Ferry Ride

On the way to the 2d October 2021 Port Jefferson “Sea Shanty and Maritime Music Festival”…

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3 Responses to Ferry Ride

  1. Henry Peacock says:

    I’ve been reading about Tiger Bay. In 1874, James Greenwood published his account of a visit to Tiger Bay in East London;

    “But can you direct me to the neighbourhood the newspapers have spoken of as Tiger Bay?” I mildly insinuated, “The locality where sailors are so shamefully used by ruffianly men and women.”
    “Oh! if she-tigers make Tiger Bays, you haven’t got far to travel,” replied the Policeman, yielding slightly; “That’s one,” (pointing to a black and narrow avenue on the opposite side of the way), “and two turn-ins higher up there’s another. Brunswick Street is another. Brunswick Gardens is a goodish bit further up – little prayer-meeting place at the corner of it. P’raps that’s the Tiger Bay you want. I’d rather you want it than me. They’d have the hair off a man’s head if they could get a penny a pound for it.”

    This song emerged! Wild Tiger Bay
    Tune; The Limerick Rake/Champion at Keeping Them Rolling (MacColl)/High Sheriff of Hazard (Paxton)/Cold Coast of Iceland (Waterson)

    We sail by the day and we sail by the night
    And we all give a cheer when land comes into sight
    If there’s peril at sea, then there’s pleasure ashore
    Pretty girls beckon to us from every door

    Now Jack sits in a tavern, happy as he can be
    With a glass in his hand and a girl on his knee
    Buy us one more, Jack, and sing us a song
    Alas, cries poor Jack, All my money is gone

    Then give me your jacket, I’ll pawn it for you
    To buy you a drink, that’s the least I can do
    Take off your waistcoat and hand it to me
    To pay for a sailor who’s out on a spree

    I shall have all his clothes when this evening is through
    And if I could sell it, I’d take his skin too
    With claws like a tigress, she strips poor Jack bare
    And without a glance backward leaves Jack lying there

    In the cold morning, Jack wakes in the street
    No shirt on his back and no boots on his feet
    He set out so grandly but now he must crawl
    Back to his ship wearing nothing at all

    Far out at sea he will face the great gales
    Out on the yardarm to take in the sails
    The wind and the waves they may wash him away
    But he’s still safer there than in wild Tiger Bay

    Hope you like it!

    • Joseph says:

      Hello Henry,

      Your composition? It’s rather clever! I might work on it for performance… Did you record it at all? “Wild Tiger Bay” by Henry Peacock.

  2. Henry Peacock says:

    Thank you, Joseph.

    Wild Tiger Bay by Henry Peacock
    I’ve been reading about Tiger Bay, the name for communities that grew up around docklands. Shirley Bassey – who recorded the theme song for the James Bond movie Goldfinger – came from Tiger Bay in Cardiff. But usually the name did not appear on maps.

    In 1874, James Greenwood published his account of a visit to Tiger Bay in East London;
    “But can you direct me to the neighbourhood the newspapers have spoken of as Tiger Bay?” I mildly insinuated, “The locality where sailors are so shamefully used by ruffianly men and women.”
    “Oh! if she-tigers make Tiger Bays, you haven’t got far to travel,” replied the Policeman, yielding slightly; “That’s one,” (pointing to a black and narrow avenue on the opposite side of the way), “and two turn-ins higher up there’s another. Brunswick Street is another. Brunswick Gardens is a goodish bit further up – little prayer-meeting place at the corner of it. P’raps that’s the Tiger Bay you want. I’d rather you want it than me. They’d have the hair off a man’s head if they could get a penny a pound for it.”

    I’ve only just completed the song, the ink is hardly dry!

    Here’s another song about Glasson Dock, a small port on the west coast of England. However, the sentiments are universal.

    The Port of Lancaster prospered in the eighteenth century as part of the “Africa trade”. It imported sugar, mahogany and tobacco and became the fourth most important port in England in the triangle of the slave trade. But the Lune was only navigable at high tide and, as sailing ships grew larger, they found the passage up to St George’s Quay increasingly difficult. The Port Commissioners decided to build a dock at the mouth of the Lune, and Glasson Dock opened in 1787.

    This new song was inspired by fragments of songs and memories collected by Ruth Zanoni Roskell in Glimpses of Glasson Dock, Landy Publishing, 2005. John Lamb was the first dock gate man. He lived on the pierhead in an upturned boat, and the dock gates were known as John Lamb’s parlour doors. Cockersand and Plover Scar lighthouses were built in 1847. The Pier Hall, the first building in Glasson, remains as private apartments.

    Haul for Glasson! by Henry Peacock Tune; Green Bushes/The Waggoner’s Lad/ Farewell to Tarwathie/Farewell Angelina (Dylan) Chorus; repeat second part of tune

    Home to dear England our ship she is bound
    And in heaving the lead we’ll soon strike English ground
    What pleasure we have, with what joy cry the men
    When we come into sight of old England again

    Chorus; And we call, Haul for Glasson!
    Through sea-spray and foam
    Yes, we all haul for Glasson
    Now we’re heading for home

    We wait in Lune Deep then sail up with the tide
    John Lamb will be ready, dock gates open wide
    By Cockersand light and then past Plover Scar
    Every family awaiting their homecoming tar

    Chorus

    Now our ship she’s inside of John Lamb’s parlour doors
    Up to the Pier Hall we must go, to be sure
    For there our dear girls come from town in great style
    To welcome us home with their kisses and smiles

    Chorus

    We climb Glasson Hill for a view of the Lune
    And look over the valley we’ll leave all too soon
    We spend time in the arms of our sweethearts and then
    Kiss them good-bye as we sail off again

    And we call, Haul for Glasson!
    Through sea-spray and foam
    But when you’re a sailor
    The sea is your home

    Best wishes from Henry Peacock
    Preston, PR2 8BQ Lancashire, England
    henrypeacock(at)talktalk.net

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