Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #19
Song: Bob Neuwirth: Haul on the Bowline (1:30 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.
Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.
Image: Jay French Studios: The Mythic Beauties series, 2005.
1. Haul on the bowline, homeward we are going.
Haul on the bowlin’, the bowlin’ haul!
2. Haul on the bowline, before she starts a-rolling.
3. Haul on the bowline, the Captain is a-growling.
4. Haul on the bowline, so early in the morning.
5. Haul on the bowline, to Bristol we are going.
6. Haul on the bowline, Kitty is my darling.
7. Haul on the bowline, Kitty comes from Liverpool.
8. Haul on the bowline, It’s far cry to pay day.
Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:
This may be one of the oldest chanteys known. The bowline was an important rope in sailing vessels dating back to the middle ages. After the 1500s, with the advent of stays’ls, the bowline diminished in importance and this chantey was used at tacks and sheets.
Plus: Extended bonus track by Hulton Clint, cutting himself off in alternate lyrics and three voices at his kitchen table, and explaining in 5:33 minutes:
One of the most widely recorded/notated chanteys, probably due to its simplicity and transparency, “Haul on the Bowline” is also conjectured to be one of the oldest known. The so-called “bowline” that it mentions has not been used “for any rope on which a shanty would be sung” (Doerflinger 1951) since at least the early 17th century. However, what was called the bowline then was equivalent to what was later called the foresheet; hence, this is a foresheet chantey. It entails just one, hard pull at the end of every refrain.
Hugill’s tune has a bit that differs from all other common versions (the low note is on the root, not the third).
I have taken some verses from Harlow’s published version as well, and of course added my own about favorite topics like Fujian Oolong and winter drawers.
Perhaps due to its supposed age, this was one of the chanteys used in the 18th century-set first part of the 1977 TV drama “Roots.”
Also found in:
LA Smith 1888, Doerflinger 1951.