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Origins: The Flying Cloud

DigiTrad:
PENNY EVANS
THE FLYING CLOUD


Related threads:
Lyr Req: John O'Halloran (Sean McCarthy) (22)
happy? - Apr 15 ('Flying Cloud' launch) (1)
Flying Cloud: History (13)


Lighter 06 Jan 19 - 01:33 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Jan 19 - 12:29 PM
Lighter 06 Jan 19 - 10:22 AM
Richard Mellish 06 Jan 19 - 07:58 AM
r.padgett 05 Jan 19 - 11:39 AM
r.padgett 05 Jan 19 - 11:30 AM
Lighter 05 Jan 19 - 10:07 AM
r.padgett 05 Jan 19 - 06:55 AM
Richard Mellish 05 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM
r.padgett 05 Jan 19 - 03:58 AM
Lighter 04 Jan 19 - 09:04 AM
Lighter 04 Jan 19 - 08:34 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 04 Jan 19 - 07:03 AM
Lighter 04 Jan 19 - 06:52 AM
Richard Mellish 04 Jan 19 - 06:19 AM
Lighter 03 Jan 19 - 10:50 PM
Richard Mellish 30 Sep 17 - 08:06 AM
Lighter 29 Sep 17 - 11:32 AM
Les from Hull 29 Sep 17 - 10:31 AM
Lighter 29 Sep 17 - 09:45 AM
GUEST 18 Jul 17 - 05:56 PM
GUEST,Julia L 12 Oct 14 - 10:20 PM
Lighter 12 Oct 14 - 08:22 AM
Mr Red 12 Oct 14 - 05:48 AM
Lighter 11 Oct 14 - 11:25 AM
MartinRyan 11 Oct 14 - 09:16 AM
GUEST,Lighter 06 Mar 12 - 04:18 PM
GUEST,oldtimer 06 Mar 12 - 03:59 PM
Jon Corelis 05 Mar 12 - 03:43 PM
GUEST,Ian 05 Mar 12 - 02:06 PM
MartinRyan 05 Mar 12 - 04:13 AM
MartinRyan 05 Mar 12 - 03:07 AM
Jon Corelis 05 Mar 12 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,Lighter 04 Mar 12 - 10:31 AM
Jon Corelis 04 Mar 12 - 10:18 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 12 - 04:37 AM
MartinRyan 04 Mar 12 - 04:22 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Mar 12 - 03:19 AM
GUEST 04 Mar 12 - 01:39 AM
GUEST,JOE PROVOST 08 Jan 12 - 12:05 AM
GUEST,williamwall 13 Sep 10 - 01:58 AM
GUEST,williamwall 12 Sep 10 - 03:57 PM
Lighter 21 Sep 04 - 08:44 PM
GUEST,Stephen R. 21 Sep 04 - 08:03 PM
Lighter 15 Sep 04 - 10:23 PM
GUEST 15 Sep 04 - 06:02 PM
MartinRyan 15 Sep 04 - 12:13 PM
Stephen R. 15 Sep 04 - 11:53 AM
Lighter 11 Sep 04 - 11:05 PM
Lighter 11 Sep 04 - 10:40 PM
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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the post, Mick.

The same text then appeared in the Norton County News (Norton, Kans.) (Oct. 12, 1916), p. 8; and a very similar one in the Boston Evening Transcript (Dec. 30, 1926), "a true copy" credited to "S.H."

"S.H.'s" text reappeared, via an intermediate source, in in the Journal of American Folklore in 1922.

A similar version is printed in the Saskatoon Daily Star (Apr. 7, 1922), p. 4.

I suspect that Mrs. LaFreniere's lies behind all of these.

The tunes I've encountered are all clearly related. What else is related?

(Either Hugill or Doerflinger also weds it to "Go to Sea No More.")


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 12:29 PM

The print history is very sparse. After the Wehman edition, I think the next documented is the 1919 version in Mackenzie's The Quest Of The Ballad.

I have a couple of new references, which as far as I can see are not in the Roud index:

From 1916: The Duluth Herald for Monday March 26th prints a version sent in by Mrs.F. La Freniere of Grand Rapids, Minn. This version is almost identical to that published in the Journal of American Folklore, Vol 35, 1922 (which refers to Minn versions) Duluth Everning Herald (top left of left page - magnify to see).

1926: Adventure Vol60 No.03 (Aug 1926) prints a copy contributed by a Captain A K St.Clair of Vancouver, who I also can't find in Roud. I haven't compared this with other versions yet. Adventure 1926.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 10:22 AM

> Who collected broadsides printed in the USA in the second half of the 1800s?

Among folklorists, seemingly nobody. But a very large number are available online from the Library of Congress, and many more are available in songster form from Google Books, etc.

No "Flying Cloud" before 1922.

Maybe the song first appeared (as a poem) in some local newspaper. If so, it hasn't been found in a search of vast newspaper databases.

Maybe it appeared as part of a vaudeville act or in a medicine show. (Consider "Sung with great success by Leonard D. Geldert.")

Maybe the author circulated it in handwritten copies, and/or (in preferred fashion) sang it on shipboard or elsewhere many, many times.

It's so good that many hearers (relatively speaking) would have wanted to learn it.

Those are the only theories I can think of at the moment. None address the date of composition. Personally, I'm reluctant (in general) to date things to a date far earlier than their first report (ca1880-1892 in this case) without concrete evidence.

Folk ballads were not considered "newsworthy," except when readers wrote in to ask for a complete text of one song or other. These were usually parlor songs, and the practice seems to have become common only after 1900.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 06 Jan 19 - 07:58 AM

There has to be some reason why whoever first made this song picked the name Flying Cloud. That must surely have been some time after the real Flying Cloud began (legitimate) operations, most likely during her active career or possibly fairly soon after her end. I'm imagining a conversation in a pub, with someone saying "The Flying Cloud is/was a marvellous fast ship. What a ship she would be been for a pirate captain a hundred years ago!". And then the other party in the conversation taking that thought and running with it, grafting in memes about pirates, young men being led astray, etc.

If the song's wide dissemination was then partly through print, what has happened to all the copies of the broadside? Were the likes of Baring-Gould and Kidson mainly interested in earlier broadsides and not bothering to collect recent ones? Who collected broadsides printed in the USA in the second half of the 1800s?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: r.padgett
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 11:39 AM

Looking at the top of the thread it seems that there was infact a Flying Cloud circa 1851!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: r.padgett
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 11:30 AM

Yes Lighter the Declaration is as far I got ~ what is being suggested is that the background to the song may have been influenced by "The Dying declaration" of one (Fernandez) who's life had been"coloured" by his Piracy exploits

As you say No Flying Cloud existed as far as can be seen, so imagination comes into play as with many a good song!

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 10:07 AM

The "Fernandez" theory was floated by William M. Doerflinger in the early 1951.

Two years later folklorist Horace Beck cast extreme doubt on the theory, saying that the correspondenc es (for example, caring parents, piracy, Cuba, repentance, temperance message, "Dead men tell no tales") are generic and virtually inevitable for the time and topic.

On the other hand, Fernandez explicitly says "I am a Spaniard," whereas Hollohan/ Hollander/Anderson in the song is just as explicitly Irish. Fernandez serves no apprenticeship, his downfall begins not in Bermuda but New Orleans. There's no "Captain Moore" or "Flying Cloud," no slaving voyage, no British man-o'-war.

So I agree with Beck. (However, I and William of Ockham disagree with his thesis that "FC" is a conflation of two entirely hypothetical "lost ballads.")
It may be that the author of "The Flying Cloud" read Fernandez's confession at some point. It is more likely, perhaps, that he didn't. And he probably read other stories of piracy as well.

So the influence of Fernandez on "FC" was probably slim to none.

Read the entire "Dying Declaration" and judge for yourself:

https://tinyurl.com/yam4pb5k


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: r.padgett
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 06:55 AM

Dying declaration of Nicholas Fernandez, who with nine others were executed in front of Cadiz harbour, December 29, 1829 For piracy and murder on the high seas.

Some 30 odd pages of his life story (he was a young man) as how piracy led to his downfall and this it seems was published the year after he waswhanged with others (9) it was translated from his native Spanish and there should be some copies still availble to read per my google research in US libraries etc

This does not of course answer the question Who constructed the lengthy song? or if indeed this really was the source of the ballad/broadside of the Flying Cloud ~ those with good eye sight may want check this further

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 06:01 AM

Perhaps worth re-iterating Lighter's comment from years ago on this thread "This IS the greatest of the broadside ballads - too bad no broadside's ever been discovered!"


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: r.padgett
Date: 05 Jan 19 - 03:58 AM

Heard this sung by Dave Brady [Bradley] many years ago

Vinyl of Louis Killen ~ Ballads and Broadsides 1964/65 notes by Angela Carter (?) mentions that the ballad makers were were originally inspired by a pamphlet ~ The Dying Declaration of Nicholas Fernandez~ on the eve of his execution in 1829 (for piracy) published as a temperance tract!

There is she states[Angela] no record of a ship called the Flying Cloud

Ray


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jan 19 - 09:04 AM

The Oxford Book of English Traditional Verse (1983) calls the "British man-o'-war" the "Dungemore."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jan 19 - 08:34 AM

Thanks, Mick.

Interestingly (but no more than that), a site search for "The Flying Cloud" turns up no text in "Hyland's Hibernian Songster" (1901), "A Collection Of Over 500 Songs That Are Dear To The Irish Heart ."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 04 Jan 19 - 07:03 AM

Lighter. The source is Wehmans Universal Songster, Vol 42 and according to the site This collection of around 6000 songs was taken from a set of 61 song books published quarterly roughly between 1884 and 1899 by the Henry J. Wehman publishing company of New York and Chicago.. If they were quarterly, vol 42 would be somewhere about 1894.

That attribution "sung with...". looks like the sort you get on sheet music. I've looked at several of the sheet music sites and though I found a Flying Cloud Gallop, Flying Cloud Schottische and Flying Cloud Waltz (all from around 1850), I didn't find a song.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 04 Jan 19 - 06:52 AM

True, Richard, but a single corrupt text could have appeared in no time at all.

Somebody can hear a freshly made song, try to learn it, then get it jumbled in no time at all. (Learning a song while intoxicated would make this even easier; and "FC" is a long song telling a complex story.)

I'm not saying this is what happened here, only that corruption in a single text is not a reliable indicator of a song's age.

The existence of *several* independent corrupt texts from 1894 or earlier would be far more significant.

Without the recollections (from many years later, regrettably) that the song existed between 1883 and 1892, we'd have little enough basis for believing so.

"FC" may not predate 1894 by much.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 04 Jan 19 - 06:19 AM

That 1894 version (presuming the attribution to be accurate) had already suffered significant corruption:
Verse 1 line 2 "Dyman's land";
Verse 2 line 1 "Water street so fair" instead of "Waterford's fair town" (or similar) which rhymes with "Brown" in the next line;
plus other missing rhymes.

That is confirmation that the song had been on the go for a while before that date, but otherwise only of interest as an instance of the folk process being degenerative.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 03 Jan 19 - 10:50 PM

This site seems to give the earliest known printed text. Note the 1894 copyright:

http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/songster/42-the-flying-cloud.htm

I haven't seen a copy of the original source and don't know where the website found it.

An extensive (though not exhaustive) search of newspaper databases turns up nothing relevant about Leonard D. Geldert.

He would appear to have been a vaudeville performer.

But beware! Nothing above tells us anything about the song's actual origin. Was Geldert (whoever he was) the author? That seems unlikely if McGinniss's much later recollection (see up-thread) of hearing the song in 1883 was accurate.

Who can say?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 30 Sep 17 - 08:06 AM

Among much else, this ballad offers some fascinating illustrations of the "folk process" in action. The ship is consistently the Flying Cloud (even though the only known real ship of that name came well after the main era of slaving and piracy and was never used for those purposes), her captain is always Moore, and the protagonist's place of birth almost always Waterford, but everything else varies: the protagonist's name; whether he was apprenticed to a butcher or a cooper; where he met Moore; the ship's size, speed and complement of crew and guns; where the slaves were sold; and the name of the naval vessel that eventually made the capture. Also there are many verses that occur in some versions and not in others.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 11:32 AM

> Certainly a thousand ton eighteen knot barque wound be an unusual slave ship in any period

Probably so. But how about the way I heard it:

"The Cloud she was a Yankee ship, five hundred tons or more....

"And her canvas taut in the rattling breeze, logging fourteen off the reel...."


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Les from Hull
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 10:31 AM

There was never an HMS Diogenes. I don't think that anyone has ever discovered any historical basis for this excellent ballad. As recorded in this thread there are many details that don't stand up to scrutiny. Certainly a thousand ton eighteen knot barque wound be an unusual slave ship in any period. Sing what you like or what you've 'collected'!


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 29 Sep 17 - 09:45 AM

On Oct. 13, 1926, retired seaman Joseph McGinnis wrote to American collector R. W. Gordon about "The Flying Cloud" :

"I learned what I think is the original song in the foc'sle in about 1883 from an old Liverpool Western Ocean sailor and it gives the singer's name as Edward Hollander and it has a very tuneful melody to it....

"I gave Miss J.C. Colcord the words and music... and she published it in her book 'Roll and Go' or Songs of American Sailor-men....

"The name of the man-o-war I gave her was the 'Dungeness.' I thought at the time it was the wrong name. I have come to the conclusion since that it was the 'Diogenes.' As I have reeled off sixty years I am not always too positive about matters that happened years ago. ...

"It was and is a popular song wherever sung and particularly with Sailors."

1883 is, so far, the earliest alleged date for the song. No other collected text includes the name "Diogenes." Sing "Diogenes" and "Dungeness" might have sounded similar when sung (think "Dodge-ness") it's impossible to be sure which name McGinnis heard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Jul 17 - 05:56 PM

When I sing this song, I often get comments saying it is strange that the song seems to regard "piracy" as worse than slaving. Actually, the 1829 Act of Parliament outlawing the slave trade declared it to be a form of piracy. Logically enough, as the English were upset by the practice of the Barbary Pirates, which was to make slaves of Englishmen captured in the Mediterranian.

I would say these comments are anachronistic. A generation raised on "Pirates of the Caribbean" has learned to believe that "pirates" are just quaint early Libertarians. So piracy seems less threatening to us today than it seemed to our ancestors. But Parliament dealt the slave trade a shrewd blow by designating it piratical.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,Julia L
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 10:20 PM

Hi all- there are numerous versions of this in the Maine collections I have been studying. It was very popular among the lumbermen as well as the coastal singers. In addition to the Minstrelsy of Maine reference above Barry, Linscott, Colcord and Beck all have it . It also appears in the Helen Hartness Flanders collection, sung throughout New England.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 08:22 AM

The similarities between the song and the "dying declaration" appear to be too generic to show a real connection.

Not just my opinion - but I can't recall who first pointed it out. Horace Beck?

In any case, Beck did argue that the song came from not one but *two* "lost" broadsides. Which is probably at least twice as unlikely as coming from either one lost broadside or from the Fernandez leaflet more than 50 years before the song's first known appearance.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Mr Red
Date: 12 Oct 14 - 05:48 AM

Songs of the Sailor and Lumberman, William Main Doerflinger
page 334 Flying Cloud, the
From the singing of Captain Henry E Burke, Toronto. Formerly of Lenenburg Nova Scotia . probablt inspired by the Dying Declaration of Nicolas Fernadnez (1830) etc etc - the discussion.
and p136 -138. - the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Oct 14 - 11:25 AM

This gives me a chance to say I've searched innumerable newspaper databases over the past two years and found no earlier reference to the song.

The 1870s or '80s seem to me to be the most likely time of origin.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: MartinRyan
Date: 11 Oct 14 - 09:16 AM

No fewer than three versions of The Flying Cloud - by Luke Cheevers, Dan Milner and Sean Garvey now available at The Goilin Song Project:

Click here

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 04:18 PM

In the version I know (largely MacColl's) the Cloud is "500 tons or more."

The 1000-ton ships JC describes were large (though not the largest) naval vessels, not "clipper ships" fitted with guns as in the ballad.

Whatever its origin, I wouldn't take anything in it literally. The story with its temperance moral was the thing.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,oldtimer
Date: 06 Mar 12 - 03:59 PM

Fair play Martin , I am again astounded--- saw your item about the wounded Hussar , great , Mrs Flannery


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 03:43 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by "compared with ships of the 1800s", but aren't your figures low? The only stats I have to hand are for ships built around 1800, but the approx. 1000 ton ships among them (e.g.Diana, Leopard) have complements in the hundreds and guns in the dozens.

Jon Corelis
Songs by William Blake


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 02:06 PM

I have looked at several of the versions of the song above and in regard to the size of the Flying cloud and number of guns. I would add that a ship of about 1000 tons would need a crew of about 40 and would carry about 14 guns if compared with ships of the 1800s. Comparable with a frigate of that period.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 04:13 AM

In fact the print references mentioned in my last post are not relevant.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: MartinRyan
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 03:07 AM

Bingo!

There's a tape in the Comhaltas archive of Nioclas singing The Flying Cloud , together with some print references to their journal Treoir.

For a sample from the tape Click here

You need to be a member to play the full (6 minutes) tape - which has an aural "watermark" on it. I haven't played it in full yet but there is no sign of either chorus or coda.

I'll follow up the print references another time.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 05 Mar 12 - 12:27 AM

Thanks for the comment on the Housman.

My memory of Go To Sea No More (I probably have a recording of it somewhere but can't remember just where) is that it is quite similar to The Flying Cloud air, but with a different meter. Thinking about it, it occurs to me that the melody of Dylan's I Am A Lonesome Hobo from the John Wesley Harding album is also quite similar.

Jon Corelis
Abergenny: A welsh Song


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 10:31 AM

Great setting, Jon!

Personally, I'd never describe MacColl's tune as "jaunty." "Dramatic," certainly. Hugill says he heard the tune used for "Go to Sea No More."

A related but gloomier melody is in Doerflinger's "Shantymen and Shantyboys."

MacColl's performance on "Haul on the Bowline" is, I believe, the same as that on "The Singing Sailor" (1956).


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Jon Corelis
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 10:18 AM

A fascinating and useful thread -- mudcat at its best. Apologies if any of the comments below repeat what's been said -- I don't think they do, but it's a long thread.

A version of this song, with full lyrics and score with chords, is in the book A Bonnie Bunch of Roses by Dan Milner and Paul Kaplan (Oak Publications 1983.) There is a brief introductory note there which doesn't, I think, give any information that hasn't been mentioned above, but it does say that the version in the book is taken "from the singing of Ewan MacColl, with additional verses from other sources," implying that this collated text may be different from those found elsewhere. That note also refers to a recorded version on MacColl's Haul on the Bowlin', a 1962 LP, though according to the Ewan MacColl site he also recorded it elsewhere.

The song seems to me to use a technique relatively rare in English-language folk music, using a rather jaunty melody as a setting for tragic lyrics.

I haven't seen a definitive statement of the provenance of the air, but to me it sounds definitely Irish, though mostly attested from North America. I wonder if it might be found in old song books under a different name.

I've adapted the tune for a musical setting of an A. E. Housman poem, here.

Jon Corelis


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 04:37 AM

Hi Martin
Good idea to contact ITMA - will try to remember and pass on what I get.
Would love to know if anybody ever did record his English language songs - seems inconceivable that nobody did.
Annoyingly, I caught the last five minutes of the documentary - but I'm not sure it was exclusively on Nioclas, but rather on the area, Ring - will check that out too.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 04:22 AM

Jim

I have a vague memory of hearing Nioclas singing this many years ago. I reckon it was an archive recording from Radio Eireann, as it was then called. Curiously, I seem to recall, not a chorus but a kind of half-verse coda sung at the very end of the song. No idea of the content (of the coda) or air used. I think he had learned the song during his time in London.

Should be well worth an enquiry to ITMA.

Regards
p.s. As I write, I'm getting flashes of a TV documentary on Nioclas from a few years back.... Wonder if it's mentioned there?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 03:19 AM

I understand that the great Waterford Irish language singer, the late Nicholas Tobin sang a version of this which had the same refrain as 'Benjamin Bowmaneer'.
I never heard it because nobody thought to record any of his sixty-odd English language songs (if this is not the case, I would be very interested to learn that they did)
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 01:39 AM

The version cited by Malcolm Douglas I heard sung by John Doyle.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,JOE PROVOST
Date: 08 Jan 12 - 12:05 AM

THERE ARE 21 VERSES TO THE FLYING CLOUD I LEARNED 17 THE OTHER 4 I CAN,T FIND MABYE YOU CAN HELP ME ON THIS TKS


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,williamwall
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 01:58 AM

Just to add to my last comment the fact that the relative's family traded from Tramore to the West Indies. In the version I'm referring to, when the young man gives up his apprenticeship he ships 'on board of the Ocean Queen belonging to Tramore'. Here is a link to that version:
Click here


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,williamwall
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 03:57 PM

The sea terminology is accurate and unusual (allowing for landsmen's inventions). The placenames in Ireland generally circle around Waterford and the nearby resort of Tramore. Tramore is not the port for Waterford, which has its own docks. But Dunmore is a fishing port at the entrance to Waterford Harbour. I have a relative, by the way, who is descended from a family who owned ships that traded to the West Indies. In McColl's version the protagonist (Arthur Hollander) is apprenticed to a butcher in Wicklow, further up the east coast, and contains the wonderful line 'I wore the bloody apron there for three long years and more'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 08:44 PM

Any time!

If I learn anything new about the song I'll post it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST,Stephen R.
Date: 21 Sep 04 - 08:03 PM

Thanks for the info, Lighter! The "California Gold" site had enough background to locate the version properly--Warde and his two brothers, it tells us, came from Wisconsin to California to work on the Shasta Dam. But you fill out the picture excellently, and call our attention to a little-known set of songs.

Stephen R. (disguised as "Guest" because I'm in the local library rather than at home)


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 10:23 PM

Warde H. Ford came originally from Crandon, WI, according to the notes on Folkways LP "Wolf River Songs" (ca.1955), which features Ford and members of his family as Cowell recorded them in the early '50s. (Sorry I don't have the booklet, but you can get the album on CD through Smithsonian Folkways for about $20.)

Ford was a significant trad singer, perhaps in his forties when he sang "The Flying Cloud" for collector Cowell. Between 1938 and 1954 he sang about sixty songs for Cowell and the Library of Congress - songs of all kinds, from Child ballads like "Barbara Allan" and "Andrew Batann" to sentimental broadsides and lumbering ballads("My Bonnie Black Bess," "Foreman Monroe") to bawdry ("Sergeant Tally-Ho") to Civil War ballads ("The Cumberland's Crew") to vaudeville songs ("Barney McShane," "Jerry Will You Ile that Car" and "Alderman of the Ward") to miscellanea like "Putting on the Agony," "Granny Will Your Dog Bite?" and "Bill Bailey."

As "The Flying Cloud" shows, he liked long ballads with plenty of detail and melodrama: his L. of C. recordings of the very rare "Battle of Antietam Creek" and "Custer's Last Charge" (beginning "Along the Big Horn's crystal tide...") are classics of this long-forgotten and now utterly alien musical genre. Such songs were ideal - one supposes - for singing under the stars when the campfire flickered low and there seemed to be all the time in the world to spin a tale of the sadness of fate, even in a dream-world of Victorian gentility that was at least a world away from the real lives of lumbermen, soldiers, and sailors.

At any rate, Ford's "Flying Cloud" has roots in Wisconsin rather than in California.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 06:02 PM

Traditional Ballad Index has expanded the biblio since Toadfrog posted it almost two years ago:

Flying Cloud, The [Laws K28]
DESCRIPTION: Singer Edward (Hollohan) abandons the cooper's trade to be a sailor. At length he falls in with Captain Moore, a brutal slaver. Moore later turns pirate. When his ship is finally taken, the remaining sailors are sentenced to death
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1894
KEYWORDS: sailor slavery pirate execution gallows-confession
FOUND IN: US(MA,MW,NE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Laws K28, "The Flying Cloud"
Belden, pp. 128-131, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Doerflinger, pp. 135-139, "The Flying Cloud" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Greenleaf/Mansfield 173, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 223-225, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text plus 1 fragment)
Rickaby 41, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach, pp. 778-781, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text)
Friedman, p. 411, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner 2, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
FSCatskills 115, "The 'Flying Cloud'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/MacMillan 9, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 504-507, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 845-847, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 98-100, "The Flying Cloud" (1 text)
DT 409, FLYCLOUD*
Roud #1802
RECORDINGS:
Warde Ford, "The Flying cloud" [fragment] (AFS 4202 B1, 1938; tr.; in AMMEM/Cowell)

Stephen


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 12:13 PM

Wonderful version, that.

Regards


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FLYING CLOUD
From: Stephen R.
Date: 15 Sep 04 - 11:53 AM

Masato Sakurai called our attention to the version of "The Flying Cloud" collected by Sidney Robert-son Cowell from Warde Ford in 1938, as part of a WPA project, now in the Library of Congress. The collection is on the internet, courtesy of Library of Congress, in the form of: 1) a sound file of one stanza by Warde Ford, the first half sung and the second whistled; 2) the original field notes in which Cowell took down the words of the song from the singer, including corrections and the singer's comments during the singing; and 3) a transcript of the field notes.

The notes in this raw form bring us close to the original performance and give us a sense of the singer; a source from 1938 thus satisfies to an extent the interests in the singer and the actual performance context that had not come to the fore in that period but are now quite dominant. This is certainly a good thing, but on the one hand the transcript is not as complete as it could be and on the other something a little more refined is going to be wanted sooner or later. While the notes are rather as we should expect of a compiler trying to write down what is being sung, and not at all a fair copy, they are more legible than one would gather from the transcript. One gets the impression that someone not acquainted with the song or with anything similar made a single pass over the manuscript, and was unable to return to tease out answers to difficulties encountered at that first and last session. However that may be, most of the omitted words can be deciphered with confidence, and in a very small number of cases the reading in the transcript can be corrected.

I have prepared the following, which may represent a step toward a draft for publication (I do not pretend to have produced in a short time a final draft ready to be sent to the printer!). I wanted to preserve the two comments made by the singer during the course of his performance, but not to clutter the text with them as is done in the transcript; so I have made a short apparatus that will be immediately intelligible to anyone at all familiar with historical textual studies and easily figured out by anyone else. This displays the singer's comments with minimal discussion of their context; a correction apparently made by the singer (the original word is stricken through and the correction written above it), a couple of what may be either corrections or simply acceptible variant words known to the singer (like the foregoing, but without the strikethrough of the original word); and a few corrections of the transcript.

The Flying Cloud.

1 My name is Edward Anderson, as you shall understand;
I was born in the city of Waterford, in Erin's lovely land,
And being young and innocent, and beauty on me smiled,
My parents doted on me, for I was their only child.

2 So with my parents [I] grew up in Waterford's own(?) town;
They bound me to a cooper by the name of William Brown.
I served him long and faithfully for eighteen months or more;
Then I went on board of the Ocean Queen, bound for New Britain's shore.

3. 'Twas in the City of Trimore I fell in with Captain Moore,
The owner of the Flying Cloud, fresh from a distant shore;
So kindly he invited me on a slaving voyage to go
To the burning shores of Africa, where the sugar cane doth grow.

4. The Flying Cloud is as fine a ship as ever sailed the main,
With her sails as white as the driven snow, on them no spot nor stain—
I have often seen that gallant bark when the wind blew off her steel,
With her royal skysails set aloft, going eighteen by the reel.

5. About a fortnight after that, we set out from Afric's shore
With eighteen hundred of those poor souls to be slaves for evermore.
We lined then up along our decks and stored them down below,
Till eighteen inches to a man was all we could allow.

6. Then with our cargo we set sail upon a Monday morn;
It had been better for those poor souls if they had ne'er been born.
For a plague of fever came on board and swept them half away;
We lined their bodies on our deck, and threw them in the sea.

7. 'Twas but a few weeks after that, we reach the Cuban shore,
And sold them to the planters there, to be slaves for evermore,
The rice and coffee there to hoe beneath a burning sun,
To lead a sad and mournful life, until their career was run.

8. And when our money was all spent we went to sea again;
Then Captain Moore, he came on deck, and said to us his men:
"There's gold and silver to be had, if you with me agree,
We will hoist aloft a pirate flag, and scour the raging sea"

9. We all agreed excepting five, and those return to land.
Two of these were English boys, and two from New Found Land.
The other was an Irish lad, his home was in Trimore;
How oft I have wished I had joined those boys, and stayed with them on shore.

10. We robbed and plundered many a ship down on the Spanish Main,
Caused many a man's poor wife's heart to break, when he came not again.
We caused them all to walk the plank, their prayers of no avail,
For the saying of our captain was: "A dead man tells no tales".

11. And we were chased by men of war, liners and frigates too,
But all in vain astern of us their burning shells they threw,
And all in vain astern of us their cannons roared full loud;
'Twas all in vain down on the main to chase the Flying Cloud.

12. Till at length a British man of war, the Dungeon, hove in view,
And fired a shot across our bow, a signal to heave to,
To her we gave no answer as we steered before the wind,
Til a chance shot cut our mizzenmast; then we were left behind.

13. "Prepare for action" was the cry, as we lined along her side,
And soon across our quarterdeck there flowed a crimson tide.
We fought till Captain Moore was slain, and eighteen of his men,
When a bursting shell set our ship on fire; we were forced to surrender then.

14 To Newgate prison we were sent, bound down in iron chains,
For the plundering of many a ship down on the Spanish Main.
'Twas drinking and bad company that made a wretch of me;
Come all young people, a warning take, and beware of piracy.

15 Farewell to dear old Ireland and the maid that I adore;
Your voice like gentle music will charm my heart no more.
No more I'll kiss her ruby lips or press her lily-white hand,
For I must die a shameful death all in a foreign land.


1.2 lovely] "happy" was written first, but stricken through and replaced by a word that the transcriber read as "lonely"; but which I think is "lovely"; cf. the version sung by Captain Archie S. Spurling in Fannie Hardy Eckstorm and Mary Winslow Smyth, Minstrelsy of Maine (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1927), p. 214, that sung by Captain Henry Burke in William Main Doerflinger, Shantymen and Shantyboys (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1951), p. 136; and that sung by Howard Morry in Kenneth Peacock, Songs of the Newfoundland Outports (Ottawa: National Museum of Canada, 1965), Vol. 3, p. 842; and Stan Hugill's version in Shanties and Sailor's Songs (London: H. Jenkins, and New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1969), p. 225. The rejected "happy" is the word found in the majority of versions.
2.1 own(?)] –These letters are repeated in the following word and so easily compared in terms of handwriting; they seem unproblematic, but they are preceded by a misshapen circle that may be a capital "O". That is the cause of the uncertainty as to what is intended here.
3.4 cane] the field notes and transcript have "can"       doth] "does" is written above it.
4.1 as a fine a] "the finest" is written above it. Probably what is intended is "as fine a ship as" in the original reading and "the finest ship that" as the revision.
4.3 bark] a word that is legible as "ship" has been erased and "bark" written in place of it. But there was more written after "bark," almost a complete line, that is illegible. From what remains, it is probably "when the wind blew off her steel," as in the following line. Apparently the words were written twice in the process of recording the song as sung, and later corrected with the eraser; there are other places in the field notes that appear to have been erased and written over.
4.4. set] "set set" in the field notes and transcript.
At the end of this stanza Cowell recorded comment: " 'Of course I don't know what this all means, but it's sure enough the way the song goes,' says EWF."
12.3-4 It appears that the singer at first sang here the text belonging to 13.1-2. Catching the mistake, he sang instead the proper second half of the stanza and proceeded to stanza 13, with the comment "There! I like a song to make sense!"

Warde Ford's comment "Of course I don't know what this all means, but it's sure enough the way the song goes" expresses what must have been the experience of many singers as the song moved inland with the westward spread of logging. The problem is twofold, both aspects arising from the landsman's unfamiliarity with the sailor's specialized vocabulary First, corrruption of the text, which is probably responsible for "When the wind blew off her steel" and for "royal sky-sails," the sky sail being the one above the royal. Second, correctly preserved text incomprehensible to landlubbers: "going eighteen by the reel." Compare version A in Roland Palmer Gray's Songs and Ballads of the Maine Lumberjacks: "I have oftentimes seen our gallant ship / As the wind lay abaft her wheel, / With the royal and the sky-sail set aloft, / Sail nineteen by the reel."

One point of interest in this version is that the initial journey is to New Britain, the most distant destination of any recorded, and the most improbable and irrelevant to the plot. However, the narrator only goes aboard the vessel bound for New Britain; there is nothing about his arrival there, and he meets the ill-fated Captain Moore in "Trimore," the form in which Tramore, the port serving Waterford, usu-ally appears in this song. In this it resembles the version taken down by Gale Huntington from Welcome Tilton—see Northeast Folklore 8 (1967): 35-37—in which there is no initial voyage abroad at all; the encounter with the Captain occurs in the narrator's native Waterford, and the slaving voyage takes its departure directly from there. So the trip to New Britain constitutes a bit of an absurdity; one won

ders whether the singer knew where either New Britain or "Trimore" was, and whether he may have thought that the latter was a port in the former. Whether meeting the Captain in County Waterford represents the well-known process of distilling a song down to essentials (imperfectly carried through in the Ford version), or whether it represents an early form of the song, before the accretion of new matter from some song of emigration, is a question open to discussion.

Stephen


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Sep 04 - 11:05 PM

Wish I knew more about this publication, but a Google search reveals that a dime novel about pirates called "The Steel Mask; or, The Mystery of the Flying Cloud. A Romance of Sea and Shore" was published in May, 1899, as No. 1024 in the series Beadle's New Dime Library. The author was J. H. Ingraham, a prolific writer of such tales. The story had appeared earlier (site doesn't say when) as No. 93 of De Witt's Ten Cent Romances.

May be of no significance except as more grist for the mill.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Flying Cloud
From: Lighter
Date: 11 Sep 04 - 10:40 PM

This IS the greatest of the broadside ballads - too bad no broadside's ever been discovered!

Novelist Jack London reported learning the song in the 1890s around San Francisco Bay. This would seem to be about the time that it was so popular in lumber camps throughout the north. That might suggest an origin in the 1880s or a bit earlier: just a thought.

Most people don't realize that it was once usual to anglicize the sounds of any and all foreign words in an English context. (The pronunciation of Latin in legal contexts may be the last remaining example of this.) That said, I've always inmagined that the Spanish man-o'-war the "Dungeon" simply rationalized a mishearing of Spanish "Don Juan" (Don-Joo-Un). Lord Byron once used this very rhyme. (Of course it might just as easily have rationalized an unfamiliar "Dungeness"!)

FWIW, I've never come across any "keys" to the "mystery of the Flying Cloud" in decades of keeping my eyes open.

But don't let that stop you!


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