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Lyr Req: Little Boy Billee / Little Billee

DigiTrad:
IL ETAIT UN PETIT NAVIRE
SEPT ANS SUR MER
SHIP IN DISTRESS


Related threads:
(origins) Penguin: The Ship In Distress (20)
Lyr Req: Il Était un Petit Navire (12)


bill\sables 17 May 01 - 04:51 PM
Charley Noble 17 May 01 - 05:04 PM
bill\sables 17 May 01 - 05:11 PM
Dead Horse 17 May 01 - 06:24 PM
Malcolm Douglas 17 May 01 - 08:03 PM
IanC 18 May 01 - 04:52 AM
GUEST,ff 15 Jun 11 - 03:30 AM
doncatterall 15 Jun 11 - 05:29 AM
Jim Dixon 20 Jun 11 - 11:16 AM
Jim Dixon 21 Jun 11 - 02:17 PM
GUEST 07 Oct 17 - 07:54 PM
Steve Gardham 08 Oct 17 - 04:21 PM
GUEST,Dave Hunt 09 Oct 17 - 07:06 PM
Mo the caller 12 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM
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Subject: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: bill\sables
Date: 17 May 01 - 04:51 PM

About thirty years ago I used to sing a song called Three Sailors from Bristol City bur I'm buggered if I can remember the words. It went something like;
There were three sailors from Bristol City x 2
They stole a boat and went to sea x 2

It then went on about loading the boat and there being Gorging Jack and Gussling Jimmee and Little boy Billee and when they run out of food the decided to eat Little Billee but he was rescued in the nick of time by Admiral Nelson.
Can anyone remember it?
Cheers Bill


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE BOY BILLEE (sung by Bob Roberts)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 May 01 - 05:04 PM

Stolen from a thread by Barry Finn:


LITTLE BOY BILLEE (as sung by Bob Roberts)
[Each line is sung twice.]

There were three men of Bristol City.
They stole a ship and went to sea.

There was Gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy
And also Little Boy Billee.

They stole a tin of captain's biscuits
And one large bottle of whiskey.

But when they reached the broad Atlantic
There were nothing left but one split pea.

Said Gorging Jack to Guzzling Jimmy:
"We've nothing to eat so I'm going to eat thee"

Said Guzzling Jimmy: "I'm old and toughish
So let's eat Little Boy Billee."

"O Little Boy Billee, we're going to kill and eat you
So undo the top button of your little chemie."

"O may I say my catechism
That my dear mother taught to me?"

He climbed up to the main topgallant
And there he fell upon his knee.

But when he reached the Eleventh Commandment
He cried: "Yo Ho, for land I see."

"I see Jerusalem and Madagascar
And North and South Amerikee.

"I see the British fleet at anchor
And Admiral Nelson, K.C.B."

They hung Gorging Jack and Guzzling Jimmy
But they made an admiral of Little Boy Billee.


Bob Roberts (the singing Bargeman) sings this on "Sea Songs & Shanties" on Saydisc (CD-SDL 405) produced by Peter Kennedy. Peter says that the words are probably a translated & adapted by the poet William Thackeray from the French folksong "Le Petit Navire" (The Little Corvette). Bob learned the tune from Henry Trefusis, Falmouth in Cornwall. The Little Corvette can also be found in Peter Kennedy's "Folksongs Of Britain & Ireland", though the text & story is not as near complete as in this English version. Some of the other singers on the same CD are Harry Cox of Norfolk, Bob & Ron Copper, Sarah Makem, Tom Brown, Clifford Jenkins & Bill Barber of Cornwall.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: bill\sables
Date: 17 May 01 - 05:11 PM

Thanks Charlie, that's the one I want.
Cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: Dead Horse
Date: 17 May 01 - 06:24 PM

When I perform this one, I do the actions (hilarious) and repeat "climbed ut to the main topgalant" several times - its a tall mast.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 17 May 01 - 08:03 PM

See this previous thread for more than you could ever possibly want to know on the subject.  It can easily be found through the "Digitrad and Forum Search" on the main Forum page, by searching for little billee, oddly enough:

THE SHIP IN DISTRESS


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: IanC
Date: 18 May 01 - 04:52 AM

I sing this one too (when anyone will let me - it's a bit long). After I had been singing it for some years, in the '70s, I found a book in a local Oxfam shop called "Little Billee". It turns out that the song was written by William Makepeace Thackeray, and performed as an opera. Will try to find a link if no-one beats me to it!

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: GUEST,ff
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 03:30 AM

does any know when and where it was written?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: doncatterall
Date: 15 Jun 11 - 05:29 AM

written in 1845 - see EFDSS Foljk Music Journal 2010
paper by Paul Cowdell "Cannibal Ballads:Not Just a Question of Taste"


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Subject: Lyr Add: LITTLE BILLEE (William M Thackeray)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 20 Jun 11 - 11:16 AM

Here's the oldest copy I can find. A few words are different from those posted by Malcolm Douglas back in 2000, so I have boldfaced them.

From Ballads and Tales by William Makepeace Thackeray (London: Smith, Elder, and Co., 1869), page 228:


LITTLE BILLEE*
AlR—"Il y avait un petit navire."

There were three sailors of Bristol city
Who took a boat and went to sea.
But first with beef and captain's biscuits
And pickled pork they loaded she.

There was gorging Jack and guzzling Jimmy,
And the youngest he was little Billee.
Now when they got as far as the Equator
They'd nothing left but one split pea.

Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"I am extremely hungaree."
To gorging Jack says guzzling Jimmy,
"We've nothing left, us must eat we."

Says gorging Jack to guzzling Jimmy,
"With one another we shouldn't agree!
There's little Bill, he's young and tender,
We're old and tough, so let's eat he.

"Oh! Billy, we're going to kill and eat you,
So undo the button of your chemie."
When Bill received this information
He used his pocket handkerchie.

"First let me say my catechism,
Which my poor mamy taught to me."
"Make haste, make haste," says guzzling Jimmy,
While Jack pulled out his snickersnee.

So Billy went up to the main-top gallant mast,
And down he fell on his bended knee.
He scarce had come to the twelfth commandment
When up he jumps. "There's land I see:

"Jerusalem and Madagascar,
And North and South Amerikee:
There's the British flag a riding at anchor,
With Admiral Napier, K.C.B."

So when they got aboard of the Admiral's
He hanged fat Jack and flogged Jimmee;
But as for little Bill he made him
The Captain of a Seventy-three.

* As different versions of this popular song have been set to music and sung, no apology is needed for the insertion in these pages of what is considered to be the correct version. [Author's note.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Three Sailors from Bristol City
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 21 Jun 11 - 02:17 PM

Oops! I see I forgot to insert the HTML for the boldfacing. Oh, well, it's hardly worth the trouble to re-post the lyrics now. Those who want to know the exact differences can make the comparison themselves.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 3 Sailors from Bristol City/Little Billee
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 17 - 07:54 PM

See "Come Let Us Sing" Copyright 1974
Christmas Country Dance School
Berea College
P.O. Box 287
Berea, Kentucky 40403

Printed by Berea College Press


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 3 Sailors from Bristol City/Little Billee
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 08 Oct 17 - 04:21 PM

I have a copy published as sheet music in the 19thc which may be the source of the tune. It was obviously very popular in its own time.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 3 Sailors from Bristol City/Little Billee
From: GUEST,Dave Hunt
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 07:06 PM

I sing this as a last verse
   
'If you want to know who wrote this rubbish x 2

'Twas William Makepeace Thackeray x 2


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 3 Sailors from Bristol City/Little Billee
From: Mo the caller
Date: 12 Oct 17 - 06:19 AM

I like that addition Dave.
Olive Taylor, who was a founder member of the Stockton Heath folk dance club used to sing this at our Christmas party sometimes - also a Pat Shaw song about a Hippopotamus (no, not Flanders & Swan - a "hippopotomight-have-been a hippopotomother") and one about how long to boil an ostrich egg.


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