Mudcat Café message #3714210 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157373   Message #3714210
Posted By: Lighter
03-Jun-15 - 09:25 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers
Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Chanteys in the R.W. Gordon papers
THE BOWLINE HAUL,
(Sheet and tack)

Away, haul away, haul away, my Rosie,
Away, haul away, haul away, Joe.

I wish I was in Ireland a-diggin' turf and 'taters,
Away, haul away, haul away, Joe.

[Similarly:]

But now I'm on a Yankee ship, a-pullin' sheets and braces....

Once I loved an Irish gal, and she was double-jointed....

I thought she had a double (word deleted) but I was disappointed....

Away, haul away, the old man he's a-growlin'....

Away, haul away, our old cook's growin' mouldy....


Minimal imagination shows this to be one of Gordon's "bawdiest" chanteys, even though the bawdry is restricted to only one or two lines. That would have been enough for old sailors to casually describe the whole thing as "unprintable."

Carpenter also collected the "double-jointed" couplet, and it appears as well in one of Randolph-Legman's Ozark songs. It must have been well known.

In today's version, of course, "lips" grow mouldy for lack of "kissing." It would be a mistake to assume, though, that the euphemisms necessarily originated with the editors.

In songs like this, that had only a couple of bawdy lines, an added advantage of repeating the "content" line in each stanza is that by getting more time to think, the chanteyman would be less likely to blurt out something that could get him into serious trouble. But undoubtedly there were standard euphemized versions as well.