Mudcat Café message #2429601 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #45769   Message #2429601
Posted By: Mick Tems
03-Sep-08 - 04:36 AM
Thread Name: Origins: All Through The Night / Ar Hyd Y Nos
Subject: RE: Versions: All Through The Night / Ar Hyd Y Nos
Chris, I'm glad you like the Swansea song! If it's any help to you: I collected the sea song Rolling Home To Dear Old Swansea from Captain Frank Parker, Sketty, Swansea about 35 years ago. It wasn't a shanty but a forebitter; Captain Frank, who was 90 years of age and a Cape Horner, said the Swansea sailors used it as an anthem when the long voyage back from South America to Swansea was nearly done. We recorded it (as Calennig) for our 1985 album Dyddiau Gwynion Ionawr (Snowy Days Of January, Sain C935N). Baggyrinkle picked up on the recording and copied that, and Dave Robinson, Baggyrinkle's leader, rewrote some verses.

Captain Frank used to sing it as a 4/4 tune, as apposed to the usual 3/4, with considerable variations. I use his words:

Rolling Home To Dear Old Swansea

Come all hands to man the capstan, see your cable is all clear;
For today we're leaving anchor, for the shore of Wales we'll steer;
Mark your capstan bar right well, boys, every man you've got, clap on;
As we heave around the capstan you can hear our happy song.

CHORUS: Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home across the sea,
       Rolling home to dear old Swansea, rolling home, dear land, to thee;
       Rolling home, rolling home, rolling home across the sea,
       Rolling home to dear old Swansea, with old Ireland on our lee.

Up aloft, amid the rigging, spreading out her snow-white sail,
Like a bird upon the ocean, speeding on before the gale.
I can hear the bosun calling: "See your sheets and halyards clear,
And prepare for stormy weather as around Cape Horn we'll steer."

Many thousand miles behind us, many thousand miles before;
Spreading ocean waves to guide us till we reach that happy shore;
When I see the lights of Swansea then my anchor soon I'll drop;
And farewell to all our shipmates, for we've reached our homeland dock.


Just in interest: When we sang in Mariehavn, the capital of the Aland Islands in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia between Sweden and Finland, we met up with the local shanty group. Their name? Rolling Home, of course!

Mick Tems