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Origin: Bonny Ship the Diamond

DigiTrad:
THE BONNY SHIP THE DIAMOND


Related threads:
when was the Bonny ship the diamond lost (43)
Chords Req: The Bonny Ship The Diamond (22)
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happy? - Mar 12 (The 'Diamond' sailed, 1812) (1)
Lyr Req: The Bonny Ship the Diamond (19)
Lyr Req: The Bonnie Ship the Diamond (29)
Chords Req: The Bonny Ship the Diamond (4)


Anglo 06 Apr 07 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Canadienne 06 Apr 07 - 05:37 PM
Jean(eanjay) 06 Apr 07 - 05:42 PM
Anglo 06 Apr 07 - 06:05 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Apr 07 - 06:07 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Apr 07 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Greycap 06 Apr 07 - 07:39 PM
Anglo 06 Apr 07 - 11:53 PM
Anglo 06 Apr 07 - 11:55 PM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 07 - 12:42 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 07 - 01:59 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 07 - 02:08 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 07 - 02:23 AM
Joe Offer 07 Apr 07 - 02:35 AM
Jim McLean 07 Apr 07 - 05:10 AM
Jean(eanjay) 07 Apr 07 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Lighter 07 Apr 07 - 08:00 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Apr 07 - 11:17 PM
Anglo 08 Apr 07 - 01:57 AM
GUEST,Lighter 08 Apr 07 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Tam 09 Apr 07 - 05:39 PM
Susanne (skw) 09 Apr 07 - 08:25 PM
Jim McLean 10 Apr 07 - 04:44 AM
GUEST,Tam 10 Apr 07 - 05:19 PM
Anglo 10 Apr 07 - 05:27 PM
Les from Hull 10 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM
SouthernCelt 10 Apr 07 - 07:52 PM
bubblyrat 11 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM
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Subject: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Anglo
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 05:28 PM

I seem to recollect that AL Lloyd said somewhere he had collected this song in 1938, possibly from a sailor on the Southern Empress; but I can't track down the reference.
No source mentioned in the notes to Leviathan, for example. Has anyone come across this?


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: GUEST,Canadienne
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 05:37 PM

The song is included in Ord's Bothy songs and Ballads (published 1930)
"During the first 60 years of the last century whale fishing was an important Scottish industry. One whaling vessal "The Bonnie ship the Diamond", immortalized in song and story, sailed from Aberdeen........."


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Jean(eanjay)
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 05:42 PM

I have it on an Alex Campbell LP but there isn't any mention of the source. All it says is "The Diamond, a Peterhead-based ship, was fishing for whales in the Davis Straits around the 1820's. Along with The Resolution and The Eliza Swan and seventeen others, she was lost in 1830 when a fine whaling fleet was locked in the ice at Melville Bay".


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Anglo
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 06:05 PM

There's an earlier thread on the history of the ship - it looks like it might have actually been lost in 1819. And there are certainly other versions of the song, as well as Ord there are several in the Greig-Duncan collection. My question was specific to Lloyd's version, but thanks for posting.

(See thread here for more info on the ship).


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 06:07 PM

According to the Roud index Grieg and Duncan collected versions in 1905, Lloyd collected his version in 1937.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 06:09 PM

Anglo - Lloyd's version was collected from someone called T.Cowdray in Liverpool if that helps.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: GUEST,Greycap
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 07:39 PM

Heard the version I still sing from a guy called Nigel Denver in London about 1962.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Anglo
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 11:53 PM

Mick - thank you. I was almost right about the date but wrong about the source. And I hadn't thought to check Roud. Duh. The Gaugers recorded one of the Scots versions, Shepherd, Spears & Watson (with extremely close connections to the Gaugers) did another, but I was looking to write brief liner notes for yet another recording by... well, modesty forbids.


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Anglo
Date: 06 Apr 07 - 11:55 PM

And looking up Roud, I see the reference to MacColl & Seeger's The Singing Island. And there I find, tucked away in the appendix of sources and references, the reference to Lloyd & Cowdray. That must have been where I came across it before.

Thanks, all!


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 12:42 AM

Well, we got Anglo's answer, but let's see what else we can dig up. The Greig-Duncan versions date back to 1905, and the Lloyd version to 1937. Anything earlier?

Here's the not-very-helpful Traditional Ballad Index entry for this song:

Bonnie Ship the Diamond, The

DESCRIPTION: "The Diamond is a ship my lads, For the Davis Straight she's bound." The ship goes whaling near Greenland, "Where the sun it never sets." The singer toasts various ships, and promises to return home. When the ship returns, sailors and girls go on sprees
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1930 (Ord)
KEYWORDS: ship sea whaler return sex
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Ord, pp. 312-313, "The Bonnie Ship the Diamond" (1 text)
Darling-NAS, pp. 319-320, "The Diamond" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 94, "The Bonny Ship the Diamond" (1 text)
DT, BDIAMOND*

Roud #2172
Notes: According to Ord, The Bonnie Ship the Diamond sailed from Aberdeen -- and, yes, he considers the ship's name to be The Bonnie Ship the Diamond, not just The Diamond. He does not, however, cite a source. - RBW
File: FSWB094

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2006 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD Version: The Diamond Ship
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 01:59 AM

The Diamond Ship
(Greig-Duncan collection, #11A)
^^
1 The Diamont is the ship brave boys for Davis Straits was bound
Mark ye she was all garnished with pretty maids all round
Captain Gibbons he commands for to cross the mountains high
Where the sun doth never set, my boys, nor darkness seal the sky.
So be cheerful my boys let your courage never fail
Since the pretty ship the Diamont goes a fishing for the whale.


2 All on the quay of Aberdeen the girlies they do stand
The tears falling from their eyes, their mantles in their hands,
Do not mourn my pretty girls though ye be left behind
For the rose shall grow on Greenland's Ice before I change my mind.
CHORUS

3 There is a lad amongs the rest his name I daurna tell
As far's the moon's above the stars his beauty does excell
His ruby cheeks his coal black hair his dark and rolling eye
I'll lay my life I'll be his wife or for his sake I'll die.
CHORUS

4 O happy be the day when our Greenland lads come home
There is some men of honour belonging to this town
They wear the trousers o the white the jackets o the blue
An when they come to Aberdeen they'll gain sweethearts anew.
CHORUS

5 O happy be the day when our Greenland lads come home
There is some men of honour belonging to this town
They'll make the cradles for to rock the blankets for to wear
And the girlies in to Aberdeen singing hush-a-ba my dear.
CHORUS

6 Here's a health unto the Harcles, another to the Jean,
A health unto our bonny ship, the Diamond by her leen,
Here's a health unto oor bonny ship, the Diamond and her crew,
Here's a health unto the sailor lad whose heart is aye so true.

singer Mrs MARGARET GILLESPIE — collector: Duncan


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Subject: ADD Version: The Diamond Ship
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 02:08 AM

The Diamond Ship
(Greig-Duncan collection, #11B)
^^
1 The Diamond was a ship, brave boys, for Davis Straits was bound,
And the quay it was all garnished with pretty girls around;
Where Captain Gibbons gave command to cross the mountains high,
Where the sun it never sets, brave boys, nor darkness in the sky.
So be cheerful, brave boys, let your courage never fail,
Whilst the boys on the
Diamond goes a-fishing for the whale.

2 Along the quay of Aberdeen the girlies they do stand,
With their mantles all around them, the tears running down.
Don't weep, my pretty fair maids, tho' you be left behind,
For the rose shall grow on Greenland's ice before we change our mind.
CHORUS

3 Oh jovial be the days when our Greenland lads come home,
For they are men of honour, of bravery and renown.
They wear the trousers of the white, the jacket of the blue,
And when they come to Aberdeen they'll get sweethearts enew.
CHORUS

4 Oh jovial be the days when our Greenland lads come home,
For they are men of honour belonging to our town.
They make the cradles for to rock, the blankets for to wear;
And the girlies into Aberdeen sing "Hussy Ba, my dear".
CHORUS

5 Here's a health unto the Hercules, another to the Jane;
Here's a health unto the Bon-accord, the Diamond by her lane.
Here's a health unto the Bon-accord, the Diamond with her crew;
Here's a health unto each bonnie lass that's got a heart so true.

SINGER: JAMES MACKIE   Collector: Greig


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Subject: ADD Version: Bonnie Ship the Diamond
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 02:23 AM

All of these versions seem to be very similar, but I guess I'll post one more.
^^
THE BONNIE SHIP THE DIAMOND
(Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads, 1930)

THE Diamond is a ship, brave boys,
For Davis Straits she's bound,
And the quay it is all garnished
With pretty girls around.
Captain Gibbons gives command
To sail the oceans high,
Where the sun it never sets, brave boys,
Nor darkness dims the sky.
   So be cheerful, my lads,
   Let your courage never fail,
   While the bonnie ship the Diamond
   Goes a-fishing for the whale.

A long the quay at Aberdeen
The girlies they do stand,
With their mantles all around them,
And the salt tears running down.
Don't weep my pretty, fair maids,
Though you be left behind;
For the rose will grow on Greenland's ice
Before we change our mind.
So be cheerful, etc

Oh, joyful will be the days
When our Greenland lads come home;
For they are men of honour,
Of bravery and renown.
They wear the trousers of the white,
The jacket of the blue;
And when they come to Aberdeen
They'll get sweethearts enew.
So be cheerful, etc.

Oh, jovial will be the days
When our Greenland lads come home;
For they are men of honour,
Belonging to the town.
They'll make the cradles for to rock,
The blankets for to wear;
And the girlies into Aberdeen
Sing, "Hushie-ba, my dear."
So be cheerful, etc.

Here's a health unto the Hercules,
Another to the Jane,
Here's a health unto the Bon-Accord,
The Diamond by her lane;
Here's a health unto the Bon Accord,
The Diamond and her crew;
Here's a health unto each bonnie lass
That's got a heart so true.
   So be cheerful, my lads,
   Let your courage never fail,
   While the bonnie ship the Diamond
   Goes a-fishing for the whale.

(NO TUNE)


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Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Apr 07 - 02:35 AM

The version in the Digital Tradition is no doubt the version collected by A.L. Lloyd from T. Cowdray.

The Roud Index says the Lloyd/Cowdray version appears in
  • Seeger & MacColl, Singing Island (1960) p.59

  • Buchan & Hall, Scottish Folksinger (1973) p.98


  • I compared the DT version with Buchan & Hall - looks like the DT transcription is quite accurate.

    -Joe-


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Jim McLean
    Date: 07 Apr 07 - 05:10 AM

    Nigel Denver has always sung 'So it's cheer up me lads, let your hearts never fail'. This is the version printed by Buchan and Hall and McColl and Seggar which differs from those printed above.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Jean(eanjay)
    Date: 07 Apr 07 - 05:15 AM

    That's the version I have.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: GUEST,Lighter
    Date: 07 Apr 07 - 08:00 PM

    Thanks, Joe, for posting the earlier versions. Those books are often a hassle to get hold of.

    Can you tell if the melodies are like Lloyd's?


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Malcolm Douglas
    Date: 07 Apr 07 - 11:17 PM

    Buchan & Hall and McColl & Seeger both printed 'cheer up my lads', Nigel Denver's personal pronounciation of the word notwithstanding.

    The DT transcription is pretty accurate if it was made by ear, rather less so if it was copied from either book (the title is mis-spelled, for one thing). Both books print the same tune, though in Buchan & Hall it is transposed up from three flats to one, and the variations shown in McColl & Seeger are omitted.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Anglo
    Date: 08 Apr 07 - 01:57 AM

    To answer Lighter's question, no, the melodies in Greig-Duncan are not like Lloyd's - to my ear at least, though I have argued 'similarities' here before when other people hear them and I don't.

    There are eight tunes in vol. 1 of Greig-Duncan, all in major except one, and that was the one recorded by the Gaugers. The others are major, and in either 6/8 or dotted hornpipe rhythm.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: GUEST,Lighter
    Date: 08 Apr 07 - 12:29 PM

    Thanks, Anglo.

    And lest we forget, Melville includes this fragment of a "Nantucket song" in Moby Dick (1850):

    So be cheery, my lads, let your hearts never fail,
    While the bold harpooneer is striking the whale!

    The rest is, unfortunately, silence.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: GUEST,Tam
    Date: 09 Apr 07 - 05:39 PM

    I don't really believe Malcolm Douglas's post pointing out that Nigel Denver said 'me' rather that 'my'!!! I don't know a Scottish singer that would sing 'my'. Probably 'ma'. get a life Malcolm.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Susanne (skw)
    Date: 09 Apr 07 - 08:25 PM

    Tam, it was Jim McLean, not Malcolm Douglas who said that, and he has probably (don't know your age) known Nigel a lot longer and better than you have, so I tend to believe him. Maybe we could reach compromise by saying Scottish singers tend to omit the letter after the 'm'?


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Jim McLean
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 04:44 AM

    Thanks Susanne. Yes I have known Nigel since 1959 and I don't understand Tam's point. Maybe he thought Malcolm was being a wee bit pedantic. I said Nigel sings/sung 'me' but I don't think it's a terrbly important matter. I was just pointing out the difference between Nigel's words and those already printed in the DT. He was singing thus since I knew him and probably learned the song in Morris Blythman's house where, like me, he met Norrie Buchan et al.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: GUEST,Tam
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 05:19 PM

    Sorry Jim, what I meant was that Malcolm Douglas is so up himself that he had to pick on one word's pronounciation to make himself appear knowledgeable.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Anglo
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 05:27 PM

    Oh, so delicately put, guest Tam. Get a life.

    Personally I have never liked the spelling of "my" as "me" even though it is often pronounced that way.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: Les from Hull
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 05:29 PM

    I rather thought he was refuting an inaccurate statement made earier. If people are going to be slagged off for accuracy that's a very sorry state of affairs.


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: SouthernCelt
    Date: 10 Apr 07 - 07:52 PM

    Don't know the songs origin but I recently heard a rendition by a person/group? Irish Stout that was part of a batch of free MP3 downloads from Celtic MP3s Music Magazine on the 'net. So some people are still recording it.
    SC


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    Subject: RE: Bonny Ship the Diamond source?
    From: bubblyrat
    Date: 11 Apr 07 - 08:53 AM

    The version I remember hearing a lot in the 60s was sung by someone Scottish, or so it sounded, with a very distinctive ( and accomplished ) frailed -banjo accompaniment. I am sure there was a line in a verse somewhere that went " It"ll be bricht both day and nicht " , there were several references to Peterhead ( not Aberdeen ) , and the name of the captain was different !!!


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