Lowlands Away – Shanties Family

Here list of this shanties family

  1. Lowlands Away (A) (i)
  2. Lowlands Away (A) (ii)
  3. Lowlands Away (B)

Interesting Facts about this shanties family

Lowlands Away – Shanties Family, was originally a pumping shanties; also later used as a windlass and capstan shanties. According to Stan Hugill, because was difficult to sing, was never popular. Terry, claims that after the China Clipper era, it was seldom heard.

We have quite few patterns in this song:
– “The dead lover is a male”
– “The dead lover is a female”,
– “Sailor’s dream of his sweetheart”
– “Later southern States version”

These songs were used for use at both types of pumps, breaking back pumps, and newer Downton pumps.

The older type was a pump with two handles where pumping happens by crew placed on opposite sites. Each site worked two to four sailors. When sailors from one site had a handle above the head. Then the other side was on the level of the ankles on the opposite side. In this case, the pumping shanties pace was as follows: the first tact, pulling the handle and pushing it up, the second pushing it down to the ankles, the third pulling the handle and pushing it up, and so on …

pump-shanty braking levers
All Hands to the Pumps 1888-9 Henry Scott Tuke 1858-1929 Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1889 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N01618

Hugill is making reference to this when he says “old-fashioned levers” (1961, pf. 45).

Newer Downton pumps it operated on the principle of two flywheels, where the sailors on the opposite side rotated their handles on the flywheels to make the work lighter. This pump calls the “Downton” pump:

Sailors work at downton pumps

I will show you a few versions described by Stan Hugill in his “Shanties From the Seven Seas”. All video reconstructions are trying to direct the listener to how they sound in actual ship deck action when sailors using it.

The above image displays sailors working at a Downton type of pump.

Short story of the Lowlands Away – Shanties Family

Lowlands Away – originally a pumping shanty was later used as windlass and capstan. According to Stan Hugill, because was difficult to sing, was never popular.

Strangely enough, C. F. Smith gives Lowlands Away (A) (ii) it as a halyard shanty, It is maybe because it doesn’t have a grand chorus, and in Stans Hugill’s theory from -“The Bosuns Locker” book, is that four-line construction – two solos and two intermittent refrains (more details you can find there).

My private collection of books

Shantyman library –  you will see descriptions and recommendations of positions worth diving into, true sources of knowledge about sea shanties. To gain knowledge about sea shanties is the main ultimate purpose of this library, every book in this library is somehow related to sea shanties and before mast songs.

More involvement in Traditional Sea Shanties

You can find this record here or directly listen below. If you want to discuss the record or share your opinion you can do it in my Facebook forum here.