Interesting Facts about the A Long Time Ago – Harding Barbadian melody version
A Long Time Ago – Harding’s Barbadian melody version was very popular on English and American Ships. It was probably, in the nineties of XIX century of the most-used halyard shanty of them all. Even the German and Scandinavians popularized versions in their own tongues. This song was sung as halyard shanty. This version has a melody preferred by the teacher of Stan Hugill, the shantyman Harding the Barbadian Barbarian from Barbados. The “y’ know” at the end of his second chorus was most effective.
The source of this sea shanty
The music: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 102).
The lyrics: “Shanties from the Seven Seas” by Stan Hugill (1st ed: p 102).
The Record of the A Long Time Ago – Harding Barbadian melody version
You also can find this record on my YouTube channel here or directly listen below. Additionally, if you want to share your opinion about the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here, or leave a comment at the bottom of this blog article.
The musical notation
The full lyrics
The first Stanza of this shanty comes from the notation of Harding’s tune description, on page 103, other stanzas come from version H from page 102 (1st ed.).
A Long Time Ago (Harding Barbadian melody version)
Johnny Jernan’ wuz Portugee man,
– To me WAY, hay, HO, ya, ya!
Ol’ Johnny Jernan’ wuz Portugee man,
– A LONG time a-GO, y’ know!
* 2 *
There wuz an old lady in Greenock did dwell,
She had three fine sons an’ their story I’ll tell.
* 3 *
One was a sailor an’ one was a Mate
The third got his Master’s a little bit late
* 4 *
He shipped as the Master of a big clipper ship,
An’ out to fair China he made a smart trip.
* 5 *
The ship he commanded was no ruddy Ark,
But a dandy fine clipper as fast a shark.
* 6 *
When he reached far Foochow oh there met his fate,
He found him a Chink gal to serve him as mate.
* 7 *
He spliced this young Chink gal with a pitgail so long,
But later he wished had not met Miss Fong.
* 8 *
Oh, she wore the trousers an’ he wore the skirt,
He was down on his luck an’ his pride it was hurt.
* 9 *
The passage to England was a hell o’ a show,
One hundred an’ eighteen long days for to go.
* 10 *
Oh he roused uphis Chink wife an’ coursed loud an’ long,
Oh, you are the bastard that’s caused all this wrong.
* 11 *
‘You’re a bloody big Jonah, yer a hoodoo to me,
I’ve had nought but bad luck since ye came to sea.’
* 12 *
But when he reached London, the owners did say,
‘You’ve made a smart passage you’ve earn your pay-day.’
* 13 *
So he kissed his young Chink wife, gave rum to the crowd,
The hands gave a cheer, boys, so strong an’ so loud.
* 14 *
An’ this is the end of my salty story,
Just think o’ the luck o’ the heathen Chinee.