11 November 2011

#24 Stormy Along, John

Like with "Mister Stormalong ", the first print mention of this specific chanty came in Alden's (1882) article, where for some reason he claimed it was the oldest of the "Stormalong" themed chanties. Here are the lyrics:

    Old Stormy he is dead and gone.
    To me way hay storm along, John.
    Old Stormy he is dead and gone.
    Ah, ha! come along, get along, stormy along, John. 

Also like with "Mr. Stormalong," the chanty's earlier existence, by the 1850s, is suggested by the memory of John Short. 

    I wish I was old Stormy's son ;
    To my way–ay Stormalong John.
    I wish I was old Stormy’s son,
    Ha ha, come along get along, Stormy along John.

    I’d give those sailors lots of rum.

    O was you ever in Quebec?

    A-stowing timber on the deck.

    I wish I was in Baltimore.

    On the grand old American shore.

Terry and Harlow also gave versions. Then comes Hugill's which he got from Harding the Barbarian. So in all, not quite so common.

The Revival seems to have ignored this chanty. Perhaps people didn't know what to do with it! The refrains are hard to figure out from notation. It seems there must have been something interesting going on in terms of rhythms or meter or pauses or something, and the best attempts of music editors to notate what was happening are unclear. Unfortunately no field recordings appear to exist with which to compare their notations. 

When I recorded it, I tried to interpret what Hugill may have "meant" to write (not having other sources at my disposal at the time). So I made it something that I imagined would be easier to work to.
Yet when I look at more than one editor's notation and compare them, they seem to corroborate that the second chorus was very long and drawn out somehow.

Funny though, the Robert Shaw Chorale (a men's choir in classical style) recorded an interpretation of an arrangement that must have been based in RR Terry's collection. Surely enough, they follow the drawn out chorus...e x t r a drawn out so that you can barely tell what is being said. Check out a sample and hear what I mean.  

More recently, Jim Mageean sang this for the Short Sharp Shanties project (which interprets the chanty forms of John Short in Cecil Sharp's manuscripts). He shortened the chorus similarly to how I did, but also puts the whole song in a rubato feel, more like a forebitter than a worksong.

When I recorded this I was working in the warehouse of a sort of electronics company. I remember on my half hour lunch I'd race to the nearest gas station (the only food around) and buy a Jamaican meat patty, then to a nearby lot where people sometimes park and watch the planes take off from Bradley Airport. I recorded many chanties there! ...and often arrived late back to work.

Ranzo :{

1 comment:

  1. There is a significant difference between these three renditions of this chanty and they feel worlds apart. Jim's is as different from yours as the two of you are from the RSC. Obviously they were done for three different reasons. And they certainly come from three very different interpretations of what constitutes a "chanty" as a "work song", or not.