He Back, She Back (Old Moke Picking on the Banjo)

Hulton Clint writes: “The lyrics are cobbled together from railroad work songs, minstrel jingles, mis-hearings of “Shule Aroon” (Cecil Sharp thought it was a variant of that song), and rough ‘n’ ready sailors phrases.” (see his You Tube channel)
Hulton Clint scrive: “Il testo è un rappezzamento di canti dei lavoratori nella ferrovia, canti d’avanspettacolo [minstrel songs], un fraintendimento di “Shule Aroon” (Cecil Sharp lo reputava una variante di quella canzone) e frasi fatte marinaresche” (vedi il suo Canale You Tube)

Cliff Haslam in Leaning the Wind 2012


I
He-bang, she-bang (1), daddy shot a bear, 
Shot him in the stern, me boys
and never turned a hair,
We’re from the railroad (2), too-ra-loo,
Oh the old moke (3) pickin’ on the banjo (4).
[CHORUS]
Hooraw! What the hell’s a row?
We’re all from the railroad, too-ra-loo,
We’re all from the railroad, too-ra-loo,
Oh the old moke pickin’ on the banjo.

II
Pat, get back, take in yer slack
Heave away, me boys;
Heave away, me bully boys,
why don’t ye make some noise?
We’re from the railroad, too-ra-loo…
III
Roll her boys, bowl her boys,
give her flamin’ gip (5)
Drag the anchor off the mud
an’ let the bastard rip (6)
We’re from the railroad, too-ra-loo….
IV
Rock-a-block, chock-a-block (7),
heave the caps’n round,
Fish the flamin’ anchor up,
for we are outward bound.
We’re from the railroad, too-ra-loo….
V
Out chocks, two blocks,
heave away or bust,
Bend yer backs, me bully boys,
kick up some flamin’ dust.
We’re from the railroad, too-ra-loo….
VI
Whisky-O, johnny-O,
the mudhook is in sight,
‘Tis a hell-of-a-way to the gals that wait,
an’ the ol’ Nantucket Light;
We’re from the railroad, too-ra-loo….
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
Lui spara, lei spara, papà sparò a un orso
gli sparò nel posteriore [a poppa]
e non gli aveva torto un capello
Siamo della ferrovia too-ra-loo
Oh il vecchio Moke che suona il banjo!
CORO
Hoo-raw! Qual’è il problema ora?
Siamo tutti della ferrovia too-ra-loo,
siamo tutti della ferrovia too-ra-loo,
Oh il vecchio Moke che suona il banjo
II
Pat, torna indietro, prendi il tuo posto
issiamo, ragazzi
issiamo, miei bravi
perché non vi date da fare?
Siamo della ferrovia too-ra-loo
III
Fatela andare ragazzi, 
datele una tirata
trascinate l’ancora via dal fango
e fate filare la bastarda
Siamo della ferrovia too-ra-loo
IV
Fate filare il bozzello e bloccatelo
date un giro all’argano
portate su la dannata ancora 
perchè siamo in partenza
Siamo della ferrovia too-ra-loo
V
Via le morse, due bozzelli 
issate o morite
piegate la schiena, miei bravacci,
alzate un po’ di dannata polvere
Siamo della ferrovia too-ra-loo
VI
Whisky o marinaio o
l’approdo è in vista
è un vero inferno per le ragazze che aspettano
al vecchio faro di Nantucket
Siamo della ferrovia too-ra-loo

NOTE
1) He-bang, she-bang are nonsense vocables,  Leland’s 1890 dictionary of slang has “shebang” as American slang for a shanty (a shack) [He-bang, she-bang sono molto probabilmente parole senza senso, nel “Dictionary of Slang, Jargon & Cant” di Leland Shebang= baracca, capanno]
2) see “Poor Paddy works on the railway.”
3) Webster’s dictionary of 1913 had not only the meanings of “mule” and “Negro”, but also “a minstrel, who plays on several instruments”. Hulton writes: A 1928 article on “Midshipman Jargon” (in American Speech, Vol. II, No. 9) has that in the American Navy man’s jargon, moke signifies “dark” or “black” and was also” for a Negro or Filipino.” A 2001 posting on the linguist listserve by Quinion has that it was originally a term for a mule, becoming first an offensive term for a Black man, then by the 1850s (around the probable time of this chantey) it was generalized to mean some foolish or contemptible person. It evolved into the form “mook.” 
[Il dizionario di Webster del 1913 traduce con “mulo” e “negro”, ma anche “un menestrello che suona diversi strumenti”. Scrive Hulton: “un articolo del 1928 su “Midshipman Jargon” (in American Speech, Vol. II, n. 9) dice che nel gergo americano della marina americana, moke significa “oscuro” o “nero” e stava per “per un negro o filippino “. Una pubblicazione del 2001 sulla lista dei linguisti di Quinion dice che in origine era un termine per mulo, diventando prima un termine offensivo per uomo nero, quindi nel 1850 (probabile periodo di questo chantey) significava in genere qualcosa di sciocco o persona spregevole.”]
4) in the railroad “pickin’ on a banjo” was a euphemism for digging with a shovel. [per gli sterratori che lavoravano nella costruzione della linea ferrovia americana “pickin’ on a banjo”= scavare con la pala]
5) Stephen Wilson writes: Give her flamin’ gip = give her hell / give her a telling off
6) let ‘er rip = espressione idiomatica, lasciarla andare a tutta birra/a tutto gas, the bastard è riferita all’ancora
7) Chok: the word is thought to have come from chock-full (or choke-full), meaning ‘full to choking’. This dates back to the 15th century This meaning was later used to give a name to the wedges of wood which are used to secure moving objects – chocks. These chocks were used on ships and are referred to in William Falconer’s, An universal dictionary of the marine, 1769: “Chock, a sort of wedge used to confine a cask or other weighty body..when the ship is in motion.  A block and tackle is a pulley system used on sailing ships to hoist the sails ‘chock-a-block’   The phrase describes what occurs the system is raised to its fullest extent – when there is no more rope free and the blocks jam tightly together. in Richard H. Dana “Hauling the reef-tackles chock-a-block.” Nautical. having the blocks drawn closetogether, as when the tackle is hauled to theutmost. (with reference to tackle having the two blocks run close together ) (from here)

John Short Version

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


I
He-back, she-back, daddy shot a bear, 
Shot him in the ass
and he never tuched the hair,
I’m just from the railroad, too-rer-loo,
Oh the old moke picking on the banjo.
II
Roll her boys, bowl her boys,
give her flaming gip
Drag the anchor off the mud
and let the bastard rip 
I’m just from the railroad..
[CHORUS]
Hoo-roo! What’s the matter now?
I’m just from the railroad, too-rer-loo,
I’m just from the railroad, too-rer-loo,
Oh the old moke picking on the banjo.
III
Rock-a-block, chock-a-block,
heave the caps’n round,
Fish the flaming anchor up,
for we are outward bound.
I’m just from the railroad..
IV
Out chocks, two blocks,
heave away or bust,
Bend yer backs, me bully boys,
kick up some flamin’ dust.
I’m just from the railroad…
V
Whisky-O, johnny-O,
the mudhook is in sight,
‘Tis a hell-of-a-way to the gals that wait,
an’ the ol’ Nantucket Light;
I’m just from the railroad..
VI
Pat, get back, take in yer slack.
Heave away, me boys;
Heave away, me bully boys,
why don’t ye make some noise?
I’m just from the railroad..
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
I
He-back, she-back, papà sparò a un orso
gli sparò nel posteriore
e non gli aveva torto un capello
Sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo
Oh il vecchio Moke che suona il banjo!
II
Fatela andare ragazzi, 
datele una tirata
trascinate l’ancora via dal fango
e fate filare la bastarda
sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo
CORO
Hoo-roo! Qual’è il problema ora?
Sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo,
Sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo,
Oh il vecchio Moke che suona il banjo
III
Fate girare il bozzello e bloccatelo (??)
date un giro all’argano
portate su la dannata ancora
perchè siamo in partenza
sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo
IV
Via le zeppe, due bozzelli (??)
issiamo o moriamo
piegate la schiena, miei bravacci,
alzate un po’ di dannata polvere
sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo
V
Whisky o marinaio o
l’approdo è in vista
è un vero inferno per le ragazze che aspettano
al vecchio faro di Nantucket
sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo
VI
Pat, torna indietro, prendi il tuo posto
issiamo, ragazzi
issiamo, miei bravi
perché non vi date da fare?
Sono solo della ferrovia too-rer-loo

LINK
https://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=4424,4424&SongID=4424,4424
https://mainlynorfolk.info/danny.spooner/songs/theoldmokepickingonabanjo.html
http://cliffhaslam.com/?page_id=322
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=71721
https://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/ballads/Be022.html

Bear Away Yankee, Bear Away Boy

The shanty “Bear Away Yankee” (Deep The Water, Shallow The Shore) comes from the singing of West Indies sailors, collected by Alan Lomax and Roger D. Abrahams in the smaller Caribbean islands and published in “Deep The Water, Shallow The Shore “(1974). From the field recordings made in 1962 it was released Caribbean Voyage: Nevis And St. Kitts” album
The chantey-singing fishermen, under the leadership of Walter Roberts or Reginald Syder performed songs used for boat hauling or while sailing, many reflecting past rather than contemporary practice. Notwithstanding, versions of several of the songs are also featured in Abrahams’ book about the tradition: Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore: Three Essays on Shantying in the West Indies, (Austin, University of Texas Press, 1974). (from here)
La shanty “Bear Away Yankee” (Deep The Water, Shallow The Shore) viene dai canti di lavoro nelle Indie Occidentali, collezionata da Alan Lomax e da Roger D. Abrahams nelle isole minori dei Caraibi e pubblicata nella raccolta “Deep The Water, Shallow The Shore” (1974).
Dalle registrazioni sul campo effettuate nel 1962 è stato realizzato l’album “Caribbean Voyage: Nevis And St. Kitts
I pescatori cantavano, sotto la guida di Walter Roberts o Reginald Syder, le canzoni usate per il trasporto di imbarcazioni o durante la navigazione, molte delle quali riflettevano il passato piuttosto che la pratica contemporanea. Nonostante ciò, le versioni di molte delle canzoni sono anche presenti nel libro di Abrahams sulla tradizione: Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore: tre saggi su Shantying nelle Indie occidentali, (Austin, University of Texas Press, 1974). (tradotto da qui)

A rowing chanty presumably dates back to 1831 when on a river trip in Guyana, a White British captain observed the enslaved Africans rowing his boat to sing “their favourite song: Velly well, yankee, velly well oh!
Una rowing chanty che si presume risalga al 1831 quando,durante un viaggio fluviale in Guyana, un capitano britannico bianco osservò degli schiavi africani che remavano nella sua barca cantare “la loro canzone preferita: Velly well, yankee, velly well oh!!

Roy Gumbs live Newcaste, isle of Nevis, 1962

Hulton Clint writes “The first is a recording that Alan Lomax made of Roy Gumbs and party of Newcastle, Nevis in July 1962. The second (starting 1:40) is a rendition presented by Roger Abrahams in _Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore_, from his fieldwork with fishermen in Nevis 1963-66. The textual themes are the same, but the melody noted by Abrahams is different than these men’s colleagues had sung a year or so earlier for Lomax.
La prima parte è la registrazione che Alan Lomax fece di Roy Gumbs e compagni di Newcastle, Nevis, nel luglio 1962. La seconda (a partire da 1:40) è la versione presentata da Roger Abrahams in “Deep Water, Shallow the Shore”, dal suo lavoro sul campo con pescatori a Nevis 1963-66. I temi testuali sono gli stessi, ma la melodia annotata da Abrahams è diversa da quella che i loro colleghi avevano cantato un anno prima per Lomax

Hulton Clint Saint Vincent variant 
This rendition was documented by Roger Abrahams in 1966, and the Vincentian group, The Barrouallie Whalers
He notes: Like many of these men’s songs, the lyrics have an element of taunting. Essentially, it critiques those who would not participate in the work of fishing but who would nevertheless expect to share in the spoils of that work.”
Questa interpretazione è stata documentata da Roger Abrahams nel 1966, e il gruppo vincenziano, The Barrouallie Whalers, Hulton Clint osserva: “Come molte di queste canzoni virili, i testi hanno un elemento di scherno. In sostanza, si critica coloro che pur non partecipando al lavoro di pesca, si aspettavano comunque di condividere il bottino di quel lavoro “.

Kenny Wollesen & The Himalayas Marching Band in Son Of Rogues Gallery ‘Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys ANTI 2013


Bear away (1) Yankee, bear away boy (repeat twice)
Oh what we tell John Gould (2) today?
Bear away Yankee, bear away boy
Oh, deep the water an’ shallow the shore
Bear away Yankee, bear away boy
Bear away Yankee, bear away boy
Bear away Yankee, bear away boy

Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Vento in poppa americano, vento in poppa ragazzo (ripete due volte)
Che diciamo a John Gould oggi?
Vento in poppa..
profondo il mare e fondale basso a riva
Vento in poppa..
Vento in poppa..
Vento in poppa..

NOTE
Like many shanties, the lyrics vary from singer to singer, especially with these fairly simple examples. [Come molti chantey, i testi variano da cantante a cantante]
Pull away all through the day
Bear away to Noble Bay
1) Bear away è un termine nautico per poggiare (o puggiare)
2) John Gould is supposed to have been a shipowner who lost his cargo [John Gould potrebbe essere un armatore che ha perso il suo carico]

LINK
http://research.culturalequity.org/rc-b2/get-audio-ix.do?ix=recording&id=5936&idType=performerId&sortBy=abc
https://www.mustrad.org.uk/reviews/nevis.htm
http://neurosis02.gz01.bdysite.com/index.php/2019/01/13/caribbean-voyage-nevis-and-st-kitts/
http://thejovialcrew.com/?page_id=5180
http://www.tomlewis.net/lyrics/bear_away.htm
https://www.bethsnotesplus.com/2013/12/bear-away-yankee-bear-away-boy.html

Little Sally Racket

“Little Sally Racket” (“Haul her away”) is a sea shanty with peppery jokes about the women of the ports and in particular from Liverpool, the subject lends itself to naughty versions and a lot of variants. The rhythm is related to the Cheerly man shanty, revisited in rap style in the Son of Rogues Gallery compilation.
“Little Sally Racket” ma anche “Haul her away” è una sea shanthy con pepate battute sulle donnine dei porti e in particolare di quelle che bazzicavano per i moli di Liverpool, il soggetto si presta a versioni più “spinte”  e chilometriche varianti.
Il ritmo è imparentato con la Cheerly man shanty, rivisitato in stile rap nella compilation Son of Rogues Gallery.

Shanty Crew Kreuzberg (I, VI, II, V, VII)

Haul Her Away · Maddy Prior & The Girls in Bib & Tuck 2002


I

Little Nancy Dawson, haul ‘er away
She’s got flannel drawers on, haul ‘er away
So says our old bosun, haul ‘er away
With me hauley-high-O! Haul ‘er away!
II
Little Betty Picker (Baker),
Ran off with a Quaker,
Guess her mom couldn’t shake her
III
Little Suzie Skinner
She said she’s a beginner
And she prefers it to her dinner
IV
Little Kitty Carson
Got off with the parson
Now she’s got a little barson
V
Little Dolly Docket,
Washes in a bucket,
She’s a tart but doesn’t look it,
VI
Little Sally Racket
She pawned my new jacket
And she never did regret it
VII
Up my fightin’ cocks boys
Up and split her blocks now
And we’ll stretch her luff, boys
And that’ll be enough, boys
Traduzione italiano di Cattia Salto
I
La piccola Nancy Dawson ala e vira
si è messa i mutandoni di flanella ala e vira
così dice il nostro nostromo, ala e vira
con me tira su! ala e vira
II
Piccola Betty Picker (Baker)
scappata con un quacchero/ credo che la mamma non riesca a dimenticarla
III
La piccola Susy Skinner
diceva di essere una principiante
e lo preferisce alla cena
IV
La piccola Kitty Carson
è scappata con il parroco
e adesso ha un pargoletto
V
La piccola Dolly Docker
si lava in un secchio
è una mignotta ma non lo sembra
VI
La piccola Sally Racket
si è impegnata la mia nuova giubba
e non se n’è mai pentita
VII
Su miei galletti da combattimento
su e ??  i suoi bozzelli
 e orziamo ragazzi
e basta così, ragazzi

Sissy Bounce

The rappers Freedia and Katey have integrated the text of the sea shanty rambling with rhymes and adding a hint of sissy bounce, in New Orleans style.
I rappers Freedia e Katey hanno integrato il testo della sea shanty andando a ruota libera con le rime e aggiungendo un pizzico di sissy bounce, in stile New Orleans.

Katey Red & Big Freedia with Akron Family in Son Of Rogues Gallery ‘Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys ANTI 2013

LINK
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/sallyracket.html
http://www.cobbersbushband.com/haul_em_away.htm
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=72326
http://www.wareham-whalers.org.uk/words/CD_words_pdf/Haul_Er_Away.pdf
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/shanty/cheerily.htm

The Coasts of High Barbary

Leggi in italiano

The George Aloe and the Sweepstake o (The Coasts of) High Barbary is considered both a sea shanty and a ballad (Child ballad # 285) and certainly its original version is very old and probably from the 16th century. So ‘in the seventeenth-century comedy “The Two Noble Kinsmen” we read: “The George Alow came from the south, From the coast of Barbary-a; And there he met with brave gallants of war, By one, by two, by three-a. Well hail’d, well hail’d, you jolly gallants! And whither now are you bound-a? O let me have your company”

French_ship_under_atack_by_barbary_pirates

BARBARY PIRATES

The Muslim pirates of the African coasts came from what the Europeans called Barbary or Algeria Tunisia, Libya, Morocco (and more precisely the city-states of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, but also the ports of Salé and Tetuan).
The most correct definition is barbarian pirates because they attacked only the ships of Christian Europe (also doing raids in the Christian countries of the Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean to get slaves or to get the best redemptions). The term included Arabs, Berbers, Turks as well as European renegades.
In the affair there were also for good measure the Christian corsairs, which carried out the same raids along the coasts of Barbary (mainly the orders of chivalry of the Knights of Malta and the Knights of St. Stephen, but obviously in these cases it was a matter of “crusade” and not piracy !!

Although pirate activities were endemic in the Mediterranean Sea, the period of maximum activity of the barbarian pirates was the first half of the 1600s.

FIRST VERSION: a forebitter

Stan Hugill in his bible “Shanties From The Seven Seas” shows two melodies: one more ancient when the song was a forebitter and a faster one as a capstan chantey.
The oldest version of the ballad tells of two merchant ships The George Aloe, and The Sweepstake with George Aloe who avenges the sinking of the second ship using the same “courtesy” to the crew of the French pirate ship who had thrown into the sea the Sweepstake crew.
Pete Seeger

Joseph Arthur from  Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006 (biography and records here) rock version

There were two lofty ships
From old England came
Blow high, blow low
And so sail we
One was the Prince of Luther
The other Prince of Wales
All a-cruisin’ down the coast
Of High Barbary
“Aloft there, aloft there”
Our jolly bosun cried
“Look ahead, look astern,
Look to weather an’ a-lee”
“There’s naught upon the stern, sir
There’s naught upon our lee
But there’s a lofty ship to wind’ard
An’ she’s sailin’ fast and free”
“Oh hail her, oh hail her”
Our gallant captain cried
“Are you a man-o-war
Or a privateer?” cried he
“Oh, I’m not a man-o-war
Nor privateer,” said he
“But I am salt sea pirate
All a-looking for me fee”
For Broadside, for broadside
A long time we lay
‘Til at last the Prince of Luther
Shot the pirate’s mast away
“Oh quarter, oh quarter”
Those pirates they did cry
But the quarter that we gave them
Was we sank ‘em in the sea

SECOND VERSION: a sea shanty

The ballad resumed popularity in the years between 1795 and 1815 in conjunction with the attacks of Barbary pirates to American ships.

Tom Kines from “Songs from Shakespeare´s Plays and Songs of His Time”,1960
a version of how it was sung in the Elizabethan era

Quadriga Consort from Ships Ahoy 2013

Assassin’s Creed Black Flag  sea shanty version

The Shanty Crew

“Look ahead, look-astern
Look the weather in the lee!”
Blow high! Blow low!
And so sailed we.

“I see a wreck to windward,
And a lofty ship to lee!
A-sailing down along
The coast of High Barbary”
“O, are you a pirate
Or a man o’ war?” cried we.
“O no! I’m not a pirate
But a man-o-war,” cried he.
“We’ll back up our topsails
And heave vessel to.
For we have got some letters
To be carried home by you”.
For broadside, for broadside
They fought all on the main;
Until at last the frigate
Shot the pirate’s mast away.
“For quarter, for quarter”,
the saucy pirates cried
But the quarter that we showed them
was to sink them in the tide
With cutlass and gun,
O we fought for hours three;
The ship it was their coffin
And their grave it was the sea
But O! ‘Twas a cruel sight,
and grieved us, full sore,
To see them all a drownin’
as they tried to swim to shore

LINK
http://www.contemplator.com/england/barbary.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=137331 https://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/barbaree.html http://www.ilportaledelsud.org/barbareschi.htm http://www.ilportaledelsud.org/pirati.htm
http://71.174.62.16/Demo/LongerHarvest?Text=ChildRef_285

South Australia sea shanty

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Under the heading Codefish shanty we have two versions, one of Cape Cod and the other of South Australia: the titles are “Cape Cod girls” and “Rolling King” or “Bound for South Australia” (or simply “South Australia”).
Which of the two versions was born before is not certain, we can only detect a great variety of texts and also the combination with different melodies. At the beginning probably a “going-away song”, one of those songs that the sailors sang only for special occasions ie when they were on the route of the return journey.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA VERSION

“As an original worksong it was sung in a variety of trades, including being used by the wool and later the wheat traders who worked the clipper ships between Australian ports and London. In adapted form, it is now a very popular song among folk music performers that is recorded by many artists and is present in many of today’s song books.In the days of sail, South Australia was a familiar going-away song, sung as the men trudged round the capstan to heave up the heavy anchor. Some say the song originated on wool-clippers, others say it was first heard on the emigrant ships. There is no special evidence to support either belief; it was sung just as readily aboard Western Ocean ships as in those of the Australian run. Laura Smith, a remarkable Victorian Lady, obtained a 14-stanza version of South Australia from a coloured seaman in the Sailors’ Home at Newcastle-on-Tyne, in the early 1880’s. The song’s first appearance in print was in Miss Smith’s Music of the Waters. Later, it was often used as a forebitter, sung off-watch, merely for fun, with any instrumentalist joining in. It is recorded in this latter-day form. The present version was learnt from an old sailing-ship sailor, Ted Howard of Barry, in South Wales. Ted told how he and a number of shellbacks were gathered round the bed of a former shipmate. The dying man remarked: “Blimey, I think I’m slipping my cable. Strike up South Australia, lads, and let me go happy.” (A.L. Lloyd in Across the Western Plains from here)

This kind of songs were a mixture of improvised verses and a series of typical verses, but generally the refrain of the chorus was standardized and univocal (even for the obvious reason that it had to be sung by sailors coming from all the countries).
The length of the song depended on the type of work to be done and could reach several strophes. The song then took on its own life as a popular song in the folk repertoire.
The first appearance in collections on sea shanties dates back to 1881.
hulllogo

The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem 1962 the version that has been the model in the folk environment

Let’s see them in a pirate version in the TV adaptation of the “Treasure Island”

Johnny Collins, from “Shanties & Songs of the Sea” 1996

The Pogues

Gaelic Storm from Herding Cats (1999) they recall the version of the Pogues. It is interesting to compare the same group that has also tried with the arrangement of  Cape Code Girls.

In South Australia(1) I was born!
Heave away! Haul away!
South Australia round Cape Horn(2)!
We’re bound for South Australia!
Heave away, you rolling king(3),
Heave away! Haul away!
All the way you’ll hear me sing
We’re bound for South Australia!

As I walked out one morning fair,
It’s there I met Miss Nancy Blair.
I shook her up, I shook her down,
I shook her round and round the town.
There ain’t but one thing grieves my mind,
It’s to leave Miss Nancy Blair behind.
And as you wallop round Cape Horn,
You’ll wish to God you’d never been born!
I wish I was on Australia’s strand
With a bottle of whiskey in my hand

NOTES
1) Land of gentlemen and not deportees, the state is considered a “province” of Great Britain
2) the ships at the time of sailing followed the oceanic routes, that is those of winds and currents: so to go to Australia starting from America it was necessary to dub Africa, but what a trip!!

3) Another reasonable explanation  fromMudcat “The chanteyman seems to be calling the sailors rolling kings rather that refering to any piece of equipment. And given that “rolling” seems to be a common metaphor for “sailing” (cf. Rolling down to old Maui, Roll the woodpile down, Roll the old chariot along, etc.) I would guess that he is calling them “sailing kings” i.e. great sailors. There are a number of chanteys which have lines expressing the idea of “What a great crew we are.” and I think this falls into that category.” (here)
Moreover every sailor fantasized about the meaning of the word, for example Russel Slye writes ” When I was in Perth (about 1970) I met an old sailor in a bar. I found he had sailed on the Moshulu (4 masted barque moored in Philly now) during the grain trade. I asked him about Rolling Kings. His reply (abridged): “We went ashore in India and other places, and heard about a wheel-rolling-king who was a big boss of everything. Well, when the crew was working hauling, those who wasn’t pulling too hard were called rolling kings because they was acting high and mighty.” So, it is a derogatory term for slackers. (from here).
And yet without going to bother ghostly Kings (in the wake of the medieval myth of King John and the fountain of eternal youth) the word could very well be a corruption of “rollikins” an old English term for “drunk”.
Among the many hilarious hypotheses this (for mockery) of Charley Noble: it could be a reference to Elvis Prisley!

There is also a MORRIS DANCE version confirming the popularity of the song

Codefish Cape Cod Girls

LINK
http://www.historicalfolktoys.com/catcont/95301.html
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/cape-cod-girls.html
http://www.folkways.si.edu/paul-clayton/cape-cod-girls/american-folk/music/track/smithsonian
http://www.capecod.com/about-cape-cod/cape-cod-history/
http://www.cavolettodibruxelles.it/2014/11/cape-cod
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/southaustralia.html
http://www.jsward.com/shanty/codfish/index.html
http://shanty.rendance.org/lyrics/showlyric.php/australia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Australia_(song)
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=48959
http://www.abc.net.au/arts/blog/barnaby-smith/morris-dancing-broken-knuckles-bells-folk-festivals-150327/default.htm

Cape Cod Girls

Leggi in italiano

Under the heading Codefish shanty we have two versions, one of Cape Cod and the other of South Australia: the titles are “Cape Cod girls” and “Rolling King” or “Bound for South Australia” (or simply “South Australia”).
Which of the two versions was born before is not certain, we can only detect a great variety of texts and also the combination with different melodies.

At the beginning probably a “going-away song”, one of those songs that the sailors sang only for special occasions ie when they were on the route of the return journey.

CAPE COD GIRLS

cape-cod-girlThe most demented version and therefore by “pirate song” that goes for the most in the Renaissance Fairs is that which comes from the peninsula of Cape Cod (State of Massachusetts).
Cape Cod was the first landing of the Mayflower – the first ship that carried the English “pilgrims” on the land overseas, the “New England”.
The activity was based on fishing for fish (especially cod) and whaling.

The climate is mild thanks to the Atlantic currents: there it is summer (warm-cool) or winter (cold-mild) and summer lasts until early December, it is the so-called Indian Summer, always due in the presence of the Atlantic Ocean, which slowly spreads the heat forfeited during the summer.

Yarmouth Shantymen

The Crew of the Mimi 1984

Baby Gramps in “Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys“, ANTI- 2006. The particular voice as Popeye is  a vocal style: “The style is called “vocal fry”.  It has been variously employed for effect by heavy metal artists among others.  The techniques used to achieve it are akin to those used by Central Asian throat-singers and Tibetan monks, though of a lesser order.  Its appropriateness for the singing of pirate songs will be a subject for lively debate” (Tipi Dan)

Gaelic Storm from The Boathouse, 2013


Cape Cod(1) girls
ain’t got no combs,
Heave away, haul away!
They comb their hair
with a codfish bone(2),
And we’re bound away for Australia(3)!
So heave her up, me bully bully boys,
Heave away, haul away!
Heave her up,
why don’t you make some noise?

And we’re bound away for Australia!

Cape Cod boys
ain’t got no sleds,
They ride down hills
on a codfish head.
Cape Cod mothers
don’t bake no pies,
They feed their children
codfish eyes.
Cape Cod cats
ain’t got no tails,
They got blown off
in northeast gales.

Other lines variously combined in which the cod are mentioned in all the sauces !!

Cape Cod girls
don’t wear no frills
They’re plain and skinny
like a codfish gills.
Cape Cod doctors
ain’t got no pills,
They give their patients
codfish gills.
Cape Cod folks
don’t have no ills
Them Cape Cod doctors
feed them codfish pills
Cape Cod dogs
ain’t got no bite,
They lost it barking
at the Cape Cod light.
Yankee girls
don’t sleep on beds,
They go to sleep on codfish heads.
Cape Cod girls
have got big feet,
Codfish roes is nice an’ sweet.
Cape Cod girls
they are so fine,
They know how to bait a codfish line.

 NOTES
1) the port par excellence of Cape Cod and of the fishermen of Massachusetts is the port of Provincetown
2) think about the sirens who are notoriously on the beach or a rock to comb their long hair while singing
3) the ships at the time of sailing followed the oceanic routes, that is those of winds and currents: so to go to Australia starting from America it was necessary to dub Africa, but what a trip!!

 

“South Australia” version

LINK
http://www.historicalfolktoys.com/catcont/95301.html
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/cape-cod-girls.html
http://www.folkways.si.edu/paul-clayton/cape-cod-girls/american-folk/music/track/smithsonian
http://www.capecod.com/about-cape-cod/cape-cod-history/
http://www.cavolettodibruxelles.it/2014/11/cape-cod
https://mainlynorfolk.info/lloyd/songs/southaustralia.html
http://www.jsward.com/shanty/codfish/index.html
http://shanty.rendance.org/lyrics/showlyric.php/australia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Australia_(song)
http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=48959
http://www.abc.net.au/arts/blog/barnaby-smith/morris-dancing-broken-knuckles-bells-folk-festivals-150327/default.htm

“Fire Down Below” the last shanty

Leggi in italiano

“Fire Down Below” in addition to being the title of a film and a rock song is above all a sea shanty) according to Stan Hugill “the laswt shanty”. Given the theme it was often used as pump chanty but also as capstan chanty.

JOHN SHORT VERSION

The authors of the project “Short Sharps Shanties” write: There was a broadside called Fire! Fire! Fire! – printed by the Glasgow Poet’s Box on the 23rd Nov. 1867.  Versions were also printed by Fortey of London and Sanderson of Edinburgh at about the same time. The chorus is obviously related to, if not the origin of, the shanty:Fire! fire! fire!, Now I’s bound to go;
Can’t you give us a bucket of water,
Dere’s a fire down below.
The text is in a faux-Negro patois and describes Aunt Sally nearly dying in a house-fire.  There was also a parody, printed by Such of London at about the same time, where the text is concerned with a country boy’s encounter with a city girl and the more familiar ‘fire down below’ caused by venereal disease.
Fire! fire! fire!, Fire down below;
Let us hope that we shall never see,
A fire down below.
Perhaps surprisingly, neither theme seems to recur in any of the collected versions of the shanty although plenty of contemporary shanty-singers adopt a nudge-nudge-wink-wink view of the chorus. Tozer and Sharp give it as a pumping shanty, Hugill cites it as a favourite for the purpose, and Colcord says that “Almost any of the capstan shanties could be used on the pump-brakes, but a few were kept [as this one is], by the force of convention, for no other use.”
Hugill comments that, of his five versions, Short’s version has “a not so musical pattern. This form has become popular with radio shanty-singers.”  All verses except the last come from Short although, inexplicably, he only gave Sharp the ‘fire in the galley’ verse on the day and subsequently sent him, by post, the other four verses. (tratto da qui)

Jackie Oates from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor Vol 1 (su Spotify)

Chorus
Fire, fire, fire down below,
It’s Fetch a bucket of water girls
There’s fire down below.
I
Fire in the galley, fire down below.
It’s fetch a bucket of water girls,
There’s fire down below.
fire, fire..
II
Fire in the bottom fire in the main
It’s fetch a bucket of water girls,
And put it out again.
fire, fire..
III
As I walked out one morning
all in the month of June
I overheard an irish girl
sing this old song
fire, fire..
IV
Fire in the lifeboat,
fire in the gig(6),
Fire in the pig-stye roasting of the pig.
fire, fire..
V
Fire up aloft boy  and fire down below,
It’s fetch a bucket of water girls,
There’s fire down below.


Shanty Gruppe Breitling
from Haul the Bowline 2013 


Fire in the galley, fire in the house,
Fire in the beef kid(1), scorching the scouse(2).
Fire, fire, fire down below,
Fetch a bucket of water boys
Fire down below.
Fire in the forepeak(3) fire in the main(4)
fire in the windlass(5) fire in the chain.
Fire in the lifeboat, fire in the gig(6),
Fire in the pig-stye roasting the pig.
Fire on the orlop(7) (cabine) fire in the hold.
Fire in the strong room melting the gold.
Fire round the capstan(5), fire on the mast,
Fire on the main deck, burning it fast.
Fire on .. 

NOTES
1) Beefkid = small wooden tub in which beef salt is served.
2) It is a traditional dish of Liverpool, that is a meat stew with potatoes, onions, carrots. It is a popular dish of poor cooking. Scouse is also the typical accent of Liverpool (of the popular classes) with clear Celtic influences, the origin of the accent is derived most likely from the English pronunciation by Irish immigrants arrived in Liverpool to look for work. In the 1841 census a quarter of the inhabitants of Liverpool were born in Ireland and again from the census at the beginning of the twenty-first century it was found that 60% of Liverpudlians originated in Ireland.
3) forepeak= the interior part of a vessel that is furthest forward; the part of a ship’s interior in the angle of the bow
4) main= ocean
5) windlass and capstan they are two different “machines” which, however, perform the same function, that of lifting weights by the use of a rope or chain.
6) gig= A light rowboat, powerboat or sailboat, often used as a fast launch for the captain or for a lighthouse keeper. The gig was always designed for speed, and was not used as a working boat.
7) orlop = the name of a lower deck.

CARIBBEAN VERSION

This version comes from the Caribbean fishermen from the Isle of Nevis (reported by Roger Abrahams in “Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore”)
Hulton Clint

FOLK VERSION

A decadent version that with the “fire in the lower parts” alludes to the disruptive sexuality of a young girl!

Nick Cave from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs and Chanteys  ANTI 2006.

She was the parson’s daughter
With her red and rosy cheeks
(Way, hey, hee, hi, ho!)
She went to church on Sunday
And sang the anthem sweet
(‘Cause there’s fire down below)
The parson was a misery
So scraggy and so thin
“Look here, you motherfuckers
If you lead a life of sin.
He took his text from Malachi(1)
And pulled a weary face
Well, I fucked off for Africa
And there, I feel(2) from grace.
The parson’s little daughter
Was as sweet as sugar-candy
I said to her, “us sailors
Would make lovers neat and handy”.
She says to me, “you sailors
Are a bunch of fucking liars
And all of you are bound to hell
To feed the fucking fires”.
Well, there’s fire down below, my lad
So we must do what we oughta
‘Cause the fire is not half as hot
As the parson’s little daughter.
Yes, there’s fire (fire)
Down (down)
Below (below)

NOTES
1) Malachi was an Old Testament Prophet who lived in the fifth century a. C.
2) found written both as a feel and as a fell

LINK
http://www.bethsnotesplus.com/2015/01/fire-down-below.html
http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/783.html
http://www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/19/fire.htm
http://mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=2020
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=35083
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Or32B_IZWKs
https://ismaels.wordpress.com/2008/11/01/rogue%E2%80%99s-gallery-the-art-of-the-siren-4/

A fierce song for halyard: Bully in the Alley

Leggi in italiano

“Bully in the Alley” is a halyard shanty with origins referable to the black slaves involved in loading and unloading cotton bales in the ports (cotton screwing).
The bully here is a boozing sailor left in an alley by his still “sober” companions, who will move on to pick him up when returning to the ship.

Shinbone Alley is an alley in New York but also in Bermuda, but metaphorically speaking it is found in every “sailor town”. More generally it is an exotic indication for the Caribbean, the alley of a legendary “pirates den” , where every occasion is good for a fist fight! (first meaning for bully). Or it is the alley of an equally generic port city of the continent full of pubs and cheerful ladies, where if you get drunk, you end up waking up “enlisted” on a warship or a merchant ship (second meaning for bully). So our victim in love with Sally instead of marrying her, he goes to sea!
And finally a last interpretation: a “very good”, or “first rate” sailor (the rooster of the henhouse!)
According to Stan Hugill “Bully in the Alley” has become a seafaring expression to indicate a “stubborn” ship that wants to go in its direction in spite of the helmsman’s intention
This song is nowadays among the most popular “pirate songs”!
Take a look to these bully boys!

Assassin’s creed IV black flag

Chorus
Help me, Bob(1),
I’m bully in the alley,
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
Help me, Bob, I’m bully in the alley, Bully down in “shinbone al“!
I
Sally(2) is the girl that I love dearly,
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
Sally is the girl that I spliced dearly(3),
Bully down in “shinbone al
 II
For seven long years I courted little Sally,
But all she did was dilly and dally(4).
III
I ever get back, I’ll marry little Sally,
Have six kids and live in Shin-bone Alley.

NOTES
1)  God
2) Sally (or Sal) is the generic name of the girls of the Caribbean seas and of South America
3) also written as “Spliced nearly” means “almost married”, and yet the meaning lends itself to sexual allusions
4) to wastetime, especially by being slow, or by not being able to make a decision

Morrigan: Text version identical to the previous one but with an additional stanza before the last closing that says:
“I’ll leave Sal and I’ll become a sailor,
I’ll leave Sal and ship aboard a whaler.”

Three Pruned Men from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys  ANTI 2006.

Text version identical to the previous one but with a closing stanza that says:


Sally got down and dirty last night,
Sally got down and she spliced (5),
The sailors left last night,
The sailors got a ball of wax (6),
NOTES
5) in slang to splice it means having sex (uniting parts of the body in sexual activity) but also uniting with marriage
6) It is an idiom that means the totality of something; a hypothesis on the origin of the term: This is a form of initiation of freemasons. The freemasons took it from the scarab beetle, which is said to roll a ball of earth, which is a microcosm of the universe. I believe it is thought to spring from the ancient mysteries of Egypt. There was much amateur Egyptology during the 19th and early 20th century. The ball of wax has transcendental meaning. It represents a mystery of human godlike creativity which a person aspiring to the mystery of masonic lore carries with him. In the initiation, the person was given a small ball of earwax or some such, which would represent the cosmos. Reference to this ball of wax was a secret symbol of brotherhood. (from here)

Paddy and the Rats

Short Sharp version

The curators of the project write: “It feels as though this version is far closer to a cotton-screwing chant than the Hugill version. (Carpenter makes a note beside the version from Edward Robinson that it also was for ‘cotton screwing’).  There is only one complete verse and a couple of phrases from Short to Sharp, so the additional words are from Hugill’s version but ignoring location aspects and reworked to fit Short’s significantly different structure” (from here)

Tom Brown in Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 3 ♪ 

I=V
So help me, Bob ,
I’m bully in the alley,
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
Bully down in an alley
Chorus
So help me, Bob, 
I’m bully in the alley,
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
(solo) Bully in Teapot alley
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
II
Sally is the girl down in our alley,
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
Sally is the girl down in our alley,
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
Have you seen on Sally?
Chorus
(solo) I could love her cheerly
Way, hey, bully in the alley!
III
Sally is the girl that I love dearly
Sally is the girl that I love dearly
She is the girl in the alley
Chorus
Oh I’ll spliced to nearly
Way, hey, bully in the alley
IV
I’ll leave my Sally go a sailin’
I’ll leave my Sally go a wailin’
One day I’ll wed Sally
Chorus
Wedding bed my Sally
Way, hey, bully in the alley

LINK
https://terreceltiche.altervista.org/sally-brown/
http://mainlynorfolk.info/watersons/songs/bullyinthealley.html http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/bully-in-the-alley.html http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=31335
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=43912
http://www.umbermusic.co.uk/SSSnotes.htm#bully%20alley

Hanging Johnny : hang, boys, hang

Leggi in italiano

“Hanging Johnny” is an halyard shanty in which we talk about the hangman who hangs all those who bother him! Immediately, the scholars wanted to find a historical figure who incarnated this executioner in Jack Ketch notorious executioner in the seventeenth century London.

But for the sailors the phrase “hanging Johnny” has a whole other meaning.

THE WORK OF THE HANGED SAILOR

In order to hoist the heavier sails, they followed a strange procedure : the younger and nimble sailors (and less paid as they were apprentices) climbed up on the masthead and, after grabbing a halyard, jumped in the air, hanging like so many hangers. As they descended, they were helped by the efforts of the remaining sailors to slowly reach the deck.
Joys explained that “hanging Johnny” did not refer to a sheriff’s hangman, but instead to nimble young sailors who, when a topsail was to be hoisted, would climb to the masthead and “swing out” on the proper halyard. They would then ride to the deck as the men at the foot of the mast brought them down by their successive pulls. Joys recalled one chanteyman who would always tell the boys when to swing out by shouting up to them, “Hang, you bastards, hang!” Then, while the boys were hanging on the halyard fifty feet or more above the deck, he’d start his song and the crew would make two pulls on each chorus. When the boys hit the deck, they would tail on behind the other men and pull with them until the work was finished.
Joys added that the word “hang” was “the best goddamn pullin’ word in the language, especially on a down haul.” Ashley said the tune was “a bit mournful, but a good one for hoisting light canvas,” noting that the words enabled the sailors to find fault, good-naturedly, with all their real and fancied enemies, “if the work lasted long enough.”
 (from “Windjammers: Songs of the Great Lakes Sailors” by Ivan H. Walton and Joe Grimm, 2002 here)

So on Mudcats a heated debate has opened up: “The words “Hang, boys, hang,” are used in a topsail-halliard hoist, when sweating up the yard “two blocks” where, in swaying off, the whole weight of the body is used. The sing-out, from some old shellback, usually being words such as “Hang, heavy! Hang, buttocks! Hang you sons of ——-, Hang.” After setting the topsails, we gave her the main-topgallant sail, which was all she could carry in a heavy head-sea. The decks were awash all day. “…. the chantey was sung with a jerk and a swing as only chanteys in 6/8 time can be sung. While the words were of Negro extraction, yet it was a great favorite with us and sung nearly every time the topsails were hoisted.” (from Frederick Pease Harlow, 1928, The Making of a Sailor, Dover reprint of Publication Number 17 of the Marine Research Society, Salem, MA here)

Definitely a perfect “pirate song”! I found this piece of film about the golden age of the great vessels in which the song is sung.

Oh they call me hanging Johnny.
Away, boys, away.
They says I hangs for money.
Oh hang, boys, hang.
And first I hanged my Sally
and then I hanged my granny.

JOHN SHORT VERSION

Sharp publishes a set of words in which the shantyman does not himself hang people and indeed sings, I never hung nobody. Hugill is adamant (as is Terry) that no shantyman ever claimed that anyone other than himself was the hangman, and that “Sentimental verses like some collectors give were never sung – Sailor John hanged any person or thing he would think about without a qualm.” Checking these ‘some collectors’, one finds several who elect only to hang the bad guys – liars, murderers, etc. – are these the verses Hugill means by ‘sentimental’ or is he having a go at Sharp for the shantyman not being the hangman himself? Sharp’s notebooks show that he recorded from Short the same as he published. It could be that Short is self-censoring but it seems unlikely given that Short seems happy, in various other shanties, to sing text that might not be regarded as genteel (e.g. Nancy, Lucy Long, Shanadore). Short was, however, a deeply religious man and, if this is not simply an early and less developed form of the shanty, then he may have deliberately avoided casting himself as hangman – we will never know! Notwithstanding, and contrary to Hugill’s assertion, there was at least one shantyman who actually sang I never hung nobody.

Collectors’/publishers’ reactions to the shanty are curiously mixed: Bullen merely notes that “shanties whose choruses were adapted for taking two pulls in them… were exceedingly useful”, Fox-Smith that it had an “almost macabre irony which is not found in any other shanty”, and Maitland that “This is about as doleful a song as I ever heard” but, in an almost poetic description points out that “there’s a time when it comes in. For instance after a heavy blow, getting more sail on the ship. The decks are full of water and the men cannot keep their feet. The wind has gone down, but the seas are running heavy. A big comber comes over the rail; the men are washed away from the rope. If it wasn’t for the man at the end of the rope gathering in the slack as the men pull, all the work would have to be done over again.” – Horses for courses! (from here)

Tom Brown from Short Sharp Shanties : Sea songs of a Watchet sailor vol 1


They called me hanging Johnny,
urrhay-i-, urrhay-i-,
They called me hanging Johnny
so hang, boys, hang
They hanged me poor old father
They hanged me poor old mother
Yes they hanged me mother
Me sister and me brother
They hanged me sister Sally
They strung her up so canny
They said I handeg for money
But I never hanged nobody
Oh boys we’ll haul and hang the ship
oh haul her ropes so neat
We’ll hang him forever,
We’ll hang for better weather,
A rope, a beam, a ladder,
I’ll hang ye all together

ADDITIONAL VERSIONS

Stan Ridgway from  Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI 2006. Masterful interpretation that transforms the shanty into a melancholy folk song

The Salts live in a jaunty version

 Stan Ridgway lyrics
I
They call me hanging Johnny,
yay (away )-hay-i-o
I never hanged nobody
hang, boys, hang
Well first I hanged your mother
Me sister and me brother
I’d hang to make things jolly
I’d hang all wrong and folly
A rope, a beam, a ladder,
I’ll hang ye all together
Well next I hanged me granny
I’d hang the wholly family
They call me hanging Johnny,
I never hanged nobody
II
Come hang, come haul together,
Come hang for finer weather,
Hang on from the yardarm
Hang the sea and buy a big farm
They call me hanging Johnny,
I never hanged nobody
I’d hang the mates and skippers,
I’d hang ‘em by their flippers
I’d hang the highway robber,
I’d hang the burglar jobber;
I’d hang a noted liar,
I’d hang a bloated friar;
They say I hung a copper,
I gave him the long dropper

LINK
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=72779
http://mainlynorfolk.info/peter.bellamy/songs/hangingjohnny.html
http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20774/20774-h/20774-h.htm#Hanging_Johnny
http://www.contemplator.com/sea/hanging.html
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/shanty/thycalme.htm

My Bonnie Highland Lassie sea shanty

Leggi in italiano

Under the title Hieland laddie (Highland lassie) a series of texts are grouped with the same melody (a traditional Scottish air) entitled “If thou’t play me fair play” or “The Lass of Livingston”

“Tune first published under the title “Cockleshell” in Playford‘s “Apollo’s Banquet” (London, 1690) and “Dancing Master”, 11th edition of 1701. It then appears in the “Drummond Castle Manuscript”, inscribed “A collection of Country Dances written for the use of His Grace the Duke of Perth, By Dav. Young, 1734.”
Earliest printing in Robert Bremner (1720 – 1789, music seller in Edinburgh) ‘s 1757 Collection” (from here)

MILITARY MARCH

In Scotland, the “marcing song” is synonymous with bagpipes! “Hieland laddie” was the march of all Scottish regiments before “Scotland the Brave”.

THE SCOTTISH DANCE

A particularly energetic dance competition

SEA SHANTY: Bonny Laddie, Heiland Laddie (My Bonnie Highland Lassie)

The melody was also used as a capstan and a “stamp and go” shanty, and (without the grand chorus) as a halyard shanty. It was popular on the Dundee Whalers, then later used (c. 1830’s and 40’s) as a work song for stowing lumber and cotton in the Southeastern and Gulf ports of the United States. Highland Laddie was used for long and slow maneuvers: hoisting sails above (2 pulls per chorus) or hauling up the anchor. It was sung in two voices: a solo asking the question (Where have been ye all the day, my Bonnie Laddie Hieland?) and the answer given in chorus by the crew (Way hay and away we go, Bonnie Laddie, Laddie Hieland). (from here)

Pete Seeger live

I
Was you ever in Quebec?
Bonny laddie, Highland laddie,
Stowing timber on the deck,
My bonny Highland laddie.
CHORUS
High-ho, and away we goes,
Bonny laddie, Highland laddie,
High-ho, and away we goes,
My bonny Highland laddie.

II
Was you ever in Aberdeen
Prettiest girls that you’ve ever seen(1).
III
Was you ever in Baltimore
Dancing on the sanded floor?
IV
Was you ever in Callao(2)
Where the girls are never slow?
V
Was you ever in Merasheen(3)
Where you stayed fast to tree(4)?

NOTES
1) scottish song and scottish beauty
2) large port of Peru
3) or Merrimashee: there is an island of Merasheen in Newfoundland (Canada), but more likely is Miramichi, a small town in Canada, located in the province of New Brunswick; Merrimashee is also a large river that gives its name to the bay where flows into the Gulf of San Lorenzo. Often the sailors crippled the names of the places that they  did not know.
Italo Ottonello found this note: Merasheen, located on the southwestern tip of Merasheen Island in Placentia Bay, was one of the larger and more prosperous communities resettled. Settled by English, Irish and Scottish in the late 18th century, the community eventually became predominantly Roman Catholic with families of Irish descent. In an ideal location to prosecute the inshore cod fishery along with the herring and lobster fisheries in the ice-free harbour during winter and spring, it appeared that Merasheen would not succumb to the same fate as other small resettled communities.
This is how Ottonello observes: “it seems to hint at a generic stormy place, rather than a particular site”.
4) or “you tie up to a tree”, “Where you make fast to a tree”;

The Kingston Trio.
The checked stanzas are an addition of the group

Was you ever in Quebec
Bonny Laddie, Hielan’ laddie
Stowing timber on the deck
Bonny Hielan’ Laddie

Was you ever in Dundee
There some pretty ships you’ll see
“This Boston town don’t suit my notion
And I’m bound for far away
So, I’ll pack my bag and sail the ocean
And I’ll see you on another day”
Was you ever in Mobile Bay
Loading cotton by the day
Was you ever ‘round Cape Horn
With the Lion and the Unicorn (1)
“One of these days and it won’t be long
And I’m bound for far away
You’ll take a look around and find me gone
And I’ll see you on another day”
Was you ever in Monterey
On that town with three months pay
Was you ever in Aberdeen
Prettiest girls that you’ve ever seen
“Farewell, dear friends, I’m leaving soon
And I’m bound for far away
We’ll meet again this coming June
And I’ll see you on another day”

NOTES
1) it is the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, the lion symbolizes England and the unicorn of Scotland;

Bonnie Highland Lassie

Nils Brown, Sean Dagher, Clayton Kennedy, John Giffen, David Gossage from Assassin’s Creed Rogue (sea shanty edition)

I
Were you ever in Roundstone Town (1)?
Bonnie Lassie Hieland Lassie,
Were you ever in Roundstone Town?
My bonnie hieland lassie-o
I was often in Roundstone Town
Drinking milk and eating flour
Although I am a young maid
Come lately from my mammy-o
II
Were you ever in Bombay
Bonnie Lassie Hieland Lassie,
Were you ever in Bombay
My bonnie hieland lassie-o
I was often in old Bombay
Drinking coffee and bohay (2)
Although I am a young maid
Come lately from my mammy-o

III
Were you ever in Quebec?
Bonnie Lassie Hieland Lassie,
Were you ever in Quebec?
My bonnie hieland lassie-o
I was often in Quebec
Stowing timber up on deck
Although I am a young maid
Come lately from my mammy-o
IV
Are you fit to sweep the floor?
Bonnie Lassie Hieland Lassie,
Are you fit to sweep the floor?
My bonnie hieland lassie-o
I am fit to sweep the floor
As the lock is for the door
Although I am a young maid
Come lately from my mammy-o

NOTE
1) Roundstone is a small fishing village near Connemara (County Galway)
2) Roundstone is a small fishing village near Connemara (County Galway)
2) bohea is a blend of black tea originating in the Wuyi mountain region of southeastern China; in practice it was once synonymous with tea

LINK
http://chrsouchon.free.fr/hielladd.htm
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/danze-scozzesi.html
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/bonnie-hieland-lassie.html
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/shanty/wasuever.htm
http://cornemusique.free.fr/ukhighlandladdie.php
https://thesession.org/tunes/1524
http://www.rampantscotland.com/songs/blsongs_laddiegone.htm
http://compvid101.blogspot.it/2009/11/ktpete-seegertommy-makemludwig-von.html
http://cornemusique.free.fr/ukhighlandladdie.php
http://www.shanty.org.uk/archive_songs/donkey-riding.html
https://mainlynorfolk.info/folk/songs/donkeyriding.html
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=41062
http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=54643
http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/h/hielandl.html
http://www.tannahillweavers.com/lyrics/3031lyr5.htm