LOWLAND SEA, THE

Created on 02/01/2001
Latest update on 21/02/2022

Artist: Harry Dearth
Author: traditional
Label: Odeon
Year: 1906

Who also recorded it for His Master's Voice in 1910 with Eric Coates on piano, the only one credited. Lyrics and melody were copied from George Pownall's & Edward Branscombe's 1902 sheetmusic, taking one of Child's ballads for example, changed with a happy end. This is one of the best known Anglo-Scottish sea songs (Child #286, Roud #122), also one of the oldest. Samuel Pepys hald a broadside from the 1680s in his ballad collection (Sir Walter Raleigh Sailing In The Low-lands). Britain at that time was at war with Holland, Spain and Turkey to rule the waves. Here a British ship (The Sweet Trinity, The Golden Vanity or The Golden Willow Tree) is about to be entered by a Turkish gallee, when the youngest cabin boy and best swimmer on board volunteers to sink the enemy ship, long as he is rewarded if he succeeds. His price was high (money, land and the captain's oldest daughter's hand) but granted, so he jumps at sea, bores holes in the enemy hull but in most versions is not even allowed to climb back on board of his own ship, let alone be rewarded. Apart from Harry Dearth's versions, the captain's promise is never kept, well on the contrary.

Covers:

1912:

Peter Dawson

1921:

Isaac Garfield Greer [as The Sweet Trinity]

1925:

Welby Toomey [as The Golden Willow Tree; according to Charles Wolfe in his book Kentucky Country, Welby Toomey was the first local country singer, son of a London immigrant, born in 1897]

1927:

Clarence Adams [idem]

1935:

Carter Family [as Sinking In The Lonesome Sea]

1935:

Bascom Lamar Lunsford [as Merry Golden Tree]

1937:

Justus Begley [Alan Lomax recording as The Golden Willow Tree]

1937:

Jimmy Morris [as The Golden Willow Tree]

1939:

Horton Barker [as The Turkish Rebelee, inspiring Paul Clayton's version]

1941:

Almanac Singers [as The Golden Vanity]

1941:

Mrs. Ollie Jacobs [as A Ship Set Sails For North America]

1941:

Pete Seeger [as Golden Vanity]

1941:

Richard Dyer-Bennet [idem]

1942:

Burl Ives [idem]

1942:

Woody Guthrie [idem]

1952:

Dodie Chalmers [version on the Classic Ballads Of Britain And Ireland series as The Golden Victory]

1956:

A.L. Lloyd [as Golden Vanity]

1956:

Paul Clayton [as Turkish Revelee on lp Whaling And Sailing Songs From The Days Of Moby Dick]

1957:

Peggy Seeger [as Golden Vanity]

1959:

Frank Proffitt [as Lowland Low; Warner recording]

1959:

Almeda Riddle [as Merry Golden Tree]

1959:

Paul Joines [as Green Willow Tree]

1960:

Lonnie Donegan [as Sinking In The Lonesome Sea and as The Golden Vanity]

1961:

Jean Ritchie [as The Merry Golden Tree]

1961:

Ewan MacColl [as The Sweet Kumadee op The English and Scottish Popular Ballads Vol 2]

1962:

Chad Mitchell Trio [as Golden Vanity]

1963:

Odetta [as The Golden Willow Tree]

1963:

New Lost City Ramblers [as Sinking In The Lonesome Sea]

1963:

Jay & The Americans

1965:

Hootenanny Singers [as Den Gyllene Fregatt]

1966:

Boudewijn De Groot [as De Noordzee; Dutch lyrics: Lenna]

1970:

Handsworth School Boys Choir [as The Golden Vanity Opus 78 with Benjamin Britten on piano; three years earlier introduced on Britten's Aldeburgh Festival in Suffolk with the Wiener Sängerknaben, where he wrote his arrangement for]

1975:

Arlo Guthrie & Pete Seeger [as Golden Vanity]

1976:

Martin Simpson [as The Golden Vanity]

1979:

Astrid Nijgh [as De Gouden Hoorn; lyrics by her ex husband Lennaert Nijgh, who also wrote Boudewijn De Groot's lyrics for De Noordzee]

1980:

Paralee McCloud [as The Little Ship]

1983:

Rory Block [as The Golden Vanity]

1986:

Tom Paxton [idem]

1990:

Peter, Paul & Mary [idem]

1992:

Doug & Jack Wallin [as The Golden Willow Tree]

1992:

Bob Dylan [idem]

1996:

Roger McGuinn [as Golden Vanity]

2006:

Loudon Wainwright III [loud and clear as Turkish Revelry on Hal Willner's double cd Rogue's Gallery filled with Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Shanteys; that's probably our unfortunate cabin boy on the cover]

2010:

Crooked Still [as The Golden Willow Tree]

2020:

Shirley Collins [as The Merry Golden Tree]

2021:

Jake Xerxes Fussell [as The Golden Willow Tree]

Most versions you can hear on Joop Jansen's Musical Flowers (jopiepopie.blogspot.com)

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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