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CD109 -

Boarding Party - Fair Winds and a Following Sea

Tommy's Gone to Hilo
Mauling Live Oak
I One More Day
Survivor leave
Tommy's Gone to Hilo
The Old Peacock
Let the Bullgine Run
Mauling Live Oak
Soran Bushi
Hudson River Steamboat
Come Along Down
Go It, Jerry
Starbuck's Complaint
Randy Dandy O
C'est L'Aviron
Coming Down the C & O
Saltpetre Shanty
Heise, All
One More Day
Lowlands Away
Survivor leave

Boarding Party - Fair Winds and a Following Sea

"In these days of writers plagiarizing with glee, it is rare to come across people in print who go to the root of the matter and spend time researching to the same extent as I have discovered The Boarding Party do. They have that itchiness within them that takes their curious minds deep within historical and geographical fields until they locate every source known to man. I have thought this about them for several years, and now this most recent of their discs caps the matter.

"An unusual and great sea song record; may it set forth with a fair wind and reach a port full of eager shantymen!"

(Stan Hugill, born in England of a seafaring family in 1906, served in sail and steam for more than a quarter-century and amassed years of experience as a working, deepwater shantyman. The author of several respected shanty collections and other books on the sailor's life, he has also generously offered his comments excerpted in this booklet about several of the songs on this record.)

Those of you who have The Boarding Party's first album, 'Tis Our Sailing Time (Folk-Legacy FSI-97), have already been introduced to its members/ both in music and word. But for newcomers, here is a short version of who comprises the group. The four men whose voices and interest in songs of the sea and other waters make possible this outstanding collection of songs are:

JONATHAN EBERHART, a journalist, is the Space Sciences Editor of Science News magazine. A singer, guitarist and songwriter, he has his own Folk-Legacy album, Life's Trolley Ride (FSI-82).

BOB HITCHCOCK comes from Sussex, England. He is a manager of information systems analysis and programming. Bob plays guitar and mandolin with The New St. George, a folk-rock band which performs English music.

TOM McHENRY is a financial manager with the Navy. He spends many hours as a Chief Hospital Corpsman in the Naval Reserve. Tom can also be heard on Folk-Legacy's Sharon Mountain Harmony (FSI-86).

K.C. KING is an information systems architect. His concertina and banjo accompany him on his many travels. The Boarding Party combines his love for good music, sailing and good times all into one, says K.C.

(David Diamond, who sang with them on their first album, has been living in London and Mexico City since then. They stay in touch and get together whenever he is in the Washington, D. C., area.)

The Boarding Party educate audiences with their informative introductions, radiate enthusiasm for the music in their presentation, and delight all who listen with their harmonious blend of voices. Fair Winds and a Following Sea gives you a wonderful sampling of this. Their quest for new/old songs of the sea is continuous, as is the serious research done into the history and details of all that they sing. My own admiration and enjoyment of The Boarding Party's musicality and collective knowledge grow with the years.

Mia Gardiner

To all of us in The Boarding Party, Fair Winds and a Following Sea has meant considerably more than the "mere" act of cutting a record. The gathering and researching of these songs has been a fascinating and sometimes demanding project, for which our sincere thanks go to the large number of people and organizations who helped.

A number of these songs have heretofore existed neither on recordings nor in songbooks, nor has information about their backgrounds been collected with their value as songs in mind. In most cases, we have identified our own as well as preexisting sources in the notes to the songs with which they are associated, and we mean those acknowledgements as more than just polite thank-yous. We hope you will share our appreciation of the contributions cited there, realizing that much more remains to be learned, even from unsuspected corners, about this wide and vital body of folk music and lore.

But our list doesn't end there. Thanks to the Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Virginia for allowing us access to the site of this album's cover photo, a 175-foot Balkan Trader built in Sweden in 1929 and now owned by the Foundation as the Schooner Alexandria. Thanks, too, to Bob Anderson for the vision he brings to the cover photograph, the second he's done for The Boarding Party. Sandy and Caroline Paton, who have been bestowing their Folk Legacy for a quarter of a century, have our gratitude for their support and for a comfortable recording environment - as well as for a booklet with enough pages to enable these notes. We all appreciate the valuable support given by Nancy King and Gail McHenry, including their accommodation to the sometime conflicts between The Boarding Party's schedule and married life.

Our special thanks, finally, go to Mia Gardiner, who has added help with research, note-writing and more to her already considerable and caring involvement with this group, a long-range commitment to fair winds and a following sea.

The Boarding Party

The Songs
Side 1, Band 1.

Here's one of those songs that lend themselves so well to what we think of as "fattening" harmonies, which we love to sing just because they, well, feel so good. Some versions feature a "Johnny" who does all the traveling, but Tom sings "Tommy's gone" (fair enough, we suppose, so long as he keeps coming back before we weigh anchor). The song is often said to have been a topsail halyard shanty, though its leisurely pace was probably appreciated more by the crew than by the master and mates.

"Hilo" is almost certainly not the Hawaiian port (properly pronounced "Hee-low") on Maui, but "Ilo" ("Ee-low"), one of the Peruvian nitrate ports. The question keeps coming up, but Joanna Colcord noted in Songs of American Sail-ormen (W. W. Norton and Co., Inc., N. Y., 1938) that "this is a very old shanty, and antedates the use of local Hawaiian place-names in the sailor's vocabulary. He knew them only as the 'Sandwich Islands.'" There's also a different version of the song that contains the line "Hilo town is in Peru," which again, Colcord wrote, 'makes it probable that the place referred to is that same 'Ylo' which Bartholomew Sharp, the buccaneer, captured in his raid upon the Peruvian coast in 1681, as told in Dampier's Voyages (A Collection of Voyages, by William Dampier, London, 1729).

In the verses, the shantyman would try to think of as many ports as he could with three-syllable names, and come up with rhymes for each of them before the pace of the work for which he was responsible caught up with him. He could also borrow lists of place-names from similarly patterned shanties such as "Donkey Riding" and "Hieland Laddie," but you can still imagine why setting sail might sometimes have been less than brisk. We'd suggest getting into practice first to the more measured tempo of heaving at the capstan to weigh anchor in a nice, deep harbor.

The long, drawn-out passage that follows the fourth verse, by the way, could have been to offer the hands a chance to get a better grip on the halyard. Or perhaps not.

Oh Tommy's gone what shall I do?
Away, Hilo.
Oh, Tommy's gone, and I'm going, too.
Tommy's gone to Hilo.

Oh, Tommy's gone on a whaling ship.
Oh, Tommy's gone on a damn long trip.

Oh, Tommy's gone to Callao.
He won't come back from there, I know.

Oh, Tommy's gone to Montreal
In a packet ship with skys'ls tall.

Hilo, you all, Hilo
Tommy's gone what shall I do?

Oh, Tommy's gone to old Rio
To see them Spanish girls, I know.

Oh, Tommy's gone to Singapore.
He won't be back for evermore.

Oh, Tommy's gone what shall I do?
Oh, Tommy's gone, and I'm going, too.


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Category : Just Folk-Legacy
Category : Songs of the Sea
Category : American Folk Music
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