sovay: (I Claudius)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote 2017-06-22 08:49 am (UTC)

1932 is worse: "We don't need to go mackin' round with Chinks and wimmen's earnings. We pay our tabs..when we want 'em, and tell 'em to get to hell out of it when we don't."

Thank you. That sounds more in keeping with McEwen's meaning. Is it still current in Australia?

Do you have any thoughts on "Whiskey Johnny"? I know there are at least two different strains of the chantey—of the versions on my computer, Ewan McColl and A.L. Lloyd, the Clancy Brothers, Louisa Killen, and Bellowhead all use the more elaborate chorus ("Whiskey-o, Johnny-o / Rise her up from down below / Whiskey-o, Johnny-o / Rise her up from down below") while Michael Gira uses the simpler refrain ("Whiskey, Johnny / Whiskey for my Johnny") and essentially the same tune as Girl of the Port's Johnny, although a lot more trombone. The verses in all cases are within hailing distance of one another, however, which could either mean that the song really does not have a variant like the one the film implies or that I'm just hearing the results of one line of descent through the British folk revival.

[edit] Thank you, John Masefield: "At this point the ballad becomes a little gross. The curious will find the remainder of the tale in a discreet little book published by the Percy Society, from the relics of Bishop Percy's collection. The ballad dates from the sixteenth century. It is still very popular at sea." Considering that Masefield breaks off at the purchase of the crab-fish, fine, I can see why Johnny felt awkward about performing that in mixed company. When I follow the reference to Percy, though, I just get a straight-up version of "The Crab-Fish" or "The Sea Crab." So that looks like the two songs crossed at some point in their history and Masefield recorded the fusion. Do we have any other references to it?

[edit edit] Stan Hugill, but not so as it ever saw print, apparently. So either the film got it from Masefield or there was another line of transmission. I should probably table further research until I can see if the song's even in Russell's "The Fire-Walker."

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