Hicks the Pirate
Farewell to Nova Scotia A traditional lively Celtic style folk piece, also known as The Nova Scotia Song (1950), it appears to have been written just before or during World War I. It harkens to Atlantic Canada's wooden ship, seafaring past and tradition notes that it's Canadian author had lost a brother at sea during wartime. Most likely the song's inspirational origins can be traced to weaver-poet Robert Tannahill's (1774-1810) "The Soldier's Adieu" printed in an 1808 Glasgow newspaper. Fathom the Bowl Also known as "The Punch Ladle", this 19th C. drinking song appears in an 1858 broadside and was published in an 1891 songbook. Punch (English from Hindi 1669 meaning "5") had five ingredients - spirits, water, lemon juice, sugar and spice. It seems that originally the song was for gentlemen and officers, later drifting to the common folk. Due to the price of spirits, it has been speculated that the piece is related to 17th/18th C. smuggling while terminology places location as southern England. "Crystal clear fountain" refers to winter storms and the term fathom relates to measuring a depth or here, deeply dipping the ladle into the bowl to get all the punch. Hicks the Pirate Penned in a March 1861 broadside by "The Saugerties Bard" and folk balladist Henry Sherman Backus (1798-1861), this song - to the 18th C. air "The Rose Tree" - presents the sordid tale of "pirate" Albert W. Hicks. A NYC "gang member" (see movie Gangs of New York), Hicks was abducted onto an oyster sloop, murdered the crew, was found guilty of "piracy on the high seas" and hanged in 1860 leading to a period of notoriety. Haul Away Joe Of unknown origins, this tack and sheet, long drag work shanty was known and used by late 18th C. British sailors before becoming popular aboard Yankee ships especially between 1812 and 1860. One verse indicates a writing after the French Revolution. While it first appears in print in 1917, part of the chorus is found in an 1859 diary. The shanty is often sung with an Irish accent and the word "Joe" is substituted during work with "pull" or "haul" or in ors case "to me" (ie pull the rope/line toward me). Sailor's Hornpipe Beginning in the 16th C., British sailors need a means to exercise solo and in cramped quarters. The hornpipe/dance became the medium and this tune the mechanism. In classic 4/4 time, Samuel Pepys mentioned it in his diary as "Jig of the Ship" and by 1797 as "College Hornpipe" and "Jack's the Lad." Most popularly played on a whistle or a squeezebox, John Philip Sousa incorporated it into his "Jack Tar March" and in the 1930s (and ever more) it was synonymous with Popeye the Sailor Man cartoons and thus with all sailors and the sea. Roll the Old Chariot Along A traditional 18th/19th C. "walk away" and rowing work shanty sung toan old Scottish tune, it appears to have African-American roots ("American Negro Folk Songs") and apparently was used by The Salvation Army as a revivalist hymn. The golden chariot is supposed to be the conveyer of our souls to heaven. At one time, this piece could be heard at corn shuckings and log rollings in the swampy areas southern America. It's first verse alludes to Admiral Nelson, hero of the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), whose body was preserved in a brandy barrel from which sailors drank for courage Old John Webb Possibly tainted history but based on some historic fact and a 1730s broadside, this political, social ballad of Salem, MA definitely has it's origins in several 16th/17th C. Scottish boarder songs of criminals/jail breaks ("Archie o Cawfield", "Bold Dickie", "Jock o the Side"). "Archie" arrived in Massachusetts in the early 1700s. John Webb was a Salem mint master at odds with England over old tenor/bill tenor (currency) and new currency. "Bill Tenor" is a recent name addition and "billie" was a Scottish usage for comrade. Thus most likely, Billy breaking things is either a friend or a brother of John helping his leave jail. Of note, a Boston newspaper reported that Webb was released for insufficient evidence. Still the song is relevant to the currency crisis, romantic and a link to other "outlaw types." Speed the Plow & Mason's Apron Originally "The Naval Pillar" or "Nelson's Pillar," the first tune picked up it's current name when it was used in Thomas Morton's 1800 London Comedy "Speed the Plow" The second tune, "Mason's Apron" is a traditional Celtic tune with strong Irish fiddle ties but a Scottish melody origins. In Masonic Lodges, the symbolic, plain white lambskin apron is part of the initiation ritual and a decorated version is worn by all Master Masons. Leaving of Liverpool A sailor's ballad from the 19th century telling the familiar tale of leaving one's love behind. Captain Burgess was a historical figure and the "Davy Crockett" was a clipper ship built in 1853, which sailed in many services until 1899 when she was grounded off of New York and broken up by a winter gale. Old Maui A foc's'le or fore bitter shanty related to whaling in the north Pacific Ocean and Bering Straits/Artic grounds in the 1840s-1850s. The tune apparently is that of 18th C. "The Miller of Dee" while the lyrics have been found transcribed by crewmen from the records of the New Bedford, MA bark "Waverly" 1859-63; the "Atkins Adams" of New Bedford, 1858; and the "Europa" 1868-70 of Edgartown, MA. While American whaled the Pacific by 1787 and used the Hawaiian islands as a base by 1819, a Sag Harbor, NY ship "Superior" appears to have been the first north of the Bering Straits in 1848. The songs historical details seem to date it's origins to the 1840s. Golden Vanity "Lowlands Low", "Sweet Trinity" and "Sir Walter Raleigh Sailing on the Lowlands" (Samuel Pepys 1682/1685 broadside) are other versions of this song with hundreds of variants . While Holland was known as the lowlands, common period usage had Lowland Sea as the Mediterranean Sea and location of this tale. The enemy is most likely Turkish though also appearing as French or Spanish. Several traditional tunes have accompanied the words and while not historical "fact' per se, the story is "all-too-likely." Dungeon Rock Copyright (C)2010 Alpeg Music. All Rights Reserved. A pirate legend from Lynn, Massachusetts recounting the arrival of pirates who bartered with the locals for supplies, but were captured by the British Navy. One pirate escaped and, according to legend, hid in the Lynn Woods until an earthquake buried him alive in 1658. Many have tried in vain to find his "treasure." The tune was adapted from the English Traditional tune, "Dives and Lazarus" and the lyrics were composed by Alan & Peg Hicks of the Jolly Rogues. Irish Rover A traditional Irish wit, deception and nonsense story telling of an unlikely ship, with a strange crew and an unusual cargo that sinks in a storm with but a lone survivor - the singer, an Irish bricklayer going to NYC to work on the city hall, "I'm the last of the Irish Rover", telling the tale. The tune dates perhaps to the 1830s/1840s and while may have been heard in late 19th C. stage or music halls, does have a 1901 Scottish version "Katey of Lochgoil." Captain Kidd, Live! A confessional ballad meant to entertain, tell a story and educate one on life lessons, this song came to New England in the early 1700s with English settlers and was despised by ministers. Appearing in an 1813 broadside, it claims to be the warning words of a dying Kidd who began as a servant of the King, killed a crewmember (accident or mutiny?), was arrested as a pirate in Boston and hanged in London 1701 (apparently, he mounted a weak defense). The tune appeared on an unsigned 1790 manuscript in Massachusetts and the ballad is believed to have been the basis for Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." Recorded live in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK in 2004.