Mudcat Café message #2013756 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #100324   Message #2013756
Posted By: GUEST,Lighter
01-Apr-07 - 05:05 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Lowlands Low (Island Lass?)
Subject: RE: Origins: Lowlands Low (Island Lass?)
Sharp printed a single stanza in "English Folk-Chanteys" in 1914. he colected it from Richard Perkins of St. Ives, Cornwall. Singing an introductory chorus was also the usual practice in the better-known "Lowlands, Lowlands, Away, My John") :

Lowlands, Lowlands,
Lowlands, lowlands, low.

Our Captain is a bully man;
Lowlands, lowlands, lowlands low;
He gave us bread as hard as brass;
Lowlands, lowlands, lowlands low.

Stan Hugill's "Shanties from the Seven Seas" (1961) provides the ultimate source of all other versions I know of.

Hugill says, "I had it from Old Smith of Tobago, a fine old coloured shantyman who gave me many little-known shanties, in the thirties...."

Sharp notes, "I do not know of any other variant of this beautiful chantey." Obviously he was thinking of the tune, which, more clearly still in Hugill's version, is a form of Thomas Arne's tune for Isaac Bickerstaffe's lyric, "The Miller of Dee," the smash hit of Bickerstaffe's comic opera, "Love in a Village" (1762).

Hugill also used "The Miller of Dee" for the otherwise unrelated but now well-known "Rolling Down to Old Maui."