HISTE UP THE JOHN B'S SAILS

Latest update on 20/06/2016

Artist: Cleveland Simmons Group
Author: traditional
Label: Rounder
Year: 1935

On Deep River Of Song: Bahamas 1935 and on Alan Lomax's Popular Songbook. Alan Lomax & Mary Elisabeth Barnicle recording on Cat Island (Bahamas). Probably the oldest recording of local folk song The John B Sails, so popular around Nassau it doubles as a national anthem. In 1917 British author Richard Le Gallienne (1866-1947) wrote the novel Pieces Of Eight, where in chapter IV the protagonists sing the John B Sails. A two-step for piano sheetmusic version from 1903 popped up as Hoist The John B Sails, crediting Edw. Prouty, dedicated to the citizens of Nassau and illustrated by a picture of the John B! According to Blind Blake (not the bluesman but a Bahamian entertainer) the John B had been a sponger boat that one day went under. Shit happens, so what made this tragedy so special? One possible explanation is the name of the vessel: to illiterate ears John B sounds like Zombie. So when said sloop vannished with no one returning, that's the stuff where legends are made of. The popularity of the song triggered interest in the wreck's whereabouts. The hull was found and rescued from under the sands of Governor's Harbor in 1926. John T. McCutcheon, philosopher and cartoonist on holiday with his wife in the West Indies at that time, learned the song and brlought it home to New York, where poet Carl Sandberg collected it for his songbook The American Songbag ('27), along with I Ride An Old Paint, Careless Love and all. Lee Hays of The Almanac Singers and later with The Weavers adapted the Sandberg version.

Covers:

1950:

Weavers [as Wreck Of The John B]

1951:

Lee Hays [author]

1952:

Blind Blake & The Royal Victoria Hotel Calypso Orch. [as John B Sail; from the Bahamas]

1957:

Stan Wilson [as Sloop John B]

1958:

Kingston Trio [as Wreck Of The John B]

1958:

Joseph Spence [from the Bahamas; knew this song first handed]

1959:

Johnny Cash [on Songs Of Our Soil as I Want To Go Home; that's before Lonnie Donegan]

1959:

Reivers [as Wreck Of The John B with Tony Hatch on guitar]

1960:

Jimmy Rodgers [as The John 'B']

1960:

Lonnie Donegan [als I Wanna Go Home; hit UK]

1962:

Tokens

1962:

Dick Dale [as Sloop John B]

1963:

Brothers Four

1965:

Barry McGuire [as Sloop John B]

1965:

Them [as Go On Home Baby, credited to Bert Berns]

1966:

Beach Boys [n°3 US, n°2 UK, n°1 GER & NL as Sloop John B; Beach Boy Al Jardine was a big Kingston Trio fan, hence the adoption of the trio's striped shirts!]

1966:

Ventures

1966:

Sylvie Vartan [as Mister John B]

1966:

Stone [as Fille ou garçon]

1966:

Cornelis Vreeswijk [Swedish anti war song as Jag Hade En Gong En Bat]

1967:

Gary Lewis & The Playboys

1967:

Ronny [hit GER as Darling, Good Night]

1967:

Vestlandsduoen [Norwegian version as Eg Hadde Ein Go ng Ein Bat]

1981:

David Thomas [as Sloop John B in his own way]

1989:

Normaal [as Hallo Ajouw]

1993:

Tom Fogerty [posthumous]

1996:

Arjen Lucassen

1998:

Van Morrison-Lonnie Donegan-Chris Barber [as I Wanna Go Home]

1998:

Jerry Jeff Walker

2006:

An & Jan [as Willem Ruys]

2007:

Okkervil River

2009:

Simple Minds

2012:

Alex [as Nooit Meer Naar Huis]

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

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