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Archive for the ‘Siren Sounds’ Category

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #43 and last sequel

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Update for The Art of the Siren #1: Baby Gramps: Cape Cod Girls:

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.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Images: Levi Bunyan: Laura Plummer from Aberdeen, 29. August 2010.

Lyrics:

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.

Written by Wolf

30. December 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #42

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Song: Lou Reed: Leave Her Johnny (5:31 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Image: Lo: Little Mermaid, August 4, 2010.

Lyrics:

1.: Oh, the times are hard and the wages low,
leave her Johnny, leave her.
I guess it’s time for us to go,
and it’s time for us to leave her.

1.: Oh, I thought I heard the old man say:
Tomorrow you will get your pay.

2.: Liverpool Pat with his tarpaulin hat,
it’s Yankee John the packet rat.

3.: It’s rotten beef and weevily bread,
it’s pump or drown the old man said (ah huh).

4.: We’d be better off in a nice clean jail
with all night and plenty of ale.

5.: The mate was a bucko and the old man a Turk,
the bosun was a beggar with the middle name of work.

6.: The cook’s a drunk, he likes to booze.
‘tween him and the mate there’s a little to choose.

7.: I hate to sail on this rotten tub.
No grog allowed and rotten grub.

8.: No Liverpool bread, nor rotten cracker hash,
no dandy funk, nor cold and sloppy hash.

9.: The old man shouts, the pumps stand by —
Oh, we can never suck her dry.

10.: Now I thought I hear the old man say:
Just one more pull and then belay.

Fade-out: It’s time for us to leave her,
it’s time for us to leave her,
for the voyage is done and the winds don’t blow,
and it’s time for us to leave her.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

This chantey traditionally allowed for the airing of grievances at the end of a voyage and was used at the capstan while warping her in, or in the final session at the pumps. Very obscene verses were sometimes sung.

Written by Wolf

1. September 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #41

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Song: Jarvis Cocker: A Drop of Nelson’s Blood (7:13 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Images: Wang: the pretty creek killer, August 1, 2010.

Lyrics:

1.: A drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm
A drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm
A drop of Nelson’s blood wouldn’t do us any harm
And we’ll all hang on behind.

Chorus: And we’ll roll the old chariot along
Yeah, we’ll roll the golden chariots along
We’ll roll the old chariots along
And we’ll all hang on behind.

2.: A plate of Irish stew wouldn’t do us any harm
And we’ll all hang on behind.

3.: A night with some girls wouldn’t do us any harm
And we’ll all hang on behind.

Keep rolling (repeat until crescendo).

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

Sometimes called Roll the Old Chariot, this chantey was originally based on a Salvation Army revival song. Nelson’s blood is British sailors’ slang for rum. Lord Nelson’s body was placed in a cask of rum (or brandy by some accounts) to preserve it for burial after he was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar. According to tradition, when the cask was opened, Nelson was there but the alcohol was gone.

Written by Wolf

16. August 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #40

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Song: Jolie Holland: The Grey Funnel Line (4:53 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Image: Erin Audry: Somewhere, March 24, 2010.

Lyrics:

1.: Don’t mind the rain or the rolling sea
The weary nights never trouble me
But the hardest time on a sailor’s day
Is to watch the sun as it sinks away
Just one more day on the Grey Funnel Line.

2.: O, finest ship that sails the sea
Is still a prison for the likes of me
But if I had wings like Noah’s dove
I’ll fly up harbour to the one I love
Just one more day on the Grey Funnel Line.

3.: Now there was a time when I was free
Like a floating spar on the rollin’ sea
But now that spar has washed ashore
And it comes to rest at my real love’s door
Just one more day on the Grey Funnel Line.

4.: O, every time I gaze behind the screws
How I long to be in Saint Peter’s shoes
Then I’d walk on down that Silver Lane
And I take my real love in my arms again
Just one more day on the Grey Funnel Line.

5.: O Lord if only dreams were real
Then I’d put my hands on that wooden wheel
And with all my heart I’d turn her round
And I tell the boys that we’re homeward bound.

6.: So I’ll pass the time like some machine
Until the blue ocean turns to green
Then I’ll dance on down that walk ashore
And sail the Grey Funnel Line no more
I’ll sail the Grey Funnel Line no more.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

This song was written by Cyril Tawney (1930–2005) [Wikipedia; Official], one of Britain’s greatest songwriters and traditional folk singers. Cyril also served for over 12 years in the Royal Navy, and this song is based on those experiences. The Grey Funnel Line is a nickname for the modern Royal Navy.

Written by Wolf

11. July 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #39

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Song: Sting: Shallow Brown (2:31 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Image: Erin Audry: Somewhere, March 24, 2010.

Lyrics:

1.: Fare thee well, me Juliana,
(Shallow, oh Shallow Brown).
Fare thee well, me Juliana,
(Shallow, oh Shallow Brown).

2.: And it’s shallow in the morning,
just as the day was dawning.

3.: Yes our packet leaves tomorrow,
and it fills my heart with sorrow.

4.: Oh me wife and baby grieve me,
it just breaks me heart to leave ye.

5. = 1.

The song in Wikipedia.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

The word shallow here is probably derived from challo, a West Indian word meaning half-caste. This beautiful sentimental song was first used for the pumps and later as a halyard chantey.

Written by Wolf

28. June 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #38

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Song: Van Dyke Parks: Greenland Whale Fisheries (4:41 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Image: Anke Merzbach: [ the world revolving around your spinning head ], November 4, 2008.

Lyrics:
(Many thanks to Mermaids’ Retreat!)

1.: In eighteen hundred and forty-six,
T’was March of the eighteenth day,
We hoisted our colors to the top of the mast
And for Greenland bore away, brave boys,
And for Greenland bore away.

2.: The lookout in the crosstrees stood
With a spyglass in his hand:
“There’s a whale, there’s a whale,
A whalefish,” he cried
And she blows at every span.

3.: Now the boats were launched and the men aboard,
And the whale was full in view.
Resolved it was each seaman bold
To steer it where the whalefish blew.

[Solo]

4.: We stuck that whale and the line played out,
And the whale made a flounder with her tail.
The boat capsized and we lost a gallant crew,
And we never caught that whale.

5.: “To lose those men,” our captain said,
“It grieves my heart full sore,
But to lose the sale of a hundred barrel whale,
Well, it grieves me ten times more.”

6.: Now Greenland is a dreadful place,
A place that’s never green,
Where there’s ice and snow, and the whalefishes blow
And the daylight’s seldom seen.

The song in Wikipedia.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

An American whaling song sometimes used as a capstan chantey. This song vividly captures both the thrill and danger of whaling in the 19th century. In some versions the captain is more grieved at the loss of his men, but this version, where he’s more grieved by the loss of the whale, was perhaps more likely.

Written by Wolf

1. June 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds

Rogue’s Gallery: The Art of the Siren, #37

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Song: Baby Gramps: Old Man of the Sea (5:18 minutes)
from Rogue’s Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs, and Chanteys, ANTI- 2006.

Artist’s website;
songs playlist.

Buy CD in Germany and elsewhere.

Rotschopf-Image: Connor Creagan, October 3, 2009.

Lyrics:

1.: At times I feel the shapeliest of mermaids
course through my veins,
but the feel of these shapely mermaids
of course is only in vain.

2.: I would let the seaweed splash
upon my eyelash.
I would let the seaweed splash, splash, splash
upon my eyelash.

3.: If I were the Old Man of the Sea,
I would bathe the lovely mermaids.
If I were the old man of the seawee-, wee-, seaweeds,
I’d bathe the lovely mermaids.

4.: Now I dreamt I saw an old mermaid snorkel
down dangle from the ships portal,
and when I tiptoed to peep in (in a bucket of absinthe),
saw she was soaking her fins.

5.: I would let Miss Octopus
brush and braid my bush.
I’d let miss Octo-, Miss Octopus
brush and braid my bush.

6.: If I were the Old Man of the Sea,
I would bathe the lovely mermaids.
If I were the Old Man of the Sea,
I’d bathe the lovely mermaids.

7.: At times I feel the shapeliest of mermaids
course through my veins,
but the feel of these shapely mermaids
of course is only in vain.

8.: I would let the seaweed splash
upon my eyelash.
I would let the seaweed splash, splash, splash
upon my eyelash.

9.: If I were the Old Man of the Sea
I would bathe the lovely mermaids.
If I were the old man of the seawee-, wee-, seaweeds,
I’d bathe the lovely mermaids.

Explanatory liner notes by ANTI-:

Sailors often attributed human qualities and consciousness to many aspects of their watery environs. Belief in mermaids, the Old Man of the Sea, malicious winds, and the like persist to this day.

Written by Wolf

11. May 2010 at 12:01 am

Posted in Siren Sounds