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Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song

07 Feb 07 - 09:13 PM (#1960652)
Subject: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid ssong
From: McGrath of Harlow

Here's a song request that came up in the thread about Irish Newfoundland songs, but I thought it might have more chance of getting people looking for it in a thread of its own. It sounds like an interesting song to track down:

Hello out there. I've just stumbled across this website and it looks great. I'm looking for the lyrics to a song that my mother sang to me while growing up in Newfoundland. I only remember the Chorus. It goes like this:

and the ship went down to the bottom of the sea,
and the mermaids there watched over me,
tra la la la, la la la la
tra la la, la la la la la
the ship went down to the bottom of the sea,
and the mermaids there watched over me.


I've always loved that song. My mom knew it by heart but she's gone now and I've been racking my brain trying to find it. If anyone out there recognizes the Chorus and knows the song, I would be tickled pink if you could post it.
Regards
Catherine


07 Feb 07 - 10:22 PM (#1960683)
Subject: Lyr/Chords Add: THE MERMAID SONG
From: oldhippie

Could this be it?

The Mermaid Song
words and music Traditional

Twas Friday morn when we set sail
And we were not far from the land
When the captain, he spied a lovely mermaid
With a comb and a glass in her hand

O the ocean's waves will roll
And the stormy winds will blow
While we poor sailors go skipping to the top
And the landlubbers lie down below (below, below)
And the landlubbers lie down below

And up spoke the captain of our gallant ship
And a well-spoken man was he
I have me a wife in Salem by the sea
And tonight she a widow will be

And up spoke the cookie of our gallant ship
And a red hot cookie was he
Saying I care much more for my pots and my pans
Than I do for the bottom of the sea

Then up spoke the cabinboy, of our gallant ship
And a nasty little lad was he.
I'm not quite sure I can spell "mermaid"
But I'm going to the bottom of the sea.

Then three times around went our gallant ship
And three times around went she
Three times around went our gallant ship
And she sank to the bottom of the sea


KEY G

verse:
G G C C
C D7 G
G G C C
C D7 G


chorus:
G G G G
G G D7 D7
G G C C
C D7 G


07 Feb 07 - 10:42 PM (#1960700)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid ssong
From: EBarnacle

Then up spoke the figurehead of our gallant ship
And a full-figured figurehead was she;
I care much more for the tops of the waves
Than I do for the bottom of the sea!


08 Feb 07 - 07:36 AM (#1960986)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

The rhythm of the lines sound more reminiscent of The Keeper of the Eddystone Light:

My father was the keeper of the Eddystone light
And he slept with a mermaid one fine night
Out of this union there came three
A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me!
Yo ho ho, the wind blows free,
Oh for the life on the rolling sea!


08 Feb 07 - 12:59 PM (#1961330)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

Then there is RULE BRITANNIA/MARRIED TO MERMAID

...He said that as he went down,
Great fishes he did see;
They seemed to think as he did wink,
That he was rather free.
But down he went so quickly,
Saying, ''Tis all up with me,'
When he met a lovely mermaid
At the bottom of the deep blue sea.
CHO: Singing Rule Britannia,
Britannia rule the waves
Britons never, never, never shall be slaves...


Once again I'm not suggesting this is the song in question. But perhaps a relative.


09 Feb 07 - 12:10 PM (#1962347)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

Here's a website Mermaids on the Web - no songs that I could see, but plenty of stories from all round the world about Mermaids and Silkies and the like.

Has no one ever come across anything that might match up with Catherine's fragment?


09 Feb 07 - 12:14 PM (#1962350)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,meself

Anyone heard from Catherine lately? She don't seem terribly interested in any of this ...


09 Feb 07 - 12:17 PM (#1962354)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: MMario

I coudln't find anything at Levy Sheet Music site.


09 Feb 07 - 12:35 PM (#1962373)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Celtaddict

Even if Catherine does not know to look for this thread or doesn't get online often, I would love to find this one. I believe I have heard it too; there were also, I think, some lines about putting [his] head on a tortoiseshell pillow and being fed from a scallop shell dish. Considering how well known mermaids are in art and traditional stories, there are surprisingly few mermaid songs and I would be very glad of another.


09 Feb 07 - 07:45 PM (#1962729)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

...there are surprisingly few mermaid songs...

There's the Great Silkie of Sule Skerry of course.

I agree with Celtaddict - whether Catherine turns up again or not is beside the point. There's an interesting song out there waiting to be tracked down.

Looking at that snatch of the song it occured to me that the structure looks as if it might possibly be French - that repetition of the couplet with the refrain in between, I mean. And there are, or at least were, French speaking communities in Newfoundland. (And the French islands of St Pierre et Miquelon are only next door).


09 Feb 07 - 07:54 PM (#1962736)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE MERMAID (Shel Silverstein)
From: Peace

The Mermaid (Great Big Sea)

When I was a lad in a fishin' town,
Me old man said to me:
"You can spend your life, your jolly life,
Just sailin' on the sea.

"You can search the world for pretty girls,
Till your eyes are weak and dim,
But, don't go searchin' for a mermaid, son,
If you don't know how to swim."

'Cause her hair was green as seaweed,
Her skin was blue and pale,
Her face it was a work of art,
I loved that girl with all my heart,
But I only liked the upper part,
I did not like the tail.

I signed on to a sailing ship,
My very first day at sea,
I seen the mermaid in the waves,
A-reachin' out to me.

"Come live with me in the sea," said she,
"Down on the ocean floor;
And I'll show you a million wonderous things
You've never seen before."

So over I jumped and she pulled me down,
Down to her seaweed bed,
And a pillow made of a tortoise shell
She placed beneath my head.

She fed me shrimp and caviar
Upon a silver dish,
From her head to her waist it was just my taste,
But the rest of her was a fish!

'Cause hair was green as seaweed,
Her skin was blue and pale,
Her face it was a work of art,
I loved that girl with all my heart,
But I only liked the upper part,
I did not like the tail.

But then one day she swam away,
So I sang to the clams and the whales:
"Oh, how I miss her seaweed hair
And the silvery glow of her scales."

But then her sister she swam by
And set me heart a-whirl,
'Cause her upper part was an ugly fish
But the bottom part was a girl.

Yes, her hair was green as seaweed,
Her skin was blue and pale,
Her legs they are a work of art,
I love that girl with all my heart,
And I don't give a damn about the upper part,
'Cause that's how I get my tail.

####.... Shel Silverstein, arranged by Great Big Sea (The Hard And The Easy, 2005) ....####


09 Feb 07 - 08:36 PM (#1962785)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Nick

Peace, so we meet again!
When Great Big Sea put out the latest CD with that song on it there was some question if it was traditional. (I know as GBS junkie) There was question if GBS had violated copyright on the song, and people said it was a modern song, written in fact by the same guy who wrote "Cover of the Rolling Stone", as in Gonna buy five copies for my mother, Rolling Stone.... Is that Shel Silverstien? but I have heard nothing since. Hmmmmmm
Whack fall the day
Nick


09 Feb 07 - 09:26 PM (#1962832)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,meself

I agree ... possibility of an interesting song ... I just find it curious when people start these things then disappear ... this time, the way the planets were aligned I suppose, I was moved to note it ... don't really make no difference to me, though ...


09 Feb 07 - 09:37 PM (#1962844)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Peace

I think that sometimes people 'stumble' across the Mudcat, forget where they found it and also how to find it again.


09 Feb 07 - 09:44 PM (#1962852)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,meself

Puts me in mind of the ol' search for the Lost Chord ...


09 Feb 07 - 09:45 PM (#1962854)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Effsee

Ask Jim Payne! Just google the name.


09 Feb 07 - 09:50 PM (#1962856)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Peace

Here's the link to ask Jim.


10 Feb 07 - 10:47 AM (#1963195)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Bob the Postman

Is there not a whiff of the troll about these vague requests for Newfoundland song lyrics which have cropped up lately (Wild Irish Rose, My Little Island Home On The Hill, mermaid tra la la)? Of course, people do sometimes post a query and then forget where, but three or four times in a week? Or if not a troll, maybe some old folks' home in Newfoundland has started a learn-to-web-surf programme.

Jim Kweskin covered the mermaid's sister song, cited above, crediting Shel ("Rolling Stone") Silverstein. In the liner notes, Kweskin stated that the song was his toddler's favorite.


10 Feb 07 - 12:26 PM (#1963272)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

I don't think the term "troll" can really be extended to this kind of welcome posting, which gets people hunting for songs.

The fragment has the feel of authenticity. (I mean it sounds like it conmes from an actual song.) Clearly not too closely related to any of the songs that have come up so far. Maybe it'll turn up. Even if it doesn't, maybe more songs about mermaids might come to the surface.


10 Feb 07 - 12:27 PM (#1963274)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,meself

"more songs about mermaids might come to the surface."

Aptly put!


10 Feb 07 - 02:30 PM (#1963356)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Nick

I dont think it is odd to see a spate of Newfoundland threads pop up. What I have always thought odd however was the relative lack of them!
Whack Fall The Day
Nick


10 Feb 07 - 05:13 PM (#1963448)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GEST

Ho Hum ~ I suppose since Peace copied The Mermaid verbatim from my free, non-commercial site, I should be allowed to at least give myself credit for all my hard work and add to his post, "Courtesy of: GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador." Cheers.


10 Feb 07 - 07:57 PM (#1963592)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

There's Yeats' version of the Mermaid meets Sailor story:

A mermaid found a swimming lad,
Picked him for her own,
Pressed her body to his body,
Laughed; and plunging down
Forgot in cruel happiness
That even lovers drown.


10 Feb 07 - 08:07 PM (#1963601)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE MERMAID (from Great Big Sea)
From: Peace

GEST: My apologies. I should have noted that.


The following are from

www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/greatbigsea/themermaid.html



GREAT BIG SEA LYRICS

"The Mermaid"

When I was a lad in a fishing town
Me old man said to me:
"You can spend your life, your jolly life
Just sailing on the sea.
You can search the world for pretty girls
Til your eyes are weak and dim,
But don't go searching for a mermaid, son
If you don't know how to swim"
'Cause her hair was green as seaweed
Her skin was blue and pale
Her face it was a work of art,
I loved that girl with all my heart
But I only liked the upper part
I did not like the tail

I signed onto a sailing ship
My very first day at sea
I seen the Mermaid in the waves,
Reaching out to me
"Come live with me in the sea said she,
Down on the ocean floor
And I'll show you a million wonderous things
You've never seen before
So over I jumped and she pulled me down,
Down to her seaweed bed
On a pillow made of a tortoise-shell
She placed beneath my head
She fed me shrimp and caviar
Upon a silver dish
From her head to her waist it was just my taste
But the rest of her was a fish
'Cause ...

But then one day, she swam away
So I sang to the clams and the whales
"Oh, how I miss her seaweed hair
And the silver shine of her scales
But then her sister, she swam by
And set my heart awhirl
Cause her upper part was an ugly fish
But her bottom part was a girl
Yes her hair was green as seaweed
Her skin was blue and pale
Her legs they are a work of art,
I loved that girl with all my heart
And I don't give a damn about the upper part
Cause that's how I get my tail.


[Thanks to Jody (j.reason@cogeco.ca) for these lyrics]

[ www.azlyrics.com ]


10 Feb 07 - 08:10 PM (#1963603)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Peace

And BTW, GEST, the lyrics I posted were found on this page:

http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:ondn5yqrYyYJ:www.wtv-zone.com/phyrst/audio/nfld/16/mermaidgbs.htm+%23%23%23%23....+Shel+Silv

and had I realized it was YOUR site and YOUR hard work I would bloody well have given you credit. OK!


11 Feb 07 - 06:04 PM (#1964346)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

Anyone got this record? And is it any help in this quest?

Maggie Carchrie, Songs the Mermaid Sang : "Songs the Mermaid Sang is a collection of Gaelic songs from the tradition of Cape Breton and the Scottish Isles. "

Here's a list of the tracks:

1. Oran Na Maidhgean Mhara
2. Cape Breton Set
3. I U Bhi Mairi Anna
4. 's Ana an Ile
5. Creag Ghuanach
6. Morag a Dun Bheagan
7. Mac-A-Phi/Hop High Ladies
8. Cha Bhi Mi Buan
9. 's Cruinn Donn Sciopalta
10. Am Bratach Bana
11. Hooley in the Henhouse
12. �ran Do Ghille a Chaidh a Bh�thadh (On the Drowning of a Young Man)
13. Puirt a Beul
14. Dark Island
15. Seallaigh Curaidh Eogainn


17 Feb 07 - 11:50 AM (#1970707)
Subject: Lyr Add: A SAILOR AND HIS BRIDE
From: GUEST,Catherine

Hello Everyone,

I've been discovering out to look for these "threads", etc. I'm new to this. There is really a song but it's not a "Mermaid Song". I've just posted on another thread and stated that I've found the song.

It's called a Sailor and his Bride. Since everyone was looking for Mermaid songs, I guess I will write the song out for any of you that are interested. As I told "Peace" and "McGrath of Harlow", my mother was the only person that I've heard sing this song....then again, maybe back then, I didn't get out much. Ha!

A SAILOR AND HIS BRIDE.

Long ago when we were young,
The flowers they blossomed, and the birds they sung.
A sailor lad and his lovely bride
Were walking by the ocean side.
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
A sailor lad and his lovely bride
Were walking by the ocean side.

It's scarce six months since we were wed
But oh! how fast the time has fled.
He must leave at dawn of day
When the good ship bears her love away.
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
He must leave at dawn of day
When the good ship bears her love away.

Long years have passed but he comes no more
To greet his bride on a lonely shore.
The ship went down in the howling of the storm
And the waves devoured his lifeless form.
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
The ship went down in the howling of the storm
And the waves devoured his lifeless form.

Now he sleeps beneath the sea.
The mermaids there they sing for me.
The mermaids down at the bottom of the sea,
Singing their sad, sad songs for me.
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
Tra-la-la-la-la-la-la-la
The mermaids down at the bottom of the sea,
Singing their sad, sad songs for me.

I guess you can see that I got sort of mixed up in the Chorus that I remembered.
Mom sang this to me since I was a babe back in '51.

Hope you enjoy it. However, most of you have probably already known about this one.
Cheers and thank you.
Catherine


17 Feb 07 - 12:01 PM (#1970712)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST

Hello again everyone.
This can be a little addictive. Sorry about spelling the word "fled" wrong, in the second verse. I'll make sure that I "preview" anything else that might come along.
I just had a thought that there could be other verses to this song because I do clearly remember siinging the chorus as "and the mermaids there wept over me". Still, it was 50 years ago and I could be wrong.

Catherine..still a Newf but not living on the Rock.


17 Feb 07 - 12:35 PM (#1970755)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

Great! Now all we need is the tune...

"And the mermaids there wept over me" is a better line I think. I think it'd be good to have the last chorus end with :

Down at the bottom of the sea
And the mermaids there wept over me.


(Imagining that last chorus as being the sailor lad's farewell.)

That's how the folk process works, variations creepm,in, and sometimes they are better than what was there before.


17 Feb 07 - 05:50 PM (#1971037)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Catherine

Hello McGrath. I agree, "and the mermaids there wept over me" definitely sounds better. I know the tune, but how do I get it to you? At the present time I don't have a sound card on this computer. Do you think I can record something on another's computer and then forward to your chat room?
Catherine

ps: are you interested in the song "His Days work was done"?


17 Feb 07 - 11:07 PM (#1971249)
Subject: Lyr Add: AND HIS DAY'S WORK WAS DONE
From: GUEST,Catherine

Hello McGrath.
As promised, here is one of my favourite songs that Mom sang to me back in the '50's. I'm fairly certain that she learned it from her father. There were many Irish and Scottish songs sung in our house, over the years, however, this song seems to have a mixture of Irish names and English names. Hope you all enjoy it. It always made us laugh when Mom sang it.
^^
AND HIS DAY'S WORK WAS DONE
written and composed by T.W. Connor; sung by George Brooks, 1903.

I often lie in bed and think, what an awful thing is work.
There are a few who started it, and finished with a jerk.
There's Beery Bob, who got a job to drive a motor car.
Said, "Blow the police! I'll let them see I know what motors are."
One hundred miles an hour he went, and quite enjoyed the fun.
A brewer's dray got in his way, and his day's work was done.

A shooting competition was the end of Jimmy Duff.
He got a job as "marker," for the first time in his puff.
He didn't understand the work, so when he heard the shots,
He thought that it was time for him to go and mark the spots.
He stood in front of the target to see which man had won.
He stopped a shot in a tender spot, and his day's work was done.

I knew a man who got a job with a menagerie.
'Twas just to feed the animals, as easy as could be.
He didnt know their appetite, that was the funny part,
Til when the feeding time came round, he had to make a start.
He went into the lion's den and offered it a bun.
The lion smiled and then got wild, and his day's work was done.

To be a strong man was the job of Jerry MacIntyre,
And just to practice now and then, he lent himself on hire.
He went to do a moving job, some heavy things to lift,
And just to let the others see how much weight he could lift,
With a grand piano on his back, upstairs he tried to run.
Trod on a stair that wasn't there, and his day's work was done.

A man was up a ladder; cleaning windows was his job,
But all the time he was spooning with young Mrs. Thing-a-ma-bob.
Her husband came along, just as their lips in kisses met.
He didn't rave or seem to care, as if he were upset.
He simply pulled the ladder away, and said "This takes the bun".
The man up top, he came down, flop, and his day's work was done.

Jimmy made a football that would make his playmates stare.
He pumped it full of gas instead of filling it with air.
A "Bobby" took it from him, just for playing in the street,
And later in the evening, when he went to take a seat,
He sat down on the football, and it went off like a gun.
They found his feet right up the street, and his day's work was done.

When Jack was only fifty-six, he ran away to sea.
The first day out, the captain says, "We've got no milk for tea.
Who'll go ashore"? "I will," says Jack, "I never act the goat."
So while the sea rolled mountains high, he went off in a boat.
The water rushed into the boat, but Jack, brave mother's son,
Cut holes about it, to let it run out, and his days work was done.

P.s.: It was very common, in my family, at least, to take a poem and put music to it. I myself added a tune to the popular poem "The yarn of the Nancy Bell" when I was in grade four. Back then, we had to memorize poems for school. The dreaded "Strap" was always on my mind, so I put tunes to poems so that I'd remember them.

My dad recited many Robert Service Poems as well as Rudyard Kipling. You may remember that Jim Croce (in the '70's) put a tune to "Gunda Din"....my father's favourite recitation and one the entire family knew.


18 Feb 07 - 06:03 PM (#1971953)
Subject: Lyr Add: AND HIS DAY'S WORK WAS DONE
From: McGrath of Harlow

I went out hunting with Google and found another version of this song on the Musical Traditions site on a page about a record of songs sung by a Suffolk man called Bob Hart - it has some verses pretty well the same, some you haven't got, but some you have got are missing.

Here it is, with a note about it from :

I often lie in bed and think
What an awful thing is work,
I know of some who started it
And gave up with a jerk.
There's Beery Bob, he got a job
To drive a motor car,
Said "Blow the p'lice, I'll let them see
I know what motors are."
So a hundred mile an hour he went
And he quite enjoyed the fun;
But a brewer's dray got in his way -
And his day's work was done.

I knew a man, he got a job
In a menagerie.
'Twas only to feed the animals,
As easy as could be.
He didn't know their appetites
It was the funny part,
So when the feeding time came round,
He had to make a start.
He went into the lion's den
And he offered it a bun;
The lion smiled and then got riled,
And his day's work was done.

A man was up a ladder,
Cleaning winders was his job;
But all the time was spooning
With young Missis Thingmabob.
Her husband came along just as
Their heads in kisses met;
He didn't rave or carry on
As though he was upset.
He simply pulled the ladder away
And said "This takes the bun."
The man at the top, he came down plop,
And his day's work was done.

Now Pat he went for a sailor
And he thought the job was soft,
No sooner had he started than
He was ordered up aloft.
He funked a bit, but up he went,
In fact, he had no choice,
Was hanging on the top-mast
When he heard the Captain's voice.
"Let go that rope" the Captain yells
To Pat, he means this one;
Let go came tumbling down below,
And his day's work was done.

This was written in 1903 by T W Connor (who also penned My Mother Doesn't Know I'm on the Stage) and sung on the halls by George Brooks. Apparently it's also known locally as Beery Bob and is in John Howson's Songs Sung in Suffolk pp.9-10; the singer was Manny Aldus of Great Bricett.


It sounds as if you've got some great songs there, Catherine!


18 Feb 07 - 06:37 PM (#1971988)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

The theme of this thread somehow seems to tie in with Catherine's discovery - My Musical Inheritance


18 Feb 07 - 06:43 PM (#1971994)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

I mean the theme of the thread My Musical Inheritance ties in with Catherine's discovery.


18 Feb 07 - 07:13 PM (#1972026)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Catherine

Hi McGrath.
I am so pleased that you were able to find the versions above. As I read them, I realize that Mom also sang the verse regarding Pat the sailor "tumbling down below". When she jotted down all her favourite songs in the scrapbook, it was later in life, and I believe she did forget a verse or two. I've noticed it in another song.

I can't thank you enough for finding this for me. I searched and searched and couldn't connect anything.

This is a wonderful spot to join. I'm going to check out the thread you suggested above.

ps: Did you check out the thread "Songs about Dogs". I posted one of Mom's songs there called "BUDDY".

Bye for now and many thanks.
Catherine


18 Feb 07 - 07:47 PM (#1972067)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Janie

Thanks, McGrath, for steering me over here.

What a rich legacy to have, the music made by our families.

Janie


18 Feb 07 - 08:23 PM (#1972099)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GEST

Catherine ~

According to The Ballad Index, it appears your mother's "mermaid" song is a variant of The Sailor and His Bride which was collected by Kenneth Peacock from Charlotte Decker in Parson's Pond, NL, and published with the title Early Spring in Peacock's Songs of The Newfoundland Outports. Peacock noted that it was a variant of The Young Bride's Lament, and "Aunt" Decker learned it from her mother ca.1890 when she was six years old. :)

GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador


19 Feb 07 - 12:47 AM (#1972187)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Catherine

Gest~

Thank you for that information. I am amazed at how much help I am receiving from everyone. You've opened up a whole new can of worms for me.

This gets me to wondering. I've checked out the Songs of the Nfld. Outports and aside from the regular Nfld. songs that everyone knew, I'm remembering several songs that I've not found on this site or other Irish song sites. However, I think I am a little naive about how much information is out this regarding these songs. I will have to spend some time searching around. It takes a lot of time, doesn't it. It'll be worth it though.
Catherine


19 Feb 07 - 10:04 AM (#1972464)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Malcolm Douglas

De Marsan of New York issued 'The Sailor Boy's Bride' on a broadside around 1860; a copy can be seen at  Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The sailor boy's bride

No mermaids, though; these seem uncommon in the small number of American and Canadian variants I've seen (they do turn up in a Scottish variant in the Greig-Duncan collection, so perhaps there was another broadside issue with additional verses). It seems to be a homegrown American product, and it may be no older than the De Marsan printing; but it's an effective pastiche, or, as Helen Hartness Flanders put it (New Green Mountain Songster, 1939, 231-2):

"Though not an old song ... 'The Sailor's Bride' is constructed both as to text and melody of left-over material which may be traced back through related songs to the close of the seventeenth century."

It isn't obvious what Peacock meant when he described his Newfoundland version as a "variant of The Young Bride's Lament". He may have had either 'Lowlands of Holland' or 'Sailor's Life' in mind; but there is really no connection between these and the song here, except that they both feature people getting drowned at sea (and the former sometimes begins "It was early early in the spring").

Though the links at the top of this page are all to completely unrelated songs that just happen to mention mermaids, there is a set in the DT, with tune, incidentally:

THE SAILOR AND HIS BRIDE from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs. It has acquired a verse from the 'Died for Love' family somewhere along the way. No mermaids.

So far as other songs are concerned, you'll perhaps find searching a bit more productive if you don't assume that all songs found in Newfoundland must somehow be Irish! Although some certainly have their origins there, a great many do not.


19 Feb 07 - 10:10 AM (#1972472)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Jack Campin

Does anybody here have an ABC for "Orain a Mhaigdean Mhara"?

Must be in lots of books but doesn't seem to be in any I have.


19 Feb 07 - 10:28 AM (#1972496)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

I see that the tune given there for THE SAILOR AND HIS BRIDE is similar to the one Cyril Tawny put to his Grey Funnel Line.

Is it the one your mother used, Catherine? (Though maybe withour a soundcard you can't check that.)


19 Feb 07 - 12:06 PM (#1972574)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Catherine

McGrath~
I will use my daughter's computer to listen to the lyrics of the song you suggested. I'll let you know if it's the same tune that my mother used.

Mr. Douglas~
Thank you for reminding me that not all Newfoundland songs are Irish. I tend to forget that many of them may have originated from various countries.

Cheers


19 Feb 07 - 06:17 PM (#1972969)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: Catherine

Hello McGrath.

I've listened to the tunes for THE SAILOR AND HIS BRIDE and THE GREY FUNNEL LINE and I don't find any similarity to the tune that Mom taught me. Perhaps, it got "lost in translation" over the years.

However, I have learned how to find the song and can listen to other tunes in the future.

Catherine


19 Feb 07 - 06:42 PM (#1973009)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: McGrath of Harlow

So if you've got a different tune, Catherine, that doesn't mean it's the "wrong tune". Ain't no such animal.

That version of the song was collected in the Ozarks after all, and that's a long way from Newfoundland. And Newfoundland is probably a lot closer to wherever it started off.


19 Feb 07 - 11:08 PM (#1973233)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Catherine

McGrath~
Agreed. I hadn't even thought of that. I'm very quickly learning that many people on this site are experts of some sort with regard to music, lyrics and the like. I detect a great passion for this exchange of information between each other. I may know some old songs and the tunes that were taught me but I sure have a whole lot more to learn. I think I'm in way over my head.
Catherine


20 Dec 07 - 09:57 PM (#2220071)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Karen

Hi there - was in a nostalic mood on a rainy Vancouver night tonight and started like Catherine, looking for the lyrics of a song my Mother used to sing - and sure enough it was the same MERMAID song that Catherine asked about. As I recall, it was definitely the Mermaid Song that "oldhippie" posted. I remember clearly "the comb and glass in here hand". Wow, I grew up in rural Manitoba in the 1950's and had no idea this was a Newfoundland song. So, thanks for this - you put a smile on my face! Sure wish I could remember the tune...
At any rate, this was a great walk down memory lane - thanks again!


21 Dec 07 - 10:45 AM (#2220338)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: PeadarOfPortsmouth

GUEST,Karen,

Just FYI, The Mermaid that oldhippie refers to is actually one collected by Francis Childs. According to the contemplator's site regarding Childs' ballads, the song is from the 1700s.

Not sure that the place of origin is actually Newfoundland, but if anyone knows perhaps they could chime in.

Peter


21 Dec 07 - 08:25 PM (#2220642)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: EBarnacle

Catherine's February 17, 11:07 entry resolves a mystery for me. I collected the final verse from a retired USN bosn. He said his father used to sing it and he had no memory of the remainder of the song. He also had no memory of the melody.

For years, I have been trying to get people to accept it as a missing verse for Jack Was Ev'ry Inch a Sailor. Try the melody, it works and the verse fits the story.

I wonder whether the song predates Jack's creation.


30 Apr 08 - 08:06 PM (#2330237)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Newfoundland Mermaid song
From: GUEST,Stelle

I was wondering Catherine, if you know the notes to your Sailor song. I would love to be able to sing it, I've been searching the web for a while looking for it and I can't find it anywhere...