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Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her

DigiTrad:
LEAVE HER JOHNNY
LEAVE HER JOHNNY (3)
LEAVE HER, JOHNNY (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Leave Her Johnny: Most Vulgar, Profane (2)
Lyr Req: Makem and Clancy 'Leave Her Johnny' (7)


Joe Offer 26 Jul 21 - 06:58 PM
Lighter 31 May 20 - 09:07 AM
Keith A of Hertford 24 Jun 18 - 07:42 AM
radriano 21 Jun 18 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,Haruo 19 Jun 18 - 10:21 AM
Lighter 17 Mar 15 - 07:24 AM
Gibb Sahib 17 Mar 15 - 05:18 AM
KathyW 17 Mar 15 - 01:15 AM
Gibb Sahib 13 Sep 11 - 10:24 PM
Joe Offer 13 Sep 11 - 09:45 PM
Lighter 13 Sep 11 - 08:02 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Sep 11 - 07:34 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Sep 11 - 07:27 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Sep 11 - 07:16 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Sep 11 - 06:45 PM
Lighter 13 Sep 11 - 03:39 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Sep 11 - 03:25 PM
Gibb Sahib 13 Sep 11 - 03:03 PM
GUEST,Deda as Guest 13 Sep 11 - 01:49 PM
meself 13 Sep 11 - 01:25 PM
Lighter 13 Sep 11 - 09:05 AM
Lighter 13 Sep 11 - 08:53 AM
Lighter 13 Sep 11 - 08:47 AM
meself 12 Sep 11 - 11:16 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Sep 11 - 10:35 PM
Lighter 12 Sep 11 - 09:28 PM
Lighter 12 Sep 11 - 07:22 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Sep 11 - 04:24 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Sep 11 - 04:00 PM
Gibb Sahib 12 Sep 11 - 03:15 PM
meself 12 Sep 11 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,Lighter 12 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM
doc.tom 12 Sep 11 - 04:57 AM
Gibb Sahib 12 Sep 11 - 04:39 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 05:51 PM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,Lighter 11 Sep 11 - 10:09 AM
Charley Noble 11 Sep 11 - 10:04 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Sep 11 - 07:55 AM
doc.tom 11 Sep 11 - 07:39 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 06:32 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 06:23 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 06:13 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 05:58 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 05:50 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 05:37 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 05:10 AM
Gibb Sahib 11 Sep 11 - 04:53 AM
doc.tom 11 Sep 11 - 04:49 AM
Keith A of Hertford 11 Sep 11 - 04:23 AM
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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Joe Offer
Date: 26 Jul 21 - 06:58 PM

Elizabeth Block sang this great parody. Don't know who the author is, though.

http://thedance.net/~roth/SONGS/archimedes.html

Archimedes (The Lever)
Melody:                Leave Her Johnny            Back to Roth's Song Index
By:                Nat Case
On:                YouTube
Archimedes was a fine old man
Of that I’m a believer.
He invented hair oil and the frying pan,
And he taught us 'bout the lever.
Chorus:

The lever, boys, the lever,
Oh, the lever, boys, the lever
Not the pulley nor the screw
Nor the inclined plane
It's time to use the lever!
Oh the inclined plane, it launched our ship
And the screw, it may well sink her
And the pulleys we pull in the rigging all day
But what about the lever?
When the grog it is brought up on deck,
Our thirst, it's a reliever
And the bung won't leave the bunghole, then
It's time to use the lever!

Archimedes, he is dead and gone
May God be his receiver
Then we'll dig his grave with a silver spade
Which, in fact, is just a lever!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 31 May 20 - 09:07 AM

J. A. Barry, “Deep Sea Chanties,” Evening News (Sydney) (Dec. 19, 1903), p. 4:

Once, many years ago, the writer stood among a big crowd on the pier-head of a London dock, watching a homeward-bound South Sea man. A fine ship, of some 1800 tons, or so, she carried a strong crew, even for those days. A portion of them were marching round the quarter-deck capstan, others were on the forecastle head; others, again, coiling warps on the roofs of the deck-houses. But, all at once, probably on an agreed-upon signal, the whole company struck up, with the full strength of their lungs:—

A hungry ship and a hungry crew.
Chorus— Leave her, Johnnie! leave her!
A hungry skipper, and chief mate, too,
Chorus— Oh. It's time for us to leave her!

Oh, the food was poor and the wages low.
Chorus — Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
Dam'd her out, and damned her home -
Chorus— Oh, It's time for us to leave her!

Captain caught a flea, and boiled it down.
Chorus— Leave her. Johnnie, leave her!
He's bringing the hide and the fat to London Town
Chorus— Oh. It's time for us to leave her!

with much more to the same effect, vastly to the delight of the onlookers. …"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 24 Jun 18 - 07:42 AM

Every shanty man would have had his own verses and done it differently himself each time.
Shanties were not written down in the day.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: radriano
Date: 21 Jun 18 - 02:44 PM

Looking for definitive versions is kind of futile.

Different areas will have favorite versions. The last thing I want to see is a "blue book" of shanties. Let's celebrate diversity.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: GUEST,Haruo
Date: 19 Jun 18 - 10:21 AM

A full version of "Lever, Johnny, lever" was sung at the Seattle Song Circle night before last.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 07:24 AM

> her 1924 "collection" (compilation).

Ouch!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 05:18 AM

Thanks, Kathy.

The story writer doubtlessly obtained the lyrics from Whitmarsh's article in Harper. This article seems to mark a turning point in how chanties were conceptualized (with respect to history and culture), with the Canadian-Welsh sailor and writer Hubert Phelps Whitmarsh (1863-1935) laying thick a new narrative and using the phrase "SEA chanteys" for the first time with a sense of purpose. In short, it pandered to romantic interest in "the sea," on which fiction writers fed at that time.

Whitmarsh, H. Phelps. "The Chantey-man." _Harper's Monthly Magazine_ 106.632 (Jan. 1903): 319-323.

Heave around the pump-bowls bright, 

Leave her, Johnny, leave her. 

There'll be no sleep for us to-night, 

It's time for us to leave her.
Heave around or we shall drown, 

Leave her, Johnny, leave her. 

Don't you feel her settling down? 

It's time for us to leave her.
The rats have gone, and we the crew,
Leave her, Johnny, leave her.
It's time, by , that we went too,
It's time for us to leave her.

*Joanna Colcord also "borrowed" these verses for her 1924 "collection" (compilation).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: KathyW
Date: 17 Mar 15 - 01:15 AM

I came across an odd variant this evening, so I thought I'd share it here:

Heave round the punch bowl bright
Leave her Johnny leave her
There'll be no sleep for us to night
Leave her Johnny leave her
It's time for us to leave her
Leave her Johnny leave her
The rats have gone and we the crew
Leave her Johnny leave her
It's time by God that we went too
It's time for us to leave her

Source is "Dead Fingers" by Elisabeth Sutton, a somewhat "gothic" romance published in New York in 1918. The song is given as a "chantey" sung by a disturbing houseguest, sailor Jim Kidd.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 10:24 PM

Sounds great, Joe!
I really like the verses offered by Stan Hugill. They fire my imagination most, perhaps. I especially like the verses full of colorful details, say, about the food, the rats, etc. And the one about having to pump all day with nothing to talk about!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 09:45 PM

Thanks for all the help - keep it coming. We had a great time singing it this Sunday afternoon, and sang our little hearts out. It's one of the most singable sea songs I know of.
I used several verses from the first DT version. I could have sung more, but one wonders how many chantey verses is too much....

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 08:02 PM

Gibb, I think we're pretty much in agreement.

It's long been the practice of scholars simply to say, "for more information, see..." Then, as you point out, when you look at that information, it's often ambiguous or otherwise unhelpful.

I hope we'll see the Carpenter collection soon. That should answer a good many questions. I'd say that most of the major collections, and a few articles, are as close to authentic as one could reasonably hope to get. More popular collections, like Shay's and Ives's, are highly questionable, even if a few authentic "new" scraps may have crept in.

To judge from the Folktrax recordings, Carpenter never bowdlerized. Neither did Gordon. However, some of their informants undoubtedly expurgated ahead of time. Hugill's manuscript of uncensored shanties is apparently beyond recovery: I'd expect that source to be, or to have been, reliable as far as it goes/went.

Aside from expurgating (just leaving objectionable lines out) and bowdlerizing (rewriting those lines, often without saying so), the biggest problem is determining what surviving verses were "standard" or at least common, and which were ad-libbed or idiosyncratic.

My impression is that revival recordings have always been far more influential than shanty collections on folkies. It's easier to learn from a record, and shanty books are harder to get hold of.

You're certainly right that modern shanty singing is more responsible for creating and spreading the idea of a "standard text" than anything that Hugill or any other collector wrote. Most, in fact, go out of their way to say that there generally were no "standard" texts - just a few standard lines and maybe a frequent theme or set of themes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 07:34 PM

I think if my songs are politically incorrect - it is time to rewrite this male chauvinist rant.

Go back Johnny go back!
You and her old mate, should go to to relate!
Its time for you to go back!

Oh you didn't make her feel like a real woman!
Go back Johnny Go back!
Try oralsex! leave gee-tar strummin'
Its time for you to go back

CSA will catch you after a while
Go back Johhny Go Back!
She'll make you go on Jeremy Kyle
Its time for you to go back

not that I bear any ill will to the traditionalists....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 07:27 PM

ANd this 1920s 'bloc' is a considerable stumbling block when it comes to (casual?) research on a song. The typical practice when presenting a song in the "folk" music context has been, similarly to the Traditional Ballad Index above, to say, "Here, for more info on this song, see X, Y, Z, Colcord, Shay, Bone, Hugill, Sampson, Sandburg, whatever." But when we turn to many of those, they are all telling us basically the same thing -- what they got from one another's books -- which appears to be correct because "most people" are saying it. Who is going to critique it?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 07:16 PM

Lighter,

I can certain appreciate the irony in your points that "no shanty line is above suspicion" and yet editors were mostly genuine in their intents.

I am just pointing out the disparity in what what one rather suddenly sees being produced in the 1920s as compared to another body of literature at our disposal. And I am opining that though the editors may have been acting genuinely, the way they have been perceived by others (i.e. they did not represent *themselves* as unimpeachable, but others gave them more clout) and their combined work as a *whole* (not necessarily individual acts) facilitated a skewed picture of these songs and a false impression of their typical forms.

Look at the presentations of Colcord, Shay, Bone, Sampson, CF Smith...to a degree, Hugill's which followed. They are remarkably consistent. Then look at the fieldwork of Doerflinger and Sharp, and the spotty references in newspapers and such. They are inconsistent *and* different from the 1920s editors. If the '1920s' text (dupicated here and there) represents material that was authentic to oral practice, minimally we must acknowledge that it has skewed impressions by giving so much weight to one thing over all the others. Beyond that, if the '1920s' text is derived from D&T (whose lyrics are often not authentic), then surely it makes sense to mark it off n some way with a red flag? No texts may be authentic, but without getting into a debate about what makes something 'authentic'...i.e. for practical purposes of gaining a *realistic* sense of what sort of things may have been sung... I for one, prefer to [try to] maintain a distinction between "more likely traditional" and "more likely a product of editors".

Then again, if one's interest is only performance, then all distinctions may collapse! But in that case, why imitate when you can originate? Why pretend to present history while performing, and then misrepresent it? Better, in my opinion, just to be creative. This is why I say, the material produced by many of the '1920s' editors in neither here nor there...lukewarm, and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 06:45 PM

Earlier, I didn't post the complete lyrics from Doerflinger (Patrick Tayluer's). Here they are.

Time For Us to Leave Her (Leave Her, Johnny)

Now, the time are hard and the wages low,
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Ah, the times are hard and the wages low,
It is time for us to leave her!

Oh, we'll leave her now and we'll leave her very soon.

Oh, no more cracker-hash and dandyfunk!

Now, the captain don't like to give us our pay,
Oh, the captain don't like to give us our pay,

So [/Oh] we'll leave her now and we'll leave her very soon,

[Oh] we've left her now and we've left her for good,


I'd also like to note that, as it turns out, the tune given in the DT is Patrick Tayluer's. While recognizably the same song, it varies appreciably from what most people (in my experience) sing nowadays and from what I've seen in print.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 03:39 PM

Actually, *no* shanty line is above suspicion - unless it was taped from the singing of a nineteenth-century crew at work.

And without numerous such tapes, it would be hard to know just how "traditional" it was anyway.

Any line is, theoretically, a possible bowdlerization of something else.

And anything bawdy (in modern performances) is likewise a possible dirtification of something else or a new invention.

If - and only if - Sharp bowdlerized the line about "Our Captain is a bully man," I suspect what heard was something like "is a bloody ass," with "bloody" being the objectionable word.

But I also suspect that Sharp was capable of coming up with a rhyme on his own, "silly ass" being the obvious, because idiomatic, choice.

Maybe the singer was doing the bowdlerizing.

As for collectors trying to set themselves up as unimpeachable authorities, I don't think that assumption is borne out by the general tone of their writings. (The obvious exception, of course, appears to be Whall, who strongly emphasizes the authenticity of his versions. But his versions undoubtedly are as authentic as he could remember - and cared print.)

Most of the collectors printed what they knew, and left out what would be offensive to the average book buyer. Not being scholars in the then nonexistent field of shanty studies, they put together idealized versions that would be "complete" and enjoyable to sing. How much messing around they did beyond that must vary with the editor. Besides taking verses from other collections, and occasionally expurgating (always easier than bowdlerizing), my impression is that the editors are usually trustworthy.

Sometimes I think Harlow "improved" the words more than anyone except Davis & Tozer (who never claim that their lyrics are all authentic), but that may be completely untrue. And, as Hugill noted, Patterson often "trots out" versions with choruses in odd places, which is highly suspicious. But most of the verses, by far, that appear in collections seem to be entirely genuine.

As for Joyce, since the lyrics appear as an actual utterance rather than in an internal monologue, I think we can assume they're as authentic as any others. My subjective impression, too, is that the stanza, while clever, is not surreal enough to be something that Joyce would have made up for a literary purpose.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 03:25 PM

Thanks for the tip, Deda!

According to a page I found on the web, these are the lyrics of Ives' rendition on the "Down to the Sea in Ships" (1956) album.

Oh, the times are hard and the wages low.
Chorus: Leave her, Johnny, leave her.
I'll pack my bag and go below.
Chorus: It's time for us to leave her.

It's growl you may but go you must:
It matters not if last or first.

I'm a-getting' thin and a-growin' sad
Since first I joined this woodenclad.

I thought I heard the first mate say,
"Just one more drag and then belay."

The work was hard and the voyage long:
The seas were high and the gales were strong.

The sails are furled: our work is done
And now on shore we'll have some fun.

According to this page , Ives copyrighted that arrangement in Nov. 1955.

It looks like Colcord may have been Ives' main inspiration, with additions from other commonly available (ultimately derived from Davis/Tozer) stuff.

One can sample Ives' rendition HERE.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 03:03 PM

meself,

It's an interesting question. Though I also think it's highly unlikely Hugill would have borrowed from Joyce, I don't know the answer to your question for sure. I've sung verses from such places as songs by the hardcore punk (late 70s) band Black Flag and early rap group Sugarhill Gang in performances of shanties. Fifty years from now, if for some reason someone cared what I sang (!), they might be surprised and incredulous at the idea.

Here's some more info. Cecil Sharp printed this verse:

29. Lowlands Low.

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.


Sharp would have printed this *directly* as it came from a veteran sailor who sang to him EXCEPT, if it was too racy for print, he would have replaced part of it. It's clear (to me) that the sailor sang the "hard as brass" line. The sore-thumbish, non-rhyming, "bully man" line is suspicious (though not impossible).

When putting together his collection, Hugill would have drawn upon any earlier printed versions he could find, from which to harvest verses to beef up or diversify his presentation. As far as I can remember, Sharp's was the only other document of this song's existence, and Hugill most certainly referenced it.

Given the nature of this type of chanty -- very much improvised, learned from a Caribbean informant -- I doubt that this verse was locked in as a sort of "standard" verse to be sung in the song...meaning that I think it's likely that Hugill's own informant did not sing it. I think it's much more likely that Hugill drew the inspiration to include it by reading Sharp's version.

Hugill was clearly aware of the naughty couplet, so when he read Sharp he would have filled in the gap -- if there was any.

In this case I say Hugill's camouflage is creative because, instead of replacing "ass", he replaces "Lot's wife" with "Balaam" -- a Biblical character who actually rode on an ass (the animal). And rather than that making the couplet nonsensical, the donkey suggests the "salt horse" nickname for the beef. Now *that's* Joyceian!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: GUEST,Deda as Guest
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 01:49 PM

This chantey was on Burl Ives' album called "Down to the Sea in Ships" IIRC. He did a number (but of course not all) of the verses in this thread.

Deda


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: meself
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 01:25 PM

Lighter - Thanks for the thorough response. As I say, I don't know anything much about Hugill, so I had no idea whether he would have been eclectic and/or sophisticated enough in his reading to have ploughed through Ullysses; I'm willing to accept your judgement that he wouldn't have been. However, the line "And beef as salt as Lot wife's arse" strikes me as peculiarly Joycean for a sea-chanty, in its combination of succinct wording ("beef as salt as"), Biblical allusion, and relatively convoluted logic (beef + salt + Lot's wife + her arse, if you follow me). My point, as much as I have one, is that I would not be surprised if Joyce had created that line. From reading your and Gibb Sahib's posts above, I'm not sure how precise you intend to be with your use of the term 'bowdlerization': is it clear that the Lot's wife line in Hugill and elsewhere has been bowdlerized from the Joycean line, or some variation thereof, or could the 'bowdlerized' line(s) actually be earlier versions? (Just curious; not trying to convince anyone of anything).


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 09:05 AM

From my files:

Fred Cowles & Mel Moffitt, eds. Songs of Phi Delta Theta (1922), p. 93:

Discharged.

Traditional.    Arr. by D. H. Kemp.

I thought I heard our "old man" say,
(Leave her, Johnnie, leave her.)
"You may go ashore and get your pay."
(For it's time for us to leave her.)

CHORUS.
Time,
Time,
Time for us to leave her.

I thought I heard our "old man" say...
"We'll give them butter and marmalade to-day."

Oh! Tom is gone, and I'll go too...
Find another ship and another crew.


[Note:] The words and melody were supplied by the
Rev. David Swan, B. D.


I suspect, of course, that the "chorus" is the creation of the arranger. The appearance here of "Tom is gone" in this shanty is unique.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 08:53 AM

Terry, Volume II:

Time for us to Leave Her
(Halliards)

Oh times is hard and wages low.
Leave her, Johnny, leave her.
Oh times is hard and wages low.
'Tis time for us to leave her.

Me'og'ny beef and weevill'd bread!
I wish old Weather-phiz was dead.

The rain it rains the 'ole day long;
The Nor-East wind is blowin' strong.

It's pump or drown, the old man said. (twice).

I thought I heard the Captain say
"To-morrow you shall have your pay."

O what will us poor shellbacks do? (twice)

We'll pack up our traps and go on shore. (twice)

O times is hard and wages low. (twice)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Sep 11 - 08:47 AM

For the following reasons:

1. It's buried in conversation.

2. It's not identified as a sea song of any kind.

3. It's near the end of a long and, for most people, tedious and confusing avant-garde novel that has nothing to do with the sea.

4. If he'd got it from Joyce, he'd more likely have made it part of his text of "Leave Her, Johnny."

5. Probably too he'd have mentioned that an "uncamouflaged" stanza had appeared in such an unexpected place, had he known of it.

6. He'd almost certainly have said something about "Johnny Lever" as an odd variant of the title and the chorus, not to mention the form of the chorus.

That's enough evidence for me. There is no likelihood whatsoever that Hugill got the stanza from Joyce and then, for some obscure purpose, cleaned it up and plugged it into a completely different song.

Gibb, I think its appearance in three different songs, combined with its unusual earthy wit, suggests that the couplet was as well known as any. Until recently, it was clean it up or omit it, so three appearances is really, er, a "lot."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: meself
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 11:16 PM

Lighter: I don't know much about Hugill - why do you 'seriously doubt' he got the 'Lot's wife' stanza from Joyce?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 10:35 PM

Yes, I think he also has it in the "Lowlands Low" (="Island Lass")...but the bowdlerization is more creative!
Sharp had the "hard as brass" part in his collected version of that same song, sung by "Richard Perkins," however, it is not accompanied by "Lot's wife." Perhaps he camouflaged it if this was, indeed, a well-known couplet.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 09:28 PM

If anyone has forgotten, Hugill prints a bowdlerized version of the "Lot's wife" stanza as part of "The Ebenezer."

I doubt seriously that he got it from Joyce.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 07:22 PM

Here's Joyce's stanza from Ulysses (1922, p. 594):


The biscuits was as hard as brass
And the beef as salt as Lot's wife's arse.
O, Johnny Lever!
Johnny Lever, O!

The story, of course,m is set in 1904.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 04:24 PM

Anyone got RR Terry's version? That would be an important link, missing. Important because Terry's collection was widely read and used as a basis for performances.

How does Stanley Slade and Co's version match up? Did it have much resemblance to the print versions of either Davis/Tozer or Terry?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 04:00 PM

TomB, I understand what you mean, and I agree. Just brainstorming here, but I am suggesting, in addition, is that this issue was qualitatively different by the 1920s, when shanties had become a hot/popular item...and also contentious.

Part of the mix-up comes in the attempt to present history along with performance. The issue you're talking about -- the need for a full and satisfying set of verses -- applies to the need of performing. Sharp wasn't concerned with creating texts for performance. (Please don't misunderstand this to mean I think you shouldn't perform them -- just the opposite!) OK, maybe he *was,* sometimes, interested in performance -- I am no expert on all of Sharp's activities, and I'm mainly speaking about this specific case. What is mean is that, basically, he was collecting folklore for study. His English Folk-Chanteys collection was a weird animal in that it was meant to facilitate performance...and yet as I said, he created his versions in a way that based in direct observation. The verses he included to beef up the presentation all came from his field informants.

Though the need for a performance-ready version may be the same, I think there is a qualitative difference between this method and say, Colcord reading Masefield, taking his version without much criticism, and mixing it with her own. Consider, too, that Sharp would have admitted, "Look, I am no sailor -- I don't know this stuff. I can only present what I hear." Whereas a Colcord or Terry let's us feel "Look at my family nautical history and be impressed by my experiences with these sailors...Now, believe what I say!"

Davis & Tozer's book was clearly a song-book, for performance. It doesn't inspire lot's of confidence as history, and yet it wasn't trying to be. LA Smith's was an academic (though often poorly done) study -- not for performance. And the many early articles were for study, not performance. Again what I am saying is that I think there had been a more clear distinction of what was for performance and what was study. The "parlour" singers of shanties in the early 20th century were happy to sing without trying to study, without presenting history.

It seems like it was these folk's performances that were laughed at and inspired the 1920s writers to present their collections in a way that was wrapped up in the semblance of history. Problem was, they didn't do a great job. Instead of working with historical documents or doing rigorous fieldwork, they grabbed all the prior articles/books about shanties, read them, and basically rehashed their content with a bit of themselves mixed in.

Earlier writers, perhaps, simply didn't have all the verses to pick from, from which to make 'complete' sets. Which of the early authors really gave long sets? Well, Davis did, but he clearly made up new verses for publication. And then Masefield did. You guys probably know I have a chip on my shoulder against Masefield, because 1) Where does he get all these verses from when others are not writing many? 2) His presentation confounds fancy with anything useful he may have known. Perhaps due to this very factor -- the presence of "full" texts, it was Davis and Masefield's books that got most rehashed by other writers up to and into the 1920s. People weren't borrowing from Sharp or Bullen.

So all of a sudden you have all these books in the 1920s that have borrowed from the go-to collections, Davis' and Masefield's. They reconfigure the material, add their own insight when and if they can, and *their* books, full of "complete sets" become the new go-to books. They appeal to later readers in a way that the earlier collections can't, in that they present little blurbs of quasi-history book-ending the songs.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 03:15 PM

Then there's Johnny Lever
the old Bollywood comedic actor that I always think of when I sing this song!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: meself
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 11:32 AM

Don't forget Stephen Daedelus in Ullysses, singing "Lever, Johnny, Lever".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 09:43 AM

The Clayton album is additionally problematical, IIRC, because the notes claim that the shanties came (at least in part) from singers field-recorded by the BBC.

I have no idea who those singers were, with the conceivable exception of Stanley Slade.

By the time the album was recorded, it is possible that Hugill had been taped by the BBC. But I'm just speculating about that.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: doc.tom
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 04:57 AM

Gibb
I think there is another factor to your 'aside' above (with which I heartily concur)- that is the simple fact that these were published vesions and had to be publishable (and I don't mean bowdlerised that another whole can of worms) - they had to be 'complete' in some sense - and it's a problem we had to wrestle with in the Short Sharp Shanties CDs project (which is why I've tried to be so detailed on the web-pages). In 70 percent of the shanties Short sang to Sharp, he gave him only a verse or perhaps two or three, or a few odd lines. He even told Sharp, more thanm once it seems, that "you do put in what you've a mind to after that." - (i.e. it was improvised) Sharp, in fact, often published only the single verse or so (on those rare occasions when he does 'create' verses he gets it horribly wrong of course), but other publishers will have HAD to make up a full set - maybe from memory if they had actually worked in the trade, or else from second-hand sources.


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Subject: LYR ADD: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her (Dave Van Ronk
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 12 Sep 11 - 04:39 AM

1959        Paul Clayton and the Foc'sle Singers. _Foc'sle Songs and Shanties._ Folkways. CD.

This must be one of the earliest non-field recordings of this chanty. I'd be happy to hear about any others from earlier or around the same time. I'd be curious to know, too, whether Stan Hugill may have felt some of the influence of this album when he was putting together his famous magnum opus.

This great performance of "Leave Her Johnny" is by David Van Ronk. Here are the lyrics. I've taken them from the liner notes, by Kenneth S. Goldstein. There is a possibility that some don't match what is actually sung. (I caught a couple errors in one verse already.)

Oh, times were hard and the wages low,
        Leave her, Johnny, leave her,
I guess it's time for us to go,
        It's time for us to leave her.

Beware these packet ships I say,
They'll steal your stores and your clothes away

There's Liverpool Pat with his tarpaulin hat,
And Yankee John, the packet rat,

She would not wear and she would not stay,
She shipped great seas both night and day,

It's rotten beef and weevily bread,
It was pump or drown the old man said,

The sails all furled, our work is done,
And now ashore we'll take our run,

Oh, what will us poor shellbacks do,
Our money's gone, no work to do,


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:51 PM

To add to what I meant to say about "laundering" shanties:

If you look at the presentations of a given chantey before the 1920s, as we've done here, often you see little that is consistent between the documented versions. I couldn't see anything "definitive" about "Leave Her, Johnny" except for the regulation-type verses about "times hard/wages low" and the floater, "Thought I heard our captain say..." But once we enter the 1920s era, the texts start to look very similar.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:45 PM

Thanks, guys! I knew we'd git 'er done!

Looking at Colcord's presentation (thanks, Tom), it reads like a map of previous, prominent print presentations, which she would have had access to.

My experience with Colcord's book is that, even if it was a shanty she heard in the field, she'd generally give just one or two verses that were "hers" and then follow them with verses sourced from books.

In this case, her verse is a/the regulation verse, so it's hard to say much of it. Not much reason to doubt she might have heard someone sing that. However, she immediately follows with 7 verses that are verbatim or paraphrased form of Masefield's presentation.

Her next version consists of the verses from Frothingham's book. And her last set is based in Whitmarsh and Robinson's writings.

So, what she did, rather than present the song as she knew it or as collected in the field, was to present what she knew of the song, based in her collating of prior writings.

I've not been comparing tunes much, and I don't know what to say about Colcord's tune in comparison with others. But lyrics-wise I can't see much that is original about it.


An aside: The writers about shanties in the 1920s seemed almost like they were "laundering" shanties. Much of the prior writing consisted either of stuff that was based in someone's experience (though perhaps sometimes mis-remembered) or field-collected texts by folklorists...*or* somewhat fanciful presentations that innocently contrived or altered texts to "spare" readers.

What the 1920s writers did was base their writing on a sense of authority (which, evidently was important at the time, with many "spurious adherents" joining the chantey revival)...authority derived from some family lineage or some experience of hearing *some* shanties from the lips of veteran sailors. This experience is not to be wholly discounted; certainly any kind of experience like that can give important insight. However, to correlate that experience with authority is questionable. Really, the writers were generally too young to have experienced chanties in their heyday. Yet, having that experience-cum-authority, they thought nothing of it to take the idea of a shanty they may have heard (say, "Leave Her, Johnny") and to take at face value any and all things they could *read* about it, to form their presentations -- perhaps even without any need to cite sources. After all, they knew the shanty -- some ideal of it -- was "out there"....as "folklore" it was considered an "anonymous" creation, and any details that had been attributed to it were fair game.

Fair game for performance, yes; for a historian or "trained" folklorist, no.

It was the hodge-podge presentations of these 1920s writers, mixing fact with hearsay and fiction, that would become available to the deluge of derivative writers, then revival performers that came after. The revival performers accepted them on their "authority" -- and because they had no other choice. The following writers accepted them because, maybe, it was just too hairy a task to unravel their "laundered" texts, without access to scattered 19th century references and other historical documents. By that time, all the writings seemed to "corroborate" the authenticity of one another.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 10:09 AM

Harlow:

Oh, pump her out from down below,
Oh, leave her, Johnny, leave her.
Oh, pump her out, and away we'll go,
For it's time for us to leave her.

Oh, the times are hard and the ship is old,
And the water's six feet in her hold.

The starboard pump is like the crew,
It's all worn out and will not do.

They made us pump all night and day,
And we half dead had naught to say.

The winds were foul, the sea was high;
We shipped them all and none went by.

She'd neither steer, nor stay or [sic] wear,
And so us sailors learned to swear.

We swore by note [sic] for want of more,
But now we're through we'll go ashore.

We'll pump her out, our best we'll try,
But we can never suck her dry.

The rats have gone and we, the crew.
It's time, by God, that we went too.


"Note" should doubtless be "rote."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 10:04 AM

1927       Smith, Cicely Fox. A Book of Shanties. London: Methuen & Co, p. 74-75

"Leave Her Johnnie"
(Capstan Shanty)

Oh, the times are hard and the wages low--
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
And now ashore again we'll go --
It's time for us to leave her?

The grub was bad, the voyage long --
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
The seas were high, the gales were strong --
It's time for us to leave her?

She would not wear, she would not stay --
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
She shipped it green both night and day --
It's time for us to leave her?

She would not stay, she would not wear --
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
She shipped it green and she made us swear --
It's time for us to leave her?

The sails are furled, our work is done --
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
And now ashore we'll take a run --
It's time for us to leave her?

Notes by CFS:

When the packet rat references became out of date, the tune, being too good to be lost, survived with a new set of words as the familiar "Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!" which was generally sung at the capstan, and only at the end of the voyage.

Some writers take the disparaging references to the ship, the Old Man, the mates, the cook, the weather and the rate of pay very seriously. As a matter of fact, this shanty always strikes me as an excellent example of a through-going shellback "grouse." A sailorman of the old school was never happier than when he was enjoying a growl with a shipmate at "this sorry scheme of things." But it didn't follow in the least that he wouldn't extol the very ship he was abusing as a sort of Eden when she had become his "last ship."

My own notes:

C. Fox Smith also composed her own tribute to this traditional shanty, as in "Deadman's Bay" and this World War 1 poem:

Leave Her Johnnie

A hundred miles from the Longships Light –
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her! –
And blowing up for a dirty night –
And it's time for us to leave her!

Down by the head and settling fast –
Her name and number's up at last,
And it's time for us to leave her!

It isn't the sea she's sailed so long:
It isn't the wind that's used her wrong,
But it's time for us to leave her!

We've pumped her out with a right good will,
A day and a night, and she's sinking still,
And it's time for us to leave her!

She's smashed above and she's stove below,
And there's nothing to do but roll and go,
For it's time for us to leave her!

A hundred miles from the Longships Light –
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her! –
And blowing up for a dirty night –
It's time for us to leave her!

Notes:

From Rhymes of the Red Ensign, edited by Cicely Fox Smith, published by Hodder and Stoughton, London, UK, © 1919, p. 31; first published in The London Chronicle.

Here we have the old shellbacks singing an update of their old pumping shanty, as they pull away from their sinking steamer, which likely has struck a mine while nearing the English coast in World War 1.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 07:55 AM

John Sampson.
This is a farewell Shanty and was usually sung when mooring a ship or warping a ship alongside a pier, or into a dock. Sometimes it expressed the disgust of Jack for a hard ship, but more often there was a note of sadness in it, the sadness of parting mingled with the joy of approaching freedom with much hard earned money to spend, and an optimistic view of the future.

I thought i heard the old man say,
You may go ashore and get your pay.

You can make her fast and pack your gear,
And leave her moored 'longside the pier.

The times were hard and the passage long,
The seas were high and the gales were strong.

She would neither steer, nor stay, nor wear,
She shipped it green and made us swear.

The food was bad and the wages low,
But now ashore again we'll go.

The sails are furled and our work is done,
And now on shore we'll have our fun.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: doc.tom
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 07:39 AM

Here's Colcord:

"I thought I heard the old man say
You can go ashore and draw your pay

You may make her fast and pack your gear
And leave her moored to the West Street pier

The winds were foul and the wotk wa hard
From Liverpool docks the the Brooklyn yard

She would neither steer nor wear not stay
She shipped it green both night and day.

She shipped it green and she made us curse,-
The mate is devil anbd the old man worse

The winds were foul, the ship was slow
The grub was bad, the wages low

The winds were foul, the trip was long
But befroe we go we'll sing this song

We'll sing, oh, may we never be
On a hungry bitch the likes of she.

Another version:
Oh, the times are hard and the wages low;
I'll pack my bag and go below

It's growl you may, but go you must;
It matters not whether you're last or fust.

I'm getting thin and growing sad
Since first I joined this wooden-clad

I thought I heard the second mate say
"Just one more drag and then belay"

(Pumping version, sometimes used at sea.)
A dollar a day isa sailor's pay
To pump all night and work all day

The times are hard and the ship is old
And there's six feet of water in thehold

The bo'sun shouts, the pumps stand by,
But we can never suck her dry.

Oh, heave around the pump-bowls bright;
There'll be no sleep for us this night."

The first set feel a bit dubious to me. But it also strikes me that these earlier versions are not neccesarily 'last pumping shanty before discharge' - Perhaps it's another shanty that later became dedicated to a single time and function. I'll try to find the Chanteying Aboard American Ships version if I get the chance later today.

TomB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 06:32 AM

1962        Harlow, Frederick Pease. Chanteying Aboard American Ships. Barre, Mass.: Barre Publishing Co.

Ca, 1875-76. On clipper AKBAR, Boston > Australia, Java/ pumps.

Need these lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 06:23 AM

1951        Doerflinger, William Main. _Shantymen and Shantyboys: Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman._ Macmillan: New York.

Collected from Captain Patrick Tayluer. Born in Eastport, Maine, but spent a good deal of life in parts of British Empire. First went to sea circa 1885. American and British vessels.

//
Time For Us to Leave Her (Leave Her, Johnny)

Now, the time are hard and the wages low,
Leave her, Johnny, leave her!
Ah, the times are hard and the wages low,
It is time for us to leave her!

Oh, we'll leave her now and we'll leave her very soon.

Oh, no more cracker-hash and dandyfunk!

[etc. give us our pay, it's this old way, along to the Horn, left her for good -- I didn't note these all down exactly.]
//


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 06:13 AM

1931        Bone, Captain David W. _Capstan Bars._ Edinburgh: The Porpoise Press.

This one has the grand chorus.

Oh, th' times was hard an' th' wages low,
Leave 'er, Johnnie, leave 'er!
An' th' grub was bad an' th' gales did blow,
An' it's time for us t' leave 'er!

Leave 'er, Johnnie, leave 'er!
O-oh, leave 'er, Johnnie, leave 'er!
For th' voy'ge is done, an' th' gales can blow,
An' it's time for us t' leave 'er!

I thought I heard th' Old Man say,
Ye can go ashore an' take yer pay,

Oh, her stern was foul an' th' v'yage was long.
An' th' winds was bad, an' th' gales was strong.

An' we'll leave 'er tight an' we'll leave 'er trim.
An' heave th' hungry packet in.

Oh, leave 'er, Johnnie, leave 'er with a grin.
For there's many a worser we've sailed in.

An' now it's time t' say good-bye.
For th' old pierhead's a-drawin' nigh.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:58 AM

1938[1924?]         Colcord, Joanna C. _Songs of American Sailormen._ New York: Norton.

Includes the item. My book is in storage! Need to see these lyrics.

***

1924        Shay, Frank. _Iron Men and Wooden Ships._ New York: Doubleday, Page & Co.

Shay's verses come verbatim from Davis & Tozer's collection.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:50 AM

1931        Carpenter, James M. "Life Before the Mast: A Chantey Log." _New York Times_ (19 July 1931).

One of the articles in which Carpenter presented his material. However, he doesn't attribute the verses to any particular informant. Many are ideal or composite versions, and he did use secondary sources, too. Here is what he gives for Leave Her, Johnny:

The work was hard, the voyage long,
Leave her, Johnnie, leave her!
The seas were high, the gales were strong,
It's time for us to leave her!

The skipper's name was Bully Brown,
If you looked at him, he would knock you down,


The first verse is more or less the same as one in Davis & Tozer's collection.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:37 AM

JM Carpenter's Collection has many instances of the song in recorded and or written format. Many different informants. These range from Edward Robinson, you might have learned it any time between 1846 and 1877, to George Simpson, who probably learned it around 1888 and 1889.

I find 7 samples in the collection, which were noted or recorded 1927-1929.

1. BOYLE, GEORGE

>LEAVE HER JOHNNY

Text file. Includes line:
"Leave her down in London town"


2. KING, STANTON

>LEAVE HER, JOHNNY, LEAVE HER [LEAVE HER JOHNNY]

Text, incl.: "Oh the times are hard and the wages low"

3. MIDDLETON, JOHN

LEAVE HER, JOHNNIE, LEAVE HER

Text: "O the times are hard and the wages low"
A recording also exists.

4. MURRAY, JACK

>LEAVE HER, JOHNNY,
Rec., containing 2 verses. Has the first verse.
"Oh the times are bad and the wages low". Second verse may start, "The grub was bad...."

5. PAGE, CAPTAIN MARK

Apparently there's a recording of the song. No further info.

6. ROBINSON,EDWARD

>LEAVE HER, JOHNNY

Text: "We'll pump her out and go on shore".
There's a recording, too.

7. SIMPSON, GEORGE

There's a recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 05:10 AM

That's great TomB, thanks for Sharp's manuscript version, which is purely Short's material. As in other cases, it looks indeed like, for his published collection, Sharp presented Short's version, but with the addition of (here) 2 more verses. One, I've already identified, came from a Mr. Rapsey. The other is "Our mate he is a bully man, He gives us all the best he can." I've yet to see where that one came from.

So far, in terms of any kind of consensus of common verses between the verses -- those that were documented or published before the Folk Revival -- I am seeing "I thought I heard our [captain] say/tomorrow you will get your pay" and "The times are hard and the wages low." The latter seems to be a "regulation" verse of sorts, and like Keith points out, it was shared with "Amelia..." ("Across the Western Ocean"). I would argue however that, for the most part, the verses are interchangeable with those of any classic chanty ;) Yet "Leave Her" does seems to have a typical theme to its verses (duh!), even if the exact wording and rhymes are not stable -- and that theme is not necessarily the same as "Across the Western Ocean."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 04:53 AM

1928        Mason, Capt. John. _Before the Mast in Sailing Ships._ Kirkwall: W. R. Mackintosh.

This incident of this song in this account occurred in early 1885. A British ship, coming from San Francisco, arrives in Liverpool. Pg. 118:

As we hove up anchor that afternoon we fairly made the Mersey ring with our chanteying. Cockney Bob started with "Leave her, Johnnie, leave her":

"I thought I heard our captain say,
       Leave her, Johnnie, leave her.
Come along and get your pay;
       Leave her, Johnnie, leave her.
"Times are hard and wages low,
       Leave her, Johnnie, leave her,
A hungry ship and a drunken crew;
       Leave her, Johnnie, leave her."
Etc., etc.


And later in the text, without any particular context, this set of lyrics is given (pg157):

"A leaky ship and a drunken skipper,
It is time for us to leave her;
Captain drinks whisky and rum…"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: doc.tom
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 04:49 AM

John Short gave it Cecil Sharp (in 1914) as a Capstan shanty & titled it Times Are Hard and Wages Low (but Sharp aften came up with 'different' titles). Sharp's notes read: "This chantey was usually sung when getting into port, the chantey-man seizing this opportunity to express the crew's dissatisfaction with the ship they were about to leave, which, Mr. Bullen says, was very often fully justified. Mr. Short's variant, which is the usual form of the air, is very similar to the versions printed by Bullen (No. 9) and Tozer (No. 5). [No. 3 is a variant.]."

Short's words were:
Times are hard and the wages low (x2)
My old mother she wrote to me (x2)
I've got no money and I've got no clothes (x2)
I will send you money I will send ou clothes (x2)
We'll leave her when we get on dock (x2)
O, a leaking ship and a carping crew (x2)

Short's version is on the Short Sharp Shanties vol.2 CD which is being released towards the end of this month - lead by Jeff Warner.

TomB


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Subject: RE: Origins: Leave Her Johnny Leave Her
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 11 Sep 11 - 04:23 AM

The verses are interchangeable with Amelia Where You Bound To.


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