Monday, 27 January 2014

Fire Marengo

This song originated as a cotton screwing work song. Cotton screwing was easily one of the most labor intensive duties on board (it involved cramming bales of cotton into a ship’s hold) a ship and was typically performed by shore bound sailors, many of whom worked in South American harbors trying to save up money. Stan Hugill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Hugill) chronicled “Fire Marengo” in his book, “Shanties From the Seven Seas,” but he only had about four verses and there was no melody. Royston Wood (from The Young Tradition) found it in Hugill’s book and added a melody and a few more verses, and the rest is history

I stole these words from this blog, which sadly seems to have died

Lyrics
Stan Hugill's versionThe Young Tradition
Lift him up and carry him along
    Fire Maringo, fire away!
Put him down where he belong
    Fire Maringo, fire away!
Lift him up and carry him along
    Fire Maringo, fire away!
Put him down where he belong
    Fire Maringo, fire away!
Ease him down and let him lay,
Screw him in and there he'll stay.
Ease him down and let him lay,
Screw him in and there he'll stay.
Stow him in his hole below,
Say he must and then he'll go.
Stow him in his hole below,
Stay he must and then he'll go.
When I get back to Liverpool Town,
I'll pass a line to little Sally Brown.
I'll haul her high and I'll haul her low,
I'll bust her blocks and I'll make her go.
Oh, Sally, she's a pretty little craft,
Hot shot to the fore and a rounded aft.
Screw the cotton, screw him down.
Let's get the hell from the Hilo Town.
Bellowhead sing Fire MarengoJon Boden sings Fire Marengo
Oh, lift him up and carry him along
    Fire Marengo, fire away!
Set him down where he belongs
    Fire Marengo, fire away!
Oh, lift him up and carry him along
    Fire Marengo, fire away!
Set him down where he belongs
    Fire Marengo, fire away!
Stow him in his hull below,
It's stay he must but then he'll go.
Ease him in and let him lay,
Set him down and there he'll stay.
Screw that cotton, screw it down,
Let's get back home to Liverpool town.
Oh, screw that cotton, screw it down,
Let's get back home to Liverpool town.
When I get back to Liverpool Town,
I'll cast a line to little Sally Brown.
When I get back to Liverpool Town,
I'll cast a line to little Sally Brown.
I'll haul her high, I'll haul her low,
I'll bust her blocks and make her go.
I'll haul her high, I'll haul her low,
I'll bust her blocks and make her go.
Now Sally, she's a pretty little craft,
Hot shot to the fore and a rounded aft.
Oh Sally, she's a pretty little craft,
Hot shot to the fore and a rounded aft.
(repeat firsrt verse)

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Lesser-spotted

Learn the words, man!
Switching to Monday in the secret shanty shed meant that Julian (thefullshanty@kelpshantymen.co.uk) could come along for a change.

Julian works in London, which is a town north east of Swanage. I have no idea what he does, but I feel sure he does it with enthusiasm, alacrity and plenty of style - which is, of course, how he sings.

What is a Shanty, anyway?

Sea Shanties (chanties): The word "chanty" (or shanty) is probably derived from the French word "chanter" - to sing. Alternatively it could be a derivation of the English work ‘chant’.
There are several different types of shanties: 
  • Capstan shanties: The capstan was used (among other things) to haul in the Anchor cable.  Capstan shanties had steady rhythms and usually told stories because of the length of time (which could be hours) it took to raise the anchor. Sailors would stamp on the deck at the start of each verse. This gave rise to the term, "stamp and go chanties."
  • Halyard shanties: Halyard shanties were sung to the raising and lowering of sails. Sails could weigh between 1,000 and 2,500 pounds. To set a sail some member of the crew would climb the rigging to loosen the canvas. On deck the crew would take hold of a line called the halyard (for haul + yard). The crew would rest during the verse and haul during the chorus. Depending on the weight of the sail, crews could pull one (for heavy jobs) to three times per chorus (for lighter jobs).
  • Short drag shanties: Very difficult tasks meant crews could pull less. Short drag shanties were used for such tasks - such as trimming the sails or raising the masthead
  • Windlass and pumping shanties: The windlass is used to raise the anchor as well as set and trim the sails, the barrel of the windlass using a basic ratchet & pawl mechanism to stop it running backwards as the loads increased. Wooden ships leaked, but not so fast that the crew could not pump the water out. There were several different types of pumps, which accounts for the variation in the timing of pumping shanties.
  • Ceremonial and fore bitter shanties: Ceremonial and forecastle (the crews quarters) songs were those sung by sailors on their time off (of which they didn't have a great deal). These usually told stories of famous battles, romance, or of their longing for home. Ceremonial shanties were for times of celebration, such as when the sailor paid off his debt to the ship or when they crossed the equator.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Little Pot Stove

The Secret Shanty Shed is a cool place to practice in the winter months

Roaring

Unfortunately Pete hasn't managed to work out how to turn off the air conditioning unit, which is powerful enough to keep the shed a constant 10°c colder than outside.

Didn't take a photo

Forgot to take photo tonight, so took this instead.  Mainly to test out my on-the-fly blogging app, but also to illustrate how seriously we take an holistic approach to singing which naturally includes hydration and nutrition.  Perhaps we should write a Kelp! diet book.

Original Twiglets.  Really?

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Rollocks

These little beauties are destined to become the main propulsion unit of Summerwine Boat's latest awesome matchstick project.
Carved by Pete out of a single block of bronze ore, they are a work of art in themselves and it's almost a shame to bury them inside an object of outstanding craftsmanship and beauty that threatens to relegate them to being merely 'a part' of something bigger.

In the meantime, we've discovered that they ring out at what sounds to me like 466Hz.  Handy for a singer.


Thursday, 2 January 2014

2013 - a Gig Review

Just for the record, here's a list of our official 2013 bookings:
  • July 17th - Kingston Courtyard
  • August 17th - Lifeboat Week
  • December 7th - Swanage Sea Rowing Club Boathouse Opening
  • December 14th - Swanage Sailing Club Festive Evening feat. Mike Etherington