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Jim Jones: Background?

DigiTrad:
BOTANY BAY
BOTANY BAY (3)
BOTANY BAY 2
JIM JONES (BOTANY BAY)


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radriano 23 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM
Stewie 23 Mar 01 - 07:48 PM
Susanne (skw) 23 Mar 01 - 08:03 PM
Malcolm Douglas 23 Mar 01 - 08:28 PM
Bob Bolton 24 Mar 01 - 09:00 AM
Susanne (skw) 24 Mar 01 - 06:00 PM
radriano 26 Mar 01 - 11:02 AM
MartinRyan 27 Mar 01 - 04:11 AM
radriano 27 Mar 01 - 11:12 AM
GUEST 13 Jul 04 - 03:34 PM
Ed. 13 Jul 04 - 03:38 PM
GUEST,kerrin 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 PM
Susanne (skw) 09 Oct 04 - 09:11 PM
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Subject: Jim Jones: Background?
From: radriano
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM

There are a few threads mentioning the Australian transport ballad "Jim Jones" but there really is no background discussed. Anyone know where this song came from?

Richard


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Stewie
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 07:48 PM

The only information I have is the brief note in Ron Edwards' 'The Big Book of Australian Folksong' Rigby 1976. He says the tune is 'Irish Mollie O' and the song was originally collected by Charles MacAlister and included in his 'Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South' published in Goulburn in 1907. There was a gap in the 4-line structure after line 10. Evidently, John Meredith supplied lines (11 & 12) to fill the gap [The waves were high .../I would rather drown in New South Wales ...] and published them in 'Bushwacker Broadsides No 3'. Unfortunately, he did not indicate where he collected them. They differ from the rest of the song in that they mention NSW while elsewhere only Botany Bay is given as the destination. [Edwards p187].

An exhaustive study of transportation broadsides was published very recently in Australia. Hugh Anderson 'Farewell to Judges and Juries: The Broadside Ballad and Convict Transportation to Australia 1788-1868' Red Rooster Press 2000 [ISBN 0908247400]. It is a very expensive limited edition, published by the author, but you may be able to access it from a library. It should have something on 'Jim Jones'. Try contacting the Australian National Library.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 08:03 PM

I have this quotation, which unfortunately is unfinished, and I'm not sure whether I found it in Lloyd, Folk Song in England, or elsewhere:
[1967:] Most of the transportation ballads are passive enough in outlook; self-pity if not repentance is the mood. None of the surviving songs of the penal settlements shows the smouldering sense of vengefulness that characterizes the excellent Jim Jones at Botany Bay, reported, alas, only once in Charles Macalister's 'Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South' (Goulburn, N.S.W., 1907), a book of reminiscences, mainly of the Sydney area in the 1840s. Jim Jones follows the conventional pattern of arrest, sea-voyage and hard times on landing. His crime, as usual, is poaching, and his sentence, transportation for life. The judge adds a lowering postscript. [...]
Jim Jones stands out from the ruck of transportation songs by reason of its strong bloodshot defiance. The good Australian social historian Russel Ward observes that in the ballad 'instead of an implicit acceptance of the rules of society, there is an explicit assumption that society itself is out of joint and even a hint that in the new land society may be remoulded nearer to the heart's desire.' If the song is to be taken literally, it must have been made up between 1 September 1828, when 'bold Jack' Donahoe first emerged as a bushranger, and the time two years later when the troopers shot him dead in the Bringelly scrub. But the date and manner of the ballad's origin is not the only mystery surrounding it [...]


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 08:28 PM

It's from Lloyd, and ends

"...a deeper riddle is: why has such a well-made mettlesome piece failed to keep its hold on the interest of singer and audience when flabbier creations on the same theme have ostentatiously survived into our own time?"


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 09:00 AM

G'day Radiano,

This would be one of the existing song references that lead to John Meredith researching song tunes when he moced to Sydney, in the late 1940s. He must have found a suitable version of Irish Mollie O and added the 2 lines to give a workable text for singing, some time before oublishing the Bushwhacker Broadsides in 1955.

I don't really see what worries Ron Edwards so musch about "They differ from the rest of the song in that they mention NSW while elsewhere only Botany Bay is given as the destination."

Both Botany Bay and New South Wales (which rhymes with "gales") were names dating from Capt. Cook's discovery of the East Coast of Australia, in 1770. "Botany Bay" was Joseph Banks's name for the bay south of modern Sydney and New South Wales was Cook's name for the entire area.

It is interesting that the name "Botany Bay" survived so long as the destination of transportation ballads, since NO convicte\s were actually sent to Botany Bay. Capt. Phillip, the first governor took one look at Botany Bay and sent the Navy to find somewhere better. They found Port Jackson and Sydney Harbour immediately to the north and moved there, lock, stock & barrel.

No real development occurred in Botany Bay until the days of the Crimean War (after convict transportation to eastern states had ceased) when fortifications were erected against possible (if improbable) Russian attacks -and precautions against smugglers coming into Sydney by the "back Door".

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 06:00 PM

Thanks, Malcolm, for setting the record straight!


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: radriano
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 11:02 AM

Thank you all for the wonderful information - it is much appreciated!

Richard


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 04:11 AM

I used to sing a version of this years ago - great song. The tune was a staccato version of "Skibbereen" , as far as I could make out. I've no idea where I got it from. Mind you, the defiant air of the last verse was quite reminiscent of Skibereen - so it may well have been in mind when the song was written.

I find it hard to imagine singing it to either of the tunes I know as "Irish Molly". But then, at the moment, both my ears are blocked for some unknown reason and its had to imagine singing at all!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: radriano
Date: 27 Mar 01 - 11:12 AM

Hello Martin, good to hear from you.

I learned Jim Jones from Kit Slawson, a friend of mine who lives in Suisun City, California. I'm not sure I know Irish Molly but the melody I have is very singable. This has fast become one of my current favorite songs - especially that last verse. I also like the phrasing in some of the lines:

"There's no room for mischief there," they said, "Remember that," says they.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones certified gangstas lyrics
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 03:34 PM


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Ed.
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 03:38 PM

Thanks for your contribution GUEST. You have illuminated much which was dull.


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: GUEST,kerrin
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 PM

one question....was jim jones a real guy? In music we're studying this song and WE're meant to do reearch on him to help with our essay so i was wondering if he was real or not. if he is, when did he live?


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Subject: RE: Jim Jones: Background?
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 09 Oct 04 - 09:11 PM

Kerrin, there is nothing in the info I've collected (see below) to indicate Jim Jones was a real person.

[1967:] Most of the transportation ballads are passive enough in outlook; self-pity if not repentance is the mood. None of the surviving songs of the penal settlements shows the smouldering sense of vengefulness that characterizes the excellent Jim Jones at Botany Bay, reported, alas, only once in Charles Macalister's 'Old Pioneering Days in the Sunny South' (Goulburn, N.S.W., 1907), a book of reminiscences, mainly of the Sydney area in the 1840s. Jim Jones follows the conventional pattern of arrest, sea-voyage and hard times on landing. His crime, as usual, is poaching, and his sentence, transportation for life. The judge adds a lowering postscript. [...]
Jim Jones stands out from the ruck of transportation songs by reason of its strong bloodshot defiance. The good Australian social historian Russel Ward observes that in the ballad 'instead of an implicit acceptance of the rules of society, there is an explicit assumption that society itself is out of joint and even a hint that in the new land society may be remoulded nearer to the heart's desire.' If the song is to be taken literally, it must have been made up between 1 September 1828, when 'bold Jack' Donahoe first emerged as a bushranger, and the time two years later when the troopers shot him dead in the Bringelly scrub. But the date and manner of the ballad's origin is not the only mystery surrounding it; a deeper riddle is: why has such a well-made mettlesome piece failed to keep its hold on the interest of singer and audience when flabbier creations on the same theme have ostentatiously survived into our own time? (A. L. Lloyd, England ?)

[1972:] Jim Jones, to the tune of Irish Mollie-Oh, is a typical transportation ballad. [...] A study of the text [of the published version of 1907] shows a break in the four line pattern after line 10 indicating that the missing lines are 11 and 12. Without these two lines the remainder of the song does not fall into logical verses. John Meredith supplies some lines to fill this gap [...] but unfortunately gave no indication of where he had collected them. They differ from the rest of the song in that they mention New South Wales, while elsewhere only Botany Bay is given as the destination. (Edwards, Overlander 3f)

[1974:] This ballad recounts some of the horrors of life in the convict settlements of Australia and reveals some of the bitter defiance which was engendered in the convicts. Many men took to the bush, and took arms against their oppressors. The bushrangers are still celebrated in song in the Australia of today. It is significant that this ballad mentions poaching as a transportable offence. Many English and Irish poachers were transported, as were other types of criminals and political offenders, including trade unionists. The Tolpuddle martyrs are a famous example from the last category. (Palmer, Touch 245)

[1998:] [A hero is] the man who swears never to bow the knee. I always thought that Jim Jones was an English as well as an Australian song, but it didn't take that many conversations with snarling Melbourne chums to convince me otherwise. It really is a mighty song. Anon strikes again. (Notes Martin Carthy, 'Signs of Life')

BTW of thread creep: Is Kerrin your first name? I'm interested because it might come from the area where I live, though it's very rare. Good luck for your research!


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