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Ship Margaret Evans, songs

DigiTrad:
CLEAR THE TRACK
LET THE BULGINE RUN
MARGOT EVANS (LET THE BULLGINE RUN)
OH RUN, LET THE BULLGINE RUN (halliards Shanty)


Related threads:
Help: What is a bulgine? (16)
Let the Bulgine Run ... on Nordic TV Ad (4)
Lyr Req: Let the Bulgine Run - New York fire? (10)
Help: What is bulgine pie? (19)


Q 18 Jul 09 - 05:54 PM
artbrooks 18 Jul 09 - 06:00 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 07:26 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 07:53 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 08:11 PM
artbrooks 18 Jul 09 - 08:14 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 09:31 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 10:01 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jul 09 - 10:15 PM
Gibb Sahib 18 Jul 09 - 10:19 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 10:33 PM
Q 18 Jul 09 - 10:53 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Jul 09 - 12:07 AM
Q 19 Jul 09 - 12:53 AM
Susan of DT 19 Jul 09 - 06:50 AM
Gibb Sahib 19 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM
Charley Noble 19 Jul 09 - 01:17 PM
Q 19 Jul 09 - 02:14 PM
Gibb Sahib 19 Jul 09 - 03:42 PM
Charley Noble 19 Jul 09 - 04:02 PM
Charley Noble 19 Jul 09 - 04:12 PM
Q 19 Jul 09 - 05:02 PM
Q 19 Jul 09 - 06:15 PM
Q 20 Jul 09 - 09:55 PM
Charley Noble 21 Jul 09 - 08:24 AM
Gibb Sahib 21 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM
Q 21 Jul 09 - 02:05 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Jul 09 - 07:30 PM
Q 21 Jul 09 - 11:04 PM
Gibb Sahib 22 Jul 09 - 11:15 AM
Gibb Sahib 22 Jul 09 - 11:26 AM
Charley Noble 22 Jul 09 - 11:21 PM
Q 23 Jul 09 - 01:01 PM
Charley Noble 23 Jul 09 - 08:17 PM
Q 23 Jul 09 - 10:23 PM
Lighter 24 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM
Charley Noble 24 Jul 09 - 09:23 AM
Q 25 Jul 09 - 12:14 PM
Gibb Sahib 25 Jul 09 - 01:34 PM
Q 25 Jul 09 - 02:00 PM
Charley Noble 25 Jul 09 - 07:28 PM
shipcmo 08 May 10 - 08:17 AM
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Subject: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 05:54 PM

Discussion-
The Margaret Evans, a packet capable of carrying 210 or more passengers, was a well-known ship operating between London and New York between 1846 and 1858, perhaps later. Passenger lists prove its service as a passenger and mail ship on the London-New York route for that period. Isaiah Pratt was master for much of the 1850s.
Registered at 899 tons by builders Westervelt & MacKay, New York, she was commonly cited at 1000 tons. The ship was never used in the cotton trade.
In 1865, she was severely damaged by the steamer Bridgeport while at anchor in New York's East River entrance; I haven't found any later records (only cursory search).
The chantey "Clear the Track" is associated in songs about her. Where and how this chantey originated is uncertain; there is no evidence that it is Caribbean or black in origin.

Bull-gine first appears in print in 1845, "Stray Subject 38," F. A. Durivage and Burnham, in the line "He made himself agreeable to his officers by imitating the 'bull-gine.'" Durivage was a poet and novelist. The word, from bull engine, applied to steam engines, appeared in 1848 applied to the steamboat engine- "American Speech," XXI, quotes "Going over to Hobuc in de steamboat, De bullgine busted and we all got afloat."
Also in 1848, 'bullgine' was applied to a locomotive named the "Orange" on the New York and Erie Railroad (Binghamton Democrat, Nov. 17, 1848, "When the Locomotive First Came Among Them." "The boys throng the track to see which way the bullgine is coming."
Also in the 1840s, the word appeared in blackface minstrel routines ("Negro Forget-me-not Songster," 1848, etc.).
In 1849, "bullgine" appeared in the Howe "Glee Book," "He swallowed two small rail roads wid a spoonful of ice cream, And a locomotive bullgine while dey blowing off steam" (minstrel song).
C. J. Lovell (American Speech, v. 21, 1946, pp. 116-119)calls the word a "Negroism," although its origin is clearly uncertain- minstrel, sailor, railroader, novelist, white or black.
It is also clear that the word was widely known. It still is a common railroaders term for locomotive.

Some songs in the next post.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 06:00 PM

Judy Collins did a song called "The Margaret Evans", aka "Bullgine Run".


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Clear the Track Let the Bullgine Run
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 07:26 PM

Lyr. Add: Clear the Track Let the Bullgine Run
Richard Runciman Terry, "The Shanty Book," 1921

1
Oh, the smartest clipper you can find
Ah ho Way-oh, are you most done.
Is the Marget Evans of the Blue Cross Line.
So clear the track, let the bullgine run.
Tibby Hey rig a jig in a jaunting car.
Ah ho Way-o, are you most done.
With Lizer Lee all on my knee.
So clear the track, let the bullgine run.
2
Oh the Marget Evans of the Blue Cross Line
She's never a day behind her time.
3
Oh the gels are walking on the pier
And I'll soon be home to you, my dear.
4
Oh when I come home across the sea,
It's Lizer you will marry me.
5
Oh shake her, wake her, before we're gone;
Oh fetch that gel with the blue dress on.
6
Oh I thought I heard the skipper say
"We'll keep the brig three points away."
7
Oh the smartest clipper you can find
Is the Marget Evans on the Blue Cross Line.

With music score.
Terry's note says the tune is a favorite in the Yankee Packets. He says he picked up the song from Blyth seamen.
The DT has a somewhat different version from Lomax.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Margaret Evans
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 07:53 PM

Lyr. Add: Margaret Evans
Augmented version, in Wikipedia

1
Oh the smartest clipper you can find
A ho way ho are you 'most done
Is the Margaret Evans of the Blue Cross Line
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
2
To me hey rig-a-jig in a low-backed car
A ho way ho are you 'most done
With Liza Lee all on my knee
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
3
O the Margaret Evans of the Blue Cross Line
A ho way ho are you 'most done
She's never a day behind her time
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
4
O we're outward bound for New York Town
A ho way ho are you 'most done
Them bowery gals we'll waltz around
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
5
When we've stowed our freight at the West Street Pier
A ho way ho are you 'most done
It's home to Liverpool then we'll steer
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
6
Oh them Bowery gals will give us fun
A ho way ho, are you 'most done
Chatham Street dives is home from home
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
7
When we all get back to Liverpool town
A ho way ho are you 'most done
I'll stand you whiskies all around
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
8
O heave a pawl O bear a hand
A ho way ho are you 'most done
Just one more pull and make her stand
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
9
Oh Liza Lee will you be mine
A ho way ho are you 'most done
I'll dress you up in silk so fine
So clear the track let the bullgine run.
10
To me hey rig-a-jig in a low-backed car
A ho way ho are you 'most done
With Liza Lee all on my knee
So clear the track let the bulgine run.

In this and the preceding song, it is obvious that 'clear the track let the bullgine run' has become a saying, roughly, 'Let's get the show on the road.'


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Subject: Lyr. Add: The Big Black Trawler (Noyes)
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 08:11 PM

Lyr. Add: The Big Black Trawler
Alfred Noyes, 1920

The very best ship that ever I knew
Ah-way O, to me O
Was a big black trawler with a deep-sea crew
Sing, my bullies, let the bullgine run.

There was one old devil with a broken nose
Ah-way O, to me O
He was four score years, as I suppose
But sing, my bullies, let the bullgine run.

We was wrecked last March, in a Polar storm
Ah-way O, to me O
And we asked the old cripple if his feet was warm-
Sing, my bullies, let the bullgine run.

And the old, old devil (he was ninety at the most)
Ah-way O, to me O
Roars, "Ay, warm as a lickle piece of toast"
So sing, my bullies, let the bullgine run.

"For I soaked my sea-boots and my dungarees
Ah-way O, to me O
In the good salt water that the Lord don't freeze"
Oh, sing, my bullies, let the bullgine run.

Alfred Noyes, 1920, "The Elfin Artist and Other Poems." On line.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: artbrooks
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 08:14 PM

Judy Collins' version (c. her) is clearly derivitive:

Well the smartest clipper you could find
Heave away haul away
Is the Margaret Evans on the Black Ball Line
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run.

Tell me now are you most done?
Heave away haul away
Every day we're closer to home
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run.

Well tell me now are you bound to go
Heave away Haul away
Off to Greenland where there's ice and snow
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run

Tell me now are you bound to sail
Heave away Haul away
Off to Greenland to catch the whale
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run

Oh I though I heard my captain say
Heave away haul away
In another week we'll get more pay
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run.
Tell me now are you most done?
Heave away haul away
Every day we're closer to home
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run.

Oh the smartest clipper you could find
Heave away haul away
Is the Margaret Evans on the Black Ball Line
Clear away the track and let the bullgine run.


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Eliza Lee (Clear the Track)
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 09:31 PM


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Eliza Lee
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:01 PM

Lyr. Add: Eliza Lee
(Clear the Track) Source?

1
Oh, the smartest packet you can find,
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
Is the fair "Rosalind" in the Blackwayy Line!
So the clear the track, let the bullgine run,
To my aye, rig a jig a jig in the low back car,
Ah he ha ho, are you most done?
With Eliza Lee all on my knee,
So clear the track, let the bullgine run.
2
The fair "Rosalind" one bright summer's day,
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
Went sailng away far out over the bay,
So the clear the track, let the bullgine run,
To my aye rig a jig in the low back car,
Ah he, ha ho, are you most done?
With Eliza Lee all on my knee,
So clear the track, let the bullgine run.
3
The tller one hand firmly grasp'd,
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
And Eliza's waist by the other was clasp'd,
So the clear the track, let the bullgine run,
To my aye rig a jig in the low back car,
Ah he, ha ho, are you most done?
With Eliza Lee all on my knee,
So clear the track, let the bullgine run.
4
Oh the day was fine, the wind was free,
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
QAnd Eliza Lee sat there on my knee,
So the clear the track, let the bullgine run,
To my ...etc.
5
Oh, Eliza Lee all on my knee,
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
Was as pretty a sight as any could see!
So the clear the track, etc..
6
Oh I said, "My dear, will you be mine?"
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
Her answer was sweeter than sweetest of wine,
So the clear the track, etc...
7
Oh the smartest packet you can find,
Ah he, ah ho, are you most done?
Is the fair "Rosalind" in the Blackwall Line
So the clear the track, etc...

Clearly derivative. Looking for the minstrel song by name "Eliza Lee," but this is not it.

From Maximillian Lafayette, "History of American Music and Gospel Spirituals,"
History

Lyrics of minstrel "Eliza Lee" would be much appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:15 PM

Q,
I'm interested in this stuff but I'm not quite clear on the direction of the discussion.

You mention first that there was a ship called Margaret Evans--fact.

Then you say "The chantey "Clear the Track" is associated in songs about her." Yes, she is mentioned in some versions collected of that chantey -- I believe by Terry and Sharp, who covered similar ground. But the various other versions collected suggest that one inserted whatever vessel's name he/she wished (see Hugill's original text for a run down of variations).

Then you give some good historical references to the use of "bulgine/bullgine".

So are you seeking other songs that mention the Margaret Evans (what makes you think there are any?), or seeking to discuss some aspect of "Clear the Track"?

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:19 PM

Rosalind of the Blackball Line -- it's in Davis/Tozer's text, apparently (says Hugill).


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Clear de Track Let de... (Whall)
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:33 PM

Lyr. Add: Clear de Track, Let de Bullgine Run
From W. B. Whall, 1910, "Sea Songs and Shanties."

O de worl was made in six days and ended on the seven;
Ah he! ah ho! are you most done?
But accordin' to de contrac' it orter been eleven,
So clear de track, let de bullgine run.

Chorus-
To my hi-rig-ajig and a low-back car,
Ah, he! Ah, ho! are you most done?
Hurrah, my boys, and away we'll go,
So clear de track, let de bullgine run.

2
But de masons struck for wages, an' dey would not work;
So dey come to the conclusion dat dey fill him up wid dirt.
3
Now Adam was de firs' man an' Eve was de oder,
And Cain he was a wicked man because he kill his brudder.
4
O way down in de garden where de apple hang low,
Ole Satan got de pull and de man had to go.
5
Young Joseph was de fav'rite, an' eat his mush whole;
But his brudders sell his coat, and dey put him in a hole.
6
Ole Moses lick de pharaoh an' drown him in de sea,
An' de chillen come along dat land for to see.
7
Lil' David was the boss when he finis' up Goliath,
But he play it poorly low down on ole man Uriah.
8
You may talk about your yaller gals an' roun-de-corner Sallies,
Dey couldn't come to tea with the queens in the forests.
9
Daniel in de den done sleep all de night,
Never mind de lion nor de tiger not a mite.
10
Jonah was a hungry man cos he eat de whale,
He manage very well till he come to de tail.
11
Dat's all de fur dat de story goes,
So hurry up to heaven in yo' best suit of clothes.

With musical score.
Whall's notes- "Another version sang the glories of a Black Ball clipper."
"Another instance of a "Minstrel" ditty used as a shanty is "Clear de Track, Let de Bulgine Run." In this case the words and the tune of the first part were taken straight from the music hall, but the chorus was altered in words and music. In the music hall version the chorus was-

"Walkee up, O walkee up, O walkee up, O way!
Walk into de parlour for to hear de banjo play, etc."
The sailor altered it as here shown."


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 18 Jul 09 - 10:53 PM

My object is to sort out the older published references to this group of songs, and eventually tie to music hall-minstrel origins.

Maximillian Lafayette copied (without citation) the version of "Eliza Lee" I posted above from Davis and Tozer, "Sailors' Songs or Chanties." I should have caught that, but I hadn't got around to their publication yet.

I would very much like to find an original "Eliza Lee."

Davis and Tozer cite the Line as "Blackwall," not "Blackball."


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 12:07 AM

Playing a bit of Devil's Advocate...

You started off the threading saying "Where and how this chantey originated is uncertain; there is no evidence that it is Caribbean or black in origin." However, that was before you got down to reviewing the sources. Having begun to review them, you now seem certain of a specific minstrel song origin, which you seek to prove. Slightly shady procedure! But that's cool, threads do develop in that way a lot of times.

And who says there's "an original 'Eliza Lee'"? As you know, that's a name used in plenty of American songs. ("Yankee John, Stormalong" is a chantey that comes to mind.)

**Hugill (1961) cited what he believed to be the minstrel song to which Whall was referring. It's called "De History Ob De World." Here's one link to its text. LINK And a cut 'n' paste job of it:

"De History ob de World" (1847)
(from the Popular Extravaganza
of "Buffalo Gals at the Adelphi")
Words and Music --- anon.
Arr. by T. Contreso

[Source: pages 70-71 of
"Minstrel Songs, Old and New" (1883)]

1.
O, I come from ole Virginny
Wid my head full ob knowledge,
And I never went to free school
Nor any other college;
But one thing I will tell you,
Which am a solid fact,
I tell you how dis world was made
In a twinkling ob a crack.

CHORUS
Den walk in,
Den walk in I say,
Den walk in,
And hear de banjo play,
Den walk into de parlor,
And hear de banjo ring,
And watch dis niggers fingers,
While he plays upon de string.

2.
Oh, dis world was made in six days,
And den dey made de sky,
And den dey hung it ober head
And left it dar to dry;
And den dey made de stars
Out ob nigger wenches eyes,
For to gib a little light
When de moon didn't rise.

(CHORUS)

3.
So Adam was de first man,
Ebe she was de oder,
And Cain walk'd on de treadmill,
Because he kill'd his broder;
Ole Moder Ebe
Couldn't sleep widout a pillar,
And de greatest man dat eber lived
Was Jack de Giant killer.

(CHORUS)

4.
And den de made the sea,
And in it put a whale,
And den de made a racoon,
Wid a ring around his tail;
And all de oder animals
Was finished one by one,
And stuck against de to dry
As fast as they were done.

(CHORUS)

5.
O, lighning is a yellow gal,
She libs up in de clouds,
And thunder he's a black man,
For he can hollow loud;
When he kisses lightning,
She dodges off in wonder,
Den he jumps and tares his trowsers,
And dat's what makes de thunder.

(CHORUS)

6.
O, de wind begin to blow,
And de rain begin to fall,
And de water came so high,
But it drown'd de niggers all;
And it rain'd forty days and nights,
Exactly by the counting,
And it landed Noah's ark
'Pon de Alleghany Mountains.

(CHORUS)

This link contains music notation of the song.   It's not like the familiar tune to "Clear the Track." Looks like Whall's version of "Clear the Track" borrowed verses from this minstrel song's theme, but they were fitted to a different tune and chorus form.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 12:53 AM

"De History ob de World" appeared as sheet music in 1847, pub. by C. Keith in Boston; sung by Wm. Parker in "Buffalo Gals at the Adelphi."
C. Contreso was the arranger of the published piano version, the composer is uncertain. (Copies at American Memory). The words posted from "Minstrel Songs Old and New" by Gibb Sahib are the same; thanks for saving me from having to copy it.
Its relation to the Whall chantey is obvious.

In a very short time in the 1840s, the shortening of the name 'bull engine' for smaller steam engines to 'bullgine,' the expression 'Clear the track, let the bullgine run,' several versions of a music hall song, and the fame of the regular schedule of the Margaret Evans and similar passenger and mail packets all came together.
This seems to have occurred in the ports and music halls of New York and Boston, and the ports and music halls of London, etc.

American and British sailors, especially Liverpool sailors and cotton screwers, as well as music hall performers, probably took the songs to the southern ports of Mobile and New Orleans almost as soon as they were performed in New York and Boston music halls.

An interesting period; still much to learn.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Susan of DT
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 06:50 AM

Four songs in the DT that I could find:
MARGOEVN   Margot Evans
BULGNE    Clear the Track
BULGNE2    Let the Bullgine Run (World)
BURGNE3    O Run, Let the Bullgine Run
I just figured out how to attach them to the thread


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 12:33 PM

Q,

I do tend to agree with many of your observations. I will admit that I already assumed, without opening the whole can, that "Clear the Track" was based in some minstrel STUFF -- it's on the label! (Ingredients: Bulgine)

However, I have to be critical of the way you have so positively stated the scenario, leaping from "It's uncertain" (well, it was uncertain to you...though you were certain before starting that there "is no evidence that it is Caribbean or black") to "I'm pretty confident this is what happened."

The scenario you suggest in you last post is quite plausible one for a given chantey. However, I don't believe there is enough info yet to say it applies to this particular chantey. As I said in my last post, the minstrel song "De History ob de World" is not similar to the chantey. Only the lyrics of its verses correspond to lyrics presented by one collector (Whall). Solo verses are the least stable aspect of a chantey of this type. Often the verses of one are fitted to the form of another, ex. one can do the verses for "The Fishes" upon the structure of "Blow the Man Down." (The identity of a given chantey, I believe, is found in its rhythmic-melodic structure and its chorus.) So Whall's "Clear the Track" can be shown to have its verses inspired by the minstrel song, like so many other chantey...so many where anyone has yet to find a specific minstrel song that matches it.

The solo phrases may be drawn from the popular minstrel music that sailors were listening to, but with most of these songs for which we find no published source, we have to assume they may have been made up uniquely amongst sailors. I have used verses from Punk rock songs and Rap in my singing of chanteys because they work and because they are in my head!

We are not dealing with Anglo-Celtic ballads here, where if you dig deep you'll expect to find something in print on the same story-structure lyrical theme. I think there is this sense that "traditional song" means a broadsheet or music hall number that has been altered through oral transmission. That works with a certain type of song. But how are you going to find the origin of a Blues song? Is it a "song" that can be tracked down? Or is it not actually a form with certain characteristic modes of expression and lyrical phrases? I believe that the type of chantey to which "Clear the Track" belongs, the more common type of chantey, is in its nature more like Blues song (i.e. in these respects).

An aside: Problematically, I believe there is something African-American about minstrel music. It would be a different discussion for me to explain all my reasons, but the main point is that it is contradictory for me to hear that something has minstrel song origins and at the same time "no evidence of black origins." I realize that the case may be completely opposite for Q and others, so I am just stating this as an aside, not integral to my argument.

So there is not (yet) any evidence to say "Clear the Track" derives from a published song. It have phrases from the vernacular tradition at the time that were shared with minstrel songs. I think "bulgine" is a key word, as rightly dwelt upon, however I disagree with Q's characterization earlier.

C. J. Lovell (American Speech, v. 21, 1946, pp. 116-119)calls the word a "Negroism," although its origin is clearly uncertain- minstrel, sailor, railroader, novelist, white or black.
It is also clear that the word was widely known. It still is a common railroaders term for locomotive.


Like Q's earlier premature statement about "there is no evidence that it is Caribbean or black in origin," this sounds biased. Why is it that when it seems something may be the product of Blacks that it is "uncertain"? The origin of the Blues is also uncertain, can't we accept it as mainly a Black contribution? If a published record is the only form of evidence that makes something certain, then relatively very little produced by Blacks in the 19th century will ever be able to called certain. You may say it is a simple case of certainty (proof) versus uncertainty, uninterested and without bias. Yet the bias comes in the very assumption that one type of evidence is the only relevant kind. Lovell (above) may have had good reason to call "bulgine" a "Negroism." Just look at all its noted uses-- most are in minstrel songs that were meant to evoke a Black dialect. I will add these examples (text copy-pasted from another posting of mine) to Q's list:

1843, Dan Emmett's "The Fine Old Color'd Gentleman":
"He swallow'd two small railroads
Wid a spoonful of ice cream
And a locomotive bulgine
While dey blowin' off de steam."

Stephen Foster's original "Oh! Susanna" from 1847, although that verse is rarely heard:
"De bulgine bust and de hoss ran off,
I really thought I'd die;
I shut my eyes to hold my bref
Susanna don't you cry."

1850, Stephen Foster, "Dolly Day:
"Ive sung about de bulgine
Dat blew de folks away,
And now Ill sing a little song
About my Dolly Day."

1854, Edwin Christy, "Who's Dat Knocking at the Door?":
"De bulgine scared me so I tought I was no more,
An I run so hard aginst de house, my head went through the door."

The sources suggest that that, moreover, the term was only really popular during the 1840s-50s. From my reading, it looks like "bulgine" was a strongly marked term that, when used, evoked Black speech. While we don't know how or for how long Black speakers tended to use it, it emerged in popular culture at this time with such a connotation. Compare with 2009's word "shawty" (shorty), which has definite connotations as Black slang but only recently is experiencing in White-consumed popular culture (especially in parody songs). People knew "bulgine" was a Black dialect term. If sailors and railroaders of all ethnicities sang it in their songs, that doesn't dilute its connotation as Black speech.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 01:17 PM

Sea shanty collector Joanna Colcord in Songs of American Sailormen (1938), pp. 99-100, adds this speculation to the above discussion with regard to "Clear the Track":

"The probability is that some Irish sailor, ashore on liberty in Mobile, sang "Shule Agra" in a water-front saloon. It pleased the ear of the Negroes hanging about outside; and the next day they sang what they could remember while screwing home the great bales of cotton in some Liverpool ship's hold. Negro fashion, they put in the rattling succession of sixteenth notes, and added the "bullgine" for good measure. The crew of the ship heard and liked it, perhaps without recognizing its origin; and took it back with them to Liverpool. There the crew of the Margaret Evans, a well-known American packet ship, lying in the Clarence or the Waterloo Dock, picked it up and fitted in the name of their ship, and took it back to New York, with Liza Lee and the bullgine still in close conjunction with the low-back car, to the puzzlement of future folk-lorists!"

Fun!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 02:14 PM

Most of us work from the "Theory of Multiple Working Prejudices," which has served historians and investigators for centuries (although it is usually glorified by referring to hypotheses).
Seldom does the answer become clear-cut.
Both of us are working from our evidence-based prejudices, but the evidence is based on shaky ground. That is why discussions continue.

Bulgine
"People knew "bulgine" was a Black dialect term." I dispute that, it seems to have been in general slang use by firemen, sailors, and especially railroaders, who have kept the word current (it came into the music hall and literature from these usages).
It had its origin in the Bull engine, a steam engine for pumping water, invented in Britain, but much copied. The OED gives this as the source; "Bull + enjine, and define it as "a locomotive or steam engine."
The Oxford English Dictionary quotations show its rather sudden adoption as a slang term in the 1840s, and its use in a novel and the music hall.
As noted in several writings, sailors disliked steam pumps or steam hoists, which tended to fail when they were most needed. Some chantey singers (notes in their albums) label it a ships or dockside term for a steam engine, but they are not aware of railroad, fire or other uses. Early high-pressure engines (came into use in the 1840s-1850s) tended to have problems.
I can find no evidence that the word was originated by Blacks, its derivation from the Edward Bull engine is logical.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 03:42 PM

re: Bullgine
Another quotation from an article that Q cited earlier, by C. J. Lovell (American Speech, v. 21, 1946, pp. 116-119).

"Clar de track, de bullgine's coming"
Negro Forget-me-not Songster, 1848, p62

I don't have that work available to me. It would be great to see the whole text.

Q writes,

"People knew "bulgine" was a Black dialect term." I dispute that, it seems to have been in general slang use by firemen, sailors, and especially railroaders, who have kept the word current (it came into the music hall and literature from these usages).
It had its origin in the Bull engine, a steam engine for pumping water, invented in Britain, but much copied. The OED gives this as the source; "Bull + enjine, and define it as "a locomotive or steam engine."
The Oxford English Dictionary quotations show its rather sudden adoption as a slang term in the 1840s, and its use in a novel and the music hall.


Naturally, there are plenty of words and idioms that are in general use now but that were once used mainly by a certain group. I see no evidence that "bullgine/bulgine" was "general use" during the period 1840s-50s in which these chanteys were most likely conceived. It's supposed later currency --amongst railroaders, hobos, and sea chantey enthusiasts-- is just that: much later, having been incorporated. You have repeatedly referred to "novel" and "literature" in generality, but I am concerned that you may have jumped to that from the one quote from STRAY SCRAPS. Here is the quote from that, in full:

Evincing, we are inclined to believe, evidences of
pugnacity in various sets-to with his brother bootblacks,
and probably making himself agreeable to his officers by
jumping Jim Crow, playing on the bones, and imitating
the 'bull-gine,' he was at length honoured by being
permitted to march in a ' forlorn hope,' and unquestion
ably earned a commission by butting down a score of
the enemy.


It is a caricatured depiction of "Othello," a black man, using the minstrel music stereotypes. "Bull-gine" is in quotes, as to say it is not a word the author himself uses.

The vast majority of other reference fall in the context of evocative-of-Black speech. When you say "music hall," don't you just mean "minstrel songs"? If it walks like a duck...
I do not see on what grounds you say that "it came into the music hall and literature from" ..."general slang use by firemen, sailors, and especially railroaders".

100 years from now, "shawty" may be thought of as just a dialect pronunciation of "shorty"...or it may even be incorporated as mainstream slang for a friend or sweet girl...but wherever it ends up that does not change that if I use the word nowadays I am making conscious reference to something Black.

On another note, I found a rather sketchy but potentially relevant reference to the trope of "Eliza Lee -- marry me". In a Black American song collected by Odum in 1911. here's a link. Chorus runs:

Ha, ha, Miss Lizzie, don't you want to marry me — marry met
I will be as good to you as anybody — anybod-e-e,
If you'll only marry me.


I don't think it's related to "Clear the Track" -- just more fodder for the "Eliza Lee" theme. It is relevant to me since I assert that it is such cliche themes that make up the freely-varied material that went into building chanteys.

I also want to quote this passage from the article:

The songs in this collection are "negro folk-songs," in that they
have had their origin and growth among the negroes, or have been
adapted so completely that they have become the common songs of
the negroes. They are "folk-poetry which, from whatever source and
for whatever reason, has passed into the possession of the folk, the
common people, so completely that each singer or reciter feels the
piece to be his own." Each singer alters or sings the song according
to his own thoughts and feelings. How exactly this applies to the
negro songs may be seen from the explanations which follow, and from
the study and comparison of the different songs. It is not necessary,
therefore, in order to classify the songs as negro songs, to attempt to
trace each song to its origin or to attempt to determine how much is
original and how much borrowed. Clearly many of the songs are
adapted forms of well-known songs or ballads; others, which in all .
probability had their origin among the negroes, resemble very strongly
the songs of other people; while still others combine in a striking way
original features with the borrowed. In any case, the song, when it
has become the common distinctive property of the negroes, must be
classed with negro folk-songs. Variations of negro folk-songs among
themselves may be cited as an illustration of this fact. Likewise there
is abundant material for comparing with well-known folk-songs or
ballads of other origins...comparisons may be made with ''Jesse James,"
"Eddy Jones," "Joe Turner," "Brady," "Stagolee," of the hero-songs;
"Won't you marry me?" "Miss Lizzie, won't you marry me?" "The
Angel Band," and others similar to some of the short Scottish ballads
and song-games of American children; and "I got mine," "When she
roll dem Two White Eyes," "Ain't goin' be no Rine," and many others
adapted from the popular "coon-songs;" together with scores of
rhymes, riddles, and conundrums. In any case, the songs with the
accompanying music have become the property of the negroes, in their
present rendition, regardless of their sources or usage elsewhere.


That is a fairly accurate to how I am approaching "Clear the Track," however, without necessary emphasis on Black ethnicity. While I clearly think originally Black paradigms of song are a main basis for the genre, after a certain stage it became irrelevant what the nominal ethnicity of sailors was; it was a sailors' (or workers') genre.
Substitute the word "sailor" for "negro" in the above passage! :)

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 04:02 PM

Here's a relevant clip from a novel:

FROM NIGHTFALL UNTIL MIDNIGHT, p. 105

"He led the way toward the room of the
Rev. Dr. Bulgin, whom the profane some-
times called Bulgine, which, as the learned
know, is good Ethiopian for Steam Engine.
This seemed to imply that the Rev. Dr. was
a perfect Locomotive in his way."

I doubt that the reference to "Ethiopian" means "Amharic" but I could be encouraged to pursue that "red herring."

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 04:12 PM

Whoops, "FROM NIGHTFALL UNTIL MIDNIGHT" is only the chapter heading. Here's the full reference:

New York: Its Upper Ten and Lower Million
by George Lippard, published by Queen City Publishing House,
© 1853, p. 105

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 05:02 PM

Odum- a short extract from the above- "...the songs with the accompanying music have become the property of the negroes, in their present rendition, regardless of their sources or usage elsewhere."
Odum was writing of his collections c. 1900.

"Clear the Track" clearly belongs to the music hall-minstrel period of the 1840s, as does the word bullgine. Although using black stereotypes as a basis for their humor, the performers of that time were white, mostly American but many from England, and some from Australia. Their inspiration came largely from the news or topics of the day. The stereotypes often served to defuse adverse reaction to their message, which often was sharp needling of the politicians and events of the day.

Bullgine has been in use over a long period- not only by railroaders and sailors. By railroaders in 1849 "Cars ran off the track- smashed the bulgine"; 1855 "Look out for the Bulgine!"; 1877 Bartlett "A cant word for a locomotive engine"; 1889 Dict. Slang "(nautical) a locomotive is so-called by sailors"; 1899 Hamlin Garland "That's the bull-gine on the Great Western"; 1911 Damon Runyon "You hear the gang when the hammers clang and the bulgines hoist away!"; 1939 Dictionary of Americanisms "His bulgine was new and shiny an' there it was with tomater ketchup all over the boiler an' the cab"; etc. (citations fuller in Lighter, Hist. Dict. American Slang).
James Joyce used the word in his classic, "Ulysses." "...ran up the jolly roger, gave three times three, let the bullgine run, pushed off in their bumboat and put to sea to recover the main of America. Which was the occasion, says Mr Vincent, of the composing by a boatswain of that rollicking chanty:
Pope Peter's but a pissabed
A man's a man for a' that."
(Now that's one to collect!)


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 19 Jul 09 - 06:15 PM

Charley, "which as the learned know" is a reference to popular minstrel (Ethiopian) routines, e g. "The Learned Man," "I'm de Black Professor Chalk," and "De History of de World."


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 20 Jul 09 - 09:55 PM

Further general usage of the term Bulgine for a steam engine or locomotive, and expansion to include other types inc. fuel-

Rudyard Kipling, "Steam Tactics" 1899-
"The water-gauge of that steam car was reflected on a mirror to the right of the dashboard..........
He said to me after breakfast only this mornin' 'ow he thanked his Maker, on all fours, that he wouldn't see nor smell nor thumb a runnin' bulgine till the nineteenth pros........
"What happens if he upsets?" "The petrol will light up and the boiler may blow up." "How rambunkshus!"
(Complete story online)

Extract from online summary of mining development, Victoria, Australia-
1869: Companies formed to prospect and work Cement Hill- Tanjil constructed a 10 km long water race- Adjoining lease were (the leases of) Bulgine, Jumping Sailors, Aboard Ship- soon amalgamated as Tanjil Golden Cement Co.-

F. E. Miller, 1905, "Oklahoma Sunshine," poem "Look Out For Trouble," p. 198. (longtime poet laureate of Oklahoma)
2
Doan' spend yuh time eh-gazin'
Up yondah at de sky:
It shuah will make you dizzy
En pain yoh lit'le eye;
Jes' keep yohse'f eh-lookin'
Clah down de way yuh go:
De bulgine sho'ly comin'
De fus' thing dat yuh know!

Mark A. Howe, "Later Years of the Saturday Club 1870-1920;" a Boston club with members inc. O. W. Holmes, A. Agassiz, Richard Henry Dana, Henry James, John Singer Sargeant, Francis Parkman, etc.
A group of them also met for dining under the name of The Bulgine Club.
(Out-of-print but easily available).

Reference in Japanese about a Bulgine Machine- www.hochier.com/category.php?id=75
Several other references to this machine, currently in manufacture.

Blog on boat repair, 2005:
Here is a shot of my latest marine engine repair project...It's the 18hp Volvo 2002 diesel auxillary.....Affectionately referred to as the "Bulgine"
www.peachparts.com/shopforum/archive


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 08:24 AM

Gibb-

Naturally, there are plenty of words and idioms that are in general use now but that were once used mainly by a certain group. I see no evidence that "bullgine/bulgine" was "general use" during the period 1840s-50s in which these chanteys were most likely conceived.

Given that a popular novel was in fact using the term "bulgine" in 1853 as citied above, would you consider revising your opinion:

New York: Its Upper Ten and Lower Million
by George Lippard, published by Queen City Publishing House,
© 1853, p. 105

Lacking a time machine, Google does provide alternative access!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 01:20 PM

Hi Charley,

No, on the contrary that reference strengthens my point that "bulgine" had the connotation of Black speech at that point:

Bulgine, which, as the learned know, is good Ethiopian for Steam Engine.

And, I am afraid, one mainstream, non-ethnicize (*beware - made-up word alert!) reference from the period will still have to be weighed against the many more ethnic uses.

I don't follow where Q is going with this, with all these additional references to "bulgine" at later times. Q, please contextualize your info within a point that you'd like to make. It seems that if you are demonstrating that "bulgine" is so general, and thus is indicative of little, then it would be irrelevant to the whole discussion of the song's origins. So why even talk about it?

My current opinion, in summary, is as follows. "Clear the Track" has earmarks that strongly suggest the influence of the 1840s style minstrel music. One of the most tangible of these to note in this particular discussion is the word 'bulgine,' which seems to me a word that was at that time understood as markedly Black speech, and for that reason, also popular with evoking stereotypical Blackness in minstrel songs.

Baring finding a published minstrel song that corresponds to "Clear the Track" --and the 'Clar de Track' mentioned in Lovell, above, is a good candidate that may be a match-- the chantey looks like it was at least based in numerous minstrel-y phrases. The case of so many other chanteys, which have phrases clearly corresponding to minstrel songs but for which we can find no matching source, makes this a very plausible scenario. "Clear the Track" sounds like other chanteys that are strongly suspected to have minstrel influence, and these songs form a cluster that suggest this scenario: that the minstrel songs were so popular (as we know) that their floating phrases were a part of the lyrical language of the time.

The tune of "Clear the Track," opined by several authors to be related to the Irish "Shule Agra," is nonetheless a common sort of tune in the musical language of chanteys, something like "Santiana" and "Jamboree" and such. I am doubtful that we'll find a published minstrel song with that tune that corresponds, even if 'Clar de Track' turns out to be lyrically similar. For these reasons (with evidence so far), I think it most likely that "Clear the Track," whatever sources it stole from, was a creation of sailors.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 02:05 PM

Quoting from blackface minstrel-'Ethiopian' routines or descriptions of them does not help your case that 'bulgine' comes from Black speech.
The chantey is based on the minstrel routines; the similarities make that obvious; but minstrel speech must not be equated with Black dialects of the time.

The term is derived from the patents of Edward Bull, the Bull engine, shortened to bulgine; so derived in the OED.. In the 1840s, the ability to increase the pressure of small steam engines to over 60 lb/sq. in. without explosion (or so the manufacturers said) made these engines ubiquitous in dockyard, ship, fire, mining, construction and other pursuits.

The chantey is based on the minstrel routines; the similarities seem ample and that is not denied. Sailors coming ashore in the major ports sought entertainment in the minstrel and music halls, and picked up the songs that appealed to them.

I have recently acquired a set of Doten's Journals, covering the development of California in the period 1849-c. 1900, published by the University of Nevada Press. I look forward to reading this important historical work; not about the sea, but about life in California and Nevada during the Gold Rush and into the period when California was joined by rail and steam to the rest of the Union. Doten describes a bulgine exploding, in 1849.
The steam engine, or bulgine, was a contributor to the building and exploitation of the West.

Bulgine as a word in the chanteys, as you say, is not important, but you claim Black origin without evidence, as you also seem to suggest that a chantey preserved in the Caribbean or Demarara area is necessarily of Black origin.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 07:30 PM

Hi Q,

Quoting from blackface minstrel-'Ethiopian' routines or descriptions of them does not help your case that 'bulgine' comes from Black speech.

No no no....It's not that "bulgine" must come from Black speech. I am arguing that it helped to evoke Black dialect (percieved or otherwise) in how it was used in these references from the 1840s. You may disagree with that, but please understand the point: "bulgine" was a cliche of the minstrel genre. And the relevance of that is that it helps to identify "Clear the Track" as something (partially) minstrel-derived. --that is, in a tangible way, not just that it "sounds like" a minstrel song.

but minstrel speech must not be equated with Black dialects of the time.

That may be besides the point. I am talking about evocation of Blackness in minstrel song. The "minstrel dialect" was not authentic Black speech, but it used features and phrases stereotypically associated with it. Some was based in reality, some wasn't.

The term is derived from the patents of Edward Bull, the Bull engine, shortened to bulgine; so derived in the OED.
This etymology is irrelevant from my perspective. It is the use and sociological context of the term that is relevant. Lovell must have thought it was a "Negroism" for a reason. Why do you think he did? Why do you think the author quoted by Charley thought the word was "good Ethiopian for Steam Engine"?

Sailors coming ashore in the major ports sought entertainment in the minstrel and music halls, and picked up the songs that appealed to them.

Yes, in many cases. So, will you please confirm (I still am not able to see it plainly) if your contention is that the chantey "Clear the Track" is such a minstrel or music hall song picked up by sailors directly? Sorry to repeat myself, but my contention is that it is based in influences of the genre, not any particular song. I think we are both in the same area of thought, that it has some basis in minstrel music but the percentage differs. Obviously, finding a matching published song would settle that.

I think to prematurely assume a chantey with minstrel-like qualities must derive from a previous song removes the creative agency of sailors.

Bulgine as a word in the chanteys, as you say, is not important, but you claim Black origin without evidence...

No, again. It is not origin of the word that is important to me, it is use that I am claiming. The evidence is all the references we have collectively posted. And the analysis of that evidence, my own, is what I have said.

...as you also seem to suggest that a chantey preserved in the Caribbean or Demarara area is necessarily of Black origin.

Now this is just baiting (and beside the point), as was your original statement, "there is no evidence that it is Caribbean or black in origin." Why even say that? Why not say there is no evidence of Mongolian origin? Yours was the first post, and nobody had ever made that claim here. I have done no such thing as suggesting "a chantey preserved in the Caribbean or Demarara area is necessarily of Black origin." Are you referring to the thread I started about the broken-link chanteys? If so, that would be a better place to raise that issue.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 21 Jul 09 - 11:04 PM

Bulgine was used in the minstrel routines, but the word comes from the Bull engine (English inventor but many copies and variations).
And to me "good Ethiopian" means blackface minstrel.
I have not seen Lovell's article, but I assumed his 'negroism' reference meant black origin, which I disputed- it may refer to minstrel use, which I would agree with. Someone here may have access to that journal.

Perhaps I misread your thrust, but your statements, and your citations from Hugill, imply to me that you consider many chanteys of Black origin when the only evidence is that the chantey or a variant was collected in the Caribbean (your thread, 'Rare' Caribbean shanties....). Some of them are, but you throw too wide a loop.

With regard to "Clear the Track..." I said the origin of the chantey was the minstrel routine, not that the chantey was taken word-for-word from the minstrel show-music hall. Of course the chantey singers had to revise so that it could be used as a work song aboard ship; also true of other songs that they took up.

Bully in the Alley, Shinbone Alley, date to M. T. Rice, 1833, another minstrel performer. Some have guessed, including myself, that the song has a Black origin, but this is only a supposition.
The only evidence seems to be undated music at Levy, posted in thread 43952, "Long Time Ago," and "De Oder Song;" but these also are of minstrel origin and probably of similar date. Bully songs were popular in Black music in the latter part of the 19th c., but the inspiration for them is uncertain.

I consider that "Clear the Track, Let the bulgine run," belongs to chanteys originally from the North Atlantic routes, esp. those of the mail-passenger packets. Its origin is the minstrel-music hall, from which source some chantey singer obtained it and revised it for work.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:15 AM

Q, please check your email, thanks


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:26 AM

I poked around a little bit to find the "Clar de Track" song cited in Lovell's article (entry) on "bullgine."

It is supposed to have been contained (among other places) in a work called NEGRO SINGERS' OWN BOOK, from circa 1846, as well as 1848's NEGRO FORGET-ME-NOT SONGSTER. I cannot find/access either of those.

However, an 1851 text by Willis connects it to "Old Dan Tucker", and Mahar's recent book on minstrelsy says "Clar de Track" was a parody version of "Old Dan Tucker" (1843).

One can imagine how the phrase, "Clear the track, let the bulgine run" might have been fit over the chorus of "Dan Tucker" after the whole "Get out de way, get out de way!" bit.

The tunes and prosidy of this minstrel song and the chantey are not very similar, however.

I'm still sticking to my theory that the chantey was an original creation based only on scraps of minstrel song-y phrases. :)

Gibb


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 11:21 PM

Q-

So far I have seen no reference at all suggesting that the term "bulgine" originated in England by Englishmen. Yes, there was the Edward Bull engine and he was an Englishman and there can be little doubt that the slang term was derived from his engine but by whom if not Black Americans?

The minstrel song "Whoop Jamboree" also has a "bullgine" verse (As sung by Daniel Decator Emmett and the Virginia Minstrels at White's Melodeon in New York City , circa 1850, in imitation of the Mississippi riverboatmen; in CHRISTY'S PANORAMA SONGSTER, published by William H. Murphy, NYC, pp. 135-136):

"De nigger an' de bullgine, dey running in cahoot –
De nigger pass de bullgine gwine through de (chuite) shoot. (CHO)"

It seems reasonable to me if black-faced White folks were making up Black dialect verses that they would be trying to imitate actual Black dialect. It's also possible that the minstrel Black dialect was an exaggeration of what was actually spoken by Southern Blacks but there most likely was a strong correlation.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 01:01 PM

In the same short period, 1846-1849, bulgine appeared in a NY newspaper article cited above, applied to a locomotive, and in a journal of the California Gold Rush period, as well as on the minstrel stage.
The same period saw the proliferation of steam engines that could stand pressures above 60 lb/in sq without exploding and their spread to many applications. The steam engine, or bulgine, became well-known to the public.

To me, the use of the term in the minstrel theater is based on the advances and talk of the times, much as the minstrels sang of other items in the news, such as the NY Crystal Palace of 1853, record-setting ships, politics and politicians, etc.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 08:17 PM

Q-

I agree with much of what you're saying above but as applied to the "music hall." Is not "minstrel theatre/minstrel singing" a distinct musical art form?

Both venues were certainly a contemporary source of catch phrases, tunes, for the "shanty mill" of the mid 19th century. "The Jolly Roving Tar" is a good example of a sea song that can be directly traced to the music hall sheet music. And "Coal-Black Rose" is a shanty that can be traced back to the minstrel song of the same title. Each had been extensively "folk-processed" as collected later on from sailors but no one would confuse the source of either.

I would be more convinced that the slang term "bulgine/bullgine was not invented by Black Americans if someone could dig up an 1846-1849 British news article which used the term.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 23 Jul 09 - 10:23 PM

This is leading to a lot of digression that really belongs somewhere else; here is more.
So far I have no 1840s British source for bulgine, only Bull Engine. The contracted term seems to be originally American. In the later 19th c. it is used by several English authors, including Rudyard Kipling in "Transfers and Discoveries."
However, invention of the term by blackface minstrels or railroaders is not the same as invention by Black Americans.

There are 19th c. examples of the word bulgine in newspapers and books beginning in the 1840s; I have given a couple, here are a few more. Unfortunately word searches of this kind are not easy. Only what is found online is easily available.

-"American Pictures Drawn with Pen and Pencil," Rev. Samuel Manning, Pub. London, 1876, Religious Tract Soc.
"Early on the second morning after leaving St. Louis, our train came to a sudden standstill, and a loud noise of escaping steam was heard from the engine. "Guess our bulgine's busted up," said my neighbour, a miner from New Mexico."

-Bulgine Mine, Clear Creek, Colorado- 19th c., but details not known.

-Cass City Chronicle, (California) 1881, article reprinted Dec. 20, 1935:
"'Twas Christmas time in Cass City... Give us your hand, brethren. Give us a genuine, old-fashioned handshake of congratulations.... We are going to have a railroad, we are, and don't you forget it. The bulgine will be snorting through this town in less than ninety days."

L. Carranco, 1962, "Logging Railroad Language in the Redwood Country." Only p.1 seen, jstor.org, American Speech v. 37 no. 2, pp. 130-136.

-"Po-ca-hon-tas," or The Gentle Savage," a play by John Brougham, opened in his theater, NYC, in 1855. John Smith & company raid the "Tuscarora Finishing School of Emancipated Maidens," where he meets Pocahontas. In an article in Jour. Soc. for American Music, R. L. Norris, 2007, mentions one of the characters in the play is killed by a bulgine. Not seen, so I don't have the citation.
The play and parts of it "remained a staple of theatre troupes and blackface minstrel companies for the next thirty years." Apparently great liberties were taken in succeeding performances; Wikipedia says "Dixie" and Zouaves were added for an 1860 performance in New Orleans.

I have put music hall and minstrel together in some discussion, I should have added theatre; they cross-fertilized and borrowed from each other. Opera and Shakespeare were not safe from the blackface minstrels, the plots and songs were widely parodied (Norris, J Soc Am Mus., 2007, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 341-365; also the program "The Color of Shakespeare," can be heard here- http://www.soundprint.org/radio/display_show/ID/758/name/The+Color+of+Shakespeare

Commenting on Shakespeare performances in America, "Shakespeare productions attracted a broad audience across socioeconomic and ethnic lines, .....The plays were often accompanied by music, acrobatics, dance, magic, shows, minstrel shows, .... Shakespeare's most famous lines .....were parodied..."
http://www.shakespeareinamericancommunities.org/education/america.shtml


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 09:04 AM

Some more on "bulgine."

The earliest examples I can find after various newspaper searches suggest that "bullgines" were well known in New York in the spring and summer of 1844. The Tribune of May 4 carried a political ad reading,

"HURRAH FOR CLAY AND FRELINGHUYSEN! Don't you hear the    Bullgine Humming,/ Don't you see the Clay Boys Coming!"

The Utica Daily Gazette of July 3 proves the link with minstrel players:

"The Virginia Minstrels….Mr. N. Jamieson will deliver his celebrated lecture on Locomotion, showing how the Bullgine came in contact with the Sun and run the Cars off the Track."

The Tribune of August 13:

"George Western, the great 'locomotive bulgine,' is letting off steam at the American Museum, New York, to the delight of crowded houses."

And the Herald of August 13, 1845: Mr. Whitlock in his original Locomotive Bulgine, accompanied with a laughable and amusing story.

And now, a gen-u-wine minstrel bullgine joke from the Pittsfield (Mass.) Sun, June 1, 1854:

"Sambo, why am a locomotive bulgine like a bed bug?" "I gib dat up, Mr. Dixon, 'fore you ax it." "Bekase it runs on sleepers."


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 24 Jul 09 - 09:23 AM

Q-

That's a good restatement of where we're at. And, yes, we have gotten somewhat preoccupied with one slang word, "bulgine/bullgine," but it's one that has puzzled the folk community and even scholars for generations.

Lighter-

Thanks so much for your recent harvest of quotations. You seem to have documented that this slang term was well established by 1844. If politicians use the term, it has to be well-established! They certainly don't create such terms; well, they do create political insider slang but "bulgine/bullgine" is slang from the minstrel stage, and I still believe it was originally created by Black American laborers.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 12:14 PM

In a separate thread, I will post "Wake Up, Jake- Old Iron City," by George Holman, also about the bulgine, given the date 1848 by Levy, but the sheet music they show should have the date 1850. The song ("Sable Harmonists') is printed with "Susanna," printed also by Peters in the same folio. It may be contemporaneous with Foster's "Susanna." The 'Iron City' is Pittsburgh, but Cincinnati also claimed the song in according to an online article.

The most famous locomotive in America is the John Bull, the name given to the English-built engine first used on the Cambden & Amboy RR in New Jersey in 1831 (service 1833-1866), and featured at exhibitions in 1876, etc. At the Smithsonian since 1884, it was last fired up in 1881. A replica was built for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
This locomotive also could have been the source of 'bulgine.'

Further online sources show that the term 'bulgine was in common usage, appearing in reports of the westward expansion of the railroads.
Lighter points out some early uses, here are a couple more to fill out.

Wm. W. H. Davis, 1887?, "History of the Doylestown Guards," - "The 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, Colonel Yoke, and the Batallion of the 25th took the same train with bag and baggage; steam was turned on the "bulgine," the band played "Home, Sweet Home," ...

NY Times, Dec. 3, 1893, "Middies again triumphant- West Point Cadets whipped at football by two points." Bulgine used as part of a yell encouraging their players- "Bulgine! Eushline! Reeves! etc."

W. O. Payne, "History of Story County, Iowa; ..." The bulgine comes to town, Marshalltown reached in 1864, etc.. (bad transcription).

George Lippard, 1850, "The Killers...," a novel about New York, and "New York: Its Upper Ten and Lower Million," bulgines mentioned.

Adding to Rudyard Kipling usage, the Kipling Society website notes that Kipling's language was toned down for publication; the "blighted bulgine" changed to "running Bulgine." See his "Steam Tactics" and "Traffics and Discoveries."

Several other uses in novels, political writings, etc. (one about Horace Rosinante Greeley in dialect, interesting- archive.org.

Blackface minstrel or railroad worker still seem the most likely sources for the word's origin. No evidence found of prior slave or free Black usage.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 01:34 PM

As I mentioned earlier, I'm personally not much interested in etymology with respect to understanding the chantey. For purely academic interest, however, here's one more scrap to add to the pile. from a short article in American Speech vol 2:12, 1927, "More Hobo Lingo":

//
"Bull" as an adjective commonly means "large." In logging operations with steam donkeys the big hook on the end of the main cable is the "bull hook." This may be the explanation of "bullgine" for engine, too.
//


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Q
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 02:00 PM

Bull hook is also a circus term; there are many bull-, bullcamp, bull cook, bull gang, bull goose, bull hauler, bull gravy, etc., most from the lingo of the laboring man, but none is pertinent.


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: Charley Noble
Date: 25 Jul 09 - 07:28 PM

My pet theory is that the term bulgine/bullgine was invented by riverboat men but so far I only have the minstrel song "Whoop Jamboree" to support that origin.

May the best evidence win!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Ship Margaret Evans, songs
From: shipcmo
Date: 08 May 10 - 08:17 AM

refresh


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