Monday, February 9, 2009
Bye bye, Liverpool...
Here's one that we all think we know:
The Leaving of Liverpool
Fare thee well, the Prince's Landing Stage,
River Mersey, fare thee well.
For I'm bound for California(y),
A place that I know right well.
So fare thee well, my own true love,
And when I return, united we will be.
It's not the leaving of Liverpool that grieves me,
But my darling, when I think of thee.
Yes I'm bound for California,
By the way of the stormy Cape Horn,
But you know I'll write you a letter,
My love, when I am homeward bound.
I've shipped on a Yankee clipper ship,
Davy Crockett is her name;
And Burgess is the captain of her,
And they say she's a floating shame.
It's my second trip with Burgess,
And I reckon I know him well.
If a man's a sailor, he can get along,
But if not, why, he's sure in hell.
The tug is waiting at the pierhead
To take us down the stream.
Our sails are loose and our anchor stowed,
So fare thee well again.
Farewell to Lower Frederick Street,
Anson Terrace and old Parkee Lane;
For I know it’s going to be a long, long time
Before I see you again.
(Beware, those of you who already have this song in your repertoire!
Research indicates that various forms exist. This text is close to what The Spinners recorded. It does not precisely match the earliest-known version that was collected from Richard Maitland, who learned it on board the General Knox around 1885. Mr. Maitland had at least one additional verse, but I think this'll do for now!)
P.S. Please forgive my self-indulgence. I have 'youtubed' this. I am too embarrassed and modest to post this up-front on this blog. However, if you insist, it's at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4vbRfZfrJA
For The Dubliners see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXVnmL1Kvmg&NR=1
I propose a solo unaccompanied first verse. Instruments (beginning in [D]) and unison voices come in for the first chorus. Then everyone goes for it! There should be space for an instrumental interlude before the last verse. Finally, a reprise of the chorus, a-cappella, shakes the caulking out of the upper deck!