thumbnail of The wandering ballad singer; Sea songs
Hide -
This transcript was received from a third party and/or generated by a computer. Its accuracy has not been verified. If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+.
And I'll walk the road again my boy is all walking the road again. And if the weather be fair I'll call my hair and I'll log Buddha again. Washington State University presents the wandering ballad singer Barry Tobin with songs that vividly describe the history and folklore of a pioneering country. The English speaking peoples have always been interested in songs of the sea and tales that tell of the adventures and bravery of sailors. Some of the best American folk songs have been sea songs and here are three examples. The first one is perhaps one of the longest ones we have in a tells the adventures of a typical American world bum in the 1870s or so I learned this from Dr. George Ellsworth in Logan Utah. I'll sing you a song though tis seldom I do but there's a few things that I want to tell you so give your attention to
a few. And to this very unfortunate man. Oh yes very fortunate very fortunate. Oh. Very unfortunate very unfortunate. To be given my misfortunes one day in the street a handsome young lady happened to me. She was one of the finest young girls in the land. But she made me a very unfortunate. She took a queer fancy to be a fond wife and hinge on to me the other rest of my life. But I did hate matrimonial bands for I knew they'd make me an unfortunate man. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate.
But her father dear glared my objections no go and swore I shouldn't marry her whether or no and vowed she would have both the heart in the hand and the name of this very unfortunate man. As the place grew quite hot the weather got cold I need term and the start for the regions of gold. But as soon as her father got wind of my plan he sent constables and this unfortunate man. Oh boy yes of very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate man. The constables chased me by day and by night last night I got mad and determined to fight. And when one of the varmints on me laid his hand with a club I made him an unfortunate man. Then I dodged and I doubled around like a fox and was carried on board
in an old sugar box where I very soon found that I had not began before that time to be an unfortunate man. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. The wind blew cold in the sea it was rough but the owners had promised a big sack and off and I really thought that when far from the land no more I should be an unfortunate man. But alas very soon I found out my mistake. The dumb wooden boil in the cakes didn't beg. And when Grub time came around with an empty tin pan I wasn't the only unfortunate man. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes very unfortunate very
unfortunate man. After drifting around near two thirds of a year and passing through hardships and suffering and fear at last I set foot on this glorious land where they never had seen an unfortunate man. I went to the mines to get rich on the dust wherever I looked some one else had been first and though I kept digging and washing the sand I found I was still an unfortunate man. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes. Very unfortunate very unfortunate man. I went to the city and bought me a team. But I very soon found that mule power was not steam in every bad mud hole they'd stick in they'd stand while folks land and this very unfortunate man.
And. I very soon found that the mules wouldn't pay me so I sold them and started for Trinidad for everyone said there was gold in that land which was needed much by this unfortunate man. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate man. A storm then arose in the waves they did roar the cables both parted the ship went ashore and scattered the pieces all over the sand and spilled out this very unfortunate man. Then I went to Sonora to gather the tar. But when I got there I got in to a war where they shoot up a man there whenever they can and they shot in the head.
This unfortunate man was just very unfortunate very unfortunate. Oh yes very unfortunate very unfortunate. And. Then I started for home on the ship Yankee Blade and we snuck on Iraq and right there the ship stayed but early next morning I paddled for a lie and for once in my life was a fortunate man. I crawled up in the sand and lay under a tree and a pretty brown maiden happened to see. She cared not for the name or the hand but only the heart of this fortunate man. Oh yes very fortunate very fortunate and I am very fortunate very fortunate. Very early in our history we turn to the sea for food and livelihood and a whole new topic came into
our literature. It was obvious that the dangers of the fisherman and the whaler were just as great as those of the sailors and marines fighting sea battles with an armed enemy the whaler especially became a hero worth writing and singing about in the biggest landlubber of them all could easily see the allegory of the sea and its dangers to life as a reflection of everyday life itself. Melville might be the most famous author to mold a story of moral significance out of this material but as far as depiction of the sea dangers goes balladry his outreach to the literary authors. Here's a song telling of the death of five good New England men. It was in for a for in March just one for Greenland boards and for green lines.
And when we came to far Greenland Greenland and the mighty fishes blow and the fishes below. The bows Sun went to the top mast but the spy glass in his hand. There's a well there's a fish he cried. She's both on board. She blows. To the deck and a man was he overhauled. Mother Harlow tackles phone and launch your blogs for SEE hours news and launch your boat foreseen.
We struck back but she lashed out at her and when a long Star boat on five good men and we never caught the boys ever caught that way. Still our cap said it grieves my heart photos but five of my England men. It grieves me ten times more. Boy it grieves me in times of green and dread blaze of evergreen where there is ice sun snow and the winter winds do blow and the daylight settled on the scene for the day.
The sailor's life was full of danger but he had his fun as well. Sailors from a disused to the present have been every bit as famous for their ability and ingenuity in the field of recreation as they have been for the dangers they face. I learned a song from an old fisherman in Gloucester Massachusetts. The reference to Quakers in the last verse is not meant to be an attack on Quakers I'm sure but only a hint that in the old days when the Quakers own shipping lines their captains were not always Quakers themselves were as tough as they came. Shipmates listen to me I'll tell you in my song of the things that happened to me when I come home from Hong Kong to me way to Saturday my dear Annie. Oh I know your girls won't silence the book. As I walked down through Chatham Street a fair maid I did meet she asked
me pleased to see your home she lived on Beacon Street the way you sat in my dear Annie. Book New York girls won't sell or in them. Now if you will only come with me you can have a treat you can have a glass of agrarian something good to do anyway. Sunny my dear Annie. Oh and New York girls won't learn them. Oh. Before we had sat down to eat we had a couple of drinks. That liquor was so awful strong I quickly fell asleep. Do me away Saturday my dear Annie. In New York. Girls won't learn that. When I awoke the next morning I had an aching head. My gold
watch and my pocket book gran lady friend had fled to me when you sat it my dear Annie. Oh New York girls bones to learn. I'm looking around this little room. Nothing good I see but a lady shoe in a run that now belong to me now dressed in the 80s a Briton I wondered so for Lorne the Quaker captain knocked me out and shipped me around the horn to anyway. Saturday my dear Annie oyu know ya girls bunk telling them oh god doing me away. I said it my dear Annie you know your girl's going to learn the book. That's about it for savers. See you next time. And I'll walk the road again my boy walks the road again if the weather being fair I'll call my hair and along the road you can
listen again next week when Barry token day wandering ballad singer returns with more songs and ballads The preceding was transcribed and was produced by the Radio TV services of Washington State University. This is the end E.B. Radio Network and been a long road I guess.
Please note: This content is only available at GBH and the Library of Congress, either due to copyright restrictions or because this content has not yet been reviewed for copyright or privacy issues. For information about on location research, click here.
The wandering ballad singer
Sea songs
Producing Organization
Washington State University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-p843w77p).
Episode Description
In this program, Barre Toelken analyzes and performes several sea songs.
Series Description
Folk music series hosted by musician Barre Toelken, who collects folk songs and has worked as a dance band musician, a Forest Service employee, and prospector.
Broadcast Date
Sailors--United States
Media type
Host: Toelken, Barre, 1935-
Producing Organization: Washington State University
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-33-24 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:07
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The wandering ballad singer; Sea songs,” 1960-11-10, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “The wandering ballad singer; Sea songs.” 1960-11-10. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: The wandering ballad singer; Sea songs. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from