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radriano New sea music CD, Time Ashore is Over (80* d) Lyric Add: Ilo Man 09 Aug 02


ILO MAN

There's a ship in full sail
And she's out upon the river
Chorus: Way, hey, you Ilo man
There's a ship in full sail
And she's out upon the river
Chorus: Way, hey, you Ilo man

Heave her up, heave her high
It's the best that we can give her

There's a girl on the pier
Don't you wish you could stay with her

And the ducks and the geese are all swimming on the river
And the ducks and the geese are all swimming on the river

And the boys and the girls are all roving in the clover
And the boys and the girls are all rolling in the clover

Heave 'er up, heave 'er high, come and rock and roll me over
Heave 'er up, heave 'er high, come and rock and roll me over

Here's a health to each lad, to each shell back and each rover
Here's a health to each lad, to each shell back and each rover


I learned this capstan shanty from the recording Shipshape & Harry Fashion by The Harry Browns of Bristol. Unfortunately, the album's liner notes say next to nothing about the songs. Another version can be found on Bob Webb's album Bank Trollers, Songs of the Sea. Here's what Bob sings followed by his liner notes about Ilo Man:

ILO MAN
As sung by Bob Webb

Oh the ducks and the geese they are swimming down the river
Chorus: Way ay ay ay Ilo Man
Oh the ducks and the geese they are swimming down the river (timme!)
Chorus: Way ay ay ay Ilo Man

And the boys and the girl they are playing in the clover
And the boys and the girl they are playing in the clover

I wish I was down on the old plantation (timme!)
Oh where there is no temptation (timme!)

I courted a girl and she was very pretty
'Twas down in a place, it was on the Mississippi

As I strolled out one bright May morning (timme!)
Just as the early day was dawning (timme!)

I met a young couple and they were spooning
I met a fair young couple and they were spooning

Oh the ducks and the geese they are swimming down the river
And the boys and the girls they are playing in the clover

Liner notes from Bob Webb's album:

"This capstan shanty, a variant of Huckleberry Hunting, was sung by William Fender of Barry, Wales, who quit the sea in 1900. Bob Walser unearthed it from the James Madison Carpenter Collection at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. It begins with the customary "hitch," the wild yell that Stan Hugill called "the very essence of the shantyman's art"."

Stan Hugill, in his book Shanties from the Seven Seas also gives a version of the shanty Huckleberry Hunting that he calls We'll Ranzo Way. Here are Hugill's notes from his book:

"Another shanty which mentions our hero Ranzo is the one variously known as We'll Ranzo Way, The Wild Goose Shanty, or Huckleberry Hunting. This was sung at windlass and capstan, but Doerflinger gives it as halyards and pumps - in other words it appears to have been used for every shipboard job with perhaps the exception of tacks and sheets, and hand-over hand! My version is as follows"

We'll Ranzo Way
Alternative titles: Sing Hilo, Me Ranzo Ray, Huckleberry Hunting, The Wild Goose Shanty

O-oh, I'm shantyman of the working' party
Ch:Timme way, timme hay, timme hee-ho hay!
So sing, lads, pull lads so strong an' hearty
Ch: An' sing Hilo, me Ranzo way!

I'm shantyman of the Wild Goose nation
Got a maid that I left on the big plantation

Oh, the sassiest gal o' that Wild Goose nation
Is her that I left on the big plantation

Oh, the boys an' the gals went a huckleberry huntin'
The gals began to cry an' the boys they dowsed their huntin' [stopped their huntin'; stopped their courtin']

Then a little gal ran off an' a little boy ran arter
The little gal fell down an' he saw her little garter

Said he, 'I'll be yer beau, if ye'll have me for yer feller,'
But the little gal said, 'No, 'cos me sweetheart's Jackie Miller.'

But he took her on his knee, an' he kissed her right an' proper
She kissed him back agen, an' he didn't try to stop'er

An' then he put his arm all around her tight an' waspy waist
Sez she, 'Young man, you're showing' much too great a haste!'

[The underlined words in this shanty are the places where the sailors would all pull together. R.A.]

The remaining verses are mainly obscene and much the same as those used in the bawdy version of A-rovin'.

Davis & Tozer [in Sailors' Songs or "Chanties" - 1910] give a theme about 'Minnie and the Wild Geese' which has not an authentic ring, appearing to me as being entirely composed and not merely camouflaged.

Bullen gives one verse only, 'Oh, what did yer give for yer fine leg o' mutten?' Terry says that the verse about 'huckleberry hunting' was rarely omitted, but he never heard this theme further developed. Whall, Sharp, Doerflinger, and Miss Colcord all give this verse. Terry gives the shanty as windlass and capstan, Whall doesn't state its usage, Sharp gives it as capstan, but Miss Colcord, like Doerflinger, gives it as halyards. Bullen also presents it as windlass and capstan.

Most forms indicate a Negro origin, as far as the tune and refrains are concerned, but the words of the solos savour of a Down East or Nova Scotia source.

Most versions refer to the 'Wild Goose nation.' This mysterious race of people often crops up in shantydom and also in nigger minstreldom, and many theories have been put forward regarding its origin, none, I'm afrain, very convincing. Doerflinger maintains that in minstreldom, the phrase refers to Southern or Indian-inhabited country. Miss Colcord rather fancies Ireland as the source, since she has discovered that the phrase 'Wild Goose nation' was used as a poetical name for the Irish, in particular for the Irish Guards who fought the French in the wars of 1748, and refers the reader to Kipling's poem, 'The Irish Guards.' Then again the Irish connection with the phrase may come from an historical incident which happened when George III, I believe, desired the Irish regiments to swear allegiance to the English flag. The flag was hoisted on a hill and the regiments had two alternatives - either to pass the flag on the left and thereby swear allegiance, or to march to the right and downhill to the waiting French frigates which were to carry them to France and exile. Many regiments accepted the latter course and became mercenaries in Europe, never being allowed to return to their wives and children or their native heath. This going into exile is often referred to as 'The Flight of the Wild Geese.' But all this is rather far removed from the sailor's shanty - unless it came to the shanty by way of an Irish forebitter, and to my knowledge no forebitter, Irish or otherwise, includes such a phrase.

Some authorities seek further afield and suggest that it may mean Ashanti or some other Guinea Coast locality, homeland of the original Negro slaves of America.

Radriano


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