Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #43 and last sequel
Sirens are the better mermaids. Unlike mermaids, sirens have a knack for music and are endued with legs and feet and everything in between. Since October of 2008, Moby-Dick™ has been undertaking to honour this adorable life-form with maritime songs and depictions of fine marine ladies. We started out with Baby Gramps: Cape Cod Girls, collected them in a YouTube playlist Rogue’s Gallery and a weblog category Siren Sounds.
Wherever the image owners were known and available, I asked them for permission for their artwork. It was a rewarding experience to see how all were more than ready and eager to see their picture used in a pirate song, and proved to be really nice folks.
In one case, YouTube threatened to ban me for using a 19th century painting featuring a woman’s bare breasts. They accepted a censored version, and they did not threaten me for Loudon Wainwright III.’s filthy ballad Good Ship Venus. The latter is the most-visited song in the collection, probably due to the “external link” from the song’s Wikipedia article, as we cover all known information about it, arrr.
Sometimes the lyrics were hard to comprehend or find. Especially chantey expert Hulton Clint from Mystic Seaport helped with broad and deep knowledge and native competence. Thank you, ye salty sea-dog!
One of the musicians was not willing to see his music made public and got his song deleted from YouTube. This was the point to move from there to the user-friendly platform of Vimeo, which supports music and renders video uploads in good quality.
The songs altogether are taken from the already legendary CD project Rogue’s Gallery from 2006. I dearly warn from ripping and downloading it — if you like it, buy it: ANTI- is one of very few relevant record labels in the world.
These Siren Sounds are the first section inside Moby-Dick™ we could conclude. Thanks again to the fine boat-building redhead lady Paperboatcaptain, who once upon a time gave the CD to me for a present, and all who gave a damn.
Song: Ralph Steadman: Little Boy Billy (5:33 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.
1.: There were three men of Bristol city,
they stole a ship and went to sea.
2.: There was Gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy
and also little boy Billy.
3.: They stole a tin of the captain’s biscuits
and one large bottle of whiskey.
4.: But when they reached the broad Atlantic,
they had nothing left but one split pea.
5.: Said Gorging Jack to Guzzling Jimmy:
There’s nothing left so I’m going to eat thee.
6.: Said Guzzling Jimmy: I’m old and toughish,
So let’s eat little boy Billy.
7.: Oh little boy Billy, we’re gonna kill and eat ya,
so undo the top button of your little chamois.
8.: Oh may i say my catechism
that my dear mother tought to me?
9.: He climbed up to the main topgallant,
and there he fell upon his knee.
10.: But when he reached the eleventh commandment,
he cried: Yo ho, Holland I see.
11.: I see Jerusalem and Madagascar
and North and South Americie.
12.: I see the British fleet at anchor
and our Admiral Nelson K. C. B.
13.: They hung Gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy,
but they made an admiral of little Billy.
Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:
A humorous fo’c’sle song of obscure origin. There was actually a time, before 1885, when eating the cabin boy in an emergency was an accepted part of the custom of the sea. In 1885, legal precedent was set when three shipwrecked British sailors were convicted of murder for eating their 17-year-old cabin boy, Richard Parker, before their rescue. Life was imitating art in the spookiest of ways. In 1837, Edgar Allan Poe published a story in which three shipwrecked sailors ate their cabin boy. His name in Poe’s story: Richard Parker.