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Musical Interlude Spanish Ladies

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  • Musical Interlude Spanish Ladies

    I guess I should have posted this sea song — apparently, it ain't a shanty — for Trafalgar Day (21st October). But here goes anyway. This is certainly rousing and someone has posted it with some pretty good graphics at YouTube. I found looking around the Net that the song has also been posted by a site called The Art of Manliness … which sounds pretty primal to me. ;-)

    There are also Canadian, American and Australian versions of this sailors' song (links to follow). Here's the original:

    That video uses a recording by an American choir called Robert Shaw & Robert Shaw Chorale; and, to be frank, I doubt any English performers could sing it so well. The American singers here sound rather like English Westcountrymen, who had a strong seafaring tradition, so that their voices sound right for this to me.


    Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish Ladies,
    Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain;
    For we’ve received orders for to sail for old England,
    But we hope in a short time to see you again.

    We’ll rant and we’ll roar like true British sailors,
    We’ll rant and we’ll roar all on the salt seas.
    Until we strike soundings in the channel of old England;
    From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues.

    We hove our ship to with the wind from sou’west, boys
    We hove our ship to, our soundings for to see;
    Then the signal was made for the Grand Fleet to anchor,
    And all in the Downs that night for to be.


    Now let every man toss off a full bumper,
    Now let every man toss of a full bowl,
    And we’ll drink and be merry and drown melancholy,
    Singing here’s a good health to all true-hearted souls.

    Alternative Canadian, American and Australian versions here:

    We'll Rant And We'll Roar

    The tune used for this has also been used for an American nineteenth-century sentimental ballad called The Streets of Laredo. But no link: I couldn't find a version on YouTube that didn't make me wince: I had to hit stop after a few seconds of Johnny Cash. Pete Seeger would probably do it well, but couldn't find a version by him on YouTube.

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