale di Sharp a fargli omettere questa sea shanty dalla sua pubblicazione: così disse nell’introduzione ai English Folk-Chanteys “Ho omesso certi canti popolari e indubbiamente genuini, come ” The Banks of the Sacramento”,” Poor Paddy works on the Railway”, “Can’t you dance the Polka,” “Good‑bye, Fare you Well,” ecc., per il fatto che le melodie non sono di origine popolare, ma piuttosto l’adattamento dell’ultima ora di canzoni popolari, “composte” di scarso valore musicale.” Doerflinger cita tre diverse serie di parole che sono state usate per questa sea shanty: abbiamo ampliato il verso di Short con altri che si riferiscono al messaggio del coro. È un’altra delle tante sea shanty che derivano in ultima analisi dal cantautorato contemporaneo per il palcoscenico vaudeville dell’avanspettacolo – e questo si riflette nel nostro uso del violino e del banjo


I
I went out with my hat caved in
Hoodah(1), to my hoodah,
I went out with my hat caved in
Hoodah, hoodah day,
It’s round Cape Horn(2) in the month o’ May
now around Cape Horn
we are bound to straigh
Blow boys blow,
For California O,
There’s
plots of gold
so I’ve been told
On the banks of Sacramento (3).

II
It’s to Sacramento we ‘ll go
For we are the bullies (4) who kick ‘er through.
Round the Horn an’ up the Line
We’re the bullies for to make ‘er shine.
III
Around Cape Stiff (2) in seventy days
it’s two thousand miles or so they said
Breast yer bars (5) an’ bend yer backs,
Heave an’ make yer spare ribs (6) crack.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Uscivo con il mio berretto floscio
Hoodah, to my hoodah,
Uscivo con il mio berretto floscio
Hoodah, hoodah day.
A doppiare Capo Horn nel mese di Maggio
verso Capo Horn
siamo diretti
Forza ragazzi forza
per la California
c’è un sacco d’oro
così mi hanno detto

sulle rive del Sacramento
II
A Sacramento andremo
perchè siamo noi i maschioni che la fanno divertire.
A doppiare l’Horn e oltre all’Equatore
siamo i bulli che la faranno risplendere.
III
A doppiare Capo Stiff in 70 giorni
sono duemila miglia o così dicono.
Petto sulle aspe, e piegate le schiene
tirate fino a rompervi le costole

 NOTE
1) hoodah ha diversi significati gergali, anche  scritto come Doo-dah! Dall’esclamazione  “Who da hell is dat?” Who-Da…hoodah
2) detto dai marinai “Cape Stiff”, il temuto Capo Horn è spesso menzionato negli shanties, la nera scogliera all’estremità dell’America Meridionale dove si scontrano le masse d’acqua e d’aria dell’Atlantico e del Pacifico, provocando venti che vanno dai 160 ai 220 Km/h e una risalita verso Ovest quasi proibitiva. Doppiare Capo Horn era un’impresa temuta dai marinai, per i forti venti, le grani onde e gli iceberg vaganti, cimitero di numerose navi sfortunate.
 “Grandi Naufragi” impossibile stabilire il numero delle navi che sono andate perdute in queste estreme acque tra le onde alte anche 20 metri. Tempeste di neve, violenti uragani, nebbie e pericolosi iceberg alla deriva, fanno capire quanto sia stato difficile passare indenni per la via di Capo Horn. I pochi naufraghi dovevano affrontare oltre all’inospitalità di quelle terre anche l’avversità degli indigeni che aggredivano i superstiti per depredarli di alcool ed armi. (tratto da qui)
3) la corsa all’oro californiano ebbe inizio nel gennaio del 1848 proprio sulle rive del Sacramento
4) bully è un termine da marinai con molti significati: in senso positivo per dire che il marinaio è un tipo “very good”, o “first rate”, ma bully è anche l’attaccabrighe sempre pronto a fare a pugni.  Quando il comandante dava del bullies alla sua ciurma gli appellava come degli “sbruffoni”
5) Breast the bars: leaning deeply so as to push the weight of the body at the chest against the capstan bars.
6) spare ribs sono le costine del maiale

FONTI
http://www.umbermusic.co.uk/SSSnotes.htm
https://mnheritagesongbook.net/the-songs/addition-song-with-recordings/banks-of-sacramento/
http://www.jsward.com/shanty/sacramento/index.html
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/shanty/singandh.htm
http://cazoo.org/folksongs/BanksOfSacramento.htm
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=14644
https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=497

BLOW AWAY THE MORNING DEW SEA SHANTY

La ballata nota come The Baffled Knight è riportata in moltissime versioni testuali sia nelle raccolte settecentesche che nei Broadsides, oltrechè trasmessa oralmente in Gran Bretagna e America con i titoli di ” Blow (Clear)(Stroll) Away The Morning Dew” oppure “Blow Ye Winds in the Morning”: il protagonista maschile di volta in volta è un gentleman, o un pastorello / contadinello.

La versione sea shanty viene dalla testimonianza di John Short: [Richard Runciman] Terry [in The Shanty Book Part II (J. Curwen & Sons Ltd., London. 1924)] comments that although Short started his Blow Away the Morning Dew with a verse of The Baffled Knight, he then digresses into floating verses. In fact three of the verses recorded and published by Terry, not one derive from The Baffled Knight! Short sang only the “flock of geese” verse to Sharp. Sharp did not publish the shanty, but other authors also give Baffled Knight versions. The other predominant version in collections is the American whaling version but still using the tune associated with The Baffled Knight and the chorus remaining close to the usual words. (tratto da qui)

ASCOLTA Jim Mageean  in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 3 (su Spotify)


I
As I walked out one morning fair,
To view the meadows round,
it’s there I spied a maid fair
Come a-tripping o’er the ground.
Blow ye wind of morning
Blow ye winds aye-O.
Clear away the morning dew,
and blow boys blow.
II
My father has a milk white steed
He is in the stall
he will not eat it’s hay or corn
And it will not go at all
III
When we goes in a farmyard
see a flocking geese
we downed their eyes
and closed their eyes
and knocked five or six
IV
As I was a-walking
by a river side,
it’s there I saw a lady fair
a-biding in the tide
V
As I was a-walking
out by the Moonlight,
it’s there I saw the yallow girl
and arise (they show?) so bright
VI
(?
into the field of?)
she says “Young man this is the place
how a man must play”
VII
As I was a-walking
down Paradise street
it’s there I met a (junky?) ghost
he says (“Where you stand to a treat”?)
* ci sono ancora troppe parole di cui non capisco bene la pronuncia
traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Mentre camminavo un bel mattino
per ammirare i prati nei dintorni
fu là che vidi una bella fanciulla
in giro per la campagna
Soffia vento del mattino,
soffia vento aye-o
spazza via la rugiada del mattino
e forza, ragazzi, forza

II
Mio padre aveva un destriero bianco latte, è nella stalla
non mangerà nè fieno , nè grano
e non andrà affatto
III
Quando andiamo in un aia
a vedere uno stormo di oche
le fissiamo negli occhi
chiudiamo i loro occhi
e ne abbattiamo cinque o sei
IV
Mentre camminavo
lungo le rive del fiume
fu là che vidi una bella fanciulla
che aspetta la marea.
V
Mentre camminavo
sotto il chiaro di luna
fu là che vidi una bella fanciulla
?
VI
?
?
dice lei: “Giovanotto questo è il posto giusto dove un uomo può giocare”
VII
Mentre camminavo
per Paradise Street
là incontrai un fantasma
dice “
 

FONTI
http://terreceltiche.altervista.org/venticelli-e-pecore-nella-balladry-inglese/
https://mainlynorfolk.info/eliza.carthy/songs/thebaffledknight.html

http://www.musicnotes.net/SONGS/04-BLOWY.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/nic.jones/songs/tenthousandmilesaway.html
http://www.jsward.com/shanty/BlowYeWinds/index.html

The Banks of the Sweet Dundee

“Undaunted Mary” è una ballata ottocentesca riportata in numerosi broadside (a partire dal 1820) particolarmente popolare nelle isole Britanniche (Inghilterra, Scozia e Irlanda) e anche diffusa in Nord America (USA e Canada), cantata ancora oggi.

Definita da Roy Palmer “un melodramma del 19° secolo” si racconta di una ricca ereditiera che rimasta senza genitori viene costretta dallo zio a prendere come marito un prepotente riccastro; la fanciulla di nome Mary è invece segretamente innamorata del contadinello William, ma nell’ombra tramano zio e nobilastro che mandano a chiamare gli arruolatori perchè si portino via il bel William.
Così avendo il campo libero il pretendente si ripresenta o meglio si butta addosso all’afflitta Mary cercando di metterla di fronte al fatto compiuto, ma lei si ribella, s’impadronisce delle pistole e lo uccide.
Ecco che lo zio sente lo sparo e corre a vedere e naturalmente vuole punire la fanciulla, ma lei ha ancora un colpo in canna e spara allo zio ferendolo mortalmente. In punto di morte lo zio le lascia in testamento il suo patrimonio, rendendo omaggio al coraggio dimostrato dalla nipote!
“Undaunted Mary” o anche con il titolo “The Banks of the Sweet Dundee” è riportata in numerosi broadside (a partire dal 1820) e oggi si contano più di contano 170 versioni.

LA VERSIONE SEA SHANTY

Così la versione di John Short inserisce la ballata The Banks of the Sweet Dundee nella struttura di una sea shanty seguendo melodia e coretto di  Heave Away, My Johnny (We’re All Bound to Go)
ASCOLTA Barbara Brown in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 3 (su Spotify) accompagnata nel coro da Keith Kendrick e Jackie Oates “This is another shanty where, with the tune and structure fairly consistent, different texts were used over time. Sharp had only three verses from Short—but they immediately show his text to have been the folksong Banks of the Sweet Dundee From Short’s three verses we have expanded the text from the closest broadside versions of Banks of the Sweet Dundee. The full text would take too much time for even the longest of tasks so we have exercised some précis skills without, hopefully, destroying the story!”  (tratto da qui)


I
It’s of a farmer’s daughter,
so beautiful I’m told
Heave away my Johnnies,
heave away
.
Her parents died and left her
five hundred pound in gold;
Heave away me bully boys,
we’re all bound to go.
Now there was a wealthy squire
who oft her came to see,
But Mary loved a ploughboy
on the banks of the sweet Dundee (1).
II
Her uncle and the squire
rode out one summer’s day,
“Young William he’s in favour,”
her uncle he did say.
“Indeed it’s my intention
to tie him to a tree (2)
Or to bribe the press gang (3)
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
III
Now the press gang came for William when he was all alone,
He boldly fought for liberty,
but they were six to one.
The blood did flow in torrents,
“Pray, kill me now,” says he,
“I would rather die (4) for Mary
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
IV
This maid one day was walking, lamenting for her love,
When she met the wealthy squire down in her uncle’s grove.
And he put his arms around her,
“Stand off, base man,” said she;
“For you vanished the only man I love from the banks of the sweet Dundee.”
V
And young Mary took his pistols
and the sword he used so free,
But she did fire and shot the squire
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
VI
Her uncle overheard the noise
and he hastened to the sound,
“Since you have shot the squire
I’ll give you your death wound!”
“Stand off!” then cried young Mary, “undaunted (5) I will be!”
She the trigger drew
and her uncle slew
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
VII
He willed his gold to Mary
who fought so valiantly,
Then he closed his eyes,
no more to rise,
on the banks of the sweet Dundee.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Vi racconto della figlia di un contadino, molto bella mi dissero
vira a lasciare, mio Johnny, 
vira a lasciare
I suoi genitori morirono e le lasciarono 500 sterline in oro
Lasciatela mie bravi
siamo tutti in partenza
C’era un ricco cavaliere  che andava spesso a trovarla
ma Mary amava un contadino
sui pendìì della bella Dundee
II
Suo zio e il cavaliere andarono a cavallo un giorno d’estate
“Il giovane William è il favorito- lo zio gli disse –
perciò è mia intenzione legarlo ad un albero
o consegnarlo agli arruolatori
sui pendìì della bella Dundee”
III
Ora gli arruolatori vennero per William quando si trovava solo,
lui combattè coraggiosamente per la libertà, ma erano sei contro uno.
Il sangue scorreva a fiumi
“Vi prego uccidetemi adesso-dice lui
preferisco morire per Mary
sui pendìì della bella Dundee”
II
Questa fanciulla un giorno era a passeggio, piangendo per il suo amore
quando incontrà il ricco cavaliere nel bosco dello zio
e lui le mise le mani addosso “State al vostro posto, in guardia- disse lei-
perchè avete fatto sparire il solo uomo che amo dai pendii della bella Dundee”
V
E la giovane Mary prese le sue pistole
e lui la spada che usava in libertà
e fece fuoco uccidendo il cavaliere sulle pendìì della bella Dundee
VI
Lo zio udì lo sparo e  si affrettò verso il rumore
“Poichè avete ucciso il cavaliere vi colpirò a morte”
“State lontano -gridò la giovane Mary – impavida io sarò!”.
Ha tirato il grilletto
e ucciso suo zio
sui pendìì della bella Dundee .
VII
Lui lascio in testamento il suo oro a Mary , che combattè così coraggiosamente, poi chiuse gli occhi
e non si alzò più,
sui pendìì della bella Dundee


NOTE
1) In molti si interrogano sul nome Dundee essendo una cittadina della Scozia priva però di un fiume omonimo. Ovviamente può trattarsi di un qualunque pendio di collina o montangola nei pressi di Dundee, financo di un piccolo ruscelletto nei dintorni. Tra le ipotesi Ruairidh Greig suggerisce che sia una storpiatura di un nome composto Dun Dee riferito al fiume Dee (continua)
2) per lasciarlo in pasto alle fiere del bosco così come s’usava fare nei tempi passati con i cacciatori di frodo
3) L’arruolamento nelle armate britanniche era a base volontaria, così nella seconda metà del 1600 e fino alla metà del 1800, giravano per le campagne i sergenti reclutatori accompagnati da un giovane tamburino: erano bravi a convincere i giovanotti già un po’ alticci che si trovavano nelle locande, a prendere il famigerato scellino del Re (King’s Shilling). Analoga disinvoltura per quanto riguradava gli ingaggi degli equipaggi per le navi da guerra.
Si faceva ricorso a metodi brutali con il sistema detto “impressment” ossia l’arruolamento forzato ad opera delle “press-gang” nel corso di retate di massa o con il pretesto dell’arresto per reati minori in cui il malcapitato anche solo perchè vagabondo e ubriaco finiva legato come un salame e imbarcato (spesso privo di sensi).
4) e qui ci sono alcune ipotesi (con relative varianti) sul come sia andata: infatti alcuni preferiscono il lieto fine, così William non viene ucciso, ma solo arruolato in marina per poi ritornare e sposarsi con la bella Mary
5) l’archetipo della donna guerriera corrispondente alla femmina adolescente forte e coraggiosa che non perde la sua femminilità, anzi la preserva per l’uomo che riuscirà a sposarla (in genere dopo aver superato alcune prove). Non a caso in alcune versioni piemontesi della ballata si sottolinea la verginità della ragazza che resta tale pur a stretto contatto con il mondo maschile. (continua)

LA VERSIONE FOLK

Tra tutte spicca la versione di June Tabor
ASCOLTA June Tabor


I
It’s of a farmer’s daughter,
so beautiful I am told.
Her father died and left her
five hundred pounds in gold.
She lived with her uncle,
the cause of all her woe,
But you soon shall hear how this fair maiden  that causes his overthrow
II
Her uncle had a ploughboy young Mary loved fair well
And in her uncle’s garden
their tales of love they’d tell.
There was a wealthy squire
who oft her came to see
But still she loved her ploughboy
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
III
Her uncle and the squire
rode out once on summer’s day.
“Young William’s in favour,”
her uncle then did say,
“Indeed is my intention
to tie him to a tree
Or else to bribe the press gang
on the banks of sweet Dundee.“
IV
The press gang found young William when he was all alone;
He boldly fought for liberty,
but they were six to one.
The blood did flow in torrents,
“Pray, kill me now,” says he,
“I’d rather die for Mary
on the banks of sweet Dundee.“
V
One day this maid was walking, lamenting for her love,
She met the wealthy squire
down by her uncle’s grove.
He put his arms around her,
“Stand off, base man,” said she;
“I would rather die for William
on banks of sweet Dundee.“
VI
He put his arms around her
and tried to cast her down;
Two pistols and a sword
she spied beneath his morning gown.
Young Mary drew the pistols
and the sword he used so free;
And she did fire and shot the squire
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
VII
Her uncle overheard the noise
and hastened to the ground,
“Since you shoted the squire,
I’ll give you your death wound!”
“Stand off!” said Mary,
“undaunted I will be!”
The trigger she drew and her uncle slew on the banks of sweet Dundee.
VIII
The doctor was sent for
a man of noted skill,
And likewise a lawyer
that he maked  his will;
He left his gold to Mary
who’d fought so manfully
And closed his eyes,
no more to rise,
on the banks of sweet Dundee.
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
Vi racconto della figlia di un contadino, molto bella mi dissero
il padre morì  e le lasciò
500 sterline in oro
Viveva con suo zio,
la causa di tutto il suo dolore,
ma presto sentirete ciò che causò la rovina di questa bella fanciulla
II
Lo zio aveva un contadinello
che Mary amava assai
e nel giardino dello zio
si raccontavano storie d’amore.
C’era un ricco cavaliere
che andava spesso a trovarla
eppure lei amavail suo contadino
sui pendìì della bella Dundee
III
Suo zio e il cavaliere andarono a cavallo un giorno d’estate
“Il giovane William è il favorito-
lo zio gli disse –
perciò è mia intenzione
legarlo ad un albero
o consegnarlo agli arruolatori
sui pendìì della bella Dundee”
IV
Gli arruolatori trovarono il giovane William quando era tutto solo,
lui combattè coraggiosamente per la libertà, ma erano sei contro uno.
Il sangue scorreva a fiumi
“Vi prego uccidetemi adesso-dice lui-
preferisco morire per Mary
sui pendìì della bella Dundee”
V
Questa fanciulla un giorno era a passeggio, piangendo per il suo amore
quando incontrà il ricco cavaliere nel bosco dello zio
e lui le mise le mani addosso
“State al vostro posto, in guardia- disse lei- meglio morire per William
suipendii della bella Dundee”
VI
Gli mise la mani addosso
e cercò di buttarla giù,
due pistole e una spada
lei vide sotto alla cappa da passeggio.
La giovane Mary prese le  pistole
e lui la spada che usava in libertà
e fece fuoco uccidendo il cavaliere sulle pendìì della bella Dundee
VII
Lo zio udì lo sparo e
si affrettò verso il rumore
“Poichè avete ucciso il cavaliere
vi colpirò a morte”
“State lontano – disse Mary –
impavida io sarò!”.
Ha tirato il grilletto e ucciso suo zio
sui pendìì della bella Dundee .
VIII
Venne mandato il dottore
un uomo di rinomata abilità
e anche un avvocato
che fece il testamento
Lui lascio  il suo oro a Mary ,
che combattè così coraggiosamente, poi chiuse gli occhi
e non si alzò più,
sui pendìì della bella DundeeI

FONTI
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/arthur-mcbride.htm
https://digital.nls.uk/broadsides/broadside.cfm/id/15084/transcript/1
http://special.lib.gla.ac.uk/teach/ballads/mary.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/255.html
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=113888

https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/heaveawaymyjohnny.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/june.tabor/songs/thebanksofthesweetdundee.html