mudcat.org: South Australia:What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe

Post to this Thread - Printer Friendly - Home
Page: [1] [2] [3] [4]


South Australia:What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?

DigiTrad:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA


Related threads:
ADD Versions: South Australia (10)
(origins) Origins: South Australia - copyright? (33)


Wincing Devil 26 Jun 02 - 11:51 PM
DonMeixner 27 Jun 02 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,ozmacca 27 Jun 02 - 12:07 AM
Dead Horse 27 Jun 02 - 12:09 AM
Amos 27 Jun 02 - 01:11 AM
BillR 27 Jun 02 - 02:33 AM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 04:05 AM
okthen 27 Jun 02 - 04:08 AM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 02 - 09:56 AM
Naemanson 27 Jun 02 - 10:05 AM
EBarnacle1 27 Jun 02 - 11:13 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 27 Jun 02 - 11:52 AM
DonD 27 Jun 02 - 11:58 AM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 27 Jun 02 - 12:42 PM
Dead Horse 27 Jun 02 - 01:09 PM
Amos 27 Jun 02 - 01:17 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 01:49 PM
Amos 27 Jun 02 - 01:58 PM
Joe Offer 27 Jun 02 - 02:07 PM
Naemanson 27 Jun 02 - 02:45 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 02:48 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 02 - 04:01 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 04:06 PM
Charley Noble 27 Jun 02 - 04:10 PM
X 27 Jun 02 - 05:14 PM
DD 27 Jun 02 - 06:30 PM
GUEST,Nancy King at work 27 Jun 02 - 06:50 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 07:47 PM
michaelr 27 Jun 02 - 07:54 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 08:02 PM
Naemanson 27 Jun 02 - 08:48 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,ozmacca 27 Jun 02 - 09:05 PM
Celtic Soul 27 Jun 02 - 09:08 PM
GUEST,ozmacca 27 Jun 02 - 09:17 PM
greg stephens 27 Jun 02 - 09:24 PM
MMario 27 Jun 02 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,ozmacca 27 Jun 02 - 11:38 PM
greg stephens 28 Jun 02 - 04:52 AM
Dave Bryant 28 Jun 02 - 05:16 AM
ozmacca 28 Jun 02 - 05:28 AM
greg stephens 28 Jun 02 - 06:00 AM
catspaw49 28 Jun 02 - 09:02 AM
EBarnacle1 28 Jun 02 - 11:11 AM
Dead Horse 28 Jun 02 - 01:19 PM
GUEST,Melani 28 Jun 02 - 03:05 PM
MMario 28 Jun 02 - 03:16 PM
Celtic Soul 28 Jun 02 - 08:15 PM
The Pooka 28 Jun 02 - 10:03 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:






Subject: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Wincing Devil
Date: 26 Jun 02 - 11:51 PM

In the sea chanty South Australia there is a line in the chorus, "Heave away you rolling king" or in some versions, "rolling kings". I've looked all over the net, but I can't get this simple question answered:

What the hell's a Rolling King?

(With apologies to Celtic Soul and the rest of the Pyrates Royale)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: DonMeixner
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:01 AM

Something that rhymes with "Hear Me Sing".

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:07 AM

Have heard it emphasised as "Be rollicking" which has the advantage of meaning something, even if it doesn't ring seamanly true.... Also as "roll and cling", presumably pull the rpoe back through the pulley block, then hang on for grim death.... Could it have something to do with one of the poor sods dragging the rope setting the pace - as in "ruler something...." or could it be......................

Maybe Don's right.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:09 AM

Probably derived from "Ruler King" sung in some versions. The transition from ruler to rolling sounding more nautical ? That's my guess, for what it's worth.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:11 AM

It could refer to a piece of tackle, such as a large block used in heaving up an anchor, but I am stretching here, don't know for sure. The King spoke on a schooner helm was the one marked at the top when the rudder was centered, so it might be connected to this usage. The Buddhists have a legend about a King called the Wheel-Rolling King. Not related to the sea though. A song called "Rolling King" is listed as coming from the British Isles, no further data given, at Mappamundi. But a fragment of South Australia was published in Songs of American Sailormen by Joanna Colcord, under the title "Rolling King". She relates the tune to the well-known shanty that begins "Gloucester girls have got no combs; they comb their hair with jellyfish bones".

But still no explanation for what it is!! The version sung as "traditional" by Captain Jesse Schaeffer says, "Heave away, you rolling Kings", which sounds like a slang term for the deckapes at work rather than some part of their equipment -- so to speak....

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: BillR
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:33 AM

I agreee with Amos's final comment. The chanteyman seems to be calling the sailors rolling kings rather that refering to any piece of equipment. And given that "rolling" seems to be a common metaphor for "sailing" (cf. Rolling down to old Maui, Roll the woodpile down, Roll the old chariot along, etc.) I would guess that he is calling them "sailing kings" i.e. great sailors. There are a number of chanteys which have lines expressing the idea of "What a great crew we are." and I think this falls into that category.

-Bill


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:05 AM

Corruption of "Zulu king" is one popular theory.Analogies may be drawn with the song "Haul'em down, you Zulu warriors"; the objects being hauled down, of course, are not ropes nowadays as the song is generally used.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: okthen
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:08 AM

I've always thought of it as being "kings of the rolling sea" but once you start to think about it, it could be something to do with trying to walk a strait line on deck in heavy weather, rolling from side to side, an experianced sailor would be adept at this and said to be "king" of it.

cheers bill


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:56 AM

Probably a reference to a popular Rock & Roll singer. Them sailors was always rocking and rolling, acording to their shanties. Could Elvis have time-traveled to South Australia? Inquiring minds would want to know!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 10:05 AM

I like okthen's explanation. I think sailors would refer to themselves as "the king of..." when they thought they were the best. Thus "Heave away you rolling kings," would refer to the sailors on that watch as being better than those on the other watch.

Alan Villiers in his books mentions a sort of competition between the port and starboard watches as does the author of The Last Grain Race (Charly, who wrote that one?).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:13 AM

Consider that, after a few days at sea, a sailor's gait tends to roll when he comes ashore. An old salt going ashore and feeling good could reasonably be called a Rolling King [of the world]. Just my guess but that's the interpretation I generally give out.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:52 AM

Ronan Keane, of boyband Boyzone, obviously.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: DonD
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:58 AM

Ah, speculation and folk etymology! Since on guess is as good as another ... I postulate:

"Heave away your ol' linking"

Your ol'/old' is simple enough; as for linking -- well. those lines/hawsers/ropes they were hauling were obviously linked to something.

And our friends in Oz can discard out-of-date blue clicky things as they're bound for South Australia.

But let's get to the real question to be deconstructed here:

In the first 'verse' the chanteyman claims to have been born in South Australia, but down near the end he asserts that he is 'Liverpool born and bred'. Aha!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 12:42 PM

May not apply, but "rollimg tackle" is tackle used to steady the yards in a heavy sea. Dana's Dictionary of sea terms. (19th C.).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:09 PM

The verse with "Liverpool born & bred" was stolen from "Time for us to leave her" and just goes to prove what I've always said about those theivin' colonials!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:17 PM

I'm settling on the oral version, "you rolling kings", since no other explanation really fits and I see no reason to go off to Zululand for an explanation. Old linking doesn't cut it -- it isn't typical of the way words shift around, IMHO, and linking was not a concept used for anything but anchor chain in the days of sail, also IMHO.

"You rolling kings" is a parallel construct to such lines as "my bully bully boys" or "me hearties", or "ye sailors brave and true" -- a fillip to the morale of sweating deckapes under rough conditions.

That's my story and I am sticking to it until other research appears to dissuade me.

Regards,

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:49 PM

Ah, but if it started as "rolling king", why did it change to "ruler king"? I think youve got to start at ruler and work back from there.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 01:58 PM

Greg --

Don't confuse me with facts. I've made up my mind!! **bg**

Besides I have never heard it with "ruler king" -- you must be mixing it up with Good King Wenceslas or something, eh?? :>)

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Sea shanty question: rolling king? - S. Australia
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:07 PM

There was a previous thread on the same topic that provided worthwhile information. I think I'll post that entire thread here and delete the original to avoid duplication.
-Joe Offer-

25-Aug-98 - 05:43 PM (#35961)
Subject: Sea shanty question: rolling king?
From: Jon W.

I just got the CD Blow Boys Blow by MacColl & Lloyd. My question is on the song "South Australia". The phrase
Heave away, you rolling king,
Heave away! Haul away!

appears in the chorus. What significance, if any, has the phrase "rolling king?" Is it a piece of equipment on ship, the ship itself, the ocean, or what?

Full lyrics to the song are in the DT.

Thanks, Jon W.


25-Aug-98 - 07:43 PM (#35970)
Subject: RE: Sea shanty question: rolling king?
From: Dave lever

Rolling King would be a term to describe a sailors ship as the "Rolling King" meaning she rolled the most in bad weather. Generally accepted as an affectionate term for his ships motion in the weather.



Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:45 PM

Rollicking, maybe?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 02:48 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:01 PM

I have to agree with Naemanson and Amos above that "Rolling Kings" is really addressed to the intrepid work crew, you rolling kings, the bestest on the old hooker and the bestest on the seven or so seas.

"Ruler Kings" is just someone not hearing the words correctly and repeating that error for the dubious benefit of future generations.

And, Brett, you're thinking of Eric Newby, author of the Grain Races and Learning the Ropes.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:06 PM

That explanation, Charlie, neglects the fact that you never hear people referring to the famous rock group the "Ruler Stones"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 04:10 PM

Arggghhhh!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: X
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 05:14 PM

The guy who rolls the best joint?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: DD
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:30 PM

must be a banjo roll.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: GUEST,Nancy King at work
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 06:50 PM

My ex, who used to sing this song, once theorized that because sailing to South Australia involved crossing the equator, there would have been a shipboard ceremony upon crossing the line, often involving dressing the first-time line-crossers up as King Neptune. Perhaps these were the "rolling kings." Makes sense to me.

Cheers, Nancy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 07:25 PM

Or "Ruler" or "Zulu" Kings.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 07:47 PM

The "Zulu King" tradition lasted into the "second line" dancing in New Orleans traditionalfestivities. Louis Armstrong was crowned as "Zulu King" of the Zulu Nation in full regala for one Mardi Gras. Maybe it still continues, I'm not familiar with current Mardi Gras practise but it was going strong 30 years ago. Whether the Zulu nation chants can be directly related melodically or lyrically to this particular shanty, or to the "Haul'em down you Zulu warriors, Haul'em down you Zulu King" pub chant I dont know, but the sailors certainly carried this stuff around.I think these chants have been studied and recorded, but I'm not familiar with the material. I do seriously feel this is the link between this shanty and other mock ceremonial practises. Whether there are links further back to actual ceremonial African practises would only be conjecture.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: michaelr
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 07:54 PM

Rolling King is what you get if you mix a Rolling Rock with a Little King...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 08:02 PM

Hugill's book has Ruler King, both in the chorusand in a verse where it is used in the specific sense of "something/something that rules". I rest my case.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Naemanson
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 08:48 PM

It ROLLER KING! From the rolls in the player piano the chanty man used to help keep the crews working together.

Or, maybe not....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:04 PM

Sure it wasnt the painting teams who were roller kings? And maybe when they took a run ashore they went on a roller blind?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:05 PM

A thought to confuse the issue even further... The crews of ships were often called by the name of the ship, or a derivative thereof, as a kind of rallying call to differentiate between ships when seamen were on shore... especially in warships. This habit would be carried over naturally from naval to merchant ships. So, could the "Ruler kings" be the crew of a merchant ship named, for example, Sovereign, or Queen or King somebody or other, as a reference to themselves as the crew of that particular vessel, and as bloody fine seamen as well? As good a theory as any other.....


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:08 PM

:::giggle!!:::

Well, I'd answer you, Vince, except you already know I have no idea.

Reminds me of an old Saturday Night Live skit...

"I know what *that* is...that's uuuuuhhhh...that's uuuuhhhh....What in hell IS that thing???"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:17 PM

Greg, would that also account for being told to get their "skates" on to hurry up doing the work, and also explain that painting was usually done when not at sea... in fact, when the ship was by the "coast"..er. Or pgiving the second coat of paint would be a "roller over"...

Stop me somebody.... HELP!!!!!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 09:24 PM

Do rollmops come into this anywhere? Were herrings on sticks perhaps used to clean the paintwork, or decks?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: MMario
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:24 PM

herring on a stick?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 27 Jun 02 - 11:38 PM

Good cod, Mmario, can't you plaice the connection? That's the sole reason that I just hake people who don't get the point. Salmon them are really good, and I reckon they do it on porpoise......

But seriously though, rollmop herrings are usually bits of fish impaled on cocktail sticks. Probably invented by Bismark in his spare time and originally intended to be placed on the spike on top of the pickelhaube, hence the pickled herring......

Another thread successfully hi-jacked. Over to you Greg.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 04:52 AM

Is making puns on fish-names a Celtic cultural practise? Which reminds me I need to buy a new guitar tuna.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Dave Bryant
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 05:16 AM

I also reckon that "Rolling Kings" refers to the shanty crew themselves.

Dead Horse - "Liverpool born and Bred" turns up all over the place (not surprisingly). It's the opening line of "Bring'em Down" - followed of course by "Strong in the arm and thick in the head".


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: ozmacca
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 05:28 AM

Mr Stephens... Of course. We believe in pun-ishing anybody who gets caught up in the net.. All shall be weighed in the scales of justice... But that's just a line I use... Get my drift?... Must be in-seine.... I'd purse my lips and say sorry, but... I'm having a whale of a time.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 06:00 AM

Sorry, I've gone quiet..can't work up Arbroath Smokie into anything usable. Might be a bit of mileage in marlin-spike I suppose in a shanty context, I'll make you a present of that one. Anyway, must be off, I'm due to run a Latin percussion/Celtic fusion workshop very shortly: the Conga Reels project.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 09:02 AM

I think he's the truck driving brother of Sky King.

Now go back to the fishy puns.

Spaw


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 11:11 AM

Please remember that a piano tuner is a large, loud fish!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 01:19 PM

To me Roller King randy dandy I owe?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: GUEST,Melani
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 03:05 PM

Henry VIII after he got too fat to walk?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: MMario
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 03:16 PM

or Elvis preparing a toke?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 08:15 PM

Mmario! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, man...I gotta work that one in!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: What the hell's a 'Rolling King'?
From: The Pooka
Date: 28 Jun 02 - 10:03 PM

*lol* This thread is a wonderful combination of the informative & the hilarious....Celtic Soul (yesterday's post), honestly, I had thought of another old SNL skit, about the good ship The Raging Queen; got to be derivative from these here Rolling Kings (*purse* your lips indeed, Ozmacca)...but look, does anybody here play sea bass?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
Next Page

  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 17 January 8:18 AM EST

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.