I’m on a mission this week: I’m hoping to disentangle this song from Come all you little streamers for once and for all. It hasn’t been easy – the temptation to go into “So come all you little streamers” at the end of this one was intense, but I resisted.
This song is clearly a relic of some earlier and more coherent song, but what that one was is a mystery. It shares one verse with CAYLS and nowadays is usually padded out with two more, but that seems to be a post-Revival practice; I’ve looked at several broadside versions and not seen any sign of the ship from the Indies, etc. But the broadsides weren’t much more use in terms of getting back to the original song, as they padded it out with verses from the Manchester Angel insead. At most there only seem to be three verses definitely associated with this song, plus one shared with CAYLS. So I’ve sung them, and tweaked the wording of the shared verse (following a broadside copy) to make it as different as possible.
The tune is the one used by John Kelly on For honour and promotion; it’s a belter. He doesn’t play drums, but then I don’t play harmonium.